The lead-lined gloves protected him as he polished the stone, shaping it into a quarter-inch bracelet. He slipped it on his wrist, over the gloves, and used his heat vision to sear the open ends together. He polished the weld marks away, making the bracelet into a never-ending band around his wrist. Then, he used his heat vision to slice through the lead-lined glove and pulled the glove from under the bracelet.
The gold kryptonite lay heavily on his wrist.
The effects were immediate. He felt gravity pulling at him, weighing him down. Upon testing, his powers were, indeed, gone; no more heat vision, x-ray vision, super strength, hearing, or speed. His skin was vulnerable to injury. Clark Kent was as normal as he could get, for an alien.
When Jor-El had released him from the cave wall, the plan had already been formulated. He’d had the knowledge he needed, his greatest weakness given to him by the very being who wanted him to use his strength. “Destiny” became nothing more than a word and the prophecies on the cave walls were reduced to just being pretty Kawatche pictures.
It took longer to convince Lex.
Two years passed before Lex Luthor truly understood. Clark had told him about his origins, his old destiny, and his choice, because he saw in Lex a photo negative of himself. Clark had been unafraid of being captured and dissected. If that had been the result of his confession, so be it, but he couldn’t live with himself if he hadn’t offered the choice to Lex.
“We could be mediocre together, or you can be powerful alone. I’ll still love you, no matter what you choose.”
Lex had divorced himself from the business world completely by Clark’s twenty-first birthday. He’d fast-tracked and finished his post-graduate degrees in various sciences and was hired to teach at a small, private college in Illinois.
Clark transferred without hesitation for his junior and senior years.
Milhurst College was in the middle of a cornfield in the middle of Illinois. Originally a seminary that still had religious ties, the undergraduate school did not preclude any race, creed, or sexual preference from attending or being hired. Old brick buildings, gravel paths, and tall trees made up the campus. All classes were held in one building, coined the Science building. The Student Union housed the cafeteria, a snack bar, various offices for student activities, and a ballroom. Faculty and staff made their offices in the Administration building.
The college had seven dorms, three female and four male, and an apartment complex for faculty and staff called Seton Hall. Lex had rented Apartment C on the first floor, a two bedroom with a small living room/dining room and kitchen area. It was clean and up to code, and the décor was classic seventies avocado and goldenrod. Clark thought it would be a nice place to live for a few years.
“You’re not moving in with me.”
Clark cranked open the window in the hot living room. “I thought we discussed this already.”
“I said I got a job in Illinois. You said you’d follow me. I said that I’d like that. Nothing was discussed about us living in the same space,” Lex said, setting down a taped cardboard box on the shag carpet. Sweat curved along his skull and dotted his upper lip. His Lowell County Fair t-shirt clung wetly between his shoulder blades and beneath his arms.
“I was at your place in Metropolis five out of seven nights a week.” Clark wiped his damp face with the hem of his t-shirt as he followed Lex out of the apartment. “It’s stupid for me to spend the money for a dorm room when I’m going to be over here just as often.”
“You need to live in the dorms,” Lex insisted. He reached into the bed of the pickup truck for another box. “I don’t want you known as ‘that guy who sleeps with the Chemistry Professor’.”
“If anything, they’ll be envious, because you’re hot.” Clark grinned crookedly. Lex did not appear amused. With a sigh, Clark lifted a box and almost staggered under the weight. “Jeez, what the heck did you pack in here, an elephant?”
Lex glanced at the label written on the side in black marker. “Textbooks.”
“I’m glad I’m not going to be in your classes.” Clark tightened his grip on the box as he carried it inside. He dropped the box as soon as he could in the apartment. “Another reason why I can live with you: no ethical dilemma.”
“I’m still a teacher and you’re a student.”
“The Admin knows that we’re partners. You told them before you were hired; I told them on my application.”
“Clark,” Lex pinched the bridge of his nose, “I really think you need to be in the dorms. How are you going to make friends?”
“The same way I did at Met U: by joining the school newspaper.” Clark wrapped his fingers around Lex’s wrist, gently pulled it down, and caught Lex’s full attention. “I can argue with you all day.”
“I know.” Lex’s mouth twisted in a self-deprecating smile. “You always get what you want, too.”
“Not always.” Clark rubbed his thumb against the underside of Lex’s wrist. “If you gave me a real reason for not wanting me to move in, I would drop it.”
Lex held Clark’s gaze for a long moment before looking away. “I don’t want us to split up,” he said.
“Why would we break up if I moved in with you?” Clark said, confused.
“I think my track record speaks for itself,” Lex replied dryly.
“Your exes were money-grubbing, homicidal maniacs,” Clark said. “Living with you wasn’t the cause of your divorces.”
Lex shrugged and wouldn’t look at Clark. “Maybe they wouldn’t have tried to kill me if they hadn’t lived with me.”
Clark refrained from rolling his eyes. “Stop being such a fatalist.”
“I prefer ‘realist’.”
“Lex…” Clark drew in his patience and reminded himself that he loved the insecure dork. “If we break up, it will have had nothing to do with us living together, all right?”
“So you think we’ll break up, huh?”
Clark wanted to shake some sense into Lex. Then, he saw the devilish glint in the corners of Lex’s eyes. “You’re such a pain in the ass.”
Lex pulled his wrist free and said over his shoulder as he headed out the door, “Now that you’re living with me, you’d better get used to it.”
Clark didn’t hold back on the eye-roll, this time.
“Oh, god… oh, god, Clark…” Lex rocked forward, neck twisting, hands clenching the cushion on the couch. The need for physical contact had hit the moment it had been time for Clark to leave. They hadn’t made it a step towards the bedroom. With a couple condoms from Clark’s wallet, Clark pounded into Lex from behind, jeans open only enough to free his cock. Lex was bent over the arm of the couch, jeans and underwear around his ankles.
“Four weeks, Lex.” Sweat made Lex’s skin slippery, and Clark’s fingers bruised the slim hips as he held on tightly and dug in. “You’re going to feel me for all four weeks.”
“Yesss,” Lex hissed, his ass lifting to meet Clark’s thrusts. “Fuck, Clark.”
“Yeah. Say my name. Know who you belong to,” Clark growled possessively.
Lex’s spine bowed, his voice muffled by the cushion. “Clark- Clark- fuck!” He climaxed with a shudder, rubbing hard against the arm of the couch, clenching around Clark’s cock.
Clark slid his hand under Lex’s clinging t-shirt, pressing him down onto the couch. His pelvis smacked against Lex’s ass, the button on his jeans jingling with every thrust. Red marks scoured Lex’s bare flesh where the denim abraded him. Clark watched with undisguised pleasure as his condom-covered cock pierced Lex’s body again and again and again.
“You’re so fucking gorgeous like this.” White heat burned at the base of Clark’s spine and his thrusts became erratic. “All mine. You’re all mine. Fuck, Lex—”
Clark came with a garbled yell from behind clenched teeth. Orgasm wrung out of him in jerky pulses, filling the condom deep in Lex’s ass.
Like a marionette with its strings cut, Clark sagged abruptly, propping himself by his forearm on the back of the couch. Lex clenched around him and he moaned. He gave Lex a light smack on the ass, held the base of the condom, and pulled out. It was Lex’s turn to moan.
“Definitely weeks,” Lex joked with a self-satisfied chuckle. He pushed upright and wobbled a moment, his face and bald head flushed and scraped red from the cushion. He pulled up his pants and followed Clark into the bathroom to dispose of his own filled condom.
“I don’t want to go.” Clark leaned against the sink after removing his shirt and washing. “Can’t I just make mom and dad ship me my stuff?”
“It was your idea to move in with me. You’re going to be the one to tell them.” Lex bumped Clark out of the way and used a washrag to clean up. “And no, you can’t do that over the phone, or by email.”
Clark closed his mouth with a clack.
There were times Clark missed certain powers, and getting from points A to B in a blink of an eye was one of them. He had to go back to the Kent Farm, which was a ten-hour drive from Milhurst, and retrieve his belongings for the school year. He wasn’t quite prepared to move everything out of his parents’ house, though he had a feeling he wouldn’t be living there next summer.
“You could come with me,” Clark said.
Lex made an uncouth sound. “I don’t love you that much.”
Clark scowled. “Fine. Let me face my execution alone.”
“I’ll give you cigarettes and a blindfold.”
“No.” Lex looked at Clark in the mirror above the sink. “You weaseled your way into living with me and you can explain it to your parents.”
“I didn’t weasel,” Clark said. “I persuaded you into doing something you already wanted.”
Lex’s reddish brow arched. “And how did you come to that conclusion?”
“You left space in the closet for my clothes before I even brought up the subject.”
Caught, Lex stuck his nose in the air and brushed past Clark out of the bathroom. “Stop acting smug.”
Clark snickered, shut off the light, and went to go change his shirt. Luckily, Lex had several of Clark’s shirts mixed in with his own, whether by Clark leaving them at Lex’s, or Lex being a sentimental thief. Clark’s overnight bag had already been put in the truck.
When Clark eventually reached the living room, he had sombered. A glance at the clock told him he was well past the time to be on the road. Lex knew it, too, and his smile was faint as he joked, “Four weeks, right?”
“Your ass knows it,” Clark teased back, just as unenthusiastically.
Lex stepped forward and into Clark’s embrace. “Drive safely. You’re not invulnerable anymore.”
“I’ll call when I get there.” Clark brushed a kiss across Lex’s lips, murmuring, “Love you.”
“Same here.” Lex backed out of Clark’s arms and stuck his hands in his pockets. “I’ll see you next month.”
Clark knew he had to leave before they both turned into girls. He grabbed his truck keys, cell phone, and sunglasses off the kitchen counter and glanced back at Lex, still standing in the living room. “Bye.”
Clark opened the door and left Lex, alone.
Due to an accident on the highway, Clark arrived at the Kent Farm just as his parents got up to start their day. Martha was making breakfast when Clark entered the house and he received a warm hug from her.
“I was getting worried,” she said, checking him over like all mothers did their wayward sons.
“Car wreck in Kansas City,” Clark explained, dropping his keys and overnight bag on the kitchen table. He thumbed the buttons on his cell phone. “I need to call Lex.”
“Do you want something to eat?” Martha said, returning to her cooking.
“No thanks. I, uh, have something to tell you guys, then I’m going to crash for a few hours,” Clark said. The phone rang on the other end of the line, and Clark turned away from Martha, deterring further questioning.
Lex picked up on the fourth ring. “Mmph. Clark?”
“Hey, Lex. I’m here, finally,” Clark said.
“Wha’ t’k s’lun?”
Sleepy Lex made Clark’s heart do funny things. “Accident on the roads. Someone else, not me.”
“’ope not. Like you whole.”
“I like me whole, too.” Clark sank into a chair at the table and rested his cheek on his fist. “I guess I’ll let you get back to sleep.”
“Yeah. Me, too.” Clark sighed. “I’ll call you tonight, okay?”
“M’kay. Blindfulsinyer bag.”
“Funny.” Clark smiled, despite his sardonic tone. “Bye.”
Martha set a glass of juice down by his elbow as he disconnected. He rubbed a tired hand over his face and gave her a small nod of thanks.
“How’s Lex?” Martha said.
“Nervous. Grouchy. Probably completely unpacked already,” Clark replied, sipping the juice. “He’s going to be spending the next four weeks working himself into knots and I’m going to have to untie them all when I get back.”
“It’s not easy starting over in a new place, especially so far from home.”
“Actually, it’s better that Lex is far away.” Clark said. “His last name hangs around his neck like a noose in Kansas. Now, he’ll just be a twenty-seven year old Chem Prof with a younger, prettier partner.” Clark puckered his lips and fluttered his eyelashes. Martha laughed.
“I don’t know how he puts up with you,” she said.
“Who puts up with who?” Jonathan came downstairs and clapped his hand on Clark’s shoulder as he passed. “Hello, son.”
“Hey, Dad. Mom’s talking about Lex,” Clark said.
Jonathan joined him at the table. “He settled in all right?”
“Yeah, but, uh, he’s missing something for his apartment.”
“Like what?” Jonathan asked.
“Like me.” Clark had learned early the sooner he asked for things, the longer he had to try and wear his parents’ protests down. “I’m moving in with him.”
“Into his apartment?” Martha said, setting a plate of food in front of Jonathan.
Clark nodded. “I’m not going to stay in the dorms any more.”
Jonathan picked up his fork and cut into his pancakes. “Will you have to pay rent?”
“Um, no. Lex’s rent is cheap because it’s campus housing for teachers. I’ll pitch in for utilities and stuff, but that’s about it,” Clark said.
“Okay. Give us the address and phone number before you leave.” With that, Jonathan tucked into his meal.
Clark stared at him. “That’s it?”
“What?” Jonathan said questioningly.
“You’re going to let me move in with Lex, just like that. No arguments? No lectures on my age, or on improprieties with Lex being a teacher at Milhurst?”
“We can argue if you’d like,” Martha said, a teasing note in her voice, as she joined them at the table.
“No, that’s okay.” Clark was flummoxed by their reaction. “But I’d like to know why.”
Jonathan shrugged. “Room and board at a private college is expensive and I know your scholarship didn’t cover everything when you transferred.”
“Besides, honey, you and Lex are both adults and should make your own decisions in your relationship,” Martha said, lifting her coffee mug to her mouth. “I’m surprised it took this long for you two to move in together.”
Clark looked between his parents. “And you’re really okay with it?”
“Yes, we are,” Martha assured him.
“I read that book your mother gave me and I know that ‘partners’ is a serious commitment,” Jonathan said. “If you and Lex are doing things I don’t want to think about, I’d rather you be as married as you can get, and living together comes with the territory.”
“Well, er, thanks.” Clark wondered who’d replaced his parents with pod people. He stood. “I think I’ll go to bed. I’ll be up in a few hours to help around the farm, Dad.”
“No hurry, son.”
Clark went upstairs, stripped down to his boxers, and flopped onto the bed in his old bedroom. Arms folded beneath his head, he glanced at the poster-covered walls and the memorabilia scattered around the room. He’d have to make a list of what he was going to take to Illinois.
Where he would be living with Lex.
Clark grinned, flipped over, and snuggled the pillow. Only three weeks and six days, and he wouldn’t have to sleep alone ever again.
“What are you wearing?”
Lex’s choked mirth sounded clearly in Clark’s ear. “Clark?”
“You were expecting someone else to be asking about your clothing choice?” Clark said, lounging against the headboard on his bed. His parents had gone for the afternoon and, after finishing his chores, he’d locked himself inside his bedroom for a phone call with Lex and a nap.
“Didn’t you know? I’m having a sordid affair with a dashing Spaniard named Miguel.”
“Miguel, huh?” Clark chuckled. “Should I be jealous?”
“Terribly. The things Miguel can do with a muleta. Olé!”
Apparently, Lex couldn’t hold back any longer and untainted laughter rang over the phone line. Clark’s smile of amusement spread from ear to ear. “Someone’s in a good mood.”
“That I am,” Lex said. “I blew up something in the lab this morning. It was fun and I’m getting paid to do it again with impressionable youths this coming semester.”
“Should I be worried?”
“Not unless you end up in one of my classes.”
The afternoon sunlight streamed through the bedroom window, warming Clark’s bare chest and legs. He flicked open the button on his shorts and scratched his belly. “Only if you started teaching human anatomy.”
Lex’s voice dropped a notch. “I think you’re already well-versed in the subject.”
“Mmyeah.” Clark slipped his hand down his shorts. “But I could always use a refresher course.”
“It is important to review.” Lex’s smooth baritone slid along Clark’s spine and stirred his cock.
Clark stroked a hand over his swelling flesh. “You know what I’m going to do when I get back? I’m going to bend you over the arm of the couch again and rim you until you scream.”
Lex sucked in an audible breath. “Oh, god.”
“You like that?” Clark shifted, working his shorts down, freeing his fast-growing erection. “Never mind. I know you do. You’re wishing I was there right now.”
“Yes,” Lex replied huskily.
Clark put the phone to his other ear, licked his right palm, and wrapped his hand around his cock. He stroked and groaned. “Yeah. I want to be there, too. I want to see you face down, ass up, and whimpering.”
Pre-come slicked Clark’s thumb as he rubbed over the slit. He could hear Lex shifting on the other end of the line and pictured him on the couch, pants undone and flushed cock in his left hand. “That’s right, say my name. Beg me to lick you.”
A throaty moan sounded in Clark’s ear. “Please, Clark.”
“I’m on my knees behind you. I part your butt cheeks and stare at your hole. It’s pink and wrinkled and clean. You’re always obsessively clean there, like a slut ready for a fuck at any time.
“Are you a slut, Lex?” Clark purred. “Or are you my pretty, little bitch in constant heat, wanting me to mount you over and over with my big, hard cock.”
“Oh, fuck. Fuck,” Lex whimpered over the line.
“Yeah, that’s what you want, isn’t it, bitch?” Clark jerked roughly at his dick, skin burning with painful-pleasure from lack of lube. “I sniff your ass, smelling your dark, bitter scent. I lick your hole, tasting skin and soap and you. You taste so good.”
“God, Clark, fuck—”
“I could eat you all day. Maybe sometime I will. I’ll lay you on the kitchen table, face down, ankles tied to the table legs and hands tied behind your back. I’ll sit in my chair behind you and feast on your ass. Oh, god, yeah.”
Lex’s breath hitched and he repeated with a wild edge, “Eat me, eat me, eat me, eat me…”
“And then, the doorbell rings.” Clark squeezed his balls harshly, staving off the orgasm boiling in his loins. “I leave you tied there in plain view and answer the door. It’s a group of students wanting help. I invite them in.”
“Clark!” Lex’s voice cracked. “Fuck, fuck, fuck.”
“They’re all young and gorgeous and well-hung men, and I gather them in the kitchen around the table. They stare hungrily at you, pull out their cocks, and start jerking off. I take my seat again, open your butt cheeks, and tongue-fuck you into orgasm.”
Lex’s high-pitched sound was nearly a squeal, as he came loudly over the phone.
Clark’s hips bucked, fist jerking faster at his erection. “The students start coming when you do, shooting their loads across your back and on your bald head. There’s come everywhere and you’re begging ‘More, more’.”
Orgasm started at his toes, racing up and exploding from his cock. Ropes of creamy jizz splattered his bare chest and abdomen. Spots danced wildly behind his tightly squeezed eyelids, his body seizing.
His climax left him gasping, slumped against the headboard on the bed. He licked his lips and opened his eyes, blinking away the fuzz in his vision. His cock lay limply on his belly, rubbed red and glistening with come. He heard Lex panting in his ear and smiled exhaustedly. “Was it good for you?”
Lex laughed breathlessly. “Olé!”
Stacked, sealed boxes stood next to the bedroom door, labeled with black marker, ready to be packed into the truck. Knickknacks and pictures filled the boxes, along with clothing, books, and music. Clark crossed off items on his list, which had grown from school term items to fully moving out.
Martha entered the bedroom, her arms full with linens. “You’ll need sheets and towels. It’s something most couples forget when starting out.”
“Lex has plenty,” Clark said. “I think he just buys new ones when it’s time to change them.”
“I’ll give you these, anyway.” Martha packed the sheets and towels in a half-empty box. “Oh! Blankets. You can never have enough blankets…”
Clark watched as his mother left the room again. She was acting stranger than normal for his returning to school.
“Here we are. Thin ones for the summer and thicker ones for the winter.” Martha could barely be seen over the folded, colorful blankets in her arms. “I’m not sure how cold it gets in Illinois during the winter. If it’s anything like Kansas, you’ll need them.”
Clark took the blankets from her and set them on his old bed before facing her. “Okay, Mom, what’s up? You’re acting weird.”
“I’m fine, Clark.” Martha picked up his list and scanned. “Come on. We have a lot to pack still before you leave tomorrow.”
Clark took the list from her, set it aside, and captured her hands. He was surprised when he saw tears in her eyes. “Mom?”
Martha freed her hands and waved one in front of her face. “I’m sorry, Clark. It’s just… you’re leaving.”
“I leave for school every year,” Clark said. “It’s not new.”
“But this time, you’re not coming home.” Martha smiled tremulously at him and cupped his cheek. “My baby’s all grown up.”
She pinched his chin. “You behave yourself. Treat Lex with love and care. It’s not going to be easy for either of you.”
“We’ve done okay so far,” Clark said.
“Living with someone isn’t the same as spending the night,” Martha told him. “Plus, you have to deal with a new school, new town, and a whole new set of prejudices.”
“Mom, we’ll be fine.”
