Title: FUNERAL TEA (Nourishment 17)
Author: Janet F. Caires-Lesgold
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Archive: Mailing list archives only--others please ask permission!
Category: Story, romance, angst, Clark POV, post-ep for "Crush"
Spoilers: Everything through "Crush"
Rating: NC-17 for language and m/m sexual interaction
Pairing: Clark/Lex established relationship
Summary: Clark comes in from the rain
DISCLAIMER: These characters do not belong to me. Smallville is the property of Alfred Gough, Miles Millar, Tollin-Robbins Productions, and Warner Bros. Television, and based upon characters originally created by Jerome Siegel and Joe Shuster. This story is just for the entertainment of my online friends and myself, not for any profit.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: The rest of "The Nourishment Series" can be found elsewhere on my webpage - Enjoy!
DEDICATION: For Mary Ellen, who imagined this, and Tiff, who just is.
COPYRIGHT: (C) September 6, 2002, Janet F. Caires-Lesgold, firstname.lastname@example.org
Please don't redistribute or alter this story in any way without the express permission of the author. Thank you very much.
Lex wasn't home.
After Mr. Fordman's funeral, I just started walking. There wasn't any point in running, since I was already soaked through to the skin. My parents knew I wasn't coming straight home, so it didn't really bother me that I didn't know where I was headed at first--I was just trying to clear my head. Hearing my shoes and underwear go squish as I walked, however, made me feel guilty for ruining my good clothes, and I immediately thought of Lex. If anybody had the resources for repairing wardrobe emergencies, he would be the one. It just so happened that the cemetery was closer to his house than my own, so it wasn't difficult to change my course to head over there.
Unfortunately, my lover wasn't at the castle when I arrived. Enrique met me at the door, which reminded me that it was the middle of a weekday, as Lex's staff was on duty. He confirmed that Lex had gone out, but he wasn't sure when he'd be back. With some tut-tutting at the drips I was leaving in the entrance hall, he whisked away my shoes and hurried back with a couple of towels so I could progress to the downstairs bathroom without leaving a river on the tile. After stripping off my wet suit, shirt, and tie inside said bathroom, I was toweling off my hair when I heard the door open and shut. I looked up to find that my clothes had been spirited away as well, with my red silk kimono left in their place.
It felt good to slip the soft fabric against my bare skin again, reminding me as it did of a night of sushi and incredible sex. Recent events, though, added to the melancholy of the afternoon's ceremony, and while I was starting to think that my prospects in that regard were doubtful, it broke my heart a little to think that if I were to begin some kind of relationship with Chloe, I'd never feel the perfect contentment that I had with Lex ever again.
When I came out of the bathroom, I noticed just how drafty the old mansion was, so I crept upstairs to purloin some warm socks. I scanned the contents of Lex's sock drawer without opening it, finding mostly those thin, slippery silk things he favored. Luckily, I spotted some balled-up sport socks far down in the corner of the bottom drawer, so I opened it and pulled out a pair, tugging them on gently, hoping that my big feet didn't stretch them too badly.
Before I closed the drawer, something caught my eye. It was pale yellow, knit of fine, soft yarn, and at first I thought it was another pair of socks. But then I saw a button and some embroidery floss that approximated a small face on the surface of the yarn. Pushing the other contents of the drawer out of the way, I reached for the yellow object and brought it into the light. To my surprise, I discovered that it was a child's toy: a stuffed rabbit with floppy ears and limbs, a cotton-ball tail, and a satin ribbon tied in a battered bow around its neck. It could have been a valuable antique--maybe that's why it was hidden so far in the corner of the bottom drawer that no one was meant to find it--but I didn't care. Right then, I was feeling blue and lonesome, missing Lex and needing to hold him, so I tucked the rabbit under my elbow and carried it with me as a poor substitute while I padded downstairs on socked feet.
Enrique had made a pot of tea and left it on the side table for me in the conservatory, so I curled up in the corner of a sofa, snuggling a little with the toy rabbit and sipping tea with honey out of a china cup. Due to conflicting schedules, I hadn't seen Lex since he'd visited me in the loft a few evenings earlier. At the time, we'd been a little startled by my mom's reaction to her news about Principal Kwan until I'd remembered that they'd become fairly close at church choir in the past year, working so hard together on their duet last Christmas for the annual performance of "The Messiah".
"Man, that's rough," Lex had sighed to me after she'd gone back inside.
"Yeah... I guess you make connections with people that even those closest to you don't know about sometimes."
We'd fallen silent for a minute or two, until he'd looked at me with one of his mind-reading stares, then finally asked very quietly, "Do your parents know about us?"
