Lip bloody and throbbing, Clark stared at Lex with disbelief. “You punched me.” He started getting angry and gave Lex a shove. "What did you do that for?"
Lex stumbled back a step, caught himself, and promptly shoved Clark in return. "Because I've been restraining myself far too long."
Clark managed find his footing. His ire ratcheted. He shoved Lex again.
Lex shoved back.
Clark shoved harder.
Lex punched him a second time.
Clark pressed his hand to his jaw where Lex hit. His nostrils flared. Lex smirked and licked the blood from his knuckles.
The smack of Lex's body on the hardwood floor was satisfying, when Clark tackled him. Clark’s smugness didn’t last, as Lex flipped their positions, rose up, and landed another punch. With a snarl of pained anger, Clark sent them rolling. He’d never been in an honest-to-god, non-superpowered fistfight before, and he wasn’t about give any quarter. They traded blows, scratching, choking, and bashing each other against the floor. Grunts and cut-off curses punctuate heavy breathing as they fought like raging children.
"You lie to me," Lex broke the angry silence, twisting his hand in Clark's hair and smacking his head against the ground. "You lie to my face and then you show up here expecting me to do anything for you?"
"You act like it's your right to know the answers to everything-" Clark twisted his body, biting his inner cheek at the ache, and upset Lex's balance. They rolled on the floor again, until Clark was on top. "-when it's none of your damn business." Clark punched him across the jaw.
Lex's head flung to the side at the blow, more blood spilling. He turned his head and looked up at Clark with angry slits for eyes. "It's my business if I say it is." He aimed a chop into Clark's kidney.
Clark gasped and doubled over, and Lex head butted him. The world exploded with stars. He nearly puked when Lex rolled them again. Thanks for taking my invulnerability, Jor-El.
Fisting his hands in the front of Clark’s shirt, Lex lifted Clark’s head from the floor and got right in his face. “We were supposed to be friends. We were supposed to be legendary.”
“Friends don’t investigate each other behind their backs,” Clark grunted.
“You did it, too!” Spittle flew from Lex’s mouth as he yelled furiously. “You went to my father about me not just once, but three—” Lex banged Clark’s head on the floor, “—damn—” he banged it again, “—times!”
Clark boxed Lex’s ears. Lex bit back a cry and let go of Clark. Clark rolled them immediately and pinned Lex with his full weight. He pressed his forearm against Lex’s neck. His head throbbed. “To protect you! I only went to him in order to protect you.”
“He almost killed me, Clark,” Lex wheezed, pushing against Clark’s elbow, blood streaking jagged lines across his cheek. “And I know he’s responsible for the missing seven weeks of my life.”
Clark winced at his own culpability in that, and Lex zoomed in on his reaction. His face flushed in anger. “You know. You know what happened during that time and you won’t tell me.”
“For your own protection—”
“I don’t want your protection!” Lex flipped them with strength Clark didn’t know he’d had. Lex dug his forearm into Clark’s neck in a mimic of Clark’s former position. “I want you to trust me like you do everyone else! Is that so much to ask?”
“I treat you exactly like everyone else.” Clark gasped for breath.
“Bullshit.” Lex pressed harder with his arm, his features twisted. “You treat that fickle princess Lana like she walks on water, when I know for a fact that she’s a conniving, manipulating, self-centered cocktease.”
Clark’s lips curled in a snarl. “Take that back.”
“Why? It’s the truth.” Lex smiled viciously. “Something I’m capable of telling. Unlike you.”
“She’s not a cocktease.” Clark clawed at the arm crushing his windpipe. Black spots swam in his vision.
“She is. She leads men around by their dicks, but gives nothing in return.” Lex leaned closer, rested his cheek against Clark’s, and purred in his ear, “I’d bet she’d look good wearing diamond earrings, though. Don’t you agree?”
Clark roared in response, wrapped both arms around Lex, and sent them rolling once more. He trapped Lex to the floor, arms pinned over his head. Lex laughed, a bitter, acidic sound that echoed against the stone walls.
“What are you laughing at?” Clark said between clenched teeth.
“You don’t see it, do you?” Lex laughed a little more. “She’s got you wrapped around her passive-aggressive little finger.”
“Stop saying bad things about her,” Clark snapped. “She’s not like that.”
Lex stopped laughing abruptly and stared up at him. “She doesn’t love you. She never will.”
“Fat lot you know. She told me she loved me the other day.”
“She said the same thing to Jason, Adam, and Whitney.” Lex’s mouth curved maliciously. “Where are they now?”
“Now you’re calling her a Black Widow?” Clark snorted derisively. Blood dripped from his face onto Lex’s chin. “I think you’re confusing your girlfriends with mine.”
“Then I speak from experience. Girls like her don’t know what real love is.” Lex struggled to pull his arms free.
Clark held on tighter, digging his knees and toes against the floor between Lex’s splayed legs. “No, you don’t know what real love is.”
Lex began laughing again, with a wild edge. “Me? Me? You are so damned fucking blind.”
“I’m not blind,” Clark protested. But he was confused. And in pain. Lex was definitely not a weakling.
Lex proved it by getting a wrist free. But instead of decking Clark, he fisted his hand in Clark’s hair, yanked his head down as Lex rose up and mashed their cut and swollen lips together.
Clark’s gaze widened and he stared at Lex with blurred vision from being so close. Lex’s eyes were defiant and taunting, and Clark could pick out every fleck of black and silver swimming in the pools of blue.
Lex’s head clunked on the floor when he broke the kiss, and he grinned shark-like at Clark. “I’ve been wanting to do that for years.”
“Years?” Clark blinked and sputtered in response. Lex got his other hand free and flipped their positions.
Cradling Clark’s head in his hand, Lex searched Clark’s stunned gaze, his grin fading into seriousness. “I know what real love is, Clark,” he murmured, “because every day you break my heart once more.”
He lowered his head and pressed his lips fleetingly to Clark’s, before he stood and straightened his shirt. The stained glass windows added additional purples and reds to his bruised and abraised face. “You know the way out,” he said, and left the room.
Clark didn’t move. He lay on the floor for a long time, staring at the vaulted ceiling, aching from the fight, and wondered why he felt like he’d just lost the most important thing in his life.