Martha smiled lovingly at him. “I know you will, honey. But it’s a mother’s prerogative to worry.”
Pick-up trucks, over-packed cars, and a few U-Hauls crowded the parking areas and along the roads outside of the dorms when Clark arrived at Milhurst. The freshmen were easiest to spot, with their wide-eyed looks of terror and meager belongings being carried into their new eight-by-ten cells. Older, returning students brought essentials, calling out to each other in raucous greetings, lugging televisions, computers, refrigerators, and plywood into the buildings. The sound of drilling and hammering floated out the open windows, mixing with a cacophony of various musical genres, as bars and lofts were erected in the tiny rooms.
Clark navigated his truck down the narrow roads of the closed campus to the staff apartments, separated from the students by a wide intramural field, next door to the administrative offices. He parked in the spot designated for him, alongside Lex’s sedate (for him) so-dark-purple-it-appeared-black Jaguar.
A few others unpacked their vehicles, eyeing Clark questionably when he climbed out of the truck and stretched. The early evening sun shined high still at the tail end of summer, glinting against the smooth, gold bracelet adorning his wrist. He leaned back into the truck, stuffed loose music cases, food wrappers and drink containers into his backpack, and shouldered it. Locking the door, he rounded truck, lowered the tailgate, and unsnapped the canvas tarp. He snagged two suitcases of clothing and grunted as he hoisted them out. Who knew clothes weighed so much?
“Excuse me, but I don’t think you’re in the right place.” A tall, lean man with thinning black hair, dressed in a gray sweat suit, stopped by Clark. “The student dorms are on the other side of the field.”
“I know.” Clark smiled when he saw Lex come out the door. “But I’m where I’m supposed to be.”
“Clark, I didn’t expect you for another hour.” Lex hesitated, darting a glance at the other man, before kissing Clark on the lips in greeting.
“Were you watching out the window then?” Clark teased with a grin.
“I may have seen you pass by,” Lex said dismissively. He turned to the other man. “Mike, it’s good to see you again.”
“You, too, Lex,” Mike said, looking between Lex and Clark.
Lex made introductions. “Mike, this is Clark Kent, my partner. Clark, this is Mike Abernathy. Mike teaches in the education department.”
“Professor Abernathy,” Clark said courteously, extending his hand.
Mike shook it. “You two are…,” he seemed to search for an appropriate, politically correct word, “…together?”
“Yes,” Lex answered simply. He reached past Clark into the back of the truck and hefted a box, then nodded politely at Mike. “I’ll see you at the faculty meeting breakfast.”
Clark smiled at Mike. “Nice meeting you,” he said, and followed after Lex.
An air conditioner in the window cooled the apartment, making it much more inhabitable since Clark was there last. Lex’s presence touched the main rooms with familiarity: papers on the kitchen table, a plate and glass in the sink, an open book facedown on the arm of the sofa. All of Lex’s belongings had been unpacked and put in their rightful spots, with spaces left between, waiting for Clark to fill.
Clark deposited the suitcases and backpack in the bedroom and caught Lex in the doorway to the office. He lowered his mouth and planted a longer, firmer kiss on Lex. “Missed you,” he mumbled against Lex’s lips.
“Same here.” Lex brushed his fingertips over Clark’s chest and then gently pushed Clark back a step. “We need to get you unpacked.”
Clark nodded without protest and stole another kiss before heading out to his truck again. The sooner they unloaded his belongings, the sooner they could lock themselves in the apartment and have sex. Four weeks of abstinence was twenty-eight days too many.
But by the time they’d gotten everything inside and put away, Clark was bone-tired. He collapsed face-first onto the bed, closed his eyes, and exhaled as if he were deflating.
“Shoes off the bed.”
Clark toed his sneakers off and knocked them on the floor without otherwise moving his upper body.
Lex chuckled, a low sound that tickled up Clark’s spine. The overhead light switched off and the bed sagged a moment later, as Lex joined him. Calloused fingertips slipped under Clark’s t-shirt and smoothed over slightly sweaty skin.
Clark cracked open his eyelids. A streetlamp outside the window cast a yellow-tinted light into the dim bedroom. Lex lay close beside him, an arm tucked beneath the pillow under his head. A smile curved Lex’s lips and softened his eyes. He tangled his sock-clad feet with Clark’s and his mouth quirked higher on one side when Clark curled his toes over Lex’s. “Monkey toes.”
“Ooh-ooh-ooh,” Clark said in a monotone, causing Lex’s smile to broaden even more. He sighed again, his eyelids slipping shut, as Lex caressed his back.
He drifted off to sleep without knowing it, embraced by the safety and comfort of home.
Clark shut the textbook he’d been leafing through and glanced at the clock. He made a quick mental calculation and nodded to himself. It was time. Tossing the book aside, he rose from the couch and headed into the kitchen.
Lex sat at the kitchen table, frowning in concentration at the lesson plan book in front of him. Black shirtsleeves pushed up, he hunched over the table in the same position Clark had left him in hours ago. Science textbooks and syllabi stacked neatly flanked his right hand side. A glass with traces of amber-colored alcohol at the bottom stood in easy reach on his left. He scratched out words on the page with his pen and wrote something else in the remaining space.
“Lex, it’s time for bed,” Clark said, laying a hand on Lex’s shoulder. He could feel the knots of tension beneath his palm.
Lex looked over at the clock on the microwave. “It’s not even ten yet.”
“I didn’t say we were going to sleep.”
“That was bad.” Lex flashed him a fleeting grin. “I have a lot of work still to do, though—”
“No, you don’t.” Boldly, Clark picked up the lesson plan book, folded it closed, and set it on the pile of other books.
Annoyance creased the corners of Lex’s eyes. “Clark, I’m busy. I’ll have time for sex in a little while.”
“Right, because I don’t know that you’ll be in here all night, worrying about your classes.” Clark plucked the pen out of Lex’s hand and tossed it on the table. It rolled to the edge and balanced there precariously. “You need to relax or tomorrow you’ll be off your game.”
“What I need is to finish revising my lesson plans.”
“They’re done, Lex. They’ve been done for weeks. You’ve had them memorized for weeks.”
“No.” Clark leaned a hand on the table and bent to look Lex straight in the eyes. “I’m going to fuck you into unconsciousness and you’re going to stay that way until morning.”
“Bossy doesn’t suit you,” Lex said.
“Bitchy doesn’t suit you, either.” Clark tugged Lex to his feet. Considering how easy it was, Lex had decided to humor him. Lex also thought he would be returning to his lesson plans in a little while, Clark knew. Too bad he would be wrong. “I’ll meet you in the bedroom.”
Lex’s put out, mocking sigh floated over his shoulder as he left the kitchen. Clark cleaned up the glass, rinsing it thoroughly before sticking it in the dishwasher. He shut off the light and the one in the living room before walking down the short hallway to their bedroom.
Lex was pulling his shirt over his head, exposing the long, firm lines of his torso, when Clark entered the room. The lamp on Lex’s side of the bed tinged his skin in soft peach. His nipples were a darker shade, peaking in the cool air coming from the air conditioning.
Jeans tightening at the crotch, Clark’s lips curved appreciatively as he continued past the bed to the door that led to the small, en suite bathroom. From the drawers beneath the sink, he unearthed a tube of slick gel. Lubricated condoms were really all that was needed now when they had sex; the gel was for more hands-on play.
Reclining on the bed, propped against the headboard with a pillow, Lex’s mouth parted reflexively and he licked his lips when he saw the tube in Clark’s hand. His half-hard cock, lying against his bare thigh, jumped and filled in anticipation. Clark tossed the tube on the bed and stripped without fanfare. He crawled onto the bed from the foot, pausing to kiss the sock lines around Lex’s ankles as he moved up between Lex’s parted legs. Settling on his stomach, his hard-on trapped against the comforter, he bussed short kisses along the reddened underwear line wrapping around Lex’s waist.
Little things, like wear-lines from clothing, made Lex seem much more touchable. He smelled damp and musky, his sweat having been trapped at his groin, slicking down the red-gold pubic hairs at the creases of his hips. Bald patches on his hair-dusted legs where the pockets rubbed caught Clark’s palms as he swept them up Lex’s thighs. His erection curved left, pulsing against his abdomen, a darker ring of skin circling the shaft just below the spongy head.
Clark darted his tongue out and licked the darkened line. Lex sucked in a breath, cock lifting to bop Clark in the chin. Clark chuckled and the warm air from his mouth made Lex’s cock jump again. He raised his eyes to Lex, whose gaze had turned hungry. Propping on an elbow, he snagged the tube of lubricant and liberally coated his first two fingers.
“Oh, god,” Lex moaned when Clark breached him, shifting his legs so his feet were flat on the bed. He scrounged for one of the extra pillows and stuffed it under his hips while Clark’s fingers were deep in his ass.
Clark drew his fingers back once Lex settled and added a third finger already. The long, low sound that emerged from Lex’s throat indicated how much he liked it. Clark laved Lex’s balls with his tongue, nosing them up to tickle the sensitive skin beneath, as his fingers moved in and out. He followed the puckered dividing line between Lex’s testes, straight up the shaft, and lapped at the leaking slit. Bitter pre-come coated his tastebuds – Lex drank too much coffee. He fitted his puckered mouth over the tip and sucked gently.
“Clark, fuck, god.” Lex’s fingers tugged at Clark’s hair and pushed his head down. “Suck me. Just suck me.”
Clark added more lube to his hand and worked a fourth finger inside. Lex banged his head against the headboard with a ragged shout. The hands gripping Clark’s hair pushed hard and Clark opened for him. His free hand wrapped around the base of Lex’s cock and he kissed his fist. He twisted and stroked Lex’s long, thin shaft, sucked and slurped loudly, his head bobbing over Lex’s lap. Lex wrapped both legs over Clark’s shoulders, hooked his ankles, and writhed on Clark’s four fingers. “Fuck- suck- shit- Clark- god, oh god, oh shit, oh fuck—”
Clark rubbed his own erection against the bed. Lex’s sex-babble was hot. The more vocal the better, something Lex had learned to do for Clark until it became an unconscious reaction. “Suck me, you suck- please- god- fuck, Clark, fuck- god, suck me, suck, suck—”
Blindly, Clark found the lube again, greased up, and then wrapped his free fingers around the bottom of Lex’s shaft once more. He smiled around the cock in his mouth, knowing from experience that Lex’s body wouldn’t be sore in the morning. He pushed his thumb past the stretched ring of muscle of Lex’s asshole.
Lex wailed pretty impressively and went completely wild. He bucked and humped Clark’s fist and face, clutching him by the hair and with the legs wrapped around Clark’s shoulders. His sex-babble became complete nonsense: half choked words and stuttered obscenities, with Clark’s name thrown out occasionally like a blessing or a curse. Clark just held on, letting Lex work himself over, keeping his teeth covered by his lips and a loose hold on the base of Lex’s cock. His neck and arms strained with the position, but Lex’s high-pitched, strangled cry as he climaxed made it worthwhile.
Clark swallowed what he could, stray droplets of come escaping from between his lips. Lex slumped bonelessly, his hands falling from Clark’s head. Clark released Lex’s slowly softening cock and lifted his gaze. Eyes closed, vivid red flush staining his neck, face, and scalp, Lex panted like a racehorse through his mouth.
Clark brushed a kiss on Lex’s thigh and carefully pulled his fist free. The slick pop and little gel fart made him chuckle. Getting up, he grabbed the tube of lubricant and went into the bathroom. A quick soaping later, he returned with a damp washcloth, his neglected erection bobbing with each step.
Lex had caught his breath, but hadn’t moved. He half-opened his eyes when Clark wiped him clean. Clark deposited the washcloth on the night table, got a condom from the drawer, and rolled it on his cock. Lex practically flopped onto his side, shoving ineffectually at the pillow beneath his hips. Clark helped, the pillow ending up on the floor, and he climbed into bed beside Lex, spooning behind him.
A bit of adjusting and a gentle push, and Clark was sheathed inside Lex’s loose, hot body. He held Lex’s top leg up and back, Lex’s foot hooked over Clark’s thigh. He rested his cheek on his other arm, extended at an angle above his head.
“Feels good,” Lex murmured, rubbing his face against the pillow under his head. Clark kissed the back of Lex’s scalp and exhaled slowly. It wouldn’t take long for Clark to come even with the soft fuck.
Lex’s snore was the first indication that Clark was finishing up alone. He smothered his laugh in his arm, sped up slightly, and came shortly thereafter with an amused grin. He’d have to remember the next time he slipped Liquid Sleep into Lex’s drink to start the sex earlier.
Clark watched sleepily from his supine position on the bed, arms curled around the pillow, as Lex dressed for his first day teaching. “What are you wearing?”
Lex roughly tugged the knot out of his pinstriped tie and began retying it for the fourth time. “What are you talking about?” he said, sounding annoyed. The deep furrow in his brow reflected his frustration in the mirror.
“Don’t you think a suit and tie is a little much?”
“A man is judged by the way he’s dressed,” Lex stated. “First appearances are imperative.”
“You’re not going to a business meeting.” Clark pushed upright, swinging his legs off the side of the bed. He rubbed his tired eyes with the heels of his hands. “You’re teaching college students.”
“I still need their respect.”
“Lex, they won’t care what you wear. They only care about how you grade,” Clark said. He shoved the sheet off his lap, rose, and walked over to Lex. Wrapping his arms around Lex’s waist, he propped his chin on a shoulder and looked at Lex in the mirror. “Who was your favorite professor in college?”
“Hans Belfjörd.” Lex turned down his white shirt collar and straightened the knotted tie precisely between the collar points. “He taught the 500-level physics courses. A highly intelligent man. I actually learned some things from him.”
“And how did he dress?” Clark said.
Lex lowered his hands and half-smiled in memory. “He wore sweater vests, checked shirts, and pants in colors like mint green and pale blue. He always had an stain over his pocket like a Rorschach ink-blob.”
“Yet, you still respected him.” Clark nosed the shell of Lex’s ear. “Besides, you’re teaching chemistry. Do you really want to wear your good suits around chemicals and freshman?”
“You have a point.” Lex turned his head and received a kiss on the cheek. “When is your first class?”
“At ten.” Clark released Lex and headed for the en suite bathroom. “I’m going to run into town before then and see if I can scrounge a job at the local newspaper. What’s it called?”
“The Richland Courier.”
“Yeah. I’ll probably end up delivering papers, but the rest of my tuition won’t pay for itself.” Clark poked his head out of the bathroom door. “And no, you can’t pay it.”
Lex held his suit jacket and tie in one hand, and unbuttoned the top button of his shirt. “I wouldn’t dream of it.”
“I’m already paying for you to live with me.”
Clark pretended to scowl. “You’ll be paying, all right.”
Lex smirked, his eyes dancing playfully. “Is that a promise?”
“Just you wait.”
Hidden deep within the bowels of the Student Union, beneath the cafeteria, the light from the Milhurst Weekly welcomed Clark. A few computers, lighted storyboards, and filing cabinets filled the green-pained room. He knocked on the open door to the newspaper office and a student with spiked green hair looked up from his computer. “Can I help you?”
“Yeah. I’m hoping to join the paper,” Clark said. He’d gotten a job at the Richland Courier as the Classifieds section copy editor, something that had surprised him until he saw the amount of skullduggery it would be and compared it the his rate of pay. He was working for the newspaper, though, and now he needed to join the school’s paper to continue beefing up his portfolio. “I just transferred to Milhurst and was wondering if there was an open spot.”
“You must be an English-Journalism major,” the green-haired guy said with a quick grin. “No one volunteers to be on the paper otherwise.” He stood and extended his hand. “I’m Jeff, senior English-Journalism major and editor-in-chief.”
“Clark Kent.” Clark came into the room and shook his hand. “And you’re right. Journalism is my major. I’m only a junior, though.”
“Dr. Simmons will be happy. She’ll get two slave years out of you.” Jeff gestured at a chair for Clark to sit and then went digging through a filing cabinet. “Next week is the official club sign ups, where we try to lure unsuspecting freshman into joining the paper. Usually, they quit within a month.”
“Milhurst isn’t that exciting of a place,” Jeff said. “Most of the stories are sports-related, with occasional club events thrown in. We publish weekly and the students with seniority get to pick which assignment they want, first. Getting stuck writing about cross-country week after week is no joy. Unless they’re majoring in English-Journalism, they split quickly.”
“How big is the staff normally?” Clark asked.
“Currently, we have seven people. Eight, including you.” Jeff shut the file drawer and returned with a sheet of paper attached to a clipboard. He snagged a pen from a caddy on the storyboard and gave it and the clipboard to Clark. “The Milhurst Weekly is about six pages long, including ads. Everyone writes, everyone edits, and everyone has to do sports. I take it you were on the paper at your old school?”
“Yeah, for two years. I also interned at the Daily Planet.” Clark looked at the sheet, which appeared to be an application form. “Do you want me to fill this out?”
“Yeah.” Jeff retook his seat, tapped something on his computer, and then leaned back in his chair and studied Clark. “Where’d you go to school?”
“Metropolis University in Kansas,” Clark replied, printing the information requested on the paper.
“A Big Ten school. Must be a shock to transfer here.”
“I’ll say.” Clark half-grinned at Jeff. “My Business Journalism class this morning had five people in it. My smallest class at Met U had eighty-six, and that’s because people dropped the class.”
“I couldn’t imagine that.” Jeff shook his head. “I don’t think there are eight-six people in my entire dorm.”
“Which dorm are you in?” Clark asked. He completed the last few items and signed the bottom.
“I’m on Gilbert Third,” Jeff said, taking the clipboard from Clark. “It’s supposed to be the ‘study floor’, but I think we’re louder than anywhere else on campus.” He scanned the information. “I think you got your dorm wrong. You wrote down Seton. That’s the faculty housing. You must mean Seifert.”
“No, I got it right. I’m in Seton, apartment C,” Clark said.
Jeff looked questioningly at him. “How’d you manage to scam that?”
“Do you know Professor Luthor?”
“The new Chem Prof; I have his bio for the first week’s paper on all the new faculty and staff on campus.” Jeff turned to his computer and clicked a few folders with his mouse. A new file opened. “Here he is: Associate Professor Alexander J. Luthor, Chemistry, undergraduate at Princeton, Masters at Metropolis University. That’s where you went. I take it you know each other?”
Clark smirked. “You could say that.”
How could anyone ever think this was wrong?
Face flushed and sweat dotting his upper lip, Lex splintered in orgasm. Clark watched, enthralled, as the sex-flush spread over Lex’s scalp and down his chest. Head thrown back, the cords in Lex’s neck stood out. His mouth twisted in a scarred grimace, eyelids squeezed tightly shut. His hips bucked a jagged rhythm against Clark’s hand, erection sliding in his grip. The slicked flesh pulsed beneath his fingers and a thin, ragged cry escaped from Lex’s throat. Come splashed on his taut abdomen, strings of pearly white painting an abstract pattern of ecstasy.
Clark drank in the sight of Lex in throes of orgasm. He’d caused the overly self-possessed man to shatter with only his hand. With sex, Clark had been given the power to break down Lex’s barriers completely, allowing Lex to let go of his tightly reigned control, guaranteed that Clark would catch him when he fell. It was reflected in Lex’s vocality during the act and his passiveness in the afterglow.
Clark was the only person ever allowed to see Lex like this, in the past and present. Lex had admittedly kept a modicum of control during sex with his lovers, pleasure hung up with the noose of his name. But, over time, Lex had given himself from top to bottom, literally and figuratively, to Clark. Lex’s submission in the bedroom (or the living room, the kitchen, the bathroom, and one time even in the truck,) was a private and personal thing, not to be shared with anyone in any way.
Trust was the most difficult aspect of their relationship, followed by honesty, and sex was the one part of their lives where both were laid bare in their fullest extent. Clark didn’t want their sex life scrutinized any more than it had to be. Conversation and innuendo always revolved around gay couples, but Lex had accepted the job in Illinois specifically to get away from the gossip of the Metropolis Inquisitor and escape from headlines such as Billionaire Flushes All For Farm Boy and Love Lures Lex Luthor From LuthorCorp.
Which was why Clark didn’t want their relationship as an editorial topic for the Milhurst Weekly.
Breathing heavily through his mouth, Lex melted into the mattress beside Clark in post-coital lassitude. A bead of come clung to the tip of his penis, the spent length softening in Clark’s hand. Lying on his side, cheek propped with his palm, Clark rubbed his hard-on lightly against Lex’s bare hip. He released Lex’s cock, drew his fingers through the semen on Lex’s abdomen, and traced a path downward, following the crease of a hip to the sweaty area beneath Lex’s balls.
