Harlequin's Slash Fic

Only Human: 01 Human Interlude

Title: Only Human: 01 Human Interlude
Author: Harlequin
Universe: Smallville
Characters featured: Clark/Lex
Category, Word count: Short story; 4340 words
Rating: R (though relatively mild)
Summary, Notes: This is set in the first season episode Leech, in which Clark loses his super powers and can enjoy being human.
First published: 4 January 2008 on Harlequin’s Slash Site 

 

Human Interlude

 

Relationships aren’t always about love, Clark. The words haunted him. Lex’s words regarding his own… affair with Victoria.

And then there were Lana’s words, delivered in a blushing, frowning, stuttering, painful confusion that was so unlike her: If a man is hurting, and he asks for comfort, I’m not wrong to comfort him, am I?

Of course not, Clark had soothingly replied, because that was what she most needed to hear. Of course that’s not wrong. But Lana’s words had haunted him, too. It didn’t take much imagination to picture Lex indulging himself with the voluptuous Victoria. It took even less to imagine Lana’s sympathy for her boyfriend Whitney, who was grieving over his father’s poor health, and what that sympathy might lead to. It wasn’t as if Clark thought his entire class were still virgins, but if that was what Lana meant by comfort, then she and Whitney were the first of his friends to cross that bridge. Well, except for Lex, of course – but then he wasn’t a classmate. He was an older man, experienced, with some needs fulfilled and others not…

It still seemed odd to think of Lex Luthor as one of his friends. Clark was all too aware that whenever Lex used the term and claimed him as a friend, all Clark could offer in return was an uncomfortable smile. He wondered that Lex, astute in all dealings, didn’t pick up on that. Or maybe Lex simply chose to overlook it and claim Clark’s friendship anyway.

Lex. Lex, Lex, Lex.

Clark found himself heading for Lex’s castle the slow way. He no longer had his unworldly powers, which meant that everything he did took so much time and effort. Doing his regular chores on the farm almost killed him, and it was so cold! He felt as if he’d never be properly warm again. On this night, because he didn’t have the truck and he could no longer run, he walked, huddled into his father’s thickest coat. Being human was sheer hard work. Clark ached all over, even in places that had no right aching – though oddly enough that only seemed to push him on. By the time he was knocking on the castle’s front door it was well after ten, and Lex’s initial wariness indicated that he wasn’t expecting visitors. The surprise immediately melted away into pleasure, though. ‘Clark Kent. Good. Come in – I’ve been wanting to apologise.’

He slipped past Lex and then strode across the hall, listening with his merely human senses for intruders. It seemed the place was empty but for him and Lex; though what would he know any more? ‘Victoria’s gone?’

‘Yes.’ Lex looked him over. A long, considering, lingering look. Clark’s aching grew worse, and it seemed that Lex could read that perfectly well. ‘But you weren’t her type anyway. Too young.’

He decided to be bold. ‘What’s your type?’

‘Oh,’ Lex lightly replied, ‘I usually go for older men, too.’

Clark blushed furiously, and turned away without speaking. Part of him knew exactly what some of the aching was about, but he wouldn’t quite admit it to himself. Not yet. Instead, he headed for the television room and grabbed the remote. Settled on the sofa, right next to where Lex usually sat.

When Lex followed him in moments later, that earned Clark another long look and a comment: ‘Interesting… Usually you sit alone and unassailable in the armchair.’

Clark glared at the man. If Clark didn’t want to admit to himself why he was there in Lex’s home, on Lex’s sofa, in the middle of the night (almost), then it would hardly help Lex’s cause to draw attention to the matter.

Lex was daring to hesitate.

A moment’s panic threw a stab of desperation into Clark’s glare.

But then it was all right, and Clark returned his attention to the TV (some talk show), because Lex was sitting down beside him, casually letting the spring of the sofa jostle them together as if they were nothing more than friends.

‘This is all fascinating,’ Lex sardonically commented half a silent hour later, ‘but I’d usually be in bed by now.’

Clark thought about this, imagining both meanings, and his pulse ratcheted up another notch.

