Learning To Breathe - Part II


When they're up the four flights of stairs and Clark's pushing his key into the lock, Lex murmurs under his breath. "No cleaning."

"Why?" Clark asks, holding the door an inch open and not a millimetre more.

Lex gives him a clear-eyed, serious look. "Because I want everything."

Clark pushes the door open and hopes for the best. It's not actually too bad inside, because he knew he'd be leaving for the day, so he'd tidied up and taken out the trash. There are a few dishes in the sink, and he really has to find the time to vacuum, but other than that it's okay. He lets Lex in and locks the three door locks behind them, noting the raised eyebrow it gets him. "It's Clark Kent's apartment," he explains.

"Mm."

Clark follows his usual routine, dropping his keys on the table and lifting the window open, bracing it with an empty mason jar. The smell of rain swirls into the apartment, and Clark belatedly considers the effect. "Tell me if it gets too cold," he says, turning to find Lex.

He's standing beside Clark's couch, looking over the little TV and the mountain of research books on the coffee table. His coat is slung over the arm of the couch, pooling like some terribly expensive oil on the seat. He's undoing his cuff links, putting them in his pocket. "I don't think the temperature will be a problem," he says softly, that same quiet voice he used at the bathhouse.

Instantly, Clark's skin is just as hot as it was then, surrounded by steam. He walks up and tries to touch, but Lex pushes his hands away. "Take your new clothes off first," he instructs, not unkind. "I didn't buy them so you could ruin them."

Clark obeys without thinking. It's good advice. Jacket first, then cuff links, following Lex's lead.

Lex peels out of his shirt, takes off the t-shirt underneath. It's mesmerizing to watch him perform these simple tasks; Clark thinks of French kings who would have valets to help them with all the trappings and extras, to take away the cuff links and watch to be cleaned and polished. Lex puts his watch in his pocket, lays his belt on top of his clothes, leaves his shoes and socks neatly together at the foot of the couch. His feet are smooth and pale, his naked feet on Clark's ugly, threadbare carpet. When he's done with that, he steps close to Clark and starts to take off his watch, and Clark is horrified for a moment that his little fantasy about the valets has been so wrongly turned around. But Lex is firm, won't let him take his hand back, and for the moment it seems that if Lex wants it then it must be. Clark presses his lips together and meekly holds still as Lex fights with the strap.

"There's a trick to it," Clark winces, the trick being that he welded the clasp together after Metallo broke it a month ago, and you have to move it up to get the leather off the prong. The strap tears under Lex's fingers, and Clark winces again, because it's just old. He's been meaning to replace it for about a year now.

Lex puts the pieces down on the table. "Your father's?" he guesses.

"Got it at a thrift store," Clark says. "I just never bothered."

"Mm." Lex turns back to him and starts undoing buttons. "Get your shoes."

Clark toes off his loafers obediently, but it's not easy because Lex is being distracting, smoothing his hands over Clark's chest and pulling at his shirt. This is a little too close to his own head, here in his narrow apartment with his old couch from the barn loft. It's too soft, how Lex hooks his thumbs into the corners of the shirt and pushes it down off Clark's shoulders. This should be rougher, he should be giving orders, and it should be mind-meltingly hot. Instead there's an obscure pain somewhere under Clark's heart.

The fastest way to stop that, he knows, is to make Lex aware of it. Lex Luthor does not do real emotions. Clark lifts his hand and draws his thumb along one pale, smooth cheekbone, cups the back of Lex's head and leans in. He knows he'll be stopped. Emotion happens on Lex's timetable, and when he doesn't want to deal with it, he -

Kisses back.

Lex is soft and willing under his mouth; his hand comes up to curl in Clark's hair, he steps close, he's warm and good and his skin is -

Clark pulls away, his eyes wide. "Lex," he breathes, his heart thumping hard. "What are you doing?"

"It's my day," Lex says, insists, the icy blue of his eyes carving into Clark's composure.

He's so close, and Clark can't make himself move away. For the first time, he lets himself trace the back of Lex's head with delicate fingers, touch like it's meant to be touched. Lex allows it, and it blows Clark's mind that somehow, by some miracle, he's allowed. "Give me something," he whispers. "Tell me what to do to you."

Lex breathes deep, shifts under his hands. "Do you need that?"

"No," Clark admits, wanting another kiss, wanting so many things just like he's always wanted them. "Yes."

"Well, which is it, Clark?" Lex asks softly, and Clark hates that he knows that Lex gets quieter when he's turned on. He can't unknow that, now.

"I want things," he tries to explain. "But I'm not sure I should... take them."

Lex smiles, that bittersweet thing he's been doing all day. Clark could be happy if he just never saw that smile again. "It's my day," Lex repeats. "And in my day, we don't worry about what we should do. We take what we want, and we deal with what happens after, because it might be the only chance we ever have." Lex brushes a careful kiss across his lips, and then another. "So go on, Clark. Take me to bed... or let me go."

Clark doesn't need a minute. He doesn't need to think, and he doesn't second-guess. He wraps his arm around Lex's back and sinks into a deep, serious kiss that should by all rights have been impossible after their first two years knowing one another. It's like water in the desert; as soon as he's decided to take that first kiss, the thought of not taking another is unbearable. They walk together toward the bedroom, knocking things over and stumbling like drunks, wrapped up together.

Clark's choking on the words. He can feel them stuck in his throat, and he vows not to say them. He can show it, he can put it all into his hands and his mouth, but he won't give Lex that burden to carry home. It's only supposed to be one day.

Lex grips his hair, takes his mouth like a savage. He lets himself be led through the door, over to the bed, hands shoving up under Clark's t-shirt and raking over skin. There's no difficulty at all in lifting him off his feet, laying them both down on the soft old mattress, and this time Lex even allows it. Clark looks down at that familiar face against his own pillows - high points of color on his cheeks, stung red lips, the ravenous lustful curve to them that's for Clark, finally, for Clark - and takes a second to fail utterly at dealing.

"What?" Lex demands, tugging at Clark's t-shirt. "It's a little bit late for second thoughts."

Clark ducks his head so he can pull the shirt off, and the bend to his body makes his hips press down. Both of them shiver; Clark can hear the light rush of Lex's breath like it's amplified, shaking the walls. "I'm not," he explains. "Thinking."

"Good," says Lex, and rakes his perfect, elegant nails up the length of Clark's back. It's soft, it kind of tickles, and Clark feels the pull of his skin and knows anybody else would be bleeding right now.

He bends his head and presses his mouth to the soft skin under Lex's ear. "Go ahead," he murmurs, kissing his way down. "Try again."

Lex makes some impossible sound, some moan or breath that Lex Luthor would never make, and lifts one knee so his hips cradle Clark's. His fingers carve heavy against Clark's back, leaving faint, blushing rows in their wake. He sinks the blade of his teeth into Clark's shoulder, too, and Clark couldn't say how hard the bite is, but he can feel heat bleeding into him. He kisses lower, along Lex's collarbone, and indulges himself with the idea that nobody else could do this with Lex and come away unscarred.

