SUMMARY: Chapter Fifteen : All that's left is to find the red meteor rock (if indeed that caused this whole fiasco), and deal with Clark's parents.
Lex would just as soon climb Mount Everest naked.
WARNINGS: Rated Teen for language and sexuality. Veers into the realm of AU after the episode "Red" from Season 2. Because I just – LOVE red kryptonite!
DISCLAIMER: So many people own Superman and Smallville that I don't even know where to begin. We'll just sweepingly say Siegel and Shuster, DC Comics, and the show's creators. It's this twisted copyright situation, anyway. But I'm not making any money of them, rest assured. Just – playing with them. In my mind. It's not my fault they picked Tom Welling and Michael Rosenbaum, eh!
AUTHOR NOTES: My version of red kryptonite varies from the show's use. In comic canon, red kryptonite causes a different reaction each time Superman/Clark is exposed to it, and the results typically last 24 to 48 hours.
AUTHOR NOTES (2): Final chapter (i.e. epilogue…)! Oh, my god, it's over! Over! Praise the Lord!
"D'ya think that we could maybe, umm, kiss again soon?" Lex cracked a smile and glanced at Clark as they drove along the road toward the Kent farm. Granted, "driving" could barely be applied to what Lex was doing, as he had settled at a leisurely, if somewhat unsteady pace of twenty miles an hour, one hand dealing with shifting, the other casually running its slim fingers over any of Clark's skin that he could reach. He occasionally used his knees to turn the steering wheel.
"Would you save me if we crashed?" he replied mischievously, worming his hand beneath Clark's t-shirt to rush teasingly along his abdomen, garnering an unexpected laugh from the other man.
"Ticklish," he explained, with a shrug and a brilliant smile.
"Aliens can be ticklish?"
"This one can." Clark wrinkled his nose in a nauseatingly adorable manner, seemingly embarrassed at his little secret. Lex, whose glances toward the other man had grown increasingly frequent, nearly missed his exit as he watched Clark's multitude of adorable expressions. He was a sixteen-year-old male, for chrisakes! How did he still manage 'cute'?
It could, he supposed, have had something to do with the alien thing. More, on second thought, to do with the Kent thing. He could add that to the ever-increasing list of traits he had somehow garnered from his human parents, along with the bravery, honesty, trustworthiness and a strong will (also known as stubbornness).
"And you?" Lex smiled.
"You'll have to discover for yourself." His fingers moved steadily upward, skating over Clark's muscles, softly grazing a nipple. Clark sucked in a deep breath, suddenly feeling skittish. His hand reached under his shirt to grasp Lex's and hold it within the warmth of his palm. Lex grasped it firmly back, then removed his hand.
"How do you do that?" Clark gasped out.
"What?" Lex replied coyly. "Do what?"
"So, so casually. You just – you're driving!" Lex smirked, and put both hands on the wheel.
"Not well. You distract me. I can hardly look forward for a minute before you make me touch you. Are you sure that isn't one of your powers?" Clark raised his eyebrows, then reached forward to gently take Lex's right hand off of the wheel and bring it up to gaze at it quizzically. He pulled off the leather glove gently to reveal the unbroken flesh beneath it, and kissed the palm. Lex took his hand back slowly. "What was that for?"
Clark grinned. "I'm not the only one with powers." Lex glanced down at his hand, not understanding. Clark shook his head. "You –" he hesitated. He could tell Lex now, but surely Lex already knew of his own ability, of how quickly he could heal. Knew, or would soon know. "Your power is that you… you make me want you." He felt himself blushing, and looked away out the window. The barn seemed to approach from nowhere, and he studied it anxiously, a huge monster in the darkness of a clear Kansas night. Beyond the barn was the house, and within it was Clark's dad. It was very nearly a terrifying thought. As it was now, the prospect of talking to his dad was, at the moment, merely frightening. "More than I ever wanted anyone else."
Lex kept himself from replying for the moment. That Clark could have such candor when he no longer felt the need to hide anything made Lex feel strangely happy in a way that he had not felt since before he had lost his baby brother, years and years behind him. Maybe this was all just a convoluted, barely-to-be-believed dream, but as long as it engulfed him completely and he never woke up, he was just fine with that.