‘At least let me catch the late news.’ And Lex reached across him for the remote. Clark turned towards him at just the right moment, so that Lex was caught there in mid–move, trapped by Clark’s gaze. They looked at each other, considering. They weren’t touching, but Lex’s arm was encircling Clark, and his face was only inches away… an inch away… his hand slipping around Clark’s waist, his breath on Clark’s lips…

At the last moment Clark closed his eyes, unable to bear the profound nakedness of Lex’s longing, his own aching. Their mouths met, matched, tentative for a long moment and then certain, hungrily certain. And they kissed for what felt like forever, until Clark’s lips were sore and swollen. Lex was all very proper, with his arms around Clark or his hands stroking Clark’s face and hair. Nothing untoward. Nothing below the waist. Clark’s heated imagination threw him pictures – him and Lex, naked, lying on smooth cotton, stretched length against length. There were two ways it could go from there – Clark imagined Lex with his aura of absolute certainty moving over Clark, predatory, intending to possess – or Lex with his sense of ambiguous adventure lying back, surrendering, inviting Clark to take charge – and Clark wasn’t entirely sure which he most wanted, or whether he might even want both. I’d usually be in bed by now… And Clark knew that indeed Lex would have left the sofa for the bed by now if he was with Victoria, with another adult. Yet Clark also knew that Lex was right to be patient with him. Clark had hardly even kissed anyone before, and he wasn’t quite ready for everything just yet.

Or was he? When Lex finally pulled away, Clark let out a groan full of grieving, needy protest – and he meant it, too. He had felt truly warm for the first time since Eric Summers had inadvertently stolen Clark’s powers, though the warmth was already fading away as cool air filled the places where Lex had been.

Lex smiled and leant in close again, but only to touch forehead against forehead, Lex’s smoothness against Clark’s thick fringe. ‘I should drive you home. It’s late.’

‘No…’

‘Your parents will be worried. I can’t let them down.’

An ironic smile tugged at Clark’s sore mouth.

Lex echoed it exactly. ‘Well, I can’t compound my grievous sins by keeping you here all night.’

Clark submitted to Lex’s intentions, but was fiercely glad when Lex parked his Porsche in the dark shadows beside the Kents’ barn so that they could kiss some more.

‘Thank you,’ Lex eventually murmured. ‘For tonight, thank you. I assume I’m forgiven for the stupid things I said last night?’

A swell of resentment, a twist of fear – and, worse, guilt at righteously lying to his friend, who was after all only seeking the truth. Nevertheless, Clark said, ‘Yes.’

‘If I pray that you’ll darken my doorstep again soon, will my prayers be answered?’ And while the notion of Lex Luthor praying was strange, the man allowed his true wistfulness to show through.

Clark looked at him. The cool calm control of him. The lips as sore and full and hungry as his own. The love betrayed in the surprisingly pretty eyes. ‘Sure,’ Clark replied. ‘Yeah, sure.’

Lex straightened up in his seat again, unable to control the urge to stretch and shift in a way that any young man could recognise – obviously there was some discomfort caused by those snugly tailored slacks, something that at least needed adjusting if not immediate care and attention. Clark blushed, and Lex saw his perfect, empathic awareness. ‘Well. It’s not as if there’s no remedy for the condition,’ Lex murmured. ‘I’ll think of you…’ Clark blushed even harder. ‘Will you think of me thinking of you?’

‘Yeah,’ Clark whispered, feeling wicked. Feeling free.

‘Good. Now, get out of here. It’s a school night!’

 

It was while indulging himself in the shower the next morning that Clark wondered about Lex’s fine hands, and Lex’s rhythm and pressure, and whether they were different to his own, and how, and why. Though he managed to restrain himself until it was too late to meet the man during lunch–hour, Clark called Lex’s office as soon as possible after that. ‘What time do you finish work?’

‘What time do you finish school?’ Lex replied.

‘Four o’clock,’ Clark said. ‘Pick me up at the Beanery.’

Lex let out an amused breath at this assertiveness. ‘All right. I’ll see you then.’

Once the clock finally reached four, Clark barely allowed Lex to park the Porsche before he was sliding into the passenger seat beside him. They looked at each other – each other’s eyes, mouth, anticipation – and somehow managed not to kiss.

‘Don’t I even get a coffee first?’

‘No,’ said Clark.

Lex grinned, and pulled the Porsche back out onto the road. ‘Where?’

‘Your place.’

And Clark didn’t even let Lex close the front door before pulling the man into his arms, mouth searching hungrily, hands wandering down below Lex’s waist, fixing on narrow hips. Lex groaned through the kiss, inciting him further. Clark’s hands found Lex’s belt–buckle.

‘Here in the hall?’ Lex broke away to ask. ‘You won’t even let me be a gentleman and take you to my bed?’

Clark considered. Still not quite ready. ‘The sofa,’ he decided.

Five minutes later they were curled up together in a loose, sated embrace, with Clark’s jeans and Lex’s expensive suit–pants gaping and their hands rather messy. Clark knew he was grinning wider than he ever had before.

‘I’ll send you the dry–cleaning bill,’ Lex grumbled. But he was grinning, too, and Clark didn’t even begin to consider taking the threat seriously.

