Title: RED HOTS AND LIFESAVERS (Nourishment 2.4)
Author: Janet F. Caires-Lesgold
Feedback to: jfc@freeshell.org
Archive: Mailing list archives only--others please ask permission!
Category: Angsty romance, Lex POV
Spoilers: Post-ep for "Red"
Rating: NC-17 for m/m sexual interaction
Pairing: Clark/Lex established relationship
Summary: Things fall into place

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 this archive - Enjoy!

DEDICATION: For Henry, who called me a meanie for my last story, and for Tiff, because they all are (Happy Birthday!).

COPYRIGHT: (C) November 19, 2002, Janet F. Caires-Lesgold, jfc@freeshell.org

Please don't redistribute or alter this story in any way without the express permission of the author. Thank you very much.


Clark is back to normal.

His mother assures me that his wild personality shift was due to the red meteor rock in his class ring, and given how sick the green ones make him, this does not surprise me much.

Unfortunately, "normal" for Clark seems sort of subdued and strained, at least when we talk every couple of days. To tell the truth, I miss the rock-poisoned Clark more than a little.

Martha hints that he's had a very life-changing couple of days, and I can't deny that this scares me. Part of me wants to know every last detail, like the pal I hope he still considers me to be, but another part is terrified that he's crossed some lines and isn't interested in going back to what he was before. It's not like I encouraged him to stay the same in the least...

I felt like the biggest bully in the world when I cooled off my affair with him after my sham marriage to Desiree was annulled, but I had to do it. It may have broken his heart for me to dump him like that, but it will be better for us both in the long run. He needs time to understand that if we stayed together, he'd end up getting hurt even worse--I'm not sure how it will play out, or whose responsibility it will be, but given my history with love affairs, the final blow-up will not be pretty.

Why did I do it? The fiasco with Desiree just showed me how easily I could fall under the spell of a beautiful savior, so to speak. I stopped relying on my own good judgement and assumed that someone else could take care of me better than I could take care of myself. This is a dangerous inequity for me--I should always be in control, not at the mercy of another person, no matter how much that person claims to love me and care for me. I guess you could say I've got issues with abandonment, which probably started when my mother died. But I can't help it. I always get scared that if I get too dependent upon someone, they'll leave. That's why I had to end it with Clark, who could never need me as much as I found I needed him--it was only going to be a matter of time anyway.

Sure, it ripped my heart out to see the disappointment on his face when I told him to leave that night. If I'm being rational about it, though, it will hurt less now to end this than to drag it out for months, or maybe years, before it all falls apart. I love Clark too much to allow him to be hurt any more than is absolutely necessary. It's for the best--at least I keep telling myself that...

This evening, he's sitting in the Talon with schoolbooks heaped around him. His good buddy Pete has just picked up his things and waved goodbye, barely brushing past me as he departs. Clark writes furiously in a notebook, not even referring to the thick volume open at his elbow, so I hesitate to interrupt him while he's working so hard. But interrupt I must, as his presence draws me to him like a compass to magnetic north. My self-imposed exile from the most important person in my life seems pointless and petty when he's in the same room as I.

"Clark," I address him as I sidle up to his table, hoping not to startle him.

He jumps anyway. "Lex!" he says, closing his notebook immediately.

"What are you working on?" I ask, gesturing to his textbook with my chin.

"Chemistry--it's tedious." As he scoots the tome on top of the notebook, I can tell that he's hiding something from me. If we were still lovers, I'd snatch it away and read it, but now I let him have his privacy for the moment. "Do you want to sit down?" he asks, as if I might run away were he to suggest such a thing.

His attitude when he came to borrow my car, while it tugged at my heart, and a few other more intimate organs, made me want to know more about this heterosexual boy I thought I recognized but don't know at all. Perhaps we can relate like "just guys" for now, if nothing else. With my hands braced on the table, I lean over him a little possessively. "Actually, I wanted to ask you about your adventures over the past few days. Your mother told me you were out all night with a girl?" I try not to sound too incredulous, but just curious enough to make him uncomfortable.

My tactic works. "Geez, Lex--you talked to my mom about it? Do we have to have this conversation here?"

I whip out my keys and dangle them invitingly before his face. "Step into my office," I croon.

He swallows nervously, but scoops up his books, dumping them in his backpack, and hoists it and his coffee to follow me.

Lana's eye follows us inquisitively, so I call out to her. "I've got something I need to discuss with Clark. Can you stay out of the back office for awhile?"

Her nod does not dispel the frown knitting her eyebrows together, but I don't care. For once I truly don't mind being seen taking my conversation with my ex somewhere more private--it sort of confirms to the whole town that we've broken up, making it a little easier to admit to myself. See, Smallville? I'm not afraid of what you might say if I let you watch me lock myself behind a door with this gorgeous creature. Nothing else is going on here. Nothing at all...

I open the door and usher Clark inside, picking up the broom that has fallen across the doorway before we step over the threshold. Throwing the lock again for privacy, I move to pick my friend's brain a little. Instead of sitting in the tall armchair behind the desk, I perch on the front edge of the desk, waving him into one of the chairs before me. He sits and sets down the things in his hands, but doesn't relax one iota.