"Do it," Lex urges, and he does some twisting thing with his hips that leaves Clark breathless for a long second. "I've waited long enough."

Clark lifts his head, feeling the blush climb his cheeks. "Okay, okay. I just need, um. I don't have any of the..."

Lex digs in the pocket of his pants and presses a flat, clear container into Clark's hand. "God, you are deeply repressed," he says, biting down on Clark's shoulder again.

"What? Why?" Clark drags himself off Lex's body and starts unbuttoning his suit pants. The red Metropolis twilight fills the room; in minutes it'll be gone, dark, but right now Lex's body is painted in it. He looks like a last temptation, the bribe that'll make you sign away your soul. Clark's fingers fumble and he drops the lubricant.

Lex raises an eyebrow as Clark searches it out, rubbing a lazy hand over his stomach. "You're lying in bed with a male of the species asking me why you're repressed for not having lube."

"That's different," Clark mutters, sliding his fingers under Lex's thigh, sure he saw the tube go that way. "You're... Lex."

In a long, languid movement, Lex raises his arms over his head and stretches his back. Clark stares, knowing he's never coming into this room again without seeing that on instant replay. "Can't fuck in pants," Lex smiles, with a suggestive glance down.

Clark drops the container on Lex's stomach and frowns. "Do you have to call it that?" he asks, fingers searching out the button at Lex's waist. "It seems so..."

"Improper?" Lex guesses, laughing, his teeth glinting red as he rests his head against the pillow.

Clark presses his lips together as he draws the zipper down. "Disrespectful."

"You trying to tell me you'll respect me in the morning?" Lex asks, lifting up onto his elbows.

Clark meets his eyes, endures the piercing cynicism without any kind of uncertainty. "Yes," he says firmly, and leans forward. He doesn't look away, even when Lex starts to scowl; he just moves in and kisses him, quick and serious. "I always have."

With a fierce growl, Lex slaps a hand against the back of Clark's neck and rolls them over, presses Clark's body down into his cheap, lumpy mattress. The glow fades from the room, and Lex shoves a hand into Clark's open fly, finding his cock with rough fingers. The first touch of those hands, the first time his deft, competent fingers have held Clark like this, and it's everything Clark thought it would be. He can't hold onto his breath; his vision goes a little dark around the edges as Lex starts to strip him hard. It's unbearable, and Clark closes his eyes fast on the heat instantly raging behind them.

"Don't," Lex snaps, and Clark can feel his face right there, looking down, close enough to share breath. "You don't get to pull your martyred bullshit with me on my time. This is my turn, Clark. Today you give me what I want, when I want it, and you don't get to hold back. You don't get to pretend."

Clark's whole body is fitted to this. Lex's hand twists and squeezes, getting exactly what he wants, and there's no way Clark could stop this or try to think through it. "Okay," he pants, making fists in his blanket and squeezing as he tries to keep his hips down, controlled. "Lex, please. I'm..."

"What?" he demands, and licks a warm strip along Clark's jaw. "Gonna come? Don't you dare."

"I'm sorry," Clark gasps, his hips starting to buck against his will. "Please, Lex - I'm sorry - please - don't..."

Just like that, Lex buries his hand in Clark's pants and squeezes the base of his cock, firm and strong. It's unbearable for a second, and then the rising tide breaks and starts to settle back down, and Lex's hand is a welcome relief.

Clark gulps in air, keeping his eyes closed tight. "Thank - thank you. I won't - do it again. I promise. Oh, Lex."

"See that you don't," Lex murmurs, kissing softly along Clark's neck.

Carefully, Clark tries opening his eyes. When the ceiling does not explode into fire, he looks at Lex with the exact same amount of caution. "Sorry," he says, feeling lame and awkward.

Lex smiles at him fondly. "Stop that. You look fifteen. The time for pederasty is long gone."

"Don't be gross," Clark says, pressing a kiss to Lex's cheek. It's a calculated risk.

"That's nice," Lex tells him, voice like honey. He lets go of Clark's cock and rubs his palm along the length, slow and sinful. "You can do that again, if you want."

Clark shivers and kisses him again, and in an act of supreme cunning and bravery he brushes his fingertips down Lex's stomach, searching out the soft elastic under his fly. When he feels Lex tense up, he presses his mouth to a likely spot under Lex's jaw and kisses. "Can I?" he asks, as polite as he can.

"Take them off first," Lex decides, putting the barest hint of nails into his own hand's ministrations.

It's incredibly distracting, but Clark manages to hook his thumbs into Lex's remaining clothing and push and shove at them until the two of them have to break apart to finish the job. Clark winds up kneeling over Lex on the bed and takes another risk, leans in to kiss at the curve of his hip. "Let me," he says, blush staining his cheeks.

Lex's hand in his hair is starting to feel familiar, almost comforting. "Not for long," he says. "You're too good already."

Clark wastes no time, bathes Lex with his tongue and then pulls him inside, suckling at his taste. Because he's not trying to get Lex off, he feels a little freer about doing what he wants to. Lex didn't say he couldn't use his hands this time, so he runs his palms over the terribly soft and fragile skin at Lex's hip, waist and thigh.

"A million," Lex mumbles softly, his hands carding through Clark's hair, gathering it to curl around his fingers. "Just one picture."

Clark pulls up, grinning. "No pictures, you pervert."

"It's not perversion," Lex counters, tightening his hands, his eyes showing only a sliver of blue iris in all the black. "It's art." Clark blushes and looks away, fighting the urge to wave away the compliment. Lex wouldn't like it, he knows. Those hands relax on his hair, and Lex brushes a thumb over his temple. "While you're down there..."

Clark looks up at him. What could he possibly want that Clark isn't already in the middle of?

His eyes are hooded, full of secrets. "You have that lube I gave you?"

With a nod, Clark lifts it up, shows it to him. Is it that time? he wonders. He's never done this before, but it's not like he can be hurt by it. What little reading he did before turning up at the penthouse this morning showed that people need time and careful handling to avoid pain, but he didn't bother to read beyond that. He was sure Lex would know how to deal with it. He's actually kind of curious to try it, and goes so far as to tuck a thumb into his waistband and push.

"You're going to use it now," Lex says, and Clark is completely blindsided when Lex widens his knees just a little - just enough to make his point.

Clark blinks at him, terrified. "You mean you want me to..."

Lex just looks at him, steady, solid. He doesn't bother to explain, and Clark knows he's not going to.

"Lex, I don't..." He struggles for words, uncertain and afraid. "I don't want to hurt you." Worst thing in the world. Worse than any other feeling he's ever had.

"You won't," Lex says, and closes his eyes as he leans back on the pillow. "I'll tell you what to do, when to do it. Just don't get creative," he adds, a sly but genuine smile tugging at his mouth.

