|CLEX FIC: Counting the Days, part 2 of 2
||[Aug. 6th, 2007|07:30 pm]
Part one is here:
And here's the conclusion!
Clark dreams all night of Lex and wakes the next morning suffused with him: thoughts of Lex's mouth under his, Lex's skin under his hands. He tries to push the fantasies away but they bounce back like elastic. Clark wonders if this fixation is exactly what his parents had feared, all those years ago in Smallville: that he would get too close to Lex and never get free again. He'd loved Lana then; despite their bickering, he loves Lois now. But he has never wanted anyone the way that he wants Lex.
It is unfortunate, then, that J'onn should choose this day of all days to visit. He comes in disguise of course, playing the role of Clark's lawyer. But behind the shape-shifting, a little of J'onn always shows through. It's the gravity in the voice, the melancholy in his eyes.
"How are you holding up?" he asks Clark.
Clark tries desperately to banish thoughts of Lex.
"I'm fine. Doing fine. Have you….have you been able to round up new evidence for my case?"
"The evidence is stacking up," says J'onn. "But we are still missing a central piece."
Clark frowns. This probably means that while Bruce and The Question have managed to implicate members of Deacon Edge's gang, they still lack evidence against Edge himself. He says:
"That may change, soon."
"If you should need me, I will be…listening for you."
Clark flushes, thinking about some of the things J'onn might have already over-heard. But, no. J'onn wouldn't eavesdrop on his thoughts, uninvited. He's almost painfully ethical.
"Thank you," he says.
J'onn nods, and stands up. Clark is guiltily relieved to see him go. At this point, J'onn barely needs his ability to read Clark's mind; it feels like he's broadcasting his ache for Lex in neon letters.
He walks back from the visiting room with Marco.
"How many days you got left?" Marco asks. Clark thinks it over:
"Lucky. I've got forty three. You must be counting the days, man."
The phrase sticks in Clark's head. Counting the days. Twelve days to wrap up loose ends with Deacon Edge. Twelve more days with Lex.
In the afternoon, Archie returns from his stint in solitary and aims a sneer in Clark's direction. Clark stares back at him, unblinking. He listens in on Mandan's interrogation, which is being conducted in Guarez's office; unfortunately Mandan gives up nothing. He offers no reason for his attack on Lex and does not mention Deacon Edge. The detectives try every tack but Mandan shuts them down and is returned to his cell in solitary.
After dinner, Lex is escorted back to the cell block. Clark knows he's coming before he arrives, tracking his heart beat, his footsteps, through the corridors and past the guard station. He turns his head to see Lex coming through the doorway. A nearby inmate observes Clark's glance and promptly starts making kissing noises.
Lex follows Clark into their cell.
"Hope you didn't redecorate while I was gone."
"Wouldn’t dream of it."
Small smile from Lex. After a pause, Clark says:
"You saw the knife coming – why did you let Mandan stab you?"
Lex gives him a patient look, as though this should be glaringly obvious:
"I told you. I calculated where the blade would hit and positioned myself accordingly. And it worked. He's out of our way now."
"You shouldn't put yourself in jeopardy," says Clark. "Not to protect me."
"You didn't give me much of a choice," points out Lex. "You wouldn't let me kill him."
Outraged by the unfairness of this, Clark opens his mouth to protest but no words come out. Of course, Lex seizes the moment:
"Oh, so martyr complexes are exclusive to you, Clark? I hadn't heard-"
The cell gates clank shut and the lights dim. Lex stands by the sink, brushing his teeth. Clark lies on the bottom bunk, watching him. When Lex finishes, he turns and despite his effort to look casual, there's a slight uncertainty in his posture that squeezes Clark's heart. He reaches out his hand:
And then Lex is in his arms. Warm and alive, stubborn but frail, Clark's most dangerous enemy and his deepest desire. Clark runs his hands over every bit of Lex he can reach: strokes the strong legs through the cotton pajamas, the muscles of Lex's back, the delicate skin of his throat.
Lex controls the kiss, pushing Clark down on the bunk and climbing on top of him. Clark arches his neck and lets Lex do what he wants. Lex settles between Clark's legs, one hand in Clark's hair. He pulls back from the kiss and stares at Clark.
Clark tugs at Lex's t-shirt, gently because of his wound. Lex obediently lifts up his arms. There's no moonlight in their cell but Lex seems to glow with a pearly light of his own. Clark slides his hand across soft skin to stroke the bandage; Lex says:
"It barely hurts any more."
"Let me see."
