Fools Rush In

By Kat Reitz and Perryvic

Stupid fucking wings. This would have been a lot easier if he had just run to the party and hadn't had to drive people home. Clark shifted awkwardly as the curving wing tips splayed against the back of the seat, and automatically turned the truck up the road that lead past the Castle.

It wasn't strictly on his way home but it was habit as much as anything else. Practically everywhere in Smallville now had an official detour past the Luthor mansion for some reason or another.

He shifted again, conscious that he might bend or snap the rather impressive primary feather that curved so dramatically if they kept bending like that. He really should have made time to take them off before he left Chloe's Halloween party, because he was in danger of ruining the set in his frustration and losing his deposit at the costume shop. But there were straps and fastenings and a harness and it had taken his Mom a good thirty minutes to get them on - in among the laughing - so he reasoned tearing it off would be bad. Twenty dollars deposit worth of bad at the least.

Still, he'd looked cool as a Warrior Angel type for Chloe's Halloween Winged Things Party theme, even if he was one of the rare non-demon, fairies or vampires there. His 'wings' arced up behind his head and even had this cool thing were they would extend out just a little when he moved his arm in a certain way which pulled on a cunning attached strap. It was just the thing to convince him it was worth the expense. His Mom had helped him make a sort of tabard effect and he completed the costume with a pair of cheap white jeans that he had never worn and some warrior looking sort of manly silver accessories. Silver chain belt. Silver studs that he did in patterns on the jeans, squeezing them on with his fingers. Some silvery, pearlescent glitter spray that Lana had attacked him with after cooing with delight over how wonderful he looked.

That had slightly ruined the macho fighter-of-the-forces-of-evil look he had been going for, but he couldn't have everything, he guessed.

Chloe had decided the costume was just typical of him and had been rather too interested in how the wings were strapped on. In a 'If I take them off, will *all* of your clothes come off?' kind of way. Even after he'd had that talk with her. Even after he'd told her that he still wasn't over Lana. A crush was a crush, and he knew that he probably seemed twice as stupid over Lana. And if he admitted he was an infinite number of times foolish over someone else as well, but he wasn't admitting that. Other wise he would have come with fairy wings after all rather than as an angel. He hated to hurt Chloe, so he'd humored her and the party *had* been fun. No freaks, no mutants, no accidents, nothing that required him to save the day. A normal party which in Smallville was definitely a freak occurrence.

There had been one missing element, and Clark knew he had been invited and had more than half hope he would have made an appearance.

Lex hadn't been there.

It was a surprisingly sore point. People kept asking him where Lex was as if he would know -- which, he had to admit, he generally did, but things had been a little strained.

If he was a bit truthful with himself, he would have to admit that for all the grudging acceptance he had given Lex's request to start their friendship again, he really did want things back the way they had been in those first easy times. With even his Mom telling him not to be a complete jerk about it, albeit in a nicer Mom type way, he had rather belatedly realized that he had been more than a bit of an idiot over this forgiveness thing. Yes, he had been angry and upset but, Lex probably had been, too.

It wasn't like Lex really had any more reason to trust him than he did to trust Lex. All logic and evidence pointed against it, but he had this small painful feeling inside that desperately wanted to defy logic. He couldn't explain it -- if he could then he would have had some counter to his father's arguments which were generally rock solid in their pronouncements as Luthors as the source of all evil.

His recent self-righteousness had been more that a little based in guilt as well as anger and the truth of the matter was, he was ashamed of the way he had been treating Lex who was so desperately trying to make things right, almost as if his life depended in it.

He had hoped to see Lex there at Chloe's party and try and use the relaxed atmosphere to ease over the awkwardness and really wipe the slate clean.

Only he hadn't been there.

Clark frowned as he glanced over to the Castle, slowing the truck a little. Lit up like Christmas tree and just visible figures moving around in the manner that indicated drink was flowing freely.

Maybe Lex had finally had it with teenage kids. Or, the place was being ransacked. But there were extra cars there, fancy cars -- the kind of Car that made Clark think of Lionel. So... a party then. Probably with a lot of liquor and sexy women.

He put the brake on and stopped the truck, hesitating a moment as he chewed his bottom lip thoughtfully. Lex was likely to be in a good mood. He could still try his reconciliation thing and it would only take a few minutes. He could ask one of the help if Lex could step out a moment so he wouldn't embarrass himself in front of the high-flyer guests and he could say his piece, and then leave Lex to it.