Clark blinks at him for another long second, disbelieving. He lifts up and lies alongside Lex, looks over his eyes and the mark on his lip, the familiar angles of his face. Lex looks away, says nothing. It's a kind of permission, and Clark takes it.

"How long has it been?" Clark finally asks, as soft as he can. He rests his hand on Lex's chest, traces the lines and valleys there.

Lex's mouth curls hard, then, that irony-and-cynicism smile that Clark wishes he could wipe away. "Since I let anybody give it to me? Years."

Clark ignores the bitterness of those words and tries to take the meaning. He leans down and kisses a bare patch of skin, licks his way over a pale pink nipple, just to get the taste out of his mouth. When Lex puts a hand in his hair and starts breathing audibly again, Clark bites at him gently, so gently. "Why me?" he asks, so quiet that Lex could pretend not to hear it, if he wanted. If he needed to.

Such a long moment passes that Clark thinks he won't answer. But then, on a soft exhale, he does. "I want you to remember," he breathes. "When you sleep here. When you're with someone else. When you fuck your own hand, when... you've been out saving kittens, or... fighting with me. I want to know you go home. Here. That you see me, like this." He runs his hands over Clark's back, and when Clark looks up at him, he lifts up for a deep, twisting kiss. Clark can taste the need on his lips, the way he bites and pushes.

He does his best to give whatever it is that Lex wants. It seems to only make him more demanding, and Clark can't really be surprised. He pushes softly, to see if Lex will lean back against the pillows. When it works, he gropes blindly for the little container and crushes it in his fingers so he won't have to pull away long enough to look. It leaks all over his hand, and he quickly slicks his cock before pushing his hand between Lex's legs. "You have to open," he whispers against that mouth.

Lex draws a knee up and they arrange themselves comfortably. "Did you just destroy that bottle?" Lex whispers.

Clark makes his fingers as gentle as rain, rubbing and pressing as best he can. "Yeah," he says, biting his lip to concentrate.

"That is so fucking hot," Lex says, and flicks his tongue against Clark's teeth.

Clark pulls his face away. "Stop that. You're supposed to be telling me what to do."

"You're doing fine," Lex growls, and lifts up to kiss Clark's mouth again.

Giving in, Clark kisses him back down to the pillows and rubs circles into Lex's skin. He can be patient, Clark reminds himself. Even if Lex is lifting into his hand, pulling at his hair, even if Lex doesn't seem to give a damn what happens so long as he gets what he wants, Clark's not willing to risk hurting him.

Finally, Lex breaks away, panting against Clark's mouth. "Inside," he demands, punctuating the word with his teeth. "Do it."

Clark swallows heavily, and presses a finger into him.

"Remember this," Lex hisses, overwhelming. "I want you to remember who belongs here."

Clark knows the answer to that. He works Lex open with his fingers, kisses his mouth and sighs. "You."

"Good," Lex says, arching up, turning his face away. "That's good."

The room is too hot and every word Lex says just makes it hotter. Clark wants to suck him again, but he'd have to leave behind the chance to kiss him, to press his nose behind the curve of Lex's ear and breathe in. "I love the way you smell," he murmurs, not thinking.

Lex turns toward him and kisses him hard, punishing. He's not hurting anybody but himself, but Clark imagines he knows that. "Quit stalling," Lex tells him, sharp and defensive, though his very next words are gentle. "Are you nervous?"

"A little," Clark lies.

Lex presses his hands to Clark's face, runs them around his back. "Don't be. I'll help you." He presses a kiss to Clark's mouth, something softer, and that's what Clark wanted. He drinks up that kiss, drowns in the sweetness of it. Lex wanting to help... it's been too long.

They arrange themselves again; Lex hooks his knee over Clark's hip and guides him where he needs to go. "You're big," Lex warns, "so go slow. I'll tell you if you need to slow down or speed up, and you'd fucking better listen."

"I will," Clark promises, pressing a kiss to his shoulder. "Don't worry."

Lex grins, and sharp though this one is, it's full of pure satisfaction. "I'm not worried."

Clark breathes deeply, deliberately. "Makes one of us."

"Don't think," Lex instructs, shifting underneath him. He holds Clark's dick in his hand, draws him down and fits them together. "Just do it," he says, kissing Clark's mouth.

It's impossible. That's his first thought, as he pushes his hips forward: it is impossible that this should be so perfect, should feel so unbelievably good, and nobody is on red kryptonite or controlled by a monster or a time lord. Lex's body is an inferno, too good to be good, and Clark can't focus on anything except sinking deeper.

"Slow down," Lex growls, interrupting Clark's blinding bliss.

"Sorry, sorry." Clark halts his hips and buries his face in Lex's neck so he can catch the smell of him again, cool and hot.

Lex is sprawled elegantly across the bed, an arm draped over Clark's neck. "Don't stop," he says softly, deeply. "Just... slower."

Bit by bit, Clark moves again, and when his hips are snug against Lex's and he's buried deep, he suddenly shivers all the way down. "God. Lex."

The hand in Clark's hair tightens hard with the motion. "Move," he instructs, and Clark feels the thump of Lex's cock against his stomach. "Now."

Carefully, as gently as he can, Clark starts to stroke in and out. Lex clutches at him, at his shoulders and cock, and Clark lifts up to watch his face as he closes himself away. Clark's seen it happen enough to know it: eyes closed, teeth gritted together, Lex breathes harshly and fights away anything except the pleasure he's chasing. He tries to kiss Lex's mouth, but he turns his face away just enough that Clark can only reach his cheek, the edge of his jaw.

It's fucking maddening. Clark's been in this too many times with him, been shut out and pushed away just two seconds shy of really meaning something, and he's reacting before his mind catches up. He pushes hard with his hips, in, in, grinding carefully against the soft flesh. Lex gasps and claws at him, which is satisfying, but not near enough.

Clark catches one of his wrists and holds it down by his head.

Lex's eyes fly open and lock with him, instantly. "Let go," he demands, not even bothering to move his hand.

Slowly - slow enough to make his point - Clark releases his wrist. The sparks that fly between their eyes are hot, dangerous, but Clark refuses to look away. He holds on; he presses his hips up, hard, harder.

Lex lifts his other hand over his head and holds it there, and this time he doesn't look away.

Instantly, Clark's fighting back the words again. They're choking him. He wants to write them into Lex's skin, but he doesn't dare, because there's nothing that would make Lex put a stop to this faster, and Clark couldn't bear that yet. This might not be everything he could want, but it's enough. It'll have to be enough.

He watches Lex's face as he starts to move again. He takes in every detail, memorizes how this looks, how it feels. He can't remember ever having seen Lex this open: chin up, head on, unflinching. Of course, it's totally different from anybody else. People are supposed to look loving or happy or fierce, doing this; only Lex could be this intense. Clark realizes that he's made this with his hands, his mouth, and feels incomparably humbled like the first person he ever saved. Clark feels the air between them, humid and hot, pressing down; he has to say something.

