Clark Kent skirted the perimeter of the Luthor estate, hands shoved in his jeans pockets. Cold puffs of air expelled from between his lips, creating visible clouds. The temperature itself didn't really affect Clark, his jacket was more for show than warmth.

The land around the estate lay fallow, waiting for winter to end so planting could begin again. Clark cut along the few trees that bordered the property, heading for the man-made lake behind the mansion. Sean Kelvin was in the lake, frozen by his own mutated body chemistry.

The guilt had gnawed at Clark all night, from having caused Sean's icy death. Yes, it was self-defense and for the protection of Clark's family and friends, but that didn't make him less culpable. He needed to, at least, take Sean's body to the authorities. He also needed to make sure Lex didn't get blamed in any way for the death on his property. Lex was already the town pariah; he didn't need the suspicion of murder adding more color to his unfounded reputation.

Clark concentrated on the transplanted castle as he neared the lake. His X-ray vision cut through the brick and mortar with ease. He wanted to make sure his trip onto the open lake went unnoticed, and that meant checking where the occupants of the mansion were at the moment.

He saw two skeletal forms in the manor, one a barely visible outline on the first floor on the far side of the estate, the other in the near corner room on the lake-side of the mansion. The second person worried him, and he adjusted his focus to give a body to the skeleton.

Clark gasped. He got a body, all right. The room he was seeing into was a bathroom, and the body belonged to one Lex Luthor. One very naked Lex Luthor, showering.

Clark walked headlong into a tree.

Colorful leaves dropped from the branches as the tree shuddered on impact. Clark lost focus, and the greyish-brown castle walls reappeared.

Clark sucked in a shaky breath and blew it out quickly. "Wow," was all he could say, which was quite articulate considering that all the blood in his head had rushed south. He dragged a hand through his hair, rubbed the back of his neck, and glanced at the mansion. The mansion where Lex was... "Wow."

Clark felt his face heat up, and he turned quickly and walked smack-dab into the tree again. "Excuse me," he mumbled, then laughed a bit nervously. His jeans were tight and the zipper was cutting into sensitive flesh, making him wish it wasn't laundry day. Of course, he hadn't expected to see anyone that would cause a problem. Even Lex. Especially Lex. He didn't think of Lex as an object of desire.

Until now.

Clark emitted a strangled sound from deep in his throat and trod rapidly out onto the frozen lake. It was not the time or place to analyze his reaction to seeing Lex in the shower; that was better left for the bedroom, with the door locked and the tissues handy.

Clark forced his mind to focus on the task of retrieving Sean. The ice was solid beneath Clark's feet and a quick non-naked-person-seeing X-ray revealed Sean's location and a lot of frozen fish.

The ebony-haired teen could only see the top of Sean's head as he knelt on the ice beside his classmate's frozen grave. Clark's arousal vanished as the guilt returned.

He'd killed Sean.

Clark clenched his jaw, blinking away the tears. Pulling his arm back, he drove his fist into the ice, cracking the solid block of frozen water. He did it again and again, taking out his grief and anger on causing Sean's death on the ice. His knuckles never bled and his arm never tired, which only served to fuel his guilt. He was invulnerable and couldn't really be hurt physically by Sean, so what gave Clark the right to be Judge, Jury, and Executioner of the other teen?

Clark stopped suddenly and stared at the nearly freed Sean. What if he could be revived?, Clark wondered. What if he could bring Sean back to life? Clark wouldn't be a killer if Sean wasn't dead.

Clark reached down into the hole he'd created and put his hand on Sean's head. Instantly, Clark felt a frozen jolt shoot up his arm, just like he'd felt when Sean had grabbed him the night before. His breathing became labored and his heart was squeezed in a vice. The cracking of the ice lake was like gunfire, and he barely noticed his knees were getting wet as the ice rapidly melted.

Clark thought he heard someone call his name, but the world had grown dark around him, and the water was pretty warm for November....


"...-- upid idiot. Why did y--...--me. I refuse to allow --...--on, Clark. Don't leave me in this godforsaken town alone."

Clark heard inventive cursing before the sound of his own harshly drawn-in breath obliterated it. The sudden slamming of his heart against his breastbone hurt, and he sucked in another harsh breath. He shivered once, hard, as his body fully returned to life.

He felt firm, warm hands touching his face and neck. "Open your eyes, Clark," a shaky, familiar voice demanded.

Clark pried open his eyelids as told, and immediately fell into Lex's fear-filled blue-grey eyes. The hands frantically touching him moments ago now trembled and gently caressed.

Clark blinked several times, and the world outside of Lex's eyes came into focus. He was lying on his back on the hard ground with Lex kneeling beside him. Clark was wet, his clothing plastered uncomfortably to him. He saw that Lex was wet, too.

