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Heart of Stone

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Category: angst, AU, first time, future fiction

Notes: thanks to my awesome beta readers Alee, Lola, and Moss. I heart you all. This is dedicated to Lola. Her words of encouragement helped make this one a reality. Thanks babe. (Any remaining mistakes are mine)

Warning: Slight non-con

Disclaimer: Smallville belongs to DC, WB, and others. I'm just playing.

The heat of the day had not dissipated with the setting sun. The tarmac rippled and shimmered, bathing him in heat before he even began his trek on foot. Midsummer had never seemed so hot. At least that was how Lex felt as he trudged up the rickety wood steps to the loft.

Not only was he hot, he was dirty and his clothes had wrinkled. At the last step, his left pant leg caught on a stray piece of barbed-wire fence that lay to one side. He was too tired to care.

Lex groaned at his surroundings. It was very different from his penthouse in Metropolis. He hadn't seen his penthouse in over six months. After Superman had nationally announced that he would tear the city down until he found Lex Luthor, he'd had no choice but to abandon it.

Lex collapsed on the beat-up old sofa. Dust rose around him. It was hard for him to be here. This place held too many memories, and not all of them were fond. Once, long ago, Lex had shared this sofa with a friend. Conversations had been whispered, and kisses had been stolen.

Lex sighed and buried his face in his dirt-covered hands. The sound of footfalls startled him until he realized who it was. Martha Kent climbed up onto the stairs, gripping the handrail as she stepped into the fortress of solitude. It had once been the sanctuary for a disenfranchised young man.

That young man no longer existed. He hadn't existed for almost five years. The day he'd driven out of town with a red Kryptonite ring and a bad attitude, the Clark Kent that Lex knew had disappeared and a new one had taken his place.

Two years later, when Lex had threatened Jonathan Kent, he had finally gotten the truth. Clark Kent was not of this earth, and he had been sent for one purpose: to rule the human race.

Lex didn't look up at the woman who handed him the glass of lemonade.

"How long has it been since you've slept?" she asked as she sat down on the sofa beside him.

Lex stared vacantly down at the wooden floor. He sipped the cool drink and sighed. "It's been three days now," he whispered. His throat hurt, and his head was throbbing.

"You can stay here as long as you need to." Martha looked haggard, more than a decade of pain and worry etched into her face in the last five years. The last time they had talked, Lex had been in Hawaii. Clark had been tearing a strip through Florida. Everything he did made the news. Superman was the scourge of America. When people saw that black-clad figure with the blood-red stylized crest on his chest, they fled town.

Lex had abandoned many homes to the destructive tendencies of the free world's new menace.

"Where is he?" Lex asked.

"The last we heard, he'd destroyed a bank in Newport."

Lex shuddered to think of all the horrible things his old friend had done.

"Newport? So I have time?" Lex sipped the lemonade slowly, and a silence fell between the two of them. He welcomed it. He'd become used to silence. He spent most of his days alone now. The urge to be near anybody in any way that was intimate had died when Helen betrayed him, and Lex had returned home to find his only friend gone.

Lex sunk into the old sofa, allowing it to embrace him. He finished the lemonade, and shut his eyes. Moments later, the glass slipped from his fingers as Martha took it. Before he drifted off, Lex felt a gentle brush of dry lips on his cool scalp.

The creak of springs woke him from his slumber. Lex lifted a heavy head to come face to face with startling green eyes. He cursed himself inwardly for falling asleep when he should have been plotting. The castle would have been a better choice, he realized too late.

Clark sat cross-legged on the floor in front of him. His arms bent, with elbows rested on his knees, and his head in his hands. Lex stared into his eyes, and searched for any sign that this was his friend.

When Clark grinned confidently, Lex knew he was in trouble.

"It's about time you woke up," Clark said. He tilted his head in a manner reminiscent of the teenage boy Lex had known. Lex shivered and moved to sit up, but Clark's hand shot out faster than Lex could see and gripped Lex's wrist. The red stone on the ring glittered in the early morning light.

Lex stifled the scream that threatened to escape. Clark's grasp hurt, and the sharp pain shot up to his shoulder.

With one yank, Clark pulled Lex up to a sitting position and stood at the same time.

"Clark." involuntarily Lex swallowed hard. He'd never imagined how difficult it would be to see Clark this way.

"In the flesh. It's hard to believe isn't it?" Clark released Lex's wrist and paced across to the other end of the loft. Clark was dressed in a black t-shirt, its thin fabric
moulded to the muscular curves of his chest, and a pair of tight, faded black jeans. Black motorcycle boots completed the look of sensual menace.

