The Laugh of the Stars
by Te
October 2002

Disclaimers: If they were mine, I'd wrap them up warm and keep
them safe.

Spoilers: Vortex, Heat, Red.

Summary: Clark's searching for meaning.

Ratings Note: NC-17

Author's Note: Miz E? Does this prove that I am your bitch?

Acknowledgments: To Jenn, the Spike and the #smallville crew
for audiencing and keeping me company.

Feedback keeps me smiling.


Clark dreams, and knows it. Mostly because he's usually aware for
his dreams, though it also helps that he's pretty sure that -- alien
weirdness and all -- he would've woken up before floating out from
under the covers, out of his not-all-that-big bedroom window, and
high into the sky.

Well, not all that high.

Fifty feet, maybe sixty. He's looking down at the roofs of the house
and barn and outbuildings, and they're all pretty hazy.

A quiet kind of thought, an *under* kind of thought, lets him know
that that's because he's never actually seen them up close, and
suddenly they're switching between simple shingles to fanciful tiles,
to the kind of weird stone crinkly things he thinks are at the top of
Lex's castle.

What doesn't change are the lights.

Something like fairy lights, only they must be bigger and brighter
than that if he can see them from all the way up here -- and now
he can feel the wind, just on the edge of fall cool, bracing and
intimate like some ghostly lover -- and arranged in strange,
not-quite-regular shapes.

Little constellations he thinks he could maybe catch the meaning
of if he stared long enough.

Was this a story Lex had told him?

Some ancient hero, maybe? Tricked out in white-lighted geometry...
there was a myth for this, he knew it. Maybe a god instead. Some
story of adultery and fatherhood and betrayal, always betrayal...

He wakes up with a headache and a head full of shapes.


Clark's doodling the shapes from his dream on the margins of his
notepaper in class when Pete thwaps him on the shoulder.

"Dude, geometry was last year. It's time to let go of the pain."
Easy grin at him and Clark grins back, distractedly.

Keeps doodling.

A belt in those three lights? Or a sword? A reaching arm?

There's a pang in him at the last thought that he worries like he's
seen other kids do with bruises.


He drifts through the rest of the day on autopilot, registering the
rolled eyes of his friends with his best rueful smiles and
half-hearted mutters about chores.

He wants to go home and crawl up the side of the house -- would
the trellis hold him? -- and see what the roof looks like.

He wants to go to the library and read about myths and legends,
since he already knows all the constellations. The 'real' ones,

He wants to believe it has nothing to do with the ship in the storm

In the end, he manages two of the three and spends the afternoon
on the roof of the barn, looking out over miles and miles of slowly
autumning Kansas and reading about men who apparently saw
nothing wrong about fighting huge and terrifying monsters with
bronze swords while wearing very little clothing.

Lex probably had a joke about that.

He'd tell it with a slow, sly smile. The kind that said 'I *could*
be telling you the absolute truth, but it's kinda funny anyway,
isn't it, Clark?'

The one he never felt he had a good enough response for.

He opens his notebook to the page full of shapes and tries to think
of them in the context of all the stories he's just read. Those four
could be Atalanta's leg, but then there's really nothing else
humanoid about it. Even if he squints.

The fall of Icarus? That could be nicely abstract, and work with
the irregular dodecahedron... all those points for wingtips... but.


It feels like a betrayal, almost, to try to put words on his dream.

To try to make the shapes anything other than what they are...
whatever they are.

He stuffs the mythology books back in his knapsack, and makes
a cryptic little note in his day-planner to himself to return them
in a week. No one had to *know* he put the speed in

Jumps off the roof and considers going in for dinner, but his
mother smirks at him through the window and mouths "two hours,"
so he just grins at her and motions that he'll be back later.


He's a lot more careful in the castle than he used to be, what
with Lionel always around, and always *way* too curious about
him since... well.

Why no one ever believed him when he played dumb he'd never
know. He'd been practicing his brainless expressions in the mirror
ever since the first time he went for a run in the corn and left
scorch marks.

Though with Lionel blind, he can't even see how brain-dead he

Maybe he should try rolling in old Mrs. Jameson's "secret"
marijuana patch before coming over.

Though that could, technically, lead to other problems.