Lex gasped, then groaned and spread his legs wider. Clark’s two fingers slipped inside easily and Lex’s sex-prattle began anew. “God, that’s—fuck. Fuck, Clark. I want—”
“I know you do,” Clark murmured. He stretched Lex, although Lex really didn’t need much preparation anymore. A natural bottom that loved every penetration, it was extremely gratifying that Lex’s ass had been nearly virginal before Clark. But with a control freak like Lex, it hadn’t been that surprising a discovery.
“Now, Clark. Now, now—”
Clark retrieved the condom from the night table. His gold bracelet bumped against Lex’s ankle as he lifted Lex’s leg over his shoulder. Lex curved his other leg around Clark’s waist, tilting his pelvis in invitation. Clark sheathed himself in Lex’s body with a series of short thrusts, earning moans and random babble from Lex.
“Clark- yes. So good. So fuck- god, yeah. Fucking huge.”
Clark planted a hand on Lex’s hip, the other gripped Lex’s raised thigh, and he started to move. He pulled Lex bodily forward and into his thrusts. His toes dug into the mattress for purchase, kneeling between Lex’s legs. Lex’s ass clenched and spasmed around Clark’s latex-covered cock, as Clark pumped in and out.
“Shit, yes, fuck me. Fuck me, Clark.” Lex braced his hands on the headboard above him, face sex-flushed once again. His head rolled on the pillow, eyes closed. “Harder. Please, harder. Fuck me. Love it. Fuck-fuck-fuck- love it. Love your cock. Fuck- god- Clark.”
Clark dug in and reamed Lex hard, as requested. Lex’s spent penis flopped with the punishing thrusts. Sweat dripped down Clark’s back and chest, and made Lex’s own body gleam in the lamplight. He breathed heavily through his nose, watching his lover writhe on his thick cock.
“All mine.” Clark grunted, orgasm building at the base of his spine. “Just mine.”
“Yes- yes- yes- yes—”
Clark’s climax smacked him behind the eyes with blunt force. His grip tightened on Lex, eliciting more vocal encouragement, but the rushing in his ears muffled the words. His hips jerked, pumping his cock in and in and in, until he slapped his pelvis flush against Lex’s ass and came fiercely.
Lex lay there with a canary-caught smile when Clark’s brain returned. Clark loomed forward, bending Lex’s leg until his knee was by his ear, and kissed him sloppily. Lex’s body clasped around Clark’s softening cock, milking a few final spurts of come.
“Mmm,” Lex hummed against Clark’s mouth. He combed his fingers through Clark’s sweat-dampened hair and nibbled Clark’s lower lip.
Forearms braced on either side of Lex’s head, Clark rose up enough to look at him. “I love you, you know that, right?”
The sated expression erased off Lex’s face. “What did you do?”
Clark opened his mouth, closed it again, and made to move. Lex clung to the back of Clark’s neck, preventing him from going anywhere without force. “Clark…”
“The college paper wants to do a series of editorials about us,” Clark said, his opinion about it underlacing his tone. He rested his forehead against Lex’s, staring at him cross-eyed. “Apparently, a student living with a professor makes for a good debate.”
“I knew I shouldn’t have let you talk me into it.” Lex shoved at Clark, now, trying to push him away. “Get off.”
“Don’t be a butthead.” Clark sat back on his heels, but kept Lex captive with his hands and still-penetrating cock. “You wanted me here as much as I wanted to be here.”
“Not at the cost of my job.” Lex glared and dug his fingernails in the backs of Clark’s hands. “Let go.”
“Ow. Cut it out.” Clark slapped one offending hand and then tightened his hold on Lex. “You’re just going to run off and sulk in the shower or try and buy the school if I let you up.”
Lex glowered darkly. “Let. Go.”
“No.” Clark matched Lex’s hard look with one of his own. “This way, you’re guaranteed to listen to me until I’m done.”
“Fine,” Lex bit out. He propped himself on his elbows, jaw set with impatience and ire. “I’m waiting.”
“Jeff, the editor of the paper, wondered about how I could be living with you, when there’s a strict non-fraternization policy between students and teachers at Milhurst.” Clark rubbed his thumb along the protruding bone of Lex’s bare hip. “I explained that the school already knows about us, but you know how a reporter gets…”
“And you want to join this vaunted field?” Lex snorted and his glare shifted from Clark to an invisible point. Clark wouldn’t be surprised if Jeff shivered in his dorm.
“I hate to say it, but I’d agree with his questioning, if I wasn’t the one on the other end,” Clark said.
“Married couples wouldn’t get questioned,” Lex muttered.
“Not if they transferred in that way, but if they married while one was a student here, it’d be debatable.” Clark relaxed his grip. “Jeff brought the issue to Dr. Simmons and she agreed to do a series of articles about it. We met with her to go over it this morning. Jeff will write an editorial questioning it and I’ll write a response, then we’ll follow up with printed opinion letters from the faculty and students.”
“It sounds like it’s set in stone already.”
Clark could hear Lex’s unasked question about if his opinion mattered. “Dr. Simmons guaranteed that your employment wouldn’t be affected administratively by the articles.”
“But no one will respect me the same.” Lex maneuvered free of Clark and Clark let him go. He stood, paused beside the bed, and said quietly, “Do what you want, Clark. Just don’t expect me to support you with this.”
He went into the bathroom and shut the door.
Clark slumped, reached for a tissue, and peeled off the used condom. They’d barely been at Milhurst a full week and already things were falling apart.
Maybe he could get Jeff and Dr. Simmons to change their minds. The editorials wouldn’t begin running until the end of September. He had some leeway still.
One way or the other, though, he needed to get people used to seeing him and Lex together. Familiarity bred apathy.
He just had to hope that it also wouldn’t breed contempt.
Clark got off work at noon and stepped outside into a beautiful Saturday. The sun shone in a clear blue sky, the late summer temperature warm enough for shorts. He turned his face to the sun, soaking in the rays, energizing him. It was definitely a day to spend outdoors.
He drove back to school and saw he wasn’t the only one who wanted to be outside. Students littered the intramural field, playing Frisbee and football. Girls lay in bikinis on towels near their dorm. Rollerbladers carved paths around campus. Guys sat in lounge chairs with their feet stuck in kiddie pools, “water” bottles in hand. A few students set up grills and cooked lunch.
The staff and their spouses had a similar idea. A grill and lawn chairs sat in the grassy area outside Seton. Clark recognized a few of the teachers: Professor Abernathy sitting beside Dr. Juneway, who taught Clark’s kiddie-lit class, and both Dr. Westons, spouses in the History department. Mike the Maintenance Guy and Bill from the campus post office he also knew. Seton Hall wasn’t very populated, filled primarily with single faculty members. Most married couples bought houses in town.
Clark parked his truck beside Lex’s car and smiled in greeting to them as he made his way into Seton. He walked down the hall to apartment C, wondering if he and Lex had any lawn chairs in the basement storage locker.
“Hey, I’m back.” Clark nudged his backpack out of the doorway as he entered the apartment. He stepped into the kitchen and tossed his keys on the counter. “Do we own lawn chairs?”
“Not that I know of.” Lex sat at the table, papers spread in front of him. He didn’t look up. “There’s a sandwich for you in the fridge.”
“Thanks,” Clark said, “but I think I’d like a hamburger instead.”
“I thought you weren’t using your meal-pass on weekends,” Lex said.
“I’m not. Some of the people who live here are having a cookout. I thought we could join them.”
“I ate already.”
“That doesn’t mean you can’t be social.” Clark wrapped his hands over the back of the chair beside Lex. “We hardly know anybody.”
“I know them all, Clark. They cooked out practically every night in August.”
“Fine. They know you, but they don’t know me.”
“Feel free to join them on your own,” Lex said, writing something down.
“It’s not the same,” Clark said. “They’ll treat me like a student instead of a spouse.”
“I don’t recall us being married.”
The air whooshed out of Clark at the worded blow. He stared, hurt, at Lex’s down-turned head. Lex continued writing, seemingly unconcerned.
“You’re right. We’re not,” Clark managed with an even voice, uncurling his hands from the chair-back.
Without another word, he grabbed his backpack and left.
Jeff was outside Gilbert Hall playing hacky-sack with a few friends, making Clark’s quest to find him easier. It also helped that the sun made his hair almost blindingly neon. “Kent, hey. Wanna join?”
“No.” Clark hooked his hand around the backpack strap over his shoulder. “You got a minute?”
Jeff kicked the bean-filled knit ball to one of his friends and stepped out of the circle. “S’up?”
“We can’t do the articles,” Clark said.
“Why not?” Jeff asked. “You were fine with it yesterday.”
“Lex wasn’t pissed as hell at me then,” Clark replied. “It’s not like these editorials are real news.”
Jeff’s pierced brow lifted. “A student shacking up with a teacher isn’t news?”
Clark dragged a frustrated hand through his hair. “Look, you wouldn’t be writing anything if I was a girl married to him and a student here.”
“But that’s not the issue.”
Clark shot Jeff an irritated glance. “We’re not doing the articles. Lex moved here to get away from crap like this and I should’ve said no when you brought up the idea, but I wasn’t thinking.”
“It’s not debatable,” Jeff said firmly. “As Editor-In-Chief, I get to decide on articles for the Weekly and I say the editorials are valid news.”
“Not when it’s my life we’re talking about!” Clark could feel the eyes of Jeff’s friends on him but he didn’t care.
“Then quit and don’t take any part in it.” Jeff shrugged, though his eyes remained hard. “I’m going ahead with the articles and that’s final.”
Clark’s hand tightened around the backpack strap and he clenched his jaw. “Fine.”
“I’ll tell Dr. Simmons that you won’t be on staff any longer,” Jeff said.
Clark nodded sharply, turned on his heel, and walked away. He spent the rest of the beautiful day in the basement stacks of the library, ignoring the hollow spot in the center of his chest.
The library closed at nine on Saturdays, but Clark didn’t want to go back to Seton and play another round of Clark’s-An-Ass with a pissy Lex. Stupidity and pride made a fatal combination, something he’d learned twice over in less than twenty-four hours, and he wasn’t fit for company as a result.
A lone employee talking on a cell phone was the only person in the snack bar at the Student Union. Attached to the cafeteria, the snack bar held a dozen tables, two arcade games, a billiards table, and all the greasy food a student could afford. The campus radio station played on the radio perched above the cash register.
Clark waved the girl back to her phone call and chucked his backpack on a table. A change machine beside Lethal Cops gave him five dollars in quarters. He put a dollar’s worth in the billiard table, racked the balls that fell from the return, and began systematically clearing the table one shot at a time after the break.
Five dollars went quickly, the balls sinking into the pockets with well-practiced ease. Another five dollars passed similarly. Security wandered in at one point, but otherwise students were drinking themselves into oblivion elsewhere on campus.
Clark played ten more dollars then had to give up because his wallet was empty. The girl wore a pitying expression when he glanced at her. He gave her a warped impression of a smile, picked up his backpack, and left.
Outside, bright stars shone down in the warm night. Clark took his time walking across campus to Seton. He could hear loud music spilling from open dorm windows and the shouts and laughter of partiers. Drunken students staggered between dorms and a group of giggling girls ran past him.
The campus quieted as he got closer to Seton. Few lights greeted him in the windows of the complex. He used his key in the outer door of the building and walked down the poorly lit hall to the apartment. Inside, everything was silent. The kitchen light had been left on.
Clark dropped his backpack, tossed his keys on the kitchen counter, and shut off the light. He made a detour by the guest bathroom before entering the bedroom. Lex made a lump beneath the thin blanket on the bed, the glow from the clock tinting his bald head green. It reminded Clark of Jeff.
Clark stripped down to his boxers, climbed in bed, and stared at the ceiling for a long, long time.
The persistent buzz of the alarm woke Clark from a heavy slumber. He rolled across the bed and slapped his hand on the snooze. Prying an eyelid open, he peered blurrily at the clock on Lex’s empty side of the bed. Eleven AM. He had an hour until he had to be at work. Lex must’ve set the alarm when he’d gotten up, on Clark’s behalf. Clark wondered if that meant Lex would be in a nicer mood today.
Clark rubbed the sleep from his eyes, stretched, and forced himself to get up. Tiredness prevailed through his shower and getting dressed.
Clark found the apartment empty when he went in search of food. No note was tacked to the fridge, so Lex hadn’t gone off campus. Clark made a sandwich, wolfed it down along with a half-bag of pretzels, and mainlined a Mountain Dew. He then fixed a bag lunch for dinner. His Sunday hours at the Richland Courier were the longest, as he proofed classifieds for the entire week and separated out those for the following Sunday’s paper.
Lunch sack in hand, Clark grabbed his keys from the counter and headed out. He spotted Lex when he got outside, seated in a lawn chair beside Dr. Juneway, Bill from the campus post office, and two other guys Clark didn’t know. Branches from an old oak tree shaded the area they were sitting in from the noontime sun. There was a cooler beside Dr. Juneway’s chair and each of the men held a bottle of beer.
Clark walked over and stopped in front of Lex. “Hey, thanks for setting the alarm.”
“Mm-hmm,” Lex hummed as he took a drink. He rested the bottle on his jean-clad leg, creating a moisture ring.
Clark waited for an introduction or something. Lex just looked at him. “I guess I’ll see you later. I’m heading to work.”
Clark smiled tightly, flicking a glance at the others. He turned and tried not to walk stiffly to his truck. Apparently, a nicer Lex wasn’t in the cards.
He started the truck and went to work.
Lex stood in front of the sink, doing dishes, when Clark came home. Clark threw his keys on the counter, grabbed a bottle of water, and leaned against the fridge as he drank. Ten hours in front of the computer entering classifieds – after he deciphered what they read, that was – was mind-numbing work.
He glanced sidelong at Lex. Lex scowled at the knife in his hand as if it had said something offensive about his lineage. Water ran from the tap into the sink, steam rising from the heat. Soap bubbles clung in a stripe up Lex’s bare forearm, as he scrubbed his dinner dishes with a sponge.
“We have a dishwasher,” Clark commented.
“I only made a few dishes.” Lex rinsed the knife and it joined a fork and plate on a kitchen towel, laid out beside the sink. He shut off the water, squeezed out the sponge, and wiped down the counter and kitchen table. “I recorded Syndicate. If you don’t have homework, we could watch it, if you’d like.”
“Sounds good to me.” Clark set aside his water and moved to dry the dishes. “You’d never believe some of the errors I caught today at work. Like, someone is trying to sell a sixty-star American Flag. Another one is selling their ‘Shit Zoo’ dog, spelled S-H-I-T Z-O-O.”
Lex chuckled. “That could be an accurate description.”
Clark put the dried dishes away. “Maybe. The dog’s name was Beandip.”
Lex’s chuckle became a full-out laugh, as he rinsed the sponge again and set it in the tray. Clark grinned sideways at him.
The grin faded, as Lex reached out and took the towel from Clark. He dried his hands, looking at Clark with faint amusement in his eyes.
Clark closed the gap between them, curved a hand around the back of Lex’s head, and kissed him. Lex reciprocated instantly, matching with open-mouthed ferocity, the towel falling disregarded to the floor. His fingers tangled in Clark’s hair, holding tightly. Clark backed him against the counter and pressed their bodies flush together. Breathing harshened quickly, sounding loud in the quiet kitchen before being swallowed by each other’s mouths.
Lex arched against Clark and Clark felt the swelling under Lex’s jeans against his own firming flesh. He scrabbled at Lex’s button fly, shoved the jeans and underwear down, and hooked them under Lex’s balls. Lex moaned deeply as Clark wrapped a hand around Lex’s burgeoning erection and stroked it to full hardness.
Scissored kisses were exchanged, wet and breathy. Clark slid his lips from Lex’s mouth and bit along his jaw. Lex’s head dropped back, words falling heedlessly from his swollen lips. Pre-come barely smoothed the roughness of Clark’s fast strokes. Lex’s fingers gripped Clark’s hair, pelvis bumping against Clark’s fist. Clark gnawed at Lex’ adam’s apple.
“Oh, shit. Oh, Clark. I’m coming, I’m coming—” Lex pulled Clark’s hair, body shuddering hard, and he climaxed with a high-pitched whine. Clark pressed his forehead against Lex’s shoulder and watched him come all over his shirt and Clark’s hand.
Lex loosed his hold of Clark’s hair. Leaning against the counter, he tried to catch his breath. Clark picked up the towel and wiped his hand, Lex’s softening cock, and his shirt.
“Clark,” Lex said quietly, wrapping his hand lightly around Clark’s wrist to stop him. Clark looked up. Red marks marred Lex’s neck and jaw and his mouth was swollen from kissing. High color stained his cheeks and some of his scalp. His eyes were soft as he returned Clark’s gaze.
Clark leaned forward and licked a kiss across his lips. He switched their hands and led Lex from the kitchen. The towel lay forgotten on the floor once again.
Lunch tray balanced in his hand, Clark realized, as he scanned the cafeteria for a place to sit, that he had no friends. He had expected to make friends working for the school newspaper, whether with co-reporters or with those he interviewed, but quitting kind of put a damper on those plans. Making friends in classes didn’t happen because there wasn’t time to sit around and chitchat, like in high school. Usually, college students found friends in their floor-mates in the dorms, and since Clark didn’t live in the dorms…
Clark felt relieved when he spotted an intimately familiar bald head on the far side of the cafeteria. He wound his way past the long rows of tables and plastic chairs, filled with chatting students eating lunch. He excused himself to cut between two people standing in the lunch line waiting to be served.
The half-smile on Clark’s face faded as he approached Lex’s table. Lex wasn’t alone. Four people sat across from him and two sat to his right. Nearly empty lunch trays rested on the table in front of them and they seemed to be engaged in an animated discussion.
The conversation died when Clark stopped at the end of the table. Six sets of eyes stared curiously at him. Lex gave him a welcome look, however, which made Clark feel better.
“Hi,” Clark said, shifting his bag on his shoulder with one hand. “Um, can I join you? Unless you’re in a meeting or something.”
“No, it’s fine,” Lex said. “These are my Senior Seminar students. We’re trying to decide what project to do for the semester.”
Clark glanced at the six Senior Seminar students. “Sounds interesting.”
Amusement crossed Lex’s features. “You hate chemistry.”
“Yeah, well, uh…” Clark felt awkward, as the curiosity of the others became disregard. “It’s only because you didn’t teach me.”
He saw the pink of a tongue as Lex bit the tip and knew he was trying to suppress an innuendo-laden comment. Clark rolled his eyes and went to sit down.
The chair beside the second student on Lex’s right was taken up by a backpack. Clark didn’t bother to wait for it to be moved in a show of inclusion. He took the next seat over, dumped his backpack on the chair to his other side, and started on lunch. His desire to join in on Lex’s conversation with his students disappeared when the first of many polysyllabic words with no vowels tripped easily from someone’s tongue. He instead poked at his meatloaf and tried to figure out what club he could join to make some friends outside of Lex.
Clark wasn’t sure what type of extracurriculars Milhurst had to offer. It was a small school in the middle of the equally small town of Richland, Illinois. There was probably a community action or campus crew that did things like rake leaves, shovel snow, or build things for people in town. It made him tired and achy just thinking about doing manual labor. He hadn’t realized how hard it was until he no longer had use of his powers. Plus, having a rich partner meant paying other people to do the work.
So, anything involving something physical was out, since he didn’t play sports, either. Things where he had to get up in front of an audience, like speech and debate, or theater, he disliked doing. Backstage work could be available, but again with the manual labor. He crossed radio DJ off his mental list, since DJs worked alone and that defeated the whole purpose of joining an activity.
Clark supposed sticking to his own department would be the best bet. There were never enough fools joining the Yearbook staff. There was also the Literary magazine. He was more of a fact journalist than a creative writing person, but he could probably come up with something suitably angsty. He had enough fodder for it. ‘Alone, even when surrounded/separated by walls of chlordiazepoxide and acenaphthylene—’
The squeal of the chair on the tile floor jerked Clark’s attention from his thoughts. Lex took the seat beside him, the other students having left without his realizing. Half-turned in the chair, knees brushing Clark’s thighs, Lex hitched an elbow on the table and studied him concernedly. “You okay?”
“I’m fine.” Clark stabbed at the tiny bits of ground beef on his plate.
“Then why did you murder the meatloaf?” Lex said. “I’m sure it wasn’t that evil of a meal.”
