Summary: "No," said Clark. "I've been in love with Lana for as long as I can remember, but now that she gives me permission to touch her, I don't want to? Is there something wrong with me?"
Pairing: Clark Kent/Lex Luthor
Disclaimer: Clark Kent belongs to the Siegel & Shuster Estates, in part! Whoot! Lex Luthor still belongs to DC. For now. Neither of 'em belong to me.
Original story: The Shocking Truth About Glinda by danceswithgary
Notes: This story takes place sometime in that hazy Clexy nirvana of early season 2. Thanks to the-willow.insanejournal.com for audiencing above and beyond the call of duty.
Lex looked up, intending to chastise Clark for barging in without calling. Usually, he failed to do so because Clark was breathtaking. Today, he stopped because his friend looked scared and small and nauseated. "Clark, what's wrong? Do you need to sit down?" He pulled the boy towards a couch. "Do you want something to drink?"
"I," said Clark, and frowned, mouth working absently.
"You want water? Tea? Juice?" Lex looked at Clark's body, the muscles held too tight. "A beer?"
Clark blinked rapidly and looked directly at Lex for the first time since entering the room. "Grape juice's okay."
Lex nodded. "Can I leave you alone to get it, or should I call someone?"
The smile Clark produced was small and shaky, but it was a smile. "You can get it. Or we can go to the kitchen together. But you don't have to bother anyone just for me."
"Then you sit here, get your thoughts together while I get the juice. Whatever it is, we can make it better, Clark. Have a little faith in me." He rose and turned to go.
Clark grabbed Lex's hand and squeezed it. "I do." Then he ducked his head. "And, um, just regular purple juice, okay? Not white or mixed with mango or something."
Lex smiled and nodded. "Just plain, purple grape juice. Coming right up."
It took longer than Lex wanted to get the juice. He himself didn't drink juice, but the new housekeeper's kids, cherubic nine year-old twins, guzzled various forms of sugar water like it was going out of style, so he raided their
secretstock and left a note for Ms. Finley.
When he got back to his study, he saw Clark's jacket and plaid flannel shirt abandoned on the couch. Lex put the glass on the table, turned around to go look for Clark, and saw, lying down in a patch of sunlight, the boy himself. "Couch not comfortable, Clark?" Clark looked better, eyes closed, face slack, and limbs loose and sprawled out, making a sort of ten foot-wide rectangle.
"I was cold," Clark drawled, stretching, pulling his t-shirt tight across his chest.
"You were cold, so you took off your jacket. Clark, I won't tell your parents, but if you took drugs, I need to know."
Clark laughed softly. "Cold's the wrong word. It's almost like being hungry. I just, I needed some sun. I do sometimes, don't you?"
Lex blinked. He'd never heard of such a thing, but he didn't know whether to put it down to Clark's differences or his rural upbringing. He just shook his head and said, "I was born a redhead. Sunning is one of the few vices in which I have never indulged."
Clark smiled, the slightly puzzled look he had when he hadn't completely understood what Lex said. "S'good. You should join me."
Lex knew his floor was very expensive and very well-maintained, but he did not believe it was comfortable enough to pretend to be furniture. "You can't drink your grape juice lying down, Clark. I'll be on the couch when you're ready to tell me why you came."
Clark frowned and sat up. "Yeah. Why I came." He sighed. "Would you really give me a beer?"
"One. And you'd have to stay for dinner."
He shrugged. "I don't like the taste anyway." He got up and sat on the couch and said, "I think there's something wrong with me."
Lex turned to the side to get Clark's juice and hand it to him. "Physically, mentally, or emotionally?"
Clark looked at him, surprise on his face. "You're not going to tell me I'm wrong?"
"Wouldn't you know?" Lex got up and went his minibar. He didn't want to look at Clark while he learned Clark's secret, didn't want Clark to see his face if he had to listen to a lie again.
"Yeah," said Clark slowly. "It's just, Mom would have said something like, 'It can't be that bad.'"