Lex stared at them as Clark paced the length of the loft.

"You know, some people would think that you didn't like me anymore." Clark stopped and swung around to face Lex. The muscles in his arms and torso rippling as he swung his hands up to carelessly bat at the wooden handrail. Lex stared, hypnotized by the casual demonstration, captivated by the dip and swell that announced Clark's strength in no uncertain terms.

"I was busy," Lex said as casually as he could muster.

Clark smiled dangerously and shook his head. "Bullshit. You were running from me." One second Clark was standing in front of him and the next he was sitting on the sofa with Lex. Lex couldn't help but jump at the suddenness of Clark's movement.

"I had no idea you were looking for m-"

"Don't fuck with me, Lex," Clark interrupted.

Lex furrowed his brow. It was becoming easier and easier for him to quash his fear. Lex had spent months agonizing at the loss of a friend, but now, faced with this twisted version of Clark, Lex knew what he had to do.

"What do you want?" Lex said with a glare.

Clark smiled again. It was unnerving to say the least. He swung an arm over Lex's shoulder, and pulled Lex closer. Clark leaned in and brushed lips against Lex's ear. He placed his other hand on Lex's knee and caressed it.

"You," he whispered.

Lex almost laughed aloud. Instead, he grasped the hand on his knee and lifted it off. Gently Lex placed it on Clark's own knee.

"Although I am flattered, I'm afraid I'll have to turn you down," Lex said nonchalantly.

Clark smiled and leaned in close enough for their noses to touch. "You don't really have a choice in the matter."

"Oh really." Lex stared his ex-friend down. This close, he could see the red in Clark's eyes, but Lex didn't let this deter him. He turned his head and slid his cheek across Clark's until his lips where on Clark's ear.

"As tempting as that may be, I'm afraid you'll have to go elsewhere." Before he even finished the sentence, Clark had Lex pinned to the sofa. Lex's heart was pounding in his chest. The adrenaline rush was spurring him on to say and do foolish things. He knew he shouldn't be egging Clark on, but he couldn't help it.

"Don't fuck with me, Lex," Clark said with menace.

Lex had seen the destruction Clark had left in his wake. He knew the power that lay behind the body that now pinned him to the ratty old sofa.

Lex quirked his lip, and inwardly cheered his bravado. "But I thought you wanted me to fuck with you, Clark?" Even as he said it, Lex knew it was a foolish thing to say. Clark could kill him with the flick of a wrist, but something in Lex told him that it would never happen; that even though he wasn't sure of where their friendship stood, Clark would never harm him.

In all the time that Clark had been under the influence of the red Kryptonite, he had never
wilfully killed another human being. Lex was counting on this fact so that he could do what he needed to do here today. A plan was forming in his mind as they spoke.

"Sure, Lex. Haven't you always wanted me? Did you think I was completely naive? Did you think I missed all those looks; all those eye-fucks?" Clark punctuated the superlative with a thrust of his hips. Lex wasn't surprised to find that Clark was hard and, judging by the feel of things, not wearing underwear.

Lex chuckled at his own train of thought, and received another pelvic thrust for his troubles. His own cock was hardening despite the terror of the situation.

"I did, Clark. You weren't exactly knowledgeable in the art of flirtation. I see that still hasn't changed."

Clark thrust against Lex again, only this time it really hurt. Lex found he couldn't breathe for a moment. He grunted when a huge hand pressed down on his windpipe.

"I could crush you right here," Clark said menacingly.

Lex tried to breathe but it was futile. Clark loosened his grip just enough to let him gasp in a lungful of air.

"You could," Lex conceded when he was able to speak again. He noticed that the hand Clark was using was the one with the ring.

Clark thrust a leg between Lex's own legs forcing him to spread them.

"You naughty boy," Clark teased. "You're so eager to have me." Clark pushed with his leg and rubbed up against Lex. "I think I'll start off by fucking your brains out right here on this couch." With his free hand, Clark reached down between them and gripped the waistband of Lex's pants. He tore at the fabric as if it were paper, shifting until he was beside Lex, one leg pinning him in place.

"Really, Clark," Lex said, with a look of distaste. "Do you have to be so crude?" Lex didn't flinch as Clark tore his pants and boxers off, and yanked them out from under him. Carelessly, Clark tossed them both aside.

