• Disclaimer: Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's, and unto TPTB, that which is TPTB's.  But it won't bring you happiness, my son.
  • Pairing: Clark/Lex
  • WARNINGS: None
  • Spoilers: "Duplicity" and "Rosetta" a little itty bit.
  • Thank you -- Mark and Carene come through again!
  • Sequel to "Essentials VI".
  • Started: 12/14/03
  • Feedback: mog@pacific.net

Essentials VII

by C.M. Decarnin

"So let me get this straight. Pete knows, but he doesn't know that I know. But you're telling me that he knows so I won't make any double entendres in front of him that would clue him in that I know. Does he know you can fly?" Lex asked jealously.

Clark wobbled to the ground, in the long empty back corridor on the second floor of the mansion. "I can't fly."

"Float like a butterfly," Lex corrected snidely.

"I had to tell him."

"You could have just let him flounce off and --" falsetto "-- never speak to you again as long as he lived!"

Staggering a little getting his feet under him, Clark put his hands out for balance. "I couldn't hurt him like that."

"You couldn't stand to be so misjudged."

"That," Clark conceded. "Not by him. Not like that. Having him think I'd steal from him... it hurt both of us. It might have been a mistake, but when you think about it... Pete telling people my Dad and I stole a spaceship from him and hid it away without ever showing it to anyone... that couldn't have been too 'optimal'." He used the Lex word pointedly. "That kind of thing percolates through a community over the years. It would never have really gone away. Any mistake I made after that, they'd be putting two and two together."

"So does he know you can fly?"

"No, sweetie-boots. You're the only one." He almost reached out with both hands to pat Lex's cheeks, but noting the hooded look of his slate-blue eyes, thought better of it.

"I'm not jealous."

"Of course you aren't."

"Though for all this time you let me think I was the only one who knew."


"Does he know you're quote bisexual unquote?"

"You shouldn't do that."

"Question your lifelong friendship with Oreo-boy?"

"Okay, first," Clark said, aghast, "no, I meant you shouldn't use 'bisexual' like it was the lesser of two evils, like I'm trying to get out of being gay. It's just what I am, and what you are, it's a fact not a credo."

"You do it."

"Joking, yes."

"I was joking."

"It didn't sound like it."

"Have you ever had sex with a woman?"

"I'll let you know when I turn seventeen. Jesus, Lex!"

Lex looked stung, and Clark reached out and stroked across the back of Lex's shoulders with his hand. "Lex," he said softly. "I'm not going to go out and do it just to prove a point. But damn, that's so unfair."

Lex looked sullen.

"And second, 'Oreo-boy'? Where the hell do you get off?"

"What does he call me when I'm not around?" Lex's voice was so dripping with jealousy it made Clark's mouth fall open. This was not the Luthor norm. Showing jealousy would be letting someone see your weakness.

He was seeing Lex's weakness.

He was used to seeing Lex's tempered steel. Within whatever tenderness or confession. That adult he adored.

If someone hit Lex in this weak spot while it was open, what would happen?

A frightening unknown.

With terrible care, he took Lex in his arms. "Fair point," he said. "I have heard him take your name in vain." It was as if he could feel the gaping wound when Lex looked up at him.

Lex didn't have friends. He had always had trouble understanding Clark's. How their roots went back together through years of loyalty and weathered storms.

Suddenly he remembered what it had been like, holding a half-dead naked Victoria in his arms. How she had suddenly been just another dreadfully fragile human being, not a disturbing otherworldly threat to him or Lex; understanding more than just dimly how Lex could have sex with her, cuddle her, without ever loving her. A warm body, a familiar soul. A game, Lex had called it. One where Lex knew all the rules.

"You know I'm yours, Lex. Whatever I do, whoever I'm with." Eyes closed, Lex didn't say anything. "You do know that?

"Lex?" he added pathetically, and grabbed him tight.

"How can I know?" Lex finally mumbled.

"Lex!" Hours of love, transports of entire surrender. "How can you not?"

"You might change your mind."

"Change my mind? I'd have to change my whole being. My heart has Lex-beats now instead of heartbeats. You're my blood-type. I breathe Lexigen instead of oxygen. I'm Lex-dependent." He nibbled his lips up Lex's neck.

"Everything changes," Lex said bleakly.

"Nothing changes," Clark whispered. "As long as you are Lex, I'll be Lex's."

Where had all this come from, out of the blue? It had seemed like he should keep Pete out of it, at first; that he owed it to him not to let anyone know of his involvement. But then he'd worked out that now he had more than just the one secret in his life. If Pete were to guess that Lex knew -- Pete was quicker than anyone at surmising people into bed together. More than once he had caught Pete looking at him speculatively, since he'd stopped loving Lana. It was really hard not to tell him. He so much wanted somebody to know.

But it was Lex who had to be protected in this case. Clark had looked it up. He wasn't a minor under Kansas sex law, but it was still illegal for two males to have sex in the state. Unlikely as it seemed that the goofy law would be invoked against a Luthor, Clark broke out in a cold sweat when he thought of his lover's precious human body in a prison, helpless against any violence or predation.

It was beginning to feel like there would never be a time when he could be honest about anything.

And now Lex was bent out of shape because he'd come clean about this final little secret.

Clark sighed.

And just when he was having such a blast learning to float in midair! The thought buoyed him up again.

"Come on," he cajoled. "Watch me again. Tell me if I'm any straighter."

It wasn't flying. No way was he going more than a few feet off the ground. And sometimes his heart was in his mouth at the idea that he might just float up away, away from the earth... though he'd never risen off the ground involuntarily, except in his sleep, and it was taking major concentration keeping on the right mental nuance to stay up on purpose. Still, he felt way safer practicing indoors. And Lex had this great long hallway.

He kissed the corner of Lex's mouth. "Okay?"

"Sure," Lex said. But not in a way that meant the Pete question was settled. Clark looked into his eyes in puzzlement. He didn't know how to figure out the right words to make Lex secure again. He really hadn't expected this response. He'd just have to say everything he could think of until he hit the right note.

Meanwhile. He smiled with excitement and faced the other end of the corridor.

Lex watched Clark wobble up into the air again, where he couldn't follow.

Precariously, losing and gaining altitude unsteadily, dipping sideways, skidding forward and stopping and starting; he watched as, again, down the long corridor, Clark flew away from him.