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, July 2003.

Author's notes - Written for slodwick's Perry White Challenge. My assignment was in the entertainment section and the headline was "No Dancing Teapots". Thanks as always to Barbara for beta duties.

Clark sprawled on his stomach, a copy of the latest edition of the Smallville Torch propped on the pillow in front of him. He cleared his throat and began to read aloud. "The SADS production of..."

"SADS?" Next to him, Lex rolled onto his side and tried to read over Clark's shoulder. "Whoever came up with that name? I thought it was a medical condition."

"Lex..." Clark shot him a reproving look. "You know very well that it stands for Smallville Amateur Dramatic Society. Lana chose the name when the society was re-formed. She thought it sounded - distinguished."

"With all due respect, Clark, there was nothing in the least distinguished about the debacle that took place at the weekend," Lex insisted.

"Well, it was their first production," Clark pointed out reasonably.

"And if we're lucky it was also their last," Lex muttered under his breath. He flopped onto his back, staring up at the ceiling. "I still have no idea how your mother persuaded me to get involved..."

"Cookies, Lex." Clark grinned at his lover. "She bribed you with cookies."

"God, yes," Lex groaned. "I remember now. So much for my negotiating skills. My father will probably die laughing when he hears about this."

"I think it was very public spirited of you," said Clark, reaching across to run a gentle hand across Lex's bare scalp. "LexCorp's sponsorship was much appreciated."

Lex sighed. "That will be a great comfort when my name becomes a laughing stock in the business community."

"Don't worry, Lex, I'll still love you no matter what," Clark assured him, nuzzling Lex's cheek.

"Well, I suppose that's at least a little reassuring," Lex conceded, leaning into the soft pressure of Clark's lips on his face.

After a brief interlude in which kissing took priority over the contents of the newspaper, Clark smoothed out the crumpled pages and asked, "Do you want me to read this? You did say you wanted to hear what Chloe had to say in her review."

"Go on," Lex prompted. "Let's hear the worst."

"Okay..." Clark gave the paper his full attention once more. "The SADS production of Beauty and the Beast was adapted from the Disney version of the classic fairytale. However, this engaging story was, perhaps, a somewhat over-ambitious choice for the first production by the recently revived Smallville drama group. While it retained many of the much loved songs from this incarnation of the tale, financial constraints..."

"Financial constraints?" Lex glared at Clark as if the wording of the article was in some way his responsibility. "Damn it, Clark, I provided as much funding for this as your mother would allow. If she needed more why didn't she just ask?"

"Amateur dramatics isn't about big budgets," Clark replied patiently. "It's about having fun and building community spirit. You know, everyone pitching in to help and making the most of the resources available."

"Yes, I understand that, Clark," said Lex, an expression of frustration crossing his face. "But think about how much more could have been available if Martha had let me contribute a reasonable amount."

"You did plenty, Lex, and you got involved." Clark smiled at him encouragingly. "That's what people will remember."

"Oh, great, kick a man while he's down why don't you," Lex muttered irritably. "My reputation as a patron of the arts is ruined for life!"

Clark shook his head, trying his best not to laugh. "Did anyone ever tell you that you can be a real drama queen, Lex?"

"What?!" Lex stared at Clark in disbelief. "I can't believe you said that. If that's what you think of me I'd better live up to my reputation. So, no sex for you for a month."

Clark seemed supremely unconcerned by the threat. "Right, as if you could actually go without for that long."

Lex didn't say anything, he simply looked determined.

After watching Lex for a few moments, Clark gave an amused snort and turned back to Chloe's review. "Now, where was I? Oh yes... Financial constraints meant that several of the most lavish scenes had to be scaled back. Costuming was kept simple, with the result that there were no dancing teapots or crooning candlesticks. However, considering the limitations placed upon them, the main cast still turned in a spirited performance.

"In particular, Lana Lang stepped into the spotlight to bring a unique poignancy to the character of Belle. While not an experienced singer, her vocal talents proved equal to the challenge set by the role."

Lex had clearly been struggling to hold his tongue, but this proved too much for him.

"Clark, enough is enough!" Lex burst out. There was a look of pained reminiscence on his face as he added, "I was there. I heard Lana's 'vocal talents'."

A smirk threatened to spoil Clark's best innocent expression. "But, Lex, you haven't heard about Mr. Sullivan's triumphant performance as the Beast yet."

Lex winced at this further reminder. "So much for journalistic integrity! I expected better from Chloe than that."

"Well, to be fair, she does have to live with them both," said Clark, defending his friend. "And, really, she was only trying to be encouraging."

"Exactly!" Lex complained. "Now the members of SADS will be under the mistaken impression that they have some actual talent... God! Who knows what they'll get it into their heads to attempt next?"

Clark leaned across and dropped a soothing kiss on Lex's mouth. "Why won't you just admit it? You had fun!"

"You have a very twisted idea of what constitutes fun, Clark," said Lex, refusing to be appeased.

"Hm, I wonder who I learned that from?" Clark smirked.

"Do not try and put any of the blame for this on me," Lex retorted, stabbing the offending review with one elegant finger. "And your mother can bake all the cookies she likes, but I will not be funding another SADS production."

"Oh well, that just means more for me," said Clark with a pleased grin. "But I think I've heard enough about SADS now."

"Really?" Lex raised his eyebrows in question.

"Yes, I was thinking about a much more intimate performance, for a very exclusive audience," Clark replied.

"Oh? Tell me more, I might be - interested in that," said Lex, moving closer.

"Hm, Lex, I believe you are." Clark turned onto his back, stretching out enticingly. "I think we should open negotiations. Now, what was that about no sex for a month?"

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