"I'll be whatever I want, bitch." Clark punctuated his words with a sneer. "Let's see what I've been missing out on."

"We can't do this here, Clark." Lex tried to push against the body, desperate to get away, though he knew it was a futile gesture.

Clark caressed his now bare hip, and chuckled. Lex did not flinch.

"Why not?"

"What about your parents? Aren't you afraid they'll interrupt?" Lex caught a small glimmer of confusion in the younger man's eyes. It gave him hope. However, it was gone in an instant.

"I told the Kents," - not 'my parents' - Lex noted," to stay in the house." Clark tugged on Lex's shirt, the only article of clothing he had left besides his shoes and socks, and ripped the buttons until none remained. Half the shirt tore away like paper, and Clark flung that aside too.

"Your father isn't known for obedience," Lex countered.

Clark halted his destruction of the shirt, cocked his brow, and smirked. "I told them if either of them bothers us, I'd kill them both."

Lex swallowed hard. His throat bobbed against the hand that held it, and for the first time, he feared for his life. That Clark could so casually make the statement he had just made . . . that fact spoke volumes, and made him a little less certain for his own safety.

"Will you do the same to me when I disobey you?" Lex whispered. He could feel his throat closing up again, but this time it wasn't the hand around his neck tightening. Their eyes locked, and Lex stared into the shimmering green irises. He caught another glimpse of his old friend, but red flashed in the depths, and Lex felt all chance of stopping Clark slip away.

He knew now bravado was not the way to handle this. Yes, he wanted Clark; he had wanted Clark for so long. Even when he was with Helen, he had wanted him, but not like this. To have Clark when he was under the influence of the red stone, a stone Lex had come to call the 'heart of stone,' would kill any feelings Lex had ever had for Clark.

Lex needed to take control by any means necessary.

Clark was no longer smiling, but he did release Lex's throat. This was a good thing. Lex could work with this.

"I would never do that to you, Lex." Clark looked genuinely hurt that Lex could even conceive of suggesting what he had asked. "Besides, I plan on making you so happy, you won't want to disobey me." Clark shifted his body, and lifted up. To Lex's astonishment, Clark floated up off Lex until he was upright. He lowered himself to the wooden floor with a silent grace. Lex was in awe.

Clark smiled. "A new power; I definitely defy gravity now," Clark crowed. He seemed to ignore the fact that Lex was almost completely naked.

Lex tugged on the shredded remains of his shirt in an attempt to cover his nudity.

Clark casually flipped his hand up and leered down at him. "Don't bother."

Lex sat up. He needed a different strategy. He stood up as Clark walked to the far side of the loft. Lex glanced at the haymow, and tried to judge the distance. Though it was pointless to try, the Luthor in him couldn't help but try to escape what was fast becoming a futile situation.

When Lex looked up at Clark, he found eyes fixed on him. "All right, we'll do this somewhere else." Clark shrugged. "I suppose I wouldn't want the Kents to hear all the noises we're going to make."

"Your parents, Clark, they're your parents," Lex barked. Hands gripped his throat in the blink of an eye, and Clark had Lex pressed down into the sofa again.

"Stop calling them that! They are not my parents." Lex clawed at the huge hand that engulfed his throat. It tightened, cutting off his air completely. Lex tried to talk, but all that came out was a choked sputter.

When Clark finally loosened the grip, Lex inhaled great gulps of air. He chose to remain silent as he watched Clark pace.

Lex rubbed his throat, and finally broke the silence. "So nice to see it wouldn't take much."

Clark spun and stared down at him. The anger in his eyes dissipated, and was replaced by a tense calm. Lex watched as Clark stalked over to the sofa, and fell to his knees with a loud thump.

"I won't ever kill you, Lex," Clark stressed. "We have a destiny. Do you remember when you said that to me? I believed you then and I still believe you now."

The early morning light danced in Clark's shimmering eyes. Lex swallowed hard and his heart pounded in his chest. He'd been waiting for this chance.

"Then take that ring off so we can fulfill our destiny," he whispered. For one heart-stopping moment, he thought he saw a glimpse of the real Clark.

"I'm afraid that won't be possible, Lex." Clark stood in one smooth motion and snatched Lex's wrist in one hand. He yanked Lex up onto his feet, and pulled him close. By now, Lex was no longer aroused. Clark glanced down at the now-limp cock and shook his head.

"I need my Clark back," Lex said, ignoring Clark's perusal of his unresponsive body.

