Rating: Adult. If you're under eighteen, please go elsewhere now.
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the CW and DC Comics, not to me.
Read Chapter 3 here.
Read the story from the beginning here.
Lex's eighty-foot yacht rocked gently atop turquoise waves. A soft breeze brushed lovingly across Clark's face as he stood on the deck and gazed out at the endless ocean around them.
Privacy, he thought. It was what he'd wanted, what he'd craved, since this whole situation with Lex blew up in their faces. And for the past month, they'd had it. Sure, they'd had helicopters circling overhead every now and again, but for the most part, they'd managed to keep out of sight of the media.
They'd been able to make love in Lex's opulently appointed stateroom whenever they wanted. And at first, it had been wonderful. Just the two of them, in their own quiet, private world.
And yet... and yet...
Clark looked out over the ocean, and sighed.
There was another world out there, and they couldn't hide from it forever.
Lex's hand came down on his shoulder. He'd heard Lex's footsteps, of course. Barefoot, Lex walked like a cat, and yet Clark could have heard him three miles off. He always knew where Lex was and what he was doing nowadays.
"That's a pensive look," Lex said, his voice soft. "One might even call it sorrowful. Are you unhappy, Clark?"
"No," Clark said, quickly and honestly. "This has been the greatest month of my life, Lex."
"It's just that..." He sighed, and stared out toward the horizon.
"It's just that we can't hide ourselves away forever. Is that it, Clark?"
Clark turned toward him, startled by Lex's ability to read his thoughts. Lex knew him so well it was a little scary.
"Yeah," he admitted. "We can't pretend the rest of the world doesn't exist, Lex. You have work to do. Important work. And I'm not... well, while I'm here, I'm not helping anyone at home. My parents need me, Lex. My dad's heart..."
"Yes," Lex said, nodding. "The farmhands I hired in your place can't replace you, Clark. I know that. It's not just the work. It's your parents."
Clark closed his eyes. "I just... my parents... and my friends..."
"I know." Lex's hand squeezed his shoulder. "You're very close to your parents, even though you don't always agree with them. I envy that closeness, Clark. I know they must miss you terribly. I know you miss them."
Clark stiffened a little. He was an adult, and it wasn't like he was crying into his pillow every night because he missed his mommy. But... he thought of the old yellow house, the vast flat fields of corn, the emerald pastures filled with cattle, and a wistful homesickness rose in him.
"I guess I miss home," he admitted softly, opening his eyes.
"So do I." Lex chuckled, a self-mocking sound. "If you'd told me, when my father first exiled me to the crap factory, that Smallville would become my home, I never would have believed you. But it is. And part of that is because of you, but part of it is the people, and the place. It gets into your soul somehow. The truth is, Clark, I know how you feel... because I miss it, too."
Clark turned away from the understanding gray eyes, and gazed at the horizon again. "But if we go home," he said softly, "we go home to the cameras, and the paparazzi..."
"Yes." Lex's tone turned grim. "This is what my life is like, Clark. I tried to warn you when we first became lovers, but I don't think you really understood. Maybe it's something you can't understand till you've been through it. But now you've seen what it's like. It will die down, Clark. Eventually, it will die down. Our vacation from the public eye, brief though it was, may have helped somewhat. But the truth is that as long as you and I are together, you'll never be able to take privacy for granted again. And the odds are that sooner or later, some enterprising reporter will notice something odd about you, and begin digging."
Clark shuddered slightly. The last thing he wanted was for his secret to be exposed to the world. And yet...
He turned toward Lex. Lex had just gotten up, and he wore a pair of old sweat pants and nothing else. His beautiful bare chest gleamed ivory in the sunlight. Even after weeks of tropical sunshine, Lex hadn't tanned. Like the redhead he was, he'd freckled. Clark found the ginger-colored spots adorable, and had carefully kissed each and every one of them over and over again.
Clark knew he himself hadn't tanned, either, because his skin couldn't be tanned any more than it could be callused or abraded. On the outside, this month in paradise hadn't changed him at all.
But inside... inside, he'd changed. He'd grown. He'd realized that paradise wasn't enough. It wasn't what he truly wanted.
He wanted Lex. That hadn't changed. But he wanted Lex in the context of their real lives. This was just an illusion. A lovely one, but nevertheless merely an illusion, one that couldn't be sustained forever. Sooner or later, the two of them would have to face real life, with all its problems and complications and intrusions.
And that, he admitted, was what he wanted. He wanted reality... a reality shared with Lex.
He looked into Lex's eyes, and reached up, placing a hand on Lex's.
"For you," he said, "I'm willing to risk all that, and more."
Lex swallowed, and Clark saw him blink hard. "Are you sure?"
Clark nodded, and spoke with all the sincerity he possessed.
"I've never been more sure of anything in my life."
More to come...