This is what rageprufrock and I did between starting This, Too and sort of mostly kind of finishing This, Too
"Clark. Get naked."
And those were three words that Clark never expected to hear come out of Lex's mouth.
Blinking through the wet hair that refused to unstick itself from his forehead, Clark tried to come to terms with what had just happened. Because yes, while this *was* Smallville, and yes, the freakily bizarre was the status quo, this just wasn't one of the things that one put under the heading 'expect the unexpected'.
Suiting action to words, Lex was stripping down like he was in his own private bedroom--ruined black coat that had clung to every curve of his body in a distracting way that Clark was sure had nothing to do with how defined muscles were when cloth clung to them.
When the first three buttons had been loosened, Clark found his voice. Somewhere far, far below his libido, which was, unfortunately, not aware that Clark Wasn't Like That.
Stupid alien libido.
"Clark." Very blue eyes looked out at him from a perfectly normal, impassive Lex-face. Boardroom Lex, maybe. Carries on meetings while partially clothed, and no, it didn't detract from his authority, but damned if it helped with concentration. Slow, steady breathing. Clark could do this. He could. "Get. Undressed."
Smallville. Home of meteor mutants, psychotic, murdering exes, and also, apparently, unseasonable storms in the middle of the hottest, driest part of the summer. When the weatherman had promised, *promised*, that no, there was absolutely no chance anything even resembling moisture would dare show its wet little face anywhere in a thousand mile radius, and Clark felt so betrayed he wasn't sure he'd ever trust any meteorologist again. Lying breed, all of them, tricking innocent farmboys to go out in the middle of the day without umbrellas or multiple layers, only to be caught in the middle of a storm too far away from the car to even consider going back.
"I'm--good." Soaked. T-shirt like a particularly wet and clammy second skin, jeans chafing those painful-to-chafe places, and boots feeling like they were filled with about a lake or so of water. Socks--smelly. Oh Jesus, Lex would smell his socks if he took off his boots. For some reason, that seemed the worst thing of all.
It's always the stupid, inane things you remember in crisis moments.
"Uh -- maybe not," he tries desperately.
Lex does not agree, Clark assumes, from the way that little crinkle between Lex's eyes forms immediately. It says, Clark, stop being such a dumbass.
"Clark, stop being such a dumbass."
Or, maybe it's just Lex. You know.
There are lots of reasons why this can't work. Each one of them seems more compelling than the last and unfortunately, Clark's too distracted by the way that Lex's fingers are now playing on a *goddamned button* halfway down his halfway open shirt, like it asked to be teased or tortured or blessed.
Clark feels for the button. And he's not staring. Or jealous.
Because, you know, *button*. *Straight*. And -- *not sentient*.
These are all important distracters for him because Lex looks like he's going to *rip Clark's clothes off*, and that just can't be a good thing. Good in the "not creaming your jeans" sense and not the "oh, look, naked fun!" meaning of the phrase, of course.
Clark cannot, under *any circumstances*, let Lex take his clothes off for him. Clark cannot be responsible for what might happen if Lex reaches toward his shirt.
I mean, he rationalizes, how straight is anyone, really?
A compromise is in order.
He takes off his shoes and quickly stuffs his socks in the boots, hoping that no one smells anything.
"See? There, fine."
The crinkle grows deeper, and all Clark can think is, "Shit."
"Clark." The patient voice. The one that Clark thinks he's heard before, but never from Lex. Like nurses at a nursing home talking to the elderly when they think they aren't paying attention. Any minute now, Lex will reduce this to single syllable words and Clark thinks there are a lot of really dangerous single-syllable words that could come into play. Like, say, cold, and body heat and sex....
No, sex isn't part of it. No sir.
"I'm really fine." His teeth could be chattering. Who knew his invulnerability apparently only extended to keeping him from damage from fire, cold, and air, but didn't bother, well, turning off the entire *feeling*?