"You'll have me. Take it or leave it." Clark wrapped an arm around Lex's waist and casually lifted him off his floor. Up this close Lex made sure to maintain eye contact. Clark walked with Lex over to the open door of the barn. Casually he kicked at it. The wood splintered under his brute strength.

"Then I choose to leave."

Clark stopped, and turned his gaze back to Lex. He shrugged once. "Sorry, I lied. This is a take situation and I'm the one doing the taking. Here's the deal, Lex: come with me and I'll leave the rest of humanity alone."

Without waiting for a reply, Clark launched them both out into the morning sky. Lex was too startled to care about anything else. He threw his arms around Clark's neck and held on for his life.

"The castle then," Clark said with a chuckle.

In moments, they were airborne. Lex could feel the cool air on his backside. He shuddered, and clung closer to the only thing keeping him afloat.

"I hate you," he muttered. A hand slid down and covered his bare ass.

"No, you don't," Clark yelled over the wind.

The castle hadn't been used in two years, but the room Clark chose had been. Lex froze, surprised to see that the bed was freshly made, and various bottles of lubricant littered the bedspread.

"You planned this," Lex accused. Clark just grinned and tossed Lex on the bed.

"Lose the shoes and socks," Clark said. He was already removing his own clothes. Lex watched as Clark sat and bent to remove his own boots and socks. He stared as Clark stood again, and pulled his t-shirt from his jeans. When Clark saw that Lex wasn't complying, he paused in his task.

"This is really how you want it?" Lex asked.

Clark's eyes flashed in warning, sending shivers up Lex's spine. "I would suggest you not annoy me, Lex. Get over here and undress me."

Lex got on his knees, and crawled over to Clark. He reached out and unbuttoned Clark's jeans. Clark smirked down at him. Lex tugged the black t-shirt from the jeans, and pulled it over Clark's head. He let it fall to the floor.

Lex watched Clark's movements carefully. He needed a chance to get that ring, and he was going to find it. So far, Clark had guarded it well. It was hard to tell whether it was a conscious move or not.

Large hands caressed across Lex's shoulders, and pulled him from his thoughts. The tattered remains of his shirt where pulled off, and tossed across the room.

A flurry of activity, and Clark was naked. Lex's shoes and socks were gone, and he was completely naked now. In a split second, Clark had Lex pinned to the bed.

"I'm impatient," Clark explained as he nuzzled Lex's throat. Lex shuddered when Clark bit into his throat.

He thrust his leg between Lex's thighs, and pushed them apart. Lex found himself hardening despite the clumsy ministrations. Clark's own cock was hard already, and he thrust it between Lex's ass cheeks. Lex could feel damp trails painting across his ass and thighs. He shuddered again as Clark thrust repeatedly against him.

"Stop, Clark," Lex pleaded, but Clark wasn't listening. Clark sucked on Lex's throat. Lex moaned as the heavy body pushing him into the mattress continued to thrust. The thrusting and the biting at his throat where enough to bring Lex to a shuddering, and startling climax. Clark continued to bite and rub as Lex spurted his seed between them.

"You're so fucking hot," Clark mumbled against his raw neck. ". . . and easy." Clark released him, and pushed up until he was on his hands and knees, hovering above Lex. "My turn." Clark leaned in and kissed Lex thoroughly on the mouth. Before Lex could deepen it, Clark pulled off and quickly flipped Lex onto his stomach.

Lex grunted at the manhandling, but willingly spread his legs when a large hand caressed down his ass. He felt the smooth metal of the ring slide against his skin. Lex tried to turn his head enough to see, but Clark pushed his shoulder down, preventing him from seeing what was about to happen. Lex swallowed hard and steeled himself against the feel of hot fingers as Clark used both hands to caress down his thighs. Lex lay passively as wet liquid splashed against his legs and ass. Fingers pried his ass-cheeks apart and rubbed the lube into the crack.

"I've waited a long time to have you under me," Clark said as a finger penetrated the tight hole.

Lex sucked in a breath and squeezed his eyes shut. He shuddered when a second finger joined the first.

"Relax," Clark purred. He thrust both fingers in. Lex stifled a scream. "God, you're so tight," Clark leaned in and mumbled into Lex's ear. Lex just bit his bottom lip and nodded.

He almost sighed with relief when Clark pulled the fingers out. He knew what he had to do now, and already he regretted it. So far, Clark hadn't really done anything that Lex couldn't fix with a few well-placed calls. He'd caused hundreds of thousands of dollars of property damage but that was fixable. He'd never hurt anybody.

