|Sixty Miles An Hour
Sometimes life speeds along at sixty miles an hour. Wind in your hair, grit in your eyes--blink, and you miss the details. Slowing down's not always better, Clark thinks. You catch things you'd rather miss. Hard-to-explain things, life's little X files.
Take Whitney, who's different these days. Not night to day, black to white, HBO to Fox, just not who he was. It's because of Wade Mahaney. Before he died, Wade gave Whitney a tattoo, tequila, and...Well, that's the problem. Seems one night Wade took him into a backroom at the bar and taught Whitney a few new tricks. Think Ron Jeremy, not David Copperfield.
Whitney hints at it in short sentences that End Significantly, then slumps lower in his chair, deeper into his beer. Whitney's already deep enough, no word-slurring, now moving in that slow, familiar way as he leaves the table. Halfway to drunk, and not happy about it, what people in old books called ‘morose'. Not a billboard any more for all-American living, or even a Budweiser commercial.
"Be back soon," Whitney says over his shoulder and heads to the bathroom. With his hands shoved into the front pockets of his jeans, the blue tshirt's pulled tighter, announcing something. A few tables away, a guy, with hair even blonder than Whitney's, and a face like an empty church, pushes back his chair and follows him in.
The music's sticky as the table where Clark sits alone. No words, just moans with a backbeat, and the dance floor's swarmed, bare skin everywhere, shiny with sweat. No one notices him here shaded by the wall--the story of his life. "Stay under the radar, Clark," his dad always said. "It's easier that way. No one will ask questions." No one did until Lex came to Smallville, hitting harder than the meteor, breaking things without meaning to, starting a chain reaction of weird.
Now Clark's in a bar with Whitney, who once stripped him to his boxers and tied him to a cross in a cornfield. Or he was, until Whitney went with a stranger to work out his issues. Whitney can do what he wants. It's not like they're engaged or even really friends. Heck, Clark's not even bugged that Whitney never asks him to go back. Not that he would, only it sucks to be always outside.
It's like everyone's paired off except him. Pete and Chloe, who aren't dating but connect even with the boy-girl difference. His parents, who move together like farm equipment, oiled and sharing a rhythm that Clark hears every other night. Lana and Whitney, even broken up, because there's a rightness about them that not even Whitney's recent stint as an afterschool special can erase.
Then there's Lex. Sometimes, it even feels like they're always on the verge of happening, until Lex imports a girl like station identification: "We interrupt this program to bring you a special news bulletin: Lex Luthor Is Not Gay." Clark never really thought about gay stuff until Lex, and now he can't stop. Still, it's a big leap from thinking to doing, and Lex's signals are confusing: perfect reception some days, but on others, the antenna's broken and it's all static. Clark's currently on a Lex-free diet, all looks and no touching, which is probably for the best, even if it hurts. Clark's stupid alien skin doesn't understand pain, and it's not fair that he feels it on the inside.
He was around six when his own weirdness started to sink in. He'd broken Pete's favorite toy, a stupid miniature farm with a barn door that mooed; Pete loved it so much that he carried it around with him on a wagon. One shiny summer day, Clark did the too-strong thing and snapped off a sheep's head. His six-year-old self freaked, and he tossed the barn into a wall, ensuring permanent moo-lessness. Pete ran home crying, and Clark went to his mother to fix things. Only she started crying, too, when he offered her the decapitated sheep.
It's not like Clark feels like crying now, or that Lex's is a sheep, or he is, but this is the last time he'll come to this bar. Whitney's unsolvable, and Lana's better off without him. He'll tell her that, skipping the details. Nothing about Whitney back from the bathroom, his lips too red and smelling like the ocean. There are no oceans in Metropolis.
"Ready to blow?" Whitney speaks to the wall behind Clark.
It could be a dig, since Clark's discomfort is neon. He also speaks over Whitney's shoulder, and his face is extra warm. His parents never told him how to deal with stuff like this, boys in bathrooms and the sick excitement of it all. "Yeah. Let's get out of here."
No talking in the car. A habit after three weekends, just a quiet ride past dark fields. Clark's usually hard and leans back on the squeaky seat, hoping and worried that Whitney will show him what he does in the bathroom at Elixir. At least Whitney's easier than Lex, same-aged, football-lover, highschool brain, not Princeton, direction and a billionaire dad.
When Whitney starts to talk, Clark almost jumps, but it's not a proposition. "I don't need a babysitter, Kent. Lana and me are finished, so you don't have to spy, either."
"She's just worried about you, that's all."
"What did you tell her?"
"Nothing. Just that you're upset about Wade."
"I don't know anything else."
Whitney turns, assessing him with a look that only a football star can give to a geek. "Right. You don't know anything about it. Like you and Lex are just friends."
"You know we are."
"You're friends with everyone, aren't you? Mr. Nice Guy." The car speeds up, heading to danger-fast. "Ever get bored being good?"
People die at sixty miles an hour, but Whitney's too hostile for backseat driving. "You're not a bad guy, Whitney."
"Sure. I just crucify people for kicks. Hang out with criminals. Let them die."
"You saved Lex. Wade and his friends would've killed him if you hadn't said something."
"No, Kent. You saved him. You, the poster-boy for clean living."
"Lana loves you."
"She doesn't even know me."
"So talk to her."
"That's such bullshit advice. Ever try it?" Shaking his head, Whitney turns on the radio. Loud guitars that say shut up, Clark.
Miles fade behind them, and in the mirror, Metropolis dims until there's
nothing but blackness. Sometimes life likes to squeeze in a
metaphor. Life, Clark thinks, needs to get a grip and go bug
Twelve years ago, a meteor hit Smallville. Lex is like a piece of it, and being near him means the same sickening jolt. The watching is almost as bad, when Lex stares instead of talking, like Clark is a tv. He's doing it now as they sit in the Beanery.
Lex says that Clark's like a younger brother. It's a good excuse for the looks, the brotherly-love thing, except they've been getting longer, with Lex moving closer. Sometimes Lex's hand even goes out or his tongue slips over his lips, over the scar on his top one, and even a blind guy or a sixteen-year-old virgin can tell they're cue cards. Clark wants to do something, anything, so he and Lex can finally touch, only his body refuses to obey his brain, and he only sits there. After a minute of failed something, Lex moves back or smiles, turning it normal again. At night Clark lies in bed and relives the looks, somewhere between angry and glad about the go-nowhereness of it. Angriest right before he comes without Lex's hand or mouth, because Clark's body's hardwired for permanent loser status.
Only it's not night, with the sun's corn-yellow through the windows. Lex is still watching him over the chipped mug, and his eyes are south of blue, north of grey. "You okay, Clark? Lana giving you trouble?"
"Not Lana. Whitney."
"Want to talk about it?"
"He's just...I think he needs help."
"You don't have to save everyone, Clark. Especially him, not after what he did to you."
"That was months ago. He apologized. It's not like he nailed me to the cross, just tied me there."
"That's like Christ saying he's glad they used nails and not railway spikes."
"They didn't have trains back then, Lex."
"Lucky for Jesus."
"Whitney saved you."
"No, Clark, you did. It was his friends who got me there in the first place, with their little blackmail scheme."
"Yeah, and you might've died if he hadn't said anything. Besides, he didn't have to come with me to get your disk, but he did."
"Why the sudden defense of the football player? You two best friends now?"
"You're my best friend, Lex. But, yeah, Whitney and I are hanging out." Is Lex jealous? The idea's better than a dream about flying. "The last few weekends we've been going to Metropolis. To a bar."
"What do you do there?"
"What everyone else does."
"Be careful, Clark. Those places can be dangerous."
"I can take care of myself."
"Is that what you're doing there? Taking care of yourself? Or getting someone to take care of you?"
"I don't know what you mean."
"I'll bet Whitney does."
"What makes you say that?"
"Face it, Clark. I might not like Whitney, but at least he goes after what he wants."
"It's easier for him."
"So you're going to wait until it's easy? Einstein said that in the middle of difficulty lies opportunity."
"Well, I'm not Einstein. Besides, that's not what I meant, exactly."
Brain surgery's easier than explaining. It's just that Lex is Lex, Whitney is Whitney, and they're used to getting what they want. When Lex walks into a room, there's this ripple of quiet. Whitney's the same on a smaller scale. He's the cafeteria king: even the lunch ladies stop slinging mashed potatoes when he shows up in his red football jacket and his blond hair that falls just right.
The only attention Clark gets is from tripping over his own feet or dropping a plate. Standing like the Dork Prince while everyone applauds doesn't count. Then there's his dad, who's been warning him away from people since forever: "Got to be careful, Clark. You've got great gifts, son, but you can hurt people real easy." Only his dad's wrong: hurting people's harder than it looks. "It's complicated," Clark finally says. At the look on Lex's face, he wants to be someone else. Something else. A biology experiment for a secret government agency.
Across the table, Lex retreats back in his chair. "Some advice? Never play poker."
"If you say so." His own smile hangs awkwardly, and he gives it up, reaching for his mug. The coffee's cold. "Want another one?"
"I'm still working on the one I've got. For now." It seems to mean something else; Lex likes challenges even in words.
With Lex safely out of hearing, Clark asks for cinnamon. Lex once said the smell was one of his favorites, and Clark's not sure this is what people mean by spicing up your sex life, but he's getting a little desperate. Desperation will always smell like cinnamon to him.
Sturdy metal chains suspend a tv from the ceiling over the counter. Sharks against the Argos, kick-off a blink away. He waits. His dad's in his head again, advice packaged like a bag of chips. "Good things always come to..." Something twitches inside him. It could be an epiphany, or just too much coffee. Across the room, Lex is still sitting in the chair, legs out and crossed at the ankles, holding his mug with two hands. Their eyes meet over the brim, and Lex tenses and relaxes at the same time, totally still but vibrating, too.
Clark's so focused on Lex that he forgets to turn down the volume and stands blaring his feelings in the middle of the Beanery. A silence forms, a mean-edged one that's a breath from applause, as people put down lattes and biscotti to watch him watching Lex. Life is a cafeteria. Conspicuous and embarrassed, he pretends to survey the room and gets an eyeful of his face in one of the gold-framed mirrors on the wall. That's what desperate looks like.
Ginny, an unlikely hero with her too-black hair decorated with two pencils, hands him his coffee. "Everything okay, Clark?"
"I remember how it was with my first boyfriend. Every fight seemed like the end of the world. Kiss and make-up, that's my advice."
"He's not...I mean..." Another look in the mirror, and his face is colored like his mother's favorite lipstick. "Thanks for the coffee." He nearly trips over nothing as he walks away. "I've got to go," he tells Lex, and puts his full cup on the table.
"It's a waste," Lex says.
"A waste of what?"