Not least of which would be Lionel sniffing him. Clark files that
thought away under Never Ever Look At This Again and creeps
through the halls and stealthily as he can, listening for the
tack-tack-tack of Lionel's cane and wondering if the man's senses
were as good as his own.

Or better.

Another bad thought.

He likes Smallville and all, but he can't say he'll be surprised when
the hazmat teams finally roll in.

"Hiding from my father?"

Clark makes a sound very like "gyah" and barely manages to
avoid jumping far too many feet into the air, possibly getting his
head stuck in the really pretty ceiling frescoes in the process.
"Jesus, Lex!"

Happy shark smile. "Sorry, but I really couldn't help myself. You
looked like you were auditioning for the part of Shaggy."

"Are you saying I need a better haircut?"

"I'm saying that if you want to avoid him, you can always come
in through the gardens. He's allergic to most of the things I have
planted there, and can no longer appreciate the visual aesthetics,

Clark grins back and falls into step with Lex, trusting him not to
lead them both into the Lionel's den. "I'll keep that in mind. So...
you busy?"

"Not really. I had an interesting morning, though."


A slightly more twisted grin. "Let's just say it can be a little...
surreal to live with the man who owns a huge multinational
corporation that happens to be in direct competition with your
own very small, uninational corporation."

Clark squashes the first few things that want to come out of
his mouth, since saying things like 'but he's your *father*' only
tend to get depressing answers out of Lex. "Um... ouch?"

"Hmm... well, yes, but..." And Lex's smile is back in full force
again. "It also makes things very, very interesting."

"And now I find myself wondering about your definition of
interesting." It's a little harder to keep his own smile.

"C'mon, Clark. I already told you about chess games." And Lex is
walking easily, breezily into his office, racking the balls for a

Clark closes the doors behind him, and thinks about the look in
Lex's eyes after the last time he played chess.


Clark is on the couch, watching the door -- or, technically, the
hallway and the rooms beyond the door -- when Lex taps him
with his bottle of water.

"Hey. Do you need to go?"

"Hunh? Oh, no. I've got a little while, yet. I just. Um..." Were
those footsteps? God, he'd never realized pool was such a
*loud* game.

Lex gives him a searching look, then studies the door for a
moment. Then chuckles. "Dad won't be back until tomorrow,
Clark. He's in Metropolis for more tests."

"Oh." Only it comes out more like "ohhh." Like a... well, like the
really pathetic moan of relief it is.

And Lex actually *snickers*, which would tempt Clark to throw
something at him, except that Lex doesn't really laugh out loud
that often, so instead he just smiles at himself and shakes his

"So I'm looking like a big cowardly idiot here, I'm guessing?"

Lex gives him that slow, sly smile. "You'd be amazed how...
restful it can be to walk around wearing nothing on your feet
but, say, socks."

And it takes Clark a minute to get it, but when he does he
nearly snorts soda from his nose. Because, well, he could just
*see* Lex creeping around in black silk socks, hugging the
stone walls, looking right and left...

"Exactly," Lex says, and throws his stockinged feet up on the
couch, as if to demonstrate. Wiggles his toes for emphasis.

And Clark knows, abruptly, that there's no one else who gets to
see Lex even remotely like this. Not family, not friends, not the
glossy occasional women or the pretty and even more
occasional men he's not sure he's supposed to know about.

This is his, and this is why Lex is always so...

"What's that?"

"Hmm...?" And Clark realizes he's been tracing the shapes of his
dreams on Lex's apparently not-ticklish-at-all foot with his finger
again and again. And again. Dodecahedron, Atalanta's leg,
star-and-sickle. Blushes hard. "Oh. I... just something from a
dream I had."


Smiles at Lex from under his lashes. "Lights on the roof. Floating."

"X-Files marathon before bed?"

"I... no."

Lex nudges him with his foot. "What's wrong?"

I'm two people, and one of them thinks it's perfectly okay to lie to
you everyday. I'm two people, and one of them wonders what it
would've been like if you'd just taken me to Metropolis. I'm two
people and... "'Teenage angst' wouldn't cut it here, hunh?"

A smile too sad for the words. Or sad enough. "I'm willing to give
you the benefit of the doubt."

"I don't want you to."

Lex nods slowly, shifts his feet off the couch and moves closer.
Looking into Clark's eyes like he can read everything he needs to
know from whatever Clark's showing. "Then what?"

