Clark goes over to the castle after dinner and finds Lex working out in the basement gym. The lights are off and Lex is pounding the heavy bag with both fists, light on his feet, mouth set hard and a little angry. Clark almost turns around and walks right back out. He doesn't want to know who Lex is upset with. It might be him.

But he has something important to say, something that's been pressed tight into his throat since the day Lex sat on the couch in the Kents' living room. He'd handed Clark the neatly lettered invitation and said, "I'd understand if you didn't want to do this after last time, but it would mean a lot."

Clark has something to say about that, about Helen and is Lex really sure he wants to rush into being married again, does he really have to make Helen his wife when they've just barely started living together. Clark has something to say. Lex slams his right arm into the bag so sharply that its chain rattles. Clark glances back the way he came. It's not too late to run, but it's taken him a week to get this far and if he leaves now he's not sure he'll be able to work up the courage to come back.

Lex wipes his face on the sleeve of his t-shirt and smiles when he sees Clark.

"Hey," he says, sounding pleased. He tucks one glove under his chin and pulls it off, then yanks the other off with his free hand and drops them both on the floor.

"What'd that bag ever do to you?" Clark jokes. He knows he sounds like a dork, but Lex is wearing a t-shirt, faded burgundy with PRINCETON spelled out across his chest in worn white letters, and this is the first time Clark has seen Lex's bare arms so he figures he can be excused a little lameness.

Lex cocks his head and rubs the sweat-soaked t-shirt in circles across his chest, his pale stomach shining in the weak light. "Lana told you about our lesson."

"Yeah," Clark says, even though it's not really a question. Lex is flushed, breathing through his mouth and almost bouncing on the balls of his feet. Clark's never seen him so charged, like a stray lightning bolt looking for something to strike.

There's a stack of towels on a cart in the far corner but when Lex moves away from the bag it's towards Clark, who's still on the padded blue mat near the door. Clark can't quite get his knees steady. He'd like to blame the mat, but that would be more than a little dishonest because he never feels very balanced around Lex. Lex blinks slowly, like he's underwater, and his breath is finally evening out. Clark opens his mouth, because he has something to say, he has something to tell Lex.

"You can't possibly need any self-defense tips," Lex says, stepping lightly on the mat. Clark looks down at Lex's black shoes, trim and almost arched. Boxing shoes, probably.

"Are you sure this is really what you want?" Clark blurts out. Lex bounces on the tips of his toes, just enough that his body rises and falls again. "Another wedding, I mean," Clark adds. That's what he wanted to say.

"I always know what I want, Clark." Lex cracks his neck brutally, once to each side and Clark looks up. Lex grins and hops a little, seeming to move from one side of Clark's body to the other, or maybe Clark is just swaying from side to side and Lex is standing still. "Sometimes other people just don't understand the way I go about getting things that I want. I would have thought you of all people would know that by now."

Clark watches a drop of sweat wind its way down Lex's neck. "Where'd you learn to box, anyway?" he asks.

"Princeton," Lex says. "But I already knew how to fight."

He raises his hands over his head and reaches up into a stretch. The wet collar of his shirt slouches down his shoulders and the front rides up high over his ribs. His pants, black meshy nylon like the basketball players wear for warm-ups, slide down his hips.

"You have to learn the moves," Lex says, "so that you'll know how to recognize what your opponent is going to do next."

"Oh," Clark says. Lex moves around him in slow degrees, orbiting him, jabbing soft punches that stop just short of hitting Clark's skin.

"You have to be sure you're not telegraphing your own intentions." Lex goes to hit Clark's shoulder, and this time it looks like there's more weight in the throw, like he won't pull back, but he does. "You have to learn the rules so you can break them."

Lex slides around again, and this time Clark follows, shifting his heels so they're still facing each other. Lex aims his knuckles at Clark's chest and Clark moves, not too fast, just quickly enough that Lex misses.

"So what are the rules?" he asks.

Lex smiles with his mouth wide open, almost laughing, and says, "Whose rules, Clark?" His left hand cuts in an upward curve and Clark catches his wrist without thinking. He doesn't want Lex to break his hand or anything. He lets go and drops his hands to his sides. Lex throws another punch, harder this time, and Clark blocks it, too. He can't quite stop himself in time, and on Lex's third try, Clark forgets to let go.

His fingers are locked around Lex's fist, holding it between their chests, and Lex isn't bouncing anymore, he's standing completely still. Which means it's Clark who is moving, shaking against Lex, and his hand slides free, but there's still no space between them. Lex's fingers are sticky from the dirty white tape he's wrapped around every other knuckle.

Lex watches him, calm as a stone god, like this fits perfectly into whatever his rules are, whatever this game is. He chews for a second on the tape, loosening it with his teeth.