"You can have mine, if you want." Like Lex can't afford
his own. Clark's cheeks are still hot as a sunburn, and he
avoids the mirror on the way out, hoping a meteor will flatten him into
Three or four years ago, Clark got The Talk from his dad. "Son, when a man and woman love each other, the man puts his..." It was a very short talk, with lots of throat-clearing and ceiling-studying. The most embarrassing part came when his dad tried to talk about jerking off. "Nothing wrong with, uh, touching your penis, Clark. Just don't do it in public and clean up when you're done."
Clark, who'd done it about a hundred times in that week alone, was more interested in the fantasies that went with it. Back then, he felt guilty for thinking about Lana's aunt Nell, with her tight shirts. When he tried to bring it up, his dad said that fantasies were fine, as long as he didn't act on them.
Good advice for a horny twelve-year old, not so good now, when Lex Luthor stars in Clark's most recent fantasies. Okay, sure, Whitney's there, too, sometimes touching, sometimes watching; it helps when things get too intense, like Whitney's a pretty blond balance. Like now. Clark's buried under the covers in case his mom walks in with clean laundry, his hand moving at a steady clip, picturing Lex and Whitney on their knees. Sharing him. This new fantasy's so scary-powerful that he uses it only every couple of sessions, to keep it fresh. Fantasies are like people: you have to treat them carefully, or they'll break.
The best part's when he pulls Lex up, and Whitney stays down. A tongue on his dick, Lex's in his mouth, and Clark's so gone he's almost ready for Whitney to fade to black. He strokes faster, raising his knees, and squeezes the fistful of Kleenex. Lex and Whitney shouldn't fit, and that's why they do. Whitney wants what Lex has, and he's who Lex must've wanted to be: the football hero with the pretty hair and the prettier girlfriend. The popular guy. Lex won't even use Whitney's name, even now that Whitney's officially hurting, with the lost scholarship, the dead friend, and his dad in and out of the hospital. And Lex...
God. Clark's so hard, but slows down to think about Lex. Lex is so honest; he'll say anything, admit things no one else wants to, like being a geek growing up. Lex is strong, too, the strongest person Clark knows, the way he stood up to Earl, to Wade's friends. Under it, though, Lex is sort of breakable. Clark can say the wrong thing, and Lex's face goes too smooth. Like when Clark lost his powers and told Lex to hit him with the hammer. Only Lex looked like he'd been hit instead, all the air gone from him. Hollow. And then there's Lex's skin, the smoothest, palest skin that goes on forever. Faster now, harder, so close. Clark always thinks of Lex when he drinks milk from the bottle, or when he--
Comes. Yes. Like that. Lex.
The Kleenex is on the floor, so he wipes up what he can with his bare hand and rubs it onto his chest, thinking of Lex and his skin.
The phone rings. He knows who it is; Lex has the best or worst timing ever. "I was just thinking about you," Clark tells Lex, trying to hide the panting. He rolls on his side, cradling his pillow, waiting for his heart to stop revving.
"What were you thinking?"
"About when Earl Jenkins went crazy and held everyone hostage at the plant, and you got him to let everyone go. That was pretty cool."
"Were you sleeping, Clark? You sound out of it."
"I'm still awake. Mostly. What did you do today?"
"Heir-to-the-empire things. And talked to Whitney."
"Whitney?" Not just the name throws him; it's the snark-free delivery. "Why?"
"Something you said. You were right: he didn't have to go back that night. He stood up to Wade, and all things considered, that must've been hard."
"What did you talk about?"
"Wade. Whitney's dad. Other things."
"You like him now?"
"He's smarter than I thought. Funnier, in a mouthy way. Not just a pretty football player."
Clark almost asks, "So why don't you marry him, then?" Instead, he settles for a more mature, "He's okay. Better than Victoria."
"What's Victoria got to do with it?"
"Just thinking of people you like."
"Victoria was about business. I told you that."
"Didn't look like business to me."
"You can sleep with people for a lot of different reasons, Clark. It's not always Romeo and Juliet or Jonathan and Martha."
"But you liked it. The sex part."
"You can like anything with the right inspiration."
"You mean closing your eyes and picturing something else?"
"Or not picturing anything at all. Just feeling it."
"That doesn't seem right."
"Clark Kent, moral philosopher. Maybe you'd change your mind if you tried it."
"I thought you admired my standards. That's what you said that night you couldn't find your watch."
"That was before I realized you were planning to die a virgin."
"I'm just waiting for the right time."
"The thing is, Clark, there's never a right time. Sometimes you just have to go for it."
"You mean like Whitney?"
"He's made some stupid choices, but at least he's trying."
"What exactly do you want me to do?"
"Figure it out for yourself, Clark."
A pointed click, and Clark's left with Lex's words playing in his head
like a scratched CD.
Friday night after a long week of nothing, and even counting stars can't relax him. He gives Chloe a call, forgetting she's visiting relatives. "I'm busy being tortured by unevolved apemen, otherwise known as my cousins. I'll get back to you after years of psychotherapy." Even her answering machine snarks.
The phone's just back in the cradle when it rings. "Lex?"
"Not unless someone died and made me a bald millionaire."
So, you coming or not?" He sounds bored, a million miles away.
"Don't do me any favors. If you're too busy making shadow puppets with your dick--"
"I'll wait for you outside."
A click answers him. Nobody says goodbye anymore.
"Mom, I'm going out." Clark careens into the kitchen to find his dad looking up at him from the table.
"You're going out a lot. You need to spend more time with your other friends, Clark. So does Lex. It's not natural--"
"I'm not going out with Lex, Dad. I'm going out with Whitney."
The smile comes fast. His dad's already reliving the good old days when he was a football hero and not a grit- under-his-nails farmer. "That's great, son. Whitney's a fine boy. He'll go far some day, what with his scholarship and all."
"Sure." Whitney lost his scholarship back with his direction, and he's too busy in bathroom bars to care. "He'll be one of the greats."
"Come to think of it, haven't seen or heard much from Lex for the past week. Maybe he's finally moved on." His father gets up, placing the tractor part on the spread newspaper. "You need a few bucks? I can't give you much, but--"
"Thanks," he says, pocketing the bills. "See you later." Clark speeds out, slowing only when the path ends. Quiet here, this far from the house, just animals reacting to the night. Peaceful, and he hates it. Too much alone-time lately, which means thinking, a highly-overrated activity--and possibly why teenage boys jerk off so much. He'd do it now, if he could, pull out his dick and get rid of the itch. Right, and Whitney'd show up, rolling his eyes: "Can't keep it in your pants, Kent? Maybe you should get laid." Imaginary-Whitney has a point, only there's not exactly a big line-up for Clark's virginity. At least no one who'll make a move. There's a kind of safety in that, even if it bugs him.
Spit of gravel, click-click-click, and Whitney's here. The door's thrown open, and Clark climbs in. The interior smells of soap and Right Guard. "Hey."
"Hey," Whitney says, and guns the engine.
"How's it going?"
"I've been talking to your boyfriend."
"Give it a rest, Kent. I'm just joking. You got to take everything so seriously?"
"Ever meet my dad?"
It gets a laugh. "Fair enough."
"Lex told me he called you."
Whitney nods. "The first time he called--"
The first time?
"--Lex thanked me for helping him get the computer disk. For standing up to Wade and the others. After that, just to talk."
"What do you guys talk about?"
"Stuff." Whitney's wearing a leather jacket that squeaks as he shifts. "He's not like I thought."
"I always figured he was this rich jerk. I know he was the one who told Lana about what we did to you. The scarecrow thing."
"She deserved to know."
"Spare me the lecture. I said I was sorry, okay? I was pissed when Lex did that. I would've told her."
"Just like you told her about your dad being in the hospital and--"
"Stop channeling your dad, Kent, or you can walk home."
"You know, he's just cooler than I thought. He didn't get on my case about Wade and the stupid crap I pulled." They drive in silence, then Whitney asks, "Did you know Lex's mom died when he was a kid?"
"He talked to you about his mom?"
Whitney glances over. "Yeah. Is that a problem?"
"No. It's just..." Wrong. Because Lex likes him, not Whitney.
"She gave him this watch that's--"
"I know. He told me. It's the most important thing he owns."
"I guess he tells everyone this stuff."
"Yeah." Buildings grow around them. "I mean, no. He's not like that. If he tells you personal stuff, it means...It means he likes you. And Lex doesn't like too many people."
Whitney says nothing, but Clark can tell he's pleased. Whitney's happy for the first time in months, because of Lex. Jealousy's ugly, and his dad's given him a zillion words of wisdom on monsters and green eyes. He runs through a quick list of them, silently repeating each one like a prayer. Doesn't work: his stomach's all about the first day of highschool, and failure, and Lex watching Whitney with that look. There's cinnamon in the air, and he opens the window, breathing in the burnt-tire fumes of Metropolis.
They park in an alley a few blocks from the club. Someone has spray-painted an alien on the grimy brick, a bright green one with huge insect eyes. "We're not alone," it says underneath. A few years ago, Clark heard a shrink on tv talk about aliens. She said people made them up because they didn't want to feel alone and fear of an invasion was just a displacement. Maybe aliens did the same thing.
It's early, so there's no line-up, and the bouncer waves them in. The air's even thicker in here, cigarette smoke that floats under the lights, old beer worn into the floorboards, perfume and sweat. When Clark moves to a back table, Whitney doesn't follow, choosing one closer to the middle with a clear line to the door. Whitney's still in a good mood, so Clark keeps his mouth shut and joins him. With his extra money, he skips the watered-down draft and has a real beer in a bottle. It's cold and strong, and he drinks it too fast, then orders another one.
"Living dangerously tonight?" Whitney stops surveying the door and grins at him.
"I'm just...Yeah. Why not?"
Whitney's smile grows, and he waves his hand at the waitress. "Another beer for my friend here."
"You want me to get drunk?"
"Might loosen you up."
"Or I might puke my guts out in your dad's truck."
"It'd be worth it."
"I'm not that bad."
"You're okay, but you need to relax. Pull the cork out."
"We all have different ways of dealing with stress." It's the closest he's come to acknowledging what Whitney does, and there's a pause.
"True," Whitney says at last, hunching down in his chair, a buzzard with perfect blond hair. "Some ways are better than others."
"I don't think what you're doing is any better."
"And what's that, Kent?"
"At least I'm doing something, not setting a jerk-off record."
"I don't see a big difference. You're still alone at the end of the night."
"Maybe I like it that way."
"And maybe I like my callouses." He's relieved when the laugh comes.
"We're a couple of losers. Maybe..." Whitney stops, waving at a point over Clark's shoulder. "Hey."
It's the first time Whitney's ever invited someone to join them, and Clark turns. Lex is walking over, black everywhere except his skin, and smiles at them.