"You're really not."
Clark thinks that just maybe, finding Kyle's trailer wasn't that great an idea after all. Right, it's out of the rain, and yes, roof, four walls, marvel of human innovation and all that stuff, but really? If they'd still been in the rain or even in Lex's car? This situation would not be occurring. Clark would not be with a Lex who just--dearest God, there's only two buttons left on that shirt.
"Clark." Very patient voice now. Single syllable words any minute. "You're freezing. I'm freezing. Surely here somewhere are dry clothes, or at very least, some blankets. We need to warm up. God knows, my idea of a pleasant day isn't dying of pneumonia."
Oddly, it does sound pleasant. Dying of pneumonia means being very well covered in a private room at some sort of hospital where--did Lex's shirt just float to the floor like a declaration of intent? Yes, nakedness is going to happen. And Lex's fingers are just so casually on the button of his pants, and look at that, no hair so far at all....
Clark sucks in another breath as Lex looks up at him. "Strip. Now."
It's THE voice. The one that frightens stockholders, makes servants run, and also, apparently, makes libidos active. Clarks hands slide to the sopping wet edge of his shirt and begins to peel it off without actually checking into his head for such good advice as 'run while you can' and 'God, explaining my newfound sexual identity to Dad is going to be so not fun'.
Because there's possible, and there's probable, and then there's the word inevitable. His virginity isn't going to survive this.
When wet cotton finally stops obscuring his vision, he is faced with the most heinous violation of human rights in the whole world.
He's not sure what to do, but it obviously involves therapy and lawsuits and dark, crowded places.
Lex isn't even *looking* at him, just...standing pantless, frowning at his boxers and brushing them off like they're *not* totally soaked and (Jesus God Almighty...) sticking to the curve of his ass.
Clark figures that attempting to decode the gay/straight thing at this point is pretty stupid, so he just whips around to hide his hardon and pray that no one walks in on them.
The only thing that can possibly make this worse is if Lana stumbled into this hellhole. Problem is, Clark can't decide if it'll be bad because she'll see them together like *this*, or because she'll see Lex and Lex's ass and Clark is *not* turning back around to look because that would be stupid, right?
Only he is and he hates himself. Forever. With sticks.
Lex is now seriously irate, to the point where Clark is standing around damp and shirtless and he is *not paying attention*.
Clark doesn't know why, and it's probably conceited, but that's a pretty big crock.
But it's not like he's going to say, "Oh, Lex, look! I'm almost unclothed and wet!" This is because Clark's mouth is nonfunctioning and would rather shape soundless syllables about Lex's ass and how he's not staring at his best friend's package. Really. Not. At. All.
Only he is. And it's a nice package. Water has so many uses.
Oh, God. His dad is having a stroke *right now*.
"Are you okay?"
And God help them all, Lex sounds *worried*. Eyes force themselves up, and Lex takes a single step toward him, considerably narrowing the space between Clark's eyes and Lex's--boxers. Very narrow space, because this isn't a big trailer. "Blankets."
Lex blinks. "What?"
Yes, that's English, not Kryptonian. So far so good. He has some control here. "You said blankets. I'll find some. You. Um. Stay here." Right here. Not moving. And don't turn around to watch me, because I am going to look at your ass even though I really want to say I won't. Circling around warily, Clark approaches the short, cheaply-carpeted hallway, and his eyes, all on their own, slide RIGHT down to the most interesting place in the world. Yes. Very interesting.
Mom just grabbed her chest and complained of pain. Oh yes. He's going to hell.
The only bedroom, luckily, is something he falls right into, since he doesn't actually bother looking where he is going. Grabbing for the edge of a narrow, cot-like structure that no one, even alien boys, could possibly find comfortable, Clark stares in dismay at the two sheets and absolutely nothing more concealing.
Two thin, cheap, white--WHITE--sheets, that will, once they cover skin, be just about as concealing as toilet paper.