“Ha-ha.” Clark dropped his fork on his plate. It rang hollowly. “So, what’d your Senior Seminarians decide to do?”
“To determine the amount of pheromones a human needs to excrete to induce sexual arousal.” Lex smirked. “I volunteered us to be the guinea pigs.”
Clark’s eyes widened. “You didn’t.”
Lex paused long enough for Clark to worry. “Of course not,” he said finally, though the smirk remained. “You’re not the right species anyway.” A thoughtful look crossed his face. “Although, it would be interesting to see just how different you compare to humans. Or how you’re attracted to us at all, really. Or why, say, you’re aroused by me instead of Random Guy A.”
Clark lowered his voice, even though no one was sitting close enough to overhear. “You make these high-pitched sounds in the back of your throat when you come, kind of like a banshee wailing, and it’s really hot.”
Lex gave him a look. “Brat.”
Lex glanced at his watch. “Do you have a class at one?”
“Nope. Nothing until 2:30.” Clark waggled his brows. “Interested in a nooner?”
“Actually, I was thinking of getting ice cream,” Lex replied, rising. “Would you like some?”
“Yeah, I would.” Clark watched Lex cross the cafeteria to the hard scoop ice cream cooler and dish two bowls for them both. A girl who looked like she was wearing pajamas with a ballcap on her head and a backpack over her shoulder stopped to talk to Lex. She followed him back to the table.
Lex handed Clark his ice cream and took his seat again. He motioned for the girl to take the spot on the other side of him. “Tell me what the problem is, Rosaria. You’ve only had one lab with your partner.”
Rosaria glanced past Lex at Clark. Clark didn’t know whether to be embarrassed for her because Lex wanted to have this sort of conversation in the cafeteria. He turned his attention to his ice cream to give her a bit of privacy.
“Can I be honest with you, Professor Luthor?” Rosaria said.
“I hope you always will be,” Lex replied.
“Karen’s an El-Ed major.” Rosaria made the degree choice sound like a disease. “I am a Math-Chem major. Do you see?”
“Not exactly,” Lex said slowly. Clark could hear the gears turning in Lex’s brain as he tried to connect the dots.
“Karen’s only taking Chem 101 because she has to, to complete her science requirement,” Rosaria said.
“Whereas you are there by choice.” Lex stole a spoonful of Clark’s ice cream with unerring accuracy, without turning to look. “You feel that Karen will perform at a sub-standard level because she doesn’t hold the same passion for science as you.”
“Oh, Professor Luthor, you understand!”
Clark nearly snorted ice cream at her gushing.
“I do,” Lex said with complete aplomb. “I think we should wait, though, and see how Karen does before I go and change things. Who knows? With someone like you as her partner, she might discover the joys of the chemical universe and change her major.”
“Thank you, Professor Luthor,” Rosaria said. She stood. “I’ll see you in class on Wednesday.”
Clark waited until Rosaria walked out of earshot before laying his head on Lex’s shoulder and said in a slutty voice, “Oh, Professor Luthor.”
Lex shoved a spoonful of ice cream into Clark’s mouth.
Laughing, Clark almost choked. He straightened and handed Lex back his spoon. “How many women have fallen prey to your charms already, Lex?”
“Too many.” Lex smirked smugly.
Clark started to steal a spoonful of Lex’s ice cream from his bowl. “Just remember: you’re a one-man man.”
Lex clinked his spoon against Clark’s, aborting the move. Clark lifted his brow. Lex answered with a tilt of his chin.
The fight for the ice cream was on.
Clark advanced his spoon, Lex parried, Clark cut-over and riposted. Lex blocked with a moulinet and then finta in tempo. Clark fell for it, making a counter-time parry, and Lex pressed, following with a direct attack. The conversation continued with the clinking of their spoons. Snickers from them both, and exclamations from Clark, punctuated the phrases d’armes.
Lex feinted and then made a passé, and he scored a scoop of ice cream from Clark’s unprotected bowl. Clark chased after the spoonful with a cry of outrage. He cheated and caught Lex’s wrist, trying to prevent him from eating the scoop. Lex fought him, arm jerking back and forth. He opened his mouth, lowered his head, and ate the spoonful.
Undeterred, Clark chased after the ice cream with his lips and tongue. He laughed against Lex’s mouth when it opened easily under his assault. Clark slurped loudly, sucking in traces of ice cream. Lex’s blue eyes sparkled with humor, blurred from being so close to Clark.
Clark pulled back and smacked his lips. “Mmm-mm. Yummy.”
“You’ve obviously not matured beyond that of high school.” Lex tucked into his own bowl of ice cream again.
“Yeah, but that was only three years ago for me. What’s your excuse?”
Lex mouth curved faintly. “Silliness is good for the soul. Or so your mother tells me.”
“That reminds me: I should probably call them.” Clark suddenly caught sight of the number of people in the cafeteria staring at them and felt heat creep up his cheeks. He’d forgotten where they were. “Uh, they’ll be curious how our first week of school went.”
Lex noticed the people, too, though his expression wasn’t one of embarrassment. In fact, he looked kind of self-satisfied. He turned to Clark and smiled. “I think it went wonderfully, don’t you?”
“Clark, are you home?”
“I’m in here,” Clark called from the master bathroom. He squeezed toothpaste on his brush and stuck the brush in his mouth before he cursed Lex out.
Lex appeared in the doorway, unbuttoning his lavender dress shirt. “How late do you work tonight?”
“Stop at the store on your way home. I’ll make you a list.” Lex pulled the shirttails free of his trousers. “What’s with the look? You’re the one who killed the milk this morning.”
Clark glanced at himself in the mirror. His scowling reflection did look silly with a neon pink toothbrush sticking out of the corner of his mouth. He spit toothpaste in the sink and answered Lex’s question. “It’s not that. I’m mad at you.”
“What else is new?” Lex walked away from the door, unbuttoning his cuffs.
“Everyone’s talking about us, Lex. I thought that’s what you didn’t want.” Clark rinsed his mouth and his brush. He stuck the toothbrush next to Lex’s green one in the holder on the sink.
“My opinion became moot when you decided to write an article on us,” Lex’s voice floated into the bathroom. “At least, this way, we’ll be old news by the time the story goes to print and only homophobes will send in negative opinions.”
Clark had had the same idea, to get the campus used to them as a couple, but he’d wanted to be subtle about it. Instead, Lex had decided to out them on his own terms, without bothering to ask Clark’s opinion.
Clark slapped his hand on the light switch, shutting it off with more force than necessary, on his way out of the bathroom. “In the meantime, I have to listen to rumors about my sex life.”
Lex stood beside the bed in his underwear and socks. He drew a KROW-FM t-shirt on. “Just tell them what I’m telling all my classes: that we’re partners, we live together in Seton, and our personal life is not up for discussion.”
“Can you tell that to all of my classes, too?” Clark said waspishly.
“Word will get around quickly enough.” Lex either ignored or dismissed Clark’s tone, as he reached for his jeans.
Clark pursed his lips. It was just like Lex to think his solutions were always the best.
“I have open lab tonight until ten, so don’t expect to see me when you get home,” Lex said. “Okay?”
No, it was not okay. Clark had quit the newspaper to protect the privacy of their relationship and Lex had blown the doors wide open the very next day. Clark was angry and humiliated over the fact that his actions now meant nothing. He was glad he hadn’t gotten the chance to tell Lex what he’d done; he felt stupid enough without Lex lecturing on how he shouldn’t have quit.
“Clark?” Lex said, rooting through a drawer for his socks. “Did you hear me?”
“Yeah, I heard you.” Clark pivoted on his heel and headed for the kitchen to start the grocery list before he did something else stupid, like strangle Lex to death.
Students wandered in and out of the ballroom, located one floor above the cafeteria in the Student Union. A double row of tables circled the room, a gauntlet of painted posterboards, neon handouts, and upperclassmen all wanting you to join their clubs. Freshmen and transfer students tried not to appear nervous approaching various tables for information. Sophomores and higher re-upped for servitude while loudly greeting club-made friends that they hadn’t seen since last term.
Compared to MetU, the number of available activities at Milhurst was puny. Clark gazed resignedly at the twenty or so tables, hitched his backpack higher on this shoulder, and made a beeline for the Literary Magazine one. He wanted to write, even if it was crappy poetry or short stories. He didn’t look at Jeff, sitting behind the newspaper table, as he passed.
A single student wearing all black sat behind the Literary Magazine table, appearing bored out of her mind. Headphones were stuck in her ears. A stack of plain white printed sheets was in front of her. Clark gave her a tentative smile as he picked up one of the papers. “Hey. I’d like to sign up, if I could?”
“Turn in any submissions by the dates listed to Mr. Goerte’s office. Submission guidelines are on the back,” she said.
Clark glanced over the paper, confused. “That’s it? There are no meetings or anything?”
She looked at him like he was dim. “All submissions are accepted as long as they follow the guidelines.”
“Uh, okay. Thanks.” Clark tried not to bump into anyone as he stepped away from the table. He glanced at the paper in his hand again, folded it, and stuck it in his pocket.
Well, that was a bust, Clark thought, joining the queue of students moving through the tables. Writing was important, but he wanted to join a club specifically to make friends. He began eyeing the other tables for possibilities. He really wasn’t comfortable with public speaking, so he bypassed those types of things. Kairos, the religious club, looked very friendly, but he was afraid being gay was akin to molesting babies when it came to some Christian groups.
Clark paused at the Chess Club table, a game Lex like to beat him at on a routine basis, and wondered if he would enjoy playing with someone else. He somehow doubted the matches would end with Clark fucking his opponent into incoherency.
The next table over was the Science Club and Clark recognized two of Lex’s Senior Seminar students. “Hey,” he said, more out of politeness than anything.
“You’re not thinking of joining the club, are you?” one of them said. “I thought you hated science.”
The Chess Club people and the Mathletes on the other side of the Science table suddenly stared at Clark as if he’d struck them. Clark stuffed his hands in his pockets. “No, I’m just passing by.”
He ignored the gossiping that started up behind him, even when he heard Lex’s name, and continued on. He walked by the Foreign Language Club, the Role Playing Club, and Habitat for Humanity. He found the yearbook committee and almost stopped, before he realized taking pictures was the primary activity of the committee and nearly everyone hated having their pictures taken.
“You’re Clark Kent, right?” Clark had stopped at the radio DJ table to get a handout, because it still sounded interesting despite it not being a group activity. A trio of practically identical girls sat at the next table over, dressed in cheerleader uniforms. The blonde closest to him spoke again. “Professor Luthor’s boyfriend?”
“Yeah,” Clark said warily. No one had actually confronted him about Lex since the public kiss, instead of talking about him when his back was turned, like the Science Club jerks.
“I think that’s so sweet,” she cooed, like he was a cute pet.
“Adorable,” the other two said simultaneously and then grinned at each other.
“So, do you want to join cheerleading?” the first one asked, whipping up a pen and clipboard.
Clark didn’t want to be rude, but… “Why would you think that?”
“Because you’re gay,” she said, as if it were obvious. “Unless you’re already in Drama Club?”
“Um, no. I’m not.” Clark had long since learned to let stereotypes roll off his back. She wasn’t trying to be offensive, anyway. “I’m not interested in cheerleading either, though. Sorry.”
“Oh.” She and the other two actually looked like he’d broken their hearts. “Well, if you change your mind, you can always join anytime.”
“I’ll let you know.” Clark smiled nicely at them and then headed straight for the Intramurals table to reaffirm his masculinity.
Two guys Clark vaguely recognized sat behind the last table in the row. Sign-up sheets for touch football, basketball, softball, and soccer were available. Clark picked up a pen and looked back and forth between football and basketball. His wasn’t too into sports because he’d spent so much of his life not playing them because of his powers. But he had to do something.
“You can’t play if you have AIDS.”
“What?” Clark blinked at the guy who’d spoken.
“You can’t play if you have AIDS,” the guy repeated matter-of-factly. “Nobody wants to catch it.”
“I don’t have AIDS,” Clark said tightly.
“All gay people have AIDS.”
“No. They don’t.” Clark clenched the pen and started printing his name on the basketball sheet. “And it’s discrimination to prevent an HIV-positive person from playing sports.”
“No one wants to play with an HIV-positive person, either,” the guy said with a shrug. “I’m just telling you that when teams are assigned, people will refuse to play with you there.”
Clark gritted his teeth, scratched off his name, and slapped the pen down. It wasn’t worth it.
He stalked from the ballroom and headed directly for the restroom to give himself a moment to calm down. He should’ve expected the HIV-phobia, especially after the cheerleaders spouting stereotypes. It still irked him, though, how people in this day and age could be so uninformed and prejudicial.
Clark passed a glance at the guy in the next urinal as he went to piss. He was irritated that he hadn’t signed up for any clubs, either. He would have to go back and look around again. Maybe the drama club needed set builders. Then, he could prove the cheerleaders right.
Grumbling silently, Clark washed his hands and followed the other guy to the door. The door pushed open as the guy grabbed the handle, sending him stumbling back. Clark caught his shoulders as the guy bumped into him.
The guy reacted violently, jerking sideways and swinging his arm up and back. “Don’t touch me, fag!” His elbow cracked against Clark’s nose.
Pain exploded in Clark’s face and had him seeing stars. Hot spikes radiated outwards from his nose all they way down to his fingers. “Fuck!” He clamped his hands over his face, eyes watering. Within a second, his nose felt like it had ballooned and was stuffed full. The metallic taste of blood coated the back of his throat. “Jesus Christ!”
The guy didn’t hang around. The one who’d come inside the bathroom stepped past Clark without offering to help.
Clark slammed the door behind him, threw his keys on the counter, and let his backpack drop to the floor. He stomped through the apartment to the master bathroom. The blood stained toilet tissue went into the garbage and Clark looked at his reflection in the mirror.
His nose was fat, red, and crooked. Purplish-black bruises ringed his eyes. Dried blood smeared his upper lip and chin. It hurt insanely. He clenched his teeth as he used a washcloth to clean off the blood. His nose felt broken, which meant a trip to the Richland hospital for x-rays and to have it set.
But Clark couldn’t do that. With a splint on his nose and his raccoon eyes, everyone would stare and gossip even more than they already did about him. He would have to tell Lex what had happened and put up with him being alternately vengeful and acting like a martyr for outing them. There was also always the chance that someone at the hospital would find abnormalities that led to his non-human status being discovered.
Clark grabbed the gold kryptonite bracelet and pulled with all his might. “Grrraaaaaahhhh—” His skin ripped around his knuckles and the sides of his hand. The bracelet came off suddenly and accidentally flew across the bathroom. It clinked on the tile floor.
Clark staggered at the impact of his strength returning. His injuries healed and the pain vanished instantly. His body felt lighter, tougher, and like he was whole once again.
He stared at himself in the mirror. It didn’t look like he’d been hurt at all.
“Clark? Are you- Damn it! Don’t leave your backpack in the middle of the floor.”
Shit! Clark dove for the bracelet. Weakness struck the moment he touched it. He tried to force it back on, but it wouldn’t go over his knuckles. He could hear Lex coming into the bedroom.
Clark put the bracelet on the floor. The kryptonite effects disappeared instantly. He panicked when he couldn’t remember how to trigger his heat vision. Glancing over his shoulder, he saw the open door and closed it quickly. He hit the lock, just as he heard Lex stop on the other side. A knock sounded on the door. “Clark?”
“Yeah?” Clark’s voice cracked.
“I’m fine.” He looked at the bracelet and squinted his eyes. Come on, come on…
Clark’s heat vision kicked in abruptly, searing through the bracelet and blackening the floor. He slammed his eyelids shut. When he opened them again, his heat vision had stopped and the bracelet had a centimeter-wide gap in the smooth stone.
Clark picked it up and was able to fit it over his hand. His strength vanished and the world seemed to lose color. The bracelet felt extremely heavy on his wrist.
Standing, he shifted the bathroom rug to cover the burn mark on the floor. He’d figure out how to get rid of it once Lex left. Biting his lower lip, he flushed the toilet and washed the remaining traces of blood from his face, hands, and the sink.
After one last look in the mirror, Clark saw dots of blood on his shirt and yanked it off. He wadded it in a ball, took a fortifying breath, and left the bathroom. Lex was pulling on a pair of casual khakis under his pale blue, lightweight long-sleeved shirt. “Do you know where I put the green notebook I had last night?” he asked.
“I think it’s under the couch,” Clark said, throwing his shirt in the laundry hamper. “I remember kicking it when I tackled you.”
Lex smiled with fond remembrance, zipped up, and headed out of the bedroom.
Clark sank onto the edge of the bed and pressed his face into his hands. Guilt crept upon him for removing the bracelet and not telling Lex. But being outed on campus as gay and in a relationship with a teacher was difficult enough. He couldn’t risk losing the bit of normalcy the bracelet gave him. As long as he didn’t say anything to Lex, he could push the removal to the back of his mind and forget about it. And that’s what he was going to do – forget about it.
The glow from the television cast a blue tint and shifting shadows on Lex’s bare head. His lips kissed his fist, both wrapped tightly around Clark’s thick shaft. He bobbed slowly over Clark’s lap, drawing out the pleasure with a long, lazy blowjob.
Clark dropped his head on to the back of the couch and stared blankly at the ceiling. His hand curved around Lex’s neck, fingers pressing and releasing in time with Lex’s movements. Lex rubbed his clothing-covered erection against the turn of Clark’s calf. Clark hooked his other knee over Lex’s shoulder, trapping him to his task.
Lex had gotten bored halfway through the movie playing on the television, slithered to the floor, and unbuttoned Clark’s jeans. Clark had soon lost interest in the movie, as well. Orgasm swelled and receded, staved by Lex’s occasional pinched grip. Incomplete thoughts drifted through Clark’s mind, fragmented by the heat of Lex’s mouth and the swipe of his tongue.
Dialogue and music from the movie blurred in the background. The vibration of Lex’s moans caused Clark to arch in pleasure. His head rolled on the back of the couch and he gazed at Lex with half-lidded eyes. Lex’s features tightened as his grip did, losing rhythm when his climax hit. He humped hard and fast against Clark’s leg, neck straining under Clark’s hand. He shuddered with a pained noise, jaw stiff and unmoving so as not to bite.
Hot breath gusted against Clark’s abdomen as Lex panted harshly through his nose. Drool slipped from between Lex’s lips, coating his hand and sliding along Clark’s cock. Clark gave him a moment to regain focus and then tugged on his neck. Lex opened his eyes and looked up. His fingers flexed around Clark’s shaft and he continued the blowjob.
Clark lost himself again in the shifting blue patterns on Lex’s bobbing head.
The kryptonite bracelet caught on the blue polo and Clark let out a muffled curse as he pulled the shirt over his head. He excelled at ignoring problems until something happened and he was forced to look. He frowned heavily at the short gap in the bracelet; he’d have to fix it soon. Lex hadn’t noticed, thank goodness. But then again, Lex might not see anything wrong with it simply because Clark had worn the bracelet for so long that it had become a part of him.
Clark forced away the memory of how physically whole he’d felt with the bracelet off and tucked his shirt in his beige Dockers. One of the faculty members who lived in town was having a Labor Day barbeque and Lex had been invited. Classes were suspended and Clark didn’t have to work because of the federal holiday.
“Ready?” Lex asked, shutting off the television when Clark walked into the room. He was dressed casually, wearing long-sleeved, white linen button-down and olive khakis. The faint scent of spice clung to his skin from sunscreen.
Clark indicated he was. “Are we supposed to bring anything?”
“The pretzels are already in the car.” Lex checked for his wallet and grabbed his car keys and sunglasses off the kitchen counter.
The Jag looked out of place amongst the SUVs and four-door family sedans that had seen better days. Lex parked on the side of the street between a mini-van and Honda Accord. Two-story houses lined both sides of the residential block, painted white, yellow, and pale blue. American flags waved in the light breeze from their posts. Kids in shorts and t-shirts played street hockey further down the block. Others rode their bicycles or played jump rope, their singsong voices carrying in the late summer afternoon.
Clark and Lex followed the scent of the barbeque to the backyard of one blue home. Lawn chairs and folding tables were set up in the green grass. A bocce ball game was being played by the garden in the back half of the yard. Plates, dishes, and bowls of food covered a long table with a plastic red and white-checkered tablecloth. Two coolers sat on the ground at one end.
Lex’s colleagues raised their voices in greeting when he and Clark arrived. Forty or so people crowded the yard, professors and their spouses plus children. Several middle-aged men gathered around the grill, talking with beer bottles in their hands. Women grouped together over the food table, opening bags and uncovering dishes. Couples sat at tables with others, chatting amicably and calling out warnings to their children as they ran past.