"Not exactly the Beanery," he says, and sits beside Whitney.
"A guy can only take so much coffee." Whitney seems too relaxed, like Lex showing up is perfectly natural. Like they're friends.
The waitress is back, bending too low in her pink tank top. Lex doesn't look down her shirt, just gives her a very big tip when she brings his drink. "Thanks." He leans back in his chair. "Nice place. Or it might be, once they fumigate."
"Beer's cheap," Whitney tells him.
"I'm sure it's got all sorts of hidden attractions."
"If you know where to look."
"What are you doing here, Lex?" Clark's question sounds rude, and he wants to take it back.
"Whitney mentioned that this is where you guys have been spending time, so I thought I'd check it out." Lex sweeps his hand over the table's sticky surface. "Can't say I'm too impressed."
"I told you it wasn't your speed."
"It's the company that matters," Lex tells Whitney, and there's a long look.
Then Whitney smirks and says, "Just don't order the shrimp, and you'll be okay."
It's obviously a private joke, and Clark's missing the punchline. He wants to say something smart, but their closeness is like Novocaine. His mouth is numb, and so's his brain, while his stomach catches the bass of the music, replaying it at twice the speed. It doesn't encourage his wit. "Did you work today?"
"How'd the talk go with your father?" Whitney leans over a little, like Lex is a pretty waitress in a low-cut top.
"I could sell tickets for talks with my father. Pay-per-view. Fighting's an Olympic sport in my family." His drink is toxic orange and smells like fresh fruit. When Lex licks his lips after the sip, his tongue rests briefly on the scar. "You're lucky," he says to Whitney. "I know it doesn't feel like it with your dad in and out of the hospital, but he's always been there for you, right? He wants what's best for you, not what's best for him."
Instead of telling Lex to butt out, Whitney nods. "I never thought about it like that. I guess I always thought he was punishing me when he made me work at the store."
"He was just making sure you always had a place to go."
"I'm sorry about your dad. I had this coach who put me through crap like that. Nothing was ever good enough. It gave me motivation, but the pressure got crazy."
Clark's starting to feel like leftover dinner. "My dad--"
"You've got the greatest dad ever. He even played football." Like it's a qualification for sainthood.
"No one's perfect." Clark doesn't know how to explain that his dad is a human advice-dispenser, the Ann Landers of farmers.
"My mom thinks you are," Whitney says. "She's always going on about that ‘nice Clark Kent.' I think she wants me to be like you. Good student, working on the Torch, helping out your parents, saving people...Face it, Kent: you're nice."
It sounds like an insult. "I'm not good all the time. I'm here, aren't I?"
"Just to play watchdog. Not to have fun."
"I'm having fun." Convincing as a televangelist, and he tries harder. "It's a cool place. Good music."
"It's okay, Clark. Everyone has a different idea of fun, that's all." Lex takes another orange sip. "You like it straight. Nothing wrong with that."
"You mean Lana." The name's out before Clark's brain catches up. Across the table, Whitney looks down at his beer; he doesn't seem to be breathing. "We're just friends. She loves Whitney." Clark used to think he loved her, until he met Lex. Puppy love compared to the Rottweiler he's dealing with now.
"She's all yours, Kent." Whitney's chin jerks up. "That should make her happy."
"Makes you wonder why he's here," Lex says, "when he can have her."
"I'm here because...Like he said, the beer's cheap."
Seconds pass as Lex stares at him. "I hope it's worth it." He leans toward Whitney and whispers something in his ear.
Whitney sits straighter, his scowl dissolving. "Yeah, I know. It's hard..." He moves closer to Lex, and the rest is lost.
Lost. It's the perfect word, as Clark sits in the dark, unsafe and unfocused, like a kid in fairy tale forest. Leaving's the smartest plan, only he can't leave Lex and Whitney alone, in case they...In case things happen. "Anyone catch the game last night?"
"I'm not really into football," Lex says. "Only..." And he turns back to Whitney.
Football players. Subtle, Lex. Clark's beer has left a shiny ring on the table, and he traces it with one finger. "I played football."
"One game doesn't count," Whitney tells him.
"I would've played more. My dad--"
"You can't blame him for everything, Clark."
"Why not? You do, Lex."
"Not everything." Sometimes Lex doesn't seem to blink, just looks and looks until it hurts. "He was in London when JFK was assassinated--or so he says."
Whitney's shoulder is now pressed against Lex's, and maybe their legs, too. Faking interest in the tabletop, Clark looks through it. Whitney's wearing jeans, Lex is in leather, and they're thigh to thigh. Lex's hand covers them both, like he's cementing them there. "I never thought you two would be friends," Clark says to Lex.
"He calls you ‘the football player,' Whitney."
Whitney has very white, straight teeth. "I know. Lex told me."
"I admit it: I thought he was a human cliche."
"You got me thinking, Clark, like I said. About how he didn't have to go back for the disk. You were right. He could've just blown it off, and he didn't. He admitted his own fuck-up. I respect that. Then we talked, and it seems Whitney and I have a few things in common."
This newfound respect takes the form of a long stroke up Whitney's thigh, which Lex doesn't even bother to hide. Like he wants Clark to see, Clark, who's wishing he'd kept his big mouth shut, since apparently he's got a talent for matchmaking. If he doesn't become a reporter, he can always take up pimping. His dad will be so proud.
What did his mom call him a few weeks ago? She wanted Clark to clear the table, and he wanted to talk to Lex... Sullen. Right now he's got that beat by a long shot: it's like that time when Sam Phelan sent his dad to jail and came into their kitchen, gloating. Clark nearly killed him, smashing a kitchen post instead. Just this burn, like he'd swallowed some of Jody's meteor-juice. Hot on the inside, but his hands are cold; he rubs them over his own thighs, pretending again. The cold stays.
If only a fight would start, or a fire. He could step in and save the day, and Lex would look at him in that syrupy way that's all about licking and tasting. It's a look he never totally appreciated before tonight--nothing like a little fake-objective observation, with Whitney the stack of blueberry pancakes. Lex's eyes are sleepy and his mouth is softer than usual, and his skin's like Christmas snow. Clark thinks, ‘I want to be pancakes,' and it's so stupid, really, to care this much. He almost laughs, but it doesn't help, not with the caring and the jealousy reacting inside him like a failed chemistry experiment. "Lex."
Lex doesn't even answer with a word, just a low hum edging toward a growl under the music.
"I want..." Clark swallows, then gives up. "I want another beer."
"I'll send the waitress over," Lex says, as he stands. "I won't be long." No look at Whitney, just weaves his way through the crowd toward the bathroom.
"I'll be back soon, too." Whitney drops a few dollars on the table. "Get yourself a beer on me."
He's gone before Clark can react. For a long minute, he sits there, looking at the bills. Pity-money. Then: Lex and Whitney. Are going to. Pictures come, like a video on fast-forward, different from his jerk-off fantasies, darker and grainier. Emptier, too, because he's sitting here with his dick in his hand, and they're together.
Sometimes he dreams about saving Lex from the river, about Lex's dead, scarred mouth under his. Less sexual, more what his history teacher would call epic, a Big Moment that rocks through time. Then the dream changes, and Lex's eyes open, his arms going round Clark's neck, and he says, in that low voice--
"Whitney." No one hears Clark with the music louder now, shaking the bones of the warehouse. He's on his feet, refusing to think, one foot in front of the other, eyes down, like the floor has the answers. Bumps into a woman who squeaks a little and wobbles in shiny high heels. Sidesteps a guy in black boots with zippers, then reaches the red-painted doorway. The bathroom's at the end of a gauntlet, couples along the wall. The worse stuff is left for the stalls; out here, it's mainly groping and necking.
They're right at the corridor's mouth: Whitney's pressed back against the left wall, his arms around Lex's neck, while Lex kisses him. The kiss is wrong for a bar, or at least for the gauntlet, where kissing is a step to something better. Lex kisses Whitney like it's all he cares about in the world. No rush, just slow and deep, with Lex in complete control: every time Whitney tries to rub against him, Lex stops him with a hand on his hip. When Whitney's still, Lex moves his hand higher, under the leather jacket, and untucks Whitney's shirt. When he slides it along Whitney's ribs, Whitney moans.
Clark steps closer, until he's beside them, until he can see how wet and needy the kiss is, flashes of Lex's tongue as he pushes it deeper into Whitney's wide-open mouth. Inside Clark's chest, his heart does something weird, like it's trying to get out. He could be dying. "I want to go." Even with the music and Whitney's sounds, Clark's pretty sure that Lex hears him. Lex always seems to hear him--it's just that sometimes he doesn't answer.
The kiss continues, only slower, then Lex licks Whitney's lips and pulls back. Whitney's eyes stay closed, his lips faintly bruised and open, until Lex speaks. "We're kind of busy here, Clark."
"I'm not feeling good. I need to go home."
"Take my keys, Kent. You can drive yourself. I'll pick up the car tomorrow."
"How am I going to explain that to my parents?"
"Make something up." Whitney keeps his arms around Lex's neck, and Lex still hasn't moved.
"I don't think I can drive."
"I'll call you a cab, and pay for it," Lex says.
"My dad would want to know what's going on. He'd freak. Lex, you know what he's like." When Lex moves away from Whitney, Clark thinks it will be fine, that things will go back to normal. He's wrong.
"Fine. Whitney, take him home, then come back to my place so we can finish this."
"Let's go." Whitney's already moving toward the door.
Lex wipes his mouth, but doesn't follow him. "Are you okay, Clark?"
"I just thought...A few days ago, you didn't even like him."
"Things change. We talked."
"But what? I like Whitney, and I'm going to like fucking
him. You have a problem with that?" He waits, like
he's expecting an answer. Clark says nothing. "Come
on. I'll take you home. You can sit in your loft
and watch the world from your telescope."
Life on a farm is about rhythms. You learn to depend on the routine: it's what drags Clark's ass out of bed in the cold dark, what takes him into the barn to feed the cows. Clock-time doesn't matter; his body's learned the patterns, just like his parents, and often he drifts through the work, dreaming it.
It's like riding with Whitney in the car back to Smallville, sitting here quiet in the cold dark, watching Lex's taillights bob and weave. See, even when an animal gets sick or a piece of machinery breaks, the rhythm's not lost, only slowed, since those upsets have a pace of their own. Saving people's the same way: no brain work, just his body reacting, like the person in trouble has created a furrow and he's following it.
The rest of life doesn't work like this. He's supposed to create his own rhythms, which scares the crap out of him. You make mistakes that way, hurt people. Hurt yourself. Clark gauges his reaction and decides there's no way this situation can hurt any more than it does. Still, the road's flanked with corn rows when he finally speaks, trying for a new direction. "What was it like?"
