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"Drift"

Clark/Lex, PG

Originally posted in 2002.


Clark dreams.

Floating again, in the quiet hours, the world silent and empty beneath him. Peaceful. Moonlight and silver, soft wind on his face, he should be cold, but he isn't, he's --

Flying. Flying, by God. And because this is a dream Clark is not afraid. No, not a bit, and he moves like a ghost above fields green and gold with ripening corn, no sound at all but the wind as he drifts above the rows.

Faster now, past farms and over rooftops, he has a destination, can feel it in his bones, pulling him forward. And it's there, in front of him. Luthor Manor, all iron and stone and carefully trimmed hedges. Clark thinks, yes. This is it. This is what has pulled him warm from bed and into the cool night air, this place and no other.

Like a ghost again, floating up bare stone walls to an open window. Hovering for a moment, curtains billowing around him, gossamer brush of silk on skin and he shivers. Not with fear or cold, but with anticipation. Clark hesitates then, caught somewhere between dream and waking, cool air surrounding him and softly pushing. He lets it guide him, spirit that he is, and drifts across the threshold into the room beyond.

He hovers above the bed and its single occupant: Lex, asleep and deeply dreaming, limbs spread across the crisp white sheets. Clark watches, studies and learns, all that sleek, smooth skin laid out before him and he can look all he wants, as he would never dare in the waking world.

As if aware of the scrutiny, Lex shifts and stirs. Ginger lashes flutter open, but Lex looks neither shocked nor surprised, merely confused and only for a moment, as if teenage boys floating on the ceiling were a common occurrence. "Clark," he says, voice hazy and sleep-roughened. "Come down, it's cold."

And because this is a dream, the request makes perfect sense. Lex lifts his hand and Clark takes it, lets Lex pull him down, pull him in, soft sheets and warm skin, perfect and peaceful, his face pressed into the curve of Lex's throat, and he can sleep now, deep and untroubled.

+ + +


Morning. Clark comes to the surface slowly. There is a sweet, languorous feeling in his bones and he wants to savor it a while longer, before the world intrudes and drags him back. Flying dreams again last night. Chloe once told him that flying was symbolic of sex is the language of dreams. He wonders what she would say about a dream of flying into Lex Luthor's bed, a little amazed at the places his mind takes him but enjoying the ride nonetheless.

Clark wills the day not to start for just a little while longer and burrows further into the sheets. His pillow makes a muffled protest and tugs the covers back. This confuses him; while he has argued with his bedding on cold winter nights, this is the first time it has ever argued back. Clark opens his eyes to find himself face to face with a very sleepy Lex Luthor. Even then it still takes Clark a few seconds to catch on, to realize that he is not in his own bed or even his own house. That, on this fine morning he has taken leave of his senses and stepped through the looking glass. That the line between dream and waking has been crossed and he is in Lex Luthor's house, in Lex Luthor's bed.

Lex blinks owlishly in the early morning light. "I must have been really, really drunk last night to not remember this."

And Clark just stares like a slack jawed idiot until it hits him: he flew. He actually flew, out the window and into Lex's bed and--

"Clark?"

--how in the name of God is he going to explain this to Lex, much less his parents and--

"Clark, breathe."

There is real fear in Lex's voice, and Clark makes a desperate grab for the shreds of his composure. "I was dreaming," he gasps. "I thought I was dreaming. I don't--I must have been sleepwalking." Lame excuse but as close to the truth as he's willing to get, as Lex is likely to believe.

And Lex smiles a little, like he scents the lie but is willing to let it go. For now. "Sleepwalking," he says. "We're three floors up."

Clark nods. "I am so sorry, Lex. I really don't know what else to say."

Lex considers. "'Good morning' would be appropriate."

It is a perfectly reasonable statement, so utterly mundane and rational that Clark's humiliation fades somewhat. He even manages a weak smile, though he is certain the accompanying blush can be seen from orbit.

Lex returns the smile with genuine warmth before smoothly rising out of bed. He is clad only in a pair of silk pajama bottoms, dove grey and softly clinging, accenting the long, clean line of his back as he walks towards the door. "You should call your parents," he says. "There's a phone in the kitchen. Come on, I'll make coffee."

+ + +


Lex Luthor makes excellent coffee. He even provides Clark with a Styrofoam cup of it to take home with him. Clark is grateful for that small kindness on the long ride back to the Kent family farm. It gives him something to focus on other than the tight, angry set of his father's jaw.

Jonathan Kent remains grimly silent until the gates of Luthor Manor fade from view. "Your mother and I have been worried sick," he says. "What were you thinking?"

Clark isn't sure which is worse: the disappointment in his father's voice, or the automatic assumption that this situation was somehow deliberate. "You make it sound like I had a choice."

"Didn't you?"