Yeah, that would work.

Decisively he pulled the truck up front, conscious of the sheer clumsiness of it next to the sleek and sexy cars around him. He got out carefully, brushing down the sweeping arcs of his 'wings' and set off into the house.

The front door was open, which seemed both a good and a bad sign, but Clark could also visibly see that a lot of the people there were imposing looking beneath their costumes. And what wild costumes they were -- the first man that Clark saw had shredded, tattered wings attached to his back with no visible harness, skin that looked like he'd been spray painted gold, and the facetted rainbow eyes of a fly.

Wow. Okay so maybe he wasn't going to look a complete idiot then. Out classed, yeah, but not as embarrassing as walking into a room of suits. Lex must be having his own sort of costume party for Halloween after all which would explain why he hadn't turned up. He found himself staring, trying to work out how they had managed to get the effect of the eyes. Some weird sort of lenses maybe?

He cleared his throat a moment, remembering why he was actually there. "Uh, hey. Could you tell me where Lex is?" He stared again, distracted by the glittering colors as the man turned to focus on him. "Your costume is fantastic by the way," he said politely.

"My... oh, hah hah, thank you. One forgets that one is wearing a costume after long enough in it -- 'Lex' is in the main ballroom, that way," the man directed. His voice seemed to be in two registers at once, like feedback from a microphone, and he shook his head when he laughed, sending gold-dyed hair wildly loose around his head.

"You don't think he'll mind me going in?" Clark said hesitating as his neck prickled for a moment at the sound of that voice. These guys went all out when they did costume parties. Must be a voice box modulator or something.

"Not at all." The two-toned voice was smug, assured as the man leaned back against the wall. "He is the one... dressed up like the Antichrist." Another smile, and then the man started to laugh after studying Clark in his pure white warrior angel outfit. "Oh, hah hah, please, excuse me -- I think I need some fresh air!"

Clark blinked a little as the other man left him there and considered a moment. Well, he might give Lex a laugh, and of course, what else would Lex dress up as? The Anti-Christ. Now that had to be a costume he had to see.

Resolutely he made his way through the hallways blushing furiously as he eased past at least one heavily costumed pair who were entwined in ways that looked physically impossible, but he guessed half of those limbs and appendages weren't actually real so it didn't matter.

The main ballroom was packed. He had never seen anything like it or even imagined it. Bright lights going on and off -- it was like some sort of costumed discotheque, with a lot of people doing things that would've made the sheriff's eyes bulge out. And most of them looked gorgeous, dressed up in metallic or bones, stage make-up implying fantastical things. High sharp cheekbones, horns, bone ridges, fangs, muzzles.

He felt embarrassed at how simplistic he appeared in comparison to this fantasia of Otherworld extravagance. All of a sudden he felt very out of place and was reminded with a sharp pang that, with all this at his fingertips, there really was no reason for Lex to even bother with him at all. And that was a possibility that really hurt, more than it should over a just recovering friendship.

The Rich and Famous put on a hell of a bigger Halloween party than high school kids did or could even dream of in their wildest imagination.

And that was why Lex had skipped out on him, obviously.

There was a circle over towards the middle, men-like creatures drinking from glittering goblets carved and set with strange symbols and glittering paste gems. He assumed they were paste, or glass but you never really knew at a billionaire's party. That they were the inner circle was obvious from the way the other reveler behaved towards them all and by the grandness of their costumes. Lex stood among them, his skin that same gold-sprayed look as the man Clark had met coming in the door. He had two stubby horns on his head, blunt thick things that looked like they'd been cut down -- like a goat's -- that gleamed with a warm hint of the same gold. He had wings sprouting out of his back, and they hung loosely against him, feathers bright in silver and gold in a multitude of shades that created complex fascinating patterns that Clark found himself mesmerized by as he stared. No shirt, either, though there were the tatters of a shirt, and Lex was wearing dressy pants. The effect was one of not knowing if he was meant to be an angel, and not knowing if he were meant to be a demon, but knowing that he was definitely the sexiest thing in the room. Every time he moved, light flowed over that gold metallic skin lazily, reluctant to stop touching him. He stood out with style and an aura of... well, it was just that thing that Lex had that made everyone turn and just look at him. Clark considered he could do that all night. He hoped to God someone had taken pictured because he'd do a lot to have a picture of him like this.