"I want to hear you," is what comes out of his mouth. Clark's a little surprised to hear his own voice; it's shaking and wrecked, scratched up with need.

Lex watches him for long seconds, his body speaking for him. He's so hard, wet against Clark's belly, trying to hide the shiver that runs along his body. His whole chest is flushed pink and pale, right down his belly; it's gorgeous. He should be painted, like the rounded limbs of saints and icons. Finally he bites his lip and almost closes his eyes - not quite. "Clark," he whispers.

It's the hottest word Clark has ever heard, his own name on Lex's perfect lips.

"God," Clark says, shuddering, and can't stop himself from pushing a little harder, a little stronger. "You're so. So good, Lex." He can't stop himself from leaning down, gathering a kiss off that mouth.

"Harder," Lex murmurs into his mouth, and cups the back of his neck.

Clark's helpless against a request like that, lets a little bit more control slip loose. His heart feels battered and bruised, pounding desperately in his chest, and he kisses Lex again while he still can get it, while it's still so full of meaning. Lex gives up kisses like spun sugar; Clark only has them for a second and then they're melted away in hot breath and soft focus.

"Lex," he hears himself say, lost in the body below him. "I wanna tell you."

Those vague blue eyes sharpen up for that, a little wild around the edges. He doesn't say anything, though, and Clark supposes that's because he's genetically programmed to stop this kind of confession before it starts.

"Don't worry," he says, kissing Lex's mouth. "I won't."

Lex wraps his arms around Clark's shoulders and kisses him hard. Clark feels the faintest hint of a groan edge from Lex's throat, and he knows it's time. They have the rest of the night; surely they can get one more. This can't be all. He reaches between them and finds Lex's dick with his fingers, slips in the wetness there and feels his own cock leap at the knowledge that he made that, that it's for him. "I want you to come," he says, only blushing a little. He starts to move his hand in time with his body, making that work as well as he can through the sensation crowding at him, wringing him out. "Lex, please. I need you."

"Say it again," Lex whispers, kissing the corner of his mouth.

Clark presses against him, fucks him harder, can't hold back. "I need you," he groans, meaning every word he says. "Please, please, I need to feel you, please..."

"Oh, God, Clark."

The force of it shakes them both. Clark loses himself in it, knowing only the heat on his fingers and the sound of Lex's breath in his ear, the press of fingers in his back. For long, long minutes, that's all that matters.

After that, there's nothing.

Nothing, that is, until Lex's soft voice creeps in at the edges. "Clark. Clark. Wake up."

"Mm?" Clark pries an eye open and discovers that he's wrapped around a pillow and there's a soft light in the room.

Lex is crouched beside the bed, and Clark can see that although he's wearing his shirt, it's still unbuttoned. "It's six a.m."

"What?!" Clark sits bolt upright in bed, remembering too late that he's still completely nude. He blushes but he doesn't bother to cover up - barn door after the horse and all.

Lex stands. He's borrowed a pair of Clark's sweatpants, and his shirt is hanging off his shoulders. "Six. In the morning. We slept in."

"But we still have two hours," Clark insists, reaching for him, catching the edge of the shirt. "Right?"

"Yeah," Lex confirms. "Two hours. So get your ass out of bed and hit the showers. But first, go make coffee. I can't figure out your machine."

"It's a Mr. Coffee," Clark objects, peering up at Lex like he might have forgotten he's a master genius scientist type.

Lex scowls. "There's no unit of measure. You might as well just dump half the can in a filter."

"It's just a half a bag," Clark says, standing up and grabbing a pair of jeans off the back of the door.

"...Coffee comes in bags?"

Clark rolls his eyes and goes out into the kitchen. Lex spends the intervening time examining Clark's CD collection and making disapproving noises, which Clark supposes he's entitled to. He delivers a mug of steaming black caffeine to Lex's hand and warns him for how scalding it's going to be, downs his own cup and pads into the bathroom. He speeds through the shower because he doesn't want to waste a second. When he gets out, Lex is scowling at a VHS copy of Wayne's World.

"Don't start," Clark smiles, towelling his hair dry.

Lex raises his hands. "I didn't say anything."

"Superhearing," Clark reminds him. "Not that I'd need it to hear you think that loud."

Lex raises an eyebrow in a display of pure fooling around, and Clark can't resist walking over and laying a warm kiss on his lips that turns a little savage after a minute.

"I want to go back to the penthouse," Lex murmurs, his hands tucked into the back of Clark's towel. "I could drive us there, but it'd take a little time..."

Clark bares his teeth, grazes them across Lex's ear. "Are you asking me to fly?"

"If you can go fast," Lex demands, his fingers sneaking further underneath the towel. "I'm not going to be caught on the afternoon edition flying around with Captain Spandex."

"They'll never see us," Clark tells him, backing him carefully up toward the wall. "You wanna get dressed first, or..."

Lex shoves at his shoulders. "If I'm worried about being seen in public with you, I'm definitely not going skinny sky diving. Back off, wunderkind. And put a shirt on."

Clothes are a blur, and Clark spends a very pleasurable ten minutes broadcasting that he's ready and watching the process of Lex getting ready. He spins the heavy gold watch around one finger until Lex casually explains that it's worth forty thousand dollars. Despite a certain puritan Kent revulsion at that kind of excess, Clark holds it far more carefully.

When they're ready, they climb out on the fire escape and Clark takes Lex in his arms. It's always nicer to fly with someone close to you, someone who doesn't mind hugging, and while Lex is a little stiff at first because of his heights thing, once Clark's zipped them up to cruising altitude he relaxes a little. It's a short flight to the penthouse, really, especially when you're going fast enough to blur. Clark touches down on the terrace and it occurs to him that, since Lex is here and in a good mood and everything, he might just be able to get a straight answer on a question that's been nagging him for a while. "Lex?"

Lex steps away uncertainly, but after a minute he's gained his footing. He doesn't even look all that green. "What?"

"Did you build this terrace just so I'd have someplace to go if I needed to talk to you? It wasn't here before you took over Luthorcorp."

"Partly," Lex says, walking over to brace his hands on the half-wall as he looks out on the city. "I always meant to put kryptonite missiles or something in it, but I never get around to it. You don't have any idea how hard it really is to get that kind of ordinance up here."

"Hilarious," Clark scowls.

"I wasn't kidding," Lex tells him, perfectly serious. But then he turns around and smiles, blindingly brilliant. "Except for the kryptonite part."

Clark scowls harder, just to make the point, and moves up behind him to look out at the city. The urge is there, and he gets to indulge, so he presses his hips up against Lex's body just a little bit and sighs. The crook of his neck smells warm, like home; Clark buries his face there and sighs again.

"What?" Lex asks gently.

"Just thinking," Clark says. "We'll have to give this up soon."