“Lex, glad you could make it.” Professor Riker, Clark’s portly Comparative Government teacher, shook Lex’s hand.
“I wouldn’t have missed it,” Lex said. “I think you know Clark.”
“Yes, yes, of course.” Professor Riker shook Clark’s hand, too, and then waved them towards the food table. “Help yourselves to anything. The hamburgers, hot dogs, and bratwurst will be coming up shortly.”
Lex nudged Clark towards the food table, as Professor Riker wandered back to the grill. Clark added their bags of pretzels to the spread, while Lex got them beers. The women by the table glanced at Clark curiously, conversation lulling.
“Here, I’ll take that.” A blonde woman in shorts and a t-shirt said, holding out her hand for the plastic grocery bag that had held the pretzels.
“Thanks,” Clark said, handing it over. She disappeared into the house. Clark smiled faintly at the others, not recognizing any of them.
“Clark, here.” Lex came up beside him and offered him a cold bottle of beer. He nodded at the ladies. “Gina, Chris, Jenny, Barb, it’s good to see you again.”
“Lex.” Chris, or maybe it was Jenny, smiled pleasantly. “How were your first two weeks?”
“Interesting,” Lex replied, though his wide grin showed how much he’d enjoyed them. “I plan to torture them by giving a test next week.”
“John’s giving one, too,” she said with a conspiratorial wink. “He says he loves the sight of terrified freshman at eight in the morning.”
“I can’t get over how young they are,” Lex said. “Age-wise, I’m not that much older, but it seems like there are decades between myself and my students.”
Clark shifted uncomfortably. He was the same age as Lex’s students.
Lex glanced at him, and then addressed the others again. “We’re going to grab a seat. I’ll talk to you ladies later.”
“Take this over to Jack, will you?” Barb, or perhaps Gina, said, handing Lex a glass of iced tea. “He’s sitting at the table over there.”
Clark followed Lex as he made his way over Jack, pausing to say hello as they passed other tables. The professors Clark had for classes were politely aloof to him. They knew Clark and Lex were partners, thanks to Lex’s outing them, but Clark was still their student. Clark felt wholly out of place.
“Jack, your wife sends this.” Lex set the iced tea down in front of Dr. Hammond, the band director. Lex took the open seat beside him.
“Ah, thank you, Lex.” Dr. Hammond picked up the iced tea and sipped gratefully. His face was reddened from the heat and sun.
Four other people sat around the card table, drinks and plates of nibbles in front of them. They were all older, with salt-and-pepper hair and wrinkled faces. Clark angled the open lawn chair next to Lex to create more room for his long legs.
“Lex, it’s good to see you,” one of the ladies said. “And you must be Clark.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Clark said.
“Clark, I don’t think you’ve met anyone in the Math department,” Lex spoke up, making introductions. “This is Dr. Judy Keller and her husband, Don, and Dr. Rick Springer and his wife, Tammy. And Jack is the band director.”
“Hi.” Clark gave his best smile to them. His mother would be proud.
“We were just talking about Milhurst’s chances against Chilton College next Saturday,” Don said.
“Is the pool going again?” Lex asked, leaning back in his chair.
“Hattie’s collecting,” Dr. Springer replied.
“Chilton’s quarterback graduated last year,” Don said. “And I’ve heard the second string quarterback is on academic suspension.”
“Already?” Dr. Keller tisked.
“That puts a freshman in the spot,” Don went on. “He’s going to be crushed.”
“Only if Chilton’s offensive line doesn’t hold their own,” Lex said. “If this freshman gets off his passes, Chilton will score.”
“Lex is right,” Tammy said. “Milhurst’s defense isn’t the best.”
Clark looked sideways at Lex. Since when did Lex know things about football?
“We got a few blocky freshmen this year,” Dr. Springer said. “Blockheads, too.”
Everyone but Clark laughed.
“Hey, Lex!” Professor Abernathy called, hands cupped around his mouth. He gestured for Lex to join him by the bocce ball players.
Lex took a swig of his drink and stood. “I’m being beckoned.”
“Mike’s team must be losing,” Dr. Keller said with a wink.
Lex smirked. “Then I’d better go and help them out.” He glanced at Clark through his sunglasses. “Do you want to play?”
Clark looked past Lex to where the bocce ball game was set up. He counted five people milling over there and Lex would make six. Even teams. Clark shook his head. “You go ahead. I’m going to grab something to eat.”
“Come on over if you change your mind,” Lex said.
Clark watched as Lex walked over and joined the game. Dr. Hammond, the Math professors, and their spouses grew quiet. Clark excused himself before the silence became uncomfortable.
Around him in the yard, conversation and laughter flowed freely. Coworkers became simply friends under the late day sun. Clark felt painfully like an outsider. He didn’t belong at a faculty barbeque, interacting like a peer with the people who graded him. Not only were they uncomfortable, how was that fair to the other students? His professors were bound to go easier on scoring because they knew him on a more personal level. It was human nature.
Then, there was Lex, a colleague and, obviously, a friend to them. Someone they wouldn’t want to purposefully upset. Seeing Clark with Lex put their relationship in the forefront of the teachers’ minds and that would shade their judgments, too. As much as it meant to be treated by Lex as his partner, it wasn’t right for Clark to be at any faculty gathering.
Clark couldn’t leave, though. He’d have to stick it out so as not to make an awkward situation even more so. Lex was having fun; Clark could see him laughing at something Professor Abernathy said as his green bocce ball rolled through the grass.
Clark piled a plate with food and looked for a place out of the way to sit. Remaining unobtrusive was the best way to get through the barbeque. A spikey-haired teenager sat alone, scarfing down food at a table at the edge of the yard. He glanced up when Clark took the chair across from him. “Hey.”
“Hey,” Clark said. “Do you mind if I sit here?”
“Nah.” The kid, whose hands were as big as his head, swallowed a hot dog whole and studied Clark as he chewed and swallowed. “You’re Lex’s boyfriend, aren’t you?”
Clark was surprised by his forwardness. “Yeah, I am. You know Lex?”
“Yeah, he came upstairs nearly all summer.”
“I live in Seton, too, with my dad.”
Clark hadn’t known any kids lived at Seton. “What’s your name?”
“Keith Abernathy.” Keith jerked a thumb in the direction of the bocce ball game. “My dad’s the tall guy standing next to Lex.”
“We’ve met.” Clark looked over at Professor Abernathy, with his lanky build and thinning black hair, and then at Keith. He could see somewhat of a resemblance in their lean faces. “Where’s your mom?”
“Don’t got one,” Keith said. “My other dad lives in California. I see him every June and at Christmas.”
“Oh.” Clark tried to process what was being told to him. “Your dad’s gay?”
“Uh-huh.” Keith bit into a carrot stick. “I kept hoping him and Lex would hook up. Too bad it won’t happen, though, with you around. Lex is really cool.”
“Yeah, real cool,” Clark said in a faraway tone. He looked towards Lex, who put his hand comfortably on Professor Abernathy’s back, leaned in, and spoke like they were sharing secrets. “He came upstairs all summer?”
“Yep. Dad was helping Lex make lesson plans and stuff. Or they’d kick me off the playstation and play Grand Turismo VIII a thousand times.” Keith popped the rest of the carrot into his mouth, picked up his plate, and stood. “I’m getting more food.”
“Okay.” Clark stared blankly at his own plate of food as Keith walked off. He hadn’t known Lex and Professor Abernathy were even friends, let alone the type of friends who saw each other every day for the four weeks Clark was gone during the summer.
Clark glanced over at the bocce ball players. Professor Abernathy tugged Lex’s ear. Lex simply grinned in return.
A lead weight settled heavily in Clark’s stomach.
“Hello, Clark. I was beginning to wonder if you still existed.”
Clark felt a half-smile tug at his lips and he switched ears with the phone receiver. “No, I’m still here.”
“You’d fool me, seeing as you haven’t called since you returned to school,” Martha said over the line.
“Sorry,” Clark said.
“It’s okay,” Martha said. “I figured you were busy.”
“Yeah.” Clark was real busy studying in the library every night he didn’t work because he had nothing else to do while Lex was at open lab. He scratched at a spot on the kitchen counter with his thumbnail.
Martha was quiet a moment. “Honey, is everything all right?”
“Everything’s fine, Mom.”
“Don’t lie to me, Clark.”
“I’m not. Everything’s great. Lex is happier than I’ve ever seen him.”
“Uh-huh. And what about you?” Martha asked.
“What about me?” Clark said.
“Are you happy?”
Clark opened his mouth and a thin sound came out instead of another lie. He closed it with a snap.
“That’s what I thought.” Martha’s tone became soft and caring. “What’s wrong, sweetheart?”
Clark sighed and leaned against the counter. Lex was at open lab again, leaving Clark alone in the apartment. Clark had come back for dinner, as usual, since he hated sitting by himself in the café. His last attempt at joining something had failed spectacularly, the theater not needing any extra backstage crew and the role players frightened him, and unless he wanted to be a cheerleader, he was stuck as a friendless, club-less loser.
Oh, and his upstairs neighbor was gay and had designs on his partner.
“You were right,” Clark said finally. “It’s hard living with someone.”
”Did you and Lex have a fight?” Martha asked gently.
“No. Not recently, anyway.” Clark thumped his fist lightly against the edge of the countertop. The bracelet clinked. He could be home in fifteen minutes if he took it off. “It’s just hard.”
“How are classes?” Martha fished.
“Good. I aced all my first exams. I also managed to get ahead on a few papers,” Clark said.
“That’s great, honey,” Martha said. “Speaking of papers, have you had any interesting assignments?”
“Um, no. I don’t write for the school paper.” Clark continued in a rush, “But I did get a job at the Richland Courier. It’s only checking classifieds, but my foot’s in the door over there, and once I graduate, I’ll be in a prime position for a reporter’s job.”
“Clark, back up a step. Why don’t you write for the school newspaper? I thought that would be the first thing you signed up for,” Martha said.
“Conflict of interest,” Clark said, clasping his opposite bicep, half hugging himself.
“I don’t understand.”
“They wanted me to write something about Lex and I said no,” Clark said. “So I’m off the paper.”
“That’s not right,” Martha said. “I’m sure if you talked to the faculty advisor—”
“No, Mom,” Clark interrupted. “I’m off the paper, that’s it.”
Martha went quiet a moment. “Whatever you think is best, sweetheart. But you do know Lex wouldn’t want you to stop doing something you loved for him?”
“Yeah.” Which was one of the reasons why Clark still hadn’t told Lex; Lex would be pissed that he’d done something rash and stupid.
Clark looked at busy schedule tacked to the refrigerator and confided a different reason. “Lex is really happy, Mom. He loves teaching. I mean, really loves. I caught him erasing the chalkboard using his three hundred dollar dress shirtsleeve without care. He smiles all the time, and he has friends, real friends, who like him because he’s Lex and not Lex Luthor of LuthorCorp. I don’t want to ruin this for him because I’m having trouble adjusting here.”
“I understand,” Martha said, with empathy in her voice. “I remember what it was like when I first moved to Smallville after marrying your father. I had a hard time fitting in, too, but Jonathan was so happy to have a wife that I didn’t say anything.”
“You’re pretty popular with everyone in Smallville now.”
“That’s because I worked at it,” Martha said. “I held my head high and was nice to everyone, even if they didn’t deserve it. A smile does go a long way, Clark.”
“If you say so.” Clark sighed again. “I’ll give it a try. Either that, or I’m going to have to join cheerleading.”
“Yeah. Apparently all gay guys are either cheerleaders or in theater, and since the theater doesn’t need more people, my options are limited.”
“Well, you do have nice legs. I’m sure you’ll look fine in that little skirt.”
“Mo-om.” Clark slapped his hand over his face.
Martha laughed. “I’m only joking, dear.”
“Besides, Lex might not like you wearing a skirt.” Martha paused. “Then again, he might like it a lot.”
Clark dropped his backpack on the floor, toed off his shoes, and tossed his keys on the kitchen counter. He shut off the kitchen light and smothered a yawn as he made his way to the bedroom. Lex was already in bed, reading one of his science journals.
“You’re home late,” Lex said, marking his place with a highlighter. He put the periodical on the nightstand next to the alarm clock.
“I have a test tomorrow.” Clark pulled his shirt over his head and threw it in the direction of the laundry hamper on his way into the bathroom.
“We did set up the other bedroom as an office so you would have a place to study,” Lex’s voice carried through the open door from the bedroom.
“I like the library.” Clark put toothpaste on his toothbrush and stuck the brush in his mouth.
“I wouldn’t have thought you’d be spending all your time there,” Lex said.
It wasn’t as if Lex were home, Clark thought, brushing his teeth. At least at the library, he didn’t feel like he was isolating himself, even though he was alone.
“I spoke with Renee Simmons today.”
Clark froze mid-brush at the non-sequitor. “Onh?” he said around the toothbrush and mouthful of toothpaste.
“Yes. I had asked to review the editorial article about student-faculty relations before publication. If you recall, I do have a gag order regarding certain aspects of our private life.”
Clark remembered. Lex had gotten it before they’d started dating, refraining reporters from mentioning that they’d known each other since Clark was fifteen, among other things.
“The editorial is very well done. It not only questions spousal relations, but parent-child ones, as well,” Lex said. “I was glad that there was going to be a rebuttal editorial printed or I would’ve been concerned about the effects on our relationship.”
Clark stared at his reflection in the mirror. White toothpaste foam circled his mouth.
“But Renee told me there would be no rebuttal,” Lex went on smoothly, “because Clark Kent did not write for the school newspaper.”
Clark glanced at his watch and then finished brushing his teeth. It was the first week in October, more than a month since he’d quit the Milhurst Weekly. He should’ve remembered that the article would be published around now.
Lex looked steadily at him from the bed, waiting for an explanation, when he exited the bathroom. Clark shrugged and shucked his jeans. “No, I don’t.”
“Do you plan to tell me why?” Lex said.
“Why do you think?” Clark changed into his sleep shorts. “You’re the one who made such a big deal out of the articles.”
“So, you quit?” Lex said, as if Clark were an idiot.
Clark gave him a sharp look. “I didn’t have much choice.”
“You’re blaming me?” Lex said incredulously. “I never told you to quit the paper.”
“Some things are more important than a stupid job.”
“Don’t act like a martyr.”
“And what is that supposed to mean?” Clark folded his arms across his bare chest, standing next to his side of the bed.
“It means, don’t pretend you’re giving up something for such an asinine excuse,” Lex stated. “You make your own decisions and control your own actions.”
“That’s what I did,” Clark gritted out.
“Then, why did you quit the paper?” Lex said pointedly.
“Because you’re an asshole.” Clark stalked out of the bedroom. He heard Lex coming after him.
“What the hell?” Lex grabbed his shoulder and yanked him around in the tight confines of the short hall. “What’s going on?”
The lamplight from the bedroom illuminated Lex from behind and bounced off the framed picture in the hall. Lex wore his sleep shorts and a t-shirt. Clark plucked Lex’s hand from his shoulder and dropped it. “Unlike you, I’m not perfect, or rich, or a Luthor. I tried to fix things the best I could and failed.”
“That’s no reason to quit,” Lex said. “I’m sure if you talked to Renee—”
“No,” Clark cut him off. “I made my choice and am not going to go crawling back.”
Lex’s mouth pinched in the corners. “But you love the newspaper.”
“I work for the Richland Courier,” Clark said. “That’ll do.”
Lex looked like he didn’t believe him. “What about the opposing editorial?”
“Who said I don’t agree with Jeff?”
“You agree with Jeff,” Lex repeated slowly.
“He has a point,” Clark said. “Neither the professors nor I felt comfortable when I was at the barbeque last month and they’re treating me different than the others in my classes. A student doesn’t belong socializing with teachers.”
“You’re my partner, Clark. My spouse,” Lex said. “That makes you belong.”
“I don’t remember us getting married.”
Lex looked as if he’d been struck. Clark smiled bitterly. “Or so you told me a month ago. In fact, maybe you’d actually prefer being married, just not to me. How about Professor Abernathy?”
“Mike?” Lex said, somewhat hoarsely. “What does he have to do with anything?”
“Don’t tell me you didn’t notice,” Clark sneered. “Mike wants to ream your pert little ass, Lex, and his son, Keith wouldn’t mind calling you ‘Stepdad.’”
Lex’s pained expression took on an outraged tint. “You think I’m cheating on you?”
“No.” Clark’s shoulders slumped and he scrubbed a tired hand over his face. “I know you’re not, and that you won’t. That doesn’t stop Professor Abernathy from coming on to you, though.”
“He should know by now that I’m not interested.”
“He’s probably hoping you’ll change your mind,” Clark said.
“He’ll be waiting an extremely long time, then,” Lex said matter-of-factly.
Clark met Lex’s gaze sincerely. “You’re worth the wait.”
In the dim hall, Clark couldn’t see if a blush colored Lex’s cheeks, but the downward tilt of his head indicated he was bashfully pleased. He cleared his throat before he spoke. “What are we going to do about the newspaper?”
Clark shrugged. “Nothing, I guess.”
“Are you sure you don’t want to rejoin?” Lex said.
“Yes.” Clark would love to be on the paper, but didn’t want to deal with the constant tension between Jeff and himself. Jeff would graduate in May, anyway, and Clark could always rejoin in the next school year.
“Hmm. I’ll have to talk with Renee about the counter-editorial.” Lex frowned slightly, in thought.
“Whah’eva oo wahnd,” Clark said around a yawn.
Lex half-smiled. “Come to bed,” he directed, and returned to the bedroom. Clark followed, closing the bedroom door behind him.
“If you’re not on the paper, what do you do every night you’re not working?” Lex asked, as he joined Clark beneath the sheets. “Are you in another club?”
“No clubs. There was nothing to join.” Whether by his choice or others’, Clark added silently, curling his arms around the pillow beneath his head. “I usually go to the library.”
“You can always come and sit with me at the lab.” Lex shut off the lamp and nestled down beside Clark.
“Don’t you have students that need your attention?”
“Sometimes. But I wouldn’t mind your company.” Lex’s voice quieted as he admitted, “I feel like I hardly see you anymore.”
Clark shifted, stealing his hand beneath the sheets, to clasp Lex’s fingers. It felt as if a weight had been lifted off his chest. “I’ll be there.”
Lex squeezed his hand in return.
Letter to the Editor:
When my partner first told me the Milhurst Weekly would be running the editorial “Family or Fraternization” (by Jeff Masterson, Volume 67, Issue5, page 4), I was more focused on how it would affect me, when I should have been focused on how it would affect us. I may have said the right words, made it seem like my concern was for how our life would be under scrutiny, but what I really meant was that I had no desire to be in the public eye once more.
Few might know – those majoring in Business or have interests in Kansas – that I was CEO of LuthorCorp, a multi-billion dollar, international conglomerate in the research and development fields. I’ve been on the Fortune 500 list. LuthorCorp stock equaled that of Wall Street giants such as Microsoft and Transmetropolitan. As such, my life was constantly in the limelight, more so once I stepped down from LuthorCorp, pursued becoming a teacher, and Clark and I started dating. I’ve had to obtain Court Orders gagging the press from printing certain aspects of my private life, and Clark’s, that was irrelevant to the public, other than as fodder for gossip.
When I accepted a position at Milhurst College and we relocated to Richland, I had thought that we’d escaped the strain and stress of our former time in Metropolis, that we could simply be Lex and Clark, Associate Professor and Journalist, and enjoy our life of mediocrity. I’d get to blow things up for pay and Clark could write about the new science lab once it was rebuilt. Our plan was set. Clark still had two years of schooling to complete his bachelor’s to become a full-fledged Journalist, but that wasn’t an issue.
It should have been an issue, though – a priority issue at the front of our minds when we chose to move. While the Administration at Milhurst has been more than accepting of our partnership, for which I thank them generously, placing ourselves in a position that asks for contention was an error in judgment. We may as well have placed front-page ads in the papers inviting reporters back into our lives. Worse, unlike in Metropolis, the brunt of the weight is being borne by Clark. I am in a position of authority at the school, while Clark is merely a student. He is my partner, and that makes him a peer to my peers, however, they are also his professors and, ethically, must keep that student/teacher distance. Fellow students may think that he receives undeserved scores because he is in a relationship with a teacher, instead of realizing that he must work twice as hard as everyone else to earn the same grades, because the professors grade him more stringently so as not to appear bowing to favoritism. Peers his own age feel they have little in common with him since, law notwithstanding, he is married and, because of that, resides outside of the dorms, cut off from the rituals of undergraduate college life.