Just for fun of course.

Clark had to stop himself from getting distracted, although he did seem to be attracting a lot of muffled hilarity in his wake as he eased his way over to his friend, having to remember to keep his wings under control. There were nowhere near as realistic as any of the other thousand and one varieties around him, or Lex's own. Which he guessed was the difference between a billionaire and a teenager earning a few dollars through chores.

He managed to get close, in towards that inner circle a little freaked out by the way every amused eye flickered over him with interest and a deep appreciation of some hidden irony.

"Uh... hey, Lex," he said a little nervously as he finally got close enough to be seen and heard, though it was really hard to miss him in his pure white ensemble. "Hope you don't mind me dropping in, I just wanted to talk to you for a moment? If you have time?"

"He has all the time in the world," one man, with short shorn gray hair, glossy black wings, and a gray suit declared. "Don't rush back to us, Alexander -- we'll still be here." He winked, and Lex laughed, shifting his shoulders to make the costume wings fall even more closely behind him so he didn't hit anyone as he walked through the circle.

"Clark -- It's good to see you. I'm sorry I didn't show up at Chloe's party, but as you can see, I have my own 'winged creatures' event to attend."

"Talk about outclassed," Clark grinned ruefully at him, falling easily into polite conversation. "I can't imagine why you didn't want to come down to a homegrown house party instead of this. Talk about... wow. That's all I've been saying ever since I set foot in here! The costumes, your costume -- are fantastic."

Lex's eyebrows went up like it was some sort of wild joke, and he smiled as he guided Clark out to the balcony. "This is an event my father hosted every year. With him in jail... it fell on my shoulders to carry on the tradition."

Clark nodded, to show that he understood before he broached his awkward subject. "Uh, Lex? I wanted to talk to you. If it's not a good time just tell me to go okay?"

"It's as good a time as any," Lex murmured, eyes a little tight as he paused at the balcony doors and pushed them open. Slowly. Clark heard a flutter of wings, like he'd just scared some bats off. "The fawning wears on me."

"Everyone wants something don't they?" Clark commented as he stepped out onto the balcony. There was a handful of red and black feathers whirling in the breeze. Someone's costume was obviously moulting or had been in the process of being plucked. He coughed a little at that thought. This was not the time to get obsessive about Lex. Apology first, daydreaming later. "It's sort of a little about that I wanted to talk with you."

"That everyone wants one thing?" Lex asked, eyebrows lifting as he closed the glass doors behind him.

"Yeah." Clark hesitated again, conscious that there were some figures lurking outside the balcony doors and not wanting to embarrass himself any more than completely necessary. "Lex, I've been shitty to you. I haven't been considering how things have been for you as well and... well, yeah. I want things back like they were before, when we both just knew how things were, y'know?"

"Mm." Lex turned his back to Clark, to put his hands on the railing and look out over his property. "The world is full of unexpected twists and turns, Clark. And sometimes a man is powerless to stand in its way."

"But sometimes you have to try, right?" Clark looked at him closely. This was not the sort of reaction he had been hoping for. Best case scenario... was probably not something he should think about in public if he wanted to preserve any dignity, and at the least he had hoped for a patented Lex 'I'm happy, but let's be calm and cool about this' half smile. Not this hollow empty depression. "Even if you feel powerless. And asking for help when you need it isn't a crime."

He knew that lesson all too intimately from his recent experiences. He had tried so hard to fight, but in the end it had been help from outside that had saved him. Sometimes you couldn't do it all alone, which had been a realization that had given a hard knock to his pride.

"You know that old quote, Clark? 'In space, no one can hear you scream.' They also can't hear the vacuum ripping apart your body."

Clark looked at him again, suddenly alarmed by the turn of phrase. They were into Lex's event horizon of his Black Hole of depression here. "Lex, are you okay? Is there something wrong?"

"You're out of your league to help me, Clark," Lex told him, voice surprisingly close to sounding defeated as he turned back to look at Clark. "You can't fight the vacuum."

"I can do everything I can, right?" Clark responded, really concerned now as he met his friends gaze. His eyes were still that clear pale blue with no fancy effects. That was comforting at least. "I can be here, I can be your friend... All I want is..."