Lex is perfectly unchanged - no sudden tension, no comforting hand. "I know."

Clark presses a little closer to him, dares a swift kiss to the tender skin. "Think we could make the most of it?"

"Mm. There have been a few things I've wanted to do to you in my office."

"Like what?" Clark asks, pretty sure he'll like whatever answer comes.

As the clock ticks down, Lex shows him. Though there's plenty that makes Clark's blood boil, it's the kissing that sticks in his memory - Clark tries to savor them, but Lex is rapacious, allowing no quarter. Every time Clark thinks, okay, this is where I finally get to just kiss him, show him, that's the moment Lex picks to run his tongue somewhere that whites out Clark's mind. It's distracting, and by the time the clock shows their last minutes ticking down, Clark's getting a little desperate.

"Listen," he says, lying on the gray carpet, the fibers creasing his naked skin. "Can I just... I know it's your day, but..."

Lex turns his head on Clark's arm. Scraps of shirt fall off his chest, hanging by threads from his collar. "Is it fast?" he asks, his voice scratchy and quiet. "There's only... uh. I think my watch is under the table."

"Four minutes," Clark supplies. There's no lead in the walls here - Lex evidently feels he doesn't need it - and from this height he can see the clock at city hall. "It won't take much time, I promise."

Lex looks up at the ceiling, a lazy smile on his face. "Well, I don't know, Clark. My last four minutes, I mean... that's a valuable commodity. I think we'll have to discuss the ramifi-"

The flood of words dies under Clark's mouth. He can feel Lex try to turn it again - a hand in his hair, the swipe of a clever tongue - but Clark refuses to be baited. As softly as he can, he holds Lex against the floor and licks the length of that old scar, pours his heart against the curve of his lips and the ridge of teeth inside. He's not trying to be sexy, as hot as the last day has been - he's pretty sure he wouldn't know how to be sexy if his life depended on it. But he does try to be honest, and to Lex, Clark thinks that might mean kind of the same thing.

When he pulls away, Lex's eyes are clouded and dangerous, a rocky reef in a turbulent sea.

"I could call the JLA," he murmurs, tracing a fingertip along the warm curve of Lex's palm.

Lex rubs a thumb along Clark's palm, tentative, even though the set of his jaw is almost angry. "I suppose Mercy could handle things for another... hour. Or two."

"Or three," Clark says, careful to wear his most serious face.

Lex's hand tightens in his hair. "Or month," he growls, and pulls Clark down again.

In perfect unison, the desk phone and Clark's JLA communicator go off. The hypersonic chirp and the insistent executive ring stop their mouths just a breath away from one another, and they both groan in the morning light.

"I better get that," Clark says. "Earth in peril."

"Contingency protocols," Lex murmurs back. "If I don't answer, Mercy'll burst in with a gun."

Clark sighs, and rolls away. They answer their respective emergencies, deal with their clothes the best they can, and when Clark's finally able to hang up, Lex is standing beside his desk, waiting.

"So," Lex says, crossing his arms over the crisp new shirt. "How do you want it?"

Clark blinks, wide-eyed.

"The money," Lex clarifies, with an irony-filled lift of his eyebrow. "For the farm?"

"Oh," Clark says, pink prickling under his cheeks. "Uh. A check's fine. Just mail it to the house."

"Which house?" Lex asks, smooth and slick and all wrong. "I'm pretty sure Martha would open a Luthorcorp envelope, even if it had your name on it."

Clark's blush turns angry, redder. "The apartment, then. You know where it is."

"About that, your neighborhood - a lot of carjackings around there, right? Should I bother to send someone for the car, or should I just accept it as a lost cause?"

Clark heads for the terrace doors. "Send someone," he growls through gritted teeth. "I have to go."

Lex waves a magnanimous hand. "Right, Earth in peril. Good luck with that."

The rush of cool air from outside is a balm to his burning skin. Clark flies fast enough that the wind screams, blots out all sound, and stays in the air for hours.

Someone eventually comes to get Lex's Ferrari and drop off the things Clark left at the penthouse. Clark stands on the air a few feet over him, arms crossed over his S-shield, and takes a tremendous amount of satisfaction - okay, petty satisfaction, but still - out of making the guy prove that he isn't a carjacker. Anybody could have a set of keys pressed.

The week goes by as weeks in Metropolis do. Supervillains, corporate espionage, Lois demanding more and better coffee. Clark moves through it by the numbers; his mind's on his job (jobs) but his heart's back at home with junk food and daytime TV. He doesn't want to miss Lex, because he knew he would - Clark's perverse like that. But nothing good can come of it. It's complicated and twisted up and it never gets any better, he knows all that. By the time it rolls around to the weekend again, he's almost got himself convinced that it was good to take the chance, good to get it out of his system. He's chasing bad guys again, he's writing something better than fluff pieces, so he figures it's all right.

Then Lois gets hold of this story; Luthorcorp up to some dastardly evil again. She rattles off a dozen numbers, street kids and pesticide, and Clark only vaguely hears it because his brain is busy coming up with ways that he might run into Lex during the course of this investigation. If he sees him, what will he say? Maybe he should try to be as invisible as possible. He's just going to have to avoid security cameras entirely.

While Lois rappels, secret-agent-like, into a Luthorcorp facility in Bakerline, Clark sets himself up on top of the Emperor Building. The tourists teem around him, plugging quarters into view binoculars and showing their kids the skyline. Clark sips at his coffee, leans on the railing and peers through four buildings and into Lex's office - just to make sure Lois has some warning, of course. Just to make sure he doesn't order any executions.

He doesn't. He's vicious behind the desk, his head bent over reports and a keyboard, his headset on his ear. Clark surmises that they're taking over a company, but Wayne Enterprises is bidding against them, and that if Lex is contemplating any kind of murder right now, it isn't a bunch of street kids. After a couple of hours, Clark gets a breathless call from Lois, proclaiming victory. He heads for the elevator and wonders what time Lex typically stops working.

There's no story the next night, but somehow Clark finds himself on top of the Emperor with a Sundollar latte in his hand. He watches for four hours this time, and Lex is still going strong at midnight. (Clark had to escape the security guys by sneaking up onto the actual roof.)

He takes the elevator the next day, too. It'd feel like crossing some kind of line to do this in uniform. He's honest enough with himself that he can admit this is personal, done on his own time, so he'll wear his own clothes.

This time, when the guards come around, Clark gets up on the greening copper roof and immediately finds his eye drawn to a little silver-and-purple package, sitting up there just like it's always been. Of course, it wasn't here yesterday, so Clark takes it and sits down. The bow falls away with a touch, the shiny paper the same, and Clark lifts the lid off to peer inside. Resting on a folded bit of paper lies a brand new watch. Clark lifts it out and looks it over; it's designer, probably a couple thousand dollars, and it looks quite a bit like his old one, down to the clasp and brown leather. He checks the piece of paper and, of course, it's a check printed on heavy lilac stock. A personal account, just a series of numbers, Switzerland National Bank, but still there can't be any doubt who it's from. Nevermind that it's for five hundred thousand dollars and payable to Mr. Clark Kent.