"It's just... have you ever had a dream that stayed with you?"

"Some of my nightmares, sure."

Clark nods. "Yeah. Like that, but... not. More like the feeling. I
remember looking at these lights in the dreams and thinking
they were constellations, that there were stories behind them
I should already know, and one of them was like... *reaching*.
Reaching out." Clark looks away, scrubs a hand through his hair.
"Which sounds a lot lamer than it actually feels."

"Hey, everybody feels a little disconnected sometimes."


He can see Lex's rueful smile from the corner of his eye. "All my

Clark squeezes his eyes shut. Thinks about the fact that night's
falling faster every day, that dinner will be ready at home soon.
That his parents will be looking at the door, wondering if this is
yet another day when something bad, or something just
*Smallville* has happened to him.

And he thinks about the warm, upward rush of feeling whenever
Lex laughs, and the fact that he'd *wiggled his toes*, and he has
to laugh himself, even though he knows it sounds a little broken.

"Clark..." Hand on his shoulder. Warm and friendly and *there*.
As much there for him as anyone else in his life, wanting to be
there as much as anyone ever could, maybe.

He wonders, if not for the first time, then certainly for the first
truly conscious and *serious* time, what it would be like to kiss

With intent, and with nothing like a backup plan in case he'd
gotten all the signals wrong. Just did it, with all of himself.

And when Lex squeezes his shoulder like an unspoken invitation,
Clark shivers and twists, shocking Lex into pulling away.

But not far enough that Clark can't catch him. His hands.
Long-fingered and pale and strong, squeezing his own while
those grey-blue eyes search and search. Find everything, he
wants to say. Make this easy for me.

But kissing Lex turns out to be pretty easy, after all. Once he's
moving, once they're connected. Mouth to mouth and palms to
palms and it's slow and warm and it doesn't taste like anything
but themselves.

Clark's eyes are closed, but he can *feel* that Lex's are open,
that he's watching this, wondering, until Clark sweeps his tongue
over the roof of his mouth. And then all the weight of his gaze is
in the heat of his kiss, the press of his body. A shift of emotional
focus Clark can feel, and it makes him groan into the kiss, press
closer, let go of Lex's hands just long enough to run his hands up
the fine fabric of Lex's shirt.

Grip the lean, strong arms and try to stop himself from just losing
his mind to this, because Lex is a *good* kisser. Wet and slow and
messy and real, like he's been wanting to do this, just this, for a
while, and now that he has the chance he's going to take his time.

Breaks the kiss for air and pants, resting his forehead against Lex's.
Wonders what it feels like to have someone else's hair brushing
against your scalp. Wonders if he's officially lost his mind.

"Clark... the *hell*?"

"I... I just. Really wanted to kiss you?"

Lex's laugh is cracked. "I got that part. And I'm willing to go with
it. But... why now? What's going on?"

"Lex... do you *really* think I have any idea?"

Lower, calmer chuckle, and Lex's thumb on his mouth is something
to gasp about. The way Lex's eyes *flare* is something to moan
about. "Most of the time, yeah."

"I don't. I really... really don't." Especially not *now*. And he's
aware that he's sucking Lex's thumb and staring at Lex's mouth,
but not really *aware* of it until Lex says,


In an entirely new way. It makes him bite down, just a little. Makes
him pull away from Lex's thumb all slow and slick and sexy and all
those other liquid words that hadn't meant anything until now, not
even when he'd had his hand in Jessie's panties.

And maybe it just means that sex is better without meteorite
poisoning, but Clark's body just knows that it's *good*.

And even better when he gets his mouth on Lex's again, when
they're kissing the way Clark thinks adult must kiss all the time, or
at least when there's no one around to see. Hot and almost deadly
kisses that make his stomach jump and his cock harden in his jeans
and he's about three seconds from pushing Lex down and just
*grinding* that sweet, sweet ache away when Lex breaks the kiss.

"You have to go home."

"Wha...? Now? No!"

"No, you really, really do. Isn't it dinnertime? Dinnertime. Christ.
Fuck." And Lex is the one staring now, holding Clark's shoulders
and staring at Clark's crotch and --

"Lex --"

"I'll come over later. The barn. Eight o'clock? Nine?"

"Christ, Lex, sooner than that --"

"You have to do your homework."