"How are you, Clark?" I ask as innocently as I can manage.

"Fine" he blusters out quickly, not meeting my eyes. Interestingly, I can feel his eyes on me like a sunlamp the second I look away from his face.

"Are you angry with me for going to get your father when you came to see me while you were so out-of-control?"

"No," he answers, fidgeting with his coffee cup. "I'm glad you did, to tell the truth. I might have hurt somebody if I'd kept going the way I was. Thank you, Lex." He looks into my eyes at last, his face unreadable, but his pupils huge and needy.

"I'm glad I could help. What was going on with you, anyway?" I ask, not exactly positive that I want to know.

Studying the faded movie posters on the wall behind me, he replies, "I'm not sure. I know I wasn't myself."

"I could tell," I assure him. "When you said that there wasn't anything left in this town that you cared about, I knew that there was something very wrong. I mean, not even Lana?" The words sound hollow to my ears, even more than they did at the time. How I wanted, then and now, to change that to asking if he felt the same way about me!

An ironic half-grin tips his mouth, but as his eyes shift to meet mine, it fades completely, leaving behind a sharp gaze that looks right through me for a heartbeat before he looks away again. "This is my home. My family and all of my friends are here. I don't know what got into me. I'm sorry if I behaved badly around you..."

With a smile, I reach out to place a gentle hand on his shoulder, resisting the urge to stroke his cheek with my thumb. "You're forgiven, Clark. Did you at least have fun?"

Slowly and shyly, he returns my smile. "Yeah, I did. It was cool to feel that free, that unrestrained..."

I choose not to ask why he normally feels restrained, because I understand that there are some parts of my old boyfriend's psyche that I will never really know. Instead, with an internal shudder at what he might answer, I urge him, "So, tell me about the girl!"

The gaze dips a little, and a healthy blush starts washing over Clark's face. "Who? Jesse?"

Call it morbid curiosity. I can't stop myself from fishing for every sordid detail of his date in a pathetic attempt to stay involved in his life after I've literally pushed him out of mine. "Yeah, Jesse. What happened?" With a final squeeze, I let go of his shoulder and sit back to listen.

"I dunno--we had a few laughs... What do you want me to say?" He's embarrassed, but smiling.

I smile back blandly. "I'm your best friend, Clark. I want to know everything!" Maybe I'll masturbate to the mental images it evokes when I can't sleep tonight...

"Like what?"

So I've gone from being his lover to being his older brother. I can live with that, if I must. "Did you get your wick wet?"

"What?!?" he hollers, gloriously appalled.

My voice drops to a conspiratorial whisper, and my grin threatens to break my face in half. "Did you dip your pen into the old inkwell? Did you fuck her?"

He takes a moment, his mouth hanging open, then pulls back and swallows hard, his eyes scanning the floor nervously again. "No, Lex. I didn't."

I am briefly nonplussed, and not sure he's being totally honest with me. "But your mom said that you told her that--and I quote--it was the best night of your life." My brain is shouting the words I dare not say: Was it the best night of your life because you got laid, or because it didn't have anything to do with me?

"It was--I've never felt like that before: uninhibited, crazy, wild. It had nothing to do with what Jesse and I did or didn't do." There is a challenge in his eyes when he looks up at me again. "Look--why are you asking me this? Did my mom put you up to it? Did she ask you to quiz me about what went on?"

Trying to defuse the new tension in the room, I get up and stride over to a filing cabinet. Over my shoulder, I answer, "No, Clark. I was just curious. I want you to get some experience in life, to be happy." With some distance between us, I spin to face him again. "Didn't you at least fool around a little?"

Sheepishly, he grins as if to himself. "Well, we did make out for awhile..."

"And?" Leaning back against the cabinet casually, all appearances indicating that I am eagerly awaiting more of his tale, I swallow down all of the dread that I can and brace myself for his answer.

"And--she blew me." His blush can probably be seen from space.

I am genuinely filled with admiration for him, and more jealousy than I would dare admit. "Good for you! You took care of her, didn't you?"

He looks like he doesn't really want to say the words, but he does. "Yeah. I touched her and made her come."

"Wow! I'm proud of you!" I crow sincerely. At least I can take comfort in having taught him something about being a gentleman. "I'm curious, though. Why didn't you go all the way? Didn't she want to?"

He's gnawing on his lip, but somehow I hear him loud and clear. "Yeah... Yeah, she did..."

"Are you saying that you didn't want to go further than that with her?"

Looking at me almost like he did under the influence of his class ring, he nearly growls, "I'm saying that all I really wanted to do was this." He springs from his chair like a pouncing tiger and is on me in a second. I am pinned against the file cabinet, his hips thrusting against mine, his elbows pressing back against my shoulders, and his hands gripping my head tight as he kisses me violently. There is no way I can evade his tongue probing my mouth, and there is no way that I want to.

