Story: "But For Your Misfortunes"
Spoilers: No. AU.
Disclaimer: Not mine. I shall buy yet more chocolate to console myself. This strikes me as a sound plan.
Notes: Thanks to Thistle for the beta. I edited pretty massively after the beta, so all mistakes remaining are solely my own. Written for the Fandompoolside Free Verse Challenge.
I know you are reading this poem
in a room where too much has happened for you to bear
where the bedclothes lie in stagnant coils on the bed
and the open valise speaks of flight
but you cannot leave yet.
~From An Atlas Of The Difficult World by Adrienne Rich
But For Your Misfortunes
“Mistakes might have been made, Clark, but I can’t do anything unless you explain to me what they showed you.”
Those were the exact words, said in the silent pause between Clark’s shouts and Lex’s recovery attempt. Clark had felt his stomach do the most curious half-gainer, but he didn’t *get* sick, except he did and he was now. He backed away from Lex, tripping over the chair in Lex’s office and just flat out running to the stairwell, Lex too dignified to yell after him. Clark knew he was on his way nonetheless.
He’d be gone by the time Lex could get home.
Clark shoved his Planet disks in his shoulder bag, alongside his photograph album and his CD collection. He pulled open the drawer to his nightstand; it splintered in his hand. He flung the ruined drawer against the wall and it broke completely, beyond repair, and it wasn’t anything close enough to a satisfying parallel to this night. He felt alongside the back of the nightstand for the minute catch in the wood and he pulled out one of the microchips Bruce had given him so the League could contact him at any time. Lex didn’t need access to that particular piece of equipment, Bruce had said, and Clark had wanted to respect Bruce’s wishes, let him come around to trusting Lex in his own time. Oh, he’d told Lex about the existence of course, just not the placement, they didn’t—have—secrets from one another, after all. Clark gasped audibly at his train of thought as he burned the tiny thing to a crisp in his hand. His fist closed around the ashes. Bruce might be upset over the loss of the tech, but he’d get over it.
He remembered that he’d left his cuff links in the bathroom last night and went to retrieve them. When he returned, Lex was standing in the doorway to the bedroom, eyes fixed on the bed and the suitcases in various states of disarray on its coverlet.
Clark ignored him and strode over to the bed, zipping up the cuff links in the side of his suitcase.
“What is all of this?” Lex asked, so low that Clark thought if he were human he wouldn’t have had the capacity to hear the words.
“I want you to leave.” There wasn’t any need for niceties, or explanations. Lex could fill in the gaps all on his own. He was a fucking smart guy.
“Isn’t that what you’re doing?” Angry now, angry and sliding toward him *fast*. Clark had forgotten how fast Lex could move when he wanted. Clark brushed past Lex and went to the dresser, pulling out some more shirts. Lex came up next to him and slammed the dresser drawer shut, Clark using his superspeed to pull his hands out fast enough, even managing to keep hold of some of the shirts. It wouldn’t have mattered anyway; but it was the principle of the thing.
Clark stared down at the dresser. They were two for two on splintered drawers for the evening. Clark yanked out the second drawer so he could retrieve some pants, and socks, he liked his socks. They were broken in and he didn’t want to buy new ones and—
“God fucking—Clark!” Lex yelled, right into Clark’s ear. “You’re not going to stand there and give me the silent treatment; you’re going to hear me out.”
Clark faced Lex, glad for his height advantage. He’d never played on it with Lex, but he hadn’t needed to this badly before. “Get. The. Fuck. Out.” Clark swallowed hard, it was as though someone else was using his voice to talk. He was surprised at the tears starting to form in his eyes. He blinked them back, but Lex saw, Lex always saw everything in Clark and Lex’s hand was on his face, his thumb under his eye, caressing his cheek before it occurred to Clark that Lex didn’t have the right to do this anymore and he needed to back away.
“I need to know what Bruce and Diana showed you, Clark.” Clark was frozen in place, feeling vaguely like he wanted to move but the directive just wasn’t connecting to the right synapses. Clark couldn’t talk, couldn’t breathe and he just wanted to move but anywhere he turned, Lex could block him and that’d be too much to deal with.
Everything. The truth. I didn’t believe them at first. I didn’t want to believe it. Instead, Clark said simply, “I trusted you.”
Lex blinked and when Clark didn’t continue, he stepped closer. Clark choked audibly and Lex’s jaw worked.
“It was so hard for both of us to get to that point.” Clark whispered. “But once we did—once we did, we were so right together. Whatever happened, I always had you. No lies, Lex. That’s what we agreed on, that’s why we said we’d *make* it, Lex.” Clark’s voice had grown louder on each word.
