Challenge: Written for the old_school_clex challenge
Summary: At first glance, it might seem like an unhappy ending….
Clark loaded the flats of vegetables into the back of the truck, along with a few boxes of pies, and cookies. The smell of apple and peach pies were the perfect compliment to the crisp morning air—by the time the sun was full in the sky, it would be warm—hot even—but now, the hint of autumn air and apple pie made him smile. Market days always made him happy. There would be sausage sandwiches, apple cider donuts, lemonade and Lana manning the cotton candy booth…couldn't get better than that. He caught his dad's eye over the truck bed and grinned, and his dad gave him a hard look.
"Clark—don’t you dare dig into those cookies," he warned. "Your mom will have my liver if I let you steal some. Though…I might be convinced to keep quiet about it if you share—dang—here she comes!"
"What? What are you two talking about—Clark, are you up to something?" His mom came bustling over, shrugging into an old barn coat of his dad's and fixing Clark with a glare. "If I catch you sneaking into those cookies…" She glared at him hands on her hips, before going on. "We've got table number twenty-seven—that's the side nearest the bandstand, okay?"
He nodded at his mom. Yes Mom, I've got the receipt right here. And gosh, I'm really hurt that you don’t trust me with the cookies. You know, if I were you I'd keep my eye on Dad, I think that was a move to distract you…." He laughed and ignored the outraged yell of denial coming from the truck.
Mom stood on tip-toes to kiss him on the cheek. "Go on—I'm going to follow you guys, I've got the eggplants and asparagus yet to bring."
"Okay Mom, see you there." As soon as he was free, he was going to buy all the cotton candy in the world—at least that he could afford, so much that Lana, who was manning--womanning the stand would have to be nice to him—at least a little. Hell, if he bought enough of the stuff at least she'd have to notice him.
Clark unloaded the flats, looking around for Lana as his dad tossed a red and white plastic tablecloth over the wooden planks on saw horses that was table number twenty-seven. They tilted the boxes so the produce was displayed nicely. Kent's Organic Produce sold nicely at market, and at the yearly fair, they usually had a table that explained what organic farming meant, and how valuable it was. Mostly though, people were interested in terrific taste—it was hard to beat the flavor of their old-fashioned varieties of vegetables and fruit. Clark arranged baskets of heirloom varieties of tomatoes, white onions, yellow, orange and purple peppers on the table. They even had some old-fashioned apples, and tiny delicious strawberries. It made a great presentation…a concept Clark learned that from Lex.
Mom hurried over, peering around him to examine the display with a critical eye. She handed him baskets of eggplant and asparagus to set out, and tweaked the pyramids of yellow and green striped tomatoes to her satisfaction. "There. Okay—you can wander around a bit. Get breakfast, I won’t need you for a bit."
"Oh, gee, thanks Mom. You’re the best."
"I am," she said, "and I'll ignore that little bit of sarcasm, too." She swat him on the butt and he took off, laughing.
He turned, and there was his almost maybe best friend, Lex Luthor. As always when he attended these homey local functions he looked like a slightly uncomfortable fish out of water—a sleek dolphin-ish kind of fish out of water…well dolphins weren't fish, they were mammals and mammals were warm blooded. Lex did look warm. He was wearing a lilac sweater and Clark noticed how slim and pale his neck looked, and he also wore a long black coat that fit him perfectly, like the smooth, sleek skin of a dolphin…again with the dolphin metaphor. What the hell was with him today? And for that matter, what was it with Lex and lilac? If *he* traipsed around in lilac everyone would think he was gay. Well, the traipsing about would probably be enough to make people wonder but…Clark stopped, sudden realization making his mouth into an O. Could it be—was it possible—could Lex be--gay? Was that why he wore so much purple and silk plus no one in Smallville wore pants that hugged their butt like that--no, no—he'd seen him with women before.
*Lots* of them, in fact.
Lots of whorey looking, slutty kind of loose, over-made up hussies—"models, my ass," he muttered—"I mean, hi Lex!"
"Clark…" Lex smiled warmly, and looked him up and down. He always looked at him like that, from his toes to the top of his head. He never really noticed it—or he noticed it but he didn’t pay attention to it. Except today.