Lex gingerly pulls the bandage back. There's a faint red seam, south of his collarbone. Clark traces it with a finger.
"The great irony of my life," says Lex, softly. "So few visible scars. Except the ones I've left on others. On you, though it doesn't show."
He's sitting on Clark's thighs, solid and warm. Clark pulls him down and rolls him over so that they're lying side by side in the narrow bunk. He dips his head to kiss Lex's neck, listens briefly to the quickening pulse of blood.
Lex gets a hand under Clark's t-shirt. He brushes lightly over Clark's nipples, which swell at his touch. Then he skims down to the waistband of Clark's pajamas and slips his hand below. Clark gasps as Lex's fingers brush his cock.
"Pull them down," whispers Lex. "I want to see."
Clark hikes his pajama bottoms down and they both look at Clark's cock, which is very hard and shiny at the tip. Then Clark reaches for Lex; the pajamas slip easily off Lex's narrow hips.
"Come here," says Lex. "Both…in my hand."
Clark shifts closer, until their cocks are lined up in Lex's palm. Lex takes a long, low breath, and then wraps his hand around them both and starts jacking slowly.
"OH!" says Clark, loudly, and Lex's other hand comes up and claps over his mouth.
They lie still and listen for any response from the cellblock. Clark hears Henry mutter something about "unrepentant sinners" but nothing more. Lex slowly begins to move his hand and the pressure of his palm and the friction of his cock against Clark's forces Clark to bite his lip to keep from moaning again.
They thrust towards each other. Clark is torn between looking down at Lex's cock and up at his face; Lex is doing the same and it makes Clark laugh.
"What's funny?" hisses Lex. He jerks his hips towards Clark. His cheeks are pink and he too has bitten his lip.
Clark tries to speak and has to bite back another groan.
Lex is jacking them harder now. Clark's eyes are nearly rolling back in his head and he'd swear his heart is beating loud enough to wake the cellblock.
"-those nodding dogs in the back windows of cars-"
Lex stares at him blankly, then says "Unghhhh", and comes, hot and wet, all over his own hand and Clark's stomach. Then he swiftly claps his free hand over Clark's mouth to stifle Clark's groan as he comes too.
They lie, nose to nose, sticky and panting. Clark has thought Lex beautiful thousands of times (including plenty of times when he should have been more concerned with what mayhem Lex might be planning) but Lex has never looked more beautiful than he does right now. Eyelashes fluttering, cheeks flushed, still regaining his breath.
Lex draws a damp finger along Clark's cheek, tracing the line of his jaw and his brow. They stare at each other for a minute, then Clark retrieves his t-shirt from the floor to clean them up. Lex yawns and moves in to rest his head on Clark's shoulder.
"You shouldn't get hurt for me," says Clark. He gets only a sleepy murmur in response but just when he's about to fall asleep, Lex raises his mouth to Clark's ear and says, whisper-soft:
"Tomorrow, I want you to fuck me."
Clark shivers but the warm weight of Lex anchors him. They fall asleep, entangled.
* * * *
And so, unfortunately, do they wake up the next morning, with two guards staring at them.
"We're so sorry to disturb your "morning after", Mr. Luthor," says the first guard.
"I believe I ordered a later wake-up call," says Lex, stretching indolently. Clark can't help snickering.
"GET THE FUCK UP! BOTH OF YOU! NOW!"
That afternoon, during work detail, Clark can't shake a feeling of unease. He checks in on Lex several times – but Lex is fine, working silently in the mail room. Clark listens in on various snippets of conversation around the prison, all of them mundane but still his sense of foreboding lingers.
As Clark is walking back to the cellblock, he hears Lex's heartbeat suddenly speed up. Clark immediately doubles his pace:
"Cool it, Dent," says the guard, grabbing his arm.
Clark nearly shoves him aside but fortunately they've reached the cell block. As Clark enters, prisoners turn to look at him with faces that reflect degrees of smugness, anticipation, amusement and most of all, knowledge. They know something is going down and are waiting for Clark's reaction. Again, it's just like high school.
Clark scans the cells and finds Lex, pinned to the wall of a cell on the second floor. He's struggling fiercely, held in place by two men. It's Archie's cell.
With all eyes on him, Clark runs up the stairs. A quick flick of a glance at the nearest smoke detector is all it takes to have the alarms sounding. Below, the inmates mill about but the tableau of figures in Archie's cell remains motionless. Clark pauses in the doorway.
