"*I knew it!*"
Sprawled across his back like a mattress, Lex laughs, and it's not endearing. It's really, *really* not. "You are *so* an alien. Fifteen *years*--"
"This doesn't prove I'm Superman." And could Lex shut the hell up about the fifteen years already?
"Oh. *Please*. " It's unfortunate the wind doesn't jerk enough of his voice away. Clark grits his teeth harder. "Are you taking me to your hideout?" Disturbingly, Lex sounds excited. He's also breathing *right* on Clark's ear. That is in no way a good thing. Or too much of one. Something like that.
"No, I'm taking you to the castle." Somewhere. The goo has grown considerably, and Clark's starting to feel the effects of kryptonite, even a few hundred feet from the ground. The truck's gone. Maybe it ate it? And that's how it's growing? And getting stronger?
And he's trying to apply *logic* to this? Really?
"All those years of *adrenaline* and *imagination*, and *insane*, and you--you--" Lex's arms tighten around his neck in what could be mistaken as a disturbingly affectionate hug. "Oh Clark. Superman. Who the hell else would have made tights a fashion statement?"
No one else acts like this. They faint in his arms, mumble gratitude, or promise him a lifetime's worth of sex, then completely fail to deliver. Lex--Lex, well, so *isn't* acting right. "Just shut up and let me fly."
The goo is *everywhere*. Clark's head aches, and his muscles are making protesting noises. They've gone God knows how far--Clark lost count after a dodge of climbing goo up the side of a cliff. He's never said he has any sense of direction. Speed makes up for a lot in that respect.
Clark glances down and blinks slowly at the fact that the ground looks awfully close.
Thought. They could be losing altitude.
"We're less than two hundred feet up," Lex tells him, looking over his shoulder at the goo no longer so far below them. Clark thinks this is probably the worst time for his fear of heights to kick in, but that doesn't change the dizziness.
Or maybe it's the goo?
"You're feeling this?"
Clark grinds his teeth. "It's getting stronger. I think." Probably from consuming--whatever it consumed--to get that big. Heat vision on it had been a joke. It seemed to *like* it, creepily enough. Below him, shimmering green fields of goo wave liquid hands at them, friendly-like. Please come down and let us eat you. Or just Lex.
It's *got* to be Lex. There's no other explanation.
And it's not like Clark isn't tempted, especially with the piggy-back driver currently wrapping his legs around Clark's waist and staring down like a politician at a party rally, curious and calculating. "Clark, we're losing altitude."
Well, duh. Cause the green stuff is getting *stronger*. "I need to land before we fall."
Whoa. Who knew Lex's legs could cut off circulation? And also, is there a good reason one heel is so close to Clark's groin? "Don't you dare drop me."
"I'd be dropping us both, asshole." Lex is the worst rescuee *ever*. "Do you see anything that isn't--gooey?"
Lex's cheek brushes his, and is that heel moving closer to his groin? Why yes, it is. It really is. Bastard. "Hmm. Look for--there." One arm shoots out like a drug dog finding a good stash. Clark wonders if Lex would appreciate the comparison. Not that Lex is like a dog, per se, with all that lack of hair and all that smooth skin and--no, wait. Wait. "And could you stay airborne, please? So we don't die?"
"Like I want to bathe in kryptonite goo." Focusing his eyes, Clark can see an outcropping of solid stone. Just in range of his flying, if his rate of descent tells him anything. A--cave? "That's a cave, Lex."
"And they say you're just a pretty face." Lex's head turns, cool lips brushing, completely by accident, Clark's ear. And is Lex--enjoying this? The proof may be pressed against the small of Clark's back. Oh God.
This is so ridiculous.
"How is a cave at below ground level going to help?"
"I'm not seeing a lot of other options, *Superman*." And could Lex *sound* any more sarcastic? No, he could not. "Just land us and get us inside."
"Just do it!"