"I did it already."

"You have to eat dinner with your family and... *be* a family and
holy *shit*, Clark, what are we *doing*?"

"We're... um... well, we're definitely not kissing!"

"I want to do more than kiss."

I want to show you what the roof looks like. "I'm okay with that,"
Clark says."

"Clark --"

Stands up. "Seven-fifteen. If you're late, I will... do something

And dashes out of the room, painfully, before he can say anything


Makes it home only about five minutes late, though he's panting
at the end of the run and covered in corn silk. And still half-hard.
Luckily, the mere thought of his mother seeing him half-hard is
enough to take care of the problem.

Take that, Freud.

Clark brushes himself down as best he can and walks in,
apologizing for being late and accepting his father's third-best glare
in lieu of a lecture before going to wash his hands.

And then there is a very quiet, very awkward dinner in which
Clark realizes that a) his usual place at the table lets him see the
clock way too easily and b) if he keeps looking at the clock like
that, he's screwed, and c) he doesn't want to think about being
screwed, giving what just happened with Lex and the fact that he's
eating dinner with his *parents*.

He begs off on his usual thirds and says something about doing
some reading in the barn, blushing furiously when his mother
reminds him to bring a jacket, or at least a blanket. Because...

Well, *he* doesn't really need it, but he thinks Lex might, and
yeah, not having those thoughts in the house.

At least not in the kitchen.

And then he's in the barn, and in the hammock, because if he
tries to do anything else he knows he'll just pace. He still jumps out
of it when he hears Lex pull up.

And then paces *anyway*, because Lex is *talking to his mother*,
about *vegetables*, and, okay, he has to be careful with this,
because if he bangs his head on the beams too hard there could
be an accident.

Small, gentle bangs.

And finally Lex is coming up the stairs, smiling, but not with his
whole face, and Clark *knew* he shouldn't have left him alone.

But Lex doesn't say anything until he gets to Clark's little window,
and his telescope. "The stars tonight, Clark?" Looks back over his
shoulder. "Or more local heavenly bodies?"

Which... he kinda guesses he deserves. Lex isn't the only who...
and it's not like he *means* to lead people...

"I thought so. Clark, I don't think this is such a good idea --"

"You think I'm not taking this seriously." And Lex isn't quite
looking in his eyes.

"I'm... trying really hard not to say something about teenaged
boys and the theory of relativity as it relates to the nature of
'seriousness' and 'relationships.'"

Clark snorts humorlessly. "Yeah, well, I appreciate the effort."

The silence between them isn't comfortable, but it isn't as awful
as it could be. Another thing he's not feeling especially grateful
about. Finally Lex says, almost dreamily,

"You didn't even blink when I said relationship."

"Did you expect me to?"

And *now* Lex is looking at him. "Frankly? Yes."

"Here I am. Not blinking."

"There you are, *insane*." And Lex is mocking his tone of
voice but he's also laughing and also rocking back on his heels a
little and scrubbing a hand over his head.

"Lex, I don't know *how* to... have sex with someone without
caring about them." Chances a few steps closer, and then a few
more, even though Lex's whole posture screams 'wanna bolt
*now*.' "And I don't want to." Clark tries to breathe over his
triphammering heart but all he takes in is Lex. Cool fall air over
some muskily expensive cologne over the warm, familiar scent of
his friend. "And also... you smell really good, and I want to kiss
you so I can stop saying stupid things. Okay?"

"*Fuck*." Absolutely heartfelt and Lex is grabbing his flannel and
pulling him in, pulling him close, and it's nowhere near as
smooth and easy as those first kisses, but it's still good, because
Lex is *here*, and he doesn't have to go anywhere, and no one
is going to bother them and God, if Lex just keeps running his
hands up and down his chest like that....

"That's good, Lex, that's --"

"Clark, you're gonna *kill* me --"

Kisses him again, instead. It's necessary, something to do over
and over again between quick glances to see how red and
soft-looking Lex's lips are now against his pale, pale skin. Just
knowing he can *do* that makes him feel as powerful as he
did throwing those truckers around... no.

Not a thought he needs to have, at least not with Lex just
*giving* him this. Leaning back against the wall, hand knocking
the telescope out of true in what may or may not have been
an accident, but Clark really doesn't care. Not with Lex's head
tilted back like that, long throat just *begging* for kisses,

"Can't believe you're letting me..."

