Components of Love

Part Three: Parental

After dropping Nathan off and jockeying the cars, Clark followed Lex's BMW to the Kent Farm in the truck. Although Clark had done a thorough X-ray of Luthor Manor, checking for explosives, he wasn't ready to let Lex out of sight. Besides which, an explanation was owed to his parents, who would be awake in another hour, if not already.

Lex had been to the Kents' house many times in the past two-plus years, but Clark hadn't seen Lex look as tense and uncomfortable as he did now since the first time he came formally for dinner. Standing beside his car and holding both his and Clark's change of clothing by the hangars, a portfolio tucked under his arm, Lex stared at the butter-yellow house as if Norman Bates lived there. The bald man jumped when Clark laid a hand on his shoulder.

"It'll be fine, Lex," Clark said encouragingly. Hopefully.

Lex looked worriedly at him. "It would be more fine if it was tomorrow and you were officially eighteen."

Clark studied his boyfriend's upturned face. "We can wait to tell them--."

"No." Lex shook his head sharply. "I want your parents to know first, before my father arrives. With the alibi we set up and your insistent hovering, Dad will easily figure out we're more than just friends."

"He hasn't yet."

"Clark, we've only seen him three times since we started dating, and the first two were before we kissed." Lex sighed, glanced at his watch, and returned his gaze to Clark. "Let's not worry about my father until we have to. Maybe I'll get lucky and his plane will crash."

"But then you'll be in charge of everything," Clark said.

Lex smiled greedily, his eyes glazing over. "Yeah."

"And you'll have more work to do," Clark continued.

"True," Lex agreed, though the smile was still there.

"More work means less free time," Clark said, "and less free time means less me time." He pouted prettily.

Lex groaned and planted a swift kiss on Clark's full lips. "Cut that out. I'd rather not confront your parents with a hard-on."

"Understaaaahdable," Clark agreed around a yawn. Lex yawned, too, less than a second later.

They looked at each other and said simultaneously, "Coffee."

Once inside the cheery (even at four o'clock in the morning) home, Clark started the coffee while Lex ran quietly up to the teen's bedroom to hang up their suits. The elder Kents weren't awake yet.

Lex had, as Clark pointed out, been to the Kents' residence many times over the past few years. He was wary but respectful of Jonathan and Martha, comfortable in their presence but aware that he was always a guest in their home. And today he was going to tell them that he was in love with their still underage son and had been since Clark breathed life back into him that fateful day on the bridge.

"I hit you, didn't I," Lex realized as he rejoined Clark in the kitchen. "On that bridge. I hit you with my Porsche."

Clark looked away and mumbled awkwardly, "Dead on."

Lex needed to sit down suddenly. He pulled out a chair at the kitchen table, sank onto it, and exhaled shakily. "For my own sake, I'm very glad you're indestructible."

"Yeah, I heard it's hell on the car insurance rates if you kill someone."

"Don't joke like that," Lex said sharply, glaring at the raven-haired teen. "I'm happier than I've ever been in my life, and I'm trying to wrap my brain around the fact that we shouldn't be together. We should both be long dead."

Clark walked over and braced one hand on the table and one on the back of Lex's chair. He leaned down and looked Lex in the eye. "How do you know we'd both be dead?"

Lex snorted. "I plowed into you with my Porsche at 90 miles-per-hour. If you were a normal human--."

"But I'm not human," Clark interrupted. "I never was human. So what happened on the bridge cannot be 'what if'd.'"

Lex's blue-grey gaze roved over Clark's face as if he was trying to memorize it. Despite what Clark said, Lex could have lost the chance to know the wonderful man-child before him. His fingers dug into his knees. "I love you, Clark."

Clark beamed, a happy flush staining his cheeks. "I love you, too."

A polite cough caught both men unaware, and they jumped, startled, and colored. Martha Kent, fully dressed and ready to start a farmer's day, stood with her arms folded at the bottom of the stairs.

"Mom!" Clark squeaked, straightening quickly. Lex wanted the floor to open beneath his chair and swallow him.