Something rather strange happened. Mid-sentence, his words vanished and he was left gaping like a fish even as a semblance of his voice thrown in careless ventriloquism said," for you to bend me over the balcony and despoil my virgin ass!"

There were some muffled snorts from outside the balcony doors as if a group of people were enjoying a joke at their expense.

Lex grimaced, and apparently didn't fall for it, from the way that he moved to the balcony doors, jerking them open. "Go on! You have better things to do!"

"Well actually we don't," drawled one of the figures leaning there, his wings a marvel of rainbow raven's feathers. "Really, Alexander - the food is very nice, the company pleasant but where's the entertainment? Hmm? We are owed some at least."

"There's a state penitentiary that could give you a lot of entertainment," Lex said calm, standing between them and Clark in the double doors, holding onto the panes idly. His gold and silver wings... shifted. And maybe it wasn't just the wind. Perhaps Lex had one of those straps as well under the tatter of his shirt.

Clark suddenly had a whole new appreciation of Chloe's fascination with his costume as he coughed trying to get his voice back.

"Bah, you and I both know that it's part of the Game," the other man replied shrugging. "Let's have a little fun, Alexander. He entered here willingly, onto our territory, and on this night, we are within our rights."

Lex stood firm folding his arms. "Unknowing of the game -- he is an innocent, and not to be tempted. Clark, you are to leave."

"Lex, I don't understand," Clark choked out a little wildly, clearing his throat roughly as his voice squeaked back. What the hell had just happened?

"Oh, who said it would be him being tempted?" the other man replied with smirk that revealed long fang like canines. "Belial would you do the honors?"

A stunningly good looking man with multicolored wings smirked and gestured briefly. "He walked into this place in the guise of the enemy... I think your subjects should have a say in the treatment of such a grievous and deliberate insult don't you?"

Clark felt himself lifting from the ground and being moved. "Lex? Wha..."

A flick of another hand seemed to silence him again, and he tried to call out wordlessly. What was this, an entire party of Smallville freaks? It wasn't like he hadn't met someone who could do things like this before, but not so strong.

Lex held a hand out, and the air seemed to warp and bubble around it. "Set him back down, Belial. Carefully. I used to be a good Catholic -- I know you're the first Liar. So set him down on the balcony. Carefully. And I won't have to crush your head."

"Oh please, your attempt to do so might enliven the evening," Belial said dismissively. "Astaroth, try and talk some sense into him; otherwise, I'll withdraw my peculiar talents from his projected venture into the realm of politics."

"You need his help there," Astaroth folded his arms and narrowed his eyes, which were a rather impressive smoldering ruby red. "Anyone would think Alexander, that you were not committed to the cause."

"And perhaps I am not *yet* fully committed to the cause." Lex turned his head, and called out, "Alastor!" That caught the attention of the grey-suited, black-winged man Clark had seen earlier, and he moved towards them.

"My Lord."

"Your fellows here wish to play the technicality game with me tonight. So allow me to technically order them off of this estate. Do you want to be sent back home so soon, Belial?"

"Don't be churlish, Alexander." Astaroth looked at them both a moment. "We are easily bored and an innocent in the garb of our enemies' kind? You are lucky that there is still respect for you position that he wasn't seized the moment he set foot within these walls. Or is it that you want him for yourself?"

"If he gives me an order, Astaroth, then I am obliged to carry it out," Alastor reminded the group that ringed the balcony doors that Lex was still carefully blocking.

"Yes, to put it so bluntly, he's mine."

"So be it." Astaroth smirked and gestured at Clark. "Apparently you belong to him. Behave as you should for your master."

A wave of warmth flooded through Clark, as if inhibitions had been swept away and he stepped towards Lex. He adored him, he worshiped him and it didn't matter that there were all these people here to see. What was the point of it being a secret when it was the truth and always had been? He felt it the most natural thing in the world to drop to his knees so he could smooth hands around Lex's leg in a trembling adoration.

Astaroth laughed, a peculiar look of satisfaction in his expression as he watch the boy-angel kneel before the other man and cling. "You still want us banished home? Not even you can counteract one of my charms."

With Clark stuck to his side, Lex didn't have to hold up the door frame any longer. He twisted a little, a hand dropping to Clark's fine hair as if to steady Clark. "I prefer for him to do things like this out of his own influence, Astaroth."