Clark tries to draw a steady breath and Lex smirks around his knuckle, letting his hand fall from his mouth. Clark catches his hand, trying to find his center of gravity again, and grasps one of the tape loops. His hands are sweaty, or maybe Lex's are, and the wet tape gives easily. Clark tugs it over Lex's knuckle and down off his finger, crumpling the bandage in his palm.

"Thank you, Clark," Lex says, and he's maybe even serious. He almost whispers it, like Clark is a nervous horse. Clark nods, not meeting Lex's eyes again, and does the same to each of the other four taped fingers. When Clark pulls back to shove the wad of tape into his jeans pocket, there's a blur of long white arms and Lex pulls his shirt off over his head.

Clark doesn't take a step away but he still manages to stumble, clumsier than ever on the soft matted floor. Lex grabs him by his upper arms and just holds on, holds tight like he's trying to steady a bag after a hard punch.

Lex presses up against him, panting against his neck and hugging him so he doesn't fall down, and it's instinct to hug back, though Clark knows this is not a hug. Lex's back is damp with sweat, smooth and slippery and hot and Clark's fingertips slide down to nudge the waistband of Lex's track pants. Lex makes a noise, a gasp or a laugh, and his mouth is suddenly open against Clark's shoulder. Clark can feel Lex's teeth against his collarbone and it makes his hands grasp and his dick twitch and his mind go blank. Clark came here to say something and he'd said it and now he can't think of a single word other than yes.

Lex stops biting and grabs Clark's t-shirt, pulls on it until Clark gets with the program and raises his arms up so Lex can strip it off, the neck snagging on his ears when Lex gets distracted and leans in to lick at Clark's nipples instead, wet circling shoves of his tongue that threaten to turn Clark inside out.

Clark yanks the t-shirt off the rest of the way and as soon as his arms come down again, Lex latches onto him, ruthless mouth sucking at his Adam's apple, hands clutching and grabbing at Clark's biceps, shoulders, elbow, like Lex wants everything at once. Clark puts his own hands on Lex's freckled shoulders. He never would have guessed Lex had freckles and he wants to drag his tongue over each one, but Lex is too busy biting his way across Clark's chest, leaving brief red marks that fade as soon as he moves on to the next spot.

Lex looks up at him through ginger-orange eyelashes, bares his teeth and bites down on Clark's nipple. Clark's head snaps back and he's talking suddenly, saying, "Yeah, like that, like that," and it hits him that he's having sex. With Lex. Clark has no idea what he's doing here, but he's not going to complain.

"You like that," Lex says.

Clark doesn't really feel pain, so every vicious scrape of Lex's teeth feels like sex instead, rough and wet. Lex doesn't seem afraid of hurting him. Maybe he already knows nothing can. His teeth close on Clark's earlobe and Clark shivers and closes his eyes.

"Don't ever think I don't know what I want," Lex says into his ear, low and threatening.

"You--" Clark shivers again, remembering why he's there. "What about Helen?"

"Let me worry about Helen," Lex says, grabbing a handful of Clark's hair hard enough to make him gasp.


"No," Lex says. "This isn't about her."

Clark wants to believe it. He was here first. Lex was his long before Helen showed up, his in a way she will never be able to duplicate. He draws his hands down Lex's back, lets his fingers bump over the knobs of Lex's spine, down to his waist, and into Lex's pants, pulling them even lower on his hips. Lex bites his lip and Clark has both hands on Lex's ass before he realizes Lex isn't wearing any underwear.

Lex isn't wearing any underwear and Clark's brain will never be the same again because Lex without underwear and Clark's hands down his pants and Lex's ass was made to be squeezed. Lex exhales hard, wraps a leg around the back of Clark's calf and grinds against him.

Clark uses his hold to pull Lex up to eye-level and Lex smiles at him, smiles and rubs against Clark's hip while he slowly leans back and gives Clark a lazy up and down. Lex has been looking at him like that forever, but now Clark finally knows what to do about it.

Clark takes Lex by the back of his neck and kisses him. It's a clash of teeth at first, crazy and uncoordinated, a power struggle that comes out with Lex in charge because he isn't shy about using Clark's hair to his advantage. He pulls at it to get Clark's head at the right angle and then holds him there, slowing the kiss down until it's a dizzying tease. Lex brushes their mouths together, alternates between soft and hard and keeps his eyes open the entire time, staring at Clark as he kisses him, frightening in his attention, and Clark wants to close his eyes but he's afraid to look away.

One of Lex's hands drags down Clark's chest. It takes the annoying scenic route, stopping to pinch and scratch and stroke, and finally settles at the fly of his jeans. Still giving Clark's lower lip a lingering suck, Lex pops open the first button with his thumb. He makes a surprised sound, breaks the kiss, and looks down.