And is there toilet paper here? Clark begins to panic.
No, focus. Right.
It's easier, somehow, to be practical and strip off his jeans here, and Clark gives his cock a betrayed look. Right, he's young, almost eighteen. This sort of thing happens. All the time. English class, during a trig explanation, once when cutting up frogs, and Clark still doesn't want to understand what exactly the insertion of a scalpel into soft, pale flesh could possibly have been....
No! No! Stop!
Jeans discarded, Clark grabs for the fitted sheet, wrapping it around himself as best he can, which isn't great, since his experience with sheets haven't covered the entire 'use as only source of clothing' thing.
Okay. So far so good. Securing it as best he can, Clark grabs for the other, turning around just in time to see Lex at the doorway, a casual lean into plywood, and Lex isn't checking him out at ALL, the bastard. The damned wet, purple-boxer-wearing, too-pale and far-too-damned-hot bastard. No, he's looking at the SHEET.
He's thinking of BLANKETS at a time like this?
"Uh, no." The trailers' pretty much a shell casing of uselessness--apparently, Kyle packed up everything vaguely useful, like clothes and heavy, concealing blankets and condoms....
Oh God, he needs to sit down. Clark drops on the mattress and considers his options, and of course, the sheet he's wearing just slides RIGHT off.
Is EVERYTHING out to get him today?
Either God or Lex is feeling merciful, because no one sees or says anything.
Lex just sits down next to him on the mattress. Criminally close. Clark is keeping a running tally on Lex's crimes so far that afternoon and he's starting to run out of space in his head.
Though, he's not exactly sure "Sexy till it hurts" is punishable. At least without a fake dungeon porn set.
But Clark is not thinking about that. Not. At. All.
Lex is rifling around behind him and Clark stares straight ahead until Lex wraps a sheet around his own shoulders, snuggling down -- and those are the only words for it, really -- into the cloth for warmth.
Clark is uncomfortably aware of exactly how close they are. And he can feel heat radiating off of Lex like a furnace. He flashes irrationally back to the X-Files, and how he liked it so much because his mom said he shouldn't watch it -- at least until he realized that *he* was an alien, too. Clark is thinking about woods and sleeping bags and sharing body heat and doesn't Lex want a hug?
Pithy human ability to keep warm is nothing compared to Clark, right? Hug. Maybe a little rub. Who knows. Lex, that sheet's *really* unnecessary, you know...
Right, right. Focus.
Clark steels his nerves. This is one of those important moments in life.
This is one of those important rules in life.
Drive on the right side of the road. Don't do drugs. Don't feed the animals. Do not have sex with your male best friend in a trailer in the woods. Or, since male best friend doesn't seem really interested -- and Clark's *still* not over that -- don't rub yourself against him like a large, mentally retarded cat, either.
"Tell me, Clark," Lex says, voice smooth and amused.
This is almost enough to make Clark stop thinking about how they're mostly naked. In bed together, technically.
In some cultures, this would make them married. Clark's okay with that. They need to respect the global community and consummate the relationship right now. Lex is all about PC. Clark can go with that. For culture's sake.
"*Why* exactly did you drag us out here again?" Lex finishes.
Clark's mouth goes dry.
We're married now, Lex, he wants to say. It's only right you do right by me. Thank God none of this is coming out because LexCorp has cleared most of the Kryptonite in the woods, and suicide is a much more complicated matter now.
"You said you were bored." Right, blame it on Lex.
Lex gives him a considering look. "Oddly, going nature walking wasn't exactly what I had in mind. Air conditioned rooms, controlled climate, dry clothes--"
Clark stares very hard at his lap. It's still doing that thing. That thing that makes bulges in places that should not bulge quite that much. What kind of china do you like, Lex? I'm thinking something in floral.
Wow, he's really getting into the gay thing. Mom might like this. They can all go curtain shopping together.
And he's officially lost his mind.