"No!" He cringes at the sulkiness of his voice and tries again. "It was an accident."

"Sleepwalking."

"Yes."

"Clark, you have never sleepwalked before in your life!"

"I didn't used to float four feet above my bed in my sleep, either." Clark stares down at his feet, trying to get a grip on his temper. "I must have drifted out the window."

"But why Luthor Manor?"

Clark shrugs. "Wind currents?"

"Clark."

"I don't know, Dad."

Not very convincing, that. Clark ignores his father's sideways glance, concentrating instead on slowly turning his cup into so much confetti. He is unsettled by his own feelings, things he can barely name in his own head much less speak aloud and to his father.

"Well," his father says at last, "I guess from now on you keep your window shut at night."

+ + +


By the time Clark gets home, showered and changed the morning is completely shot. He makes it to school in time for lunch, and immediately wishes he hadn't. Gossip travels quickly in such a tight-knit community, especially when helped along by a pair of frantic parents trying to track down their missing child. Everyone, it seems, has heard of his little disappearing act, though not where he wound up or why.

Yet. It's a small town. They'll find out eventually.

It's just a bad day for Clark Kent. In the time-honored tradition of outcasts everywhere, he keeps his head down and practices the art of How Not To Be Seen. Not the easiest of tasks when you are six-plus, awkward and seem to have a cosmic 'kick me' sign painted on your ass, but Clark does his best.

Chloe and Pete do their best to be supportive, but their natural inquisitiveness gets in the way a bit too much for comfort at times. Especially Chloe. Oh, most especially Chloe. She knows Clark well enough to suspect he's keeping things back, and the girl is like a pit-bull with lockjaw once she sets her mind to unraveling a mystery. It's an admirable trait for a reporter, but damned annoying in a friend.

She eventually corners him at the Torch, trapping him between the filing cabinets and refusing to budge. "Talk to me, Kent," she says. "It's not good to keep things bottled up."

"It's nothing, Chloe," he insists. "Besides, shouldn't you be investigating the rash of duck attacks at the park? I heard old man Haskins almost lost an eye."

As diversionary tactics go, it's a success; Chloe will always pick sinister ducks over mere teen angst. Still, Clark wishes he could tell her, could tell someone. There are things in his head he wants to discuss, hold up to the light and really look at.

+ + +


Home that afternoon is uncomfortable at best. His mother and father know something is up, if not what, though neither of them seem to know quite how to approach the subject. Clark is grateful for that, because he doesn't know quite what to tell them. His father has enough trouble swallowing the fact that Clark sleepwalked (sleepflew?) to Luthor Manor; to tell him that Clark spent the night in Lex Luthor's arms would in all likelihood give him a stroke.

Eventually, Clark can't take the tension anymore. "I'm going out," he says, and takes off at top speed before either of his parents can react.

He winds up in the Smallville cemetery. It's quiet here. Peaceful.

Occupied.

Lana Lang, sitting by her parents' grave and writing in what appears to be a journal of some sort. He starts to turn away, but then Lana raises her head, sees him and smiles and he knows he's not going anywhere.

"Clark," she says, closes the journal and sets it to one side. "I had a feeling you would show up tonight."

"Really?" His eyebrows go up in surprise. "You were right. Mind if I join you?"

"Not at all."

Clark settles nearby and plucks a few blades of grass to give him something to fidget with. "What are you writing?" he asks.

"Thoughts," she says. "Feelings. I thought it would help bring me closer to my mother."

"Has it?"

"A little." She smiles. "What about you? There's something on your mind or you wouldn't be out here."

He shrugs. "You've probably heard about my little disappearing act this morning."

Lana nods. "Nell told me. Did you really sleepwalk all the way to Lex's house?"

Clark sighs. Small towns, go figure. "Yeah. But, there's more to it than just that."

"Like what?"

Clark hesitates. He wants to tell her, tell someone, but he's not sure how. Lana's face is open, guileless, she genuinely wants to know. And not for the sake of gossip, either, but for the sake of a friend who is in trouble and needs someone to talk to.

At least, that's what Clark believes. And on the strength of that belief, he finally lets go. "I didn't just sleepwalk to Lex's house." Quietly, and he is so not looking at Lana's face right now. "I sleepwalked into Lex's bed."

There. He's said it.

And Lana doesn't disappoint him. Oh, there's a moment of shock as his words sink in, but only a moment. Then she's simply Lana again, solid and kind and full of concern. "Was he in it at the time?"

"Oh yeah," he says, and there's that lighthouse beacon of a blush again, it would be so nice if he didn't have such fair skin. "I just climbed right in and went to sleep beside him."

Lana processes this bit of information slowly. "Wow."

"Yeah. Wow."

"Was Lex mad?"