"I think I can live with that power," Lex finally murmured in reply. "But I feel – guilty." Clark looked at him quizzically.
"You have this faith in me that sometimes I can't understand in the least. Not when there are – others – who would be better for you, others who are better people than I am. The things I've done, the things I'm capable of doing…"
Clark interrupted him. "Think about the things I'm capable of doing, Lex. I could hurt people. I mean, not even on purpose. Not bad people. Just people. If I didn't control it. And sometimes I don't con –"
He was swiftly cut off by Lex's mouth on his own, stifling his words, drowning them out in favor of a querulous tongue that didn't want to hear it just now, which instead felt like another taste of sickeningly sweet Kansas farmboy, even if said Kansas farmboy was really an alien from another planet. So maybe Lex was a xenophile with a bit of a fetish as far as Clark was concerned. Wouldn't be the first strange thing he'd discovered about himself. Certainly not the last.
Clark kissed Lex back, feeling relieved beyond compare. He hoped he wasn't a clumsy kisser, or an outright bad one, but he could always blame it on his alien heritage. Jor-El probably hadn't been a good kisser either. But that didn't really matter at the moment. First of all, Lex certainly hadn't complained yet. Secondly, Lex wasn't scared of Clark. He was still his friend. He was still his friend and omygod that hand was back up his shirt and touching everywhere wait there were two hands now and the other one was tracing trails up his thigh…
It took a few moments for Clark to become lucid enough to realize that neither of Lex's hands were participating in the driving, and a few more moments to realize that they should have crashed, and finally it dawned on him that the car was no longer moving. No, it wasn't, but the occupants were certainly moving, because Clark's hands obviously had their own set of brains and were very much engaged in mimicking Lex's motions in regard to bodily touching, and even though he'd never found himself to be particularly graceful with his left hand it was very easily undoing the buttons of Lex's shirt.
They were making out. They were making out in Lex's Ferrari, which was, granted, a small and rather uncomfortable car, especially for someone of Clark's size, but certainly he didn't mind when Lex's mouth left his and proceeded to press wet kisses interchanged with occasional sucking down the side of his throat. And maybe Clark couldn't get hickeys but Lex certainly seemed willing to test out that theory.
Then it seemed to occur to both of them just where Lex had stopped his car, and just how much might be visible to a person watching from outside the car. They sprang apart, and Lex found himself looking straight at the bright red side of the Kent's barn. Clark blinked, and found that he was looking at the road. Neither of them could see the house.
Clark let out a breath he didn't realize that he'd been holding. "That is what I call good luck."
"We seem to get more than our fair share of it," said Lex, feeling the racing of his heart and struggling not to give in to a sudden panic attack. It was one thing to know hypothetically that his young male (lover?)'s parents knew that there was something going on between them, but it was quite another thing to realize that they had been this close to being shot at by Jonathan Kent from the window of his cheery yellow farmhouse.
"So we've agreed that switching bodies wasn't necessarily bad luck?" Clark wheedled out, grinning.
"Aside from the arguments, headaches, hangovers, and pizza intake…" Clark looked at him expectantly. Lex pursed his lips and pretended to consider, tapping his chin with one finger until Clark rolled his eyes and elbowed him lightly in the ribs. "…yes."
"That's what I thought."
"You're teasing me."
"Can't I?" Clark asked, then leaned over to press a chaste kiss to Lex's cheek. "You always used to tease me, didn't you?"
Clark laughed. "Don't pretend to be innocent, Lex. It doesn't suit you. And neither does that pout." Lex relaxed his face instantly, embarrassed to have been caught doing something as childish as pouting over an insult. Not that it was truly an insult. Innocent suited him the way Gucci would suit Jonathan Kent.
"Fine," he conceded. "But how did I tease?"
Clark raised an eyebrow, looking surprisingly Lex-like. "How I ever got away with not doing something about all those looks you gave me, I'll never know…" The side of Lex's mouth twitched at Clark's dramatics. "Need I mention the blue bottles, the pool sticks, the sword…"
Well. He had been teasing, hadn't he? But he'd never thought Clark would be the type to notice. But spending such – strange – quality time with one's best friend tended to reveal things that usually were kept hidden. Like Clark's ability to be seductive. Or how his eyes changed colour depending on his mood. Or what it felt like to be Clark.
