Clark's a lousy pool player--something in the way he doesn't quite line up his shots, never puts enough strength behind it, and it's strange, that he seems that scared to unleash his full strength.
Another thing to add to the file that's growing in Lex's head by the hour.
"We got it wrong." Clark pulls back from the shot without taking it, surveying the table. Lex frowns, glancing down to see the eight ball in prime position to sink. Clark should beat him, but he never does. Always pulling back that little bit and giving away his edge. Lex doesn't understand it.
Like he's scared to just *go* for it.
"The game's fine."
Clark shakes his head impatiently. "Not that. This--you'll always beat me and I'll always be nervous because when you watch me play, I know what you're watching for."
That ass moving in those jeans? And to think he'd thought he was being subtle. When he looks up, Clark grins like he knows what Lex is thinking.
"If I take this shot and I win, you'd be *really* surprised. I know. It's our pattern."
"In a game of pool?"
Clark laughs, a lean hip pressed against the edge of the table. He must have discarded the flannel, because he's wearing nothing but a white t-shirt, stretched tight over a beautiful body. God, men weren't meant to have temptation dealt to them like this. "We have patterns, Lex. Take it like this. I can miss this shot a thousand times in a thousand different ways, and every one of them, you say something different. If I miss it on the left--" Clark lines up the shot, and it looks perfect to the casual eye, but it'll barely brush the edges of the ball. "You'll take the next one and win, then offer me a bottle of water and ask me about Lana."
"How *is* that going, anyway?"
"Focus." Clark leans over, bringing the cue into a different position. "This time, I was too nervous and made a mistake and hit it too hard--the ball went off the table. You went to pick it up and I made up an excuse to go home." Clark frowns. "You'd be surprised how many variations there are. There were a million from this one game, but some of them turn out the same anyway." Clark stares at the eight ball, lining up a flawless shot. It's an easy in, but he frowns. "Once, though, I should have hit the shot dead on. Just once."
"I--don't know. It never happened."
Clark laughs at the look on his face.
"You--Lex." Almost a caress, that voice, he's wanted to hear that forever, thinks men have sold their souls for less.
"Did we always play like this?"
Clark shakes his head, stepping back from the table.
"No. Once?" Clark drops the stick with a clatter, looking up at him with sober eyes. "Once, we never played this game at all."
The floor is summer warm beneath his bare feet. His belt's a slim discard over a cushioned armchair with throw pillows that might have been brilliant colors, but washed to pale grey in the moonlight. He fell asleep in his clothes--familiar in that but in nothing else. Sweat-dampened silk clings to his back and the sleeves are loose, a ghost of touch over his forearms. He winces from the cramps made by lumps in the ancient mattress, looking around him.
Bare painted walls with cheap prints from a local store. A woman's elegant touch to make a very personal room impersonal again.
This silence, huge and deafening, leads him out the door, across the hall, stopping at the doorway. Eyes adjusting to the dark effortlessly, and he steps into a wide master bedroom that has no memories.
"There were posters on the walls." Of your room. Of that room I woke up in. I remember that narrow bed and the way the frame was repaired and the excuse you made. I still don't know why.
Clark's open eyes touch on his. The same bewilderment stares back. "I remember."
It's hard to walk in here--some kind of wrongness he can't quite put his finger on. A big-voiced man who murmurs something about the name Luthor, but he can't focus enough to quite make it out. He sits on the edge of the mattress, helpless, strangely adrift. "I don't understand."
"I--know." Clark's almost motionless beneath the blanket. Worn from generations of Kents, Lex thinks. His hands skid over the surface of the blanket like he's looking for something lost "Did I always lose at pool, Lex?"
*"Once, we never played this game at all."*
Big fingers trace a pattern across the cover, coming dangerously close to Lex's thigh, blank dark eyes locked on Lex's knees. "TyNant. Fencing. A--a watch." He pauses, lips turning up in the memory of a smile. "Napoleon?"
Yes. "I used to be afraid of water."
Clark looks up, sharp and bright. "You weren't afraid. You were never afraid of anything."
That pull again. Achingly deep, and he's trapped in water, closing around him, stealing breath and thought, but his body knows. Thick and slow, almost awkward, like the kid he's never been, and Clark's so warm. That mouth, clean, only toothpaste and sleep, sweet, like he imagines it should have been.
