DISCLAIMER - Not mine, I couldn't afford the motor and household insurance bills. I promise I'll scrub them down and give them back to DC comics, the WB and anyone else who does own a slice of them when I'm done with them. Story, such as it is, copyright Karen Colohan, February 2003.

Author's notes - Nope, haven't seen Prodigal yet. This is based entirely on the screencaps and other people's squeeing over the pure Clexiness of it all. Thank you to Barbara for betaing and saving me from any totally dumb mistakes owing to the whole not having seen it thing.

Watching Lex work - real, physical exertion, that is, not the cerebral kind he used to do safely seated behind his glass topped desk - is possibly the hottest thing Clark has ever seen.

He already knew that, for Lex, being the best at whatever he does is a given, a necessity. Somehow, though, Clark never imagined seeing that dedication to excellence applied to mucking out stalls on the Kent farm. Then again, Clark never expected Lionel to disown Lex either... or Lex to turn up on his doorstep looking for a place to stay.

But it's been quite the day for surprises. The only thing that hasn't really come as a shock to Clark is just how sexy a dirty, sweaty Lex actually is.

He's always known that Lex is the very definition of sex in his elegant, terrifyingly expensive clothes, secure in his own environment at the Luthor mansion. Master of all he surveys, Lex can make phallic objects out of everything he touches - overpriced bottles of water, pool cues, hell, anything his fingers touch or his lips caress.

But Lex transplanted from his natural habitat, into Clark's, is something else again. He doesn't seem so out of reach any more. Dressed in dirty jeans and a well fitting sweater that's showing sweat stains, the sleeves are pushed up above his elbows in a decidedly workmanlike fashion. He's enough to make Clark's fingers itch with the need to touch and brand and claim.

After all, Lex came to him when he needed help, in a neat reversal of all the times that Clark has sought Lex's assistance in the past. Lex could have gone to his doctor girlfriend, but he didn't. And that thought brings a fierce, almost possessive smile to Clark's lips. When everything fell apart around him, Lex sought refuge with Clark and his family.

Clark is sure that has to mean something. Watching Lex toss dirty hay as if he's been doing farm work for years, he certainly hopes it does. Because if Lex keeps flexing those long, lean muscles like that, Clark is going to give in to his baser urges and flip Lex over the nearest hay bale and...

Biting back a groan, Clark hurriedly clamps down on that line of thought. He doesn't need to find himself having to explain to Lex or to his parents why he's just come in his pants while watching Lex muck out.

His nervous shifting from foot to foot is apparently enough to make some small sound. Maybe it's the rustling of loose straw under the soles of his shoes, Clark isn't sure.

Whatever it is, it's evidently loud enough to reach Lex's ears as he straightens up abruptly, turning in the same smooth motion to look at Clark. A quick, bright grin flashes across his face and Lex leans the fork he's been using against the nearest bale of hay and saunters across to greet him.

"Come to make sure I'm still doing the job properly?" Lex asks without rancour.

Clark's aware that he's spent a lot of time haunting Lex's steps today as he's set about proving that he knows how to handle himself when it comes to manual work. Clark's been telling himself it's because of his dad's insistence that Lex never be left alone while he's on the farm. The danger to his secrets notwithstanding, Clark knows such easy justification is his friend.

"You know, even I can figure out how to shovel crap, Clark," Lex adds when he doesn't answer.

The smell of the aforementioned crap, overlaid with the tart scent of clean sweat, precedes Lex. Clark can't help wondering if there's something terribly wrong with him, because the combination goes straight to his cock and he's so hard he aches. He's also immensely grateful that his jeans are old and loose and that the shirt he's wearing underneath his jacket is long - and fortuitously untucked.

Some kind of response seems to be called for.

"Er, no, I just..." Clark can't believe just how lame he sounds, but the urge to grab Lex and ravish him is very strong. Fighting against it is pretty much occupying all of his higher brain function. "I just wanted to check that you were okay out here," he manages finally.