"What do you care?"
"Are you going to tell me or not?"
Whiney's face is pale as Lex's in the dark. "What do you think it was like? Lex knows what he's doing."
"Is he better than Lana?"
"Different. She doesn't have the experience, but I love her. Loved her. Whatever. That made it good with her. With Lex...You sure you want to hear this, Clark?"
"He kisses me like he wants to fuck me. Like, he's hard when he's doing it, so I know, but it's more than that. It's the way he kisses. I can't explain it."
"What was it like with Wade?"
Whitney hits the gas, and they shoot forward. Even though Lex in his Porsche is out of reach, Clark still tenses. He's not expecting an answer now, but gets one a few miles on.
"Wade was fucked up. I know that. The robberies and all that...Still, I could tell him anything, and he didn't care."
"You mean it was safe?"
"I guess. Like I could say whatever I wanted, and he'd just laugh. With Lana--I was always worried she'd break or something."
"Only she never did. She's stronger than she looks."
"I could never tell her about this."
"Do you want to?"
"I don't know. She'd freak."
"Maybe at first."
"What I don't get is why you're not with her. I thought maybe it was because of Lex, but I know nothing's happening there, so it's just weird."
"Just because nothing has happened doesn't mean..." It pops out, like his mouth's a word-toaster, and Clark turns his head, looking into the dark.
"You're saying you want something to happen with Lex?"
"I'm not saying anything. Just..."
"Jesus, Clark. What's with you? First Lana, then Lex. Good thing Wade's dead, or you'd be after him, too."
"It's not like that."
"Then what's your problem?"
"I kind of...Lex is...You know. Ever since he came to town, I've had--"
"--a hard-on for him."
Fumbling in the dark, Clark finds the switch and lowers the window, sticks his head out like a dog. The wind's rain- spliced and very cold on his flushed face.
"So why haven't you done anything about it? Everyone in Smallville knows he's got a hard-on for you."
"I don't know. I've just been waiting."
"Waiting? He's not going to make a move first. This is Lex. You know what he's like. About being in control."
"So what do I do?"
"This is where I'm supposed to play the hero and step back. Let you and Lex walk into the sunset. Except I'm not a hero. He's got something I want, and I'm going to get it."
Beer and desperation mix inside him and fuel the words. "What if..." He can't say it.
"Nothing. It's stupid."
Clark can see the line, like the one down the highway, broken white rectangles. He's never been good about crossing them, but tonight's already out of whack. "Whitney, you ever think about...I mean, you've been with guys, and..."
"Just say it, Clark. Stop dicking around."
"You ever think about me?"
"In what way?"
"Come on, Whitney. You know. And me and sex."
"You ever thought about me?"
"No. Yes. Maybe."
"It's not a multiple choice question."
"Okay. Yes. It doesn't mean anything. It's just--"
"You? Clark Kent has pictured me naked?"
He's not expecting to laugh, and it feels good. He sits back against the seat, breathing easy for the first time all night. "It's not a big deal."
"Not a big deal? If you're okay with all this, then why have you sat there all quiet and disapproving for the last few weeks?"
"It's just kind of scary, that's all. It doesn't mean I'm not, you know, interested. That I don't think about...Or want stuff to happen."
They're inside the town now, heading toward the farm, and Whitney pulls over. The Talon is closed, dark as the rest of the street. A block ahead, Lex slows, then stops. "Okay," Whitney says. "Serious question: you still want to go home? Or do you want to come with us?"
"No. I mean, I don't want to go home."
"You know what that means?"
"You ready for that?"
"I think so." Only Lex has left his car and is walking toward them. "You think he'll mind? I mean, maybe he just wants you. Or..."
Whitney rolls down his window. "Hey, Lex."
"Everything okay in there?"
"We were just talking. You mind if Clark comes with us?" Whitney sounds casual, they're talking about going to a movie.
"Whose idea is that?" Lex bends, looking in.
"Mine," Clark says, and clears his throat, so nervous that talking seems like calculus. "I don't have to. If you don't want me there."
"Are you planning to watch, or...?"
"Not to watch. To...You know."
"I get the feeling I missed a pretty interesting conversation." Lex doesn't move, just peers into the car, like he's thinking about writing a traffic ticket. "You sure about this, Clark?"
"Yes. I mean, if you don't mind."
"You know what'll happen if you come over? It's not just going to be kissing."
"I get it, Lex. I'm not totally clued out."
Whitney saves him. "He knows. He just acts clued out sometimes."
Lex gives one of his rare smiles. "Then I'll see you two back at the house." As he walks back to his car, Lex looks once over his shoulder, although there's nothing to see in the glare of the headlights.
"You can still back out if you want, Kent."
"No. I'm good."
"Not for long," Whitney says.
Clark stares up at Lex's house. Somehow, it grew. There are extra turrets now, miles above him, and gargoyles might peer down between square stones. It's tomb-quiet inside, except for a generator hum and the slap of their runners on the tile. Like this is a horror flick, and the teenaged virgin-hero's about to get filleted.
Whitney's holding onto the bannister. "Guess he's upstairs."
"Hold on." Clark's feet won't move. His whole body's anchored in place, like in a nightmare. He might be having a heart attack.
"What's up?" Whitney asks. "Chicken?"
"It's sex, not rocket science. Door's there." He starts walking, moving out of sight. Then, as Clark fights an army of butterflies and his own sticky feet, Whitney peers around the landing. "First time I did it, I was so drunk I puked on Wade's shoes."
"Really?" Clark takes a step, then another one. "What did Wade do?"
"He laughed his butt off, then helped me clean up. He wasn't a bad guy. Just messed up. I mean, before I got to him. My advice? Don't puke on Lex's shoes."
Lex stands in the doorway to a room Clark's never been in. His shirt, which looked black in the bar, is actually a dark purple. As usual, his sleeves are pushed up. "What's so funny?"
"Nothing," they both say.
"I didn't think you'd show up," Lex tells Clark, moving aside to let them pass. "I figured it was a momentary lapse in judgment."
Whitney flops onto the couch, which is obscenely red, like something opened and exposed. "Don't give him a hard time."
"Am I giving you a hard time, Clark?"
"Maybe I just find it hard to believe that you're here."
"I've been to your place before."
"Not for this."
"You're wrong," Clark says carefully.
In one of those quick moves that makes Clark think of slippery things, Lex's back is to him. "Take off your jacket," he says, and pours orange juice into a tall glass, just one, as Clark throws his jacket down beside Whitney. "Stay where you are." Lex walks back to him and stands only inches away. "This is for you," he tells Clark and holds out the juice. "Don't move." Only his hand doesn't stop, and Lex looks into Clark's eyes, then deliberately empties the glass down the front of Clark's white tshirt.
The juice is cold and soaks the fabric, then splatters onto a very nice rug. "Lex, you're making a mess."
Lex shakes his head, so Clark shuts up, lets his hand drop to his side. "Whitney," Lex says. "Get over here and help me clean him up."
A crack of leather, then a rustle as Whitney drops his jacket on Clark's. Clark can't look away from Lex, who's so calm, giving a smile that only lifts the corners of his mouth. He'd like to be that calm, like it's perfectly normal to have a bald billionaire's son turning him into breakfast. "Lex--"
This time, Lex holds the glass to his mouth and Clark has to open for the last sip of juice, which splatters on his chin. "Look what you did."
"Don't be sorry. I can help you clean it up." Lex leans in. His tongue's warm as he licks the center of Clark's chin, right under his lower lip. Then he moves to the side as Whitney pulls Clark's tshirt over his head, dropping it on the floor. Sticky lines run down Clark's chest, and Whitney traces one with his finger. "There's a better way to clean him," Lex says, and Whitney bends.
His hair's very soft, and his mouth's even softer, ticklish. When Clark squirms, Lex reaches out, locking his hand behind Clark's head, his fingers tangling in his hair. There's a slight tug, and Clark follows the direction, which brings his face very close to Lex's.
"Last chance, Clark. You sure you want this?"
"Then keep breathing, because I'm going to kiss you."
He's never been as aware of anything as he is of Lex, not just the paleness of his skin, the parts where it's colored, like his cheekbones and his mouth, this new red that's darker at the scar. His eyes are grey, not blue at all, except for the ring around the iris, and they don't close, not even when Lex's lips are on his. It's barely a kiss, just a touch, and he expects it to end. It doesn't. Lex applies the lightest pressure, and Clark sighs, which opens him. His eyes stay open, too, because he can't believe this is happening, like if he stops looking, Lex will go away.
But they're not alone on a riverbank, and Whitney licks a spot under Clark's rib, making him wriggle again, while Lex's fingers tighten in his hair. Normally Clark's hyper-aware of his own strength, but it fades under Lex's. Lex can do anything if he just holds him like this. He tries to tell him, as Lex slides his tongue over Clark's bottom lip, then the top one, then inside. Lex's tongue is in his mouth, sweet-bitter from the drinks at the bar, pushing against his, and it's...
Clark has to hold onto Lex's shoulder so he won't fall, and puts the other one on Whitney's head, over hair nearly as soft as Lex's cheek. With their bones in his care, he's very gentle, has to be: impossible to forget how breakable their bones are under the skin. The layer over Lex's collarbone, exposed by his shirt's loose neck, feels too thin; he keeps his hand there for protection as much as balance.
Between slow passes of Lex's tongue, Clark wonders if Lex and Whitney are hard now, like he is. The embarrassment's still there, brighter with Whitney finding his nipple and sucking, something boys do to girls, and maybe Clark's not supposed to like it this much. His nipple is stiff as his cock, and Whitney's mouth is so wet and hot, just like Lex's.
The kiss is changing, Lex pushing deeper, then coming back to suck on Clark's tongue. It's almost too much, especially when Lex moves his other hand over Clark's right nipple, scratching it. Clark makes a sound that Lex has to feel, a moan that goes from his mouth right through Lex's body.
There's another change after that: Lex's tongue disappears from Clark's mouth, although their lips stay together, their mouths open. It takes him a few seconds to realize what Lex wants, then he cautiously slips the tip of his tongue into Lex's mouth, past those sharp white teeth, until he's traced a line down the middle of Lex's tongue. Doing this to Lex reminds him of the river, when Lex was dead before Clark breathed into him. It's like Lex is waking up all over again; he's even got that same dazed look on his face.
Clark kisses him harder, licking everywhere, tasting, and Lex moans this time, pinching Clark's nipple. Kissing Lana was candy-apple sweet, nice, but hollow somehow. There's nothing missing from this kiss with Lex, not a part of him that isn't aware and wanting. Monster-in-the-closet-scary, to want this much, more even than the desire to be a normal kid. Genie in a lamp scenario, and he'd give it up forever if Lex would just keep kissing him.
