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Affordable

by Annie

AFFORDABLE

By Annie

Rated R
Summary: Future fic; Lex looks back on what he paid. Disclaimer: Don't own 'em; if I did the viewers would be in for a heck of a ride. Spoilers: Redux
Feedback: crehnert@ptd.net

I remember what I said once, with sudden clarity. I remember it like it was yesterday, and I don't have any idea why my brain would pick just this moment to remind me. I hadn't thought of it in many years, not since the words had left my mouth way back then.

"I'm sorry being friends with me comes with such a high price," I'd said, hearing about the new Smallville High Principal ragging on Clark chronically.

He'd smiled, answering me tacitly with his glorious fuck-me mouth, the sight of which always made me hard, twisted a barbed hook in my hungry heart with its' total sincerity. I knew at that moment that he loved me, even if he didn't realize it himself. The pain in my heart and the stab in the pit of my stomach at the memory made me reach for the bottle again, made me pour another dose of amnesia-inducing, insanely expensive brandy.

I remember the day I made the decision. The day I finally had my fill of coasting gently around innuendo, the moment the ache in my gut told me I couldn't wait any longer for Clark to realize how much I wanted him, fucking starved for him. I had stalked him obsessively, predator and prey - there were no other words to adequately describe the manner in which I approached him on a daily basis. Often, deliberately, I stood too close, invading his space, pushing, feeling for an answering movement toward me, some sign of him understanding that I wanted to share more than space. I almost asked him so many times. Almost spoke the words aloud, but somehow I never knew quite how to frame them. Never quite knew how to tell this intoxicating being that I lusted after him to the point of distraction. I thought about it so many times, and now I simply couldn't wait any longer. I was going to do it that day.

I would never forget any second of that day. I had awoken with a raging erection, as usual, squirming with the lingering feelings I'd had from one of my more erotic Clark-dreams. After the requisite pounding of my cock into my hand to get me through the morning, I rushed through breakfast, apparently, somewhere in my subconscious, having already made the decision. I generally don't have trouble making decisions, but those are usually business deals, and I can always figure out ways to cut my losses if things don't work out the way I'd like them to. The losses here would be too great, if things didn't go my way. At the risk of losing my very soul, which I was almost ready to part with to be close to Clark, I was off to the Kent farm.

I can see the day, that lazy summer shimmer on the roads, the light breeze, flowered and caressing. I slipped on my good sunglasses and sped down the road in my best Ferrari, the new red one, the convertible, my hands tight enough on the steering wheel to make my knuckles white. I had dressed carefully, purple, short-sleeved shirt and soft black pants. No underwear. If I could get close enough, I wanted as little as possible separating my heat from his. If I had been sure Jonathan and Martha weren't around to suffer possible heart attacks, I might even have considered going naked. Discretion is the better part of valor, they say, so I settled for just looking good. To start with.

I knew he would have heard me pulling up and getting out of the car. It looked like the place was deserted, and I felt cheated, thinking the whole family was off somewhere, but I thought I'd check the barn before I went back home, figurative tail between my legs, and probably unable to get up the courage to do this again anytime soon.

Luthors know no fear.

I found him in the barn, then, doing one-handed pull-ups on a bar he had apparently set up for that purpose. My feet and my heart stopped simultaneously at the sight, there in the dim coolness. He had on old jeans, cut off mid-thigh, and an old t-shirt that was doing its' damndest to cloak the muscle and sinew beneath, and failing spectacularly. He was the hottest thing I had ever laid eyes on - then or since.

I watched silently for a few seconds, hardly daring to breathe in case of audible hyperventilation, as he lifted himself up and down a few more times. He made it look effortless, and I envied him momentarily for the carefree youth so evident in him. No mergers to worry about, no stocks to check in the morning papers, no wondering if the woman currently sharing your bed loved you or your stocks and bonds. He hadn't even broken a sweat. I started to breathe again from sheer self-preservation, when he finally looked over and saw me there in the doorway. The smile he beamed my way brightened my whole universe, catching the breath in my throat and twitching from my heart into my stomach. And lower.

He dropped lightly to the floor. "Lex!" he greeted me, apparently as happy to see me as he usually seemed to be. I didn't know which of the Fates had dropped him on the bridge that day, but if I ever found out I would light a candle in her honor every night of my life.

"Clark," I returned his smile easily as I moved forward to meet him in the middle of the barn. Even over the powerful aromas of the barn, I could smell him, the clean, Clark scent of him, stronger with every step closer.