Right. Like Clark's totally a virgin on the saving thing. Gritting his teeth, Clark focuses again, finding the tiny mouth of the cave, slipping inside almost without--
--hitting anything that isn't stone. Because that--that's not stone. Catching himself on his knees--and could Lex loosen up *just a little*?--Clark stares at the metal door with the stylized LL on the front panel and almost sighs. Of course. "Lex, is this--"
Lex slides off of him with an annoying lack of shakiness, going to the door and entering a code on what looks like bare stone, and the super secret hidden doors slide open like they're greased. Clark opens his mouth, then glances back. The goo is coming. And this is another of Lex's super secret, super stupid, probably-mind-controlling-amphibians-the
Lex turns to give him a smug look. It's hot. In a completely inappropriate way. "Complaints?"
Clark swallows. "Lead lined, right?"
Even smugger. The bastard. The hot, hot bastard. "Yep."
Goo or Lex's lab? Goo or Lex's lab? Goo or--
As secret illegal labs go, it's pretty nice.
"I can't believe you built another one." Because he *is* Superman, and he should be disapproving, not thanking God and certain smaller deities that Lex is obsessive and kind of evil. And mutates chickens, and Clark can't even stand chicken pot *pie* anymore, thanks to them, too. It makes him bitter.
He could be having pork chops right now if not for Lex and his damn goo.
Lex rolls his eyes as he flips on the lights. It's a respectable looking enough room, all white washed and probably filled to the brim with all kinds of evil things, hidden behind modest cabinet doors and beneath innocent lab tables, such as the one Clark is sitting on, right now. He x-rays for restraints, just from completely objective and righteous curiosity. No other reason whatsoever. "Like you would have found this one."
"I find *all* of them." Especially when the chickens have homing devices. That was useful. "What are you doing with this one?"
"I'm not going to disclose my nefarious intent before I have you helpless." Flipping on a final light, Lex leans into the wall, watching him with a bright smile, the kind that always comes right before kryptonite bullets and really good brandy. Clark thinks longingly of the good old days, of kryptonite and brandy. And police stations. And being home for dinner. And pork chops.
God, does he wants some pork chops.
"So, do you have a plan?"
Sometimes, Clark wonders if all those concussions really did do something to Lex's ability to process information and observe the world around them. "You said come here."
"Imminent death was kind of staring us in the face--*Superman*." Only Lex could italicize words with his voice like that. On a banner, ten feet high. In Times Square. Oh, this can't turn out well at all. "I assumed, once you weren't exposed anymore, you'd have another bright idea. Another tree, perhaps?"
Oh the sarcasm, how it wounds. "Fuck off. We're alive, aren't we?"
"And probably surrounded by goo. And if you're thinking of burrowing out--don't."
There goes that idea. Which was kind of Clark's only one, currently. "Kryptonite?"
"Pretty much everywhere, yeah. This is lead for more reasons than hiding from you. As if I need to."
They glare at each other, but glaring's only entertaining for so long, and Lex has the attention span of a fruit fly. Turning on one heel, he looks around the room with a mutter that Clark refuses to decipher, since it's probably rude and Clark's above such pettiness.
He's not above hunger, though. It's been a long time since lunch. "Is there anything to eat?"
Lex, in the act of opening a cabinet, freezes and turns around. "You're *hungry*?"
"I'm always hungry after near death experiences." Surely, a secret lab has a secret refrigerator, stocked with whatever it is mad scientists need these days. Maybe not pork chops, but surely something.
Lex frowns at him. Like this is totally new and unexpected. Because Lex can live on Ty-Nant, brandy, and the occasional dip into solid food once a year. Clark's a *superhero*. Something has to keep him going. "I don't know. This is new. We haven't even gotten a chance to move much in." With a mutter, Lex turns away, frowning around the room, then following the Star-Trekkish opening of another door to continue the hunt.
Lex shouldn't be unsupervised. And this is the first time Clark's ever had a chance to view an undestroyed version of Lex's labs. Sliding off the lab table, Clark follows, trying not to be bitter he hadn't thought of doors like this in the Fortress. He'd been going for a minimalist thing there, but the coolness of the whoosh-woosh of opening and closing was entertaining.