“It *is* why we are going to make it.” Lex insisted. “You didn’t let me finish at the office, you just ran, Clark.”
“It’s not every day you’re shown proof that the man you sleep with and are making a life with has stabbed you in the back. Has done something so completely against everything you stand for you can’t really wrap your mind around it.” Clark returned viciously, leaning into Lex’s face.
Lex had the gall to look bewildered. “Clark. You have to tell me what is happening here, or I can’t fix this. I’m sure whatever’s happened, I can explain.”
Clark snickered, a bit hysterically. “This sounds like a soap opera, except I actually wish it were an affair. I think that’d be better than this!”
“You’re being ridiculous. I need for you to--”
“I don’t care what you need from me anymore, Lex!” Clark exploded, finally pushing past Lex and shoving the shirts in his duffel.
Lex started laughing. The sound was like ice water down Clark’s back. He swiveled, about to go in for what was shaping up to be *the* round with Lex.
Lex had sunk to the floor, still laughing helplessly as he sprawled out, looking at Clark from underneath his eyelashes.
“I can’t believe that the Batman and the Amazon show you some files that apparently make me look like the most crooked man on the face of the planet and you just fall into line and *believe* them.” Lex gasped out.
“Fuck, Clark, I guess I hadn’t realized just how ill you thought of me until right this second. I rather suppose I should apologize for the—for the laughter,” Lex howled, drawing up his leg as he shook “and I agree, it’s not appropriate, but I simply can’t seem to stop.”
Clark had never wanted to physically hurt Lex, not ever, but Lex laying there, in essence mocking the entirety of their relationship made him want to hurt back. He stepped around Lex’s prone form quietly and pulled on his suit jacket.
“I’m leaving now.” Burn my stuff if you want, Lex.
“Just tell me what they showed you.” Lex insisted.
“I can do you one better.” Clark said, reaching over to his briefcase and pulling it down between them on the floor. He flicked it open and tossed the papers at Lex who watched as the neatly stapled pack fell to the floor. Lex picked it up and opened it resolutely.
Clark watched every movement of Lex’s face and was even more amazed at Lex’s ability to remain calm under the most straining of circumstances. Lex’s heartbeat hadn’t even changed its steady pace, his pupils weren’t dilated. Clark felt a frown on his face start to form, but he stifled it. What had he expected, an apology?
“You think I’m—you think I’m *blackmailing* what looks to be at least three members of the U.S. Senate and in my spare time, a couple of foreign presidents?” Lex breathed, flipping through the papers, his face finally registering the words on the printed sheets.
“I didn’t want to believe it.” Clark repeated stiffly. “But the evidence, it’s all there. You’re trying to secure military contracts for LexCorp.” He said icily.
“And this is all you have to back that up?” Lex waved the papers in his hand, the air fanning them both. He continued. “Wait. Are you telling me you didn’t even ask Jor-El to back up what Bruce and Diana told you, you just took their ‘proof’ on face value?” Lex yelled indignantly.
“I don’t need to! Bruce was thorough, as you can well see.”
“Naturally.” Lex whispered. “Clark. This is--Clark. None of this is true. See—this meeting that I supposedly had with Senator Markesand” He jabbed at the third page’s account. “I was in Beijing. I recall that explicitly. It was a memorable night.”
“Bruce would have followed up on all of this before he showed me.” Clark said defensively, fidgeting slightly.
“I’m sure he did, but he was mistaken. Either that or he…” Lex trailed off.
“He what?” Clark demanded.
“Clark, I have to come right out and say it. Are you certain that Bruce didn’t try and forge these documents? It’s the only explanation I can think of. He wouldn’t be careless enough not to do his research and figure out I was in Beijing that time. Or that the only meeting of any of these that actually occurred was with Markesand in the Everglades, to look at property structures down there.”
“Bruce wouldn’t do that, not to me. And I double checked the dates. Of course I double checked the dates, don’t you think I’d do everything possible so I didn’t have to believe this? You were in all the right cities for these meetings to occur.” Clark said shakily.
“He would do this if he thought it’d get you to leave me, Clark. He hates me. You know that, you know that better than anyone else. He probably thought you’d leave me without giving me the chance to explain, that you’d be too glad to get away from me to ask for more details than what’s simple surface. Tell me he underestimated us.” Lex turned his words from a demand to an almost pleading tone at the very end. Clark processed all of this and studied Lex’s profile silently.
“Are you saying to me that if I have the AI probe further into this it will find evidence of you being in entirely different places than the League’s computer has recorded?” He asked carefully. Oh God. He wasn’t lying here and Clark hadn’t *believed*.
“I’m sure they only have your best interests at heart, Clark.” Lex said finally, staring at the floor.
