Slipping in Between, remix of rivkat's Golden Rule.
Looking-Glass, completed Clexbrothers AU fic. I have no idea why I had each of these in separate documents. That was just strange.
and this one.
Take You There
by jenn (email@example.com)
Short add-on to Gladly Beyond. I'm just amusing myself in really, really random ways here.
Clark thinks he's been standing here too long, just looking. Boxes of personal effects packed and being taken away, dust covers placed on the furniture in half the rooms. There's the vaguest sense of generalized mourning, because dammit, this is home, *has* been home, and now…
"Still sulking?" A hand presses briefly against the small of his back. Clark doesn't need to look to know Lex is smiling. "You'll like it, I promise."
"I won't like it." Clark doesn't like change. Change, often times, *sucks*. Routine is nice. Stability is nice. Not-moving? Also nice. "Why did you have to win? Why didn't I stand up and start yelling about your crimes at that last rally?"
Lex snickers softly. "Murder of babies in a hospital, Clark. I warned you." Warm lips press against the back of his neck, and Clark sighs when Lex's hand slides around his waist, resting against his stomach. "You like our house in DC."
Clark reaches up enough to lace his fingers through Lex's. "We weren't there much. It was like vacation." Sort of. Metropolis is where his job is, his home is, his *life* is. And for that matter, where Clark knows he can get the perfect bagel every morning.
"Come on. Stop depressing yourself." Lex pulls lightly, just enough for Clark to turn around, and he notices the servants look relieved. "And scaring the staff, for that matter. Standing there looking pissed and intimidating doesn't really encourage speed, and we have to leave tomorrow morning."
"Right." He's being coaxed and resents it. He's moving. From home. Not forever, but Clark's studied the polls, read the data, and God knows, he's up and personal with Lex's spin doctors. Lex will do two terms, and that, well, will be eight years. Even with occasional trips back, it's still-- "You know Lois is coming up for the inauguration, right?"
Lex makes a sound a lot like a growl, and that helps. Lex has been *way* too cheerful about this move. Damn him to hell.
Sitting down on the sofa, Clark watches Lex go on a search for water before coming back. He looks up with raised eyebrows as his feet are kicked together, then Lex straddles his lap, water bottle in hand.
"It's the public thing, isn't it?"
"Senators have their own houses, their own staffs, and this amazing thing called relative privacy. Now--" Clark frowns, watching Lex twist off the cap to the water. "If you say again 'I told you so', I swear I'll drop you on the floor."
Lex grins, bracing a hand on the back of the couch. "People like you, Clark. You're very popular. Get used to it."
"I didn't like it when I was flying around in tights, either."
Lex seems to mull this. "You were hot in the tights." The blue eyes sharpen briefly and Clark sighs, leaning his head back on the cushions. "Here's a cheering thought for you. Every night when you go to bed from the day after tomorrow on, you'll be aware the same man who can order a nuclear strike anywhere he pleases can and will be begging you if you want him to." Clark's cock jumps, much to Clark's annoyance. Dammit. *Dammit*. "Power's a turn-on. You know that."
"So's taking it," Clark says, staring at the ceiling. "I keep telling myself, I'm not being kept. This is a relationship--"
"Marriage." Yeah, that had been one of those times Clark had decided not to ask exactly what it took to get that bill passed. It's balance. "You had a job…."
"Yeah." Clark tilts his head enough to squint at Lex. "I had a job. I quit it, because someone in the room said, I need to move to DC and I want you with me. Lured me, really. Said, you can write freelance. And look! I'll change the laws while I'm at it."
Lex gives him a considering look. "I don't remember the conversation going like that." Lex leans forward, licking gently at Clark's neck. "Your income bracket jumped when you started charging by the article. I know. I do your taxes."
Clark frowns. "Stop trying to make this sound reasonable."
"Stop acting like this move is the end of the world. Yes, you will have to upgrade your wardrobe with a distinct lack of denim and flannel. No, we won't be in Metropolis. Yes, I'm so very sorry that we won't have the pleasure of Lois' company *every* fucking Sunday dinner for a while." A brush of sharp teeth and Clark arches. Lex has a dozen weapons to use, but sex's probably his best. At least on Clark. "I'm sure she'll be happy to be imported regularly to DC to see what kind of havoc she can wreck."
Clark sighs. "The jokes are appalling." First Gentleman. Dearest God.
Lex lifts up, smiling sunnily, like a kid who just heard the best joke ever. "They really are."
Clark frowns again, resting his hands on Lex's thighs. "You're so lucky I love you. I wouldn't put up with this otherwise."
Lex kisses him lightly, blue eyes sparkling with all the light in the world. Warm lips settle on his ear. "First night there? Fuck me in the oval office. Bent over the desk. Looking right out the windows"
Clark shudders and this is--oh damn. Damn. "I'm--trying to be in a bad mood."
"I'm trying to get laid. My goal's more worthy than yours." Clark lets himself be urged to stretch out on the couch, eyes falling closed at the teeth in his throat. "Have I told you how hot you are when you're sulking?"