"Are you going to play with my doors all day?" The voice comes from somewhere to the left, and Clark sadly leaves off, turning to see Lex crouching by a small white under-desk refrigerator. Inside are various test tubes of indeterminate nature, possibly hazardous and definitely something he should investig--ooh! Milk. And sandwiches!
Superspeed, in Clark's opinion, was made for dinner time. "What kind?"
Lex sits back on his heels and eyes the cellophane. "Dr. Pacey. Probably corned beef." Mmm. Corned beef. "Turkey. Must be Dr. Doom--"
Lex eyes him. "Your friends are called Wonder Woman and Batman. Judge not. Which one?"
Taking the cellophane wrapped sandwich, Clark opens it up, sneaking another look at the test tubes. "New viruses?" he asks politely between bites. Behind the tubes, there seem to be more sandwiches. As rescues go, this isn't bad at all. Lex passes him the bottle of milk. Bliss. Almost as good as pork chops.
"Nah. Destructive acids. Some cloning basics. A few mystery liquids we'll experiment with to see what they do, probably destructive." Lex waves a hand at the electric blue bottle in the corner. "And that's from the still downstairs by the reactor. Seventy proof, I think."
Lex shrugs. "Pacey's from Kentucky."
Oh. Clark reaches for another sandwich. Pimento cheese. "Where are your mad scientists?"
"Conference." Lex chews thoughtfully. He's barely gotten two bites down. Clark reaches for a third sandwich. "Doesn't your mother feed you?"
"It's *dinner*. If it wasn't for your goo--"
"It's *not* my goo--"
"--I'd be home, eating *dinner*. You know? That meal you don't even know exists?"
It's an old argument. Clark once theorized a lot of Lex's evil came from malnutrition.
Lex draws himself into a silent, cross-legged seat of wounded dignity and finishes the sandwich, leaning back on one arm to eye the electric blue bottle with disquieting intensity.
Oh, this can't be good.
Two circuits of the lab convince Clark that Lex has way too much time on his hands for the CEO of a multi-trillion-quadrillion-whateverillio
"Do you always multi-task like this?" Clark asks as Lex sights him through the computer screen duct-taped to the barrel. His raised eyebrows had led Lex into a long, long, *long* speech on the miraculous properties of duct tape, with that edge in his voice that told Clark that Lex was bitter that he hadn't invented it himself. He supposes he should be nervous, but Lex isn't using his gleeful-sociopathic-death smile, so he guesses he's safe enough.
He does wish, though, that Lex didn't get such a kick out of the way the red laser dot looked running over Clark's body as he picked out the most interesting organs to fricassee.
"..which is why we went with this model," Lex finishes, putting down the gun with a regretful sigh. "I'm sorry, am I boring you?"
Clark gives him a sunny smile. "I always enjoy hearing about all the methods you want to use to kill me. Tell me again what you'll do with my spleen. Please."
Lex frowns, sliding the glass case closed, then turning to lean against the wall. "You said you wanted to see what one of these looked like before you destroyed it."
"Yet strangely, I didn't ask for a variation of One Hundred Bottles of Clark's Organs on the Wall, the musical."
"I've *never* sang--."
Clark crosses his arms.
"That one time. It had been a long day. You killed all my chickens." Walking by Clark, Lex turns off the lights, leading him back into the hallway. There's something about institutional lighting that makes Clark's nerves edgy on their own. No one looks good under halogens. Well, except Lex. Of course, Lex looks good pretty much all the time, so this is nothing new. He's gone from subtly eyeing Lex's bare arms to staring outright. It's been years since he's seen this much of Lex's skin. On top of everything else--evil sentient goo, running for their lives, loss of a truck, Lex finding out that Clark's Superman, no more sandwiches, and worst of all, *no pork chops*--he has to deal with this.
Using the special retinal-scan-only elevator--paranoid much?--Lex takes them back up to the less disturbing upper floors, fingers tapping a discordant rhythm on his bare wrist, a sign of bad things to come. Lex bored is a dangerous, dangerous man. Or one who keeps eyeing electric blue liquor, conveniently left out on a lab table, with an unnervingly covetous eye.