What he noticed today was there was a definite routine to the way Lex greeted him. Every time, every single time, Lex did this:
1) said his name and smiled
2) looked him slowly up and down and
3) licked his lips.
So…did that make Lex gay? The lip lick thing, the long lingering look that sort of settled briefly on his crotch and skated up to his chest and definitely settled around the area of his nipples before going up to stop at his lips, he was pretty sure that's when Lex licked his own lips and…and…gee…his nipples were kind of tingling…
"Clark, I'm not holding you up or anything, am I? You seem distracted." Lex looked a little concerned. That was another nice thing about Lex, that he also looked like he cared about him, worried that he was okay. Lex was concerned about him, and that made him feel good, too. He'd never seen a look like that on Lana's face. He couldn’t even imagine what it would look like on her.
"Lex, hi—come on over to my mom's table." He leaned closer and whispered in Lex's ear when he came close. "If you buy cookies from my mom, than I can have some too." He realized that Lex smelled really. Really. Good. And that his ear was very soft, and that Lex made a tiny little bird noise in his throat when he whispered in his ear. He also noticed that quite a few people turned their heads to look. He drew back with a frown.
Lex turned to him, with the faintest trace of wonder in his eyes. "I'd love to buy cookies for you Clark." His eyes cleared. "Cookies for you and your girl, to be, coming up."
"What? What girl? Who mentioned a girl…oh. I wanted to--"
'Crap! Great timing, Mom.' Clark beamed at Lex, "Oh wow, I'm late; my mom wants me to help. Come by in a bit, please?"
Lex smiled and nodded. "Sure. In a bit."
"Good." Clark squeezed Lex's shoulder and smiled impossibly wider. Lex looked concerned.
Clark set up little piles of produce that his mom had brought with her. he arranged the eggplants in a flat, and found himself stroking the round smooth purple vegetables. So smooth to the touch, so nice under his fingertips. Purple…purple was such a rich, sensuous color, pleasing to the eye. Calming. He drew his fingertips slowly over the surface of the dark eggplant in his hand. Set it down and picked up a long slim white Japanese eggplant. Held it in his hand and ran his fingers up and down, and over the smooth blunt end, lifted it to his cheek and enjoyed the sun-warmed skin against his own, moved it slowly, slowly across his cheek and towards his…oh. Oh. Fuck.
He put it down with an air of nonchalance and whistled as he stacked little bundles of asparagus in water and resolutely ignored his folk's eyes on him. It was just eggplants. Eggplants. "Aubergines," he whispered.
Mom came up and grabbed his hand; put a couple of chocolate chip cookies in his palm. "Go get some milk—or coffee. Lots and lots of coffee." She nodded, and he turned bright red.
"Yeah—um, coffee." He coughed. "I'll be back."
He headed towards the hotdog coach at the end of the row they were in, and stopped. The cotton candy stand was that way, too. He turned in the opposite direction and walked quickly away. Lex…oh gosh! What was happening with him? He remembered the feel of the eggplant in his hand, and it didn't take a huge leap of the imagination to picture Lex sitting between his knees and him massaging his shoulders, his neck, his smooth, warm sexy scalp…that little bump on the back of his head…he pictured his fingers tracing him, his mouth moving over it and his tongue outlining the little swell of the knob—okay, maybe that was a lot of imagination and knob…was he still kissing Lex's head? Or was he thinking about head—no, no, he was thinking about his head—yes, most definitely his head!
Clark shivered. Some how, some way, between the really normal and average moment he woke up and this weird ass afternoon, Lex was suddenly sexy. Lex was suddenly the object of his desire…"Oh my god, desire," he muttered in horror and covered his mouth. "Oh my god—maybe…maybe there was something horrible going on--maybe it was mating season for whatever kind of alien species he was. Maybe…"oh my"…maybe he was really the equivalent of an alien *girl* who just happened to *look* like a *boy*, and it was time for…for sex.
Oh fuck—what if it was some kind of pon-far thing and Lex was just the tip of the iceberg! What if he started humping legs and licking heads all over the place?
He stopped and swallowed. 'Okay, Clark, get a grip,' he told himself. 'You're probably just panicking needlessly.' He would test this horribly frightening scenario.