A soft groan escaped from between Clark's lips as his mind provided instant images of the last time he saw Lex wet. Clark's body reacted, and he found that wet jeans were even more uncomfortable on laundry day than dry ones.

"Clark, are you okay?" Lex asked with concern, some of the fear fading from his eyes.

"What happened?" Clark decided sitting up was a good idea, before Lex noticed the bulge evident in his jeans.

"The ice broke, and you fell in the lake."

Clark looked out over the lake from where he sat on shore. The ice was gone completely, the surface reflecting the November grey sky and trees along the edges. "Where's Sean?"

"That other kid?" Lex gestured further down the shore. "He swam in."

"Is he okay?" Clark asked worriedly, spotting Sean's prone form lying in the fallen leaves.

"I don't know, Clark. I was too busy saving you to be concerned about some stranger," Lex said flatly, pale fingers clenching his wet knees.

"He needs help. Special help." Clark quickly explained Sean's 'condition,' adding in Chloe's research for plausibility.

"I can probably get the appropriate people here in a half-hour," Lex told Clark when he'd finished. They had a short argument as to what to do next before Lex reluctantly left Clark to make the necessary phone calls.

Sean was still warm and breathing shallowly when Clark checked on him. Clark felt a minuscule jolt when he touched the other teen, and he was glad he'd made Lex go call. He was also glad that Sean wasn't dead any longer, and would be getting the help he needed.

Clark sighed in relief. He wasn't a killer.


A ventilated security vault provided temporary incarceration for Sean. Lex left a small thermal heater running and dry clothing for Sean if he became conscious.

"I still think I should have changed his clothes for him," Clark was saying as he followed a dry-clothed Lex into a bedroom on the second floor of the mansion.

"And I still think your brain is waterlogged." Lex circled behind Clark and pushed him towards the bathroom. "It's November, and you're wandering around stiff, frozen clothes worrying about everyone but yourself."

"The cold doesn't bother me, Lex."

"Yeah, well it bothers me." Lex flipped on the bathroom light, and moved to attack the buttons on Clark's shirt, his jacket having been discarded downstairs. "Your whole attitude is bothering me."

"What are you talking about?"

"You drowned, you idiot," Lex grabbed at the fastenings of Clark's jeans, "only you don't seem to realize you were dead ten minutes ago."

Clark didn't think he had died, but he doubted he could explain that to Lex without giving up his secrets. Besides, he doubted he could explain anything at the moment, because he just realized that they were in the bathroom and Lex was about to find out Clark's frozen clothing wasn't the only thing stiff.

"Ah, Lex..." Clark tried to stop Lex, but the bald man swatted his hands away.

"You need to get out of these wet clothes now, Clark. No argum-- oh."

Clark was mortified. Of all the days to do laundry, why did it have to be today?

"Uh... I should..." Lex's fingers brushed against Clark as he released the edges of the wet jeans. Clark jumped. Lex swallowed audibly. "Tell me to leave, Clark," he said in a strained whisper.

"I- I'm sorry," Clark croaked in embarrassment.

Lex swore softly, pivoted, and swiftly left the bathroom, pulling the door shut behind him. Clark's embarrassment didn't leave with the other man. If anything, it increased. Drowning himself a second time sounded like a good idea... although water seemed to be the current cause of his problems.

If only he hadn't seen Lex showering in this very bathroom... in that very shower across from him... all pale, smooth-skinned and leanly muscled...

A knock at the door startled Clark, and yipped quite unmanfully. He winced as he attempted to zip himself, gave up, and pulled the edges of his shirt closed in front of him as the door cracked open.

"Clark, I, um, have some dry clothes for you." Lex's whole face and head had a pink tinge when he cautiously entered, a pair of sweats and a t-shirt draped over his arm. He barely glanced at Clark before focusing firmly on the floor.

"Thanks." Clark looked at the ceiling. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean... it's just you... and your shower... and you in your shower..."

Lex removed a towel from a brass shelf and set it and the clothing in the sink. "It's okay, I understand. It happens to the best of--." His eyes shot to Clark in the mirror. "Me? I- I caused you to... Me?"

"I'm sorry," Clark apologized again.

"Stop saying that," Lex said, turning around. He gripped the edge of the sink. "Unless you don't want it to be me who, uh..."

The chime of the doorbell echoed in the mansion.

"Doorbell!" Lex practically exclaimed, quickly heading for the door. "I'll go see who's here, and you should change before you catch a cold. Feel free to use the shower... er..." He paused in the doorway and looked back almost shyly. "I'm attracted to you, too, Clark."

The bathroom door clicked shut, and Clark sucked in a ragged breath. He twisted the material of his shirt in his hands, glanced from the door to the shower, and caught his wild-eyed, fiercely blushing expression in the mirror.

Lex was attracted to him.

"Oh, boy," he whispered.


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