"Piss off, Dent," says Archie without turning around. Lex meets Clark's eye. Clark is well acquainted with the look on his face. Lex looks very calm and composed which means he's absolutely furious.
"Let him go," says Clark. "You hear those sirens going off? The guards are going to do a head count any second."
"Or not," says the other prisoner, who Clark recognizes as one of Mandan's biker friends. "The day shift guards ain't the sharpest tools in the drawer."
Lex aims a kick at Archie's groin; Archie dodges it. There is further commotion from the common area below
"See, this is how it's going to go down, Dent," says Archie, slowly. "I'm going to fuck your boy. Then I'm going to turn him over to Jeffers here. He's got business with him."
The biker winks at Clark.
"Whatever's left when we're done, we'll drop in your cell," says Archie. He unzips the front of Lex's orange jumpsuit, exposing the bare skin underneath. "You ready to give it up, Lex? Look at you, all pretty an' smooth. I like girls on the outside, you know. You're the closest thing to, in here."
At this Clark loses it, his rage suffusing him to the point that his vision turns red. He dimly hears Lex gasp "Clark" in a warning tone, as his hands are reaching for Archie's throat. Jeffers gets in the way and is knocked aside.
Everyone freezes. Jeffers has risen to a crouch. Archie's nostrils flare. He says:
"Fuck it. I'm having him."
He spins Lex round to face the wall but Lex kicks back, like a horse, and this time his foot hits home. As Archie doubles over, Clark grabs Lex and pulls him out of the cell.
"I SAID "COUNT." ANY INMATE NOT IN FRONT OF HIS CELL IN THE NEXT TEN SECONDS LOSES PHONE PRIVILEDGES FOR THE NEXT FUCKING WEEK!"
Lex is quiet for the rest of the day. Clark watches him uneasily. He knows Lex in this mode; he's plotting.
"Don't do anything," he says softly, at dinner. "It's not worth it."
Lex flicks a glance at him but doesn't answer.
Because I can't justify sleeping with you, if you revert to who you really are, finishes Clark, in his head. It means our little jailhouse idyll is over and reality has returned with a vengeance – with your vengeance, Lex.
Lex paces their cell until Lockdown. The moment the lights go off, he hurls himself at Clark. His hands are everywhere at once, digging into Clark's shoulder, clutching his hair. He jumps up and wraps his legs around Clark's waist. Clark steadies him, carries him to the bottom bunk. He tries to lay Lex down gently – but Lex doesn't want gentle. He snarls and lunges at Clark again, with such force that Clark is afraid he'll hurt himself.
"Hey…" says Clark, but then Lex's mouth is back on his. It's impossible to kiss Clark too hard but Lex is in danger of bruising his own mouth. Lex shifts himself into Clark's lap; he grabs one of Clark's hands and guides it around to his back. Clark tries to slow him down by petting him, stroking Lex's shoulders and back, rubbing the soft skin above his hip. Lex grunts impatiently and thrusts Clark's hand down the back of his pajama pants, right into the cleft of his ass. He nips at Clark's ear, then whispers:
Clark shivers and feels the shiver ripple through Lex on his lap. His cock, already rock-hard from the press of Lex's ass, strains a little harder. Lex's hand is fumbling for the fly of his pajamas. They're moving far too fast. After waiting for so many years, it can't happen in a rush like this. Clark says.
"No, we don't," says Lex, trying to kiss Clark and wriggle out of his t-shirt simultaneously. He's rocking in Clark's lap, frantic; Clark realizes that Lex is still very angry.
"Lex, slow down."
They glare at each other; Lex kicks off his pajama bottoms, steadying himself with a hand in Clark's hair. He's naked in Clark's lap and the heat of him, the smell of his skin, is making Clark dizzy. Lex yanks down Clark's pajamas to free his erection, which practically leaps into Lex's hand.
"Want you," Lex mumbles into Clark's neck. "For so long. Want you so bad."
He shifts and Clark sees that Lex intends to push himself down onto Clark's cock, with no lube, no preparation. He'll hurt himself – but that's what Lex wants. He has always responded to being hurt by seeking out the risk of even greater pain: Each rejection from Lionel propelling him into more dangerous behaviour; each half truth from Clark nudging him into more perilous research. His way of coping with Archie's assault today is to assault himself all over again with Clark as an unwilling prop.
"No," says Clark, softly. "We're not doing it like this."
Lex struggles but Clark holds him still; when Lex opens his mouth to complain, Clark claps a hand over his mouth.