Not normal in the least. But Lex was fairly sure he could live with that. Then Clark very cautiously, very lightly, kissed the hollow of his throat, and he was forced to amend his answer. He was definitely sure he could live with that.
"Don't distract me, we need to get inside, check your room for meteor rocks…" And that was a large, warm hand pressed to his chest, running down it teasingly? When had his shirt been totally unbuttoned, again? He forced himself to grab Clark's wrist and hold it as tight as he could, which, granted, was pretty damn tight, but Clark wasn't going to get hurt from it, now was he? "I'm serious, you insatiable alien…"
"I'll stop, just as soon as you take that hand off of my thigh." Lex cursed, but relented enough to lift his hand off of Clark's jean-clad leg. Slightly. Clark chuckled, and wrinkled his nose again. Lex valiantly struggled not to kiss him. This was ridiculous. He hadn't acted like such a lovesick teenager since he – well, to be perfectly honest, he had never acted like a lovesick teenager. Before it had been all about the sex, just how far would people go with him while he was how young, just because he was a Luthor, or how much power could he get with this fuck or that one.
He sighed. Eventually Clark would have to know about everything. Whether or not he wanted to know. But for now, he could retreat into the bliss of knowing that for this period of time, no matter how brief or long it turned out to be, he could revel in this precious alien farmboy's love.
Then he remembered what they were supposed to be doing. It would probably be a brief relationship at best, considering that somewhere beyond the sheltering barn lay Jonathan Kent, and surely he had some sort of weapon in his vicinity capable of gelding one Lex Luthor. "I suppose…" (who knew it took so much courage to face a boyfriend's father?) "we should go inside."
"Mm-hmm," Clark murmured in agreement. "Probably."
It was another five minutes before either of them spoke another word. The sky had fully darkened, and in true Kansas middle-of-nowhere fashion, there was a dazzling array of white pinpoints of light. Clark looked thoughtfully up at them, wondering where in the universe he had been born. Lex looked at the stars reflected in Clark's eyes, and wondered how in the world the most perfect being in all of existence had happened to manage to land here, in Smallville, in his arms. It was almost stupidly romantic, the fodder of romance-comedy he wouldn't be caught dead seeing. In public.
Clark breathed in, then out. Sometime, this had to be faced. And as tempting as it was to hide in Lex's car making out for the rest of the night, he needed to face his parents again, with Lex. So they could see that he wasn't going to give this up. And meanwhile, they might be able to find the source of their switch in the first place. He opened the door and stepped out into the night, which had grown much chillier. Or maybe it was just that the car had been so… hot. He blushed.
Lex stepped out of the car as well, closing it behind him with a loud, resounding sound that somehow reminded him of a man's head being chopped off by the swift, deadly blade of a guillotine. What was your crime, sir? Touching Jonathan Kent's son. "Clark, tell me I don't look like I'm about to be ravished." Clark surveyed him and resisted the urge to laugh and gape simultaneously.
Lex, who normally looked so unflustered and calm that he could be a pale marble statue, had flushed streaks of red across his cheeks, down his throat, and even in a broad swathe across his chest, which was half-exposed by the buttons undone beneath Clark's unconsciously questing fingers. And he was smiling, a radiant sort of smile that Clark had never seen before. He drank in the sight of it. I did that, he told himself. Me.
"You, umm, don't look like you're about to be ravished." Lex raised a slender eyebrow.
"Now is not the time to be untruthful, Clark." Clark shrugged innocently.
"I'm telling you what you want to be told." He stepped up to Lex, so close that the shorter man shivered involuntarily. "But, to tell the truth, you look like you've been ravished." He leaned until his mouth was a hair's breadth away from touching Lex's ear. "By me." Then he stepped back, shoved his hands into his pockets, and laughed.
"Tease." He button his shirt closed, straightened the collar, and smoothed his slacks, all with his normal efficiently, only slightly marred by the looks he kept casting at Clark, who, for all appearances, was as innocent as always. If it weren't for the already fading blush across his cheekbones and his mussed hair (which spent most of its time being mussed anyway), he would have looked like he'd had just another typical Smallville day. Which, considering the town, could hardly be considered typical in the least, as it tended to involve crazed teenagers, mutant powers, meteorite showers, kidnappings, arson, hypnotism, and, apparently, switching bodies with your best friend.