"I'm fine, Clark," Lex says with a smile. "A good day's honest work never hurt anyone, right?" Tilting his head, Lex peers at Clark's flushed face and adds, "You're looking a little out of sorts, though. Are you sure you're okay?"

"Me?" Clark hopes he doesn't sound as guilty as he feels. After all, he's sure it isn't the done thing to be picturing one's currently destitute best friend naked and sweating, spread out over a convenient hay bale. "Yeah, I'm fine, just fine."

Lex still looks a little disbelieving, but he doesn't call Clark on it. For which Clark is even more grateful.

Instead, Lex scrubs one hand across his face, wiping away beads of sweat and inadvertently leaving smears of dirt across his pale skin in their place. Apparently he doesn't realise what he's done, but Clark is transfixed by the dark smudges.

Before he can stop himself, Clark reaches out and catches Lex by the shoulder.

"Hold still," he says a little breathlessly, when Lex makes an instinctive move to step away. "Let me get that for you."

"What...?" Lex begins, his brow creased in puzzlement, but his words trail off almost at once.

His inability to speak seems to be related to the fact that Clark has just licked his thumb and is now deftly sliding it across Lex's cheek. And while Clark is aware of the dirty marks that he's brushing away with an air of intense concentration, Lex isn't.

"Clark?" Lex tries again, but his voice comes out in a strangled moan instead of his usual, smooth tone.

Meanwhile, Clark doesn't want to think about what he's doing. If he takes the time to think, he might come to the conclusion that this is wrong and that he should stop. And Clark doesn't want to stop. He just wants to keep touching Lex for as long as Lex will allow it. He's fixated on the fact that Lex's skin is incredibly soft and it feels like damp silk against the pad of Clark's thumb.

The streaks of dirt are long gone, along with any trace of an excuse Clark might have for stroking Lex's face. But Clark is drowning in the sensation of finally, finally touching the untouchable and he can't seem to pull his hand away.

He's been avoiding looking up, but suddenly Lex's fingers are under Clark's chin, tilting his head back until their gazes lock. Lex looks stunned, blue eyes wide and full of so many questions. Clark doesn't want to worry about trying to answer them, because that would complicate everything. And, right now, it all feels so simple.

Clark is touching Lex and, despite his obvious uncertainty, Lex isn't pulling away. Taking comfort from that, Clark stretches his hand, curving the palm against the warmth of Lex's cheek.

After a brief moment of hesitation, Lex presses harder into the touch and his eyelids fall closed. Somewhere in the midst of their mutual confusion, Lex's hand has slid lower and now it's resting lightly against Clark's neck.

Clark can feel the roughness of Lex's fingertips, courtesy of his new role as the Kents' extra farm-hand. It's another of those inexplicable turn-ons and it's enough to make Clark ache with the need to come.

"Clark," Lex's voice seems to come from a very long way away. "Do you know what you're doing?"

"Yes," he says firmly, but then Lex's eyes open again. They stare straight into Clark's and he swallows, abruptly uncertain. "Not really," he adds, deciding on honesty. "But it doesn't matter."

Lex makes a small sound that might be laughter. "We shouldn't do this."

"Yes, we should!" Clark's voice is fierce, determined.

It's already taken them much too long to get to this point, and Lex may never be so... accessible again. And it's not just his presence on the farm that Clark means. There's an openness, a happiness to Lex that he hasn't really seen before and Clark doesn't want to let go of this opportunity.

He doesn't believe that Lex does either, not really. He's just trying to play the role of responsible adult. But Clark gets enough of that from his parents, he doesn't need it from Lex as well.

"I know what I want, Lex," Clark insists. Then he steps closer, invading Lex's personal space in earnest.

Lex remains tense, poised on the edge of flight for a few heartbeats more, but then Clark can feel him giving in, his body relaxing infinitesimally. Clark is on the verge of saying something else when Lex's hand tightens on his neck, pulling him down until their mouths meet.