Then it's too scary, too real, and with a twist, Clark's standing with a bookcase at his back, missing Lex's mouth. "I'm...It's really hot in here."
"I know what you need." Lex touches his own mouth, which is dark red now, a little swollen.
Whitney's bangs cover his eyes, and his shirt's half-unbuttoned, untucked. He's watching Lex, one hand slowly rubbing his hip. "I know what I need. If he's not up for it--"
"Oh, he's up for it. Aren't you, Clark?"
"Try to control your enthusiasm, Kent."
Lex is already walking from the room. "Let's go, Whitney. If he wants to join in, he can. If not, he can leave." Their voices fade as they vanish down the hallway.
The jealousy's thick and dark like molasses, stuck to his lungs, inside his veins. He wants to act, wants to do anything that Lex wants, but it's just too fast. It always is, and Clark decides to leave, shrugging on his damp shirt, grabbing his jacket, then running down the stairs.
Back in September, Clark met Lex at sixty miles an hour. The out-of-control Porsche smashing through the bridge, knocking him breathless into the air, the plunge into fridge-cold water. Then the rescue, no time to think, just ripping off the car roof, carrying Lex to the shore, breathing into him. After that, Lex gives him a truck, and Clark's dad freaks, goes right into his whole "The Luthors are money-grubbing capitalists, son, out to exploit the masses" speech. The low-rent Karl Marx.
And in just a few months they've gone through more super-fast weird stuff--the X-Files on speed. Tina Greer, who shape-shifted right into Lex and robbed a bank. Poor Earl Jenkins, who went a little psycho and held them all hostage. Amy Palmer as Lex's stalker with the poltergeist brother. Bob Rickman and his meteor-handshake, who made Lex go nuclear and try to kill him.
Mulder and Scully had it easy. Everything between him and Lex has been sixty miles an hour from the start, or slow as a grandfather snail, and it's just too much. Before she died, the blind old lady Cassandra Carver talked about destiny. Which is funny, because so did Lex, the day Clark went to return the truck. And that scares him, too: destiny's a pretty big responsibility when you're sixteen. He's just had so much responsibility this year, and it's great, sure. Saving people is this awesome experience, a major buzz after a life of geekdom. It's still impersonal: he comes, he saves, and it's over until the next one. Except with Lex. With Lex, it's ongoing. The guy attracts trouble. Attracts it? He sniffs around it until trouble bites him in the butt. One day, it's going to bite too hard, and Clark won't be there. And the thing is, nothing's scarier than the idea of losing Lex.
There's a wonky logic to all this, Clark realizes, as he walks down Lex's driveway away from the house. Chloe would call it "Neanderthal-think," then roll her eyes and remind him that the simple fact of testosterone-production doesn't mean he has to act like Clark, King of the Monkeys.
"If it's easy, it's not worth doing." His dad's voice this time, and Clark's pace slows. So maybe Lex likes Whitney better now. Can't blame him, the way Clark runs like a girl every time things get sticky. Whitney might be screwed up, but he doesn't run, and that's why he's up there now, doing things to Lex that belong to Clark. No matter what, he and Lex have a history, and Lex said they have a future. If Clark goes back now, he has to stay. He has to accept Whitney and give everything he has to Lex. Kind of like a test. He has to show Lex that he can, that he's willing to go all the way.
Somewhere between funny and ironic that it takes his dad to change his direction. Seems that if you fight destiny, destiny fights back, no punches pulled. This time, as he starts back up to the mansion, the building just looks big. A really big, old house that Lex's dad brought over from Scotland then stuck him in it. All those empty rooms, and Lex, alone. Clark throws open the door too enthusiastically, and the crash rolls through the house. That starts the rush, just like he's saving someone: his brain shuts up, his body takes over, and he practically flies up the stairs.
Doesn't hear anything at first, then notices the steady thrum. Water. He follows it, down the hallway crowded with gold-framed paintings and animal-legged tables, old stuff that's so unLex it must sting. It should scare Clark again, this reminder that Lex is breakable; instead, it's favorite-blanket comforting.
The water-sound takes him into a bedroom, a huge one with a massive bed, red everywhere, like someone's been bleeding. There's a doorway at the far right, and the pause is inevitable. Because. It's a bathroom. With a shower. And they're going to be together. Lex and Whitney. Like a scene from OZ, only without the violence and the cheap soap.
Inside, the room's full of clouds blurring everything. The shower's big, with heavy glass doors that don't block his view. He can see, and a remote control would be handy. Okay, the nakedness shouldn't be a bug-in-your-salad surprise. Of course they're naked--it's a shower. They're also kissing, arms wrapped around each other. Bravery and growing up aside, this sucks in a really bad way, and hurts more than bruised ribs or bullets from an Uzi. Feels like the time Eric got his powers after the flukey lightning strike, when he tried to help his dad move the car and landed on his back in the mud.
"If it's easy, it's not worth doing."
Clark still hates seeing Lex and Whitney all over each other in the shower, as he stands there taking off his clothes, but his best friend's got his hands on Whitney's ass, his tongue in his mouth. What did Lex say about Einstein? Finding opportunity in difficulty. Here's one difficult opportunity, but if his dad, Lex and Einstein are all on the team, maybe it's time to act.
Clark's grinning as he opens the door, and yeah, some of it's embarrassment, because he's naked, and they are, and things are kind of on the upswing. "Hi," he says, which is lame. Maybe someday he'll master the threesome etiquette.
They break apart, and Clark gawks, can feel himself getting hot from steam and this super-shock of lust. With all the worry and jealousy, he hasn't had the chance to check out Lex's naked body, and it's...Wow. He might actually say this, which explains Lex's answering grin, only Lex is so beautiful it doesn't matter. Smooth all over, pale, tight and hard, dark only at his nipples and his cock. His cock. It juts out, thick and long, the head just touching Whitney's hip.
"Come here, Clark." Lex puts his arm around Whitney's shoulder and holds out his other one, and Whitney does the same.
It's not that Whitney doesn't look good wet, his hair slicked back, his eyelashes long and black. Big, too, everywhere. When Clark moves between them, Whitney's cock brushes his hip, and it's good. But he's not Lex.
It's Lex who kisses him first, while their arms go around him. The water's hot, streaming down, and Lex's tongue is like part of it, pushing into him. While Whitney's hand is on his ass, his mouth on Clark's shoulder, Clark's more aware of Lex's cock rubbing against his. Not that he minds Whitney's pressed against him, the solid feel of it, or anything that Whitney's doing. It's making him even harder, and there's no denying he'd like to feel Whitney everywhere.
But. Lex. His mouth is open so wide for Clark's tongue, his head back a little, and when he takes Clark's hand and wraps it, oh God, wraps it around his cock, Clark knows what the difference is, knows why Lex has always mattered more than anyone else. Only this is the wrong time for confessions, at least out loud, so Clark just strokes Lex's cock. With all his personal practice, it should be pretty much like jerking off, only it isn't. Lex's cock is as thick as his own, a little shorter, and when Clark's hand slides all the way down, it meets only smooth skin. The head seems really sensitive, because when Clark moves his thumb over it, Lex gasps into his mouth. Then Whitney's hand closes over Clark, and he's doing some gasping of his own. Breaking the kiss, he turns to look, and Whitney takes over.
Kissing Whitney Fordman is stranger than kissing Lex. Even though Lex is older, super-rich and a little weird, there's something natural about being with him. It's always been like that, under the worries and the wanting. They belong, in this undefinable way, and he knows this bone-deep now. Whitney's kiss is rougher than Lex's, which makes sense since Whitney's been more an enemy than a friend. While the scarecrow incident's mostly in the past, Whitney's still the guy who tied him to a cross and left him in the field. He's still the guy who had Lana Lang when Clark thought he loved her in a sex-way, not just as a really good friend.
And now Whitney's licking Clark's tongue and squeezing his dick. It's crazy that this is happening at all, and a relief, like the tension's finally changing into something dealable. Whitney moves his hand faster than Clark does to Lex, long strokes from base to head, his grip firm and so good that Clark feels he's looking through his telescope, with the water drops as constellations.
Somehow there's soap everywhere, spicy and not cheap, the rich smell of money and Lex. A hand on his head, a pull, and he's back with Lex, whose kiss is still slow, but deeper now, harder. Soapy hands stroke his shoulders, back, nipples, cock, then a finger trails behind him, splitting him, and he almost forgets about Lex's stiff cock in his hand. As a finger slides inside him, he actually cries out. Being hurt was like this, his body shocked and confused.
"It's okay," Lex says against his mouth, and the finger slows. "Just relax."
"I'm just not used to it." His voice sounds different. Deeper. Maybe it's the water.
"I'm going to make you used to it." Lex kisses him again, no tongue, this warm, sweet kiss that hits like a worn hammer or a car. "Slower," he tells Whitney. "I don't want him coming yet." Holding onto Clark's shoulder, Lex moves his finger, and Clark's knees start to shake.
"Lex. I need to sit." He lets go, has to, and stands with his eyes closed in the water.
The finger's gone, then Whitney's hand, and Clark's turned around in the water, rinsed everywhere. As the spray dies, and the shower door opens, Clark blinks, shaking his head. Whitney steps out first, then Lex, who grabs two huge towels from the counter, handing one to Whitney. They dry Clark together, even his hair, rubbing until his skin sings. His cock won't go down, and it's Lex who dries him there, on his knees, shiny with water. Lex looks like some really great toy, and Clark wants to play with him in ways he's never really thought about. His mouth's dry, and he remembers the finger, and wonders so many things at once that he has to grab onto Lex's shoulder again for balance.
Lex looks up and smiles. "Clark, I'm going to make you come so hard."
Another shock, hearing Lex say it, the dirtiness of it. Hits him so hard he leans back against the counter, resting on the ledge. "I can handle that. I think."
"It's a lot more fun than homework," Whitney says, as he tosses his towel on the floor.
The heat's making him dizzy, and nodding doesn't help. "It's pretty intense."
Whitney's already heading into the other room. "And we're just getting started," he adds over his shoulder.
"Lex," Clark says, as he takes his hand, getting to his feet, "I want to do stuff, too. Not just have it done to me."
"You know. Stuff."
"You have to tell me, Clark, so I know what you're talking about."
Looking further down to avoid Lex's eyes is a mistake. Anatomy works against him, and he ends up staring too long between Lex's legs. "Blow jobs," he finally says.
"Are you saying you want to suck my cock?"
It occurs to him that Lex is enjoying this, enjoys how he squirms and blushes. "Is that okay with you?"
"I think I can handle it."
"You're going to have to tell me what to do."
"I can show you, first."
Still holding Clark's hand, Lex leads him into the bedroom. Whitney's sprawled on the bed, one arm behind his head, leisurely stroking himself. "I was starting to wonder if this was going to be a solo deal."