"Please, Clark, take off the ring. I want you, but not like this." Lex looked over his shoulder at Clark, and saw that Clark was slicking his cock with a generous coating of lubricant. It was the first good look Lex had gotten of his friend's nude body. Clark was gorgeous. His golden-tanned body glistened with sweat and lube. His arms and chest bulged with rippling muscles, and his cock was huge, jutting out from a mass of dark, damp, curly pubic hair.

When Clark looked up from his task, Lex shuddered at the raw hunger that stared back at him through dark lashes. Lex turned away, afraid of what he might say. Afraid he would blurt his first thought; his own raw need that wanted to scream 'fuck me.'

Lex closed his eyes as hands gripped his hips and pulled him up. He willed himself to relax when he felt the blunt nudge of a cock-head against his hole.

"Relax, Lex, I know what I'm doing," Clark said as he pushed in.

Lex didn't stop the cry this time, and as the intrusion pushed its way past the tight muscles, he screamed out. Clark stopped until Lex could adjust and then continued until he was balls deep in Lex.

Lex shivered when Clark's heavy body pressed him into the mattress. Arms slid up until Clark could clasp Lex's hands in his. Lex tried to concentrate on the cool band of the ring against his hand.

"Oh god, Clark," he urged. That did the trick. Clark kissed the back of his neck and pulled out. To his shock, Lex found himself thrusting back into Clark. "Yes, oh yes, fuck me, Clark," Lex continued. Clark entered Lex again with less roughness than the first time, and before long, they were moving together in perfect rhythm as Clark pounded into Lex.

Lex slipped his hands over Clark's spread fingers. He caressed Clark's lube-coated fingers, making sure to get as much on his own hand as possible. In the throes of passion, Clark didn't notice as Lex carefully wiggled the ring loose.

"Oh fuck, Lex. You're so tight," Clark moaned into his ear. Lex thrust back into the sweaty body as it pounded into him. By now, sweat covered them both, and Lex carefully pulled the ring free just as Clark came. With a load grunt, Lex tossed the ring across the room.

Lex came just as the ring hit the far wall. Clark collapsed on Lex, knocking the wind out of him.

"Oh god, Lex," Clark cried. Clark jerked up and tried to pull out.

"Don't move," Lex begged. Clark stopped.

"Lex?" The horrified tone of Clark's voice told Lex he needed to act fast.

"Pull out slowly, please," Lex whispered. Lex almost laughed when he felt the shaggy head nod against his shoulder. He flinched as Clark pulled out. Though Clark had climaxed he was still semi-hard, but Lex could feel the once-hard erection soften.

As soon as Clark was free, Lex pushed the now-limp form off him. Clark didn't resist. Immediately Lex turned over and hid the stab of pain that shot through his body. He glanced down to see that Clark was indeed now limp, and sighed with relief when he noted there was not blood. Despite the pain, Clark had not torn him. Clark had also neglected to use a condom.

"Oh god, Lex, what . . . where . . ." Clark fumbled at the bed sheets and covered Lex with them, but ignored his own nudity. Lex tried to sit up but his sore backside prevented it.

"That's fine, Clark," he muttered as he pulled the sheets across Clark's naked body. What he needed to say would be easier without that sight.

Clark buried his face in his hands and shuddered. When he looked up at Lex again, the anguish in his eyes tore at Lex's heart. Lex reached out to comfort his friend but Clark pulled away, tumbling out of the bed. Frantically, Clark looked for an escape route. When he spotted the door that led to a bathroom, he ran for it.

"Clark, come back here," Lex cried out over the slam of the door.

Lex reached out and grabbed the closest object, which was an antique lamp, and angrily threw it against the wall. It shattered much as his world had. Dealing with the fallout of this was going to be the hardest thing Lex would ever do.

Despite his own discomfort, Lex sat calmly behind the wheel of his Ferrari. He had left the vehicle at the mansion years before, after Clark had borrowed it. At the time, he hadn't wanted to drive it again. But now he needed it. He needed to get Clark back to the people that loved him. Clark needed to be with his parents and Lex was breaking the speed limit to get him there as fast as possible.

He also needed to be away from Clark. After what had happened, there was no way Clark would ever want to see him again. Clark had remained in the bathroom as Lex had cleaned up the scene. He'd stayed there until Lex had begged him to come out. When Lex had used the excuse that Clark had to let his parents know that he was back, Clark had finally yielded to Lex's demands. Lex had turned away as Clark slipped his clothes back on, though it seemed pointless, it also seemed to make Clark feel better.