"As if," the younger man replied, in a very teenager-ish manner. He turned and began to stride toward the house. His confidant movement notwithstanding, Lex knew he was nervous. Clark tended to hide his nervousness behind his smiles. Lex ran to catch up with him, taking his large hand and squeezing it briefly in reassurance. Clark flashed him that should-be-trademarked bright smile and squeezed back.
Then they were at the front of the house. Clark opened the screen door, then stopped suddenly and blinked disbelievingly. Lex peered over his shoulder, his eyes immediately focusing on a note pinned to the door.
Your father and I are taking a drive -- we should be back before midnight.
Know that we love you dearly and always will, and that we trust in your decision to confide in Lex.
We'll talk more when we get home.
Mom and Dad
"Good luck?" Lex whispered, amazed. We trust in your decision, it said. To tell him. To tell a Luthor.
"Way too much good luck. I'm expecting a tornado any time now." Clark opened the door and tentatively stepped inside. True to their word, the house was empty and quiet and peaceful. Lex surveyed it, wondering if he could ever really belong in this place. He looked to Clark, whose bright mega-watt smile had become more of a glowing sort of happy calm. As long as Clark could still smile like that, he supposed that he would always belong, at least in the farmboy's eyes.
"I'd settle for a hailstorm," Lex replied. "Should we check around the house?" Clark nodded, his face already squinted up as he scanned the house with his x-ray vision. Lex opted for the more traditional method of looking beneath and behind furniture, wandering around slowly and admiring in a way he never had before just how much this house reflected home.
Maybe his home. Maybe. Someday.
For the next hour and a half, the two continued their search throughout and around the house, which had never seemed so vast before. Before, of course, they were not looking for their proverbial needle in the haystack, a red piece of rock able to cause a phenomenon that was beginning to seem more and more surreal and impossible as time went on; some sort of mutant alien substance that could cause instantaneous change through time and space.
Given, of course, that Lex's theory was correct.
Which it might not be, given he had been extrapolating heavily at the time.
And he had been drinking a great deal the night before.
"The only place we haven't checked is my room," said Clark, frowning.
Lex considered this for a moment. "When did you fall asleep last night, Clark?" Clark looked thoughtful. He'd already told Lex about his unnatural tiredness after the forest affair, as the older man had called it during a bout of sophistication, and they were planning on going there the following morning if the Kent house didn't offer up any answers. Clark had wanted to look tonight, but even with x-ray vision, it would have been difficult to navigate both himself and Lex without them both ending up dead out in the woods.
"Around nine-ish, I think." Lex blinked.
"Strange. About the time that my drunken stupor – " Clark gave him a look, and he amended. "I mean, that's about when I fell asleep. Perhaps the effect of the red meteorite triggered it… that would explain our, for lack of a better word, co-sleepiness." Clark smiled at that distinctively un-scientific name. "And it would also place the lasting effect of said meteorite at approximately the length of my circadian rhythm." The younger man raised his eyebrows, perplexed. "My body's natural cycle of day and night is slightly less than normal peoples', about twenty-four hours rather than twenty-five," Lex clarified.
"That's mine as well. I remember circadian rhythms from bio class, you know. I thought I was just abnormal. Then I thought it was because I was an alien." He gave Lex an appraising glance. "I guess we're just both strange."
Lex smiled. "Affirmative." He managed an incredibly dorky salute, causing Clark to snort. "And if the meteorite is attuned to that, then maybe its effect as an isotope is connected to circadian rhythms. Or, at least your circadian rhythm. Maybe that's why it affected me as well, because I have the same one as an, ah, alien species."
"Or maybe it's 'cause we're connected?" Clark suggested, taking Lex's hand.
It was all getting rather too romantic, but neither Lex nor Clark felt like asserting their masculinity at the moment. Besides, as Clark had said, they were simply strange. And connected. Whatever was right for them didn't apply in the normal world.
"Right." His thumb was absently caressing the back of Clark's hand, but that was alright. "I… guess we should check up in the bedroom."
