Category: Story, Slash, Angst
Rating: R (for sexual content)
Disclaimer: These characters are owned by the WB network and their creators. No copyright infringement is intended.
Summary: Sequel to "Stone by Stone." Starlight, star bright, first stars we see in life.
Title: STAR BY STAR by mako
The Luthor observatory was silent except for the hum of a giant optic telescope automatically focussing its huge lens at the skies, drawing stars toward its viewfinder, calling to faraway lights long extinguished by the ravages of time.
Clark Kent fiddled with the controls, pleased that their manipulation was easier than he'd expected. So peaceful and quiet and he quickly lost himself in the sky above, watching with keen vision for anything out of the ordinary -- anything that gave him clues to his own strange, outerworldly origins.
//Twinkle, twinkle, little star ... how I wonder what the hell you are.//
He'd fallen out of that very same sky, one day twelve years before and ever since his father had told him the secret of his arrival on Earth, Clark felt a passionate desire to discover his roots, to know the whats, whys and hows of his incredible powers and his violent, unknown past.
It wasn't going to be an easy journey back in time, but then again, Clark was quickly discovering that life wasn't meant to be easy.
Not on this planet or any other.
A loud voice suddenly echoed through the observatory, oddly hollow in the near-empty room. "Are we having fun yet?
Clark jumped with surprise, then chuckled at his own overreaction. "A great time," he enthused. "Come on up and check it out."
Lex Luthor's footsteps clanged against metal stairs that wound up toward the viewing platform. He exaggerated a squint before peering into the viewfinder. "Whoa. Wait a second," he said. "I see a sign hanging out there. Look ... it says: Clark Kent - Phone Home."
A hitch tightened in Clark's chest and he swallowed hard. If Lex only knew how close to the truth he was. "Are you sure it doesn't say something else?" Clark asked, feigning carelessness. "Such as: "Lex Luthor - Get a Life?"
Lex lazily stretched back up. "Even the aliens aren't that optimistic."
Clark winced. Now he felt bad: Lex had been nothing but kind and generous to him since the day they met, but even he had to admit the guy was asking for, heck, practically begging for, a fight. Still, there was something unassuming beneath all that bravado, hiding under a rocky exterior of arrogance -- a thin sliver of sweetness, shivering with loneliness.
Disconcerting, but true.
Lex seemed to take no notice of Clark's discomfort. He quickly trotted back down the stairs, waving Clark on behind him. "Come along Starman, inside the house. The Swedish news is on."
"The Swedish news?" Clark warily followed him down the winding staircase. "Why do I want to watch the Swedish news again?"
"Swedish newscasters," Lex replied smoothly. "Hurry, or we'll miss Anafreid."
Clark heard his own laughter echoing through the room and followed without any more questions. The stars would be there another night, and strangely enough, once again Lex Luthor had proved himself more interesting than even the greatest questions of the universe.
At least for the moment.
Lex's living room wasn't so much a place to relax as it was a residence within itself. A tastefully appointed apartment with nooks, crannies, comfortable furnishings and an entertainment system that made Clark want to drool all over the six giant built-in digital speakers sounding in from every corner of the room.
Damn, but he wasn't in Kansas anymore.
Thank God. "How hick will I sound if I tell you how awesome this is?" Clark ran his hand over a flat-screen high definition television the size of his mother's kitchen ceiling.
"Hayseed in the extreme. But tell me anyway." Lex threw himself onto a black leather sofa, the television remote springing from a hidden compartment in its arm, just like magic.
"This is awesome. Beyond awesome. Awe-inspiring."
"It's just a TV, Clark," Lex drawled. "Here, find something to watch. This thing hurts my thumb."
Lex backflipped the remote and Clark caught it with fumbling fingers. "It hurts your thumb? You haven't developed a callus yet?"
"I'm immune to calluses," smirked Lex, sinking further into the black leather, his pale face starkly contrasted against its darkness. He motioned toward the TV. "Check it out. Five hundred channels and still nothing to watch."
A quick click of the remote and the giant screen was filled with writhing naked female bodies. Clark's cheeks burned as he scrambled to change the channel but the remote refused to cooperate.
Lex chuckled wickedly. "I should take that back. This one is all right but not quite as good as its predecessor -- 'Where The Boys Aren't." Lex glanced coyly at Clark, who was pushing multiple buttons helplessly.
"You've seen the whole series?" The screen finally changed to an old Warner Brothers' cartoon and Clark breathed a sigh of relief. He plopped down next to Lex, his face still glowing with embarrassment.
"I've seen the whole catalogue," breathed Lex in Clark's ear, laughing when the younger man jumped. "A guy's gotta do something with his time." A package of red Twizzlers materialized from the sofa compartment and Lex chewed on one thoughtfully. "It beats watching the hogs go at it in the fields."
The pit of Clark's stomach dropped and he forced out a weak laugh. "Yeah. I guess."
"You don't watch a lot of porn at home, huh, Clark?" Another slow chew. "Of the non-barnyard variety, I mean."
"No, I don't. Of either kind," Clark huffed, thoroughly annoyed. Lex was certainly a confusing man -- he went from charming to obnoxious in two seconds flat.
"My, my ... missing out on everything, huh?"
Bored tone, and Clark faced the older man angrily. "Are you done yet?"
"No, why? Want some?" Lex held out the candy. "There's plenty left."
"I wasn't talking about that. I'm asking if you're done screwing around with me." Clark's felt his temper itching up his spine, refusing to be tamped down -- what an arrogant bastard!
But Lex merely smiled. "Are we screwing around? How'd I miss that?"