He looks up, and out of habit he opens his focus up to a few thousand feet. Across the chasms of Metropolis, with more than that between them, Lex is standing by his windows, looking at the Emperor Building with a glass of scotch in his hand. He can't possibly see from that distance, not with the naked eye, but he seems to be looking right at Clark all the same.

A piece of paper flutters down, having been folded with the check. Clark catches it before the breeze whisks it away, and in Lex's firm, precise handwriting it says: I broke it, I bought it.

Clark puts everything back into the box, stuffs it into his pocket and heads for the stratosphere. Up in the clouds, he looks at the watch and the check and tries to figure out which one the card was talking about.

The next morning brings with it a fresh bout of guilt. He feels so bad that he brings donuts in to work, just to feel like a good guy and not a crazy obsessive stalker. (Not that he wouldn't have come by that honestly, but still.) The donuts are gone in the blink of an eye and Lois starts in on some plastic surgery scam that leaves people with no eyelids. Or something. Clark's mind is, again, elsewhere.

She has to throw an eraser at his head to get his attention, and he has to pretend it hurt his eye to distract her. It's nice to be fussed over, even if it's by Lois, who automatically assumes he's a clod. It gives him his usual moment of amusement to hear her describe him as delicate. He thanks her for being concerned before she leaves, taking her hand and meeting her eyes. He loves to watch her stumble and freeze when he does that, when that glimmer of suspicion creeps into her mind that he might not be such an awkward loser after all. Then he stands up and trips over something, and she's heading off to find a bag of frozen peas, muttering under her breath about what a totally awkward loser he is.

Sometimes Clark has trouble not laughing right out loud when he's with Lois. She's like mom's apple pie, or leftover mac and cheese the kind of thing you crave when you need to feel like everything's going to be okay. It helps take his mind off his troubles for five minutes, anyway, which is exactly what he needed.

Once was surveillance, twice was spying, and three times on top of the Emperor became stalking. Clark only knows one way to apologize when you're in the doghouse, which he assumes he is with Lex. Dad always brought Mom red tulips, because they were her favorite, so on his lunch break he heads to Nepal and finds a mountainside full of vividly purple rhododendrons. He debates for a minute over the poisonous ones - Lex would probably find that funny - but the potential for disaster is too high, so he opts for the ones which are both pretty and safe. It takes a few seconds to gather enough of them onto a tarp, and another ten minutes to get back home.

It's tricky to get a hundred pounds of rhododendrons up to Lex's terrace without being seen, but once he's up there he finds he's caught a bit of luck - the office is empty. It's right next to the terrace, and Clark would prefer the flowers to be a surprise. When he's blanketed the terrace's stones with purple petals, he puts the card he found onto the birdbath, right in the middle. It all looks about right, so he heads up into the sky and waits.

It takes a few minutes for Lex to show up. Clark's checking his watch, worrying about whether or not he should bring some kind of heavily caffeinated offering for Lois as an apology for taking an extra half hour on his lunch, and then the elevator pings and his focus is drawn unerringly down. He peers through the wall as Lex talks on the phone, sifting papers, lost in his work. His body is pretty stressed; Clark notes muscles shivering with tension, an empty stomach trying to eat itself. Lex ignores it all, of course, moving through his office like a shark in water. He touches a button on his cell phone and then throws his headset onto the desk and pinches the bridge of his nose. Why must I suffer these fools, Clark's mind fills in, and he grins to himself.

The moment he notices something strange going on outside is magic. He stills, the nervous energy around him dissipating almost instantly. His phone rings and he ignores it, walking out toward the terrace doors with his eyes fixed on the wide field of purple. He steps out onto the stone like a kid into Narnia - hesitant, lest the whole thing turn out to be some kind of vast illusion that will disappear if he moves too fast. He pushes blossoms out of the way with his feet, wading gracefully through them toward the birdbath. He takes the card, reads it, and instantly looks up. Clark is carefully hidden, and when Lex determines that he's not immediately apparent, he gives a soft, wry laugh, like old paper. He shakes his head, picks up one of the flowers, and takes it back inside.

Clark notes, with unease in his stomach, that Lex has left the terrace doors open.

He goes back to the Planet with a double-shot mochaccino for Lois and lets her yell at him for "forgetting" to get it with skim. It's not as satisfying as it should be; Clark's preoccupied with the thought of those open doors, waiting for him. But he knows what would have happened if he'd gone inside. Lex is too good at making him forget the objections.

There was a reason he kept it to a day, he thinks, googling Moldova for a piece on human trafficking. Any longer than a day and Lex would have time to get convincing. He can do that, even on things you wouldn't ever imagine could be in question. Done by a responsible party, Lex might say, some human trafficking can result in improved conditions for the immigrants in their new country, and new workers to improve the economy in the target country. Immigration restrictions as they stand, Clark can hear him arguing, are outdated and based on xenophobia instead of sound economics.

Clark gets a lot of point-counterpoint for articles out of imagining what Lex might say. He'd never tell anybody that, but it's true.

So letting him loose on the eminently more questionable field of Clark's motivations and actions... that's just like asking for trouble. And that's exactly what he'd be doing if he went to Lex now.

Maybe if he were kept from speaking...

That pleasant thought occupies his mind all the way home, and he spends a decent, normal evening for the first time since Saturday.

The next day shatters Clark's fragile peace the minute the elevator doors open. People are running everywhere, shouldering past him, and he has to push his way into the bullpen to see what's happening. He can hear Perry shouting all the way down the hall, and when he finally comes into view, Clark can see this is not a standard-issue last minute freak out over the front page, but something quite a bit more serious. Perry's tie is askew, his eyes are showing white at the edges, and he's pointing his finger in the stony face of a lawyer in a very expensive suit. All around the newsroom, suited goons are emptying papers into boxes, fighting with reporters over laptops.

"You can't do this!" Perry is shouting, full of rage. "You can kiss your practice goodbye, bubba!"

The lawyer doesn't so much as flinch. "You have our injunction, Mister White. I suggest you review it."

"That thing isn't worth the paper it's printed on," Perry spits. "LuthorCorp's bought-and-paid-for judges get their edicts overturned in minutes. The Daily Planet is a respected newspaper-"

"A respected newspaper," interrupts the lawyer, "that is alleged to have acquired top secret government documents pertaining to one of LuthorCorp's private contracts. Now, our injunction stands, Mister White; it's perfectly legal. And if you persist in interfering with our men, I'll have you arrested for obstruction of justice!"