And Lex gasps out something unintelligible and grabs his hand,
brings it down to his crotch and *pushes* and *fuck*. That's a
dick, that's *Lex's* dick, and his vision flashes to X-Ray just
long enough to make him think they're both about to fall right
out of the barn into a black and white farmyard before his brain
kicks into gear again.

Hot, hard, and in his hand and Lex's pulse against his lips, and
there are all sorts of things he can think to say here, about how
he didn't even *know*, and about how he genuinely believes
that he's incapable of freaking out about something that feels
*this* good, but in the end all he does is suck and press and
work Lex's cock and kiss him and kiss him until he starts saying
his name in *that* way again.

Pleading little noises that should have more vowels than they
do, and it's all just his name, telling him to stop, wait, let him
get out of his pants, let him touch Clark, and it's so hot that
part of Clark just wants to keep going.

See what happens.

Could he make Lex come in his pants?

And he knows Lex sees it on his face, because Lex's smile is
somewhere in the nowhere spaces between wild, scared, and
lost, and he's bucking against his palm in ragged little thrusts.

Clark can't decide if he wants to close his eyes and just *feel*
it or keep them open and watch... God, watch *everything*.
Licks his lips, and Lex makes a hurt-sounding noise and his
own cock pulses pre-come in his shorts and God, if this is
what connection is...

Maybe his dream was a kind of nightmare after all, because
there *is* terror in this. The best kind. The kind Clark wants to
subject himself to again and again, because he thinks maybe
he's been numb all his life.

Blinks and scrabbles at Lex's zipper, forgetting the button and
nearly popping it before Lex undoes it for him. Black boxer briefs
and Lex's cock still trapped under them and Clark *knew* that
had to be uncomfortable, but something about the feel of cotton
and the cock behind it...

"Clark, please..."

"God, I love the way you say my name, Lex..."

"I can't believe you're making me *beg*, Jesus, just touch
me --"

"You don't... Jesus... you don't have to..." And Clark *hurts*
now, so hard it's impossible to think beyond forcing his hands off
Lex and getting his own pants open, his cock out and, oh God,
pressed against Lex's --

"Wait, your hand, use your hand..."

"Oh -- oh yeah --" And that's just the best idea in the *world*,
because he can hold their cocks together this way, force them
together so that every thrust is just pure golden friction, or
slickness when he hits the trails of pre-come they're leaking all
over each other, and Lex is gasping like he's been *hit* and
Clark knows he doesn't sound much better.

He doesn't know where to look. Between them it's all hot dirty
sex, porn he didn't even know existed ten minutes ago, and a
million times better because it's real and he's *doing* it, and
Lex is, too. Sharp little thrusts right into his hand, *fucking*
his hand, right up against his cock --

"Clark --"

And looking up is even better, because Lex is looking at him
like they're sharing secrets, all wise and dirty and happy and...
*sexy*. "Lex." It's the only thing he can say.

"Yeah... yeah. Just. Right there oh God --" Throws his head
back and closes his eyes and suddenly Clark can see it.

Fucking. Fucking *Lex*. Because that's... That's exactly how
he'd look when they were close, when Clark was buried deep
inside -- Bites off a groan in Lex's shoulder and comes hard,
eyes squeezed shut and kaleidoscoping multi-colored stars
going nova on his eyelids --

"... coming for me..."

Shudders weakly as his cock pulses one last time and Lex is
*jerking* in his arms, clutching his shoulders and coming all
over Clark's fist before slumping against the wall. They stand
there, panting together, until Lex brings Clark's hand to his
mouth and licks him clean with unceremonious pleasure.

Watching him all the while.

When he's done, he tucks them both away and zips them up,
and finally Clark can manage words again.


Lex's tiny, hungry smile goes all the way to his eyes. "Sure."


He's dozing more or less on Lex's lap in his Fortress and knows it.
If he concentrates just a little more, he could find out for sure if
Lex was really stroking his hair while doing... whatever it was that
Lexes did after thoroughly readjusting young aliens' world views.

If he concentrates just a little less, he'll be floating high in the
indigo Kansas night sky, checking to see if his own personal
constellations look a little less lonely.

The in between space is pretty nice, though.