Clark watches the credits roll on the movie, and he's silent. Lex shifts on his end of the couch so he can see Clark better.
"You okay Clark?" he looks over at him. "You didn't like the movie?"
"No, that's not it Lex. I liked it a lot-more than I thought I would" and Lex smiles at him "But it was - I don't know, kind of...forced sort of?"
Lex looks at him, that look full of a playful curiosity. "Okay, interesting... forced in what way?"
"Well, I don't know, it seemed like they were working hard to make sure you didn't think the characters were gay." Clark frowns, thinking. "I don't know why I got that feeling. And Judy reminded me of Lana a little."
Lex sighs and turns back to the TV. "Of course she did, Clark. She was pretty and petite and dark haired and plucky, just like you like them."
When Clark looks at him, he's gazing into the TV screen with a small smile, signifying nothing.
Clark knows he's said something wrong. Was it implying the characters were gay? Comparing Lana to a movie star? He knows that smile. He knows it means Lex is frozen right now, and nowhere in this room with him.
He moves around on the couch so he can keep Lex in view.
"Well, I also liked how protective Jim was of Plato, or tried to be anyway, and that reminded me of you."
Lex turns his head to him and smiles a real smile. Clark knows that smile too. It's the one he saves for Clark, because Clark's the only one who can tell its real. It's just a little smile but it warms his eyes, and Clark likes when that happens.
"Really, Clark? Is that how you see me? A protective older brother?" He's turned to face Clark, his head's tilted and he's smiling all the while. Clark likes when he does that too. It makes him look younger and not so intimidating. Not that he's intimidated by Lex-but sometimes he is a little overpowering.
"Yes, sometimes." he replied. "I mean sometimes it is like we're our own families, like Plato wanted with Jim and Judy. It's what Jim wanted too, don't you think?"
"Umm.I can understand Plato. He wanted a family that loved and accepted him, unlike his own parents who abandoned him to a housekeeper" Lex is shaking his head. "I always felt so sorry for him. It must be terrible not to have family."
Clark snuck a look at Lex. In a way, Plato's story was Lex's: abused by other kids, ignored by his family, looking for acceptance. Looking for love.
"Love is a basic human desire Clark." Clark flinches. There he goes again, picking up on his thoughts. "It's what makes the world go round."
He smirks and Clark replays him saying desire over and over in his mind. He sees his lips making the word desire. He hates when Lex says words like desire, it makes him think of weird things and makes him feel a little weird, and he hates that.
Clark's quiet on the drive home, so Lex doesn't speak. He's real thoughtful like that. He thanks Lex for the movie and snacks and goes into the house.
When he looks out the window of his room, he sees Lex's car pulling off. He'd waited until the light in his room went on before he left and it makes Clark feel good, like Lex is looking out for him. Like Jim, he thinks as he pulls his jeans and tee off and climbs into bed.
His thoughts whirl about sleepily and he thinks of Jim Stark and poor Plato and Lex and Lex's mouth saying desire, drawing it out like he was tasting the word. He wants to taste the word too. He's nearly asleep, too deeply gone to startle awake when his mind tells him he wants to taste the word on Lex's tongue...
He's falling, falling, and suddenly he's stumbling over rock and dirt. It's dark, but the night sky is lit by headlights, headlights washing out the moon, headlights pointing to a deadly drop. The wind screams across the gash in the earth and whips his hair into his eyes, he sways again. A hand on his arm straightens him and he's looking into Plato's face.
"Be careful." He nods, not trusting himself to speak when he sees the love swimming in the big brown eyes and knows the boy's going to die. He's going to change it, he can because he knows and he can-but then he's at the edge of the plateau, and wind is pulling at his hair, there's an arm around his shoulders and he knows it's got to be Buzz's. He lights a cigarette and inhales, it feels good, cool and warm at once, and Buzz takes it from him, drags and hands it back to him, the warmth of his lips still on it like a secret kiss. Clark doesn't need to see him to know its Lex.
Clark throws the butt over the edge because he has to, and Lex speaks low and soft and entirely like Lex.
"This is the edge boy. This is the end."
"Yeah." Clark watches the tiny red spark fall end over end, end over end until it's just black and...
It's pitch black and his heart is beating so hard. He's scared and cold, so alone. That's the worst part-being alone in the dark.
There's a noise in the darkness and things change the way they do in dreams so that even in the darkness he can see Jim in front of him. Only it's not Jim it's Lex and that means he isn't Plato hiding in the dark planetarium.
But he is and he isn't and he hears Lex say, "I'm blind as a bat, you got a match? Going to break my neck in here...where are you?"
Clark hears himself say, "I've got a gun." And suddenly feels a weight in his hand, warm metal in the palm of his hand, but it's not a gun. It's an octagonal piece of metal. He recognizes it and wraps his hand around it, trying to hide it.