"Button fly, hm?" Lex raises an eyebrow. "Hold on, Clark, this'll be fun."

Lex grabs Clark's waistband with both hands and pulls in opposite directions. The buttons pop out of their holes, his jeans peel apart, and Clark jerks forward with an involuntary whine. Lex's fingers tickle against his stomach, following the line of hair that disappears into his boxers, and Clark's legs decide they've held him up long enough. On his knees now, and Lex says his name, looks down at him with a strange expression on his face, like he's not exactly sure what's happening. Clark looks up, hands braced on Lex's thighs, fingers absently rubbing at the slick material of his pants.

"You feel so good," Clark says, rising up to kiss Lex's stomach, wanting to reassure him. Lex is the summer sun and Clark wants to bask in his white heat, strip him down, lick the salt from his skin, and then rub against him until they both explode. He pulls Lex's pants down another inch, exposing more skin to kiss, the slanting arch of his hipbones, the low slope of his belly. Lex takes a step closer, almost on top of him now, feet on either side of his legs, blue eyes a dare.

Clark presses his cheek to Lex's hip, tucks his fingers into the waistband of his pants and slowly pulls them down all the way. Lex groans, hips lurching forward. He puts a hand on top of Clark's head and laughs. "See? Fun."

Lex is breathless and Clark isn't listening. He's got Lex's dick right in front of him and doesn't know where to start. He wants everything and opens his mouth right where it is and sucks a bruise into the rich white skin of Lex's hip while he thinks about what comes next.

Lex is tugging on Clark's hair again, not pulling in any specific direction, but a steady haul like he's fighting to stay upright. Clark noses over to where Lex's cock is trying to crawl up his stomach. The head's pink and shiny and Clark gives it a friendly lick. Lex tries to pull his hair out.

"Clark," Lex mutters, fingers clutching convulsively.

Clark looks up, waits for Lex's eyes to refocus, and then sucks him in.

It's sloppy and awkward because Clark is learning as he goes, but Lex is giving him instant feedback on his efforts, hot little grunts and groans. A graze of teeth makes him hiss and Clark grabs the back of his thighs and does better, no teeth, more tongue, more Lex. Clark is going to be good at this, the best. He gives a happy hum and Lex shivers and pulls him off.

"I knew it." Lex pushes Clark onto his back, kicks his pants off, and then climbs on top of him. "I knew it."

"Wh, what?" Clark says, blinking up at Lex looming over him like a storm cloud.

Lex shakes his head and runs his hands up Clark's chest. He's sitting on Clark's thighs, naked except for his athletic socks and fancy little boxing shoes and Clark laughs before he knows he's going to. Lex smirks at him.

"Something funny?" he asks, rolling one of Clark's nipples between thumb and finger.

"Shoes," Clark chokes out, reaching down to press the heel of his hand against his throbbing cock, his hips rising off the floor.

"God," Lex says, still pinching Clark's nipple. "So beautiful."

Clark is the one shaking his head now, but Lex darts in to lick at his neck, trapping Clark's hand between them and making him moan and twist.


Lex leans over him, hands on either side of Clark's head, face barely an inch away. "Clark," he says. "Do that again."

Clark arches into Lex, drawing his legs up until his feet are flat on the floor and Lex is suddenly straddling his stomach. Lex grunts and shifts forward and then their chests are pressed together and Lex is kissing him.

Wet, determined kisses. Soft, curious, world-destroying kisses. Lex, naked, rubbing against him, more skin than Clark's ever seen in his life, fingers sliding down the back of his pants, thighs gripping his hips. Meltdown. Total and complete meltdown.

Lex rolls off of him and Clark can hear the thump of his shoes and socks as they land on the mat and then Lex is back, spreading Clark's legs and slipping between them, dragging his nails down the back of Clark's thighs, untying his boots, pulling his socks off, tracing the bones in his feet and staring at him the entire time, like Clark is on a glass slide and about to do something incredible.

"I need to see you," Lex says, stroking Clark's thighs, leaning forward to kiss Clark's stomach. He slides two fingers into his jeans and looks up. "All of you."

Clark is fine with that, fine with whatever Lex wants, and he pushes his jeans and underwear down, lifts his hips and lets Lex pull them off. Naked on the floor with Lex, and it's good, so good, and Clark arches up and pulls Lex down on top of him again and that's even better. Clark throws a leg over Lex's hip and Lex blinks at him, pink tongue coming out to lick the scar on his lip before he gets up on his elbows. He says something Clark can't hear, looks down between them, and thrusts into the hollow of Clark's hip. Clark shakes, says, "Oh, ohhh," and Lex does it again.