"Hot enough for you?" he asked, innocently enough, but I saw the slow blush crawl into his face as I flicked my gaze down the front of him, quickly, before I answered.

"Most definitely."

"Want to go in the house for a drink?" He offered. "Mom made fresh lemonade before they left for Metroplis."

"Maybe in a little while," I replied. "Folks off to the big city for the day then?" I asked, delaying any possible retreat into Martha Kent's kitchen or parlor. Being on the senior Kent's turf was not amenable with the Plan.

Clark shrugged. "Some shopping, some business. They asked me if I wanted to go along, but I'd rather stay here. The chores are done and I can enjoy the peace and quiet."

I smiled ruefully, heart dropping hurtfully. "Then I should go. I should have called first."

I almost turned to leave, but his hand reached out for my arm to stop me. He didn't quite make it as far as touching me, but his intent was clear. "No," he said quickly. "I mean - I'm glad you came over. We can do something, maybe. I can enjoy the peace and quiet with you just as well as by myself."

I laughed then, a genuine feeling of pleasure warming me, unlike being in so many places where people ask me to stay because they are obliged to do so.

"I'll take that as a compliment," I told him. "Show me your gym over there," I requested, gesturing to the pull-up bar. "I would have thought you got enough exercise doing the chores around here."

He smiled again, turning away and walking over to the home-fashioned work-out bars, allowing me a very nice view of his ass in the cut-offs as I followed him. I reached down quickly to adjust myself. I would soon be needing a bit more room in the front of my pants.

He stopped in front of the thing and waved a hand. "See, simple thing. Pull-ups, lay here and benchpress. I made it myself. We couldn't afford a real one," he admitted regretfully.

That kind of thing from Clark always made me angry. I could give him so many things, not even extravagant luxuries, just a few nice little things to enjoy. Better than the small television set I had glimpsed on one of my rare forays into the actual Kent house, as opposed to the barn. I reached up for the pull-bar, but Clark was taller than I was, and I couldn't quite grasp it.

He smiled, then, teasingly, reaching up himself to resume more of those effortless pull-ups, and I almost choked at the sight of those muscles working mere feet away.

"You know, I have a fully-equipped gym at the castle. You can certainly use it any time you'd like. Day or night."

"I did think of that," he replied, somehow not even out of breath with the effort he was putting forth. "I don't like to rely on you for things, Lex."

I couldn't answer him at first. I was mesmerized by the sight of the rippling chest muscles, right in front of me and barely hidden by the thin material of the old shirt. I moved my eyes downward to get away from the sight and found one even more disturbing. Not that I had never noticed the appreciable bulge in Clark's jeans on numerous occasions, but today, with my ulterior agenda foremost in my mind, with the hot body working up and down within touching - within licking - distance, I was really starting to feel that it was a now or never kind of thing.

I jumped, fairly gracefully, even with the raging erection I had grown, and grabbed onto the wooden bar above me, doing a few lazy pull-ups of my own, timing them to match Clark's up and down cadence.

"I want you to rely on me for lots of things, Clark." I told him seriously. "Lots." I looked into his wonderful eyes as I said this, never losing the rhythm of what felt to me like a vertical fuck.

That seemed to unnerve him a bit, and he dropped abruptly back to the barn floor. I followed his example, landing easily on my feet just a foot or so in front of him.

"You're my friend, Lex," he stated honestly. "I'm not going to take advantage of you because you're rich. The money doesn't matter."

My breathing was getting a bit faster then, and I think he thought it was from the exercising. "What does matter, Clark?" I asked him quietly.

"You and me, Lex. The way we feel, that we're such good friends now."

"That's all? Such good friends?" I asked, taking the smallest step forward, into the aura of Clark, the heat surrounding him. I reached up and ghosted a finger along his jaw, watching his eyes, gauging his reaction. "Can't we be really good friends?"

His hazel eyes darkened, and I was satisfied to note that he hadn't backed away from my unexpected touch. Confusion, then realization, moved across his face.

"Lex," he began, but I stopped him with a look.

"You want me to go?" I offered.

"No," he said simply. "I want you to stay. I'm just not.....I don't know...."

"Don't talk now," I admonished him lightly. "Talk later." I involuntarily looked at his mouth then, and before I even knew what I was doing, I had leaned into him, brushing my lips against his, licking the briefest second with my tongue to taste him. I felt him start to pull away, and my heart dropped dizzyingly, but then with a sudden, sharp intake of breath, he moved back to me, tentatively kissing me in return.