‘You were right,’ Clark said. ‘We belong together.’

A sceptical eyebrow directed an enquiry at him.

‘You’re left–handed,’ Clark explained, putting Lex’s hand back where it should be. ‘And I’m right–handed,’ sliding back into Lex’s pants. ‘Perfect symmetry!’

Lex let out a laugh that would have been a guffaw if such a thing weren’t beneath a Luthor’s dignity. But he didn’t argue.

 

‘There!’ Lex said, turning from the bedside alarm clock to Clark with an expression of great satisfaction. ‘It’s been exactly twenty–four hours since you first darkened my doorstep. I wasn’t sure it would last this long.’

Clark looked at the man, amused by what was surely an exaggeration. It was hardly as if he (Clark) were fickle in his affections. And, after a long evening of kissing and eating and more kissing and talking and pretending to watch television and then still more kissing, they had actually made it to Lex’s bed. Where they were both now sprawled naked, though modestly hidden below a sheet. Surely that was proof enough of Clark’s good intentions.

‘Twenty–four hours,’ Lex repeated, before murmuring, ‘Although I joy in thee, I’m not sure about this, Clark. It is too rash, too unadvised, too sudden. Too like the lightning, which doth cease to be ere one can say “It lightens”.’

Clark recognised the quote. ‘Romeo and Juliet.’ They had read it out loud in class, Miss Winslow assigning him and Lana the lead roles, and Whitney playing a monumentally pissed–off Paris. Ah, yes – the usual agony and ecstasy of loving Lana Lang.

Lex smiled, traced a lazy finger down Clark’s arm. ‘Say, rather, Romeo and Mercutio.’ He lifted himself up on an elbow, and gave Clark one of the direct stares which meant that Lex Luthor was being earnest. ‘This won’t last, Clark, I know it won’t. Whatever wayward urge brought you to me, I’m happy for it. But when that urge starts leading you away again, perhaps you’ll honour me with a sympathy fuck. And I do mean fuck.’

‘Uh…’ Typical of Lex to throw so many difficult ideas at him all at once. Clark weakly latched onto one. ‘What’s honour got to do with sympathy, uh, rides?’

Lex just smiled at him. ‘Promise me.’

‘I can’t promise you that!’ Clark protested. ‘I don’t even know if I –’

When the silence stretched too long, Lex completed the statement. ‘You don’t even know if you’d want to. All right,’ he replied with a shrug. ‘I know a lot of this is new to you.’

Clark coloured up again, this time with anger. He was not going to apologise for being young and inexperienced. That’s the way it should be, after all. Anyway, he was doing fine – here he was, within twenty–four hours of his first real kisses, lying naked in Lex’s bed. Not that they’d done anything more to each other than they’d already done while fully clothed. Kissing. Comparing rhythm and pressure, with Clark learning from this new, knowledgable example. And Lex’s… Lex was such an elegant handful. Clark felt clumsy by comparison, even though he knew size was supposed to matter. Lex was such…

But Clark halted that line of thought before he got too sentimental. He’d just realised that he couldn’t stay mad at Lex, not any more. A smile tugged at his mouth, even while he wondered if such a significant change were dangerous. To end up happy and horny whenever he thought of Lex Luthor, rather than confused and uncomfortable… Perhaps his control – certainly his judgement! – had been lost along with his powers. He wondered for a moment how Eric Summers was coping with it all.

When he looked up, he saw that Lex was watching him carefully. The man seemed fascinated. Clark expected to be offered a penny for his thoughts, but instead Lex said, ‘I want to apologise (again) for thinking that you… Well, I don’t know what I was thinking.’

‘I’m just a regular guy, Lex.’

‘You’re anything but regular, Clark. I don’t fall in love with regular.’ And the problem was that that declaration got Lex thinking all over again – Clark could see it in his eyes, that bright, shrewd pondering. Lex was not one to leave a mystery unsolved.

‘Come here,’ Clark growled. And he tugged Lex closer, challenging himself to distract the man from the notion that there even was a mystery. He figured he didn’t do too bad a job of it for an inexperienced teen.

 

‘You’re beautiful, and you don’t even know it.’ Such were Lex’s compliments on the following Saturday afternoon. ‘But it must be in the Kent genes,’ Lex continued even while he lined up a shot. ‘Look at how gorgeous your father is, and he doesn’t have the first clue.’ The cue hit with a crack, and the eight ball flew into the far pocket. ‘No wonder Nell is still sore at losing him to your mother. I know I would be.’

‘Lex, please…’ Clark groaned, not bothering to leave his seat while Lex set up yet another game which he would no doubt also win. ‘Don’t talk like that.’