Clark may be indestructible, but Lex isn't and Clark doesn't trust his greedy alien hands. He throws his arms out to either side like he's flying and Lex's next thrust nudges him backwards. He grabs at the mat, hands making sweaty prints on the blue vinyl, possibly leaving handprints in the concrete underneath too. He needs to be careful and he can't get a grip on anything and every time Lex rocks against him, he slides away a little more.

"Don't," Lex says, pinning him down. "Stay here."

Lex probably knows how to wrestle, too, and Clark is already grinning when Lex licks his neck, finds an interesting spot and starts sucking, and Clark's grin turns into a gasp.

They're still scooting across the floor and Clark reaches over his head and presses his palms against the cold stone wall. His shoulders come up off the ground and his back arches and he can feel his cock pressed along Lex's, rubbing between them where they're crushed together, Lex's belly fluttering with every breath and groan. Clark thrusts up and closes his eyes, fingers digging into the mortar of the wall, head falling back. It's like reaching for something, every muscle in his body stretching further with each snap of his hips. Lex is kissing his throat and saying his name and Clark pushes back against the wall, feeling like a gigantic slingshot about to spring loose.

He opens his eyes just in time to see Lex lick his own palm. Short nails scratch down Clark's chest, over his stomach, then through the curly hair between his legs. Clark whines and bucks and Lex wraps a hand around him, watching while he jacks fast and hard, dexterous fingers winding Clark tighter and tighter until he's stretched to breaking and he stiffens and comes, soaring inside like a man launched from a cannon with no thought of returning to land.

Clark is flying, arms useless, toes clenched in a permanent curl, Lex balanced on top of him, still hard, thighs clamped to his hips, hands bracketing his ribs, thumbs drawing mysterious shapes in the come on Clark's stomach, kneading the muscles there, making them twitch and shift as Lex leans into them.

Wrung out and weak from bliss, Clark's no danger to anyone, and he finally allows himself to touch Lex again, smooth his hands up Lex's taut thighs while he rides Clark. Lex is mumbling, having an intense, indecipherable conversation with himself: "Never wear shirts...going to have you, everywhere, everywhere." Lex pitches forward suddenly and grabs Clark's biceps. Clark grins and holds Lex's hips.

It's like a dream, Lex right there in his lap, saying his name and panting about how hot he is. This is real, though, with Lex looking like he's just discovered nuclear fusion, eyes dark and dazed, and he's practically babbling, telling some incoherent story about Clark's cock and Lex's cars and a quarter-million dollar blow job and Lex squeezes Clark's arms and says yes a few times as if seconding his own genius.

Lex's hips are working in a steady grind, and Clark moans and moves his hands down to his ass. Lex laughs and shakes his head and says, "I'm going to--"

Clark can't hear the rest because Lex is breathing too hard to be understood, only every other word is audible.

"Going to--" Lex says again, and Clark wants to know exactly what Lex is going to do to him. "Going to--"

Clark strokes Lex's slippery skin, asks, "What?"

Lex blinks, his eyes regaining their usual edge. "Clark," he says.

Clark smiles up at him and Lex swoops down, kissing him with more teeth than tongue, a shift over to his ear and Lex is trying to whisper through harsh breaths. It makes Clark gasp for air and clutch Lex to him like he's finally falling out of the sky, spinning out of control, getting hard and greedy again and he never wants it to end.

"I'd, I'd let you--" Clark says and Lex seizes up, all blue eyes and wonder, fingers tangled in Clark's hair as he comes.

Lex rolls off onto his back, his lips red and bitten, one hand resting on his rapidly moving chest. His eyes are closed and he has a bruise on his arm.

Clark doesn't know what's supposed to happen next. He lies there, head turned to the side, and watches Lex's breathing slow. He doesn't know what he's promised, and he's scared, in a very specific and terrible way, because what if this is the end? What if he never gets to touch Lex again? The thought makes his stomach twist and his mouth turn down, but he almost thinks he could live with that as long as they could stay friends, and that's the thing that's got him twitchy and terrified because what if their friendship doesn't survive this? It'll ruin everything. Lex is engaged and supposedly in love, and Clark is just a teenaged farm boy from outer space. Lex doesn't need him. Lex has a life.

He turns his head away and thinks about getting up and finding his pants, leaving, but a light touch on his cheek makes him turn back.

Lex is watching him. "This doesn't change anything, Clark. You and I are meant to be together." He brushes his thumb over Clark's lips, and Clark gives him a hesitant smile. Lex smiles back. "Come here."

He moves closer and Lex kisses him, slow and wet, and Clark relaxes into it, closing his eyes and letting Lex have his way. His way is good, with tongue and soft sighs and a hand petting the back of his neck. Clark's sleepy now, thoroughly kissed. He curls in and rests his head on Lex's shoulder. Lex plays with his hair and speaks in a whisper about the future.

Lex will take care of things. He always does.