Title: CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL (Nourishment 3.2)
Author: Janet F. Caires-Lesgold
Feedback to: jfc@freeshell.org
Archive: Mailing list archives only--others please ask permission!
Category: Story, romance, Lex POV
Spoilers: Post-ep for "Phoenix"
Rating: NC-17 for m/m sexual interaction
Pairing: Clark/Lex established relationship
Summary: Lex comes home

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 Tiff, who is always there for me, and for LadyClio16's birthday!

COPYRIGHT: (C) Janet F. Caires-Lesgold, January 13, 2004, 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 looked like he was seeing God.

I came across the yard for the first time since my months on the island and called to him, distracting him from his physical labor. At once his entire bearing changed: his stiff shoulders and disinterested expression exploded into a look of amazement and joy, and maybe a little awe. He couldn't hold himself back from practically running to me, seizing me up in his arms so warmly that I could feel my desolate heart accelerate in an attempt to catch up with the rate of his excited pulse. It was great to feel like I'd saved him for a change.

I had been so alone when I'd been left to die, I started creating artificial people in my mind. Any of the twisted reunions I'd had once I was back on the mainland might have made me feel like I belonged to the living again, but it wasn't until I beheld that perfect face so happy once again that I knew I had a reason to live.

It wouldn't have surprised me had he cried to see me again, but he didn't, not that I minded seeing him dry-eyed and ecstatic to be holding me close after all that missing time. That baptism was given by his mother, who was standing at the stove when we burst in the back door. She took one look at my scuffed scalp and her son's relief, and the tears started to run down her cheeks as she reached for us both. We nearly held each other upright until the soup she'd been stirring on the stove began to bubble precariously near the edge of the pot.

As she turned back to her cooking, she insisted I stay for lunch, while Clark seemed unable to stop hugging me in the middle of their kitchen. Jonathan's arrival didn't even pry us apart, and I felt almost blessed by his kind and welcoming smile, which was so different from the homecoming I'd received from my own father. Soon we sat down to hot soup and fresh bread, which I luckily could eat with just my left hand, because Clark sat close beside me and refused to let go of my right during the entire meal.

Long-smoldering embers flared in our gazes as we said goodbye that afternoon. We maintained our unspoken agreement not to indulge in more serious touching while I was still married, but he gave me a tender kiss in the yard before sending me back to deal with Helen. There wasn't time right then to plumb the depths of the complicated look in the eyes of my beautiful lover, but I will confess that it took me more than fifteen minutes to start the car to leave him that afternoon.

After my new bride disappeared, and I mended some fences with my dad, I moved quickly to rescue my adopted family from financial ruin. Once my good news was delivered in that same kitchen, I noticed a tinge of melancholy in Clark's otherwise elated gaze, and I drew him aside to insist softly, "Let's go upstairs." He glanced to his parents, but they were sitting stunned at the table, reviewing the paperwork and unconcerned about our activities for awhile, so he nodded and tagged after me silently.

Excusing himself to the bathroom for a moment, he left me to find his bedroom on my own. It looked just like as it had so many months before: the same almost-too-small bed, the same student desk, the same dingy wallpaper against which he had fucked me urgently during a thunderstorm last spring. But things were missing--tiny details of a life tucked somewhere out of sight. I was trying to remember the exact contents of one of his shelves when he came in at last and shut the door behind himself.

"Where are your spaceships?" I asked as a conversation-starter.

"What?" he responded fiercely, his eyes pale and terrified.

"Calm down," I cooed, patting his arm, then directing his attention to the bare spot above his desk. "Your collection of model spaceships that used to be right there. Did you already pack them up?"

Although his surprising reaction faded almost as soon as it had appeared, he grew sad at once. "They were in a moving van that got, uh, lost..."

"Oh, I'm sure you could contact the company and make them locate it, couldn't you?"

Unable to meet my eyes, he stumbled over his words. "There... there was a fire..."

I moved closer to him and reached out a consoling hand against his chest. "I'm so sorry, baby. I know they were important to you--"

With a bitter chuckle, he wrapped his arms around me and pulled me close, tucking his chin firmly over my shoulder so I couldn't see his face. "That's okay, Lex. They were just toys, just childish dreams of other worlds. They don't really matter..." I decided not to pursue the topic, since he was so quick to dismiss it, despite the sense that I was missing something significant.

Instead, I luxuriated in his grasp as long as I could, then felt myself pushed back a bit so that he could lunge in for a small kiss before he let me go. When he moved to the desk, a manila folder under his fingers caught my attention. "What's that?" I asked innocently.

My interest provoked a genuine slightly-embarrassed grin, at last. "Oh, just some clippings my mom saved for me while I was gone..." he explained as he picked up the file and handed it to me.

Inside the folder I found various Ledger items of local interest and one national story. "The Supreme Court?" I marveled as I read.

"Hmmm?" he interjected, trying to read upside-down.

"They decriminalized sodomy! I'm vastly impressed!" The import of this hit me in one fell swoop. "Oh, my God!" I exclaimed. "Do you realize what this means? My dad can't threaten us with legal action anymore!" I couldn't contain my happiness as I regarded my former partner-in-crime.