"Don't get up," Lex tells him. "We're going to show Clark how to give a blow job. The first rule is to take things slow." As he climbs up beside Whitney, the sheets whisper. "Clark, get on his other side."
It's not what he's expecting. This separation, with Whitney between them. The learning should be more direct, with Lex's mouth on him. His mouth on Lex's.
"Trust me, Clark."
The sheets are slippery like Lex's wet skin as Clark moves into place beside Whitney, who crosses his arms behind his head.
"What do you think about Whitney?"
"What do you mean?"
"If you're going to fuck someone, you want to be honest about it. It's like drawing a straight line--you can't draw it or follow it until you know where it starts and where it ends."
"You can't fuck someone with ‘okay'. Go deeper."
"You want me to talk about--"
"I'm not sure about this," Whitney says.
Lex takes Whitney's cock in his hand and starts to stroke. "You can always leave. Elixir's still open, if you'd rather have the bathroom special."
"Do what he says, Clark."
"Whitney's not a bad guy."
"But what he did to me, the scarecrow thing...It sucked."
"Are you still mad?"
"Look, I said I was sorry, Kent--"
"Let him talk."
"A little mad. It made me feel like a freak, and--"
"I saw you," Whitney says. "I saw you walking Lana home the night before. My girlfriend. And she kissed you."
"On the cheek. She was being nice."
Whitney's laugh bursts out. "Nice? She has a thing for you, Kent. She's always talking about you. Did even then. She wants me to be like you."
"If she does, it's only because you shut her out. It's no excuse to tie me to a cross and leave me in a field."
"You deserved it. She was my girlfriend. You had no right--"
"Kiss him, Clark." Lex reaches for him over Whitney, jolt again of his fingers in Clark's hair as he encourages him down.
They're back in the cornfield, damp, sweet smell everywhere. Whitney's friends are holding him up, Lana's necklace melting his bones. Someone's got a flashlight and a bottle, and rum mixes with the earth and corn. They make jokes, call him names, mean stuff he should be used to after years of it. Whitney's quiet as he strips Clark to his boxers, his face like a geometry problem, his eyes narrowed and silver under the wavering light. He's rough pushing Clark against the cross, pulls the ropes too tight, and says, "That'll teach you, prick," before he walks away.
Only now, on Lex's bed, Clark's not weak with meteorite poisoning, and he pins Whitney down with a four-letter kiss. It's not about pain, but proving a point, and he makes it with his tongue. Whitney struggles, only Clark won't let go, just keeps kiss-punishing him. This goes on until Whitney moans and kisses back, which realigns everything. His anger softens, and so does the kiss, lighter, slower, although the edge never fully disappears.
lark remembers Lex only when he says, "That's it," drawing his hand from Clark's head.
Seeing Lex becomes important again, so Clark kisses down from Whitney's mouth to his neck for a better line of sight. The first bite has Whitney arching; the second one gets another moan.
"That's good, Clark," Lex says, and leans over Whitney's chest. His lips are fuller than Whitney's, his cheeks smoother, but his kiss is like drinking beer after 7-Up. Then it's over, and Lex settles back. "Do it to him everywhere like that." He moves to Whitney's nipple, rings it with his tongue until it's stiff and wet.
Clark bites the other one. He doesn't mean to, only the cornfield's still too close. No blood, but Whitney yelps and tries to sit up. Lex does something with his hand, and Whitney drops back, his hair low over his eyes. His heart's zipping along under Clark's hand, his cock thick and shiny-tipped now, purple in Lex's pale fingers. He's not suffering, so Clark bites him again, the nipple nice and hard now. The guilt comes after the fourth bite, and he licks for awhile, like Lex does on his side.
Coming would be so easy, with his cock pressed against Whitney's thigh. Too easy, and Lex would be disappointed. He's disappointed Lex before, knows the look; Lex always takes it personally, like he's the one who failed, not Clark. For someone who likes to be in control, Lex gives it up pretty easy sometimes. Maybe he doesn't know that he's got a storytelling face. Clark's always been worried about reading it wrong, only right now the message seems pretty clear. Unless it's just the situation, and Whitney, not him--
"You've got the most transparent face, Clark," Lex says. "Go lower. I'll meet you down there."
Whitney's played a lot of sports, and it shows in his body, which is packed tight, muscles everywhere. Moving down his ribs is a pornographic anatomy lesson, one Clark learns with his tongue, teeth and hands. The fantasies never got this explicit, never showed the tiny gold hairs that darken further down. Looking up to catch Whitney's reaction, Clark notices how swollen Whitney's nipples are, and he licks back up to suck one again. It feels tender and purple in his mouth, and Whitney makes a wounded sound.
"You okay?" Clark asks.
"I get any more okay, and I'll shoot all over Lex's hand."
Lex is paying attention, as always, and moves his hand lower, cupping Whitney's balls. "Tell Clark what you thought when you had him tied to the cross."
Whitney's quiet for a minute. "Only if you tell him what you thought when you saw him there."
"I told you," Lex says to Clark. "Just when you think he's another dumb jock, he gets smart." Then, to Whitney: "Fine. You've got a deal."
When Whitney starts to speak, he's slow and rushed at the same time. "I was mad when I did it. And a little drunk. We had a bottle with us, and I was feeling pretty proud of myself, I guess. For the payback. Because Clark's always been this geek, the kind mothers like, so it burned that he thought he was good enough to make time with Lana. But when he was up there...I wasn't expecting him to look like that."
"Cut. Pretty. Hurt."
"Did it turn you on?"
"You know it did, Lex. Why do I have to say it?"
"You owe him."
Clark has sunk a little, licking along Whitney's hip. He's not hiding, just trying to make sense of things. Whitney thinking all that--it's like looking under a cheesy cover and finding an interesting book. "I used to want to be you," Clark tells him, resting his chin just inside his hipbone.
"But not anymore," Whitney says.
"There's no point now. You're not that different from me."
"That's flattering, Kent." He swats him. "But I know what you mean."
It's a Kodak Moment, so Clark does what feels natural and moves his head over another inch to lick Whitney's cock. He's barely had a second to think about the texture, smooth as well-worn flannel or flash on the implications of cock-sucking, when Whitney arches.
"Jeez, Clark. Warn a guy when you're going to do that."
"Did I do it wrong?"
"Do it a few dozen times the exact same way, and I'll let you know."
"Lex," Clark says, "are you going to...You said you'd help."
"Looks like you're doing fine on your own."
Clark tries it again, only a little higher this time, the tip of his tongue against the head. Nothing scary about it at all; it's no different than licking Whitney anywhere else, except for the reaction. The power's an unexpected turn-on, and he gets bolder, grasping Whitney's cock at the base, and makes a tentative swipe in a circle around the head. Even without the sounds, he could tell Whitney likes it: his cock moves, and there's a silvery wetness. He's not quite ready to taste it, just rubs it in with a finger, and feels Whitney's thighs lock.
The mattress shifts, but Lex moves up instead of down. He's kissing Whitney, whose arms go around Lex's neck, and Clark's suddenly invisible and alone. The panic comes back, that he's done something wrong, that he shouldn't be here, that the simple truth is Lex likes Whitney better. To show Whitney, at least, that he's worth some attention, Clark takes the head in his mouth and sucks. Whitney goes rigid, then loose, a small victory, while Clark slows down to decide about the taste in his mouth: it's familiar, only different, like trying a new brand of beer.
Lex and Whitney are still kissing, so Clark goes back for more, dipping his tongue in, then tries some popsicle moves, knowing to watch his teeth from locker-room lessons in failed blowjobs. Whitney's hand is warm as he closes it over Clark's shoulder, and his legs are shaking, which seems like a good sign. Lex, though, is still ramming his tongue down Whitney's throat, completely ignoring him, and--
"Lex," Clark says, pulling off Whitney's wet cock. "It's your turn."
"My turn for what?" Lex looks down, with a telling blankness.
"You said you'd tell what you thought when you saw me on the cross."
"I felt sorry for you."
It's sharp and mean, and Clark know it's true. "Oh. Okay."
"I don't think he's finished," Whitney says, and holds Lex off. "Tell him the whole truth. Fair's fair."
"What is that? Football-player logic?"
"He's right, Lex. Fair's fair."
Lex finally moves down the bed, parallel to Clark. "Get between his legs. Then take as much of him in your mouth as you can. When you feel this surge under the skin, stop, or he'll come in your mouth."
"Listen to me, Clark. You like sucking him--I can tell--so just keep doing it."
Pushing Whitney's legs apart, Clark positions himself between them, lying flat on his stomach. Using two hands, he holds Whitney's cock and brings it to his mouth, then inside, a little at a time. Gratifying noises from above, but yeah, he's resentful. Because Lex said he'd tell, and he's not, and it's just not fair. Lex always says to trust him, and now--
Lex's mouth is at his ear. "That's it. Down as far as you can go. God, you look good like that."
Yeah, whatever, he thinks. He does like it, having Whitney stretch his mouth, the rawness of it, but Lex isn't sharing, which is wrong. Clark ignores him, getting the hang of the blowjob, which is all about relaxing. This would be easier without Lex's lips making contact with his ear, causing Whitney-level shivers, or Lex's warm fingers drawing patterns that keep moving lower.
Then Lex speaks, his voice low, so Whitney can't hear. "I was thirteen. My mother wanted to go to Spain. My father bowed out early, so she dragged me around to every church she could find." His hand's flat on Clark's spine, just above his ass. "One day she takes me to this cathedral in Palencia. Tells me that it's got something I'll like. We go into the sacristy, and there's this painting on the wall. No one else is around."
Only Whitney's hand on his head keeps Clark moving.
"It's Saint Sebastian. He's tied to a tree, naked, just this blue cloth around his waist. He's different from the other ones. Bigger, with dark hair. There's an arrow just under his heart."
Whitney's getting impatient, so Clark pulls back until only the tip's in his mouth, swollen and salty, then drifts down. The sweat's gathering under his eyes and along his spine, as he's torn between concentrations. Whitney's cock. Lex's words.
"My mother's right about the painting. The guy's beautiful in a real way. The other ones look like they've always been dead. With this one, I can see him doing the things that got him martyred. He's strong, and I can't stop looking at him."
When Clark moves out of the house in a few years, he's going to buy silk sheets. They feel like his mouth must feel to Whitney, and he can't helping rubbing against them under the weight of Lex's hand. The story's like that, too, the calm, silky way Lex speaks into his ear, sharing what sounds like a secret.
"She leaves, and I touch him on the thigh. It's just paint, but I feel this weird connection, this disconnection, too, like I'm not in the cathedral anymore. Like I'm flying."
Whitney's hips won't stay still, and Clark has to hold him down, like Lex has to hold him down.