Now they were on the way to the Kent farm. Lex had called ahead to make sure they knew what was going on. He had omitted a few details of course.

Now as they pulled up to the yellow farmhouse Lex stifled his urge to cry and scream at the unfairness of the situation. Jonathan and Martha were waiting on the porch. Eager to have their lost son returned to them, they stood and watched as the red car parked a few feet away.

Lex shut off the engine and turned to Clark. He nodded toward the Kents. "Go to them," he whispered.

Clark furrowed his brow. "Will you . . ."

"I'll be headed back to Metropolis." Lex swallowed hard and looked away.

"Please don't go, Lex," Clark begged. "I . . . I know I have no right to ask . . ."

"Go to them," Lex said forcefully. He needed Clark out of his car now. Clark hesitated only for a moment, and then he made eye contact with his mother and father. He almost jumped out of the convertible and ran to embrace his parents.

Lex bit his bottom lip, and gripped the steering wheel until his knuckled turned white. He watched as the reunion unfolded before him. Clark apologized non-stop until Martha led them up onto the porch and through the front door.

It was over, and Lex would go home alone, as always. And as always, he was the outsider.

He took a moment to gather his strength, and then started the car. When he looked up again he was shocked to find Jonathan Kent standing in front of his car.

Lex turned off the engine, and sighed. If he was going to have a confrontation with this man, he might as well do it now.

He climbed out of the car. "Mr. Kent, you should be inside with your family." Lex followed Jonathan with his eyes as he walked around the car and stood in front of him.

"I wanted to thank you for all that you did to bring our boy back to us," Jonathan held out a hand.

Lex stared down at the offered hand as if it was a foreign object.

"Thank you, Lex," Jonathan said.

Lex didn't take the hand; instead, he shoved his own into his coat pockets. "Go be with your family," Lex urged.

"You know about Clark."

Lex just nodded once and turned to get back in the car, but a hand gripped his arm. Anger boiled to the surface in Lex, and he turned to face the last person he wanted to talk to right now.

Jonathan did not release his grip though Lex was sure he was sporting his coldest glare.

"I won't say a word if that's what you're worried about," Lex snapped. That made Jonathan let go, and Lex turned away, leaning wearily against the car.

"What is it, Lex? What happened back at the mansion?"

"Please, I'm begging you; go be with your family." Lex shuddered as pain shot through his entire body. It wasn't just the physical pain; the emotional pain was almost too much for Lex to bear much longer. He knew because he was begging, and he never begged. He would never have even considered this approach with Jonathan Kent, the one man who hated Lex with every
fibre of his being.

"You don't understand, Lex. I didn't come out here just to thank you. I came out here to ask you to join us."

Lex started at Mr. Kent's words. He shook his head vigorously, and cleared his throat.

"Whether you realize it or not, you're a part of the family. You have been since you found out the truth about Clark. I was wrong about you all along, and I'm not too stubborn a man to admit it." Mr. Kent reached out and placed a hand on Lex's shoulder.

Lex stared at the soulful blue eyes, and realized for the first time the agony this man must have gone through as he watched his only son terrorize the world; terrorize his own wife.

Behind them, the front door opened. Clark stood in blue jeans, blue t-shirt, and red flannel shirt. Lex's heart leapt into his throat at the sight of his old friend.

Clark's eyes held so much anguish and pain.

"Please, Lex, come inside. I'll tell you everything you need to know and we can go from there." Clark stepped down from the porch, and held out a hand.

For a brief moment, Lex considered getting into his car and driving off, never to look back. But Clark's eyes pulled him in. This wasn't the man who had forced him to have sex with him; this was his friend. Maybe for that reason alone Lex should have turned, and run, but he couldn't. He knew he couldn't. Just one look at those green sorrow-filled eyes told him everything he needed to know.

Lex looked down at the outstretched hand and sucked in a breath. The absence of the ring sent relief coursing through his body. He slowly lifted his own arm and took Clark's hand into his.

Clark smiled weakly, and pulled Lex into a gentle embrace. Lex heard the release of a breath that Jonathan had been holding.

"We'll work it out. I promise, Lex. I'll make it up to you."

"Just hold me, please," Lex whispered. As Clark slid his arms around Lex, who melted into the embrace, neither man noticed that Jonathan Kent slipped back into the house, leaving the two of them alone.