I'd tried not to blush. "Well, I hinted to my mom that there was something going on, but I made her promise not to tell my dad. I'm not sure how much she knows, though." His eyes had narrowed almost smugly, so I'd wondered if there were more he knew that he wasn't telling me. "Why?"
"If anything were to happen to you, for example--do you think they'd call me?" he had asked in reply, shrugging his expression back to normal.
"I don't know. I hope so..." What I had intended to say before we had been interrupted, in reply to his assertion that some people were just meant to be alone, had come back to me. "Wait--you're afraid I'm going to run off with Chloe or somebody and forget about you, aren't you?" I'd been able to tell that this question had hit close to home, because he hadn't answered me, instead staring out the window at the stars. "Lex," I'd said, grabbing him by the shoulder and forcing him to turn to face me, "don't you dare think I'm going to leave you alone!"
"You can't promise me that you won't, Clark," he'd said, his soft voice nearly carried away on the night air. "You're only sixteen. You've told me that you want to visit Venus sometime," he'd added ruefully, gesturing toward my stupid book. "What if you never come back? What if you do settle down with Chloe, or your precious Lana, or some other girl? Where will I be then?"
"Lex, stop it!" I'd scolded, then sworn much more quietly, making sure that he'd be able to hear the sincerity in my words, "I love you. I can't imagine us ever not being friends. As far as it is within my power, I promise you that I will always be a part of your life, okay?" Throwing my book on the floor, I'd taken him into my arms then and kissed him breathless, after which we'd made love on my old couch and repeated words of love and lifelong devotion looking deeply into each other's eyes.
Now, as I sat in the conservatory in the chilly old castle, my heart felt as fragile as the delicate china I held in my hands. I loved Lex like life itself, but Chloe's attraction to me, or my sudden awareness of it, opened up a world of new possibilities that years of disregard by Lana had shut for good, or so I supposed. Would it be fair for me to love them both, to want them both, without giving all of myself to either of them? My lover always said I should do whatever made me happy--that he would support me as I followed whichever of my desires I chose, even if they ultimately led me away from him. Maybe that was why I kept finding myself drawn back to his house, his arms: he never made any demands of me, only wanting whatever was the very best for me. Maybe that was why I loved him so much...
The sound of the front door opening down the hall startled me out of my funk. Out the window, I could see that the rain had stopped, and I wondered if Enrique had succeeded in rescuing my good clothes. Hushed voices outside attracted my attention, so I watched the door of the room where I sat.
Soon Lex walked in, his fancy shoes almost making no noise on the tile. It made me feel a little better just to see him, but he appeared troubled, so much so that he didn't even look up. Instead, he made a beeline for the bar and reached for a glass.
"Lex?" I called to him.
He glanced at me over his shoulder, then went back to fixing his drink. "Clark? What are you doing here?"
"I needed to see you," I answered, emotion naked in my voice.
"Sorry, but I doubt I'll be very good company this evening," he warned, downing his scotch and refilling it quickly as if to illustrate. "Go home. I'll call you tomorrow."
I rose from the sofa and went to him, indicating my undressed state. "I can't. Enrique's still got my clothes--I got stuck outside in the rain earlier. Besides, I don't want to leave, Lex," I said, a little more desperately than I intended. "I can't let you just sit here and drink alone."
It was then I finally saw his eyes, which were empty of anything but pain. "Why not?"
Something in his stance kept me from reaching for him and pulling him bodily away from the bar. "Because that's not dealing with whatever's bothering you. It's just numbing yourself for now and putting off something important until tomorrow when you're sick and even less able to handle it."
"Thank you for being concerned about me, Clark, but this has nothing to do with you. You should probably just go." He drank what was left in his glass, then reached for the bottle again.
"No, Lex," I commanded, grabbing his wrist to stop its journey across the bar. "You are the most important thing in the world to me, so whatever hurts you hurts me, too. Tell me what's wrong--maybe I can help."
He gazed bitterly at my hand around his arm, avoiding my eyes. "If I tell you what's on my mind, will you please just go away and let me drink in peace?"
"Okay," I lied through my teeth. Setting his glass back on a tray, he shook off my grasp and led me across the room. Together we perched on the back of the sofa where I'd previously been woolgathering. "Talk to me."
Swallowing quietly, he started speaking without catching my eye. "You know the other night when you asked me if I'd ever been in love before?"
"Before me, before us, before now--right..."
"Well, you know about my mother. I didn't tell you much about the other woman--"
"Other than that she'd betrayed you."
At last his eyes met mine again. "I was wrong about her, Clark."
"Her name was Pamela. I guess you could call her my nanny." I opened my mouth to ask a question, but he kept going. "My father fed me lies about her, telling me that she'd chosen to abandon me after my mother died, leaving out the part where he'd forbade her ever to see me again."
"I take it you've seen her."