"I don't even make it back to the hotel. I leave her in the market and find this park. Sunflowers everywhere, huge ones tall as I am, and I lie down in them. I come in seconds, so fast I have to do it again. And again. That's what I thought about for years after, every time I jerked off. Until--" Lex moves even closer, "--until I saw you, Clark."
Clark backs off Whitney's cock and turns his head. Lex's mouth is there, waiting for him, and they kiss, wide and open and wet. Still holding Whitney, he strokes him lightly, so he won't be alone, but Clark can't really think about more than Lex's tongue and what it's doing to him, Lex's story and what it means. When Lex moves away, Clark leans in and licks the scar, testing the skin, the tiny raised line. "How'd you get this?"
"Aren't you the one who told me to stop living in the past?" Lex is off the bed, fumbling around in a drawer, then tosses onto the bed a handful of rubbers, two leather straps, a white tube, and a silver pack of scented wipes like the ones Clark's mom always brings on picnics. Except that those didn't say ‘Apple-Flavored For Your Pleasure'. "First I'm going to show you a few things. Then he's going to do them to you." As Clark lets go, Lex grasps Whitney's right ankle and bends his leg until Whitney's knee is pressed against his own chest. "You don't mind a little bondage, do you?"
Whitney looks drowned, and swallows a few times before speaking. "I can't remember."
"I'll take that as a no." Lex uses one of the straps to bind Whitney's ankle to his wrist, then does the same with the left ankle, opening Whitney to them. "Too bad there's no tree."
"Lana would never do anything like this." Whitney's dreamy as he says it, as though Lana has a place in all this. Maybe she does.
"Some of the nicest girls have unexpected tastes, Whitney. Why not give it a try?"
"You don't know Lana."
"Are you sure that you do?" There's a pop as Lex flips open the tube, squeezing some clear gel into his hands. "Here," he says to Clark. "You're going to need some."
It's vaguely embarrassing, like underwear on a clothesline, and hot, too. Since Whitney could get free if he wanted, yank the silver snaps with his teeth, getting off on him is a little less pervy. The gel is cold as Lex gives him some, warming when he rubs it, like Lex is doing. Except that Lex then smears it on Whitney in perfect circles, right where the skin's pinkest.
Clark's not expecting the charge he gets as Whitney Fordman, the jock king, is penetrated. The hit of mean. He must shift, because Lex touches his shoulder.
"Everything you feel doesn't have to be worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize."
"That's not what my dad thinks."
"Clark, if sex was about virtue, Mother Teresa would've been a hooker."
"You're saying it's about being bad? I'm not very good at that."
"No. It's about feeling good, and sometimes that means going places we avoid outside the bedroom. Like here." Lex slides his finger deeper, still moving in those slow circles, while Whitney twists and moans. "It doesn't matter if you're still working through your feelings about him. He doesn't care," he says, and pulls out. "Tell Clark you want to feel his finger."
"Do it, Clark. God, I need it."
So he does, and it's easy. The skin's soft as Lex's mouth and clings to him with a hot pressure that must be like pain. "Like this?"
Lex takes Clark's wrist, turning it from side to side, and Whitney tenses. "Move your finger up a little. You'll feel this--" When Whitney whimpers, Lex gives a sharp grin. "You've found it. Touch him there, really lightly, and you'll own him."
"Does it have to be about owning? He's not a pet, Lex. Maybe I just want him to feel good."
"He does feel good. And you feel good because you've got him where you want him. There's nothing wrong with that. Not here. If it's too easy, it's not worth the effort."
"Not everything's about control."
"Not everything's about charity, either. Just admit you like seeing him like this. Say it." Lex lets go of his wrist and begins to ease his finger in beside Clark's. Sounds come from Whitney, rough ones, and his cock jerks against his stomach. "Nothing's going to happen if you do. Whitney will even get off on it, knowing what he's doing to you, how hot you're getting." He looks pointedly at Clark's cock.
"Why do you always have to push so hard?"
"It makes life more interesting. Just admit it, Clark. The sky's not going to fall."
Whitney's so many different colors now. His skin's pale against the black straps, the red sheets, and his dick's the shade of an oak leaf in the fall. Where their fingers stretch him, he's dark red, and the hair between his legs, damp from the lube, is dark as his eyelashes. His eyes are bluer than they've ever been as he stares back. "Lex is right, Clark. Tonight's different than the other times. It could never be like this with Lana."
"Because you never told her the truth. You never trusted her," Lex tells him. "Now say it, Clark. Admit you like it all."
They're waiting, and outside the wind hisses against the window. "I like it. Seeing him like this. Doing this to him. It's like..." Clark finds the spot again and teases it. "Playing football, and winning." That's Whitney, though, not Lex. With Lex, it's different, only he's not ready to admit that.
Soft brush of Lex's mouth on his cheek. "See? You didn't break the seventh seal. No Armageddon."
Then, side by side, they fuck Whitney with their fingers. Clark wants to put it another way, less dirty, but it's their fingers in and out of him, and Whitney's shuddering like his heart's going to explode. The beat's quick and ragged, contagious even, and Clark's not sure who's breathing harder.
It goes on for an infinite time, and the room's hot as summer.
Finally, Lex says, "Stop," and pulls their hands away. Using his teeth, he rips open the pack of apple wipes, passes one to Clark, and they clean the lube from their fingers. Then Lex removes Whitney's straps while Whitney stretches, flexing.
He's beautiful, and Clark touches his thigh. "You okay?"
"Great. Better than great. But, God, I need to come."
When Whitney reaches down for his cock, Lex smacks his hand. "Not yet." Moving in that boneless way, Lex goes to the top of the bed, kneeling behind Whitney's head, so that he's facing Clark. "Come here. I want you straddling Whitney's chest. Yes, like that." The position brings them near enough to kiss over Whitney. Lex reaches out, holding Clark's face, but the kiss never comes. "Whitney, take Clark's cock and put it in your mouth. Slow and sweet."
"What are you going to do, Lex?" Clark asks.
"I'm going to watch you get your first blowjob."
"Do it, Whitney. And Clark, put your arms around my neck and try to keep your eyes open."
So it's Lex he sees when his cock's surrounded by this warm, rich heat. Lex, whose palms are warm, too, as they press against his cheeks. Clark tries to say something, to tell Lex how he feels, how the sucking mouth is melting him, how his heart's stopped beating. He can't, just stares at Lex, and struggles not to faint or die or come.
"This is how you should've looked on the cross."
"I..." The tongue's wrapping around his cock, sliding, tasting. On some level, he knows it's Whitney, it has to be, but everything's fading except Lex. Lex's tongue on him, in him, so hot and wet.
"I think that Whitney should get back with Lana. They can work it out. What do you think about that, Clark?"
"Anything...Anything you want."
"I wonder if you'll look like this when Whitney fucks you. Dazed and wanting and..." He adds something else, so quietly that Clark almost misses it. "...Mine."
For the first time Lex's rhythm registers with him, that giving and taking away. Can't think about it now, not with the shaking that starts in his legs, moves from his calves to his thighs, spreading everywhere. The tongue. The mouth. The sucking. "Lex."
"Not yet." With one hand, Lex pulls Clark from Whitney's mouth, holding him tight.
Different kind of pressure, firm and dry, and Clark rocks into him. Just a few more times and--
"Lex," Whitney says from below, sounding wrecked as Clark feels, "did you major in medieval torture at school?" To Clark: "Like I said: he's all about control."
"Clark, take my place up here. Whitney, stay where you are." Lex grabs a rubber, rips open the package as he moves down the bed, while Clark changes places.
As he turns to face Lex, Whitney's head between his thighs, Clark notices a bust on a column against the far wall. Caesar, or some other dead guy who liked to be in charge. While Lex spreads the lube on his cock, then on Whitney, Clark's old green feeling comes back. "Lex, what about me?"
"Whitney will take care of you." Reaching under Whitney's legs, Lex lifts them high, until they're around his neck. He's looking at Clark while he does it, even when he rubs his cock between Whitney's legs.
When Clark lost his powers and bruised his ribs, it ached like this, every lungful of air twisting inside him. But turning away's not an option, even if it cuts. It's being on the bridge all over again, seeing Lex that first time, the speeding car. "Lex."
Still holding Whitney's thighs, Lex starts to move, slowly, as always. Deliberate. Whitney sighs and takes Clark in his mouth while Lex penetrates him. The sucking's so good, too good, makes the worst part almost forgettable. The air around him smells like cinnamon, and Whitney's moaning now, a rumble that echoes in Clark's balls. Focus on that. Let the heat burn out the cold. If only Lex would stop getting flushed and sweaty, still in control as he pushes deeper inside Whitney. Deeper. Deeper. And Whitney's lost now, cock in his fist, pumping hard until Lex, still in commander-of-the-universe mode, tells him to lay off the speed. Clark hates them both, hates how Lex won't touch him, after everything, taking Whitney instead.
Whitney goes for his cock again, and Lex says, "No."
When Whitney jerks his head, obviously annoyed, Clark pulls out so he can speak. "Come on, Lex. You might own my ass, but it's my dick. I need to come."
"Not yet. I want you hungry for Clark." Whitney's pressed right against him, then Lex leans back, almost out. The second thrust is faster, and Lex keeps the pace, fucking Whitney with this purposeful energy. He starts to shine, oiled with the sweat that runs down his chest. Through it all, he never stops staring at Clark.
Maybe his dad's right about Lex. Lex doesn't care about him. It's all a game. Whitney's mouth is on him again, a necessary distraction. If Clark can get to this place where it's all about his body, he'll be okay. Just feeling it, not seeing the truth of what's happening. His brain's all knotted, just needs to be shut off like an overheated computer, so he closes his eyes and counts to ten, like his mother always said to do when the anger builds.
One. Two. Three. Four.
"Clark, look at me."
Five. Six. Seven...
"Clark." Edginess in Lex's tone.
"Look at me now."
Ten. He keeps his eyes shut, picturing nothing, and lets Whitney swallow him, living through the feeling. Easier. Harsh groan from Whitney, who arches under him. The bed's rocking now, the headboard smacking the wall. Clark sees a field of wavy colors behind his lids. He's not here, and this isn't real.
"Open your eyes. Now. Please." Lex sounds like cinnamon.
Clark tightens his thighs around Whitney's skull, holding him in place. Lex is panting; he hears it through the haze, through the sky he's floating in. Clark's cock feels miles inside Whitney; there's a scrape of teeth, and he likes it, likes the tight clamp of Whitney's throat, protecting him.
"Goddammit, Clark. Look at me."
Whitney's gone, ridden someplace that leaves him whimpering around the dick in his mouth, shivering like he's naked in the snow. Then a long arc of quiet, and he bridges, tension everywhere that Clark feels, even blind. Animal noise around his cock as Whitney comes.