Well, I was gone then, lost to the moment, lost to Clark, and I practically attacked him, all but devouring him whole. He was hot and eager, and as I leaned into him, body to body, I realized he was as ready for this as I had been forever. I ground my erection against him, soft black against worn denim, and I felt the incredible, ready hardness of him. I moaned into his mouth, I couldn't have stopped myself from voicing the aching need in me if my life depended on it, and I was rewarded with an answering moan from the dream-fulfilled in my arms.

I ate him. There are no other words in the English language suitable for my actions that afternoon. I licked every inch of his neck and mouth, tasted as much of his skin as I could before I started peeling off his clothes and mine. I pushed him to the barn floor and devoured him whole, took him in my mouth and then felt his strong hands on me, bringing me to a shattering climax as I swallowed the thick, wet, heat of him.

I rested my head on his stomach, waiting for my ragged breathing to calm down, unable to speak just then and unsure what kind of reaction I would be getting when I finally did say something. To be honest, I had no words. A Luthor, speechless. Lionel would be ashamed of me.

A soft beeping sound crept into my pleasant stupor. Damned pager, going off in my pants somewhere. I ignored it, and it stopped, but began again almost immediately, insistent. Some dire emergency no doubt, and there I was, not giving a rat's ass about it.

It was Clark who finally moved, reaching out to his side to retrieve my pants and unclip the pager, laying it on his stomach by my head.

"Lex," he prompted, running a hand softly over the top of my head, and I almost moaned at the touch. "I think it's for you."

I reached for it, mumbling under my breath. "It's probably your dad."

His stomach moved beneath me with his small chuckle, and I sat up, reluctantly breaking the connection of our skin. I wasn't looking at him, but I could sense that he got up, too, could almost feel him getting dressed behind me. I checked the number on the pager. Dominic. My dad, not Clark's. I hadn't been that far off then.

The light from the barn door was suddenly cut off and Clark was standing before me, fully dressed again. Fastest dresser in the West, I thought, dismayed that I couldn't see all that recently-licked flash. He was handing me my clothes, and as I looked up my heart fluttered painfully at the sight of the confusion on his face.

I smiled, despite the coolness of dread creeping up my spine. "Thanks, Clark. I don't want to, but I think I have to go. At least as far as the cell phone, out in the car. Dominic wouldn't page me on a Saturday afternoon unless it was a real emergency. Let me check it out."

"Sure, Lex, of course." He lowered his eyes as I put my pants back on, and my hands wanted to reach out and shake him until his brilliant teeth rattled. I wanted to shake him into feeling something for me, and I thought it would be futile. He didn't feel the same. Although, as I headed out to the car and punched the numbers for the Metropolis office into the cell, it occurred to me that maybe he really did feel the same, maybe he was just so overwhelmed with the aftereffects that he didn't know what to say. I was fairly certain this wasn't something he and Pete Ross did on a weekly basis in the local treehouse.

It was an emergency of sorts. LuthorCorp had acquired a new plant about six months ago, somewhere out in the middle of Oklahoma. I actually owned the majority of the place, and it was losing money by the buckets. I had to get back to the castle and boot up the laptop, figure out something to do before Monday morning, save it or raze it. But there were 3000 people employed there, and I needed to get my act together. I would head right back to my office, but in the meantime, I told Dominic to get the manager of that plant on the phone, immediately, and fire him on the spot. Apparently, there weren't enough Luthors to go around. I wondered what Lionel would do, and then remembered he had gone to London this week. It was up to me.

I headed back into the gloom of the barn and found Clark standing exactly where I had left him. Deep in thought. He never even looked up until I put my hand on his arm to get his attention.

"Trouble?" he asked, sounding genuinely concerned, at least.

I smiled weakly. "Big trouble. I have to save a plant in Oklahoma before Monday morning or 3000 people are going to lose their jobs. I have to get to my office. I'll call you later. Or just come by. I may need the break."

"Sure, Lex," he agreed, readily enough.

I looked into his earnest eyes searchingly. "Please come. You will, won't you?"

He smiled then, the familiar smile of my best friend. "Later. I promise."

        I felt a little better then, losing some of the fear I'd had building inside.
        I had it all figured out by late that evening, and I was mulling the choices over in my head interminably when Clark finally appeared in my office doorway. He had changed from the cut-offs and tantalizingly tight t-shirt into a different pair of jeans and another shirt that didn't hug his torso quite so nicely. I was disappointed, but still relieved that he had actually come. I was afraid I had scared him off altogether, even though I knew he had enjoyed our afternoon together. My stomach twisted and my cock twitched at the memory of feeling his hot explosion on my tongue.