They sit like that for a few minutes, Lex silent and furious in Clark's lap. Outside, rain pelts against the prison walls and someone down the cellblock is snoring softly.
Lex tries a new tactic and licks Clark's palm. Clark flips him around and eases him down onto his back, pinning his wrists to the pillow. He says sternly:
"You calm now?"
Lex stares back at him, eyes unreadable, and Clark thinks how this weirdly similar this is to their usual interactions: Lex goes too far; Clark reins him in. Lex commits elaborate crimes and puts himself at risk to get Superman's attention; Clark turns up in the nick of time to stop him and save him. Perhaps, all their years of conflict have been nothing more than a drawn-out foreplay, all leading up to this moment in this bunk.
He bends to kiss Lex. At first, Lex stubbornly keeps his lips shut but a gentle application of tongue solves that and soon Lex is moaning into Clark's mouth. Clark licks along the crooked line of Lex's scar, then moves north to kiss his nose and eyelids. Lex's hands are free now; one hand is toying with Clark's left nipple, which seems to be wired directly to his cock. Each flick of Lex's finger tightens his balls, and brings him closer to the edge.
Clark kisses Lex's neck, runs his hands along the smooth chest, tweaks a nipple and enjoys hearing Lex gasp:
"You going to…..tease me all night…?"
"Maybe," says Clark. He licks a circle around the nearest nipple, gently squeezes Lex's thigh. He dips his tongue into Lex's navel, salty with sweat and is rewarded with another soft moan. "You taste good."
Lex growls and hauls Clark back up for a kiss. They rock into each other, cocks brushing. Lex dips a hand to cup Clark's balls. Clark bucks, nearly throwing them both off the bed.
"Always so in control," whispers Lex. He thrusts against Clark. "Always wanted to see you lose control, even if it killed me."
Clark pushes him back down and gets a thigh in each hand. Lex stares up at him, his eyes heavy-lidded. Clark gently spreads the thighs apart and bends between them to whisper.
"Under the mattress."
"We are not using plastic explosives for lube," says Clark firmly, and is rewarded with a snort of laughter from Lex.
"No. No, look-"
Clark plants one hand firmly on Lex's chest and fumbles under the mattress with the other. His fingers brush something and he pulls out a tube of Vaseline.
"Do I even want to know how you got this?"
Sleepy smile from Lex.
"Does it matter?"
Clark rests his cheek on Lex's stomach and spreads the lube on two fingers. He tilts his head to watch Lex's reaction, as the first finger slips inside. Lex arches his back – St. Sebastian pinned by arrows – then he reaches down to guide Clark's hand. Clark kisses Lex's thighs, his cock, while gently twisting and pushing deeper into the heat of him. When he feels Lex's balls tighten under his tongue, he lifts his head:
"Are you ready?"
Lex nods, then whimpers when the fingers are withdrawn. He rolls onto his side, facing the wall and looks back at Clark over his shoulder.
Clark slips out of his pajamas. He moves in behind Lex and enjoys the press of chest to back, thigh to thigh. He lifts Lex's leg and gently the guides the tip of his cock inside him. Lex gasps; there's a flash of pain across his face. Clark waits for him to adjust and then starts easing himself forward. When he's halfway in, Lex looks over his shoulder again and Clark dips his head to kiss him. Lex grasps Clark's hip and with a shuddering breath, takes him in all the way.
Clark is afraid to move at first. Afraid of hurting Lex, of coming too soon. But Lex, always less patient, reaches back and prods his hip and Clark finds that slipping out of Lex feels nearly as amazing as thrusting into him.
They get a good rhythm going. The bunk creaks and Clark has to bury his mouth in Lex's neck to smother his moans. Lex is moving too, bucking his hips back to meet Clark's thrusts. He's got a hand wrapped around his own cock and is jerking himself off in rough, slapping strokes.
The beam of a flashlight illuminates a cell down the block. Clark freezes.
"Fuck!" hisses Lex. He keeps throwing himself back against Clark anyway, too far gone to be able to stop, but Clark stills him, pulls him closer so that he's completely covering Lex. Hopefully, the guards won't notice that there are two bodies in the lower bunk.
The footsteps come closer; the flashlight paints an unsteady arc along the corridor. Clark squeezes his eyes shut. His cock throbs inside Lex and it's so hard to resist moving, just to ease the pressure. Lex's heart is thumping wildly. Clark kisses his ear and strokes his chest, trying to calm him down.
The light approaches, then passes, the footsteps receding into the next cellblock.
"Fuck…" breathes Lex.