It takes a second for Clark's brain to process the fact that Lex is kissing him, but once it does his cock gets even stiffer inside the confines of his jeans. Clark slides his hand from Lex's cheek to the back of his head, curling around it protectively. The movement also serves to hold Lex in place so that Clark can really begin to appreciate the way that Lex's tongue is making itself at home in his mouth. Clark sucks on the enthusiastic invader, absently noting that Lex tastes of his mom's coffee.

Lex is standing so close to him now that there's no space left between their bodies. Consequently, there can be no mistaking the hard swell of Lex's cock as it nudges against Clark's. They swallow each other's moans as they rock against one another, savouring the friction, even with the barrier of layers of denim and cotton between them.

Clark could be content with just this, the kisses and the rubbing and the closeness beyond anything that he'd ever dared to hope for. But Lex seems intent on more and suddenly his hands are burrowing between them, scrabbling at the snap of Clark's jeans. That's not a bad thing, but Lex pulling his mouth free of Clark's is and Clark immediately groans an inarticulate protest.

When Lex looks up at him, drawn by that sound, his eyes are dark, the pupils dilated. And, even now, the trace of a smirk lifts one corner of his mouth.

"Clark," he says patiently, "do you want to have to explain come stains on your jeans to your parents? I know I don't."

Shit! Clark flushes at Lex's reminder. Caught up in the pleasure, the desperate need for completion, he really hasn't given the practicalities a thought. Lex is right, of course, he doesn't want to try and explain this, whatever this actually turns out to be, to his mom and dad. He's quite sure they wouldn't understand, wouldn't accept that this is Clark's choice.

Acknowledging the need for discretion, Clark bats Lex's hands away from his waistband and sets about getting himself out of his jeans. He distracts himself from the associated implications of incipient nakedness by watching out of the corner of his eye as Lex starts to strip out of his own jeans. Somehow he manages to make it look easy and graceful, while Clark is getting caught up on his boots and cursing under his breath when the laces fight back as he tries to undo them.

When Lex peels off his sweat damp sweater too, Clark's mouth goes dry. There's a part of his mind that's screaming that this is crazy and that one of his parents could come out to check on them at any time. But the much larger portion of his brain is entirely occupied with the fact that Lex is now naked apart from a pair of silver grey boxers.

It's enough to give Clark the incentive he needs to kick off his boots, followed by the jeans which are bunched around his ankles. His shirt and jacket quickly follow the rest of his clothes, fluttering down to the floor of the barn. Which leaves Clark just as nearly naked as Lex is, except that his boxers are blue and made of worn cotton. He suspects that Lex's will turn out to be silk, when he can persuade his fingers to reach out and touch.

It seems odd to Clark that almost nude Lex should be so much more intimidating than fully clothed Lex. Not that Clark's cock seems to be making the same distinction. It's still hard and it's tenting the front of his boxers to an embarrassing degree.

Lex doesn't seem to mind, though, nor does he appear to be in the slightest intimidated by Clark's near nakedness. In fact, he closes the gap between them, his hands coming to rest gently on Clark's hips.

"Are you sure you're still okay with this, Clark?" he asks softly.

Clark swallows hard. He's not going to back away from this now, not when he can smell the scent of sweat and sex rising off Lex's pale, smooth skin. Clark's just not entirely sure what to do next. He's still pretty certain that throwing Lex down on the floor of the barn and fucking him senseless wouldn't be the right thing to do, no matter what his cock thinks.

"I'm sure, Lex," he says, meeting the blue gaze head on. "I just - I don't know what you want," Clark admits finally.

Lex smiles at him. "I want it all, Clark," he breathes. "Everything you'll give me, but not here, not now."

"Then what...?" Clark feels himself blush again.

It's something else to hear from Lex's own lips that he wants to fuck him too. It's not that he hasn't always suspected, but to have Lex confirm it, especially in that low, husky voice... It makes Clark shiver in anticipation.

"Let's just keep things simple, Clark." There's something soothing about the soft, sensual whisper as Lex brushes his lips over Clark's, not quite a kiss.

