Family, Friendship, and Love
Clark hadn't had a decent night's sleep in months, not since he realized that Lex loved him. Other than that, the summer itself had been fairly uneventful. Clark's birthday passed. Sam's birthday also had come and gone, celebrated with family and friends. School was about to start and Sam had been enrolled at Maplethorpe. Clark went to parties, grand openings, and charity events on assignment for the Daily Planet, sometimes with Lois, sometimes with Lex, and sometimes on his own. Lex worked, played with Sam, and acted normal around Clark, never revealing that he had any feelings stronger than friendship. If Clark hadn't overheard the argument between Lex and Lionel, Clark would not have known Lex was in love with him, until Jonathan and Martha had brought it up at lunch one day after they had a visit from Lionel.
It was weird on Clark's end to know that Lex loved him. Clark couldn't figure out if he was supposed to do something. Every time he thought about it, his stomach would flip and he'd have difficulty breathing. It was like being around Lana back when she wore her meteorite necklace, which should have told Clark something, but it had been allergies, not love, with Lana.
Clark knew he loved Lex like a friend and could be aroused by him if Clark though about Lex sexually. But romantic love? Could Clark love Lex like Jonathan loved Martha? The question circled round and round Clark's brain for weeks.
The answer crept up on Clark silently, pouncing on him out of the blue.
They were at the movies, waiting in line at the concession counter before the show. They were next to be served. Lex was crouched beside Sam, looking at the overpriced candy on display, his bald head reflecting the gaudy neon lights of the concession area.
"If they had Wintogreen Lifesavers, we could make lightning in our mouths," Lex was telling Sam.
"How?" Sam asked.
"It's called candy triboluminescence. What it is, is light produced while striking or rubbing two pieces of material together. It's basically light from friction. Triboluminescence comes from the Greek tribein, which means ‘to rub', and the Latin lumin, meaning ‘light.'"
Clark tried hard not to laugh. Lex was the biggest closet nerd on the planet.
"In general, luminescence occurs when energy is input into atoms from heat, friction, electricity, or other sources. The electrons in the atom absorb this energy. When the electrons return to their usual state, the energy is released in the form of light. The spectrum of the light produced from the triboluminescence of sugar is the same as the spectrum of lightning." Lex's face was lit up with nerdish glee as he explained something scientific to an appreciative audience.
It was at that moment, while Lex was explaining candy-lightning to an enthralled Sam, who lapped up the information like the four-year-old genius he was, that Clark knew he wanted to spend the rest of his life with Lex Luthor.
A ridiculous grin spread across Clark's face.
"Can I help who's next in line?" the girl behind the concession counter barked.
Still grinning like a loon, Clark stepped up to the counter. "Large popcorn, large Pepsi, a bottle of water, a child-size Pepsi and... Lex? Anything else?"
"A KitKat and SweetTarts." Lex straightened, as the girl went to fill their order. "I'm in the wrong business. The candy alone is marked up three hundred percent here, and the popcorn? The theater's charging $3.98 for a bag of mostly air. We spent more on concessions than our tickets for the movie."
"I think we can afford it, Lex," Clark said, chuckling.
Lex wagged his finger at Clark. "It's that sort of thinking that causes rich men to go broke."
"So says the man who buys a new car every other week."
"Uh-huh." Clark leaned against the counter, listening to Lex reason why cars were not a waste of money, and wondered why it had taken him so long to fall in love with Lex. Lex was... Lex, his own category of specialness. Something that Clark had known all along but was now just realizing it.
Both men turned in surprise to see Lana, who gave Sam a quick hug and smile in friendliness. "Hey, guys. Fancy meeting you here."
"Lana, hi," Clark greeted warmly. He leaned down and kissed her cheek.
"Lana." Lex's greeting was more formal. "What are you doing here?"
"Seeing a movie, what else?" Lana replied, seemingly not offended by Lex's near rudeness. "School started last week and my brain already needs a break."
"Which show are you seeing?" Clark asked.
"Same as you, I'd bet," she said, and named the Disney matinee.
"Are you going to sit with us, Miss Lana?" Sam said, clutching the kid's drink that Lex had handed to him.
"I could," Lana said, glancing questioningly at Clark for an invitation.
"Sounds great to me," Clark said, smiling widely.
"Yes, please join us," Lex said, though his tone was rather flat.
A light bulb went off suddenly above Clark's head. Lex was jealous, even though he knew that Clark and Lana were only friends. The realization made Clark want to grin stupidly. It was hard to fight it.
After paying for their junk food, they headed for the theater. Inside, the seats were packed with parents and children. Clark searched for a spot with four open chairs, but could only find three at the most. He told the others the same.