"Yeah," says Clark.
"No, that wasn't commentary," snaps Lex. "That was an order. Keep going."
Clark grins. If Lex is bossy, he's back to normal and his darker mood has passed.
He pulls Lex's leg up higher and fucks him deeper. Lex throws an arm behind his back to pull Clark close and then with one final thrust, Clark is coming, so hard he blacks out for a moment, coming to with his mouth pressed to Lex's neck and Lex's hard cock in his hand.
"Finish me," says Lex, a little urgently, thrusting into Clark's fingers. For once, it sounds less like an order and more like a plea. So Clark does, tightening his fingers. It's only seconds before Lex is coming, collapsing back against Clark's chest, his ass clenching around Clark's spent cock.
They lie in silence for a few minutes, locked together, then Clark reaches for Lex's sticky hand and, almost absent-mindedly, licks it clean.
Lex sighs, a long exhausted sigh, and rolls over to face Clark. Clark pulls him closer, until their arms and legs are tangled and Lex's cheek is resting against his chest. They're both asleep within seconds.
* * * *
Clark wakes, just as the guards are beginning their morning patrol. He tries to nudge Lex awake but Lex just huffs and hunkers deeper into the blankets. Clark scoops him up and deposits him in the upper bunk moments before the inspection reaches their cell.
As usual, they eat their breakfast in silence. But it's a companionable silence. Clark chews burnt toast and occasionally lets his eyes drift over to Lex. When Lex taps his foot under the table, Clark thinks: I've kissed the arch of that foot, licked the inside of that thigh. When Lex stretches, tilting his head back, Clark has an involuntary sense memory of burying his face in that long, graceful neck.
Everything has changed. Except, not. Because Superman can't change, which means that Lex has to, if they're to take this beyond prison walls. And for Lex, change equals surrender. There was a time he would have done it without hesitation. If Clark had told Lex everything after Belle Reve, he would have given himself to Clark completely; Clark knows that now.
But that was nearly ten years ago and they've been through a lot since then.
Clark shoves his worries aside. They have larger problems: Mandan hasn't given up Edge and there's probably still a hit out on Lex.
After lunch, when Clark and Lex return from the showers, there's a guard waiting in their cell. Clark doesn't recognize him, which means he's from another cellblock. The guard says:
"Dent. Pack your things!"
Clark darts a glance at Lex:
"Where am I going?"
The guard smirks:
"You're moving in with Marco."
Clark makes a quick calculation. Marco currently shares with Jeffers. Jeffers is one of Mandan's biker friends. This, then, is Mandan's latest assassination attempt.
"You can't put Jeffers with Lex. Mandan tried to kill Lex and this is his latest way of-"
"There have been no official complaints made against Jeffers," says the guard, stiffly.
"We haven't done anything," says Clark. "Why are you separating us?"
"Because Luthor's here to be punished," says the guard. "And fucking your ass through the mattress every night? It's not my idea of fun - but for him? It ain't punishment."
"Let it go," says Lex, in a level voice. The guard smirks again.
"See, Dent? Your sugar daddy knows what's what. Now pack your shit and be ready to move by dinner."
When the guard's gone, Clark says:
"Look, I'll talk to Guarez. He seems reasonable. The last thing he wants is more violence."
Lex waves this off:
"You'll get nowhere. All the other guards will back up this one."
"But he's obviously on Mandan's payroll! That's the only reason he'd request a transfer to this block."
"That's true, but it won't matter. The guards are tight-knit. Loyalty will trump any suspicions they might have about his motives."
"Lex, you know that Jeffers will try to kill you."
Lex folds his arms and raises his chin:
"Let him try."
And this brings them round full circle, thinks Clark despairingly. Lex in danger – and far too prepared to kill to defend himself; Clark needing to prevent it so he can justify having Lex in his bed.
"No," says Clark, suddenly. "There's another way."
* * * *
Neither J'onn nor Lex is particularly happy about the plan.
"The guards will notice," says Lex.
Clark shakes his head:
"I don't think so. They always do their last check about a half hour before Lockdown. We'll sneak you into my cell in between inspection and lights-out. As long as they see a "Lex" in your cell, we should be all right."
Clark tries to summon J'onn by thinking as hard, and as loudly, as he can in J'onn's direction. In case that isn't sufficient, he also leaves a message on one of Bruce's untraceable cell phones. A few hours later, as Lex guards the door to the laundry room, Clark waits to see if either message got through.