Reaching up, Clark closes both hands on the arms of the sofa, arching his hips, smiling when Lex groans against his ear.
"There are people here."
Lex is unbuttoning his shirt, following with his tongue. "They'll go away."
Clark catches too-interested hands, trying desperately to think of something distracting that doesn't involve imminent nudity. "Moving tomorrow?" Clark already misses the room, even stripped down to bare wallpaper and blank spaces where things used to be. He bitterly misses food in the refrigerator. Take-out sucks, too.
Right now, everything sucks.
"Clark?" Hands pull against his, and Clark lets go, leaning his head back on the cushions to stare at the ceiling. His back aches and there's the beginnings of a stress headache settling right behind his eyes. It's one of the few, few times he misses invulnerability. Superman never had stress headaches.
Gentle fingers smooth over the line of his brow, slow and careful, hands that know him too well, know where the pain settles and know how to urge it away. There's a distinct lack of noise going on, which means that the movers have taken time to witness the unutterable cuteness of the president-elect comforting his put-upon husband.
"What are you thinking?" Lex murmurs, and Clark sighs, letting his eyes fall closed.
"I wish we had more time." It feels like everything's moved too fast, even if it really hasn't. Being prepared, though, isn't the same as being ready, and Clark's never been close to being ready for this, no matter how inevitable it's been since the day Lex announced his decision.
"I know." There's the slightest edge on the calm voice. Clark opens one eye, but Lex isn't looking at him. There's a familiar tightness around the mobile mouth. "Clark--"
He's been whiney, maybe. He's tired, definitely He wants nothing more than to go to bed, preferably with Lex, curl up under the covers, and wake up tomorrow with only a Senator for a husband and no moving in sight. The biggest decision whether he goes with the article on corporate corruption or the peace efforts in the Middle East. Doris will have dinner ready when he gets home, he'll gets the usual phone call from Lex saying he'll be late, and Clark falls asleep watching old eighties horror movies on the couch.
*I-want* could be his middle name.
"I better get back to work." Carefully, he dislodges Lex, sitting up and straightening his shirt, aware of stranger eyes that quickly turn back to the task at hand. No familiar eyes of their staff, or the halcyon days of yore when 'staff' referred to Doris and the firm that occasionally sent over people to clean up after them or before one of Lex's interminable dinner parties. Even, and it's a guilty thought, buried deep in Clark's mind, before any of this, when they were still in separate apartments and Clark could drop on his ratty couch in his boxers and eat corn straight out of the can with his fingers if he felt like it.
Not that he did, but it was the principle of the matter.
"Clark." In a liquid movement, Lex is beside him, fingers wrapped around his wrist. "Let's talk--"
"No. I'm just--jittery." It's the understatement of the century. From somewhere, Clark forces a bright smile. "Did you want to meet for dinner?"
Lex doesn't look convinced, mouth opening to reply, only to shut tight when he realizes they have an audience. So movers in the house aren't an entire waste. Lex would never dream of carrying on an argument in front of strangers. "I have a meeting. It may run late--"
"I'll drop in on Chloe and see if she's free. I have a few things at her apartment I need to pick up." The airy room seems too small--all these people, and Lex, who looks so blank that Clark can only hope he cools down before they talk again. Leaning over, Clark brushes a kiss over smooth skin, moving too fast for Lex to even try to stop him. "I'll see you later."
He fishes the keys out of his pocket on his way to the door, grabbing the jacket he'd discarded over the covered couch when he came in. He doesn't look back--his nerves won't stand up to it.
Outside, he thinks he could have taken a car, but a cab feels more reliable, and walking feels even better. He knows Lex's security is behind him, and that he's being quietly cursed for being so fucking ridiculous, but that's okay, that's what they get paid for. Follow around Lex's partner, consort, spouse, whatever the papers are calling it these days, make sure he doesn't fall over his own shoelaces or something and get bruised.
Jesus, *now* he sounds like the petulant sixteen year old he'd forgotten that still sometimes crawled out from beneath his skin. Spoiled. And so tired. Clark can't remember when he wasn't, when he woke up and actually looked forward to the day to come. Meetings and parties and *people*, Christ, the sheer number, constantly surrounding him, them, like a cloud of flies, watching him, watching Lex, watching everything, and--Jesus--
Clark comes to a short stop, trying to identify the soft feminine voice in front of him, almost smiling when Lana slides up the brim of her hat, a surprised smile curving her lips. "Lana? Aren't you supposed to be packing or something?"
Lana's mouth tightens briefly, and Clark wonders if she's been feeling her latter day teenage years as well. "Pete handled it. I just needed a break. Some kind of meeting-" She stops, maybe when she sees his expression. "Right. Forgot who I was talking to. I need coffee. Want to grab some with me?"
Clark can't help it then--the leashed desperation looks too much like himself in the mirror these days. "You walked all this way for coffee?"
She motions behind her. "Took a car. Got bored with driving and nowhere to go." Too many places they just can't go in Metropolis right now. All the ways that being married to great men just fucks up so many, many things. "I was going to stop by, but--well. Here you are."