"No, actually. He was very ... nice about the whole thing." Clark flops down on his back and stares up into the twilit sky. "I swear, I will never be able to look him in the face again for as long as I live."

"I'll bet he was flattered," Lana says, and she's smiling again, he can hear it in her voice.

Clark dares a quick glance at her face. Yes, she's definitely smiling. "You know something."

"Well."

"You do!" He sits up and gives her foot a gentle nudge with the toe of his sneaker. "Tell me."

"Let's just say I have my suspicions."

"About?"

"It just seems to me that there's something a little, I don't know, Cyrano de Bergerac about the way Lex keeps trying to get the two of us to go out."

"Yeah, but Cyrano secretly wanted the girl. Besides, Lex would look pretty silly in a doublet and tights."

"I don't know," Lana says slyly. "Tights can look pretty good on a guy if he's got the legs to carry it off."

Clark laughs at that, he can't help it. "Lana Lang, I do believe there are sides of you I never would have expected."

Lana smiles broadly. "There are whole worlds of me that nobody would expect. And you, too," she adds, nudging him affectionately with her elbow. "So. What do you plan to do about Lex de Bergerac?"

"I really don't know," he says. "I'm still getting used to the idea that I, well--"

"Find him attractive?" Lana supplies helpfully.

"Yeah. Jeez. So, how bright is my face right now?"

"Pretty bright. Seriously, Clark. What are you going to do?"

"Apologize, I guess. Beyond that?" He shrugs helplessly. "I guess we just wait and see."

Lana Lang just smiles.

+ + +


His father is waiting on the porch when Clark finally gets home. "You've been gone quite a while, son," he says.

Clark stuffs his hands deep in his pockets and gives a small shrug. "I was talking to Lana."

"You were with Lana?" Jonathan looks oddly relieved. "She's a very nice girl," he says, "and I'm glad you two have become friends."

"But."

"But, the way you ran off this evening, without a word to your mother and I about where you were going--"

"I said I was going out."

"'Out' is not good enough, Clark," his father says sternly. "You can't pull a stunt like you did this morning and then just take off for parts unknown."

"How many times do I have to tell you that I didn't do it on purpose before you'll believe me?"

"I do believe you, son."

"Yeah, well you have a funny way of showing it."

He heads into the house at a good clip, boots clomping loudly on the hardwood floor. His mother tries to catch him in the hallway, but he brushes past her and heads for the stairs. "I'm going to my room," he says.

Clark stands in the middle of his room, feeling angry and miserable and a good many other things as well. Defiant, for one, and he stalks over to the window. The whitewashed sill is smooth beneath his fingers, but he doesn't touch the latch, only stares at it for a long moment before resting his forehead against the cool glass pane.

There's a knock at the door and his mother comes in, bearing a foil-covered plate and glass of milk. "You missed dinner," she says quietly.

"I'm not hungry."

She sets the food down atop the dresser. "Do you want to talk about it?"

"What's there to talk about?"

"That's what I need you to tell me." She sighs. "I know there's something bothering you, besides what happened this morning."

Clark just shakes his head.

She tries again. "Is it Lana? Your father said you were out with her this evening."

He almost laughs. "No."

"Is it--Lex?"

Gently, oh so gently, and Clark can't answer, can only turn his head to the side and stare at her, patiently standing in the doorway and waiting for his answer.

Apparently his face is more eloquent than he is, because Martha Kent lets out a deep sigh and nods to herself. "I won't press you," she says quietly, "but if you decide you want to talk, let me know. OK?"

"OK, Mom."

+ + +


Luthor Manor again, and no memory of how he came here. Stonework and stained glass, it reminds him of a church somehow, all high, lonely ceilings and weighty silence. Clark bows his head, wanting, praying; and when he looks up again, he knows he has been heard.

Lex, silent and smiling. Waiting. Clark closes the distance between them swiftly, no hesitation, not this time. He knows what he wants, takes Lex's face gently between his hands and kisses him softly. Reverently. Worships the other man's mouth with lips and tongue until they're both moaning, heady with sensation. The wall is the only thing keeping him upright; it's too good, too much, and Clark wakes breathless and aching, with his back pressed against the rough plaster ceiling.

This time he does not fall, but remains afloat, bobbing gently in midair. It's an odd sensation, and Clark holds his breath, afraid to do anything that might somehow shift the balance and send him plunging back to earth.

"Clark? We're going to be--good lord!"

The shock in his mother's voice shatters what little control Clark has and he drops like a stone, landing with enough force to rattle windows and make the floorboards creak in protest.

His mother rushes to his side. "Clark! Honey, are you all right?"

"Yeah," he says, and begins extricating himself from the remains of his bed. "Yeah, I'm ok."

Jonathan appears in the doorway. "I heard the noise from downstairs, what happened?"

"I was floating in my sleep again," Clark says.