"Fuck. Clark. Look." Lex doesn't stop, still thrusting, breathing like a runner.
For Whitney, it's over. Not for Lex, and he's mean-glad about that. Clark looks only when Whitney reaches back and pushes him away. High color on Lex's face over his cheekbones, more sweat glistening under his eyes, which are still locked on Clark. His stomach and chest are splattered with come, and Whitney's limp.
Lex keeps fucking for another minute, still rough, then he jerks back, tearing off the empty rubber, which he throws to the floor. Synthetic apple scent in the air as he wipes his swollen cock. "Finish me off," he says to Whitney.
It's like Lex isn't Lex anymore. There's been a shift; it's scrawled on Lex's flushed face.
"You know, Lex," Whitney says as he gets to his feet, "this is really fucked up. I got to the point where I thought you were all right, that you weren't full of shit like your father is. But you know what? I was wrong."
"Psychoanalysis from the ex-football-player. Freud's running scared." He sits on the edge of the bed, chin in his hand, while Whitney gathers up his clothes. It looks like a pose, deliberate boredom. His cock is dark and heavy.
It's Whitney's turn to keep going. "I don't know dick about Freud, but I know one thing, Lex. You're scared. I've seen it in older guys on the field: they reach the point when one more tackle's going to break them, and they freeze. That's you. You could do me all night, but you're never going to come. Because I'm not the one you want. He is."
"Whitney--" Clark wants to stop it, because Lex looks like he did on the shore before he woke up. Cold and quiet and deadly-still. And under the hate, it matters.
"No. Somebody's got to say it. You've got Clark thinking it's his fault that nothing happened between you. The truth is, you're so scared of how you feel that you won't even fuck him. You hardly touched him all night, and if you weren't eyeing him the whole time, with your tongue hanging out, I'd think you didn't want him. The thing is, the truth that's so clear even a stupid jock can see it--"
"Whitney, shut up."
"The truth is, Lex, that you're in love with him, and you're fucking terrified."
Somewhere in the house, a generator starts to hum. Lex still sits there, ice-colored, and Clark just breathes.
"So yeah," Whitney adds, "I might be just another dumbass football player, but at least I have some balls."
"Right. Really big balls." The snap's almost audible, and Lex is on his feet, his face right in Whitney's. "You ran away from your girlfriend because you didn't want her to know you're not perfect. You got your dick sucked by every horny loser in Metropolis rather than face her. You're a real man."
Whitney's fist goes back, and Clark gets ready, then it drops. "It would be too easy to kick your ass," Whitney says. "And maybe you're right. Maybe in some fucked-up way, it was easier. But you're going to be left with your dick in the air if I tell her. Because I don't think you have the balls to tell Clark how you feel."
"That has nothing to do with you."
"That's why I'm leaving." Whitney throws on his clothes, and in a minute he's at the door. "You coming, Clark? May as well, because nothing's going to change. Lex is stuck in the same gear."
If it's easy, it's not worth doing. "No, I'm going to stay."
Whitney's about to walk out when Lex, still in the middle of the room, says, "Hold on."
Clark wonders what's going on in Lex's head. He hopes that Lex hears Einstein the way Clark hears his dad. Like a little kid, he wants to cross his fingers.
"Good luck with Lana." He says it softly, and it's real.
No one moves, and Whitney's mouth stays line-straight. Then he grins, shaking his head. His answer, though, is directed to Clark. "Okay, so maybe I was wrong about Lex. Just don't let him push you around."
"Thanks, Whitney. I hope it works out with Lana."
"Me, too. And good luck with Lex--you're going to need it." He walks out, leaving them alone.
"I can understand if you want to go, Clark," Lex says. "This probably hasn't turned out like you planned. I can go get him, or call you a cab."
"Do you want me to go?"
"What do you think?"
"You know, Lex, half the time I don't have a clue. Why don't you just tell me?"
"I think you should go."
"I think it's pretty clear."
"So I'll go."
"If that's what you want."
"Lex, if I leave, it's because you want me to. Because you don't want this. Me."
"I didn't say that."
"Why don't you say something, then? Or do something? I hate to point out the obvious, but I'm still here, pretty much naked and waiting on your bed."
"Whitney's a bad influence on you." But he takes a step closer. "What do you want me to say? Or do?"
"I think the ‘do' part's a given. I guess the ‘say' part is, too."
"Sounds like you have all the answers." Another step.
It's a familiar pattern, and Clark remembers how hard it is and holds out his hand. "Well, Whitney did say some interesting things. If he's right."
"That I'm scared? My father made sure that I was never scared of anything. One of his favorite stories is the one where Philip of Macedonia surrounded his kid with lions so he'd grow up strong. My father modeled his behavior on Philip's. No real lions, just a lot of metaphoric ones." He touches the scar on his lip. "That's how I got this. Playing one of my father's games."
"I think you're looking at this backward, Lex. Having feelings isn't about being weak; it's about being strong."
Lex is now at the edge of the bed. "You sound like your dad."
"That's not always a bad thing. My dad's an ex-football player, and sometimes they can be pretty smart."
"I've never hated football players as much as I do tonight."
Lex's hand is cool as Clark pulls him down. "I played football."
"Only once, so you're different." They're lying side by side now, noses almost touching.
"You mean because I'm kind of in love with you?"
Lex's eyes close for a second. "That's one reason."
The kiss is very soft, and Clark puts his arm around Lex's waist. He might hear the sound of a river. "What's the other one?"
"You heard the football player's speech."
"It's not the same thing."
"Just admit it, Lex. The sky's not going to fall. You won't break the seventh seal. There won't be Armageddon."
"I suppose you think that's funny."
"Actually, I do." His turn to kiss Lex, right over his scar. "Did you mean you got this in a real game?"
"Cosmic irony. Yes, my father tried to teach me football, no helmets, of course, and didn't pull any punches."
"That explains a lot."
"Don't psychoanalyze me, Clark. I've had enough for a lifetime."
"Don't try to sidetrack me, Lex. I've had enough for a lifetime, too."
"You're like a fun house mirror."
"Say it." He reaches down between Lex's legs and wraps his fingers around the soft skin of Lex's cock, which begins to harden in his hand.
"This is blackmail."
"More like a desperate measure."
"You know, Clark, if I didn't love you, I'd think you were a big pain in the ass."
He's been hit so many times lately, and this--this is like falling with someone there to catch you. Only one thing to do, and Clark starts to laugh, the loud dorky kind that should embarrass him. It doesn't.
"I declare myself, and this is what I get? Forget what I said, Clark: you *are* a big pain the ass."
"What are you going to do about it?"
"Finish what you started when you pulled me from the car."
Clark's on his back before he knows it, Lex on top of him. The kiss goes fast as the speed of light, slow as a car going off a bridge. Lex knows him with his tongue, tells him things, and Clark does it back, following contours, letting them be followed.
It's not just his mouth anymore, with Lex at his neck, his nipples, while Clark touches him everywhere, his hands sliding over the warmed ice of Lex's skin. His hipbones are tasted, his inner thighs, behind his knees, before Lex moves up and takes Clark in his mouth, right to the balls. Thunder behind clouds, except it's his blood banging against his veins, and Lex is licking and sucking, always watching, but different now, nothing held back, his hands never stopping, like he can't get enough.
Not fair that Clark's mouth is empty, and he shifts until he's full like Lex is. Makes him crazy to have Lex on his tongue. No, not just crazy, but hungry and frenzied and cinnamon-desperate, and he sucks and licks and nuzzles until Lex's hand goes to his head.
"Clark. God. I'm going to--"
Clark stops long enough to say, "I don't care," but Lex is still Lex, and he wriggles away like a cat. Hands on Clark's hips, which he doesn't fight, and he's kneeling now, snap of the lube container, while Lex...His tongue...Inside. He hears himself, only it's not him making those sounds; they're too broken and needy, except that another circle sets him off again. His face is buried in the pillow, breathing Lex, while he's spread wide and, God, explored with Lex's tongue.
Impossible to stop it, with his knees jello-wobbly and his spine melted; he's not even on his hands and knees anymore, crouching now, and, "Lex. You have to stop. I think this is against the law." He feels the laugh, followed by more circles, a finger pushed somewhere up near his heart, and forgets why this can't go on forever.
Until Lex touches his cock, closes his hand tight around it, while the other one's still tracing paths inside him. Then the reality of too-good registers, the fact that he's going to crack in a thousand pieces, just like the meteor rock that started this, and Clark breaks away, hating the short time between Lex inside him and, yes, his tongue inside Lex. From the front, though, not the back, so he can look up and see Lex's reaction.
No worries about doing it right, as Lex moans and goes from tense to thawed at every contact. Clark finds the lube and tries a finger next, pressing the tip, watching it slide in. Lex is even smoother here, no friction, just this heat that loves anything he puts into it. And he gets an idea, because if Lex is this easy with a finger, with two fingers, how would he be with something bigger and harder? Full, and not alone. "Lex. I want to keep going."
"I'm not going to stop you."
"No. I mean, I want more than my fingers in you."
"I know what you mean." Lex smiles, and he looks like a kid, puppy-happy. Clark's hands are shaking so hard that Lex has to help him with the rubber, then slick on the lube. "It's going to be okay, Clark. The sky's--"
"--not going to fall." Which makes it all right, better than all right, as Lex lies back, his thighs wide open, his body like this incredible highway that Clark's going to ride. He positions himself, accepts Lex's legs around his waist, and starts. Pressure, heat, and he's worried now about hurting Lex. "Are you okay? I can slow down."
"Slow down, and I'll have to hit you with my car again."
Another laugh, and Clark wonders why he thought sex would be dark and serious, not like this, not like Christmas and summer and saving people all looped together. Lex's eyes are so bright right now, and he's grinning, like Clark's the one giving him this amazing present. "Lex," he says, pushing again, and loses track of everything when the head of his cock fits in. "Shouldn't this be more complicated?"
"The consummation after months of some really weird foreplay between the playboy and the farmer's kid?"
"Don't make me laugh."
"Why not?" It's Lex, but not Lex, like who he might be if he'd had a different life. Happy.
"I don't know if I mentioned this before," Clark tells him, as he goes the extra mile, "but I'm sort of totally in love with you." He keeps his eyes open, because Lex likes it, only it's hard to when they're joined like this. "Have been since the beginning."
Afterward, when they're tangled together, sleepy and warm, his head on Lex's chest, Clark realizes that this is the moment when destiny clicks, and Lex loses it. At the time, all he knows is that Lex is kissing him, writhing under him, while he thrusts in this rhythm that's like speeding down a highway at sixty miles an hour.
Only this time, nobody dies.