"Clark, Lex." Martha looked them both over with an upraised brow. They had shed their suit coats and ties at the mansion before driving to the Kents', but still wore their dress shirts and slacks. "Is that coffee I smell?"

"Yes." Clark scrambled to pour her a cup from the freshly brewed pot. "Is, uh, Dad up?"

"He'll be down in a minute," she replied, walking into the kitchen and taking a seat at the table beside Lex. Lex tried not to squirm under her inquisitive, knowing gaze. He gave her a strained smile.

His cell phone rang and, relieved, he pulled the compact phone from his pocket, glanced at the Caller ID, and answered it. "Go ahead."

Lex opened the portfolio at his elbow, unclipped a pen, and began scribbling on the blue pad of paper in the folder. Clark handed Martha her coffee and set another cup in front of Lex. The teen gave his mother a fleeting grin and retreated again to pour himself a cup of coffee.

"No," Lex said into the receiver as Clark settled into the chair on the other side of him and across from Martha. "I don't want anyone on site until the engineers give the all-clear. No one was injured tonight and I'd like to keep it that way."

Jonathan came downstairs and cast a questioning glance at everyone before pouring himself some coffee. He joined them at the table.

"Do what you have to, to stall him as long as possible. I won't be available again until I return to the plant at 6:45 AM, so don't call unless it's an emergency," Lex instructed. He concluded his call without saying goodbye, turned off the ringer, and set the cell phone on the open portfolio. He looked at Martha and Jonathan in turn, seemingly composed and confident. "Mrs. Kent, Mr. Kent, good morning. I'm in love with your son."

Clark choked on his coffee.

Martha and Jonathan exchanged glances, then looked back at Lex. "We figured as much," Martha said, blase. Clark choked some more. "What we don't know is, for how long?"

"Pretty much since we met," Lex answered promptly, casually, as if discussing stock tips. "Though we've only been dating for 436 days."

Clark blinked, wiping his mouth on the back of his $250.00 dress shirt sleeve. "You know exactly how many days it's been since we hooked up?"

"Of course," Lex said with a brief smile at him. "Don't you?"

"Well, yeah, kind of." Clark colored, ducking his chin. "I just thought counting months was something only teenagers did."

"I remember precisely when every momentous occasion happened in my life," Lex said. Clark blushed darker red, smiling bashfully.

Martha's question pulled them back into the confession. "Is there a reason you both kept your relationship a secret?"

"Aside from the obvious: that I'm Lex Luthor?" Lex looked pointedly at Jonathan. Jonathan acknowledged the almost-slight with a stiff nod. "Clark's age, mainly," Lex said. "Kansas law is very strict, especially regarding same-sex affairs. Be assured, Clark and I do not have a physical relationship more than hand-holding and kissing."

"Clark?" Martha prompted questioningly.

"It's true," Clark said. His tone was more forlorn than defensive. "Lex and I haven't done anything."

"The other reason is, my father," Lex continued, taking a sip of his coffee. "I didn't want him to turn Clark's and my relationship into a way to control me. The only way to insure that was, to keep it a secret. Nathan is highly suspect because of Clark's constant presence at the estate and the suits in my closet, but we never confirmed it."

They all drank their coffee in silence for a few minutes, before Jonathan finally said, "Well, what's done is done."

"You guys are okay with us being together? And that I'm- I'm not straight?" Clark asked tentatively. "I mean, I- I saw those parenting books..."

"It's fine, Clark," Martha reassured. "Your father and I have gotten used to the fact already, including the possibility that you were interested in Lex."

She turned to Lex. "As for you, Lex, Jonathan and I think you're a bit too old for our son, but we won't forbid a relationship between you two. You've been here often enough for us to get to know you. Just remember: Clark's still a junior in high school--"

"Only for another month," Clark interjected.

"--and high school students aren't always tolerant," Martha continued. "Be careful as to how open you act towards each other, if you aren't planning to continue the secrecy."