The man just smiled. ‘I have to say I was a bit worried when I bypassed Jonathan Kent and instead fell hard for his school–age son.’

‘Stop it! You’re just talking about him to gross me out.’

‘You’ve got to admit that your father’s handsome. And so darned sexy.’ Lex was grinning by now – and Clark suspected that although the man was teasing him, he was using the truth to do so. ‘I always did go for older men. Until there was you.’

‘Fine. Good! Talk about me. I don’t mind that half as much.’

Lex mused for a long moment before making the break. Three of the solid balls slipped down into three different pockets. ‘You’re adopted, though, aren’t you? I wonder if that’s not an argument for nurture over nature.’

Apparently distracted, Lex missed a shot, and instead wandered over to Clark for a kiss. Clark obliged for a moment, but then pushed Lex away and headed for the billiards table.

‘Of course, that’s why he never trusted me,’ Lex continued. ‘He always knew what I wanted with you.’

Clark decided to ask something that had been bugging him for a long while. ‘Why were you always trying to push me and Lana together?’

Lex turned away and began chalking his cue, frowning in concentration. ‘I’m your friend, Clark,’ he eventually said very evenly. ‘Before anything else, I’m your friend. And she’s who you really care for.’

‘You just wanted me to be happy? That’s pretty generous.’ So much for the ruthless image. ‘Lex, I know you really care about me…’

Lex cut him off. ‘I wouldn’t put it that way.’

‘Then you’d be lying,’ Clark said. And he walked over to Lex, and pulled him close for a kiss. Which soon led them to something more. And then something more again.

 

Clark, you are acting even weirder than usual, was Chloe’s verdict. And that’s saying something. Which was sort of ironic, seeing as Clark was simply human now, and no different to any of his friends. Though he was in the throes of a relationship – well, an affair (maybe he’d even call it a love affair) with a man who wasn’t simple at all, so maybe the weirdness had just changed in nature.

His Mum said, You don’t have to hide any more. Try to have some fun. And while that seemed too frivolous a goal for Clark Kent, he was nevertheless happy. He was hurting and sweating and bleeding, just like any regular guy – and he was loving, too. Clark had tried not to think much about it, but when he’d had his powers, he’d seriously doubted whether he’d ever have a lover at any time through his whole life. He’d never forgive himself if he hurt anyone (innocent) with his super strength, but the idea of accidentally hurting someone he loved while in the throes of passion – well, he wouldn’t be able to live with himself. But he was finally able to love safely and be loved. On top of which, the forever curious Lex Luthor was getting hands–on proof that there was nothing out of the ordinary about Clark Kent! It was all so perfect that Clark found himself laughing out loud for reasons that weren’t apparent to those around him. No wonder Chloe thought he was acting weird. He just hoped that Eric was having as good a time.

The carefree happiness changed, though, when Clark turned up unannounced at Lex’s on yet another school night. The castle’s front door was unlocked, so Clark let himself in as he had so many times before. This time there was no answer to his calls. He headed for the library, which was Lex’s usual haunt, but that was empty, too.

He wandered around the room for a moment, figuring that he was too restless to just go settle in front of the TV and wait for Lex. Perhaps there was some hint on Lex’s desk of where he was, perhaps a note about an appointment or something. Clark looked, trying to tell himself that he wasn’t sneaking in the ways that Victoria had sneaked.

Lex’s computer was running a simulation. Over and over again the graphics portrayed what had happened that day Clark and Lex first met. Lex had hit Clark with his car – and Clark, of course, with all his super strength still intact, had caused dents rather than suffered them. Lex never had been able to leave that little mystery alone. And it seemed that the recent hands–on proof of Clark’s ordinariness wasn’t enough of an answer. Clark sighed.

‘You’ve got to admit,’ said Lex, standing in the doorway with his hands in his trouser pockets, ‘it’s hard to explain.’ He shrugged with studied casualness. ‘But I can live without an explanation.’

‘Then why do you have this? And why were you looking at it today?’

‘Old business. I’ll delete it.’ Lex came over and, with a couple of keystrokes, closed and then trashed the file. For good measure, he emptied the trash folder, too, and then looked up at Clark with a complicitous smile.

But Clark turned his back and wandered away, feeling horribly discontented. No doubt Lex had a back–up or two somewhere. ‘I don’t know why you won’t trust me,’ he burst out, the discontentment turning into an all–too–real annoyance. ‘You know what I am.’ In fact, he was angry. ‘With the things we’ve done these last few days, you know more about me than anyone else in the world!’

