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, September 2002.

Author's notes: With thanks as always to Barbara for beta duties. This is part of the ClexFest at: http://www.kardasi.com/Lexclusive/ClexFest  


by Karen Colohan

Sometimes I wonder if my son and Lex realise just how obvious they actually are... to anyone who really watches them when they're together, at any rate. I suspect they have no idea how much they reveal in subtle, unspoken ways. I'm sure they'd be much more careful around one another if they did. But they're not, and so I continue to notice all the little things they give away.

For that reason, I suppose I should be grateful that Jonathan doesn't always see what's right under his nose. If he did, no doubt he'd have gone running for his shotgun a long time ago. After all, he's never liked Clark spending time with Lex simply as friends. I'm sure he'd be even less thrilled about this new development.

If I'm honest, I probably have mixed feelings about it myself. I don't dislike Lex, but I'm well aware of his background and I know the kind of circles he used to move in, back when he lived in Metropolis. I also know that, as much as he resists following in Lionel's footsteps, he is his father's son. And he's already shown a close interest in Clark's secrets, though I suppose that's not surprising, considering the circumstances of their first meeting.

I'm guessing that Clark has avoided telling Lex the truth so far, but for how long? Especially if this relationship becomes as serious as I think it has the potential to. I'm sure Clark hates lying to Lex, regardless of the risks that go with telling him. What would Lex do with the knowledge, if Clark told him? And more importantly, if Lex finds out, how long would he be able to keep Lionel from learning of it too? That's a possibility that really worries me.

I don't have the heart to try and keep them apart, though Jonathan probably tries hard enough for both of us. In my opinion, there's no disputing the fact that Clark has been a good influence on Lex since they became friends. Lex has made a real effort to show people that there's more to him than his name and his money. And there have been no repeats of the escapades that used to find their way periodically into the pages of the less reputable newspapers in Metropolis.

As for Clark, he's certainly bloomed thanks to the attention Lex has given him. The smile that always lights up his face when he sees Lex is positively brilliant. I don't think I've ever seen him so happy and relaxed with another person. Looking at that glow he gets when he's around Lex I have no doubt that their relationship has progressed beyond the purely platonic. And if I needed confirmation of that, well, Lex shows all the same signs too.

With most people, Lex puts up barriers and maintains his personal space almost visibly. That distance just doesn't exist with Clark. When they talk they lean close, heads together, as if they're keeping secrets from everyone else. I suppose they are. And Lex smiles too - the genuine kind that reach his eyes - not the polite version, that is nothing more than a mask, that he uses normally.

Then there are the touches... just small, casual things, but noticeable if you watch how they behave with other people. Lex finds every excuse he can to lay a hand on Clark's shoulder, or his arm, whether he's catching Clark's attention, or making a point in conversation. There's nothing really overt about it, but it betrays how comfortable they are with one another. And Clark invades Lex's personal space without a second thought, leaning shoulder to shoulder as they walk together, talking, or sitting so their knees brush lightly as they drink coffee in the Talon.

As unlikely as it sounds where Lex is involved, there's something almost innocent about the way they behave in public. It's like a subtle courtship that is totally at odds with everything I know of Lex's previous relationships. Though, admittedly, that knowledge was mostly gleaned from gossip columns. Also, I'm not naive enough to imagine that seeming innocence lasts when they steal time alone together. Clark's teenage hormones would guarantee that, I'm sure, regardless of Lex's inclinations.

I can't say I would have chosen Lex Luthor to be the one to provide Clark with his sexual initiation, but that has nothing to do with his gender. I know Clark likes girls. If he also has feelings for his own sex I can deal with that, although I'm not sure Jonathan would feel the same way. My concern is because of the reputation Lex had when he was in Metropolis. I'm sure there aren't many things Lex hasn't tried at some point in his twenty-one years.

Of course, I'm well aware he can't harm Clark physically, though whether the same is true in reverse I have no idea. I admit that Clark's ability to have a normal relationship is something Jonathan and I have talked about before now. Though at the time it was all purely hypothetical. Assuming he and Lex have figured out the answer to that particular question, I suppose at least I don't have to worry about safe sex being an issue for them.

All of that aside, it doesn't mean Lex won't hurt my son. Love isn't an emotion that Luthors tend to give much thought to. Then again, I trust Clark's judgement. I know he sees things in Lex that other people don't. And Clark has been brought up surrounded by love, taught not to be afraid of expressing what he feels. I think that will be a novel experience for Lex and one that will be good for him.

Now I watch from the front porch as Lex leans back casually against the side of one of his sleek, expensive cars. As always he's dressed impeccably... and totally impractically for a visit to the farm. Somehow I can't imagine Lex dressed in denim and flannel, though.

He and Clark have been up in the barn's loft for the past hour or so. Fortunately, Jonathan is out on the tractor, or I'm sure he'd be glowering disapprovingly at this fact. All the same, I imagine the boys have been circumspect, aware of possible interruptions. But I'm just as certain they haven't restricted themselves to conversation for the past sixty minutes. The mental image of Lex Luthor with his perfect clothes making out in a dusty old barn is enough to bring a smile to my face, even though it's my son he's been making out with up there.

Even from this distance I can see how relaxed Lex looks. As Clark moves to stand next to him, also resting against the car, Lex smiles and he looks genuinely happy. Clark slides imperceptibly closer, so that he and Lex are touching from shoulder to hip.

Lex obviously says something then because Clark leans down to listen. He's grinning broadly when he straightens up, nudging Lex's arm with his own. As always, it seems so casual, but there's no way I can miss the sense of closeness and affection radiating from both boys.

All at once, Clark is moving again, faster than he really should if he doesn't want Lex to start asking more awkward questions. I hold my breath as I realise why he's taken that chance. In the midst of the brief flurry of movement Clark has made the opportunity to reach across and brush a fleeting kiss over Lex's mouth before he pulls back to a respectable distance.

Lex looks shocked. I think I understand how he feels. It's the first time I've seen Clark make such an open display of affection towards Lex. I assume from Lex's reaction that it's the first time he's done so, period.

I'm even more surprised when Clark turns in the direction of the house and looks straight at me. It's then I realise that Clark knew I was watching before he kissed Lex. It was a deliberate gesture, done as much for me as it was for Lex.

Clark is smiling as he switches his attention back to Lex and I wonder what this all means. Apparently Clark has made some kind of decision about his relationship with Lex. I resolve that when Lex has gone I will sit down and have a long overdue chat with my son to find out exactly what that decision was.

With that settled, I turn back into the house and close the door firmly behind me. It seems only fair to allow Clark a last moment of privacy with Lex before he leaves.

Clark is truly growing up, I realise, and I'm proud of him.

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