"Justice?!" shouts Perry, and Clark flinches as the tirade begins anew. He screws up his concentration and starts sifting through the sounds of the building. Someone, somewhere, has an idea what this is all about - they don't just toss the Planet for no reason. If they were really looking for something, they'd have found it quietly; they'd have done something actually legal instead of just causing a ruckus, which is all they've really accomplished. Somebody has to know what the real goal...

In the morning conference room, abandoned in all the commotion, somebody is singing. It's a quiet voice, under the breath, not intended to be anything but a way to pass the time.

Clark knows that voice.

It's not hard to slip away from the bullpen, under the cover of strident voices. He hasn't seen Lois yet, but she's probably hiding out in archives, trying to find a reason this is totally illegal. Clark's sure she'll find one. He sneaks his way into the conference room and shuts the door fast, just in case anybody gets the idea to follow him. It really wouldn't be a good idea.

Lex is sitting in one of the conference chairs, his fingers steepled in front of him. He gazes idly out the window as he murmurs bars of music under his breath. The blue sky frames him in the chair, sun glinting off the Metropolis high-rises laid out below him. Clark wonders sourly if he ever isn't reflected by his surroundings. Even when he's bleeding and dirty, he looks perfect; a fact that wasn't lost on a gawky teenage kid who thought Lex spun the world. Maybe he's a closet meteor freak whose power is... looking cool. Or something.

"So," Clark says, keeping his voice down just in case. "Your phone was broken?"

Lex turns to look at him and shrugs, a kind of elegant, European shrug that seems built to come with a carefree smile - which it does. "I'm just following a good example," he says, light and teasing. "Last time I was in your place, apologizing for my shall-we-say-inquisitive nature, you demanded I turn out my pockets. Show I'd gotten rid of the stash."

Clark crosses his arms over his chest and raises a pointed eyebrow.

"They won't find anything," Lex explains, standing up and crossing to Clark's side of the table. He puts his hands in his pockets, but he still comes way inside the personal boundaries they'd established pre-Saturday. Clark fights the urge to back up, and Lex smiles at him in that twisted, Luthor way he can do when he tries. "But there's still something to find, isn't there, Clark?"

"Excuse me?"

Lex leans a hip against the table and armcrosses right back at him. "You still have a keepsake. A little memento you're holding onto."

Is there? Clark's mind frantically reviews the contents of his desk, his wallet, his pockets, and comes up blank. Lex can't be talking about the watch; he clearly meant that as a gift, and it's too obvious anyway. He'd go for something more subtle. "And that is?" Clark asks, giving up.

"A fairly expensive piece of paper," Lex says. "About five hundred thousand?"

Oh. The check. "I thought I earned that piece of paper," Clark says, despite the intense burning sensation going on in his face.

Lex takes a long, appreciative look over him, just like he's always been able to do. This time, though, Clark feels his teeth in the places they like to fit, his fingers pressing down where they tend to fall on Clark's body. Lex lets his eyes rest just at the curve of muscle there, linger over the sweep of a curl against that cheekbone. "You know you did."

"So?"

"So generally, when I give people checks for a half a million dollars, they cash them." He gives a rare, genuine smile. "You denuded a mountain somewhere for those flowers, didn't you? I had a florist come in, but he couldn't place them."

Clark feels the heat under his eyelashes, trying to fog his glasses. "Maybe."

Lex chuckles low in his throat, and before Clark can really react, he's got a hand up against Clark's face, rubbing a soft thumb over his cheekbone. Clark's arms drop away, his breath catching in his throat like some kind of learned response to Lex's body. Memories are flashing through his head, filthy images that have no business in the here and now, but he can't stop seeing them in vivid sunset red.

"Only you," Lex murmurs, a surprisingly gentle smile curving his lips. "Even though there's quite literally nobody else in the world who could pile an acre of exotic rhododendrons on my terrace, only you would leave a card."

Clark closes his eyes against this vision. Something must have gone wrong, somewhere, something has to be magic or brainwashed or on fire. It can't be real.

Lex brushes a thumb across his lips, heavy and dragging. "You know you want it," he says gently. "Distract me. Keep an eye on me. Keep me honest, Clark. Whatever you need, tell me. I can play along."

He catches Lex's wrist, opens his eyes. "But you don't want to," Clark says, the words bitter in his mouth. "You want me to play hero, and turn a blind eye to what you do. And I can't, Lex. I can't."

"Am I asking for that?" Lex counters, suddenly serious as a death in the family. "I know about the farm."

Clark blinks at him, stunned into silence. He drops Lex's hand and paces away to glare out the window, cover his chest with his arms as though it'll make him feel stronger.

"It's not in trouble," Lex continues, his voice coming closer, lower. "You haven't changed so much since I knew you that you'd let yourself do this. I know you better, so indulge me, Clark. What is it? Someone in trouble, maybe a friend with a gambling problem? Why would you need me so badly?"

He's right here. Clark can feel the heat of his hand, his body, just a few inches away, and he can't think of an answer to that question that isn't the truth. It's choking him, it's right at his throat, and as much as he ached to say it a week and a half ago, he can barely keep it back now. It's clawing at him, burning at him.

"Tell me," Lex breathes, and he rests his hand against Clark's hip.

It's too much to bear, and Clark turns around to face him, to push him back against the table. Lex hits hard, jarring, his eyes wide as Clark closes the distance between them and presses along his body, such a blessed release. "Because," Clark grits out, his teeth clenched, his hands closing on Lex's wrist, the back of his neck. "I love you. You idiot."

Lex's eyes go stormy, furious. "Don't," he spits out, like a dirty word.

"Don't?" Clark says, ignoring the tension under his hands as he leans in, just barely avoiding brushing his lips over Lex's. "You're always calling me a liar. Isn't it kind of late to ask me to bluff you?"

He knows Lex would like to shove him away, but he's got too much dignity to try and fail. Instead he just stands there, tense and waiting, readying his next assault. The fair thing to do would be to let him make his point, to not push where he obviously would rather not go.

Just this once, Clark doesn't feel like being fair. "You always knew it," he insists, pushing his face down to nuzzle along Lex's jaw. "Don't act like you couldn't see me. Even back then, you knew."

"You wanted me," Lex says, derisive, contemptuous. "You weren't even old enough to know what you wanted, let alone to be..."

Clark presses against him, pushes his knee between Lex's. "To be in love with you," he completes, reveling in the chance to finally say it. "I know how I feel. I'm not fifteen anymore, Lex."

"That's painfully obvious," Lex grumbles, trying to shift away. It's not working, but he tries. "You used to be polite."

Clark shakes his head, takes the scent of Lex again. He'd told himself he wouldn't get this close again, so being that way now is like cheating on a diet: all the more delicious for being against the rules. "I used to be afraid."

"You still are," Lex insists, finally pushing at him. "What happened to your high horse, Clark? I thought you couldn't."

Making sure to keep Lex pressed against the table, Clark backs up enough to look him in the eyes. "I can't forget the things you do," he says seriously. "But that doesn't mean I don't love you, all the same."