"I'll sit by myself," Lana volunteered immediately. "That was the original plan anyway."
"No," Lex spoke up. "There's spots for two and two."
"Good idea." Clark gave Lana Sam's candy and a pleading look. "You and Sam go sit closer to the screen. Lex and I will stay back here."
Lana's lips twitched as she fought a smile. "Fine by me."
Lex appeared befuddled, as he watched Lana lead Sam up the aisle. "You don't want to sit with Lana?"
Clark shook his head. "We're just friends, Lex. Stop trying to match-make us. Besides, I already love someone else."
Lex's snapped his head around, eyes wide as he stared at Clark. "You what?"
"Love someone else," Clark repeated blandly, like he was commenting on the weather. Silently, he was laughing. He nudged Lex towards two open seats near the rear of the theater. "Let's grab a seat before they're all gone."
Lex stumbled — he actually stumbled — walking towards the seats. They settled in the semi-uncomfortable auditorium chairs. Lex twisted sideways in his seat and immediately confronted Clark. "Who?"
"Who what?" Clark said innocently.
"Who do you love?" Lex demanded in a tight voice, his features tensing.
The lights went down and the screen flickered to life. The noise level of the children dropped almost instantly. A commercial began to play on screen, a raucous video touting a specific name brand. Bright colors splashed a violent dance over the audience. Techno music caused the seats to vibrate.
Clark reached over and covered Lex's hand with his own. He leaned closer so that Lex could hear him, and answered, "You."
Lex couldn't breathe.
His free hand shook wildly as he pulled at the collar of his shirt, only to find it already unbuttoned, so he fisted his hand in Clark's hair instead and kissed him.
It was awkward. Clumsy. Eww-inducing from behind. Lex still couldn't breathe, but he'd happily leave the world the same way he'd once returned to it: with Clark's mouth pressed against his own.
Clark pulled away first, whispering, "Later," against Lex's lips. Later. Right. Movie theater full of children and Kansas-bred parents. Lex supposed it was a good idea. It would give him a chance to digest the fact that Clark loved him. And try to relearn to breathe.
The movie passed by in a blur of talking animals and school children. Clark held Lex's hand through the whole thing. It made Lex want to giggle.
Eventually, the lights went up and people started filing out of the theater. Clark and Lex stayed seated, watching for Lana and Sam. Or rather, Clark was watching for Lana and Sam. Lex was watching Clark and hoping he wasn't stuck in a very cruel dream.
Abruptly, he pinched himself on the thigh. "Ow."
Clark's gaze swung to Lex. Their eyes met. Awareness crackled to life between them; awareness of love, of possibilities. Of passion, tasted once and tucked away, a fond memory.
"Spend forever with me," Lex said suddenly, urgently. A movie theater full of people wasn't the best place for this, but he needed confirmation. He needed to know that Clark was on the same page, that Lex was not interested in just a fling.
Clark's answering smile was tender and happy. "I can do that."
And that was that. They were together. Committed. Forever.
Lex squeezed Clark's hand, which was still holding his, and promised himself, as soon as they were alone, that he would clearly spell out how much Clark meant to him.
But for now, he would smile, and hold Clark's hand, and love him silently. And breathe.
It shouldn't have felt so awkward. They should have been all over each other the moment the bedroom door was locked behind them. Sam had been deposited with the nanny, the cell phone turned off, and all other distractions put on hold. There was only Lex and Clark and a king-sized bed waiting to be used.
Instead, they stood a good distance apart, uncomfortable and nervous. Neither of them spoke. It was ridiculous. They were best friends who recently discovered they loved each other. The next step shouldn't have been difficult at all.
Something had to give. They couldn't stand there, not looking at each other and shifting on their feet.
"I love you."
One of them finally said it. Or both. It didn't matter, because they were in each other's arms, kissing desperately, making up for the more than four years that had passed since their last intimate encounter. They clung to one another, hips grinding together, breathing heavily as they kissed roughly, hungrily. Hot, wet, and bruising. Too many layers of clothing separated them, but they were too caught up in passion's fire to do anything but thrust helplessly against the other until they came in their pants like teenagers.
Desperation lessened. The sense of immediacy slowed to a languidness. Need for release gave way to a relaxed desire to touch. The unending kiss became tender, soft, tasting instead of devouring, gentle instead of savage. They held each other instead of clinging, hands caressing rather than clenching. Clothing came off piece by piece and, naked, they tumbled onto the bed.
Lust was slowly stoked again with sure touches, gently possessive. Mouths met, parted, explored, and met again. Whispers of flesh brushing against flesh, the sheets rustling, words of love and soft laughter rose from the bed to linger in the air.