However, Clark did not join me in celebration. "Yeah, that's pretty great," he muttered feebly as he turned his back to me and wound his way to the window.

"Clark?" Setting the stack of newsprint back on his desk, I followed him around the end of the bed. "Is something wrong?"

He stared out the window, obviously not actually seeing the sunlit fields outside. "It's been a long summer..." he began, not really saying anything.

"So you had a few adventures while I was gone--I figured you would. How were things in the big city?"

Swallowing visibly, he finally raised damp eyes to mine. "A lot has changed since I saw you last..."

Nothing could keep me from jumping to the worst possible conclusions. "Oh, God," I hissed, my heart plunging into my gut, "you don't love me anymore."

At once, his shoulders squared and his mouth fell open in shock. "No, Lex! Of course I still love you! I'll always love you!" A second time, he clutched me to his chest and rubbed a big hand comfortingly down my back.

I couldn't tell which one of us was shaking harder as we sat together on the edge of his bed. Tucking my head on his shoulder, I nuzzled imploringly against his neck. "It's good to know that, but can't you tell me what's bothering you?"

Pulling back a little without letting go of me, he kissed the top of my head then petted my arms as he tried to put the words in order. "I've learned some things, about myself and others, that I never thought I would while I was in Metropolis. I've done some stuff I'm not proud of..." His voice trailed off, and he seemed unwilling to explain further.

My hand rose to cup his ruddy cheek, as my thumb brushed away a single wet track. "It's okay, baby," I assured him. "You're so young, you're allowed to misbehave sometimes. I forgive you. It's only fair, after all of the nonsense that I pulled in my day. You implied that you're more familiar with your own dark side now, so I guess we're about even." He nonetheless seemed unconvinced. "Look: you're still here, still alive, still mine," I added, earning a begrudging half-smile. "That's all that matters--I don't care what you've done as long as I have you here beside me."

His bottom lip quivering as he accepted my absolution, he wrapped bearlike arms around me again, and I held him tight while he wept silently. "I missed you so much," he murmured eventually into my ear.

"And I missed you more than I can say, Clark."

"No," he corrected me, holding me so he could look into my face. "You don't understand. I ran away, Lex. I left my family, my home... You had been the only hope I had all the time I was gone. When I thought that you were dead, I had nothing left to live for. It was hard enough knowing you'd left me for someone else, even though you'd promised to come back to me, but when I thought that I'd never be able to see you again..." A sob cut off his words, so I pulled him close to let him cry out his grief.

I shushed him gently and mouthed reassurances into his hair as he quieted slowly. As soon as I thought he could hear me, I confessed, "You know--sometimes the memory of you was all that kept me from giving up hope while I was stranded. I knew you had no idea where to find me, but I imagined you coming to my rescue more than once--not that I blame you for not making it come true. It sounds like you might have been a little bit in need of help yourself." His monster grip loosened a little, and he gave an amused, soggy snort. With his arm outstretched, he reached for some tissues, so I bridged the distance and handed him the box, letting him dab at his eyes and blow his nose as he composed himself again. While I was itching with curiosity to know more about his time in the city, I deduced that he would tell me when he was ready.

Once I felt he could handle a change of subject, I chided him mock-seriously, "You know, Clark, you were supposed to be my best man. Why didn't you come to my wedding?"

He looked guilt-stricken, but much less heartbroken than he had moments before. "I'm so sorry--there was so much going on in my heart that day, I just couldn't..."

A huge smile broke out on my face. "Did you think I was criticizing? In fact, I think I should have given more thought to your absence. You were right in not acknowledging that travesty. Had I paid attention to your hesitance, I could have saved us all a huge amount of pain."

Smiling shyly along with me, he gazed into my face and nodded his agreement. "Thank you. I hope I deserve your forgiveness, and will try to earn it every day. Maybe some day I can be your best man again..."

I could tell he was teasing a little, but I meant every word I said when I replied, "You will always be my best man. You're the best man I've ever known, and I love you more than anyone else in the world." Reaching for him, I kissed him with all the passion and devotion I'd done without since before my impulsive nuptials.

We sat on the bed making out and making up for lost time until he broke away and, gasping a little for breath like he had on a riverbank a lifetime ago, asked, "Make love to me, Lex. It's been too long."

"God, yes. It'll be nice not to break the law for once..." Gratefully, I unbuttoned his sturdy shirt, stealing kisses and urging him back onto the bedspread. Soon, clothes were shed, a condom and lube were located in his bedside table, and I prepared us both. Poised with my sheathed cock aimed for his waiting ass, I bit my lip as I stared into the eyes of my beloved and hoped I wouldn't cry. Sliding slowly into his body, I bent and tasted his open mouth again, finding myself in a perfect communion that I hadn't felt for months.

I grasped his erection in my lubed fist and stroked him carefully as he arched to meet my touch, mumbling nonsense syllables and loving moans in his arousal. "Love you," he sighed, then stiffened in my grasp and kept his eyes wide open as he came in a hot torrent over his chest, dragging me along behind him in divine completion.

Clark looked like he was seeing God, with a smile of wonder and promise and mystery. I knew how he felt, because I recognized him as my true savior.



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