"Yes, for the last time." Once again he cut off my words. "She's dead. She died yesterday, and there was a brief service for her today. That's where I was this afternoon."
"At least I was able to speak to her before she passed away. She told me the truth about what had really happened, and I got the chance to forgive her."
"Well, that's good." Hesitantly, I reached across the short distance between us and took his hand in mine. My thumb stroked the back of his hand, making his eyes close softly. "You miss her, though."
"More than if I'd never gotten to see her," he sighed more than said. "There was so much of my life that I'd have liked to share with her, and those years are just gone..."
With a single tug, I pulled him closer by the hand I held and clasped him tenderly in my arms. "Oh, God, Lex... I never know what to say when somebody dies. I was just at Whitney's dad's funeral this afternoon, and even though I wasn't particularly close to him, it made me think: What if that were my dad, and I'd never see him again? What if it were my mom? What if it were you?" The image broke my heart, and I shut my eyes tight, pressing my cheek against the soft skin on the side of his bare head.
We sat that way quietly for a long time, until he spoke with a strange, incredulous chill in his voice. "Fuff?"
"What?" I replied, sounding a little choked up myself.
"Clark, where did you find that?"
I couldn't see what he was looking at over my shoulder, so I pulled away enough to follow his eyes down to the corner of the sofa where I'd been sitting. There, left behind when I'd gone to Lex's side, was the toy rabbit, lying forgotten on the cushion.
"He was in your sock drawer, way in the back. I found him when I was looking for something to put on my feet after I'd gotten so soaked in the rain. I hope you don't mind--he looked about as lonely as I felt, so I got him out to talk to when you weren't here. His name is Fuff?"
"I was four when I got him--I couldn't say 'Fluff' quite right." His face was paler than usual as he reached slowly for the small, soft toy and pulled it into his lap by one floppy arm. With shaking hands, he petted it over and over, his breath catching just a little.
"Are you okay, Lex?"
Lips quivering, he asked, "Do you know who gave me Fuff, Clark? Pamela. She made him for me. I thought he'd been lost years ago, after my mother died and my father sent Pamela away. This is probably the only thing I have that she gave me. How did you find him, today of all days? How did you know to bring him down here where I'd see him?"
I knew his last questions were rhetorical, but I couldn't resist answering, "Maybe it's a message. Maybe she wants you to remember that she always loved you."
The visible changes in him at my words were nearly frightening. Slowly, he took in a shaky breath, his eyes closed and his mouth slightly open. His perpetual hard shell began to crumple then, layer by layer, the posture of his shoulders falling and the set of his jaw withering before my eyes. He let out the most pitiful whimper I'd ever heard, and commenced to do something that I'd never in a million years believed I'd ever see.
Lex Luthor began to cry.
He took the little rabbit off of his knee and clutched it awkwardly to his heart as the first tears began to fall. Without warning, he began to slip from his perch on the back of the sofa, so I hurried to catch him carefully by the elbows as he fell to his knees on the expensive Persian rug. When I sat cross-legged on the floor beside him, he literally crawled into my lap, hanging onto my neck for dear life with one hand and the rabbit with the other, all the while weeping out the pent-up sorrows of the past nine years. I couldn't help but cry a little myself at his display, but I held him tight and gave him a secure nest in which to shed his demons, letting him break apart while making sure I stayed in one piece for the man I loved.
Petting his smooth head with one hand and rubbing his back with the other, I felt his gasps grow a little quieter, so dared to speak. "You gonna be okay?"
Between wet sobs, he answered, "No. I'm going to be sick."
Hoping he wouldn't notice a little superspeed, I hurried him to the bathroom, standing close by if he wanted me to go inside with him, but not offended when he shut the door in my face. I tried not to listen to him, humming tunes quietly to myself to muffle the noises coming from behind the closed door. At last, the toilet was flushed and water was running in the sink, so I wiped my own eyes and waited.
He still held the little rabbit tightly in his hand when he emerged from the bathroom, mouthwash on his breath and reddened lids surrounding his eyes. Otherwise, though, his facade seemed firmly back in place, which was almost a disturbing contrast to the mess he'd been just a few minutes earlier. Before I could say anything, he announced, "I'm going to go lie down." I watched him walk right past me, but he paused and, over his shoulder, said, "Aren't you coming?"
Silently, I fell into step behind him and followed him up the stairs to his room. I was stunned to see that Enrique had anticipated our needs, as a tray bearing another pot of tea, some turkey sandwiches, and a Coke was waiting for us on his dresser when we arrived. All appearances to the contrary, Lex still wasn't quite feeling like himself, because he allowed me to pour him a cup of tea before he stretched out on his bed.