‘I know, Clark, I do.’ Smooth soothing tones. Lex was, as always, confident in his own powers to fix up everything the way he wanted it. ‘I’m sorry.’ He was even smart enough to stay where he was, and let Clark choose to return to his side.

But Clark refused. It worried him, he had to admit – his own righteous resentment worried him. Lying to his friend and furiously claiming the moral high ground, while that friend was simply seeking the truth – it wasn’t a pretty situation. Though Clark supposed it was all in the cause of self–preservation. Did that excuse him? He suspected not. But this was maybe why he was never really comfortable with Lex claiming Clark’s friendship – Clark instinctively knew somehow that he shouldn’t trust Lex with the truth. Even now. Maybe even especially now. He sighed again.

‘I’ve got to go,’ Clark said, offering Lex a shamefaced smile. ‘I’ve got homework.’

‘All right.’ Lex approached him, laid a conciliatory hand on Clark’s waist, escorted him to the front door. The guilt and regret on Lex’s face was so genuine that Clark relented and gave him a kiss. Just a quick one, though; not one of the passionate, long, involving ones they’d shared. ‘I’ll see you tomorrow?’ Lex asked, for all the world as if unsure of the answer. They’d seen each other every day since this started, after all.

Clark shrugged. ‘Maybe. Yeah. I don’t know.’

Hurt flickered behind those startlingly pretty eyes, but Lex smiled politely, never once faltering. ‘Goodnight, then, Clark.’ And he simply let him go.

 

It turned out that Eric Summers was not handling his new powers with any kind of style. When Eric threw a tantrum at school, cars were overturned; and when Clark tried to intervene, he ended up in the hospital with cracked ribs. Pain was… surely an unnecessary part of being human. It reduced a man to so little; it made him so ineffective.

Lex rushed into the ER radiating much the same concern as Clark’s parents had shown only moments before.

Clark frowned at the man. ‘Did you come by to make sure I was hurt?’

‘I wanted to make sure you were all right.’

The smooth tone would soon work its usual magic, Clark knew. ‘Yeah,’ he replied, a little sarcastically, ‘never better.’

‘I had no right to question your honesty.’ Lex offered yet another apology. ‘All I can do is plead temporary insanity and hope we can put this behind us.’

‘Only temporary?’

An unnaturally slow Lex Luthor took a moment to realise that Clark was teasing him and that that was a good sign. They shared a smile, and Lex finally relaxed. And yet… Clark was beginning to think that it was time to move on. Sometimes letting go is the only way to move forward. His own words haunting him this time, his own words to Lana. It was becoming obvious – In fact, it had probably been obvious all along, but Clark had been blinded by his body’s urgings, his heart’s yearnings. It was obvious that he and Lex had a problem with trusting each other. There was a secret standing between them, an enormous secret, and they could hardly build a relationship with that secret in the way. Not a loving relationship. Friends, maybe. Lovers, no way. Such was going to be Clark’s life, even without the super powers.

In any case, as he pondered the situation with Eric, Clark came to realise that he had to confront Eric, he had to deal with this one way or another. Just because Clark wasn’t super strong any more, didn’t mean he no longer carried the responsibility that came with the strength. It was, quite literally, time for him to do or die.

 

Clark borrowed Lana’s necklace as a weapon to use against Eric and as a talisman for his own sake. And he kissed her goodbye, in much the same way as he’d last kissed Lex.

Then he went to Lex’s castle, and said goodbye to him, too. He offered Lex a more full–blooded kiss this time, though, suspecting that Lex actually deserved a lot more than Clark could give. ‘You said it wouldn’t last,’ Clark reminded the man as gently as he could. ‘I didn’t believe you then. But now I know what you meant.’

Lex nodded, looking down at his feet, hands casually thrust into his trouser pockets. He didn’t say anything, which probably meant that his philosophical resignation was only an act.

‘I’m sorry, Lex. And I can’t do what you asked me to. The sympathy thing. You know I can’t.’

Clark was wearing Lana’s necklace for the courage it gave him – and Lex was eyeing it, though not with any kind of resentment. Lex Luthor knew exactly which way the wind blew. He still didn’t make any comment.

‘We’re still friends, right?’

Another nod. And then Lex cleared his throat and forced himself to speak. ‘No matter what else I feel for you, Clark, friendship is a rare thing for me. I don’t want to lose that.’

‘You won’t.’

‘Promise me?’

Clark smiled wistfully. ‘Hey, that I can promise.’ He pressed a kiss to Lex’s cheek, then said, ‘Goodbye, Lex.’ And he could sense Lex frowning after him as Clark walked all the way back down the drive.

Posted in: Slash fic, Smallville

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