"I would never purposely endanger Clark," Lex promised. He cast a sidelong glance at the raven-haired teen. "Not that Mr. Invulnerable has much to fear."

Martha gasped. Jonathan cursed. Clark winced. "Uh, yeah," Clark said apologetically, rubbing the back of his neck. "Lex kind of knows I'm not from Smallville, Kansas, USA... Earth."

Part Four: Acceptance

Between the two of them, Lex and Clark explained everything that had happened at the LuthorCorp Plant, sharing personal smiles and inside references as they told of their adventure. The elder Kents were more skeptical of the idea that the bomb's target was Lex himself, but they didn't dismiss the possibility completely.

"The arson investigator will be joining the engineers later this morning." Lex glanced at the pad of paper in the portfolio. "A Melissa Maisey, who works for the county."

"Clark, you were careful not to leave anything to show you were there?" Jonathan inquired.

"Yes," Clark replied, though his face scrunched in worry. He glanced towards the door. "Maybe I should make sure." He stood. "Be back shortly." He vanished. The door banged on its hinges.

Lex looked at the door. Looked at Jonathan. Looked at Martha. Looked at the kitchen table. Tick, tick, tick, went the wall clock. Martha and Jonathan didn't lecture. They didn't threaten, or warn. They just looked at Lex until he lost all composure, squirmed in his seat, and repeatedly tugged his shirt collar, twisted his pen, and moved his cell phone.

Jonathan stood suddenly, the chair scraping across the floor like nails on a blackboard, and Lex jumped. Jonathan said nothing, however, he just left the house, the door banging on its hinges again.

"Lex--" Martha waited until Lex warily lifted his gaze before continuing with a bright smile. "--would you like some breakfast?"

"Yes, please." Lex's voice hadn't cracked as badly since puberty, but Martha's abrupt perkiness scared the living crap out of him.

"What do you think you'll do next, with the plant?" Martha asked, returning to the prior conversation.

Lex forced himself to relax. The hard part was apparently over; he'd confessed his and Clark's relationship, received silent warnings, which were more powerful than a shotgun pointed to his head, and wasn't forbidden to see Clark any longer. Except for the fact that his plant had been blown up, he had almost been blown up, his father was coming to town, he hadn't slept in twenty-four hours and counting, and Clark made gawd-awful coffee, life was pretty damned good.

"As I see it, there are three options," Lex said, moving his neatly lined cell phone aside to scratch some notes on the pad of paper. "Option one: close the plant and lay off or transfer the employees to other LuthorCorp facilities. That'll be my father's first choice, but not necessarily mine." Martha nodded, and he continued.

"The second option is to rebuild the plant as it was, which would take time and money. In the long run, people will still have their jobs, but I'd have to temporarily lay off the workers until its rebuilt," he said. "The third option is to build a different facility on the site, perhaps a government subsidized one. Those meteor rocks seem to cause genetic mutations. Originally, I'd thought that's what happened with Clark." Lex scribbled a chemical equation on the paper. "If we can isolate the chemical properties that cause this reaction, it may be applicable at many levels: cell regrowth, disease control, militarily."

"The meteors make Clark ill," Martha warned as she moved around the kitchen, making breakfast.

"I know," Lex said, now writing genetic hypotheticals. "His 'allergy' and the research Dr. Hamilton has been doing intrigued the science nerd in me. This month I've been able to make real progress, since I was avoiding Clark as much as possible."

"Avoiding Clark?"

"Avoiding temptation," Lex clarified. "I will not do anything until Clark is eighteen, no matter how enticing he is." This tips of Lex's ears reddened. He was talking about sex with his boyfriend's mother. In the past, it wouldn't have been embarrassing at all, but this was Clark's mom. Clark, the person Lex was head-over-friggin-heels in love with, who actually listened and cared about him, and put up with his varied moods.

The cell phone display blinked, indicating that he had a call. It was Nathan.

Lionel Luthor had arrived early.

Lex muttered a string of curses under his breath. He rubbed his hand over his scalp, wincing when he encountered the bruise.