Lex shrugged, pulled out a bottle of brandy. "I had a lot of serious trouble when I was sixteen. Youth is not a shield for folly. So, what's wrong with you?"
"I," Clark started, cleared his throat, started over. "Lana touched me and I didn't like it."
"You didn't want it?" Lex asked, keeping his voice studiously neutral. What would he do if Lana Lang had raped Clark? Yank the Talon out from under her and get her the hell out of Kansas, but that would just be a beginning.
"I thought I did," Clark said slowly. "I got, I finally, finally got close to Lana, and nothing happened. I didn't like anything. It wasn't repulsive, but it wasn't exciting."
Lex silently let out a breath, felt his stomach unclench. "Kissing Lana wasn't arousing the way you expected it to be?"
"No," said Clark. Lex heard him gulp down some juice. "I've been in love with Lana for as long as I can remember, but now that she gives me permission to touch her, I don't want to? Is there something wrong with me?"
"Well, Clark, from what you told me, you loved Lana from afar before this year. Maybe now that you've gotten to know her better, she's less interesting. Maybe you think she's a bit self-centered. And she has no qualms about persuading other people to act in her best interest." He looked at Clark sideways to see how he took that.
Clark was shaking his head, but he looked thoughtful, not insulted. "I don't think that's the problem, Lex."
"Well, that's all true about you, and I still like you just fine." Clark faked a cough and started staring at the empty fireplace.
Lex chuckled, "Fair enough, but you don't like me se—." Lex stopped talking, because Clark almost certainly wasn't ready for the rest of that sentence. "Do you still like Lana as a person?"
"What else would I like Lana as besides a person, Lex?"
Lex turned and looked at Clark full-on. The kid was painfully deep in thought, trying very hard to think about other people's feelings. It was unexpectedly charming. "It seemed as if you used to be interested in her sexually. You like your friend Chloe as a person, but you've made it pretty clear that you're not interested in her sexually."
"Oh," said Clark. "I didn't, I never thought about that not being the same thing." He sat back in the cushions, and some of the tension had gone out of his body, although his face was still screwed up in thought.
Lex judged it was safe to sit back down on the coach. "Sometimes guys have difficulty doing both at once—being attracted to someone sexually and liking them as a person. And some guys like different qualities in their friends than they do in their lovers."
"Do you?" asked Clark, then blushed. "Um, don't answer that. It's none of my business."
Lex smiled then, looked directly at Clark and said, "I like exactly the same qualities in my friends and my lovers."
Clark's eyes widened, but he couldn't or wouldn't break Lex's gaze. He just stopped breathing for a long, long moment before he swallowed. "I like Lana as a person, but I don't know if I'm still sexually attracted to her." He flushed, but his voice stayed rock-solid.
Lex nodded and blinked slowly. "Is there anyone you are sure you're sexually attracted to?"
Clark looked away suddenly, gulped down the last of his juice. "Why do you keep saying 'person', Lex? Why don't you say 'girl' or 'woman'?"
Lex shrugged. "You've never said whether or not gender was important to you, in the people you're dating." And then, recklessly, casually, Lex added, "I don't particularly care one way or the other."
Clark's head snapped around and he looked at Lex like he'd never seen him before. "You're gay?"
Lex laughed. "If I were gay, Clark, then the gender of my partners would be important. I'd want them to be male. If you need a term, you can think of me as bisexual. The relationships I've had with women weren't fake, Clark."
"Even with Victoria?" Clark asked slyly.
Lex chuckled and spread his hands wide to concede the point. "Victoria and I were using each other, and my marriage to Desiree was chemically induced. But I do genuinely like sex and romance with women, as well as men."
"How did you know?"
Lex shrugged. "I had a roommate in boarding school who suggested we try mutual masturbation, and I liked it more than he did."
"Did you like him? As a person, too, I mean."