"He was right up against the ceiling," Martha gasps, her voice still jangled and panicked. "I must have startled him when I came in, because he just--fell."

"But you're both all right?"

Clark and Martha both nod. "I think my bed is toast," Clark adds.

"We'll worry about that later," Jonathan says soothingly. "The important thing is no-one got hurt."

Clark sighs. His father is right, of course. Even so, just once he'd like to have his father respond to his newfound abilities with something other than a safety lecture. "You and Mom better get to the market while there's still time to set up," he says. "I'll stay here and clean up the mess."

It surprises him a little when they agree, and Clark suspects his folks need some time to themselves to adjust to this latest development; it's one thing to be told your child can fly, and quite another to actually witness the event.

Clearing out the wreckage of his bed takes relatively little time, and Clark soon finds himself curled up in the loft with a battered paperback for company. There's a moment of guilt--this is a farm, after all, there is always work to be done--but only a moment. This is the day the Kent family goes to market; chores can wait until their normal, scheduled time in the afternoon.

+ + +


Soft tread of feet on the stairs and Clark doesn't even look up from his book. He doesn't have to. He knows the pattern of those footsteps all too well and wishes suddenly he'd decided to read a nice, big hardcover of instead of this slim little paperback that's far too small to hide behind. And Clark wants to hide, because Lex Luthor is standing at the top of the stairs, one hand tucked into the pocket of his jacket, the other resting lightly on the rough wooden banister.

"I looked for you at the market," Lex says. "Your mother said you were under the weather. Nothing serious, I hope?"

Clark gives a small shrug. "Not really." It's not quite a lie; by Smallville standards dream-induced flight really is fairly mild. "Just a little out of sorts, I guess."

Lex nods thoughtfully. He still hasn't taken that last step into the loft, and it suddenly dawns on Clark that he's waiting for permission. Like he doesn't want to presume, and Clark sits up quickly, closing the paperback and setting it aside on the dusty floor. "Lex, it's ok, you can come in."

"I don't want to intrude."

"You're not intruding. Besides, after I--after what happened, you're the one who should be setting boundaries, not me."

Lex smiles, a little one-sided quirk that somehow manages to look bemused rather than smug. "You're not to be blamed for your dreams, Clark."

He thinks of this morning, of cool plaster and the slow glide of skin beneath his hands. Blood rises swift and hot to his cheeks and he can't look at Lex right now, he just can't. The feelings are too new, too raw, pressing right at the surface of his thoughts and threatening to burst through the seams.

"It's perfectly natural," Lex continues, and his voice is almost gentle. Almost, but not quite because this is Lex and Lex has--edges, razor sharp and swift to cut, and never, ever where you expect to find them.

"If you say so."

"I do. You're not the only one who dreams, Clark."

He looks up and Lex is still smiling, still standing at the top of the stairs, one hand negligently picking at splinters in the age-worn wood. Clark takes a slow, deep breath. "What do you dream about, Lex? Mergers and corporate takeovers?"

It's meant to be funny, but Lex doesn't laugh, just keeps smiling that sardonic little half-smile. "I dreamed about you the other night," he says. "You were hovering over the bed. Floating, really. I held out a hand and pulled you down. It was cold that night and you were...very warm."

Edges. Sharp edges. "Lex--"

"Imagine my surprise when I woke up the next morning and found you curled beside me."

Clark opens his mouth but can't make a single sound come out. He knows he should try to diffuse the situation somehow, divert Lex's attention by pointing out that dreams are unreliable at best, that perhaps he'd just seen Clark standing beside the bed and his sleep-addled brain had made more of it than it really was. But the words won't come out because Lex is looking at him and the knowledge is there in those cool grey eyes and nothing Clark can say or do will change that.

Lex knows.

Lex tucks both hands into his pockets. "I should be going." He turns to leave, pauses, and looks back over his shoulder at the open window. "Beautiful weather we're having," he says mildly. "Think I'll leave my windows open tonight. I always sleep better when there's a breeze."

+ + +


The evening brings strong wind, thunder and the promise of rain. Clark sits in the empty barn thinking of cold stone walls and mullioned windows, of water and silk and the warmth of Lex's skin. He wants, and Lex has all but come out and said that Clark can have. Almost, but not quite, leaving him just enough room to maneuver, to deliberately misunderstand both what was said and what was offered.

He rests his forehead on his knees and laughs quietly. It's not that the situation is all that funny, just that it's so very Lex.

The air is electric, charged with the power of the coming storm and other, less identifiable things. Taking a deep breath, Clark stands and faces the open windows. Closing his eyes, he spreads his arms wide and welcoming to the wind. It whips about him, cold and wild, drawing him inexorably forward until his toes brush precariously on the wooden ledge.

Clark releases the breath in a long, heartfelt sigh and lets himself drift.
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