And Lex won't stop pushing up his sleeves, revealing the crease of his elbows and--did he just unbutton another button his shirt? "Is it getting hot in here?" Clark hears himself ask distractedly.
"Yes." Lex sighs, placing a hand on the lab table to vault up beside the bottle. "Environmental controls seem to be down. I *told* you it wasn't quite ready."
In Lexspeech, that must mean no air-conditioning. Something else occurs to him, considering their location. "Lex. Do environmental controls include stuff like--um, air? Cause we are sort of in a *mountain*--"
Lex picks up the bottle. "I didn't see you coming up with any better ideas."
Oh God, they're going to suffocate. Well, Lex will suffocate. Clark would just be really, really, really uncomfortable. Or something. "We have to go somewhere else."
"What a brilliant observation. We'll just ask your goo to *leave*--"
"The hell it's my goo!"
Lex's eyes narrow. He always gets grumpy when he's interrupted. "I'm just saying, if it's green and sentient, it's your responsibility." Lex leans back on one arm, grinning, cufflinks suddenly gleaming in one hand. "Clark."
Lex drops the cufflinks with a deliberate flick of his wrist. "Pick those up for me."
Here's how it happens.
Clark says, hell no.
Lex starts unbuttoning his shirt.
Clark reassessed the situation.
There's something about almost near-death experiences, isolated mad scientist lairs, and Lex sweating. Especially Lex sweating. There are memories of puberty during a very particular Smallville heat wave, when Lex spent quality time walking around in half-buttoned shirts and drinking a lot of water from long, thick bottles. Some conditioning holds true. When Lex sweats, Clark loses a certain level of higher brain function.
"This is such a bad idea."
Four buttons down.
"Lex, we're *deadly enemies*. You try to kill me with crazy, mind-controlled chickens! And that is so your goo."
"Yes," Lex breathes agreeably, but his eyes haven't been anywhere near Clark's face for the last few minutes, studying how Clark's jeans cover jack shit. Clark tries to breathe. "Yes. I made sentient goo to chase us across the country, specifically to seduce you in my slowly-decompressing lab, right before I die of suffocation. That sounds like something I'd do."
The scary part is, it *does*. "Will you stop--we have to figure out what to do!"
"I was thinking we could start with blowjobs." Six buttons. Oh God, buttons. Buttons, buttons everywhere--*stop looking*. That's deadly enemy skin!
Clark gives the room a desperate look. White walls, white floor, white cabinets, blue liquor, Lex. Lex. "Whatever you're thinking, it's so not happening."
The shirt's *completely open*. Clark stops breathing altogether. Leaning both hands on spread knees, Lex smiles, still crazy, still hot, licking sweat off his upper lip. So unfair.
"I can wait."
Last year, during a particularly memorable adventure involving Lex hypothesizing that the Mayans had somehow had something to do with some kind of Kryptonian stone (Clark no longer tries to figure out what the hell was up with his ancestors' fascination with random earth societies and weird stones.) and the greenhouse effect, between missions involving hostile aliens and his mother's sudden fascination with an emerging boyband, and all the trauma related to the latter, Clark discovered aromatherapy.
It's said that the body remembers with scent best, which is true, and he'd let Lois bully him to three herbalists and a tiny shop in south central Metropolis that promised earthly happiness, balance, and good sex, all for the price of a really tiny, three-paycheck-costing bottle of something that Clark had been addicted to on first sniff. The value pack had included the specialized equipment to use it, which actually, come to think of it, had a vague resemblance to the supercolliding particle thingy downstairs, if you left off the little turning knobs and the big red Stop button conveniently placed for a hero to shut it down before danger threatened.
Clark reminds himself to ask Lex about that button one day.
It had taken three bottles (he'll never pay off that credit card bill, ever), two disasters, and one superhero therapist to figure out why he had such a fondness for jerking off to it.
"You buy your cologne at that little place in south central, don’t you?"
