The html version is here, Stuck in the Middle (With You)
"It's not even high test."
Clark knows car engines about as well as Lex knows about the care and feeding of livestock, which is to say, not at all.
The gas can dangles helplessly against his thigh as Lex prowls through the gas station, frightening the lone adolescent clerk who keeps gazing through the window at them with one hand hovering over the phone. No, they don't look sane. No, they don't look harmless. No, they don't look like they're going to go on a rampage if they don't find whatever rarified form of gasoline an overpriced European import needs--no, wait. They *do*. Well, at least one of them does.
Clark thinks it's moments like this that make him thank God Lex never did get around to picking up that license for a handgun. He's just not sure the clerk's nerves would be up to seeing that as well.
"It's just gas," Clark says, trying to sound placating, but it comes out whiney. He's tired. He's hungry. And they are seventy-five miles from civilization as embodied by Smallville, and maybe the clerk *should* be worried after all, if he's thinking like *that*.
"Excuse me?" Lex spins around, and God, could he *get over* his love of drama and swirling coats? He's so encouraging Lex to get a bomber jacket. Black wool twists a little on the still air, and Lex faces him like Clark just said that there's no Santa Claus. "In a *corvette*?"
Fine, he's an idiot. He's a big, stupid, overgrown smalltown idiot who does not give a shit how sacred the engines of a corvette are.
"You said, I know a shortcut, Lex." One step toward him in that particularly threatening Lex-way that has sent much stronger and more emotionally stable men than Clark Kent running, but Clark Kent is thinking of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and homemade strawberry-apple pie, and that keeps his feet just where they are. "You said, we won't get lost, Lex. I know Kansas like the back of my hand, Lex. I know the entire fucking *planet* like the back of my hand, Lex. I've flown *all over the fucking world*, Lex. Trust me, Lex."
See, that's the thing. There is, in fact, a huge difference between idly flying over the greater Kansas area and slogging through it by car--or foot, as the case might be. Who knew?
Sighing, Clark stares down at the can. "I'm sorry?"
With a sigh and a dramatic sweep of his coat, Lex is beside him, close enough for Clark to pick up the smells of a long walk at night and grease, a line cutting from one cheekbone to vanish under his chin. That's from both of them staring at the engine for about ten minutes, distressingly aware that they know nothing about cars. The gas can is pulled from his hand, and Lex turns to give the station a disgusted look. "I'm not putting this crap in my car."
"I could fly us home." He can hope. They may make it in time to watch CSI, if they're quick.
"So we can get lost mid-air? That would be an improvement on the situation?" Lex snorts, dropping the can. "I'm not leaving my car."
Clark rolls his eyes. "I'll take it, too. Jesus, Lex."
"Do the words 'low-profile' mean anything to you?"
Clark rolls his eyes and sighs. He knows what's really bothering Lex. "I won't drop your car." Lex just looks at him. "That was an accident. And a jetliner got in the way."
"The *Inquisitor* just loved those reports of aggressively flying Bentleys that will take over the world."
"It was a big jetliner."
"My car was in tiny pieces across the greater Oklahoma area."
He always brings this up. Talk about holding a grudge. "It surprised me!"
"Did I mention we needed *tweezers* to pick it all up?"
These are the days that Clark remembers why he has that unfortunate Tylenol addiction. "Lex. Do you have any better ideas?"
Well, no, of course he doesn't. Clark sighs again, stepping close enough to take the gas can and drop it on the pavement, wrapping his fingers around Lex's wrist, stroking his fingers along the palm lightly, vaguely aware that grease has made holding on a slippery occupation. "Come on. We'll fly over your father's penthouse and spray paint his windows black on the way. It'll be fun. You know how that freaks him out."
Lex looks up at him from beneath his lashes, and it's almost predictably sexy, annoyingly so, since Clark was thinking comfort, but what the hell. From the corner of his eye, he sees the clerk coming out the door in incremental steps, but most of his attention's on the mouth that's trying not to smile and trying not to laugh and trying not to give, because it's Lex Luthor and Lex can't let things be easy.
"I'm too old for childish pranks."
Clark can feel warm breath on his chin, the brush of wool against his hands. He slides his free hand into one of Lex's jeans pockets and pulls him closer. "You're only as old as you feel."
The kiss is chaste, even if the look is anything but. Maybe dinner isn't that important. Drawing back, Lex gives him a thoughtful look. "Maybe just toilet paper the garden." Fingers slide through his, slick and sweet. Lex steps back, grinning up at him, and Clark catches his breath at the smile. "Okay, let's--"
"Can I do anything for you?"
Clark looks over Lex's head at the clerk, who is looking more comfortable with the entire situation, as it no longer looks as if Lex is going to rampage at a moment's notice.
"It's a good night," Lex says airily, skipping back another step. Regressing happily into a misspent juvenile age where toilet papering your dad's Japanese garden is the most fun thing ever. Some things never change. Clark hopes they never will. "I think we'll just walk."