Jeff Masterson was correct in questioning if it was fair for family members of faculty to attend Milhurst. I would have to concur that it is unfair to everyone, especially the student placed into that position.
Clark and I have discussed at length what to do about the situation and have decided to muddle through the next two years, with him remaining a student at Milhurst. Because of that, we invite the public back into our private lives in hopes everyone will remember we are simply Lex and Clark, partners, peers, and people just like you.
Associate Professor, Chemistry
Clark vigorously towel-dried his hair until it stood out like a fluffy black cloud around his head. He could hear Lex in the other room, changing for bed. He tossed the towel over the shower door, put his shower apparatus in its storage bag, and stuck it under the sink. After a quick brush of his teeth and a comb of his hair, he stroked his hand over his burgeoning erection and left the bathroom.
Lex sat in bed, covers pulled over him, with a book in his hands. The bedside lamp cast a golden glow over his bare chest and the curve of his head. He looked up from his reading. Heat flamed in his eyes, his nostrils flaring. He closed his book and set it on the nightstand. His hands disappeared beneath the covers and, with a shift of his hips and his legs, his sleep shorts were dropped off the side of the bed.
Clark slid beneath the sheets, meeting Lex in the center of the bed with a kiss. Lex’s hot breath gusted against his face as he exhaled heavily. Their hardening cocks rubbed, legs tangling, chests pressed together. Clark brushed his broad hand up and down Lex’s spine, vertebrae bumping against his palm. His mouth moved against Lex’s, lips parted, exchanging smoldering kisses that stoked his desire.
Lex started humping unhurriedly against Clark, his hard, thin cock fitted into the crease of Clark’s hip. Clark broke the kiss and opened his eyes. Lex watched him with a half-lidded gaze, cheeks and scalp flushed pink with desire. He breathed through his mouth, lips moist and reddened from kissing. He was gorgeous. Clark’s heart thumped hard against his breast.
“Fuck me,” he murmured, dragging his hand around Lex’s body. He combed his fingers through Lex’s pubic hair and then wrapped them around Lex’s stiff length. “I want you to fuck me.”
Lex sucked in a sharp breath, hips jerking, cock sliding in Clark’s loose grip. He blinked several times and then kissed Clark hard on the lips. He rolled away, got out of bed, and headed quickly for the bathroom. Clark shifted onto his stomach, a pillow beneath his pelvis. Resting his cheek on his folded arms, he watched out of the corner of his eye as Lex returned, erection standing out from his body, bobbing as he walked, with the bottle of lubricant in his hand. He retrieved a condom from the night table drawer.
Clark closed his eyes as Lex rejoined him on the bed. He heard the rip of the condom wrapper and the roll of the latex as Lex put on the protection. The cap of the lubricant popped and the bottle farted messily, causing Clark to snicker. Lex chuckled, too, and then leaned down to press a kiss on Clark’s shoulder.
Lex shifted on his knees beside Clark’s prone body and his hand skimmed over the curve of Clark’s ass. Clark relaxed, parting his legs, allowing Lex access. Dry fingers dipped into the cleave of his ass and ran up and down in a teasing caress before parting his nether cheeks. He tensed and relaxed again at the coolness of the lubricant as the fingers of Lex’s other hand touched him intimately. He could hear Lex’s breathing become heavier as slippery fingers circled his hole.
“God, you’re beautiful,” Lex murmured, pressing a finger inside of Clark. “So beautiful. Perfect.”
Clark’s hands clenched at the pillowcase beneath his head, his bracelet digging into his cheek. He didn’t catch often, both of them preferring Lex being the bottom, and his body had to adjust to the intrusion. But after reading the college paper, he was in the mood to have Lex inside him, to be touched in a way only gay men understood. He inhaled and exhaled slowly, accepting another finger, feeling the stretch and burn as he was worked open, with Lex speaking words of encouragement and sexual hunger.
“You’re so hot and tight. Relax for me, baby. Let me in. Three fingers now.” Lex breathed raggedly. “Fuck, you’re sucking them in. You’re stretched wide. Fucking gorgeous. All red and open and waiting for me. Clark, shit, Clark, making you ready for me. Take my fingers, Clark. Take them.”
Clark became more aroused with every syllable that slipped from Lex’s lips. Lex had learned early in their relationship to talk to him during sex; that it turned him on something fierce, made orgasms that much hotter and brighter. Clark rubbed his erection against the pillow under his hips. He felt sweat beading along his spine, at his hairline, and along his upper lip. He opened his legs wider in invitation. He was ready and wanting.
The lubricant bottle made squelching sounds again, but instead of laughter, it elicited restrained moans of anticipation. Lex shifted over Clark, his knees butted against Clark’s thighs, and the covered tip of his cock kissed Clark’s hole. “Breathe, Clark,” Lex instructed in a whisper.
Clark exhaled and bore down, and Lex pushed home.
Lex was thinner than three fingers, but tears still burned Clark’s eyes from the stretch of his muscles. Lex held himself stiffly, hands braced on Clark’s shoulders, waiting for Clark to adjust around him. Clark could feel Lex’s pulse deep inside, cock throbbing to his heartbeat. He took a few breaths and dug his toes into the bedding. “Okay.”
“Okay,” Lex repeated with a thankful sigh and started to move. “Oh god, Clark…”
Clark moaned and rolled his head on his crossed arms. Lex pulled back and stroked in, his pelvis bumping the swell of Clark’s ass, sloppy-wet sounds of the lubricant making it that much hotter. Sex prattle tumbled heedless from his lips. Clark let the words of love, need, want, and possession wash over him, sweeping him away in a riptide of lust. He felt every inch of Lex pierce him again and again. He pushed his toes against the bed and rocked with Lex’s strokes. He thrust his cock into the divot in the pillow, seeking relief.
“Love you, love you, love you, love you.” Lex’s clench on Clark’s shoulders tightened and his rhythm became jerky. “Love you, love you, love you, love you, love you…”
Rainbow lines streaked across the blackness of Clark’s scrunched eyelids. He breathed in harsh gasps through his open mouth, saliva coating his forearm. A rumble of pleasure rolled from deep in his chest, joining Lex’s chanting in the intimacy of their bedroom.
Lex went silent, mid-word, and pounded hard into Clark’s ass. He stilled suddenly, pushed as far as he could go into Clark, and squeaked loudly as his orgasm hit. Clark would tease him about it later, when he wasn’t feeling Lex shooting inside him, or the mold of Lex to his back after he collapsed, his body a pleasant weight atop him.
Lex’s pants gusted along the curve of Clark’s neck. He kneaded one of Clark’s shoulders and nuzzled against the other one. Clark let him lay there until his erection demanded attention. He shifted his hips forward and down, whimpering softly at the rub of the pillow against his aching length.
Lex brushed his lips against Clark’s shoulder and lifted off him. Clark felt wide open and exposed when Lex pulled out. At the same time, it felt like Lex was still inside him, a phantom cock thrust deep in his bowels. Lex rid the condom, made noises of pity, and nudged Clark over onto his back. “Let me take care of this,” he said, and bent over Clark’s lap.
Clark thrust upwards as heat and wetness surrounded his shaft. His cockhead bumped the back of Lex’s throat. Lex gagged, grabbed the base of Clark’s cock, and repositioned himself between Clark’s legs. Clark’s head arched on the pillow, orgasm tightening his balls, listening and moaning as Lex went to town, slurping messily, agile tongue wiggling, sucking him off. He grabbed Lex’s head, pressed down, and came in Lex’s hot mouth.
“Mmm,” Lex hummed and swallowed, and Clark shuddered fully. He held Lex in place, enjoying the rasp of Lex’s tongue on his sensitive flesh. If he kept Lex there, he wouldn’t completely soften, instead riding the edge of pleasure and pain until it crested into another full erection. Then, he could tumble Lex onto his back, lift his legs in the air, and fuck him until he squeaked again.
Clark rolled his head and looked down his body at Lex. Lex knelt between Clark’s knees, bent forward, ass in the air. He looked back with glittering eyes, face flushed and sweaty, lips stretched thin and wide around Clark’s thick cock, kissing his fist. He poked his tongue into the piss-slit in mimicry of fucking. Clark hissed, fingers pressing harder on Lex’s head, catching himself before he left bruises. Lex arched his brows, breathing heavily through his nose.
Clark hooked a leg over the back of Lex’s neck, locking him in position. He stroked and petted his Lex’s bare scalp. “You look good like this, trapped for my pleasure. Get me hard again and maybe I’ll fuck you tonight.”
Lex’s nostrils flared and his eyelids slit in anticipation and want. He started working his tongue again and jacking with his fist. Clark chuckled softly and ran a finger down the side of Lex’s hollowed cheek. “Yeah, it’s my turn to have you as you belong, with my fat cock up your tight little ass, listening to you begging me to move harder and go deeper.”
Lex moaned, wiggled his ass, and sucked harder on Clark’s cock. Apparently, Clark wasn’t the only one turned on by sex talk. Or maybe Lex just really wanted to be fucked. Clark liked it either way. He fanned his fingers against the sides of Lex’s bobbing head and began a dirty litany that led their activities well into the night.
“Yeah, suck me, Lex. Put that pretty mouth to work. Get me hard for your ass. I’m going to fuck you so many times…”
Clark fell into a comfortable
evening routine as the semester progressed. If he wasn’t working, he hung out
with Lex at the lab, doing homework or otherwise occupying himself while Lex
supervised or helped his students. Clark wasn’t as lonely as he had been
before, and he’d learned from his mother that most married couples spent their
free time together, even if they were doing different things. He stopped
feeling ostracized and friendless because he wasn’t in any clubs; it didn’t
really matter as long as he had Lex.
He also seemed to have Keith Abernathy, too, talking his ear off. Clark found
it amusing. He supposed being the only teenager in Seton limited Keith’s
choices of entertainment on a late Saturday afternoon. Keith perched on the
folding table in the basement of Seton beside a clean basket of clothes,
jabbering on about school, his crush, and his parents, while Clark did laundry.
“I turn sixteen next month,” Keith said, looking cross-eyed at a strand of his
brightly colored hair. It was a shocking shade of pink. “My other dad wants to
give me a car, but I doubt Dad will let me keep it.”
“Why not?” Clark transferred clothes from the washer to the dryer. Lex said
they could send their laundry out, but Clark wasn’t comfortable with strangers
touching his dirty underwear.
“Dad doesn’t like it when John gives me expensive stuff,” Keith replied. “He
says it’s not right for John to ‘buy my affection’ like that.”
“My Dad did the same thing when I was your age,” Clark said, smiling fondly in
remembrance. “Lex got me a truck as a thank you and Dad made me return it.
Only, his reasoning was: ‘You shouldn’t be rewarded for doing the right thing,’
which never made any sense to me. It wasn’t as if I had expected to be
“A truck? Shit, it was probably a sweet ride, too. Lex is rich.”
“It’s the one I drive now. He gave it to me again when I turned twenty-one. The
goof had it sitting in his garage all those years.” Clark reached for the
remaining sock at the bottom of the washer, on his toes and nearly bent in
half. What genius made washing machines so deep?
“Mind if I go check it out?” Keith asked, his feet thudding on the floor as he
hopped off the table.
“Go ahead. It’s not locked.” Clark snagged the sock. As he straightened, his
bracelet caught on the rim of the washer. The skin on his hand rub-burned for
an instant, and then the bracelet was wrenched off.
It felt as if a bus slammed into him, as the restraint on his powers was
broken. He grabbed the sides of the washer, staggering at the sudden influx of
strength and ability to breathe. He heard Keith say, “Cool. Thanks,” and the
pounding of his footsteps up the stairs hammered against Clark’s abruptly
sensitive eardrums. The metal of the washer screeched in protest under his
Closing his eyes tightly, Clark took several gulping breaths. His body felt
light, strong, and comfortable, as if his skin finally fit. Any aches and pains
he’d accumulated vanished. His heart raced in his chest, adrenaline flowed
through him, making him feel invincible.
Clark’s eyes flew open. Despite how right his body felt, he’d sworn never to
remove the gold kryptonite again. Panicking, he looked for the bracelet. It
wasn’t in the washer or on the floor beside it. He dropped to his knees and
peered under the machine. He squinted at the darkness and his x-ray vision
flickered in and out rapidly, like a strobe light. He rubbed his eyes with
Clark yelped and jumped to his feet when Lex called his name. He whipped around
quickly. Lex stood at the bottom of the steps, one fair brow arched in
question. “I didn’t mean to startle you,” he said.
“I’m fine,” Clark squeaked. “What are you doing down here?”
Lex walked further into the laundry room. “I thought you might like the
company, unless you’d prefer me not to be here.”
“No! Yes. No.” Clark shook his head and gripped the washer behind him. “I mean,
yes, I’d like your company.”
Lex stopped by the table and tilted his head. “Is something wrong?”
“No. I just, uh, dropped a quarter and it rolled under the washer,” Clark lied.
He turned his back to Lex and his eyes widened when he saw the fingerprints in
the metal of the washer.
“I saw Keith on my way down,” Lex said.
“Yeah. He was sitting with me for a while.” Clark tried smoothing out the metal
without making a sound. He winced when it squeaked and purposely thumped his
knee against the machine to cover up the sound.
“You don’t find him attractive, do you?”
Clark looked over his shoulder with a frown. Lex was folding their clean
laundry from the basket. “Keith? He’s a kid.”
“He’s the same age you were when we met,” Lex said. “You were fifteen, I was
twenty-one, and I found you very attractive.”
“You liked me like that when I was fifteen?” Clark remembered the intense looks
and suggestive conversations and shook his head. “What am I saying? Of course
Lex smiled wickedly and ambled loose-hipped over to Clark. Clark hardened
swiftly and faced the washer again. Thankfully, the dents no longer looked like
fingers. Panic still bubbled in his stomach and he pulled down his sleeves to
hide his naked wrists.
Lex’s breath was hot against the back of his neck. He heard a zipper, and then
Lex’s hands encircled Clark’s waist and he pressed his erection against Clark’s
sweats-clad ass. “You were so hot,” Lex purred, brushing a wet kiss under
Clark’s earlobe. “So innocent. I wanted to corrupt you.”
“Yeah?” Clark’s breathing sped up as arousal swept through him fiercely. His
cock thumped against the front of the washer through the thin material of his
“Mm-hmm.” Lex nosed the nape of Clark’s hairline and ground his hard-on into
the cleft of Clark’s buttocks. Clark clenched his ass reflexively and Lex
moaned long and deep. “I wanted you so badly.”
“Tell me,” Clark whispered, humping slowly against the washer.
Lex scratched at Clark’s stomach through his rugby shirt. “I was obsessed with
your mouth. I wanted to push you to your knees and sink my cock between those
“Fuck, Lex,” Clark moaned softly, head bowed.
“You’d be looking up at me in fear and innocence, your lips stretched around my
dick,” Lex said, thrusting his freed cock against Clark’s ass. His hand slid
down the front of Clark’s sweats and wrapped around Clark’s erection. “I’d
caress your cheeks where they hollowed and tell you how beautiful you looked.
I’d tell you that’s where you belonged, on your knees for me and me alone.”
Clark hissed, eyelids fluttering, as Lex jacked him with quick, rough strokes.
“Then, I’d tilt your head back and fuck your mouth,” Lex went on in a rough
tone. “You’d gag when the head of my dick hit the back of your throat, but I’d
keep pushing until you took me in completely, your nose mashed against my pubic
hair. Tears would fill your eyes and fall down your cheeks. They only made me
want to fuck your face more.”
“Oh, god.” Clark reached both arms back and planted his hands on Lex’s
asscheeks. He pulled Lex tighter against him and rocked his hips, causing Lex’s
trapped cock to rub faster and harder in the cleft of Clark’s sweats-clad ass.
“Shit- fuck- like that, Clark, fuck- just like that…”
“Tell me more,” Clark half-panted, half-growled.
Lex’s fingers tightened around Clark’s shaft and he jerked faster. His voice
was choked with pleasure. “Yes, god… Every time you left, I had to go in the
bathroom and jerk off. I couldn’t stop thinking about you. I wanted you so
fucking bad- oh fuck- fuck- Clark- Clark—”
Lex came with a strangled scream echoing off the cement walls of the basement
laundry room. His hand tightened punishingly around Clark’s cock, but it only fueled Clark on. Clark let go of Lex, shoved his hand down his sweats, and wrapped his
fingers over Lex’s on his cock. He squeezed and jacked roughly, pre-come and
sweat slicking his flesh. Lex’s fingers on his other hand dug into his stomach
and he made a distressed sound. Clark’s climax hit just as he realized Lex was
crying out in pain, not pleasure. Stars exploded behind his tightly closed
eyelids. His hand spasmed around his cock and Lex yelped loudly.
Lex stumbled backwards quickly once Clark let go. Clark turned around, his
sweats wet with semen. Horror knotted his stomach when he saw Lex’s mangled
fingers cradled to his chest. Lex’s face was pale, his blue eyes huge and
pained. His soft dick hung limply out of his zipper.
“Oh god,” Clark cried for a whole other reason and jerked forward. He carefully
took Lex’s hand and squinted. His x-ray vision flickered and kicked in. The
bones in Lex’s fingers were crushed.
“Clark.” Lex said his name in a calm, even tone that meant he was infuriated.
“Is there something you want to tell me?”
Clark blinked and his x-ray vision went away, leaving a tight-jawed, hard-eyed
lover glaring at him. Clark shook his head quickly. “No, Lex, it’s not like
that. My bracelet came off. It got caught on the washer and fell on the floor
somewhere in here.”
Lex studied him and pursed his lips. “How could it come off? I thought you’d
said it was permanently around you wrist?”
“It is- was- I- I—” Clark tripped over his words, not knowing how to explain.
He went with the truth. “I got hurt and I took the bracelet off to heal, but
then I couldn’t get it back on and had to melt a hole in it, which made it
loose, but I got it back on and I promised myself never to take it off again,
but it got caught and came off and, oh god, I hurt you!”
His stomach churned in horror at what he’d done. He staggered back one step,
then another, until his butt hit the washing machine. The same washing machine
that had caused his bracelet to come off.
With a self-loathing cry, he bolted from the laundry room.
He also seemed to have Keith Abernathy, too, talking his ear off. Clark found it amusing. He supposed being the only teenager in Seton limited Keith’s choices of entertainment on a late Saturday afternoon. Keith perched on the folding table in the basement of Seton beside a clean basket of clothes, jabbering on about school, his crush, and his parents, while Clark did laundry.
“I turn sixteen next month,” Keith said, looking cross-eyed at a strand of his brightly colored hair. It was a shocking shade of pink. “My other dad wants to give me a car, but I doubt Dad will let me keep it.”
“Why not?” Clark transferred clothes from the washer to the dryer. Lex said they could send their laundry out, but Clark wasn’t comfortable with strangers touching his dirty underwear.
“Dad doesn’t like it when John gives me expensive stuff,” Keith replied. “He says it’s not right for John to ‘buy my affection’ like that.”
“My Dad did the same thing when I was your age,” Clark said, smiling fondly in remembrance. “Lex got me a truck as a thank you and Dad made me return it. Only, his reasoning was: ‘You shouldn’t be rewarded for doing the right thing,’ which never made any sense to me. It wasn’t as if I had expected to be rewarded.”
“A truck? Shit, it was probably a sweet ride, too. Lex is rich.”
“It’s the one I drive now. He gave it to me again when I turned twenty-one. The goof had it sitting in his garage all those years.” Clark reached for the remaining sock at the bottom of the washer, on his toes and nearly bent in half. What genius made washing machines so deep?
“Mind if I go check it out?” Keith asked, his feet thudding on the floor as he hopped off the table.
“Go ahead. It’s not locked.” Clark snagged the sock. As he straightened, his bracelet caught on the rim of the washer. The skin on his hand rub-burned for an instant, and then the bracelet was wrenched off.
It felt as if a bus slammed into him, as the restraint on his powers was broken. He grabbed the sides of the washer, staggering at the sudden influx of strength and ability to breathe. He heard Keith say, “Cool. Thanks,” and the pounding of his footsteps up the stairs hammered against Clark’s abruptly sensitive eardrums. The metal of the washer screeched in protest under his fingers.
Closing his eyes tightly, Clark took several gulping breaths. His body felt light, strong, and comfortable, as if his skin finally fit. Any aches and pains he’d accumulated vanished. His heart raced in his chest, adrenaline flowed through him, making him feel invincible.