"Want to head up there now?" Then Clark seemed to realize what he was suggesting, released Lex's hand, and flushed red. Slightly red. He was obviously already growing accustomed to the implications of a relationship with Lex Luthor, one that had a very strong element of attraction in it. 'Strong element of attraction' being the nice, parentally-appropriate phrase, as opposed to other phrases that Lex might use on any given day (or night) to describe the physical portion of what he felt for one Clark Kent.
Like hormonally charged sex-driven totally unbridled lust.
"Let's, ah, check it out, shall we?" Lex led the way up to the room where, over a day ago, he had woken up to discover himself in the body of his best friend. It looked just as he had left it – the clothes strewn about, closet open, bed with its flannel coverings mussed. He found that he was considering it fondly, and smiled to himself. As the two began to search, Lex considered what was probably the luckiest day of his life.
For everything that had happened, he was glad. If it took switching bodies and seeing the world at a slant to bring him together with Clark, hell, he'd gladly do it again.
He'd do a lot for Clark.
It took him several moments to realize that he'd said that out loud (it was becoming a rather disturbing habit, this saying what he was thinking); but the biggest hint had to be Clark's arms suddenly wrapped around him from behind, embracing him. He imagined that their hearts were beating in unison, nearly dismissed it as utterly fanciful, then decided he could stand to live in this fantasy a little longer.
"You hide the way you really are so much of the time, Lex," Clark murmured into his ear. "Who knew you could be so romantic?"
"Who knew you could be so affectionate?" Lex retorted. Clark turned him around in his arms so they were facing one another, Clark leaning down the slightest bit to bump his nose against Lex's.
"Just me?" Despite the levity in his tone, Lex was serious. He'd never really considered a true-blue honest-to-god no-fucking-around monogamous relationship before, but then again, a beautiful alien before had never propositioned him, either.
Clark's answer was a swift, wet kiss. When he drew back, his eyes had gone a stunning shade of ocean blue. "Just you. Destiny, remember?" He smiled, and licked his lips, eyes shimmering back to their normal hazel.
Lex tried to remind himself that he was in his – boyfriend's – bedroom, in a house owned by a couple of parents who would not be thrilled by the idea of their underage, non-human son entering into a relationship with a Luthor (and a male one at that), and they could be back at any time, and wouldn't it just be the end of his life if they walked in on the two of them getting into some serious hanky-panky in Clark's bed?
Fuck it, he thought to himself. I'll die happy.
He pulled Clark suddenly, overbalancing both of them and sending them tumbling onto his bed, which creaked and groaned ominously. Or so Lex imagined, but as he couldn't hear the bed's noises over their own moans, it didn't really matter.
Despite the fact that Clark was overwhelmingly horny right now, and back in his normal, larger, stronger body, he still conceded the position of top to his more experienced, and very persuasive bed partner. He told himself that they weren't going to have sex, not here, not now, but Lex seemed intent on performing acts probably considered illegal in this state, even if it wasn't technically hitting a home run, as his schoolmates might have put it.
Funny thing. Clark had never had a fondness for baseball before today.
Lex's mouth was somewhere in the vicinity of Clark's lower abdomen when he started to feel a bit… funny. Of course, he'd been feeling "funny" for the last, oh, eight hours. But that was a nice type of funny that had a lot to do with the state of his pants. This type of funny was sort of like the tiredness he'd felt last night. Grasping Lex's shoulders and lifting him off of his stomach (though his very talented tongue managed to take one last swipe of Clark's belly), he gazed around intently, wondering if they had somehow missed the kryptonite.
Of course, given their rather passionate state, they hadn't been as focused on looking for the meteor rock as they could have been.
Lex was puzzled, but only for a few moments. Then his head began to ache, the way it had when he'd woken up more than half a day ago in Clark's bed. He massaged his temples, cursing. Clark smoothed one hand down Lex's back in comfort, then swiftly pulled the sheets nearly off of the bed with one hand, the pillows in another. No red meteor rock. He glanced around again, and as the feeling of strange lightness/sleepiness/whatever-ness within him grew, he suddenly had an epiphany.