The door opened, and Clark entered, clothing slightly dirty. He saw Lex and immediately frowned with concern. "What's wrong?"

Lex's excitement over his father's arrival must show on his face. "Daddy's here."

"Already?" Clark glanced at the wall clock. "He's three hours early."

"I wouldn't put it past him to lie about his arrival time to keep me off-guard," Lex grumbled as he stood. "I was looking forward to Mrs. Kent's French toast, too."

"I'm sure your father can wait," Martha said.

"As fun as it would be to tick him off, I'd rather not give him time to mess with my plans," Lex said. He looked at Clark. "We need to change and leave."

Clark nodded. "You first. I want to talk to Mom a minute."

After Lex disappeared upstairs, Clark braced his elbows on the island counter in the kitchen and asked bluntly, "Are you mad?"

"Not at all, sweetheart," Martha reassured. "The situation wasn't in your control, and you did what you had to do. Just be careful, Clark. Once you tell someone a secret, it gets easier to tell a second person, and a third..."

"I get it, Mom," Clark interrupted with a dramatic sigh. He grinned at her look. "Do me a favor and make breakfast to go? I want Lex to have something in his stomach besides coffee. It's going to be a long day."

Martha looked softly at her son. "You're in love with him." It was a statement, not a question.

Clark smiled bashfully. "It was a surprise to me, too."

They had been at the Beanery, on one of their 'study dates.' Clark lounged comfortably in an overstuffed chair, legs hooked over the arm and an open book balanced on his knees. Lex had been across from him, perched on the edge of another overstuffed chair, files and reports spread on the low round table between them. Lex's personal portfolio was open and pages on the blue pad of paper were filled with equations, notes, and other indecipherable left-handed scribble.

Clark was watching his boyfriend of seven months from beneath his lashes, like he usually did on their dates. Homework couldn't compete with Lex wearing a blue sweater as soft-looking as his skin. Lex was rubbing his lower lip with the edge of his Monte Blanc pen. If it wasn't his pen, he brushed the edge of his finger back and forth over his lip. It was a habit he had when concentrating heavily on his reading. Clark loved watching him focus so intently, loved Lex's idiosyncrasies; he loved everything about Lex Luthor. He loved Lex.


He remembered that he had to tell Lex immediately. Because, wow. Clark had unfolded himself from his comfortable position, reached across the table, and plucked the pen from between Lex's fingers. Lex jumped slightly, having been engrossed in his reports he hadn't noticed Clark move. Clark gave him a small smile, and wrote in the top margin on Lex's pad of paper. Then, he handed back the pen, swung his legs over the side of the chair, and pretended to return to his homework.

Lex had studied him a moment, before curiosity got the better of him. He turned the pad of paper around so he could read what Clark had written. Twin roses of color bloomed on his cheeks and he laughed joyfully, causing everyone in the shop to look in their direction. Clark blushed at the sudden attention and really buried his nose in his book.

A piece of wadded blue paper hit him on the nose and dropped into his lap a minute later. Clark had glanced at Lex, who was busy paging through a report. Clark smoothed the paper that hit him and saw the words he'd written to Lex at the top, with three little words written in Lex's messy handwriting beneath them.

It's about time.

Clark chuckled softly to himself at the memory. He rounded the counter and kissed his mother on the cheek. "Thanks, Mom, for not freaking out."

Martha hugged Clark, then swatted him on the behind. "Go get changed. I want to see you wearing one of the suits you've been hiding at Lex's."

Part Five: Arguments

Lionel Luthor was a formidable man. From his smart suits, to his mane of hair, to his shrewd eyes behind sharp specs, he exuded power and self-confidence that had weaker men bowing and scraping. He had the ability to make a person feel like a diseased scab of flesh with a single look. When he spoke, his vitriolic words burned like acid through the psyche, belittling to the point of abusive.

Lex hated his father. He couldn't remember a time when he didn't hate the man. He hated everything about Lionel Luthor with a passion that almost eclipsed the love he had for Clark. Almost.