I ate a sandwich and drank the Coke quietly in a corner chair while Lex dozed, still dressed, on top of his bedspread. So my mom wouldn't worry, I called her from the phone in the bathroom while keeping an eye on my heartbroken friend through the open door.
"Hello?" she answered on the first ring.
"Hi, Mom. It's me. I wanted to call before it got late."
I could hear her mouthing my name to my dad, who must have been nearby. "That's fine, dear. Where are you?"
"I'm at Lex's. He needs me to stay a little while. Is that okay?"
"Well, don't forget you've got school again tomorrow. You don't get a day off for a funeral every day..."
I chuckled regretfully under my breath, since sometimes it felt like we did. "Mom?" I began again after a thoughtful pause, "If anything were ever to happen to me, you'd call Lex and tell him, wouldn't you?"
"Of course," she replied, warmly and reassuringly. "I know how much you mean to each other."
"Wow... Thanks, Mom. I love you."
"I love you, too, honey. Just make sure you're up in time to do your chores before school," she added, leaving her permission to spend the night unspoken for my dad's sake, but very much understood for mine.
When I came back to Lex's bedroom, he was watching me with bright eyes. "What did she say?" he asked, sitting up a little and reaching again for his teacup.
I sat on the edge of the bed to reply, "She didn't specifically say I could stay over, but I could tell she meant it."
"Good, but that's not what I was asking." In response to my curious look, he continued. "She said she'd call me, didn't she? I mean, if something happened to you..."
A shy smile crept across my face at the thought that he'd been listening. "Yeah. She said she knew what we mean to each other..."
"Oh?" he asked, with a sly twinkle in his eye. "What's that?"
Leaning down to caress his lips with my own, I then sat back to answer, "You mean the world to me, Lex. I love you so much it scares me sometimes. I'm sorry I never got to meet Pamela--it would be nice to know someone who helped you become the man you are now."
Lex picked the rabbit again from where it had landed on the pillow next to his and held it so it faced me. "Fuff? I'd like to introduce you formally to Clark, whom I believe you met earlier. Can you give a message to Pamela for me?" He cocked his head as if he were listening to the toy for a moment. "Yes, he's very special to me, just like you are. Tell her not to worry about me--he always takes very good care of me, and will make sure I'm never alone again. What's that?" he asked, listening again. "Yes, he is very beautiful. I love him like no one else I've ever known. You may play with him some more later, but you'll have to give him back when you're done. He's mine." The possessiveness in his voice made my heart speed up a little in arousal.
"If I may interrupt...?" I teased, whereupon Lex set Fuff down against the headboard far away from his pillow, then folded his hands on his chest and waited for me to continue with a beatific smile. "Are you feeling better now?"
"Much, Clark. Did you have something in mind?"
"Yeah," I sighed, bending to kiss him again and sliding the belt of my kimono loose, "fuck me. I want you inside me tonight."
I felt like I could live off the glow of his smile forever. "Of course, Clark. You've done so much for me, I should at least be able to do that for you." Unbuttoning his shirt, I rubbed our bare chests together as I kissed him slowly and deeply. His pants were gone as quickly as I could strip them from him without making a telltale blur in the air, and soon we were naked and touching every inch of skin that we could all at once.
Because I could reach it more easily, I dug a condom out of the drawer of his nightstand, and slipped it on my lover's cock expertly, lying back on the pillows as soon as I was done. He applied a generous portion of lube to me and to himself, then got into position and entered my body slowly and easily. As he fucked me steadily, he stroked my dick with his lubricated left hand, watching my face as if the mysteries of the universe were contained in it. For that matter, who was I to say that they weren't there?
"Thank you," he groaned through his exertions.
"What for?" I asked, between gasps.
"For saving me again."
Stretching up towards his face, I kissed him as hard as I could. "Practice makes perfect. You don't have to thank me. It was my pleasure."
His sly grin was back. "That's what I thought this was." With a vicious jerk, he forced a moan from my throat and a long, hot orgasm from my cock. My spasms had barely stilled before he was shooting hard and deep into me, and our eyes never left one another as we came in each other's arms. He kissed me for a long time as our pulses got back to normal, then as we disengaged and started cleaning up, he said, "I mean it, Clark. I don't know what I'd do without you. I love you more than anything."
Despite my happy afterglow, something was still bothering me a little. "I love you, too, Lex, and I'm sorry I made you cry. I thought Luthors didn't cry..."
He gave me a sheepish look. "That might just be my father's side of the family," he joked. "Besides, I think I needed it. I feel a lot better now, thanks to you."
So did I, I thought as he nibbled at the other sandwich and got ready for bed. I may have had a nice family whom I adored in a comfortable house a couple of miles down the road, but all I could think as I watched him was that Lex was home, and that whenever he was with me, so was I.
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