"...best thing ever..."
"...dear to me..."
They made love without reservation, a natural step in their relationship that echoed the past. The same feelings were there, only magnified, intensified. The love they'd had as friends deeper and more adult.
Later, they drifted off to sleep, tangled together, and dreamed of nothing. They already had everything they could wish for: family, friendship, and love.
Clark stretched his arms out across the back of the green-painted bench, ankle propped on his opposite knee. The warm sun shone brightly in the sky, and he squinted slightly as he kept an eye on Sam playing on the basketball court at their favorite park. He watched his seven-year-old make basket after basket, nothing but net, from chalk-marked spots on the blacktop, the ball rebounding directly to him after every shot. It would be amazing to anyone who didn't know Sam. To Clark, it was just another example of his child's genius put to work.
"I need Superman."
Clark turned his head at the declaration, brows raised. "Why?"
Lex walked slowly towards where Clark sat, keeping pace with PJ, who toddled along beside him, holding his hand. A dark-colored diaper bag was slung over Lex's shoulder, pulling at his violet shirt. "The Mayor still hasn't added a changing table to the men's restroom."
"And you want Superman to rough him up," Clark said with a roll of his eyes. Lex always wanted him to strong-arm someone. "It's not going to happen, Lex."
"Well, someone needs to let the Mayor know that he can't ignore his constituents," Lex said. "I've already tried talking to him, personally and through the proper channels of complaint."
PJ spotted Sam and pulled away from Lex. Lex let her go, and she ran as fast as her little legs could carry her towards her brother. Halfway to her goal, she fell in the grass. Both of her fathers waited for her to cry, but PJ was a Luthor through and through and Luthors rarely cried. She quickly got to her feet and continued to run.
Pamela Jean Luthor was Lex's and Clark's second child, pre-planned and prepared for, except for the part where Clark got knocked up in the backseat of the four-door at the Drive-In, three months before the chosen conception date. Babies shouldn't be strategized anyway, in Clark's opinion. Lex had begged to differ, but since he was the one who hadn't worn a condom, it was his own fault.
PJ, as she was called, was two-years-old and looked a lot like Clark: dark hair, naturally tan skin, high cheekbones even this early in life. She had Lex's steel-blue eyes, however, that weighed and measured and calculated, and Clark knew that she would be the one to take over LexCorp one day, even though she still didn't talk. She also had Lionel wrapped around her tiny finger and Clark wouldn't be surprised if LuthorCorp also went to her. Sam wouldn't care; he was too busy building robots and other inventions. Besides which, Jonathan and Martha spoiled him rotten, so he wasn't left out.
Clark and Lex were still together, best friends and lovers, the way it was meant to be. Jonathan was the one who, surprisingly, supported them the most, followed by Lionel. Martha would never like Lex, but she tolerated the relationship because Clark was happy. And he was, extremely so. He had two beautiful children; a good job at the Daily Planet as a front page reporter along with his insane partner, Lois Lane; a large house in the suburbs with a white picket fence that made Lex mutter about clichés; an alternate persona that allowed him to play hero; and a lifetime companion that he loved more and more every day.
"I don't know what else to do," Lex went on, continuing his mini-rant. He sat down beside Clark, sticking the diaper bag under the bench. "I could have LexCorp, or convince Dad to have LuthorCorp, install the changing tables, but this is a civic matter. We pay taxes. There should be city funds for this." He frowned irritably. "If this was a CEO dissing me, I'd take his company and do it myself."
"Why don't you?" Clark said.
"I can't just take over being Mayor, Clark," Lex said. "It's an elected position."
"Then run in the next election." Clark watched Sam taunt PJ with the basketball. "Sam, don't tease your sister!"
"Maybe I will run," Lex said thoughtfully. "I'd win, of course."
Clark smiled bemusedly. "Of course."
"Laura is practically in charge of LexCorp as it is," Lex continued. "My dad would have to rely on his drones again, but he'd survive. Plus, I've always wanted to rule the world, so I've got to start somewhere."
"Actually, you can start now and tell your children to behave."
Lex's gaze snapped up. "Sam! PJ! Enough!"
Clark watched as Lex stood and crossed to the kids. They immediately latched onto Lex, giving up fighting with each other in order to play with Papa. Lex picked up PJ, set her on his shoulders, and passed the ball to her. She made a basket and clapped in delight. Sam began making calculations again, marking the ground and telling Lex where to stand. Clark smiled, stood, and joined his family.
Lois had asked Clark once if he'd pictured his life turning out as it did. He'd told her no.
It turned out better.
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