Clark’s eyes flew open. Despite how right his body felt, he’d sworn never to remove the gold kryptonite again. Panicking, he looked for the bracelet. It wasn’t in the washer or on the floor beside it. He dropped to his knees and peered under the machine. He squinted at the darkness and his x-ray vision flickered in and out rapidly, like a strobe light. He rubbed his eyes with shaking fingers.
Clark yelped and jumped to his feet when Lex called his name. He whipped around quickly. Lex stood at the bottom of the steps, one fair brow arched in question. “I didn’t mean to startle you,” he said.
“I’m fine,” Clark squeaked. “What are you doing down here?”
Lex walked further into the laundry room. “I thought you might like the company, unless you’d prefer me not to be here.”
“No! Yes. No.” Clark shook his head and gripped the washer behind him. “I mean, yes, I’d like your company.”
Lex stopped by the table and tilted his head. “Is something wrong?”
“No. I just, uh, dropped a quarter and it rolled under the washer,” Clark lied. He turned his back to Lex and his eyes widened when he saw the fingerprints in the metal of the washer.
“I saw Keith on my way down,” Lex said.
“Yeah. He was sitting with me for a while.” Clark tried smoothing out the metal without making a sound. He winced when it squeaked and purposely thumped his knee against the machine to cover up the sound.
“You don’t find him attractive, do you?”
Clark looked over his shoulder with a frown. Lex was folding their clean laundry from the basket. “Keith? He’s a kid.”
“He’s the same age you were when we met,” Lex said. “You were fifteen, I was twenty-one, and I found you very attractive.”
“You liked me like that when I was fifteen?” Clark remembered the intense looks and suggestive conversations and shook his head. “What am I saying? Of course you did.”
Lex smiled wickedly and ambled loose-hipped over to Clark. Clark hardened swiftly and faced the washer again. Thankfully, the dents no longer looked like fingers. Panic still bubbled in his stomach and he pulled down his sleeves to hide his naked wrists.
Lex’s breath was hot against the back of his neck. He heard a zipper, and then Lex’s hands encircled Clark’s waist and he pressed his erection against Clark’s sweats-clad ass. “You were so hot,” Lex purred, brushing a wet kiss under Clark’s earlobe. “So innocent. I wanted to corrupt you.”
“Yeah?” Clark’s breathing sped up as arousal swept through him fiercely. His cock thumped against the front of the washer through the thin material of his sweats.
“Mm-hmm.” Lex nosed the nape of Clark’s hairline and ground his hard-on into the cleft of Clark’s buttocks. Clark clenched his ass reflexively and Lex moaned long and deep. “I wanted you so badly.”
“Tell me,” Clark whispered, humping slowly against the washer.
Lex scratched at Clark’s stomach through his rugby shirt. “I was obsessed with your mouth. I wanted to push you to your knees and sink my cock between those fat lips.”
“Fuck, Lex,” Clark moaned softly, head bowed.
“You’d be looking up at me in fear and innocence, your lips stretched around my dick,” Lex said, thrusting his freed cock against Clark’s ass. His hand slid down the front of Clark’s sweats and wrapped around Clark’s erection. “I’d caress your cheeks where they hollowed and tell you how beautiful you looked. I’d tell you that’s where you belonged, on your knees for me and me alone.”
Clark hissed, eyelids fluttering, as Lex jacked him with quick, rough strokes.
“Then, I’d tilt your head back and fuck your mouth,” Lex went on in a rough tone. “You’d gag when the head of my dick hit the back of your throat, but I’d keep pushing until you took me in completely, your nose mashed against my pubic hair. Tears would fill your eyes and fall down your cheeks. They only made me want to fuck your face more.”
“Oh, god.” Clark reached both arms back and planted his hands on Lex’s asscheeks. He pulled Lex tighter against him and rocked his hips, causing Lex’s trapped cock to rub faster and harder in the cleft of Clark’s sweats-clad ass.
“Shit- fuck- like that, Clark, fuck- just like that…”
“Tell me more,” Clark half-panted, half-growled.
Lex’s fingers tightened around Clark’s shaft and he jerked faster. His voice was choked with pleasure. “Yes, god… Every time you left, I had to go in the bathroom and jerk off. I couldn’t stop thinking about you. I wanted you so fucking bad- oh fuck- fuck- Clark- Clark—”
Lex came with a strangled scream echoing off the cement walls of the basement laundry room. His hand tightened punishingly around Clark’s cock, but it only fueled Clark on. Clark let go of Lex, shoved his hand down his sweats, and wrapped his fingers over Lex’s on his cock. He squeezed and jacked roughly, pre-come and sweat slicking his flesh. Lex’s fingers on his other hand dug into his stomach and he made a distressed sound. Clark’s climax hit just as he realized Lex was crying out in pain, not pleasure. Stars exploded behind his tightly closed eyelids. His hand spasmed around his cock and Lex yelped loudly.
Lex stumbled backwards quickly once Clark let go. Clark turned around, his sweats wet with semen. Horror knotted his stomach when he saw Lex’s mangled fingers cradled to his chest. Lex’s face was pale, his blue eyes huge and pained. His soft dick hung limply out of his zipper.
“Oh god,” Clark cried for a whole other reason and jerked forward. He carefully took Lex’s hand and squinted. His x-ray vision flickered and kicked in. The bones in Lex’s fingers were crushed.
“Clark.” Lex said his name in a calm, even tone that meant he was infuriated. “Is there something you want to tell me?”
Clark blinked and his x-ray vision went away, leaving a tight-jawed, hard-eyed lover glaring at him. Clark shook his head quickly. “No, Lex, it’s not like that. My bracelet came off. It got caught on the washer and fell on the floor somewhere in here.”
Lex studied him and pursed his lips. “How could it come off? I thought you’d said it was permanently around you wrist?”
“It is- was- I- I—” Clark tripped over his words, not knowing how to explain. He went with the truth. “I got hurt and I took the bracelet off to heal, but then I couldn’t get it back on and had to melt a hole in it, which made it loose, but I got it back on and I promised myself never to take it off again, but it got caught and came off and, oh god, I hurt you!”
His stomach churned in horror at what he’d done. He staggered back one step, then another, until his butt hit the washing machine. The same washing machine that had caused his bracelet to come off.
With a self-loathing cry, he bolted from the laundry room.
Clark’s powers fluctuated and he tripped out of superspeed again and again, skid on the ground, and left a furrow in the pavement and tears his clothes, before shoving to his feet and taking off once more. His horrified thoughts kept pace with him, no matter how fast or how far he ran. He’d hurt Lex, crushed the bones in his fingers into tiny fragments.
Be careful. Be gentle. Watch your strength. His parents had drilled it into his mind that he couldn’t touch unless he treated everything as fragile as glass. He always had to be aware and in control of his body. He couldn’t have accidents, couldn’t be careless, because he wasn’t normal, wasn’t human.
The gold kryptonite bracelet had made him forget that fact: that he wasn’t human. He would never be normal, no matter how much he tried. He was still gay, he was still involved with Lex Luthor, and he was still an alien. In trying to ignore those things, all he’d succeeded in doing was hurt himself and hurt Lex, physically and emotionally.
Clark felt his chest tighten and tripped out of high speed again. He skidded several feet, released a pain-filled yell, and punched the ground. The pavement fractured under his fist. His fingers were unharmed, unlike Lex’s broken ones.
Clark pushed up to his knees and wiped his face with his hands. “Lex,” he whispered plaintively. “Oh, god.” He’d left Lex in the laundry room, cradling his broken bones, without offering any help. How could he do that? How could he be so callous and self-centered? Lex was the one who’d been hurt, not Clark. Clark was just the asshole who’d done the hurting, in more ways than one.
Clark looked around quickly. He needed to get back to Lex, needed to apologize and to get Lex medical care. He had no idea where he was, though. He was kneeling on a paved road without traffic surrounded by fallow fields as far as he could see. He rose and, with a burst of speed, followed the road in the direction he’d come.
A gas station on an intersection was his salvation. The girl behind the counter eyed his torn clothing and fevered countenance with trepidation, but gave him his location and let him look at a map. He hadn’t run out of Illinois, thankfully, and it didn’t take long for him to arrive back at Milhurst.
“Lex?” Clark called, opening the door using the key hanging around his neck. Silence greeted him. Swiftly, he checked for a note or a message on his cell phone. There was nothing from Lex.
Clark had passed Lex’s car in the lot on his way into the building. Maybe Lex was still in the basement. Clark hurried downstairs to find Keith tossing laundry from the dryer into a laundry basket. “Keith, have you seen Lex?”
“Dude, where have you been? My dad took him to the hospital,” Keith said. “He broke his hand or something. I told him I’d bring up your laundry.”
“When did they leave?” Clark asked. He yanked off his t-shirt and pulled on a clean one from the basket. He did the same with his sweats, changing into jeans.
“About a half-hour ago, maybe more.”
“Thanks.” Clark started out of the basement and then jogged back downstairs. “Where’s the hospital?”
“First Street. Follow the blue signs,” Keith said.
“Thanks,” Clark repeated and dashed back upstairs. He stopped by the apartment for his wallet and truck keys, knowing it would look too odd for him to appear at the hospital without a visible means of transportation.
Worry and guilt clawed at his gut and made the drive seem endless. He finally arrived at Richland Memorial Hospital, parked, and hurried through the outpatient emergency doors. Few people sat in the green plastic chairs lining the waiting room. A television blared the local news station in the corner. Several nurses in pink and blue scrubs stood behind a curved desk, chatting and filling out charts.
“May I help you?” one of the nurses, Judy according to her ID tag, asked him when he reached the desk.
“Lex Luthor? He came in within the last hour,” Clark said anxiously. “I’m his partner.”
Judy glanced behind her at a large dry erase board. Clark saw Lex’s last name beside the number three. “He’s in bed three. Go ahead on back.”
Clark nodded his thanks and walked quickly past the counter. His gym shoes squeaked on the floor as he entered into a fairly large, open room with several hospital beds lined in a row. A few were curtained off, but Lex sat openly on the side of his bed, Mike Abernathy standing beside him. His damaged left hand lay on a small pillow on his lap. Professor Abernathy caressed Lex’s shoulder and Clark shoved down his spike of jealousy. Now was not the time.
“Lex,” he said with one part worry, two parts fear, approaching bed three. Lex turned his head and Clark saw relief pass over his ashen features.
“You came.” Lex reached out with his uninjured hand towards Clark. Professor Abernathy stepped back.
“I’m sorry,” Clark said, taking Lex’s hand, allowing himself to be pulled down onto the bed beside Lex.
“It’s not your fault,” Lex murmured. His eyes were pinched in the corners and lines bracketed his mouth.
Clark glanced at Professor Abernathy and bit his tongue. It wasn’t the appropriate place to discuss what had happened. Instead, he curved his arm around Lex’s waist. Lex leaned into Clark, resting his head on Clark’s shoulder. Clark could feel Lex’s eyelashes flutter against his jaw when he blinked.
It was rare that Lex allowed himself to be viewed as weak, even when injured. Lex was telling him with his body language that all was forgiven.
Clark brushed a kiss on the top of Lex’s bare head and wished that he could forgive himself.
“I can walk, you know.”
Clark doubted that, from the way Lex leaned heavily against him as they made their way into their apartment. The Doctor had given Lex pain medication with a strong sedative. They had been at the hospital well into the night, the emergency Doctor having to perform surgery on Lex. His fingers were wired beneath the skin to keep the bones aligned and then each finger encased in its own removable splint. His shirt was half-on, draped over his shoulder. His left arm hung in a sling, long enough to cover his hand, to prevent him from jostling his injury too much.
“Do you need to use the bathroom?” Clark said, ignoring Lex’s feeble protest.
“Why? Are you going to hold my dick, too?” Lex said with tired amusement.
“No, but your pants have fifty-two million hidden buttons on them and you’ve only got one hand.” Clark steered him down the hallway to the master bedroom. He saw their basket of clean laundry on the floor and Lex’s keys on the dresser.
Lex sighed resignedly, as Clark led him into the bathroom. “I guess I’ll need some help.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll let you hold your own dick,” Clark said, undoing Lex’s trouser buttons and zipper.
He left Lex in the bathroom and went to fix up the bed. He retrieved an extra pillow from the closet and smoothed the sheets and blankets. He threw Lex’s pajama bottoms in the hamper and fetched a clean pair from the laundry basket.
“You’d make someone a good wife,” Lex joked from the bathroom doorway, the doorjamb barely holding him upright. Dark circles ringed his eyes, still pinched in the corners. His slow blinks revealed the sedative in effect.
“I’d rather just be your partner,” Clark said.
A smile spread across Lex’s lips. “I’d like that. I’d also like to go to bed, now.”
“Come on.” Clark curved an arm around Lex’s waist and guided him to the bed. He pushed down Lex’s pants and underwear before having him sit.
“I believe this is yours.” Lex took something out of the pocket of his button-down shirt. The gold bracelet appeared dull in the lamplight.
Clark swallowed the pain-filled lump that rose in his throat. He finished removing Lex’s shoes, socks, and pants, straightened, and took the bracelet from Lex. The instant he touched the kryptonite, his chest seized and his knees turned to jelly. He staggered and slapped his hand down on the nightstand to stop from falling.
“Clark!” Lex exclaimed, half-rising and reaching for him.
“I’m okay,” Clark rasped, sucking in a harsh breath between words. “It’s only… the effect… of the bracelet.”
“Put it down.” Lex tugged awkwardly on Clark’s hand, trying to take the bracelet from him. “Put it down, Clark.”
“No.” Clark pulled his hand away from Lex and jammed the bracelet onto his wrist.
“Clark, it’s hurting you—”
“It’s not. I’m fine.” Clark straightened his shoulders and pretended he didn’t feel like he was dying.
“Don’t lie to me.” Lex’s features hardened in anger. “You never told me the gold kryptonite hurt you.”
“It takes away my powers, Lex, that’s all.”
“Bullshit,” Lex said. “You look like you can barely breathe and you’re as white as the sheets.”
“I just need to get used to the effects again,” Clark said. He stepped past Lex and picked up the pajama bottoms lying on the bed. “Let me help you get these on—”
“Goddamn it, Clark!” Lex ripped the pajamas from Clark’s hold, threw them on the floor, and glared furiously at him. “Don’t you think I’d care that you’re hurting yourself by wearing that thing?”
“I’m wearing it so I won’t hurt you,” Clark snapped. He bent, snatched the pajama bottoms off the floor, and gestured angrily at Lex’s sling, with them in his fist. “You’ve gotten, literally, first hand experience what can happen if I don’t wear it. I’d rather have the bracelet kill me than chance hurting you again.”
The blood drained from Lex’s face. “It’s killing you?”
“No! No.” Clark grabbed Lex’s shoulders, dipped his head slightly, and looked into Lex’s eyes. “It’s not enough kryptonite to kill me.”
“How do you know?” Lex whispered, horrified.
“Because I do,” Clark said. “Because I could no more leave you purposely than you could let me go.”
Lex swayed into him, and Clark embraced him carefully, pajamas hanging from his hand. He brushed a kiss on Lex’s forehead. Lex sighed warmly against his neck.
“Come on,” Clark murmured, releasing Lex. “Let’s get you into bed.”
Clark knelt and held Lex’s pajama bottoms open at the waist. Lex balanced with his good hand on Clark’s shoulder, raised each foot, and stepped into his pajamas. Clark pulled them up as he straightened, and then helped Lex take off his shirt and the sling. Lex climbed into bed, wincing as his arm jostled.
Clark pulled up the covers, leaving Lex’s splinted hand exposed, propped on the pillow in the center of the bed. Lex looked exhausted suddenly and his smile was faint. “You’d make a good mother, too.”
”Shut up,” Clark said fondly, and kissed Lex on the lips. “Get me up if you need more pain pills.”
Clark turned off the light and headed for the door. His heart slowly flipped when he heard Lex say, “I love you.”
“I love you, too,” Clark said. He left the bedroom, shutting the door behind him.
The bracelet weighed heavily on his wrist.
Clark found Lex in the office of their apartment when he got home from work. Two desks had been set up, one for Clark and one for Lex, though the room was rarely occupied. Lex normally worked in his office in the Admin building and Clark just used his computer for researching and typing up papers.
“Hey, I’m home.” Clark pressed a kiss to the top of Lex’s head and looked over him at the monitor. He recognized the Smallville High Torch website on screen and was surprised. “What are you working on?”
“A little research.” Lex used the mousepad awkwardly with his right hand, his left, splinted hand resting on the arm of his chair. He backed out of the page on the screen and an archive list popped up. “I had some questions about some things.”
“Uh-huh.” Clark noted the archive years were from when he was in high school. He turned the other desk chair around and took a seat. “And did Chloe’s news articles have the answers?”
Clark scowled at the short response but dropped it. Badgering Lex wouldn’t do any good if he didn’t want to tell. Besides which, Lex got obsessed with the tiniest of things and Clark had, in the past, regretted when Lex did tell him what he was up to, in long-winded, excruciatingly boring detail. “How’s your hand?” he asked instead.
“It’s fine, Clark, just like it has been the last hundred times you’ve asked.” Lex rolled away from the desk and turned his chair to face Clark. “Stop mother-henning me.”
“Sorry,” Clark said, looking down at his hands – the same hands that had crushed Lex’s fingers.
“And stop feeling guilty,” Lex ordered. “It was an accident.”
“Sorry,” Clark said again, fiddling with the bracelet on his wrist.
Lex sighed loudly in exasperation. “I find martyrdom to be a turn-off, so quit it. I’d like to have sex in the immediate future.”
Clark lifted his gaze, his mouth twitching. “The immediate future? Isn’t that an oxymoron?”
A condom hit Clark in the nose. “Be quiet and pull down your pants.”
Laughing, Clark complied. He shoved his jeans and underwear to his ankles, stroked his dick to hardness, opened the condom and rolled it on. He felt guilty when he saw Lex struggle with his own pants, but the glare he received quashed it swiftly. He soon had a lapful of Lex, Lex’s back to Clark’s chest, with Clark’s cock fitted snugly inside him.
The chair squeaked as Lex began rocking, causing them both to snicker. Clark grasped Lex’s angular hips and helped him build a slow, steady rhythm. Sex prattle started falling from Lex’s lips, washing over Clark, sweeping all thoughts of guilt and remorse away. He closed his eyes, rested his head on the back of the chair, and lost himself in the familiarity of making love with Lex.
Lex’s good hand rested on Clark’s knee the entire movie. The comforting weight kept Clark from fidgeting in boredom. Interview with a Vampire was playing on the big screen in the Milhurst auditorium, the midnight movie of the month sponsored by SADD. Clark could think of a hundred different ways to spend his Saturday night, most of them involving nakedness, Lex, and Lex’s nakedness. Sadly, it was not to be. Lex had even refused to give him a handjob during the movie, which might have made it worthwhile to sit through it, but Lex had turned into a prude when it came to public fornication. His job was apparently more important that Clark’s hard-on, and that left Clark horny, bored, and pouting, and forced to watch the second gayest vampire movie in existence. (The Lost Boys was a classic of the gay vampire genre and not to be sneered at, in Clark’s proudly perverted opinion.)
It was after two in the morning when the movie finally – finally – ended. As the credits rolled, Clark sighed in relief, stood, and stretched. Lex tapped the metal of his splint against the armrest of the auditorium seat and said, with all seriousness, “Louis should’ve taken Armand up on his offer.”
Clark gave Lex a pitying look. “You couldn’t have liked the movie.”
“It had its moments,” Lex said, rising.
“Brad Pitt was bland and Tom Cruise was blonde.” Clark shuddered as he helped Lex on with his coat. “There was barely any nudity, either. A total waste of manflesh.”
Lex barked in laughter. “Manflesh?”
“Yes. Manflesh. If I’m going to be stuck watching boring-ass movies, the men could at least be mostly naked. And glistening. Like in Troy.” Clark smacked his lips obnoxiously. “Now, that had a Brad Pitt worth seeing.”
Lex shook his head, amusement curving his lips. “You are very, very gay.”
“Yep.” Clark goosed Lex in agreement and laughed when Lex squeaked in surprise. “And it’s all your fault, Mr. Lex Loose-Hipped Luthor.”
“‘Loose-Hipped’?” Lex said, as they headed out of the auditorium. “Do I even want to ask?”
“When you walk, you wiggle your hips more than anyone I know. Like this.” Clark lifted the hem of his winter jacket and demonstrated, sticking his ass out a bit and thrusting his hips from side to side as he walked.