Lex's voice breaks into his thoughts.
"Light a match will you? You can make a fire--" He points at the ground. "Use your eyes. It's okay to do that now. We're friends. We're family."
Clark feels a wave of relief go through him so intense it makes his knees shake. He doesn't need to lie anymore Lex knows and it's okay. The feeling is so good it's like love.
"That's swell." Lex says as the fire lights up the space and shoots their shadows high on the wall. "How are you?"
Clark smiles and his heart swells. "Fine."
He takes a step closer to Lex, Lex with red hair and a red windbreaker, the white tee shirt under it tight and revealing what a long, lean body Lex has. Should he see that? He decides it must be okay and takes a step closer to him.
"Do you think the world the end of the world will come at night, Lex?" he holds out the warm piece of metal to him.
Lex comes closer, ignoring the not-gun and touches his cheek, running his hand softly over it.
"No. At dawn." He steps even closer to Clark and presses soft lips to his cheek and Clark's eyes close against his will.
"Why?" he gasps and feels himself turn red at his lack of control.
"I just have a feeling," he murmurs against Clark's mouth. Dawn's breaking, gray light beginning to fill the space they're in and Clark remembers: he has to die. It makes him so sad, sad for Lex that tears run down his face and Lex steps back.
"Clark-you're losing the time we have together, the sun is coming." He pulls Clark after him to the open doorway. "We only have the time trapped in here before you fly away from me."
"I don't want to," he cries out. "I don't want to be anything except yours!" he throws Lex the piece of metal but it bursts into sunlight before Lex can catch it.
Clark cries so hard he wakes himself, stares at the ceiling in shock.
He'd just had a dream about Lex-James Dean? No, it was definitely Lex; he was kissing Lex in his dream. He felt desire...and sadness so deep it broke him in two.
He wants to tell Lex everything. Lex knows, of course he knows. He tells him so in a million wordless ways-- he knows, and he's waiting for Clark to tell him, "Yes, you're right, and you're my friend and I trust you with everything." And he was still waiting, but less and less he smiles at him with-everything.
He gets up. He's not going to let go like Buzz did in the movie-tell Jim he likes him and then drive off a cliff and take everything, friendship, the possibility of belonging, of finding a kindred spirit, down into the dark with him.
He's not letting Lex drive off a cliff, no way.
Before he's even got his thoughts together, before he's even sure of what he's going to say, he's right there at the castle, in the doorway, ready to find Lex, but Lex is there, and his dad's there and they're getting ready to leave.
"What is it, Clark, I'm a little busy right now, he snaps, his ears and nose are pink with the cold and he pulls his long black coat around him, readying to get in the car. He looks a little annoyed, a little breathless.
His dad is looking at Clark with contempt, and impatience. "Lex. We don't have time for this. Tell your young...friend goodbye." He climbs into the car.
Lex grimaces at Clark. "I've got to go. I'll call."
"Wait what the hell is going on where are you going? You weren't even going to tell me you were leaving? What, you were just going to slip out of town?"
"I'm - I thought it would be easier-" Lex speaks again, bolder, firmer now. Almost angry. "I'm going to Metropolis with my dad. There are obligations, duties that bind one--I'll call you Clark, and explain---later. When I have a chance."
"No!" Lex looks startled, shocked even. Clark is so angry his cheeks are flaming, he has no idea how arresting his eyes are when he's angry.
"Clark, I really don't have-"
"You know that line in the movie," Clark breaks in, his voice edging on frantic, "in Rebel, 'If I had one day when I didn't have to be all confused, didn't feel ashamed of everything. If I felt that I belonged someplace'...anyway, it went kind of like that-you know?"
Lex nods wordlessly, and Clark pulls him closer. "Well this is that day-night--you hit me, you hit me and knocked me into the water and yes I should be dead, and you too but-you know why, don't you?"
Lex's face softens, it's like magic how different he looks, and his lips curve up into a smile, the smile and his hand goes up to cover Clark's, the one he didn't even know was on Lex's arm.
Lex speaks into the open car door. "Forget it, disown me, break me--do what you will. This is my life, I'll live it by my rules." He stands and slaps the roof of the car and whirls on his heel. "Come on Clark, we've got a lot of talking to do."
Clark runs after him, "Wait, wait!"
Lex stops, still smiling at him and Clark grabs his face, kisses him quickly before he loses his nerve. He steps back just as quickly and eyes closed, asks," Lex?"
He hears him. "I'm staying. I'm here. Trust me, whatever comes; we'll face it together, I swear."
And Clark feels a wool clad arm slide around his neck and a chilly cheek laid against his and he smiles as he gathers Lex in and wraps him up in his heat.