Title: "Moth To A Flame"
Author: Mala
E-mail: malisita@yahoo.com
Fandom: "Smallville"
Rating/Classification: 'R', Clark/Lex, slash, angst.
Disclaimer: DC Comics own the original characters. Don't care who owns the SV incarnations. I'm borrowing them. Yes.
Summary: Picks up after episode 2.2, "Heat." A simple game...but not really. Dedication: To Minnie for helping me brainstorm the title and for always, always, believing in the meepiness of CLex no matter what the future holds.

The pool cue slid, with ease, through his stationary fingers and the felt tip sharply tapped the side of the off-white ball. The momentum was enough to send the blue-striped one in front of it into the corner pocket. The sound of the balls colliding and the shot sinking was a satisfying 'snick-thump' that always seemed to sound like a bedroom door being gently closed behind a lover.

He remembered bending over the table and Desiree moving up behind him, sliding her hands up his body as she reached to breathe her poison into him. He'd driven Clark from this room and re-christened it with her mouth, her body countless times before waking up. He could still taste the insanity. The betrayal. The false emotion that made him so passionate to a woman he barely knew and yet so cold to his only real friends. To the only person in the world he could say he trusted.

No amount of vodka burning his throat seemed to drive her taste away.

But he was determined to own this pool table, this game, again.

He was determined to own his heart again, too. But that was another story altogether...one with no happy endings, just impossibilities...

"Lex...?" No doors being gently closed. There were no doors to close when Clark entered a room. He walked like a man but looked so hesitant, long-lashed blue eyes like the blinking eyes of a child's doll.

His hands shook, just slightly, as he lined up his next shot. A bank into the side pocket. "Hey, Clark. Make yourself at home," he greeted, fully aware of the fact that the last time his friend caught him playing pool, it was someone else who'd made themselves at home here.

"I...uh...just came by to see how you were." That shy grin. Hands folded, loose, against his thighs. "I was worried." Cheeks flushed pink. "I mean, my mom was worried. We both were."

The cue slipped, banged against the felt and bounced and the shot went wild...sending the balls every which way but into a pocket. "I'm fine," he assured, straightening up and setting the stick aside. "No more whirlwind wives tucked away anywhere."

"That's a relief." Clark's gaze fluttered from his face to his throat and lower...as if he might have a woman hidden in his pants.

Of course, he didn't. And sticks and balls and pockets were suddenly naughty terms with those Eyes lingering on his crotch. He could have shifted behind the table, but he knew that the time for such coy discretion was long past. Desiree had given them both an education this week and no matter what he thought, how much he protested, Clark was still eager to be a student.

"Want to play a game?" he wondered, softly. Let a beat go by. Two. Before he added, "Of pool?" and brushed nonexistent lint from the front of his slacks.

Jerking back, guilty and caught, Clark stammered and blushed, two of the things he did best. Two of his most endearing qualities. His steadfast loyalty being the third. "I...I'm not very good," he admitted. "Out of practice from so much time on the farm."

He reached for the cue stick, tossing it, grinning when Clark caught it, effortlessly, in one hand. "I'll get you back up to speed in no time."

"Give me time to warm up....I'll give you a run for your money." A brilliant smile. Just a healthy dose of confidence, masculine pride bolstered by the offer of help. "Stripes versus solids?"

"You wouldn't want my money, Clark," he assured, dryly, indicating, "Solids," before continuing in an almost philosophical fashion, "The price on the Luthor name and fortune is too high, my friend. Money never comes without strings, without vultures circling overhead waiting to take everything away from you."

"Like Desiree?" Clark leaned across the table to gather up the balls and rack them up and his motions were fluid, large hands spreading out across the felt with the innocent ease of someone who had never stroked the planes of a human body.

It would only take one suggestive word, one look, to make those fingers stall, curl against the soft-hard surface with longing.

"Yes," he said, moving along the border of the table, running his palm along the rails, the cushions. "She almost took everything away from me," he agreed.

"Your life," Clark clarified, thunderclouds brewing in his normally clear sky eyes.

"No. No, that's not 'everything'," he whispered, sibilant, now that he was right behind his young friend. Both palms were flat against the table...both arms a barrier, trapping Clark between antique wood and...well...something that most certainly was not a pool cue. "You know...you're my best friend. Some might say my *only* friend..."

"Y-you're my best friend, too." Ever the polite farm boy, Clark was pretending not to notice that he was caught between a rock and a very hard place. But at such proximity, Lex could hear the rapid intake of breath ...imagine the pupils contracting and expanding...smell that clean scent of outside and soap in the hollow of his throat. Clark was, in fact, a lousy actor. Yet another one of his endearing qualities.

"There are," he murmured, barely grazing the exposed throat that was at perfect level with his mouth, "three words I've never said to anyone. You know that right? At least not while in my right mind."

Just the tiniest involuntary shift of hips against his. Hope. Clark had hope. Need. Want. So much to learn. "Y-yes."

In one swift motion, he took the pool cue clenched between whitened fingers away, saving it before it could snap in two. And now it was himself he put between the table and Clark. A rock and a very very hard place. "I won't say them to you," he said, simply.

"I...I don't expect that." With nothing to hold on to, Clark's hands clenched and unclenched around air. He grasped them, loosely, in his own...marveling at how small and delicate his fingers felt against their work-hewn span.

"Don't you?" he wondered, softly. "I know you, Clark. You're a hero. You're good and honest and loyal and you never give up. Some day...some day, you're going to have to give up on me."

"W-well...it won't be today."

The kiss was tentative. Soft. Dare offered and dare taken. He wanted to open his mouth and taste the sweet, untouched, peach of boy lips, but there would be ample time for that...for that and so much more. So he let Clark hold him there, against the pool table, tilt his head and make the move, complete this first important step. This first kiss.

It was the second kiss that he took control of...before even a breath of fear, of regret, could pass between them. Keep your righteous anger Clark, he urged into tart tongue and cool water mouth. Believe in me and I might just believe in myself. His hands traveled up to tangle in silky dark hair and he lifted himself, easily, onto the edge of the table so he was the one taller and towering and taking. Teaching.

The racked up balls were summarily pushed across the table...triangle spinning and landing at the other edge as he crawled backwards, bringing this gorgeous child-man with him...ever so glad that he'd had the antique surface reinforced with two extra layers of slate.

"Not very good?" he chuckled, huskily, against the onslaught of hungry, demanding, kisses. "You're a natural."

"I told you I needed practice," Clark reminded, blushing deep in his bones. "Practice makes perfect."

He couldn't help himself...hands on feverish hot skin...watching those eyes shine with devotion, and lust...they closed as he struggled for composure..."You are magnificent," he assured, brushing his mouth across soft, translucent, eyelids. "Look at me...look at me and tell me you know that..."

The beautiful baby doll eyes stayed shut just a few moments longer...the heartbeat pounded against his palm. "I...I...love you, Lex," Clark gasped. "And I don't ever want to hurt you."

"You will." He smiled, teeth full of knowledge and want. "But it won't be today."

Clothes ripped and thrown aside in a flurry of motion. Pool cue sliding with ease through his fingers. Eight ball sinking into the corner pocket.

He was determined to own this table, this game, again.

He was determined to own his heart again, too.

But that was another story altogether.

One with no happy endings.

Just impossibilities.

And just one certainty.



October 6, 2002.

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