At the scheduled time, J'onn glides up through the floor; he's opted for blond hair today and is clad in a prison jump-suit.
"Thank goodness!" says Clark.
"Your message sounded urgent," says J'onn.
Clark explains. J'onn listens, tilting his head to one side.
"You wish me to impersonate Luthor?"
"Only for one night," says Clark apologetically. "His cell-mate is going to try to kill him tonight."
"And where will Luthor actually be?"
"I'm going to hide him in my cell after the last inspection. As long as the guards see you in his cell, they won't suspect anything."
There's a pause. J'onn says:
"The League has expended a lot of effort on Lex Luthor's behalf lately-"
Clark can feel his defenses rising. He fights the urge to snap back. Anyhow, what J'onn says is quite true. They have spent a disproportionate amount of time on Lex and Deacon Edge. He says:
"I know. But it's nearly over."
"I hope," J'onn looks thoughtfully at Clark, "that Luthor appreciates all that you have done for him."
Clark lowers his eyes. He hopes so too.
He moves his belongings into Marco's cell after dinner. Marco eyes him, cautiously:
"You know, Dent, what you had going on with Luthor…."
Clark glances up from the lower bunk; Marco looks worried.
"That's between me and him,' says Clark. He adds, awkwardly. "I'm not… in the market for anyone else."
"A'right," says Marco, relieved. "We're cool, then. Better you than Jeffers, the racist fuck."
Clark watches as Jeffers crosses the common area and places his belongings on the top bunk in Lex's cell. Lex doesn't protest; he just glances across at Clark, then casts a more significant glance at the bunk post.
"Oh no you don't!" says Clark, under his breath. "No explosions now that I've got everything arranged."
Fifteen minutes before Lockdown, Marco is still watching television. Clark motions to Lex. A moment later, there are two Lexes in the Clark's cell, as J'onn gracefully glides up through the floor. Lex, startled, takes a step back and knocks his head on the bunk:
"You could give us some warning-"
Clark hushes him:
"Lex, get into bed and make yourself as flat as you can against the wall. I'm going to heap the blankets on you. Are you ready, J'onn?"
J'onn turns and walks back to Lex's cell.
"He makes everything sound pompous," grumbles Lex.
"You're one to talk," says Clark. "Okay, get in position…."
Clark holds his breath when Marco returns, tries to look as casual as he can propped against his heap of blankets. Marco starts brushing his teeth:
"You worried for Luthor, Dent? You should be. Jeffers is a thug."
"Did he ever hurt you?" Clark asks. Marco snorts:
"I'd kick his ass."
"Impressive bravado," murmurs Lex, from within the pile of blankets. Clark elbows him.
"Sleep well!" says Marco and climbs into his bunk.
"'Night," says Clark. He puts his head under the covers and finds himself nose to nose with Lex.
"Convenient," whispers Lex, and steals a kiss. Clark pushes him away and puts on his sternest face.
"Mmmm," Lex isn't listening. He searches for Clark's hand under the covers.
"Lex, stop! We'll get caught."
"Used to have fantasies of sneaking into your room like this," whispers Lex. "Or seducing you in the barn."
"Really?" Clark says, momentarily diverted. "Me too, but-"
Marco's head suddenly appears over the edge of the top bunk:
"Dent, you got an imaginary friend down there?"
Clark protrudes his head from the cocoon of blankets.
"No…sorry. I sometimes mumble to myself when I'm falling asleep."
"Could you try not to? Worse than Jeffers' snoring, man."
"Sorry. I'll stop."
"I didn't want to talk anyway," whispers Lex, when Clark is back under the covers. Clark shivers as fingers brush his cock. He puts his mouth right next to Lex's ear.
"Or you'll make me?"
"You think I won't?" says Clark, trying to inject as much authority into his whisper as he can. Judging by the bulge in Lex's pajama bottoms, he doesn't object to being bossed but it doesn't stop him from reaching for Clark's cock again. Clark hisses:
Before Lex can answer, a wail of pure terror echoes across the cell block.
"Shit!" says Marco, from the upper bunk. "I guess that's Luthor getting killed. Sorry, man."
A second scream and the pounding of guards' feet. Clark sits up in bed to watch; Lex peeks around his hip.
"LET ME OUT OF HERE!"
"Hell, that's not Luthor, that's Jeffers!" says Marco. "What the fuck did your boy do to him?"
Clark is wondering the same thing. The guards are clearly puzzled at finding both Jeffers and "Lex" unharmed but when they try to leave, Jeffers resumes his hysterics:
"You can't leave me in here with him! I'll tell you everything. I'll make a deal, anything, just put me in another cell!"