"Really? So where's the harm in a little taste of what is to come?" Astaroth drawled watching with a gleam building in his ruby red eyes. "He won't remember."

Clark was busy floating on a cloud of bliss, nuzzling in with his mouth, fabric brushing against his lips and the scent of Lex as intoxicating has he had ever imagined. Oh God yes, this was what he had longed for. How stupid of him to even pretend that it didn't exist or that it wasn't important. It was the only important thing!.

Lex lifted his chin calmly, fingers still soothing over Clark's scalp. "That takes the fun out of it."

"So you want him to remember?" Astaroth murmured and he gestured again, lifting one on compulsion, and placing another.

Clark blinked and became conscious of the fact his lips were pressed again fabric, against - Christ, against Lex's crotch and he was aware but just couldn't speak... or move.

This was way beyond the normal Smallville weirdness. He made a small noise against Lex even as Astaroth looked at them both.

"Your wish is granted my Lord," the demon mocked with a small bow

Lex had to visibly control himself, his fingers stuttering against Clark's skin. "Alastor... have Astaroth lift this little charade. My friend doesn't need his limbs controlled."

The moment that the other demon figure moved towards him

"Oh, very well. No need for strong arm tactics, Alexander" Astaroth flicked a finger and Clark nearly toppled over as the force holding him released him.

Staggering upwards, flaming with embarrassment Clark tried to regain his feet and the tattered shred of his pride or dignity. This had to be a new low for Smallville phenomenon. Forced to um, forced to....

Shit, was it really wrong of him to be hard from that?

"Lex... I uh... I don't know how that happened. I'm sorry..."

"Be quiet, Clark. You're going to be leaving now," Lex said firmly, moving to take Clark's arm. "We can talk on the way to your truck."

"What's going on?" Clark asked again even as he saw the one called Astaroth murmured to his fellows and he recognized that something was going on. The mood had shifted from playfully cruel to dangerous and yet he was being pushed out of the way.

Belial had been talking some sense it seemed. Without distraction, the members of darkness could very easily turn on each other, or them all.

Lex paused as he turned to lead Clark through the party, reached into his pants pocket, and tossed a cell phone towards Astaroth. "Hit number one on speed-dial, Astaroth. I think you'll find it suitably entertaining."

"It's too late, Alexander.," Astaroth said almost sadly. "Can't you feel it? The crackle of a riot in the air. There was a reason for all those entertainments your father put on that you disdained. They will break loose."

Lex's fingers clutched tightly at Clark's arm. "They won't have what's mine. He's no angel. He's not even *human*."

Clark's heart nearly stopped there and then as several revelations converged on him at once. Lex knew? He... knew all this time? And what the hell was he talking about Angels as if they were real, because if that were the case then wasn't it possible that he wasn't just talking about Smallville meteor freaks here but something bigger again? In the moment he glanced at Lex an unearthly hush settled over the whole place. The music ceased, the talking, even the sound of breathing.

"What did you say?" Astaroth asked in a deadly serious and menacing tone, all cruel mockery vanished. "Did it perhaps not occur to you that reason we could not scry the nature of the Adversary when we know all the secrets of the Earth and its creatures is because the adversary is NOT one of its creatures?!"

"It occurred to me," Lex agreed blandly.

"Then slay it! Smite it!" Belial encouraged, sparks literally flying from his wings as he raised them high, unfurling them like a banner of war. "Fulfill your destiny! Take your place unhindered in dominion over all things!"

"My destiny is to Fall, too," Lex countered. "We know this. We're all playing parts in a show that has already been written!"

"You don't have to," Clark said quietly, stunned by this evidence that made meteors freaks small fry in comparison. He suddenly found it vitally important to speak and let Lex know that he did have a choice. "You can choose. Even when it's a destiny, if people care about you."

"Clark, as much as I... enjoy your platitudes and sweet words of common sense, I don't think you know who you're among." Lex's eyes were screaming 'shut up' at Clark, and then he turned to look at his 'company'. "I've told you that if you want *free* revelry, there's a state penitentiary you would enjoy. Slake your wants there, if you want mortals."

"You stand there and tell us that when you stand there laying claim to the Adversary?!" Astaroth straightened up, his black oil-rainbowed wings unfurling with a snap like the crack of thunder as lightning arced over the ruffled feather in his annoyance. "How DARE you! How dare you say that, whelp! This is our purpose, to defeat and conquer HIM and you would deprive us of victory? Then I renounce you! Would you face ME and my legions?!"