"It seemed like a good idea at the time." Clark lets himself look up from beneath his bangs and takes some comfort from the way Lex's gaze fixes briefly, before a graceful fold of sheet is ever so casually layered over Lex's lap. Okay, that's something. No, wait. Is he thinking this seriously through?
Because it's one thing to lead one's best friend on a quiet, isolated nature hike, and right, total Lex attention is good, but when you're sitting half naked and seem to be plotting seduction after a lifetime of baseline heterosexuality--and by God, he's done quite a bit of proving that heterosexuality, dammit, what a waste of time--he should not, not, be plotting how to seduce his best friend.
At least, he shouldn't be plotting unless he's going to come up with a *good* plot.
And what do you know, Clarks' got one, ready made. He's read romance novels, after all (and God, Chloe will never forgive him if she finds out he's the one who's been stealing them from under her bed). He knows how this goes.
Miraculously, the fog of horrified embarrassment lifts, and the rain outside sounds cheery, and yes, this is a damned good day and he's sending that meteorologist flowers. Gay flowers. Because this just rocks.
Clark smiles -- and dear God he hopes he doesn't look at stupid as he feels -- and leans back on his arms, flexing his pecs. Or trying, anyway. It's a lot harder than people in porn - er, TV, make it look.
Lex just raises an eyebrow.
He says, and he thinks about swaggering pirates, passionate revolutionaries, or in a fit of self-destructiveness, lusty farmhands.
But Lex isn't the lady of the house and Clark is going to have nightmares for about six point eight billion years after the mental flash of Lex with auburn ringlets down to the middle of his back.
"So," he says casually. He thinks casually. Oh, God, what was casually? Clark doesn't do casual -- much.
He's mostly casual at the castle, right? Or, God, what if he isn't? What if he's a total screaming, hormonal mess? What if he's been giving off high beams for the folks with gaydar to pick up since the first time he met Lex? That'd explain his dating history.
Lex just gives Clark the look he saves for learning impaired dogs and people who ask him invasive questions, just before he has their kneecaps shot out and their family's "disappeared." "So, Clark."
Clark clears his throat. Jesus. He sucks. He sucks so much.
"Is this helping?" Clark says.
Oh, God. That was supposed to come out throaty.
He thinks he squeaked. No, no, he *knows* he squeaked.
He squeaked like a sophomore asking his first girl to the spring fling and dear God Lex is giving him that mentally retarded oh isn't that sad look again. Clark has to fix this. That was supposed to be throaty. All the nobles' daughters are suckers for the throaty "Is this helping?" Clark looks around shiftily; maybe he can find a pitchfork and some hay or a saddle.
Romance novels never have to deal with crap like this.
Another breath. Okay. Think. Think. "Are you still cold?" Oh, that sounds good. Because it's a thin sheet, Lex is very mostly oh so naked, and well, wet. Cold is a perfectly reasonable, yet could-be-very-suggestive question. Okay. Back on track. "I mean, it's kind of-" Chilly. Wet. Delicious. Breathe. "Um. Cool in here."
Lex blinks slowly, the corner of his mouth turning up a little, like he's just heard a joke that's not quite funny enough to laugh at.
Outside, the rain just keeps coming down, and God, this is a good day.
"I'm cold." Did that just come out of his mouth?
And Lex stares at him like he's grown a second head. "What?"
Clark wills his teeth to chatter. Miracles abound. Birds sing on key. Entire solar systems burst into song. Clark's teeth just start doing it.
It's fabulous. And that word, Clark thinks, he'd just better add to his active vocabulary right now.
"Cold." He tries a shiver, and apparently, somewhere in the cosmos exists a special good-luck that you can only get at the very height of sexual frustration and hopeless passion, because damned if he doesn't pull it off. My God. It's like romance all over. Come to think of it, Catherine Coulter's latest. Leaning a little into Lex--but just a little, don't want to be TOO obvious.