Clark, he thinks he might whisper, but his tongue's too busy, finding hidden corners that make Clark twitch. Big hand on the back of his head, gently stroking, the other pressed into his back, hot through the thin silk of his shirt. Slow, open-mouthed, deep, reaching somewhere inside him that's never been touched before now, something that's been forgotten, old and bitter and breaking open too late. Shattering and gasping for air, Clark, Jesus, you--
"Clark." The long column of his throat, so soft, he can't get enough of the taste. Twining his fingers in silky hair, neck arching for him, just for him. He *knows* this, the soft sounds Clark makes, the way he twists under Lex's hands, the sweet, awkward shudders of someone who's never been touched. Never thought they would be. So surprised, so amazed, hands opening and closing on his shoulders helplessly and breathy gasps when Lex sucks his collar.
"I would have lied," Clark whispers into the dark, and Lex reaches down, finding soft cotton beneath his hands. He wants skin. "I would have lied and lied and you never would have forgiven me."
Clark sits up when pulled, the cotton stripped away. Perfect. Almost too much to imagine touching, except he has, he will, he should have, he--fuck. Clark. Straddling long thighs, he grinds down without meaning to, light sparking behind his eyes in a thousand colors, like fireworks on a late autumn night, bright and high above, and Clark's trying to disapprove.
Trying to say he doesn't need gifts, and Lex had never understood that.
Clark's fingers unbutton his shirt--tearing at the tiny buttons when they slip from his grasp, lost in swathes of silk until it's open, and Clark stares at him like a gift. Reverent in slow, stroking touches that make him hard, harder, breath a whine caught tight in his throat, Luthors don't--
"I do." He does, he knows, he has to. Eyes closed at the tentative brush of Clark's mouth on his shoulder, stripping away the silk to touch more, hands spreading as gently as if he's crystal that will break with too hard a touch. "Don't be afraid."
Clark looks up at him, mouth wet and red and swollen. Lex can't help the touch, thumb skimming his lower lip, so *soft*. "I don't want to be."
Lex almost answers--almost, so close, but the words trickle away at the mouth on his throat, the slow grind of Clark into him. Big hands on his hips, settling them together, a gasp against wet skin when Clark finds the rhythm, lost in a sucking kiss that makes Lex arch. Reaching for anything, broad shoulders and soft hair and high cheekbones as sharp as razors he can trace with his thumbs, eyes open and wide, staring into the ceiling.
A trick of light that makes him see a dappled ceiling in daylight, exposed beams of a barn roof. A car speeding down a road and the carefree laugh of a kid on summer break. On his back, suddenly, shockingly, Clark's hands are on his wrists, pressing him down, a sharp burn when their eyes meet, a first time that he's never had, never could have.
Biting Clark's lip when he comes too close, and his mouth's clean of blood. Lex sucks in a breath. "I would have betrayed you."
Clark kisses him, slow and soft, and Lex loses his train of thought, bucking into the body above him, kneeling between his thighs. His breath's too fast and he sees too damn much.
Sees Clark, flushed and panting, sweat standing out on his skin, but his voice is a bare whisper. "I would have forgiven you."
The feel of muscles stretched too tight beneath fragile skin, trying to get more, now, God, yes, that body, that face, that mouth, that voice. Clark lets go, hands moving between them, rough jerk of expensive pants and silk boxers down Lex's legs, his own ripped off almost an afterthought. Staring down at him, and Lex wants to look away and can't.
Hard hands on his thighs and wide open eyes. "This wouldn't have happened."
Lex reaches up, drawing him down--pressure, skin, warmth, Clark, a taste of a honeysweet tongue and eyes to lose himself in. Clinging like he's drowning and he wouldn't mind, not here, not now, not with him.
"Now it is."
It's forever, maybe, a taffy-stretch of endless time, the slick slide of their bodies, pressing Lex deep into the bed. Perfect, like nothing's ever been, ever could be, Clark's low moans against his throat and his cock rocking against his stomach, hips lining them up and pushing, hard, once, twice--Jesus--Clark--
Orgasm is a slow fall from a bridge, eyes wide open, seeing nothing, gasping for air. Falling mindless and weightless and sated and holding on so tight he can't imagine letting go.
He will, though. He has to.
At dawn, he thinks, eyes closing heavy and dark, Clark's weight pinning him to the bed. He'll slip away, like a thousand other nights with a thousand other people.
*"For what it's worth, I hope you stay."*
Turning his head, Lex rubs his lips in dark hair and wishes that he was the man who could.