Mostly, though, he hated his father because, after everything, Lex still loved him.

"Good morning, Dad." Lex joined Lionel, who looked perfectly dressed in his three-piece dark grey suit, tie knotted precisely after a thirteen-hour flight, in the headquarters tent. "I hope your flight was a pleasant one."

"Lex," Lionel greeted flatly. His eyes flicked to Clark, standing behind Lex. "Is there a reason Mr. Kent is here?"

"He's with me," Lex answered ambiguously. He turned to address Nathan as his assistant entered the tent. "Have the police finished their preliminary report?"

"I have it here." Nathan opened a thick portfolio and readily found the report requested in the stack of forms and other papers. He handed it to Lex.

"Good." Lex began skimming the report. "Make sure Ms. Maisey has a copy when she arrives."

"Yes, sir."

"I need to speak with my father," Lex said. "Let me know when the engineers get here and make certain there are extra hardhats available. Aside from the arson investigator, Jim Arnold, Charles Swanson, and Gabe Sullivan are the only other three allowed past the gate this morning."

"Very well, sir." Nathan headed out of the tent, understanding the unspoken dismissal.

Clark faded into the background, an amazing ability for someone with his build and looks. It was a skill he must have developed early on, to remain unnoticed and not chance his heritage being exposed.

Lex tossed the police report down and leaned against the table. He curled his hands over the edge of the table, crossing one ankle over the other. It was casually deceptive, open posturing, inviting his father to speak freely. Lex was coiled tighter than a wire, however, like he always was around Lionel Luthor.

"All right, Dad, let me have it," Lex said conversationally. "Tell me how this situation is my fault, how if I wasn't such a pathetic excuse of a businessman, this would never have happened. Oh, and don't forget to add that I'm a disgrace to the Luthor name and you wonder how I could possibly be your son."

"I don't think that's necessary. You seem to be doing a good job berating yourself." Lionel walked over to the avocado green urn brewing fresh coffee and poured a cup. "Now, I've been somewhat briefed by that insufferable assistant of yours, but I would like to hear what happened in your own words."

Lex nodded and began. "According to the employees, the fire alarm went off at approximately 9:25 PM last night, the building evacuated as per regulations, and no one was inside when an explosion occurred about five minutes later," he explained. "I arrived around 1:00 AM, made sure all employees were uninjured and accounted for, and secured the plant. The Sheriff's Department informed the nearby residents of the possibility that our gas or chemical containment units might explode, though at present time they are secure. I gave a live brief, which I'm sure you saw, and have signed off on a press release for this morning's news. Now, we're just waiting for the structural engineers and arson investigator to arrive to assess the damage before I decide what to do next."

"Before you decide? I think you're forgetting who owns this plant," Lionel stated.

Lex's fingers tightened around the edge of the table. "You put me in charge of this plant--"

"And look what you did," Lionel interrupted. "You blew it up!"

Lex straightened, the lie falling off his tongue with indignant ease. "I wasn't even here!"

"Yes, that's right," Lionel said smoothly as he set the coffee aside. He cast a sidelong glance at Clark. "You weren't here."

Clark didn't rise to the bait, but his posture changed from watchful to intimidating. He looked at Lionel squarely, blue eyes as cold as chips of ice.

Lex was impressed and proud of his boyfriend's unflinching stand, not to mention a tad aroused. Clark cut an imposing figure in his dark brown suit, white shirt, and patterned tie.

Lex knew he and Clark looked good together, the beautiful boy and the bald billionaire. Their picture had appeared in a few coverage shots in the newspapers, but nothing incriminating. After Clark's birthday, it wouldn't matter as much if they were linked together as more than friends, but Lex still planned for them to be discreet. He had finally learned that the Luthor name was his name, too, and bad press would effect his plans for the future.

"Is there something you wish to tell me, Lex?" Lionel's tone implied curiosity, but Lex knew better. He might have avoided bringing Clark into this post-disaster mess, other than as an alibi, if the teen hadn't insisted on being present. But Clark had Jonathan Kent's stubbornness, and it was futile to try and change his mind.