Then Lex's hands are tugging at Clark's boxers, easing the elastic over his swollen cock and pushing them past his hips. They slide down his legs slowly, until Clark can step out of them. When he looks back at Lex, he's removed his own boxers too and they're finally completely naked.

Lex is all smooth planes and lean, sinewy strength. It's a shock to realise there's no hair anywhere, but it looks right on Lex. There's nothing to detract from the endless pale skin that is miraculously unscarred, considering the number of beatings Lex has taken just in the time that Clark's known him.

In comparison, Clark feels gawky and inelegant. He's all arms and legs, skin browned by the sun and sparsely sprinkled with dark hairs, nothing special at all in his opinion. To his surprise, Lex's eyes are hungry as they slowly rove over his body. Clark is sure his cheeks are scarlet when Lex's stare fixes on Clark's swollen cock and he licks his lips as if he's anticipating...

Clark hurriedly digs his nails into his palms, because he knows he'll come in seconds if he pursues that line of thought. He wonders if Lex would define that - and Clark can't quite bring himself to say the words, even in his head - as keeping it simple.

Apparently done with just looking, Lex reels Clark in again, pressing them close together. Lex takes careful steps, urging Clark backwards until he fetches up against one of the barn's thick wooden pillars.

"That's better," Lex murmurs as he leans into Clark, using the beam at Clark's back to support them both as he starts to thrust against Clark's crotch.

The sensation of Lex's cock rubbing against Clark's is electric, now that there's nothing between them. Clark moans softly, feeling pre-come painting stripes on his stomach and not sure if it's from Lex or himself. Lex's hips are moving in a strong, steady rhythm that Clark can't help responding to. Nor can he resist cupping both his hands around the smooth curve of Lex's ass, feeling the flex of muscles against his palms and the glide of hot, slick skin.

Lex's mouth is busy exploring Clark's neck and chest, licking and biting with every appearance of enjoyment. When Lex's teeth close on one of his nipples Clark groans, long and low. It feels as if there's a direct line from his chest to his cock. Clark's fingers tighten on Lex's buttocks, kneading fitfully. In response, Lex switches his attention to the other nipple, suckling it until it's a hard, tight nub.

Both Lex's hands are fisted in Clark's hair, fingertips playing with the dark strands. When he finally abandons Clark's chest, Lex uses his grip to tug Clark's head down, nipping at his lips until Clark parts them for him and Lex can push his tongue inside.

Clark likes the possessiveness of the kiss and he slides his tongue over Lex's, enjoying the slick tangle of their mouths. In the past few months Clark has kissed Lana, Jessie, Kyla and Chloe, but none of them tasted as good as Lex does. And Clark wants to taste the rest of Lex as well. He's caught just a hint of the salt-sweet flavour of Lex's skin, earthy and nothing short of perfect. He still wonders what Lex's cock would taste like. Though Clark suspects he's not going to have time to find out now.

Lex's hips have lost their fluid rhythm and he's thrusting against Clark with something close to desperation. His breathing sounds ragged and there's a lot more of the sticky wetness anointing Clark's belly now.

"Harder," Lex breathes against Clark's lips when Clark flexes his fingers on Lex's ass.

"Harder?" Clark swallows audibly. He's already worried that he might be leaving bruises on the fair skin and now Lex is asking for more. All the same, Clark's cock twitches at the request.

Lex thrusts sharply to emphasise his demand. "Yes!"

He's panting harshly now and a flush of pink tints his skin. Lex is hot and the sweat is slick on his body as Clark gives in and grips him more firmly.

Moaning his pleasure, Lex slams his hips into Clark's. A few more of the rough thrusts and Lex tenses, head thrown back as his cock pulses between them. Lex's come feels scalding as it hits Clark's stomach and trickles down over his cock.

Clark is transfixed by the look on Lex's face, though - wide open and shockingly vulnerable. He tugs Lex closer instinctively and the extra pressure on his aching cock is enough to trigger his own climax. Clark shudders, bracing himself on the strong, wiry body in his arms as he spills his come to mix with Lex's.