"My pride would make me. But then how would your precious prophecies be fulfilled?" Lex shifted, moving his free hand to rip at Clark's harness, breaking the nice leather straps that had held his fake wings in place in one moment. Just like that Clark was stripped of any semblance of importance in this room as white feathers tumbled to the floor and he stood there, the focus of hungry attention. "What a fool you are to let yourself be incensed by a pair of false wings."

"It would prove you a false vessel of our hopes," Astaroth watched the white wings fall to the ground. "You won't even Fall, for fuck's sake. How can you be the one when you won't Fall? Teetering on that edge, never committing one way or the other! Your father stays in the place where you conspired for him to be out of pride that you are finally the one of his sons to carry our banner across the world."

"A dead baby and a drunk aren't much competition," Lex muttered as he kicked those wings to the side. Someone with a wolf's head picked them up and began to chew on them a little noisily. "You don't want to underestimate me."

"That sounded suspiciously like a challenge," Belial said brightly. "Don't you think so Vapula?"

"Definitely," growled a new and imposing figure, who had a distorted lion's head, bronze griffin wings and very long fangs. "Shall I call Beelzebub? He can countermand Alastor."

"Please." Astaroth nodded. "Well, Alexander? You and your forces..." He glanced cynically at Clark, who was trying to make sense of this exchange. "Against myself and my chosen seconds?"

"Yes." It was all going over Clark's head, but Lex pulled at him. "We will return in a moment. Alastor..."


Clark allowed himself to be led, as much out of confusion as anything else even as the 'demons' made a path for them to leave though glowing and glittering eyes watched them all the way.

This had to be a nightmare. It was just too surreal. He had fallen asleep at Chloe's after all and the punch had been spiked because that was more likely than a manor full of demons, with Lex as their commander playing some sort of convoluted political game and wanting to be rid of him because he had worn the costume of a comic book hero angel.

Lex could probably come up with a scary last minute response if it was real. And maybe he was the Anti-Christ after all but... that couldn't be true.

Lex dragged Clark back out of the ballroom, tightlipped as he headed down the hallway with 'Alastor' trailing behind him. "Clark, you made the mistake of stumbling into a party of people who used to be what you came in here dressed up as."

"You're kidding me right?" Clark asked a bit dazed. Angels. Used to be angels, which of course put them firmly on the wrong side of mythology. "This is... real?"

Lex's bright wings shifted restlessly from their folded position, ruffling in a glitter of silver and gold. "This is real, Clark."

"And you're..." Clark looked at Lex for a moment. A demon? No. Not a demon. Anti-Christ? No. For all the Smallville irony that revelation would feed, he wasn't. At least, not yet, Clark could feel that. " Angel?"

"Yes and no. I'm... supposedly the Anti-Christ. Fruit of a fallen angel and a human. It's said that in the old days when such things first occurred, the children were hideous evil giants. Apparently genetics has come a long way since then."

"All that genetics makes you by that reasoning is part angel, part human," Clark answered aware that he was babbling as he was shown the door. "Not the Anti-Christ. Lex... what's been happening? What's going to happen?"

"You're going to get into your truck, Clark, drive home and forget you saw any of this. I'll call you tomorrow," Lex insisted, half-escorting Clark down the steps. "Get going. Fast."

"Lex, something is going to happen isn't it?" Clark didn't manage to stop their forward progress until they reached the truck. "Please, let me help you."

"I'm not sure what you are, but you're not prepared to face a third of the heavenly host." And neither was Lex, that Clark knew of. He could tell, just from the tightness of muscle, the sharpness of Lex's posture. The grim look on the angel-being that stood behind Lex in the doorway.

"Come with me, Lex," he suggested desperately. "Don't go back to them!"

"They would follow. A duel has been offered and accepted," Alastor intoned firmly.

"They were talking about forces - that's a battle, not a duel!" Clark replied even as he was pushed back into the truck. "You can't do this!"

Lex went as far as to seat-belt Clark in. "I can and will. Don't make it have been in vain, Clark -- get OFF of this property and get home safe."