Clark nods, looking up in time to see his security consulting with her security. Damien on his has been dating Cheryl on hers. They've become a kind of security matchmakers. The first couple, introduced during that bomb scare last year, had gotten married a few months ago. Clark remembers the wedding had been great, if you ignored how many of the guests came armed. "Yeah." Taking her arm, he thinks of Secret Service, who still aren't as adapted to his weirdness as Lex's people. "Membe's? There won't be anyone there this time of day."
In other words, customers won't have to be cleared out. Clark gives the order, still feeling that strange frisson of sheer *weirdness* doing it, matching his stride to Lana's automatically. She feels small, and he could swear she's lost weight. He almost comments on it, then bites his tongue, remembering the last time, recognizing now what the soft circles under her eyes mean, the restless tension, the fragile feel of her beneath his hands.
She must have miscarried again.
"So ready for the move?" he hears himself say, inanely, like that's anything they want to talk about. There's no safe subject these days. He supposes complaining about Lex and Pete might be as close as they get.
"The house is packed up. Lucy's going to do the rest after we leave." Biting her lip, she stares at the ground. The thick winter coat's plain, and he realizes she's wearing jeans, her distinctive hair braided back from her face, the hat pulled low on her forehead. As disguises go, it's not that great, but it's probably as close as she can get these days. She's too pretty, too distinctive, to not be noticed for long. Clark's had years learning to blend into the background, and even he has problems these days. "You?"
"Mostly done." He's not sure what else to say about it, really. It's nothing she doesn't know, nothing she doesn't feel already, nothing that he can tell her that's going to be new and strange and interesting. This is the life they share, the one they chose, and damned if there's any way they can get around that. "I hate Washington."
It comes out so suddenly he doesn't have time to think of biting back the words. Beneath his arm, she stiffens, then the dark head tilts up, fixing him with huge, blank eyes, her public face, the one he hates more than anything else. Before he can think of something else--anything else--someone's holding the door open and a very nice, overawed woman is asking what they want.
"Coffee, black," Lana says, going to a far corner table, and Clark seconds it, following her, feeling huge and clumsy and stupid. Security fans around them--far enough away to pretend they can't hear a thing, close enough to stop whatever threats could be imminent in a out of the way coffee shop. Terrorists from the ceiling, Clark supposes. It could happen.
The coffee comes faster than Clark expects, and that's good, because the awkward silence is stretching uncomfortably, and it gives them both something to do. He overkills with the cream and sugar, and she does the same, coffee turning the same soft golden-brown as her skin. They both drink like these are martinis at a fundraiser.
Clark wonders a little uncomfortably if that comparison is really one he wants to make.
"I hate it too." Her voice is so low he can barely hear it. "You're not the only one."
Watching her hands twist, the bright gold of her wedding ring, the sparkle of her diamond engagement ring, he wonders again why she withdrew her petition for a divorce, what sent her back to Pete. She'd been so sure, when they'd talked; she'd been planning on expanding her business, maybe taking a vacation abroad, start painting again. She was a terrible artist, but it made her happy like few things did.
"It's a sewer," she whispers, and somehow, her low voice makes it sound almost sweet. She's sure she'd hate to know that, too. "He--I didn't think." She stops, lifting her head. "When he first said he wanted to, I didn't think--not until he ran with Lex. When--when Lex asked." The slim fingers clench on the surface of the table, stretching out like a cat's, and Clark wonders if he's ever seen her this tense before. "I knew when Lex asked, that you would win." The corner of her mouth twists up. "That *we* would win. Lex's never lost anything he really wanted."
Even you, she doesn't say. You walked away once, but you came *back*.
"Lana--" Reaching across the table, he wants to touch her hand, but his hovers, inches above. "I know."
"We both knew." The smile twists more. "I married a lawyer, an activist. He wanted to change the world. He wanted to fight corporations for the little guy." The mocking lilt hurts to hear. "That's what he told me. The night he asked to marry me."
Well, Clark doesn't have that excuse for discontent.
"When--when we reconciled--God I hate that word, reconciled. Like it was so simple." Her eyebrows push into a frown, lavender bruises beneath her eyes. "He said, he said he couldn't live without me. That he needed me. That nothing was worth anything without me. That politics were over, as soon as his term was up--but that didn't happen, either. He never needed me for anything but a trophy."
That's not true--Clark remembers those days, Pete's grief and anger and every frustrated word. "He loves you."
Lana looks up from her stare at the battered wood of the table. "No, he doesn't. He loves what I represent, what I can be with him, and he loves how well we work together, how good we are. And no one else can be that for him, even--."
Her eyes fix on him, hard and sharp, and Clark sees something unfamiliar in them. Evaluative and hurt so deep he thinks he can feel it, too; impossible to look away from. "Lana?"
"You really don't know, do you?"
This conversation has gone places he never expected, and it's still going somewhere he's not sure he can follow.
"Lex knows." Her mouth tightens, looking away. "I guess--I thought he would tell you. Everyone knows. Everyone around us, anyway."