"Under the bed," he muttered. Looking decidedly less than dignified, he edged up until his waist was adjacent with the side of the bed, and ducked himself down, pulling up the sheets and glancing beneath the bed. There was something glowing a soft red beneath it, and unthinkingly, he reached out for it.
"Clark, whatever it is, don't grab –"
But Clark already had it in his hand. He pulled himself back up and stared stupidly at the glowing rock in his hand for a long moment, before throwing it out of the (thankfully open) window. Immediately the strange feeling faded, and he turned to look back at Lex, smiling brightly.
"I think that proves your theory was right." Then he really looked at Lex, and gaped.
Sitting before him was still Lex… sort of. The eyes, icy blue-gray, were right, and they had a strange mixture of fury and lust in them. But as to the rest of him –
He was smaller, for one thing. His ears seemed to stick out more, his nose looked too pointy and his eyes were too wide for his face, his clothes were large and wrinkled all around him, and he seemed inclined toward a pout. His entire aura, rather than the normal seductive, dangerous essence that he normally radiated, instead was a mixture of anger and awkwardness.
In short, he looked like a sixteen-year-old boy.
Clark was laughing before he could tell himself to shut up. Lex scowled and crossed his arms, which only served to heighten his high school aged appearance. Then Clark seemed to realize what this meant, and jumped up off the bed, jogging over to his closet and staring at himself in the mirror.
The last lines of childhood were gone from his face, which looked leaner and sharper and, he had to admit to himself, sexier. His hair looked longer and more styled; framing his face instead of distracting from it, and his eyes seemed to waver even as he looked at them between hazel and blue. He was slightly taller, too, perhaps six four. But the tightness of his clothes only emphasized his more muscular form.
In short, he looked like a twenty two year old man.
He turned to look back at Lex. "Well, at least we know you're right." (Was his voice lower, or was it only his imagination?) "It does seem to be an, umm, isotope. But if you're right about the circadian rhythm thing, this should only last twenty-four hours, yeah?" If it was possible, Lex scowled even more. Clark grinned. "I'm gonna enjoy this."
Then he heard the footsteps in the hallway, and froze as he looked back at the mirror and saw the reflection of his parents in the doorway. Martha looked shocked, while Jonathan, who was fixed on Lex, seemed to struggle between anger and laughter.
Clark managed to turn around and face them. Neither was holding a weapon, which seemed to be a good sign. Jonathan's mouth moved, but no words came out. Martha was the first to manage any words, but the only thing she could think to say was "I don't believe this."
"Mrs. Kent," Lex slowly began, and cursed his slightly higher pitched voice, which lacked its normal smooth, calm assuredness. "We can assure you that this is only – ah, temporary…"
Clark hurriedly agreed, speaking even as Lex did. "The red meteor rock is an isotope, and it does something different every time, but it'll – I mean, the circadian – rhythm…" he trailed off in unison with Lex.
They were laughing. Jonathan and Martha Kent were bowled over, laughing as if they'd heard the best joke in the world delivered by the funniest comedian in the universe. Clark started toward the two, then backed away from them, as they were reaching a point of near-hysteria. Instead he went to sit beside Lex, one arm snaking out to encircle the now much smaller man around the waist. The two of them stared in total shock at the scene before them, totally silent.
It was Jonathan Kent who, this time, came up with air first. "It's just," he wheezed out, "Martha and I were talking, and –" he glanced at his wife, and they had another bout of laughing.
"The thing, sweetheart," said Martha Kent, "that we were both the most concerned about with this – this relationship – was the – the – age difference!"
Clark and Lex looked at each other, but neither of them could find any words. Clark shrugged, and leaned over to softly (and very chastely, because who were they kidding? It was still Jonathan Kent sitting in here in front of them, fit of temporary insanity or no) kiss Lex. He pulled back, and studied the younger visage before him, head at a slant, smiling. "At least they can't say you're taking advantage of me in this relationship. In the next twenty-four hours, anyway."
"Clark, I don't think they can say much of anything about this relationship, next twenty-four hours or no. It's pretty damn near indescribable."
"Face it, Lex – you like it this way."
Lex studied the older visage before him, head at a slant, smiling. "Let's just say, if this is all a dream… don't ever wake me up."