There's a rising murmur through the cell block. Every inmate is awake now. A guard says:
"All right, Jeffers, calm the hell down. We'll stick you in B block for the night."
With one trembling look over his shoulder, Jeffers is led off. J'onn steps up to the bars and gazes across at Clark. Whispers echo around the cell block:
"That Luthor, man. He's cold."
"Bad ass. Never thought Jeffers'd turn bitch like that."
"Luthor fucked him over good."
"You know," whispers Lex from the pile of blankets. "I wasn't in favour of this plan but I'm pleased with the results."
"Like your reputation needs to get worse!"
"You're talking to yourself again, Dent!" says Marco.
"Sorry,' says Clark and determined to shut Lex up thoroughly this time, he climbs on top of him:
"Go to sleep."
And after a few yawns, Lex curls against Clark's chest, and does just that.
Clark waves his hand to attract J'onn's attention. When J'onn waves back, Clark broadcasts a thought-message:
"What on earth did you do? He was terrified!"
He tunes his ear to J'onn's whispered reply. Even whispering, J'onn is sonorous:
"I impersonated his mother," says J'onn gloomily. "I did not anticipate it would have such an extreme result."
Clark shakes with silent laughter; the vibrations cause Lex to grunt in his sleep. Clark tugs Lex closer and falls asleep, still chuckling.
* * * * *
Next morning, a whisper from J'onn wakes him:
Clark rolls groggy Lex up in the blankets and hopes the guards won't scrutinize his bed too closely. He joins Marco outside the cell for the head count. J'onn is already in line, standing ramrod straight outside his cell. His posture is all wrong for Lex, who usually juts out a hip or folds his arms. But it's not like anyone except Clark would notice.
When the count is done, Marco heads to the showers and Clark waves J'onn over:
"Now's your chance to get away."
J'onn nods, walks into the cell and promptly sinks through the floor, scarcely giving Clark time to say "thank you." Lex emerges bleary-eyed from the covers and Clark hurries him back to his own cell to get dressed.
At breakfast, several inmates stop by their table to ask Lex what he did to Jeffers. Lex offers only an icy stare in response. He's enjoying this far too much, Clark thinks. While Lex basks in the speculative gaze of the inmates, Clark eavesdrops on Jeffers' interrogation.
"He's giving up everything. He just told Guarez that Edge framed you for the warehouse job," says Clark, leaning across the table. "They'll have to release you."
"For the good of society," says Lex, and there's something in his tone that makes Clark a little uneasy. Still, they have a few more days together. That gives Clark more time to work on Lex, to extract promises about future behaviour. A little longer for Clark to indulge in wishful thinking that this time around, everything will be different.
But time, as it turns out, is precisely what they do not have. When they return from breakfast, Guarez is waiting in the cell block:
"Dent. Pack your things."
"Am I moving back to my old cell?" Clark asks. He tries to keep the hopeful tone out of his voice.
"Better than that," says Guarez, wryly. "You're being released. I have the signed papers from the Warden right here."
Clark opens his mouth to ask "why" but then stops. He knows why. Perry has gotten cold feet over reports of violence in the prison and has asked the Warden to pull Clark out.
"Go on,' says Guarez. "Get packing."
With a glance at Lex, Clark walks to his cell, accompanied by Marco who says, wistfully:
"Man, you're lucky. Wish they'd let me go home early."
It only takes Clark a minute to gather his belongings. When he's done, he looks across the cellblock at Lex. Guarez follows his gaze and says:
"You looking to start one more riot before you go, Dent? Not a chance."
"If you mean anything to Lex Luthor, he'll find you on the outside. But I wouldn't raise your expectations too high. What happens in here, Dent? Finding romance or finding God? It doesn't count. It's how you act beyond these walls that matters."
This is so alarmingly close to the debate that's been raging in Clark's head – has Lex really changed? Can Lex really change? - that he argues no further. As he walks towards the door, he can feel every eye in the cell block on him but it's only Lex's gaze that he meets. And Lex's eyes give away nothing.
* * * * *
Clark throws himself back into both his jobs. He writes up the prison story for Perry; works double shifts at the Watchtower. It's a great relief to be able to use all his powers again but Clark knows that isn't the only reason he's over-working. The loneliness of his apartment grates on him. He hasn't been home for over a week, not since he watched the television coverage of Lex's release. Lex had been greeted at the prison gate by a crowd of reporters, Lois among them:
"Lex, how does it feel to have been exonerated?"