Clark's mouth clamped shut, and his jaw set tightly. "Maybe I should go. I get enough grief everywhere else, I don't need to add any more." Angrily said, but he made no move to leave. Too much effort, and besides, the alternatives might have been less irritating but they were less interesting as well.
"Who gives you grief?" asked Lex casually, ignoring Clark's ire. "Besides me, of course."
Shrugging, Clark rolled his eyes. "Where don't I get grief? Home, school, the fields -- even the stupid dog chewed up my backpack yesterday."
"E tu, Fido?" Luthor smiled brightly and Clark had to smile back. What was it about this guy? He was the strangest, smartest, most obnoxious, most exotic, haltingly sweet person Clark had ever met. So much mystery tinged with sadness, even a hint of real darkness, and Clark's everyday griefs began to fade into oblivion.
What's a dog eating your backpack compared to a cold, empty mansion haunting your soul? Clark wondered what, if any, comfort endless money would bring to someone who'd never known any differently, still having all the same problems mere cash couldn't pay off. "Money can't buy you happiness, son," said his father many times, and like most cliches it was based in truth: stark, real and just a little bit frightening.
Clark found himself staring at Lex, wondering how badly the meteor storm had scarred him, not only outside but inside as well. He'd lost all of his hair, permanently, but that actually enhanced his features rather than otherwise. There was nothing to obscure Lex's blazing eyes from the world, no hair to hide behind -- he was right there, upfront and in-your-face.
But then again, how else could Lex Luthor be?
"Are you done?" Lex's dry voice brought him back to reality.
"What?" Clark flushed, wishing he could control his blushes. "Done with what?"
"Mentally cataloging my tragedies and triumphs," replied Lex coolly. "Shining a pen light into my dark soul, peering past the cobwebs of my childhood -- wondering if I'd ever consider hair plugs."
"You'd look awful with hair plugs," interrupted Clark automatically. "You look perfect the way you are." Instant embarrassment yet again, but this time, he didn't really care.
Lex did look perfect just the way he was and that was a fact.
If Lex had eyebrows, one would have been raised in surprise. "Why, thank you, Clark. And may I suggest you should never consider this look yourself. The human race needs all the perfect ebony hair it can produce." Lex rose with a stretch. "And now, if you'll excuse me, I think my beauty rest is calling me. I have a long day tomorrow -- the plant is testing its new computerized startup procedures and I have to be there to look grudgingly impressed."
"Yeah, tomorrow's a school day." Clark got up, and shuffled his feet before holding his hand out to Lex. "Goodnight, and thanks for the use of the observatory. And ..." He paused. "And the entertainment. I don't get these channels at home, that's for sure."
But Luthor ignored the outstretched hand. Instead, he reached out and ran a tentative finger down Clark's cheek, as if touching something very rare and beautiful. It was over almost before it began but Clark gaped at him, wide-eyed with surprise.
"Just seeing if you're real," said Lex softly. He picked up a tossed aside leather jacket and slipped it on. "It's hard to tell sometimes, especially these days."
Clark continued to gape, staring into space, even after Lex left the room. His skin burned where Lex had touched and his gut knotted with shock, fear ... and something he wasn't sure he wanted to define.
Of all the obnoxious, weird, bizarre, beautiful ...
Clark shook his head frantically and with a burst of super-speed was home and shaking beneath his blankets seconds later. But sleep was much slower in coming and he shifted uncomfortably, painfully aware of the trembling of his limbs and a persistent ache between his legs.
//Just seeing if you're real ...//
Oh, he was real all right. Too real, and Clark knew in his heart that was just the beginning of his problems.
Perhaps his pleasures as well.
When sleep finally overtook Clark, his dreams found themselves back at Lex's house, stretched out over soft black leather, being thoroughly ravished by a certain bald, beautiful man.
Desire thrilled through Clark, whipcracks of sensation making him arch and moan against Lex's relentless mouth, lips and tongue. Smooth hands touched him everywhere, demanding and taking whatever they wanted -- and doing whatever he asked.
"Tell me," Lex whispered in his ear, tugging on the lobe with his teeth. "Tell me the secret, Clark. I have to know."
The secret, oh yes. It was somewhere in the stars, somewhere past the sun that gave this planet life, somewhere in the darkness overwhelming.
Somewhere ... out there.
A slippery kiss down his neck and Clark groaned. He was so close, but there were no answers -- and a heavy price to be paid for every word revealed. Gentle hands touched his cock and he was lost in sensation, wanting, needing more ... needing everything Lex could give.
"The secret, Clark. Tell me and then we can be together. Never alone again." Wet licks at the center of Clark's desire and he nearly wept. "You and I -- together always."
He opened his mouth to speak but an explosion stopped him. Memories of green light, terror, confusion ... a woman's scream. Pressure against his chest as he was shot toward the stars, deadly pricks of light whizzing by at speeds unfathomable.
Fire then, suffocating heat, and Clark awoke with shout, sweat dripping down his face. He looked around wildly and found himself in his bed, the sunrise still hours away. He rose shakily and opened the window, gulping down lungfuls of cool October air, glancing fearfully at the sky above and the endless flames that lit its eternal night.
//Twinkle, twinkle, little star ... please don't kill me from afar.//
Another light glowed in the distance and Clark strained to make it out. It was the Luthor compound, high on the hill, one of the upper rooms -- Lex's bedroom, where the object of his subconscious desire lay awake as well, or maybe sleeping with the lights on, dreaming of things to come.
Or things that refused to go away.
"E tu, Lex?" Clark breathed wearily, then stumbled back to bed, praying for all dreams, the good and the bad, to leave him alone for the rest of the night.
And, if possible, the rest of his life.