"I didn't think about it that way when I was fourteen." Lex sipped at his scotch, let it roll over his tongue a little. "I hated boarding school. It was a cruel, miserable place full of people who were out to get me, and Harvey made me feel good at night." Lex shrugged. "But he didn't try to—. There were some bad things that happened to me, that he could have stopped or lessened the cruelty of, and he didn't. I don't think I did like him as a person, then. I know I don't like him, now."
Clark looked away. "And how did you know you liked girls?"
"I had dreams about girls. And when I was a little older, I had sex with them. And I liked it just as much as sex with guys."
Clark, whose flush had almost completely faded away, flared back up. "Dreams count?"
"If they reflect your actual feelings, they do. If they're nightmares, then no."
"I have dreams," said Clark slowly. "And they're not—," he swallowed hard, shook his head and started again. "Can you help me, Lex? Figure out if I like guys?"
Lex fell off the couch. He had tried to stand up, to leap backward and get across the room, but he only landed on his ass.
"Are you okay, Lex?"
Lex looked up into Clark's face, at Clark's outstretched hand, and scooted backwards on his ass until he was clear to get up without touching Clark. Then he backed up some more and said, "I don't think that's a very good idea, Clark."
Clark looked pouty and rebellious, lower lip stuck out just a smidge, eyes just the littlest bit tight. "I didn't mean, like, we should do it. Just some kissing, like I did with Lana. To compare." He crossed his arms over his chest and stared. "What are you afraid of, anyway?"
"Your father, for one," said Lex. Lex just nodded when Clark shuddered. "My father, for two. This town for another. Clark, they already tied you to a cross for being a freshman. Do you want to get killed?"
"I can keep a secret, Lex," said Clark, bratty and condescending.
"Can you?" said Lex, and he strode across the room, fast and furious, pulled Clark up from the couch, and kissed him. Kissed him like he was throwing a punch, lips forced together hard, then mouth forced open, he shoved his tongue down Clark's throat, and swirled it around like he was counting the kid's back teeth.
He touched Clark, too. One hand was smashed against Clark's chest, fingers trying to dig into the muscle. Clark was built like a rock, and he couldn't get any purchase. He did pull their bodies together with his other hand, pushed deep into the shoulder blade and lined the two of them until his crotch pushed against Clark's. He held them together for a heartbeat that felt like forever.
Then Clark pulled away, pushed Lex back, and Lex landed on his ass again. "That's not what I meant."
Lex closed his eyes and breathed deep, in out in out in out. He opened them again and said, "I know. I'm sorry." He rubbed a hand over his face and picked the scotch up from the side table. It had, miraculously, not spilled despite his falls. He drained it and said, "I'm sorry, Clark. I told you it was a bad idea." He looked down and said, "I'm trying to be a good man, Clark, but I get confused, sometimes, about what that means. What a good man would do if he were in my shoes."
Clark rolled his eyes. "You're not some fucking Prince of Darkness, Lex. You're my friend, Lex. You're my friend, and I'm trusting you to treat me like I'm yours." He walked out.
Lex didn't follow. He got up off the floor, got their glasses, and took them to the kitchen himself.
Clark didn't come back for a week, and Lex thought about calling him, or buying him a sex machine, or a horse. But Lex had learned a little something from Clark about being a friend, and Lex waited for Clark to show up on his own.
In the meantime, he bought cheap American beer (no use waisting stout on a teenage boy) and a higher quality of grape juice than the housekeeper kept stashed for her kids. He wrote a letter to Harvey Dent that he did not put in the mail, and another one to his roommate the year after, Michael Johnson, which he did post. He had his lawyer investigate Kansas' age of consent laws, and his psychiatrist walk him through adolescent sexuality.
So when Clark showed up, Lex gave him a beer and a proper kiss, softer and hungrier and more real than the last one. And he said, "I'm sorry." And he said, "You're not legal for another eighteen months for sex." And he said, "You can come out when you go to Met U."
And Clark said, "Thank you." And moaned. And, "It's okay, Lex." And, "I'm not ready, anyway." And, "I think maybe I'll send Lana a postcard."
And Lex laughed at him.