Lex, two feet away, half a bottle down of electric blue liquid death and smiling at the ceiling, turns his head, giving Clark a baffled, yet still sexy, look. "Mm. Yes."
One day, in a fair future, Clark will kill Lois. Or let her fall the next time she stumbles off a building in pursuit of a story. Oh yes. He will. "You shouldn't have--drank that stuff." Jeans chafe. There's a reason he likes the tights. Chafe, chafe, chafe.
Lex on his back is pretty much a short-circuit of brain cells, what with his shirt open, sweaty skin in view, and apparently, getting bored with waiting. The tips of his fingers are slowly, slowly, slowly stroking up and down his bare stomach, coming temptingly close to the far-too-low-to-be-professional waistband of his suit pants. It's indecent. It's--talking. No, wait. *Lex* is talking.
"..thinking about this."
Clark blinks. "About what?"
Lex grins, head turning to fix him with glazed blue eyes, as warm as a summer sky. "Sex with you. Fucking you. Or just you watching me jerk off. Any of the above."
Oh. "You--um." Words. He needs words. And has he moved closer to the lab table? Yes, it would appear he has. "We need a plan. To get out. Of here." Lex's fingers brush the front of his pants as if by accident. The cloth does not hide a damn thing. "Now. Like. Um." It's a freaking *secret lab*. It's full of dangerous, evil, useful things. "Acid. Gene warfare. Viruses!" Lex gives him a pitying look. It would have been far more effective if his eyes weren't crossed. "Laser!"
Lex blinks. Slowly. "Laser?"
"We can--shoot at it."
Lex blinks again. Less slow. An improvement, that. "You want me to put together my new doomsday device to kill your goo?"
Clark bites his lip. It's *so not* his goo. "To save the world," he says firmly, not looking at Lex's exposed stomach. Much.
Lex shuts his eyes. "You are so kidding me."
Lex's shirt somehow came untucked on the elevator ride down, and while Clark can't swear to it, Lex must have developed a little superspeed of his own, considering that *something* grabbed his ass and the jeans are officially way too tight.
Yet every time he looked, Lex was on the other side of the elevator, innocent as a lamb, and listing slowly to port. Still clutching that blue bottle.
The boxes are scattered like children's toys. Lex leans on one, blinking shortsightedly at a label. "Hmm."
Lex waves at the boxes, slumping elegantly over the top of his, smiling in Clark's general direction. "Go to it."
No, wait. "It's your laser!"
The level of liquor in the bottle is drastically reduced as Lex takes another drink, smiling seraphically over the top. And slowly, slowly, slowly sliding down the side of the box, puddling himself on the floor in overpriced silk blends and apparently, no shoes. When had that happened?. Like he meant to do it, Lex rests an arm on one knee. "I'm more the idea guy here. This falls under manual labor."
Uh huh. And also, wow, this is a lot of boxes. "Are there--like, directions?"
Lex makes a sound suspiciously like a hiccup, and Clark's eyes focus on the fact that the top button of Lex's pants have mysteriously disappeared, leaving a v of pale, pale skin murmuring to him, wouldn't it be so much more fun to--
No. And no again.
"Real men don't need directions."
Uh huh. "You get lost going to the corner store."
"That," Lex says, straightening in a way that someone could mistake him for someone not drinking probably radioactive liquor and instead merely consider him stinking drunk on something far less rarified, "is a filthy lie. I don't like that corner store."
"Superman, save me, I'm *lost in downtown Metropolis*. That was just embarrassing."
"I was being held hostage."
"By an elevator you didn't know how to work? You were in the LexCorp lobby!"
"I'd never been there before!"
Right. That makes total sense. Clark sighs, staring at the boxes. It's safer than looking at Lex. Hell, kryptonite exposure would be safer than….
"Is there Kryptonite in this laser?" Lex might do something like that. Weaken him with Kryptonite, then take advantage of his helpless, sweating body as he writhes on the floor…and this needs to stop, like, *right now*.
Lex gives him a long, innocent look while he slowly lists to the floor in an elegantly obscene sprawl. It's wrong. On so many levels. "Only a little bit."