He stared at some guys from the team, earning frowns and narrowed eyes—and then, at Pete, who also frowned, and narrowed eyes at Clark, and asked, "What—do I have a sock stuck on my back again? Frigging static electricity." and Clark stared at Whitney, who frowned, narrowed eyes and asked him what his problem was and then—blushed when all Clark did was stare—worked his eyes from the crotches to the nipple area, and on to the mouth, just like Lex did to him. Whit narrowed his eyes until they were eerie slits in his face and barked, "What?"
"Nothing." He didn't feel like licking his lips, or sucking his cheeks in, like Lex did when he looked at him. Not very much.
He did notice that Whit and Pete had real nice asses, kind of round and squeezable looking, and Whit's flexed nicely with each step—this x-ray stuff came in handy sometimes--and…and…he was pretty sure he hadn't noticed anything like that yesterday…
The odd thing was, Whit looked back. In fact, he walked a few steps on and turned, looked back again….
'Oh ho, Whitney,' Clark smirked to himself, 'I thought you carried on a bit too much about me looking at your girlfriend.' Clark also realized—there was nothing there. No spark, no…umph. He didn’t feel in the slightest like wanting to hump their legs. Pinch their butts, okay, but not much else.
He checked out the girl selling canned fruit and drooled more over the peaches than over her, checked out the one selling honey and from the looks of her shirt, her boobs, but didn’t feel driven to buy honey or boobs. Okay, yes, he looked, and might have licked his lips just a bit, but nope—no *need* to hump legs here, either.
He decided the ulitimate test was required. He strode purposefully down the row towards the cotton candy stand, and there she was. Lana. Beautiful, perfect, wing beneath his wings Lana.
She handed out clouds of pink sugar that just happened to be the exact color of her jacket—and her lipstick. She smiled her little modest smile and Clark felt—nothing. So much nothing, it made him stumble. What the hell happened to it? Just last night, he'd stroked himself to a pleasant floating cloud of an orgasm, picturing her sitting across from him in a limo, dressed in a gown cut down to here and up to there, no undies on and a smile that said 'look at me, have me'…in the dream, he wore a tux like Lex would wear, and he acted like Lex would probably act, smooth and suave, sliding his hand up her leg like Lex would, opening his pants, and pulling them down, just like Lex would, sliding to his knees and licking his dick, just like…whoa.
Shit." Oh my god"—it was true! He'd forgotten all about Lana in that fantasy…Lex. It had been all about—
"I'd love some non-nutritious, air fluffed and spun, dyed sugar on a stick. After all, there's nothing that doesn’t taste better when it's presented to you on a stick."
Lex smiled and took a cloud of pink cotton candy and handed Lana a bill that was obviously too much and declined change.
"Leeee-ex," Clark breathed out, and felt like he was floating. "Lee-ex", he breathed in, closed his eyes and sighed. The smell of Lex's cologne and the memory of the feel of Lex's soft skin on his lips worked to create a hard-on capable of smashing granite…he snapped out of Pon-Far Land. Oh gosh, was he going to go crazy if someone challenged him for Lex, just like Spock? Lana was still looking at Lex…hussy. Slut. Shameless bitch--Oooh shit!
Lex turned away from her with a smile, walked a few tables down the row, and dumped the candy into a trash barrel with a grimace. He wiped his hand off with a paper napkin and dropped it in after. He strolled along, greeting people who worked at his plant, and Clark followed him, mouth a little open, eyes fixed on Lex's gluteus maximus like it was a lifeline…maybe it was. Maybe he had to mate or die…he wondered if Lex would go for that if he sold it hard enough….
Clark followed Lex right to the parking lot, hardly even aware of it, and was surprised when Lex turned to him with a grin.
"Did you plan to run after the car too, or would you like a ride?"
"Oh, gosh—I—no, no—yes! Yes, can I get a ride to…wherever? Where you're going is good."
Lex smiled the whole time. "I'm going home. Does that suit you?"
Clark nodded, and stumbled-slid into the low car.
They drove, chatting about nothing important, though Lex chided Clark for making him carry the conversation. Lex drove towards the castle and Clark swallowed—he thought it must sound horribly loud over the low murmur of the radio and the purr of the engine…"Lex--" His throat was so dry his voice cracked. "Lex…drive out to Chandler's field, to the windmill?"