"Not that it concerns this situation, but Clark and I are together," Lex said.

"You're together." Lionel clapped his hands mockingly. "How wonderful for you both. Tell me: when's the wedding?" Lex shot him a dirty look; Lionel upped it with one of his own. "Lex, are you out of your mind?"

Lex couldn't help but smirk. "Happily so."

Lionel took an aggravated step towards Lex. Clark matched it.

A sneer curled Lionel's lips. "Isn't that sweet. Protecting your man."

"Dad, knock it off." Lex gestured subtly and Clark backed off, a system they had worked out for socialite parties. "You can lecture me to your heart's content later." Nathan poked his head into the tent and Lex nodded in acknowledgment. "Right now, I have a plant to see to."

Lex walked purposely out of the tent, without waiting for his father to dismiss him. It was a bold move, but he was not a child any longer. He knew Clark would follow, with the possibility of Lex's safety being at risk.

As Lex met up with the engineers, Lionel looked Clark over from head to toe as they stepped out of the tent. "Well, on the bright side, I don't have to worry about any paternity suits."

Clark knew he should keep quiet, but Lionel was really getting on his nerves. "You know, I was scared spitless about what might have happened and we weren't even here. You're his father and you don't even seem to give a darn that Lex could have been killed."

"But he wasn't here, was he?" Lionel gave him a cold look. "Now, if you don't mind, us grown-ups have work to do."

Clark glared daggers at Lionel's back as he walked away. Clark wanted to shake him for being so callous. The teen knew Lex wished for a sign of caring from his father, almost as much as he wanted Lionel's approval, and time and again Lionel only berated or ignored him.

Clark winced as he saw Lionel attempt to take charge when he joined Lex with the engineers, Gabe Sullivan, Charles Swanson, and the Sheriff, Jim Arnold. Pride and smugness filled Clark, however, when Lex side-stepped his father's machinations and began to lead the group towards the plant. The Sheriff stayed behind to wait for the arson investigator.

The morning sun cast an unforgiving light on the destruction. Clark was struck hard at the extent of damage the bomb had caused. Rubble, pipes, steel girders, and twisted metal sheeting were all that remained of one-half of the fertilizer plant. So many people could have been killed if the alarm hadn't been pulled. He and Lex would have been killed if he wasn't an alien, because they hadn't heard any alarm.

The enormity of how close Lex had come to death finally registered with Clark. He sucked in a sharp breath between his teeth and quickly caught up with Lex. Lex gave him a short, questioning glance when he briefly laid a hand on Lex's back.

"Gentlemen, as you can see, we have a mess," Lex said sardonically, stopping at the edge of the taped off safety area. Lionel's cell phone trilled softly, and he took a few steps away to answer it. Clark watched Lionel's features tighten into harsh lines as he spoke into the phone. He darted a glance at Lex before turning his back to the group.

"Mr. Sullivan, I'll leave this show to you," Lex said as the men donned their hardhats. "When the arson investigator arrives, she'll have free reign over the site. Make sure you mark any unsafe areas, so Ms. Maisey will be aware of them."

Gabe Sullivan nodded and led the engineers and Charles Swanson past the police tape. Lex turned to Clark when the team was out of earshot, horror reflected on his face.

"I know," Clark said before Lex could say anything.

Lex looked over his shoulder at his father and around the open parking area. Seeing no one, he tangled his fingers in Clark's hair and pulled his mouth down into a hard, desperate, too short kiss.

"I'm going to have nightmares for weeks," Lex murmured, releasing Clark and stepping back.

"Me, too," Clark said quietly. He straightened his posture when he saw Lionel had completed his phone call. He was surveying the wreckage with a pensive expression.

Lex half-turned, glanced at Lionel, and looked back at Clark. "I think I need more coffee. Dad actually appears to be concerned."

"He's probably thinking about how much it'll cost to rebuild," Clark said.