Before I have to gasp for breath, he breaks away and starts nibbling on my jawline possessively. In between bites, he's groaning words just under his breath: "Tell me you haven't wanted this. Tell me you haven't needed this. Tell me to stop."

"No, Clark--don't stop!" I find myself whining, unable to move beyond kissing every inch of his face I can reach, finally resorting to licking his cheekbones. Stupid with lust, I realize that my hands are firm against his ass and pulling his heat against me even tighter. We're both hard from weeks of self-denial, but I don't care if I don't come for an hour.

Using strength I didn't know he had, he pulls me away from the metal-paneled cabinet and props me against the front edge of the desk again. "I love you, Lex!" he chants as he unbuttons my shirt and unfastens my pants. "You don't know how much I need you! I can't stand being without you! How could you send me away?"

Despite his urgency, he has managed to get my trousers completely off without damaging the fabric. I am curled on the edge of the desk, my legs wrapped around my beautiful boy once again, as I murmur apologies and entreaties into his closest ear. "I'll never do it again, baby. I'm so sorry, Clark. I love you more than anything in the world. I never meant to hurt you that much!"

Stepping back no more than an inch, his hands almost a blur, he strips off his own jeans and boxers, leaving him standing erect and dripping against my hip. "I'm gonna fuck you now--no prep, no nothing--and if it hurts..."

"I deserve it," I finish for him. I watch his eyes, which still spark with weeks worth of anger and bitterness, as his fingers find my hole and guide his cock inside me. He's so large, it does hurt, but I relish the burn as I welcome my lover back where he belongs.

Clark, stunning, fierce Clark, takes me like I've been dreaming he'd do all the time we've been apart. I abandon my cowardly plan of keeping it platonic between us, as there's no way I can refuse myself the intensity of his fuck, or of his love. The pain we are likely to cause each other down the line is too far away to concern me now. I'm willing to suffer any deprivation in our future in exchange for the sheer bliss of this moment. After he comes, burning what feels like his initials into the delicate tissues inside me, he strokes my hardness to a sweet, dreamlike orgasm while cradling my body close to his. We whisper words of love directly into each others' mouths, reveling in our renewed passion.

Some time later, chairs shoved aside and clothing hastily restored, we sit on the floor, doing nothing but touching softly and letting our eyes make our apologies for us. My hands smooth over his, pausing at his ring finger.

"I'm sorry you lost your class ring, Clark."

"It's okay. It would have been a reminder of how easy it was to abandon my common sense and put myself in danger, just living for the moment with no thought to my future or the people who cared about me." He still looks wistful, though, and I recall another reminder of mistakes from my recent past.

I find my jacket and, inside the pocket, the small velvet box that I'd come here to give Clark in the first place. "This is for you," I announce, placing the box directly into his outstretched hand.

"What is it?" he asks, looking at it like it might bite.

"Open it," I encourage him, and he does so. Inside is a wedding set--my wedding set: two plain platinum bands in different sizes and a matching blue diamond solitaire.

"What's this for?" he asks, eyeing the gem warily.

"Think of it as a thank-you gift for saving my life so many times. If the past few days are any indication, you're going to need something like this somewhere down the line. Don't argue with me--some day you will want to marry the perfect girl, and it would be a nice gesture to give her something a little flashy. I certainly don't need them anymore. Keep them with my blessings."

Tentatively, he eases the larger of the two bands out of its niche and looks at it more closely. "Hmph," he notes with a goofy grin, "it even sorta looks like a shiny lifesaver..." Trying it on, he pushes it as far as the second knuckle of his ring finger, where it will budge no further. He yanks it off quickly, before it gets permanently stuck, and slips it onto his pinky, where it just fits. With a snap, he shuts the box and tucks it into his backpack, then looks fondly at the ring on his finger, and back at me.

"Thank you, Lex," he says quietly, and the importance of the jewelry suddenly shifts in my mind to mean something entirely different.

"You're welcome, Clark," I answer, my mouth dry. "I love you."

He leans in and gives me a tender, warm kiss. "I know. I knew it even when you had shut me out. In fact..." He trails off, digging in his backpack for the notebook in which I'd seen him scribbling. Flipping it open, he scans his loopy handwriting, then hands the open book to me. "This is for you. It's not finished, but I want you to read it..."

I don't need to ask what it is, because the words "Dear Lex" are emblazoned across the top. Scratched out words and entire deleted lines litter the page below, but I can still read the sentiment that remains. "I love you," it continues. "You may not think I will always love you, but I'm certainly going to try. I need you beside me, no matter what else is going on in my life. Please take me back. It hurts trying to live without you. You've given me so much, but the thing I miss the most is your love now that you've taken it away. Do you still love me, Lex?" There the script trails off, so I raise my eyes to my lover.

"You do, don't you?" he asks, but so confidently that I can't help but echo his smile.

"I do," I sigh, marveling how much I sound like I did before an altar just a few weeks earlier.

"I knew that," he laughs gently. "And I do, too." It surprises neither of us that we seal our vow with a kiss.

Clark is back to normal.

So, after all, are we.


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