Clark reddened, his cheek twitching slightly, fists clenched. Lex had to be telling the truth since Clark could simply have the AI check into it. Bruce wouldn’t have thought Clark would do that, would check a *third* time, and there would be no way for him to have corrupted any of the AI’s files. He’d never understood that he *loved* Lex, he wasn’t just some long term fuck buddy. Bruce was in for one hell of a rude awakening. “Fuck that. They have no right to try and interfere in the most important relationship in my life, just because they’re scared.”
“I know I’m not the best person for you, but give them time to come around.” Lex shouldn’t be having this much fun with this, but he figured he could either laugh or be angry—and well, he was both but the laughter was winning for now.
“No. You’re the only person for me.” Clark said, a twist of bitterness marring those beautiful features.
“They…” Clark sank to his knees next to Lex, mouth open. Lex leaned his head on the side of the mattress.
Lex had never seen Clark so completely pale, almost…fragile looking. Time to bring it home.
“I’m a Luthor, Clark.” He winced self-deprecatingly, resigned. “No matter what I do, people will always have that in the back of their minds. I just—I’d hoped--” Hoped that you weren’t one of them, Clark, wasn’t necessary to say. Clark’s face crumpled even more.
“I—God, Lex--” Clark sounded as though he were about to cry and Lex had to physically bite the inside of his cheek to keep his elation off his expression. It *hurt* and Clark completely misread the pain. “I wanted to believe in you, Lex, I did. I told them it couldn’t be true, that there had to be some other explanation.”
But you still fell anyway. It was the most contrary sensation. Lex had *known* Clark would believe them, *wanted* Clark to, that was the whole point. Yet…Lex had to acknowledge some little part tucked away had wanted Clark to trust him implicitly, despite all contrary evidence even if it meant shattering Lex’s desired end game.
Clark had a disgusting way of making achieving the anticipated victory feel like complete defeat. Lex reached out suddenly, pulling a shocked Clark tight to his body. “Someday, you’ll trust me for real, Clark, and I can wait however long it takes you to do that.”
“I won’t doubt you again, Lex. I swear. Oh, God.” Clark repeated, burying his face in Lex’s neck as Lex brushed Clark’s hair back slightly.
“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.” Clark repeated and Lex savored but it twisted with the bitterness and Lex had to shove it aside mentally, had to let it go all over again.
Such easy words, uttered with such perfect beautiful clarity and it’d take a lot, too much, to get Clark to go back on them. No one would have a chance any longer.
Clark rose from the embrace and moved to the door. Lex smiled in satisfaction as he glanced at the demolished nightstand. Clark shut the bedroom door behind him with a soft click as Lex composed his face again to one of disappointed forgiveness. And now, make-up sex. Lex thought he was becoming too jaded when he’d actually been disappointed to realize that every single time he or Clark made a mistake in their relationship they wound up having sex in the nearest semi-secure place, almost to reaffirm the relationship. It was all in all a good tradition and it made it physically hard to stay too angry for long.
Besides that, it was disgraceful to get upset over things you couldn’t change.
Lex got to his feet and reached across the bed, shoving all the suitcases aside, sending them tumbling to the floor.
Clark was at his back, hands under Lex’s jacket, tugging up Lex’s tucked in shirt. Lex placed his hands over Clark and pulled harshly, ripping open the shirt, sending buttons pinging across the room. He intertwined his fingers with Clark’s and pulled him along to the bed, Lex twisting at the last moment so Clark fell under him. He pinned Clark in place with his knee alongside his leg and Clark’s arms raised over his head, held in place, encircled by Lex’s right hand, his left unhooking Clark’s belt with practiced accuracy and efficiency, bending down and pulling it out with his teeth. He slid his hand underneath Clark’s—no boxers today, and Lex liked surprises when they consisted of Clark going commando. He planted a rewarding kiss to Clark’s stomach and tongued his navel briefly, making slight stabbing motions as he bit gently. Clark shuddered beneath him and bucked up a fraction as Lex’s hand closed around his cock.
“Are we okay?” Clark whispered as Lex tugged twice, his thumb pressing hard. Lex flashed back to a barn, years apart, more devastating lies than these and marveled anew at the reversal.
Clark’s trust in the two most persistent members of the League was on the rocks, and Lex would widen the gulf so slowly only Bruce would ever even have a glimmer of the truth. Bruce’s lovely listening device gone, and really, Clark should have wondered why Lex had adopted a no business talk in the bedroom policy but instead he’d seemed to treat it like most couples would having a television in the bedroom.
And Clark, his beautiful Clark, now with more faith in Lex than ever before and the fervent desire to make amends.
“We will be.” Saying ‘yes’ would be too easy for Clark to accept at present and Lex had all the time in the world now.