Lex grinned. "That was quite snide of you."

"Lex," Lionel addressed his son from where he stood, "do you realize how much this will cost if we rebuild?"

Lex and Clark exchanged a look, and tried to stifle their laughter.


The arson investigator, Melissa Maisey, confirmed what Lex and Clark already knew: that a bomb had been the cause of the explosion. With that news, the press were back en masse, and Lex had a vicious verbal fight with his father about who was going to address them and what was going to be said. Lex won by pointing out that the plant employees would trust whatever he said and not necessarily Lionel's assurances.

By the time the press brief was given and arrangements were made for the police investigation of the bombing, Lex was overly exhausted. He hadn't slept in what seemed like forever, and the caffeine in his system was running low.

Clark drove them to Luthor Manor, looking worn down himself. Lex watched him through half-lidded eyes. Did aliens need as much sleep as humans?

Lex had pushed aside the fact that Clark was not human, to deal with business. But now that the other matters had been taken care of, the truth of Clark's origins rushed to the forefront of his mind.

Clark Kent was an alien.

"Amazing," Lex murmured. Clark spared him a glance and a tender smile before returning his eyes to the road.

Clark was nothing like Lex would've guessed an alien would appear. He hadn't expected Little Green Men, but he certainly hadn't expected such a human look-a-like. "Do you have a penis?"

"What?" Clark looked over as his brows vanished into his hairline.

"It's a perfectly logical question," Lex said. He propped his elbow on the windowsill. "I haven't seen you in the nude."

"Yeah, but you've felt me up plenty of times."

"True." Lex rubbed his lower lip with his fingertips.

"I take it you're thinking about my earlier revelation." Clark downshifted as they came upon a stop sign. "Trust me, on the outside I look 100% human male."

"But, why?" Lex said. "And what about on the inside?"

Clark shrugged. "I don't know the answer to either."

"It's just so hard to believe," Lex said, more to himself than Clark. "Logically, you shouldn't eat the same as humans, or develop the same, or reproduce the same--."

"Lex, if this is your way of stopping us from sleeping together, it isn't going to work," Clark stated. He shifted gears and peeled away from the stop sign. "We are going to have sex, even if I have to tie you up. Understand?"

Lex's mouth went dry at the picture Clark planted in his brain. He shifted in his seat, his trousers growing tight. His eyes flicked to the clock on the dash. Five hours until Clark was eighteen.

The headlights in the passenger side mirror brightened as the car following them caught up. Lex cursed vehemently. "We aren't going to do anything with my dad staying at the castle."

Clark's eyes glowed hotly in the dashboard lights as he pinned Lex with a hungry stare. "Never underestimate a horny teenager."

"Clark," Lex half-groaned. "I want to enjoy you, not worry about getting caught or interrupted by either of our parents. We'll just have to wait until my father leaves. And don't pout at me." Lex sighed exasperatedly as Clark did exactly that. "We've waited this long, a few more days won't kill us."

"Yeah, but something else might." Clark pulled to a stop in the driveway of the manor, turned off the motor, and gave Lex a worried look. "The bomb--"

"--Was not personally directed at me," Lex finished firmly. He reached over and cupped Clark's cheek, stroking his thumb along the teen's cheekbone. "I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Luckily, I had my Guardian Alien with me."

Clark snorted softly. "Shut up and kiss me already."

Lex leaned across the gearshift, meeting Clark halfway. Their lips met gently, teasingly. With familiarity and love. The outside world and its problems faded. Pleasure and happiness bloomed in their stead.

"Mmm, I don't want to, but I have to go in before I fall asleep, and you have to go home," Lex sighed against Clark's soft mouth. He kissed Clark once more and pulled away. "Take the car. You can pick me up for a change tomorrow evening."

"Okay." Clark smiled brightly. "It's my birthday tomorrow."

"That it is," Lex said with a sleepy curl of his lips. He reached for the door handle. "Good-night, Clark."

"Bye." Clark waited until Lex had disappeared into the manor before driving home.