Lex looks at him as the silence stretches, confused and angry. It's written across his face - his expressive, obvious face that Clark can always read like a neon sign. "That makes no sense," he whispers, secret and strained. "You can't love someone if you hate what they do."

"But I do," Clark shrugs. "I'm not afraid of you anymore. I don't know why you do these things, but I know I hate it. And I know that even though I hate it, I can't stop... needing you. You were right, before. I do need you."

Lex turns his face to the side, his mouth pressed in a tight line. "Stop it."

Clark knows better. "Can I still have you?" he asks, pressing his face against Lex's collar again. It smells right, good, necessary. "Would you let me?"

A strong hand digs into his hair, that strong grip accessing his instincts, making him obey the command to pull back, to meet those clear blue eyes. "Right now," Lex growls, leaving no doubt what he means. "Right here, right now, or no deal."

The conference room seems horrifically open, all of a sudden. Clark checks the doors and notes that there are no locks. He could weld the handles, he supposes, but then everybody would know that Superman had been here, and that's too much of a risk - he'll have to just leave them open and take a chance. Lex is pressing back against him now, twisting his hips in mind-cleaning circles. Clark feels his mouth start in, the drag of his teeth. "Okay," he breathes, knowing he never had any other choice. "Okay, Lex."

There's a moment's pause and Lex's shoulders go tense under Clark's hands. He draws away a little, and his eyes are blistering, peeling Clark's defenses away instantly. "You really mean that," Lex breathes, his hands coming to clench in the fabric at Clark's back. "You'd really let me bend you over the table and fuck you right now, you son of a bitch."

Those words can't have any kind of reasonable response, so Clark just turns his face away and blushes hard.

"You would," Lex says, edging closer, disbelieving. "Even though everyone you know is right outside these doors, your boss is out there, and you'd let me..."

"Do you have to to talk about it all day?" Clark stammers, squirming under that stare.

There's that hand in his hair, then, gripping hard. While Clark's busy forgetting how to breathe, Lex slides around behind him and pushes him up to the table. "I don't really want us to get caught," he explains, pulling at Clark's belt, sliding the leather through the loops and making the buckle click against the polished table. His voice is like Mississippi coffee, like cigarette smoke after sex. "I didn't ever learn to share; you might have noticed that."

Clark tries to turn, to touch back, but Lex pushes hard against him, a hand planted on his solar plexus. It's warm, anchoring, and Clark wants to let himself sigh into it, go with it. If he weren't in the Daily Planet's conference room, he would. He can't stop remembering to listen for somebody coming, and it's distracting him.

Right up to the point that Lex pulls his zipper down. "If anybody comes in, I might have to have them blinded."

"Don't joke about stuff like that," Clark says, trying to sound firm and sounding instead like somebody's been beating him with a really strong tire iron.

Lex pushes his fingers under the elastic of Clark's boxers. His skin is cool and soft; he pushes the fabric down just enough to expose Clark to the open air, under the flaps of his shirt. Lex grips him hard, presses him against the table and squeezes his cock in a strong grip. "I'm not stopping," Lex whispers, mouth hot on Clark's ear, slipping wet over the tender curve of skin. "Can you come before they find us? Better hope so."

"Okay," Clark pants, shifting as Lex squeezes just a little harder. A clear drop slips from the tip of his dick and hits the conference table, and Clark almost hyperventilates. "Just let me turn around, let me touch you. God, Lex."

"No."

The grip slides up, tight fingers slicking themselves on Clark's cock and sliding back down. The blood is racing through him; he's panting desperately. He could wait this out, only then he'd be caught, and if he doesn't wait it looks like he's going to have to come all over the table where Perry yells at the news team every morning, and these two situations are completely intolerable and why, why does Lex have to have hands that can do this to him, why can't he be in love with someone who doesn't ask for stuff like this, why is it so hot when he does that with his teeth, Jesus Christ. "You," Clark pants, hips bucking into Lex's hand. "You're... so... twisted..."

Lex laughs at that, muffling it against Clark's shoulder. "You're the one getting off on it."

"God," Clark groans, shutting his eyes so he won't have to watch. The tails of his shirt make cool drafts against the hottest skin he has; it raises goose bumps all over his skin, and still he can't stop pushing his cock into the slick, tight heat Lex makes for him. "Oh, God, Lex, please."

"Shut up," Lex urges, putting a vicious twist into the motion of his wrist. It's unbearable and Clark gasps again, right out loud. Lex bites at the back of his neck, the flat white ridge digging at the last shreds of his control. "I said, be quiet. Don't make me gag you with your own tie."

Clark's palms hit the table with a resounding thump; he leans on the only decent surface and clenches his teeth as he rides out the full, blinding surge of orgasm that tears through him. Lex's hand keeps pace, perfect, right where it should be, and the feel of the heavy erection behind those thousand dollar pants sends a second earth-shaking shudder to wrack Clark's body. Nothing in the world feels like this; maybe fighting with metas, maybe running fast enough to break the sound barrier, but never with another person, never, except for Lex. Always, only Lex.

When he finally regains some semblance of himself, he lifts himself away from the table. Lex has eased away and is over by the conference door, leaning against it. "I don't care what you have to tell them, Perkins," he's calling. "It's occupied."

"Sir," comes a muffled voice through the door. "Sir, it's their conference room."

Clark feels himself turn purple as his eyes are drawn to the ruined table, and he immediately starts looking around for paper towels, something that might help this not be some kind of unholy disaster. Only once he's two steps toward the coffee station does he remember to stop and make himself decent again.

"I know it's their conference room," Lex says, and Clark can hear the laughter in his voice. He turns to give Lex what he hopes is an unholy death glare, but Lex just laughs right out loud. "They can wait," he chortles, waving Clark toward the paper.

The cleanup is fast and not as good as he can make it, but at least nothing overt can be seen or... smelled. Clark stuffs wadded-up towels in his pocket and tries to imagine how he's going to sit down at his desk without bursting into flames.

"Take the day off," Lex says, coming around the table to stand in front of him. The smile is big, leonine, dangerous.

Clark scowls. "Some of us work for a living, Luthor."

"Well, Mister Kent," Lex says, running his fingers along Clark's tie, down his arm. "You have fun with that. I'm going back to the penthouse, where I will be taking care of this." He takes Clark by the wrist and pulls his hand forward, presses the palm against the front of his pants. His eyes are a wicked, devious, feral blue.

Clark wonders how long his brain can manage without oxygen, if he's just not going to breathe at all. "That isn't fair," he objects, curling his fingers around the hot length under his hand.

"I'm a villain," Lex says, with perfect seriousness.

"Don't remind me," Clark groans. He looks at Lex then, hoping against hope. "How can we do this? How can we find some kind of way to-"

Lex's mouth is soft and purely silencing. "Later," he murmurs against Clark's lips. "Let's have that discussion much, much later."