Clark turned on the engine automatically and looked at Lex. "Stay safe, Lex," he said softly still half thinking this was a twisted dream. He reached for him, for a moment but Lex drew away as if unwilling to keep him there any longer. Almost automatically, he turned the truck, seeing his friend return to the manor behind them.

He didn't look back; just herded the other man... angel into the mansion and closed the doors behind him. Leaving Clark with the nagging feeling that he'd never, ever see Lex again.

Dammit. Dammit!

Halfway down the drive he slammed on the brake and got out of the truck. He turned and faced the Castle uncertainly. He couldn't do this. He couldn't let Lex face them alone whatever they were. Mutant, demon, hallucination -- Lex had had to go through too many things without anyone there, and if he was serious about rekindling that old trust, he had to prove it. Just as Lex had gone to great lengths to try and prove it to him. It was suddenly terribly important that even if he couldn't do anything -- and he'd damn well find a way that he could -- that he just be there. Even if it meant giving up everything.

This was who he was. This was the person he had fought to be, and to turn and run away moments after going to him and saying, 'I want things to be better, I want trust and more..' How could he live with himself?

It was the startling boom of ground level clap of thunder that finally motivated him into action. Third of the angel hosts right?

Piece of cake.

With a blur of speed he plunged back inside the Castle.

It was like a mosh pit, and Clark sort of wished that he hadn't got into it. Lex was somewhere in the mess of flashing lights and 'costumed' people. But there was so much fighting among themselves that it was hard to tell.

He avoided as much as he could, and pushed through what he couldn't avoid. They could fight as much as they wanted among themselves as long as they weren't fighting Lex. He hit super speed hunting for Lex, plunging in towards the heart of the melee.

Heart was a good term for it, since it pulsed inwards and then burst outwards again, in and then back out. Lex was being swamped, and so was his assistant, but every so often Lex would repulse back the opposition in a pulse of force, wings snapping like precious blades as he did so.

Clark wasn't sure what he could do but he could do something, that was the point.

And the something he decided to do was to literally grab some of the forces pressing in on Lex and fling them away to give them breathing room. With the first he was cautious, but caution soon left him as he actually had to use some of his strength to throw them hard to get where he needed to be.

It took *effort* to throw them, as if they were each as heavy as a building, or a car -- which didn't make sense. They didn't look... they looked like people in costumes to Clark. But looks were deceiving, because they evidently weren't. There were sparks flying, fire, heat, and in the centre of the attack stood three -- Lex, Alastor, and that golden thing with the fly eyes.

Lex had few allies from the looks of it. Why had accepted the challenge? He must have been desperate, or pushed right to his limits. Surely not over him? Clark felt a chill that this had been all brought to a head over his foolish intrusion into Lex's life. He'd just have to find a way to fix the mess he had made of things. He cleared his way into that circle, instinctively ducking a sizzling ball of fire before placing himself at Lex's side. He was not going to let Lex be overwhelmed by these things!

Lex shot him a glance, but didn't say anything as he moved forwards, hands together; he pushed back some of the creatures again -- demons, angels, whatever they were-- as if his hands held some giant shield.

"How do.. we stop them?" Clark asked over the shouting. "I don't want to ...kill... them."

Just stop them, get rid of them. Banish them. Whatever you did with this kind.

"Try some holy words! Things! I can't do them anymore, but maybe..." He took a swing at one, and the concentrated force behind the punch sent the wolf's head right off of the fallen angel's shoulders.

There was a howling roar as a shadowy substance spilt from the decapitated body and fled gibbering into the floor.

"They don't die, they just discorporate..." Clark turned around. Holy words? He wasn't sure if he could fight with words but he could theoretically make a cross.... out of something. He rather abruptly grabbed two of Lex's display swords used his heat vision to etch crosses on it. Yeah. He would make a couple of holy weapons because it was too easy for these things to silence him. He couldn't rely on his voice as a weapon.

"Give me a minute!" he yelled to Lex and the others, working hastily. All three of them, who seemed to be holding on. With all the others fighting against Lex, it was questionable why two would even bother to stick with him in a losing fight.

He was not going to question them as allies, Lex needed everyone he could get, and he intended to make his contribution count.

Clark wasn't one for praying in a formal way. His prayers were heartfelt silent things, secret acknowledgments of something greater out there. He had the sort of faith that comes to a farmer; a respect for the powers around him, that if there was a God, then he helped those who went out and created their own miracles rather than waited for them to be delivered undeserved.