        I barely stopped myself from jumping out from behind the desk. "Clark," I greeted him warmly, gesturing to the little fridge hidden in the wooden cabinet. "Get some drinks for us, please. Have whatever you like."

        He walked up to the desk, all seriousness, and my heart dropped like a stone. I knew what was coming, and I steeled my insides, blanking my face as I had trained myself over all the years of being a Luthor.

        "I don't want a drink, Lex, thanks. Did you figure out a way to save that plant? All those jobs?"

        I nodded. "Finally. It was tricky, but I can do it. Won't save the manager's hide, though." I smirked, hoping he would stay on this conversation track. That hope was dashed almost immediately.

        "That's good, Lex, I knew you would figure something out." He took a deep, shaky breath. "About today, Lex..."

        I stood abruptly and leaned across the desk, getting closer to his face. "It was wonderful." I told him honestly. "I have waited a long time, Clark, and it was worth it. I don't regret a second of it."

        He looked down briefly, then forced himself to look at me again. "I do." He said softly, pinning me with the openness in his hazel eyes, melting my insides and shattering my heart with two words.

        "Clark," I started to say something, I don't even remember what, because he wouldn't let me speak, held up a hand in front of my mouth, not quite touching, and I could see the hand was trembling just the slightest bit. Maybe all was not lost.

        "Stop, Lex." He pleaded. "I ....I can't do this. I love you, Lex, but it's not...I can't...I don't even know what to say, because I don't want to hurt you. It was the most awesome thing - today. With you. And I only regret it because we aren't ever going to do it again. I can't."

        My face was still carefully blank, and I thought I should have gotten a medal for the extreme effort it was taking not to throw him to the floor and make love to him until he changed his mind. But, I didn't want to scare him away forever. If he was still around, I might have been able to change his mind eventually. That was not to be, although I always had hope.

        "You can't help what you don't feel, Clark." I told him, smiling softly, the movement killing my insides forever.

        "I didn't say I didn't feel it, Lex." He leaned in even closer, and it felt like the prequel to a kiss good-bye. He looked right into my eyes. "I feel it. I just can't do it. You have to trust me, I have enough problems in my life. I just....can't."

        I wanted to move in and kiss him so badly then that my teeth ached with it, but I forced my body backward, regaining my ground behind my desk, blanking my face again carefully, keeping the pain out of my eyes with possibly superhuman effort.

        "I'm sorry to hear that, Clark. I hope this won't interfere with our friendship."

        "We can't let it. You said our friendship would be the stuff of legend, remember? I have to go, Mom and Dad will be home soon, and I want to be there. This will be okay, right, Lex?"

        I forced another killing smile. "It will be okay, Clark."
        
        He left then, with a mumbled good night and as soon as I thought he was out of earshot I stood, turning around to the shelves on the wall and swiping everything off them with a roar of anguish. Artifacts and statuettes, smashed to the floor. I went back to the laptop and looked at what I had been doing. It was easy, now that I had it all figured out. Transfer this, cash in that, save the plant and the three thousand jobs come Monday morning. Or not.

        I deleted everything. I called Dominic. 

        "It's hopeless," I told him. "Close it."

        It made me feel better. It would turn out I would need a lot of feeling better as the years wore on.

        He'd had enough problems, he'd said. Well, of course he did, as I found out so much later, one morning, watching CNN, seeing an interview with Superman, a flash of red and blue, a savior in tights and a cape. Like I wouldn't have recognized him the second I saw him, the inhabitant of every dream I'd had since that day in the barn and that crushing night in my office. I had memorized every molecule of his face, there was no way I wouldn't know him, no way I wouldn't feel my insides churning at the sight of him. He was on live television, degrading me, my every plan, my every move, and that was when I suddenly remembered what I had said about paying a price.  So much for our remaining friends, although it had been clear ever since that day that our friendship was over. The few times I saw him after that were spent in agonizing discomfort, though I could see the regret in his eyes plainly. But, he never paid the price. I did. To him, I was just Luthor now. A last name to lump me in with my father, no Lex to keep me a separate, better entity, a friend. Lover. I was just Luthor now. Lex was the price I paid for not being content with friendship and loyalty. For wanting more than a person was able to give. I was a billionaire, but I still couldn't afford the price I had paid in loving Clark Kent. I couldn't even pay to get Lex back now, because he was gone. Gone from me. Gone from Clark.

        Gone for good.

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