They surge against one another a few more times as the last shivers of pleasure course through their tangled limbs.

Clark isn't sure what he expected to feel, but he's certain it wasn't this sudden sense of possession. He doesn't want to let Lex go, even though he knows he's probably holding him far too tightly. Not that Lex is complaining. In fact, if Clark didn't know better he'd swear Lex is snuggling. At any rate, Lex has tucked his face into the curve of Clark's throat. Clark can feel the warm puffs of air against his skin as Lex pants softly.

Eventually, Lex releases his death grip on Clark's hair, carefully smoothing down the disordered curls. The gentle petting feels good and Clark gives a pleased sigh.

"Thank you," he murmurs, dropping a quick kiss on Lex's sweaty scalp.

Clark feels the brush of Lex's lips on his throat and guesses that he's smiling. When he hears Lex's quiet laughter he's certain of it. Clark pulls away just far enough so that he can see Lex's face. Sure enough, Lex is grinning broadly, his blue eyes sparkling.

"What's so funny?" Clark asks, a slight frown creasing his brow.

"You're amazing." Lex shakes his head. "You save my life repeatedly; you take me in when I have nowhere else to go; you give me this," Lex's gesture encompasses their naked, sex-drenched bodies. "And then you thank me. You really are something special, Clark."

Clark blushes, looking down at his feet. He's not sure he knows where to begin, to try and explain how much Lex has given him, what this means. As far as Clark is concerned, Lex is the amazing one. Clark may be invulnerable, but Lex has his own strength. Clark's not convinced that he'd still be fighting, sane and determined to win, if he'd had to deal with everything Lex has been through in his life. Is still going through, thanks to his father and his duplicitous brother.

In the end, in lieu of words, Clark simply hugs Lex. It's not about sex this time and they both know it.

When they finally pull apart, Lex eyes their dishevelled state and smirks.

"You look like you live in a barn," he teases.

Clark looks him slowly up and down before replying. "And you look like you've been rolling around in one."

Lex flashes him a wicked grin. "Not quite, but soon I hope."

It's a promise, Clark realises, and feels the heat rise in his cheeks.

"Not unless my parents are well away from the farm," he says finally.

"Maybe I like living dangerously," Lex taunts him.

"Fine, so you just finish mucking out those stalls butt naked then and see what my dad says when he comes out to check up on you," Clark shoots back. "In the meantime, I'm going inside to have a shower."

Lex scowls at Clark as they both gather up their scattered clothing and hurriedly dress. "You had to bring your father into this, didn't you?"

"He's just starting to warm up to you, Lex," Clark points out. "Do you really want him dusting off his shotgun instead?"

"I think I could live without repeating that experience," Lex says with a sigh.

Clark quickly leans in and kisses him in apology. "Sorry, I forgot about that."

In Clark's opinion, everything connected with Desiree Atkins is better forgotten.

A fleeting touch to Clark's cheek reassures him that Lex isn't angry with him for inadvertently bringing the subject up.

"It's okay, Clark." Lex smiles. "Now, I really ought to get this finished." He picks up the fork and heads back to the pile of hay he was cleaning up before Clark distracted him. "I wouldn't want your dad to think I've been slacking."

Clark turns away and starts to head outside. A shower really does sound like a good idea about now.

"Oh, Clark..." Lex calls after him.

When Clark looks over his shoulder, Lex is leaning casually on the fork, watching him.

"Save me some hot water, I'll be done soon," Lex tells him. "Unless..."

"Unless what?" Clark isn't sure he trusts the gleam in Lex's eyes.

"Well, if you don't mind waiting we could share the shower, save water." Lex is smiling, slow and sensual.

Clark feels his cock twitch in response. Oh yes, Lex really does like to live dangerously, but Clark still likes the way he thinks. If they're careful...

"I'll see you inside in ten," Clark replies decisively.

As he leaves the barn, Clark is whistling tunelessly. He wonders if his dad would notice if the shotgun were to go missing for a little while.

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