"Mr. Luthor, do you have a comment on the recent arrest of Deacon Edge?"
"Lex, are you still dating Princess Theodora?"
Lois's voice had drowned out all the others:
"Has prison changed you?"
Lex had paused, looked straight at the camera. Clark, on the couch, had involuntarily leaned forward. Lex answered:
"That's the question, isn't it?"
Then, despite the howls of protests from the reporters, he had stepped into the limo and been driven off by Mercy. Clark has heard nothing of him since. It's been ten days.
He flies back from Gotham, weary from a night of battling the Joker and his latest edition of the Royal Flush gang. The Gotham villains always depress Clark; he doesn't know where Bruce finds the emotional stamina to deal with them on a regular basis.
He considers flying back to the Watchtower but, no. J'onn will just send him home. He's had a few stern words to say to Clark lately. "Even Kryptonians need sleep and occasional meals, Superman."
The apartment is dark and smells of spoiled milk. Clark makes his way to the bedroom, shedding his costume and stumbling over things as he goes. He walks into the bedroom and instantly collides with something that is both taller and wobblier than his usual bed. Clark says "ow", out of habit rather than pain, and flicks on the lights to inspect this unfamiliar obstacle.
It's a bunk bed. And Lex is sprawled in the bottom bunk, wearing an orange jump-suit. He's feigning sleepiness but Clark doubts very much that he's been asleep.
"You might have asked me if I wanted to get rid of my old bed."
Lex sits up, mimes an unconvincing stretch.
"I mean," says Clark. "What am I supposed to do with bunk beds?"
Lex doesn't answer but he lies back suggestively, letting his eyes wander down Clark's bare chest. Clark sits down on the edge of the lower bunk:
"And a prison jump-suit…. are you putting yourself in my custody, Lex?"
"It's a life sentence, apparently" says Lex, and Clark feels a shiver of happiness up his spine. But he needs to be sure:
"We can't have it both ways, you know. Not be enemies by day and in bed together at night."
Lex says slowly:
"The struggle between us will never be over, Clark. You know that."
It's like a kick to the heart. Clark moves to stand up but Lex puts a hand on his arm and says:
"Wait. The battle never changes, but the battlefield can."
Clark sits down again, puzzled:
"I propose that we bring the battle back to where it belonged in the first place," says Lex. He pats the mattress.
Clark gapes at him.
"I'd rather fight you in bed anyway," says Lex. "Better chance of winning."
"But what about –"
Lex suddenly sits up; the sheets pool around his waist like a collapsed toga:
"I'm not going to stop monitoring the League, Clark. I trust you, but I don't trust all of the others. Between the super-powers, the weaponry and the resources of Wayne and Queen, there's far too much potential for tyranny there."
Clark is silent for a moment. He doesn't like it – but Lex does have a point. He says:
"All right. But you'd stop the unprovoked attacks?"
"You'd stop working with other criminals?"
"Had my fill of them in prison," says Lex. "People with low IQs become tedious very quickly."
"You'd stop your illegal research?"
This time, Lex doesn't reply at all, just looks blandly back at Clark. Ah well, thinks Clark. That was a bit too much to hope for. Two out of three isn't bad. He says:
"You really think we can make this work?"
"I do. Your sanctimonious lecturing is much more tolerable when you're naked. Ooooof!"
The "Ooooof!" is because Clark has just flipped him roughly onto his back. Lex blinks up at him. Clark bends down until the tips of their noses are touching.
"Just you remember that in the end," Clark tells him, "Good will always triumph over Evil."
Lex leans up and whispers in his ear:
"Except that Good inevitably gets complacent – and forgets that Evil knows all his vulnerable spots."
And suddenly there are fingers tickling Clark's balls; he groans and throws his head back:
There's an interlude of kissing, rolling and tumbling, Lex's ass getting squeezed, Clark's tongue getting bitten. And afterwards, when they're lying in a sleepy, sweaty tangle, Clark finally works up the nerve to ask his final question, the one he's been carrying with him for years.
"After everything that's happened…..do you think we've earned a "happily ever after"?
A pause, long enough for Clark to wonder if Lex has fallen asleep. Finally Lex says, through a yawn:
"We're obviously stuck with the "ever after" part. So why not try to be happy?"
Which might, Clark reflects as his eyelids grow heavy, be the most sensible thing either of them has ever said.
And with that, he settles his head on Lex's shoulder and falls into a blissfully dreamless sleep.