Lex looked at him with raised eyebrows. "Whatever for Clark?"
Clark decided to put a little faith in the gods and leapt out into space. "It's private, and I want you to get to know me; you know--better. You *know.*"
Lex looked at Clark from the corner of his eye. "No-oo. I don’t really know…"
"Oh Lex, you must! Aubergines. Purple! Smooth…."
Lex looked more nervous, confused. "Eggplants? What has this to do with eggplants?"
Clark got desperate. "Tynant—drinking water, the way you do it, and then waiting for me to notice—and I've been noticing, Lex—for a lot longer than I knew, I've been noticing you."
Lex pulled the car to stop on the shoulder. "Clark…what are you trying to say? Trying to infer about me, I should say. Don't get me wrong--I'm a pretty tolerant guy, so I'm not upset but--"
Clark leaned in and grabbed Lex's chin, he kissed him, as best the angle and his lack of experience let him, but even a neophyte like Clark knew Lex's lack of reaction to the kiss was not a positive thing….
Clark let go and Lex jerked away, his fingers tangled in Clark's collar. Lex was flattened against his side of the car; his lips looked bright red in his milk pale skin. Clark knew that look did not mean 'oh my god, how could I have gone all these years without the touch of Clark Kent's lips'…no, it was definitely a look that said 'what the bloody hell just happened here?'
"Hey Lex, please don't do this, please don't--"
"Clark. Wow. I. I…listen, I won’t tell anyone about this, okay?" Lex took a deep breath and went on. "Clark, I'm sorry—I just don't understand what made you think I—wow. I'm straight, Clark. I'm sorry."
Clark watched Lex's mouth form words and some kind of heart-breaking noise was filling the car. He shook himself, took a deep breath. "Lex…it's okay. Don’t apologize, please. It's me, not you. I made the mistake; I should be the one apologizing."
Lex leaned forward, made as if to touch Clarks arm and Clark drew back. "Let me take you home, Clark."
"No, no thanks, really…"
"Come on, let me take you back." God, the concern on his face was the knife twisted in his gut. Lex was freaking out and still—he was worried about Clark. He really looked so much like he cared—a lot, and that was the part that hurt. The other part made him want to lie down so the embarrassment could kill him easier.
This was way worse than that time he'd been in the locker room shower—alone he thought--and had done that whole slide-dance-thing Tom Cruise had done in that movie--only Tom hadn't been buck naked wearing only a washcloth and singing…God, he could have *sworn* no one was in the locker room but him. At the time he thought he could never be embarrassed any worse than that...'ha, ha—wrong'…. Clark closed his eyes and sighed. "Lex. Let me get out of this car with at least some of my dignity left, please. I'll walk, and it'll be fine."
"I can’t stand the thought of leaving you out here. All alone, I mean."
Clark sighed again, how did he do that and not…and you'd think the Pon-Far would friggin' let up, but he still wanted Lex, and certain parts of him were screaming to know why they weren't happier right at this moment…"I gotta get out here, Lex. For my sanity's sake, okay?"
Lex really wanted to argue, Clark could see it, but he swallowed and dipped his head, let Clark out. "I'm sorry, I really am."
"I know," Clark said. "Me too."
Lex took off without wasting time on any blather about how they were still friends and nothing would ever change that—Clark was grateful he didn't.
He stood on the side of the road and like a kid picking at a scab, replayed that disastrous kiss over and over—Lex lips still and slack under his, his heart beating hard against his ribs, going white with shock…and…and curling his fingers in Clark's collar, and Clark thought hard—Lex's fingers had curled around his collar and his knuckles rubbed against his neck—it only lasted a few seconds, but Clark knew…Lex had touched him, had *wanted* to touch him.
Luthor's weren't the only ones who didn't give in without a fight—Kent men could be pretty darn stubborn too. Darn stubborn. Clark began to walk towards town. Not only that, they could be brave enough for two people, if they needed to be. "Oh, look out Lex Luthor…you're going down, my friend, and you're going down hard, " he muttered, and grinned. Lex didn't have a chance….