A few minutes later, they were seated across from each other by the fireplace in the den, much as they had been Bruce's first night in Smallville. Lex sipped his drink thoughtfully as he listened to Bruce's account of what went down on the Kent farm after he'd left earlier that evening. The farmers had deliberated and finally accepted the offer of help.
"I'd suggest we celebrate this victory," Bruce concluded with a weary smile, "but you don't seem to be in a celebratory mood right now. And with good reason."
Returning the smile with his own like version, Lex sighed heavily. "I hate Metropolis," he said. "It's never really been home to me, just a place to go. The people there are fake--liars, just like my father. It's nothing I want to be a part of anymore... if I ever did."
Bruce nodded, his brow wrinkling. "I'm sorry."
"Not your fault, Bruce. I did this to myself. If I hadn't been so afraid of--" Lex paused, unable to complete that thought. "If I hadn't saved his life, Dad wouldn't be here to force me back there."
"Afraid of what?" His lover's voice had intensified, darkening with resolve. Damn. Lex had hoped he'd covered that little slip of the tongue. "Lex?" he urged.
Standing, Lex moved across the room, coming to stand in front of the window he'd broken a day or two before. Gazing out the empty windowpane rather than look at his companion, he downed the last of his drink in one gulp. His voice was ragged as he said, "Being alone."
He heard the clink of glass against stone as Bruce set his drink on the floor and a few seconds later felt strong arms wrap around him. "You're not alone." The words were whispered in his ear, soft yet confident.
No. He wasn't, Lex realized. He hadn't felt the least bit lonely since Bruce Wayne walked into his life. But such had not been the case the day of the tornado. Lex had been alone--isolated--that day in the library, watching helplessly as the only family he had left slipped away from him. By the time the paramedics had arrived, Lex had been curled into a fetal position beside his father, his body just starting to go into shock due to his own injuries and the fear that Lionel would die and he'd be utterly abandoned.
Of course, Lex realized now that his father had counted on that--counted on Lex being weakened enough by his own personal fears to do just about anything--to save his life. Even injured and on the brink of death, his father had manipulated him. And as with the hostage situation earlier that year, there had been no praise for his efforts. No "thank you, son. I owe you my life." Just more of the same crap and abuse he'd become so used to since his mother's death.
Shuddering at the painful memories, Lex allowed himself to relax into Bruce's embrace. His lover's hands shifted, rubbing against his arms as if to warm them. He could the tension in his body melting away with each comforting stroke. It was gradually being replaced, however, with another sensation.
Desire, strong and hot.
Turning in the arms that held him, Lex faced his lover, eyes lit with the fire growing inside him. He smiled when he saw Bruce's dark eyes widen with the knowledge of his intensions. Their lips met, tongues touching in the space formed by two open mouths. And heat... searing heat engulfing them with each touch, each kiss. Another touch, and both men groaned, expressing their needs in unison.
"Bedroom?" Bruce rasped, questioning.
"Here... now... need... so much..." Lex breathlessly informed him between kisses, pulling them both back towards the fireplace while still keeping the embrace intact. He emphasized his words with another impassioned kiss. He caught Bruce's lower lip with his teeth, worrying it lightly before sucking it inside his mouth. Bruce tasted of alcohol and sex, a dangerously addictive combination, and he had to repeat the action as their bodies found a leather-clad lounge near the fire.
Lex pushed his lover down onto the soft leather, coming to rest on top of him in one easy, fluid movement. Staring down, he reveled in the sight of Bruce's wanton visage--lids lowered over smoldering eyes, half-hiding the inferno burning within their depths. And Lex's soul danced amid those flames. Caught again... or maybe never having been released.
"Now..." he uttered again, latching onto Bruce's earlobe and sucking it into his mouth. The man beneath him was growling his desire, the sound sending waves of pleasure and accomplishment washing over him.
"Yes... now..." came a harsh breath of agreement.
Bruce stood beside Lex on the main lawn as the LuthorCorp helicopter touched down before them. Lex felt his lover's hand gripping his shoulder possessively as he leaned closer. "Alfred's already made arrangements for us to stay somewhere else," he practically shouted above the din.
Lex nodded. The noise from the helicopter was fading away now. "Tell me again why I'm going through with this?" he asked jokingly, to cover the animosity he knew Bruce felt as well.
"Because it was your idea," was the comeback. The hand on his shoulder slide down his back now, coming to rest on his hip.
"I've definitely had better ideas, then," he quipped. Bruce grinned back at him. It wasn't really a bad idea--returning to Metropolis without angering his father, only to keep tabs on the business and let Bruce know of any impending deals before they happened. It was a little illegal, he knew, but what Luthor hadn't been willing to take those kinds of risks to get what he wanted?
"Farewell, Master Lex," Alfred Pennyworth said as he came to stand next to the two young men. "Have a safe trip." The words were laced with care and concern, and Lex wondered if his friend hadn't been right about Alfred's approval.
He smiled at the older man. "Thank you, Alfred," he said. "Take... take care of him for me."
"You know I shall," came the reply and a warm smile.
"Bruce." "Lex." The two men reached out and shook hands. It wasn't the good-bye Lex wanted, but they couldn't risk anything more with the chopper pilot so close. He was most likely on Lionel's payroll, as could be said of half the castle's staff. Still, Lex ached for Bruce's touch, as if he were miles away instead of standing right beside him.
As he sensed what Lex was thinking, Bruce leaned in. "Remember, Lex," he whispered close to his ear. "You're not alone now; you know how to reach me if you have need."
Lex nodded almost imperceptibly as he released his lover's hand and stepped away swiftly. He had to leave now before he lost his nerve and collapsed into Bruce's willing arms. Which, at this point, was a much better option than going back to Metropolis. But he knew Bruce was right, and knew the only way he could forge his own path--away from his father--was by going through with his plans.
Their plans. A light smile flickered across his face as strode towards the chopper and his waiting destiny. His plans no longer included misery or loneliness, and as Bruce had pointed out, the cure for those maladies was only a phone call away.
It was a call Lex intended to make on a regular basis from now on.