“I do not walk like that!” Lex protested, affronted.
“Wiggle left, wiggle right.” Clark smothered his laughter as he continued his exaggerated mimicking. “It makes everyone look at your crotch, wondering what’s in your pants making you walk like that. Too much staring and wondering made me gay.”
“You’re so full of shit.”
Clark grinned widely. He held open the main door to the building, letting Lex pass him outside. The winter air nipped at his nose and ears. He shoved his hands in his pockets and fell into step beside Lex. The sidewalks between buildings and the dorms had been shoveled and salted, but they were still icy. The campus was mostly quiet because of the late hour. A few open windows spilled music out into the night, dorm room parties still in swing.
“What’s that?” Lex said, getting Clark’s attention. Ahead of them, an orange glow flickered beyond the boys’ dorm, Gilbert Hall.
“I don’t know.” Clark glanced at Lex, and they quickened their steps.
Clark and Lex heard the screams and cries of the girls before they saw them and broke into a run. Clark rounded the corner of Gilbert ahead of Lex and stopped abruptly when he saw the fire. Orange-yellow flames shot from first and second floor windows of Halas Hall, one of the female dorms. Thick black smoke billowed and curled towards the sky. Girls in pajamas, very few wearing coats, yelled, cried, and clutched each other in the snow in front of the dorm. The fire alarm blared audibly under the crackling roar of the fire.
Lex barreled around the corner, slipped on the icy sidewalk, and slammed into Clark’s back. He grunted, grabbled onto Clark’s winter coat, caught his balance, and propelled himself past Clark. “Come on!”
Clark broke out of his stupor and bolted after Lex. Lex began shouting at the girls, as he got closer to them. “Everyone back! Move into the field! Find your RA and stand by her!”
Some girls complied immediately, others stood petrified in shock. Clark rushed over to the unmoving ones and gave them firm pushes towards the intramural field. “Move! Move!”
“RAs, do a head count,” Lex ordered to the gathering groups. Boys from Gilbert spilled from their dorm, gawking and joining the growing chaos. Students in dorms across the field saw the fire, too, and came running outside.
A window exploded, raining glass on the spot the girls had previously been standing. Screams filled the air. Clark stared in horror as flames spewed from a third floor window, the fire spreading. He hoped everyone got out safely.
Lex appeared beside him, grabbed his wrist, and pulled off the bracelet without warning. Clark’s body jerked, strength and power jolting through him. He gulped in a full breath of cold air, his lungs unrestrained. He gaped at Lex. “What—”
“Check the dorm. Make sure they’re all out,” Lex said, mouth pinched with worry and fear.
Clark blinked several times. “Lex—”
Lex gave him a shove. “Go!”
Clark stumbled into a run, circling Halas, cutting through the snow. The fire alarm honked piercingly, hurting his suddenly sensitive eardrums as he approached the dorm. He yanked open the door on the other side of the dormitory. Black smoke blew outside. It choked and blinded him as he entered the building. He coughed twice, braced his hand on the door, and stuck his head back outside. He took a deep breath of clean air and held it.
Wiping a hand across his tearing eyes, he tripped over the carpet runner entering the first floor hall. The smoke was thick, obscuring the glow of the fire halfway down the hall. Dorm room doors were flung wide open. Clark checked each room, shouldering open the few shut doors. Sweat broke out on his brow and upper lip, the temperature increasing the closer he got to the fire.
Flames licked the hall, the walls bubbling. The roar of the fire joined the scream of the alarm in hurting his eardrums. Clark’s sneakers stuck to the floor, the rubber melting in the heat. He squinted at the dorm room the fire centered in, praying he wouldn’t see a trapped skeleton. His x-ray vision flickered on and off. He smacked his temple with the pad of his hand. Come on. Come on.
His x-ray vision focused finally, cutting through the walls and flames. Relief swept through him when he saw the room was empty of bodies. Encouraged, he sped up his search, sprinting past the burning dorm room. He continued to hold his breath, his heart thumping hard against his breastbone. He ran up the stairs, checking the second floor, finding it empty save for a kitten. He shoved the animal down his tucked shirt and rushed to finish his search.
He shouldered open doors, x-rayed rooms, and hurried down the hall. His heart stopped when he found a girl unconscious at the far end of the third floor. He scooped her up and dashed downstairs with a burst of speed.
Firetrucks honked their horns, lights flashing, as they arrived on scene. Clark tumbled out the side door, zeroed in on Lex, and shouted his name. “LEX!”
Lex’s head jerked in Clark’s direction. Clark laid the girl on the ground away from the burning building, dropped the kitten on her stomach, and hurried human-speed back into the dorm. He knew Lex would take care of the victims. There were rooms Clark still hadn’t checked.
Adrenaline and power pumped through his veins. His lungs filtered the smoke on their own, and his eyes no longer burned, during the second dash into the dorm. He didn’t feel the heat as he shot up the steps and searched the remaining rooms in milliseconds. Finding them empty, he decided to go through the building again, double-checking that everyone was out.
He met the heavily equipped firemen at the door and quickly covered his lower face with his shirt. “It’s empty,” he said in his most commanding voice. “Put out the fire.”
The first fireman in line looked determined through his oxygen mask. He grabbed Clark by the arm. “Get his kid out of here!”
Clark shrugged him off and pushed him back a step. “I said that the building is empty. Don’t risk yourselves. Go put out the fire.”
“We have a problem,” the fireman said into his radio. “Enter through the other side.”
Clark hated when people didn’t listen to him. A few of the firemen in line fell out and ran along the building towards the other door. Clark set his jaw. “You’re endangering your lives.”
“That’s our job, son. Now, move aside,” the fireman said.
Clark stopped wasting his breath and got out of the way. He ducked into the shadows of the neighboring Gilbert Hall, activated his x-ray vision, and concentrated on tuning in his hearing to track the firemen’s progress. His ears rang as the alarm shot up in pitch. He stuck his finger in his ear, wiggled it, and tried again.
“Clear!” “Clear!” He heard different firemen say as they checked rooms Clark had already gone through. Clark fretted as he watched the skeletons with metal canisters strapped to their back searched the dormitory, afraid he’d have to rescue the rescuers. In the background din, he unconsciously picked out Lex’s calm, authoritative voice reassuring the students and keeping order in the intramural field.
Clark didn’t move from his spot until the last fireman left the building. Then, he focused in on Lex and jogged around the burning dorm, into the snowy field, to his side. Relief colored Lex’s winter-pinked features. He snared Clark’s hand, squeezed it, and went back to issuing directions to the group of faculty and Resident Advisors gathered around him.
Coiled power vibrating under his skin, Clark ignored the conversation and watched the firemen extinguish the fire.
Toweling off, Clark glanced at himself in the mirror above the sink. His cheeks looked pink and healthy, his eyes sparkled an intense blue-green. The faint circles that usually ringed his eyes had vanished. He seemed taller and broader, too. His movements didn’t feel clumsy, like his body was disproportioned; rather, everything fit together perfectly, a completed puzzle with all its pieces intact.
Clark blew out of breath of air and watched it fog the mirror, distorting his reflection. He threw the damp towel over the shower door and left the bathroom.
Lex was in the living room sitting on the couch. Eyes closed and head titled on the seat back, a glass of something dark was clutched in his right hand, balanced on his thigh. The lamplight washed out his pale skin and deepened the worry lines at the corners of his eyes. He’d changed into his pajama bottoms and a long-sleeved t-shirt.
“You’re not supposed to have alcohol while you’re taking medication,” Clark chided, sinking into the other corner of the couch. He pulled one pajama-clad knee up, resting his foot on the cushion’s edge.
“One drink won’t kill me,” Lex murmured.
It was late, or very early in the morning. Halas Hall’s fire had been extinguished and the firemen had gone. The girl Clark had saved from the building had been transported to the hospital, alive but with smoke damage to her lungs. The kitten had been returned to her owner, alive as well. Rooms had been assigned to the displaced residents of Halas, whether sharing singles in the other two girls’ dorms or being placed four to an apartment in Seton. Clark had helped bring spare bunks from the guys’ dorms to Seton while others assisting scrounged for sheets, blankets, and temporary clothing for the girls.
“How do you feel?” Lex asked, rolling his head on the seat back and opening his eyes to look at Clark.
“Fine.” Clark dragged a hand through his damp, uncombed hair. “A little wound and wired, maybe.”
Clark’s brow wrinkled in confusion. “What do you mean? Am I glad I could help?”
“I’m always glad to help,” Clark said. “Lending a free hand is the best thing anyone can do.” His lips twisted wryly. “As long as it didn’t expose my abilities, that is, according to my parents.”
“You did an admirable job at hiding them.” Lex lifted his head, took a sip of his drink, and studied Clark. “In fact, I don’t see why you need to wear a kryptonite bracelet to pretend that you’re human.”
“I think you know exactly why I wear it.” Clark looked pointedly at Lex’s splinted left hand. “I’m not too thrilled that you took it off me, either.”
“Would you rather that girl have died?” Lex said.
“No.” Clark sulked somewhat. They both knew Clark would’ve felt guilty over her death, whether it was his fault or not. “That still didn’t give you the right to remove it without my permission.”
“I did what needed to be done, and I’ll do it again.”
Clark’s jaw tightened. “No, you won’t. That bracelet will stay on my wrist where it belongs.”
“That’s just it. The bracelet doesn’t belong there.” Lex set his drink on the table, and tucked his foot under his other knee, turned so he was facing Clark on the couch. “At least, not anymore.”
“It’s not up for discussion, Lex,” Clark stated, folding his arms across his bare chest.
“Do you know why I love with you?”
Clark’s head drew back at the seeming non-sequitor. “Uh, no?”
“It’s because you saved me, Clark.” Lex gave him a soft, crooked smile. “I happen to have a thing for heroes.”
“You’ve loved me since I was fifteen?” Clark said, surprised.
“No.” Lex paused and then recanted. “Maybe a little. Back then, I cared for you more than anyone else, and definitely had inappropriate lustful thoughts about you, as you know, but you were too young.”
“Then, when do you mean?” Clark said. “You were a danger-magnet back in Smallville. I think I saved your life every other week.”
“It didn’t happen in Smallville,” Lex said. “It wasn’t until you made me see that I could do anything I wanted with my life. I could run LuthorCorp as its CEO or be its janitor; it was just a job, it didn’t define me. The only thing that mattered was that I was happy.”
“It is the only thing that matters,” Clark said, truly believing it.
“I know. And you made it sound so easy, but it took me a long time to figure out what it meant to be happy.” Lex shook his head in self-deprecation. “Poor little rich boy, always under daddy’s thumb. But dad was in jail, I was an adult, and I was completely free of him and his expectations. I really could do anything.
“So, I made a list,” Lex went on. “I wrote down everything I’ve ever thought about trying, everything I saw other kids doing that I never had the chance to do, anything that caught my interest in an article or seeing it on the street. I even dug through the things my mother had kept boxed from my childhood, and that’s where I found my very first chemistry set, the one I’d gotten when I was six.”
Clark felt a grin curving his lips. “And Mad Scientist Lex was born.”
“Pretty much,” Lex said with an answering grin. “I tinkered with the set right in the storage room and accidentally melted a hole in the floor. That, naturally, made me want to figure out what I did wrong, which led to locating all my old science class notes, more experiments, and an exasperated staff. Then, I realized that I was more eager to get home at night to play chemist than brokering new LuthorCorp deals, and the rest you know.”
“I don’t understand how that fits me saving you, though,” Clark said.
“I’m happy, Clark,” Lex said sincerely. “I am truly happy. You never gave up trying to convince me that I could be anything. You showed me that the future was what I made of it. If I had followed the path my father had laid out, I would have been great, but I would also have been miserable and alone. You saved me from that fate and I love you for it.”
Clark ducked his chin, his cheeks heating. He was embarrassed at the praise, but also a bit disconcerted. “I hope that’s not the only reason you love me.”
“Of course not,” Lex said. “But it’s a reflection of who you are: a hero. A savior.”
Clark shrugged off the words.
“Don’t shrug, it’s true.” Lex scooted across the couch until he was beside Clark. He put his hand on Clark’s upraised knee. “You’ve always been a savior, Clark. You said so yourself: helping is the best thing anyone can do.”
Clark glanced up through his lashes. “I’m not the only person who does that.”
“You’d be surprised how few people actually help on their own, without specifically being asked to do it,” Lex said. “Your first instinct, though, is to help out. I’ve re-read the Torch articles and my own notes. You were always on hand to save the day.”
“I had to,” Clark said. “No one else could deal with the mutants.”
“You’re forgetting about all the people you saved from danger and prevented accidents that had nothing to do with the mutants,” Lex said. “Plus, stopping thefts, diverting floods, and secretly fixing damaged homes, among other things.”
Clark raised a brow. “Just how detailed was your research, Lex?”
Lex appeared sheepish. “You know how I get.”
“Yeah, I do.” Clark shook his head. “I don’t see why you’re bringing it up, though. It’s not like I do that stuff anymore.”
“You should be,” Lex said. “You have the aspiration and the abilities to help in ways no person— no human can.”
Clark pursed his lips. “I can’t. You know that.”
“You can do anything, Clark,” Lex said. “There’s nothing preventing you from doing what makes you happy.”
Clark was surprised by Lex’s words. “I am happy.”
“No, you’re not.” Lex reached out with his right hand and brushed Clark’s bangs off his forehead. “You’re only happy being a savior and your last mission has been completed.”
“My last mission?” Clark tried to laugh and failed. “What was that?”
Clark stared at Lex. Lex was serious. “You?”
“Your goal for the last three years has been to help me find my own happiness,” Lex said. “Moving here, settling into this job, making friends, and seeing that I’m enjoying myself shows your success, and since you’ve realized it, you’ve been at loose ends.”
“You’re kind of full of yourself, aren’t you?” Clark said. “I’m at ends because I can’t join any groups and I quit the paper.”
“An excuse,” Lex said. “If you really wanted to be on the paper or in those groups, you would be. You’re not the type to back down from something you really want.”
Clark shook his head in disagreement. “Do you think I like being an outcast and not having any friends besides you?”
“You’ve manifested your dissatisfaction with having no one to save by making yourself a friendless outcast.”
“I have not.”
Lex crooked a smile, patted Clark’s knee, and rose. “I’m going to bed.”
“I’m not done arguing with you,” Clark said heatedly.
“There’s nothing to argue about.” Lex stepped past Clark and headed out of the living room. “I’ll set the alarm so you’re up in time for work.”
Clark glared in the direction Lex had gone. He yelped and closed his eyes when he triggered his heat vision and charred the wall. Dropping his head on the back of the couch, he muttered curses about pompous partners and how Lex was wrong. Clark didn’t have a savior complex, which was what Lex basically saying. He wore the kryptonite bracelet – which he needed to get back from Lex – so he could control his own destiny. He hadn’t restrained his powers in order to save Lex.
But did he really need to wear it still to control his own path?, his mind whispered. Lex had defied the future laid out for him, why couldn’t Clark? That was assuming Lex’s ridiculous theory was right. Which it wasn’t.
“Noooo! Noooo! Zachaaaryyy! Zachary’s in there! Zachaaaryyy!”
Clark was out the door, speeding towards the woman’s screams before he even thought to move.
The black suit skimmed his body like second skin, made of fire, water, and wind-retardant material. A sigil slashed his chest, an S-shaped serpent framed in a diamond, outlined in dark purple. A black eye-mask fitted to his face. Soft-soled boots rose calf-high on his legs. Black gloves covered his hands.
“I look gay.”
Clark rested closed gloved fists on his hips, looking at himself in the full-length mirror, hanging on the back of the second bedroom/office door. “You can practically see my cock in this thing.”
“You are gay, and no, you can’t.” Lex reached around and cupped Clark’s crotch. “Do you think I’d allow anyone to see my property?”
“Don’t give me a hard on. This suit chafes enough as it is.” Clark batted Lex’s hand away and adjusted his package. He sighed at the bulge it made. “Now look what you did.”
“I am.” Lex leered over his shoulder and ground his pelvis against Clark’s ass.
Clark rolled his eyes behind the mask. “I look like a reject from an S&M club.”
“You look like every comic book fanboy’s wet dreams.” Lex tugged at the rounded collar at the back of Clark’s neck. “How does it fit?”
“Fine,” Clark said sullenly. “It gives me full movement and nothing tugs in the wrong place.”
“Good. Arm up.” Lex checked the hidden zipper along the side of the suit. “I’d hate to have you miss saving someone because you were picking a wedgie.”
Clark looked horrified at his reflection in the mirror. “Oh, god.”
Lex sniggered. “Just try not to do it on live television.”
“You’re not helping.”
“I know.” Lex groped Clark’s ass in an equally unhelpful manner. “You look hot in this.”
“You think?” Clark eyed himself again. The form-fitting suit Lex had designed outlined every ridge of muscle he had and rounded at his crotch with a thinly padded cup. He pictured Lex in the get-up and the bulge at his crotch got bigger.
“Yes.” Lex curved around Clark’s elbow, stepping between him and the mirror. He slid his hands over Clark’s nipples, making them peak. He licked his lips.
Clark’s breathing sped up. He reached around Lex, cupped his ass, and pulled their groins together. He could feel Lex’s erection like stone against the crease of his hip. “You’re really turned on.”
“Mmm.” Lex pushed harder against Clark’s hip and pinched Clark’s nipples. “I’ve always had a superhero fetish.”
“I’d have to take off the costume to fuck you,” Clark said, bending his head to lick the side of Lex’s face. Lex moaned. Clark nosed his ear and whispered, “Take out your cock.”
“Fuck.” Lex thrust against Clark’s hips, dropped his hands, and fumbled with his belt and buttons. The fingers on his left hand moved stiffly. He shoved his pants and underwear down, hooking them beneath his balls, freeing the purpled cock.
Clark combed his fingers through the reddish down surrounding Lex’s hard length. He lowered his voice into a practiced authoritative rumble. “You’ve been a bad, bad criminal, haven’t you?”
“Oh, god.” Lex clutched Clark’s arms, his knees buckling.
Clark smirked and then quickly schooled his face. “I’ve caught you doing dastardly deeds and now you must be rehabilitated.”
“I will always be bad,” Lex said breathily. His face took on a rosy hue.
“Not when I’m done with you.” Clark’s knees thumped on the carpet when he dropped. Lex made an interesting noise. Eye to cock, Clark ran his tongue over his lips and smacked them together noisily. “I’m going to suck the badness right out your cock.”
“Holy fuck, Clark!” Lex’s hips jerked forward and his dick poked Clark in the eye, right between the mask-slits. Clark yelped, dropped back, and covered his eye with his hand. He peered up at Lex with the other eye. Lex looked mortified.
Clark snickered and fell dramatically onto his back on the floor. “Curses! You fiend! You’ve hidden the penis of peril in your pants!”
“I’ve been defeated by the cock of cruelty! You’ve killed me with your dick of death!” He twitched in death throes.
Lex kicked him as he stepped over him.
Snorting, Clark raised himself onto his elbows. Lex tucked his dick back in his pants and walked over to his desk. He picked up a pencil and jotted something down on one of his costume schematics. He was pouting.
Clark rose fluidly, floated over to Lex, and wrapped his arms around Lex from behind. He kissed the side of Lex’s neck and looked over his shoulder at the designs. “I like the sigil the best.”
“It’s okay.” Lex crossed out a formula and started writing a new one beneath it.
“It reminds me of Alexander the Great’s breastplate. I like the idea of having something of Alexander’s marking me.” Clark kissed the junction of Lex’s neck and shoulder. “Alexander is my favorite person.”
“Hmm.” Lex tilted his head slightly, giving Clark more access. “It’s not original.”
“Doesn’t have to be,” Clark said, nibbling lightly.
“I wanted to give you a costume you could be proud to wear,” Lex said quietly. “You’re going to be constantly in the public eye.”
Clark loosed his hold enough to turn Lex in his arms. He met Lex’s gaze. “I don’t have to do this.”
“Yes, you do.” Lex brushed his hand over the sigil on Clark’s chest. “It’s who you are, remember?”
“Yeah.” Clark rested his forehead against Lex’s. “I feel like I’m cheating somehow, though. Like this wasn’t how it was supposed to be.”
“Does it matter?” Lex murmured, touching Clark’s cheek.
“No,” Clark answered. “Not as long as I have you.”
“Being mediocre together doesn’t mean you still can’t be powerful alone. I’ll still love you, Clark, no matter what you do.”