Unconsciously, it seemed he had stumbled on to the heart of prayer as he bent over that sword. He didn't ask that he should survive. He didn't wish for anything more than that he could help his friend and acknowledged privately that yes, if there was a reason he was here, it was not for any reason of wanting something, it was for giving something back. And if God or any powers would happen to want to assist him, he would appreciate it, but when it came down to it, he would do it anyway because it was the right thing to do. And if a miracle was needed he would be out there doing his best because this was someone that he loved and didn't want to lose, and who didn't deserve to be lost and abandoned to his apparent 'destiny'.

As prayers went it lacked a great deal in formality but made up for it in sincerity of feeling. He stood and stepped forward as the heat etched crosses glowed on the flats of the blades. "Lets see how this works."

One creature, snakelike in form and thick-limbed, started to laugh at the temerity of him even thinking he could tackle one of their kind with a mere blade. "You fool! Oh, you fool! You cannot wield those, for they--"

"I can." Clark said grimly and swung hard at the creature believing with all his heart that the blade and his strength together would be enough to give them a fighting chance. "You will not have him!"

His opponent was cut in half neatly, and in the slop of surprised fleshy substance, that slither of black dissipated from the form.

It made Clark feel faintly sick, but he had a weapon that worked now, all he had to do was try and keep them all alive long enough to use it. He tossed the second sword toward Lex and then turned and began fighting in earnest. He was no swordsman, but he had a speed fast enough to match them all, and a stubborn resilience to their attacks as they mobbed him to keep hacking and stabbing. From their point of view, he might as well have been one of their enemies.

The tossed second sword, not surprisingly, clattered to the ground untouched, and for a moment all the demonic creatures in the area hung back, Lex and his allies included.

"Sorry," Clark glanced around, distracted a moment -- long enough for a rather unpleasant reptilian headed creature to latch on to him and try chewing his head from his body. He could feel that, but he still kept swinging hard with the sword. A stage prop, Lex had told him once, now serving as a holy blade. It was odd that now he would remember that it had served as a representative of the moment of truth between he and Lex even if it had been in a dream. He should have listened then. But perhaps it could do the same now.

"Jesus, Clark, you never..." Lex paused, then lunged at the sword as it dawned on him that he could still *say* things like that.

It was a source of amazement to Lex that the sword did not burn in his hands. Perhaps it was the mere fact that Clark, who had made the sword to be used this way, believed him to be good enough to wield the weapon that had done it. It was all about belief in the end. It was the superstitious belief about this night on Halloween that thinned the barriers between the worlds and allowed the demons to walk here in their own form and power, after all. Belief on this night could prove the catalyst for many things.

He shouldn't have been able to pick up the sword. But then, Clark should not have been able to fight demons. And to keep fighting with such blinding speed and determination even when he was nearly buried under a mass of bodies.

If Clark could do that, then Lex could fight back. He lunged at the first demon, and found the sword a hundred times more effective than mere fists. It felt powerful, and he wondered if he could pour his own newborn power down its length to double the impact.

It seemed effective. The sword blazed with fire as he did so, sizzling on all types of flesh. There was something intoxicating about the experience. Elemental black and white lines. None of the games his father liked to play in shades of gray. No, this was clear cut. The enemies were outside of him for a change and he could fight back with a clear cut action.

Even so, it seemed that their opposition were starting to take things more seriously. Their own natural weapons were being used as forces rose to the air, hampered by the lack of room. Venom like acid, demon-fire, the talons of things harder than diamond. Teeth that could rend and pierce any defense assailed them.

They got lucky, though -- some of the demons who'd been merely fighting among themselves picked sides, and four beleaguered fighters swelled to twenty against the angry group of challengers. And though he was sliced, jabbed, *hurting*, Lex struggled onwards, knowing that the opponent grew weaker with each demon that fell to his sword of fire, and Clark's blade of steel.

He would catch sight every now and then of Clark, marked with blood but unbowed in the mass that surrounded him. There was a sense of exultation in the glances the exchanged. There were going to do it. They could do the impossible. They could face the masses and win They could...

Not reckon on the heavy hitters of the other side using their powers.

There was a crackling boom of thunder and lightning raised across the entire area, taking down friend and foe alike scattering them all to the ground as the Demon Lord Astaroth, one of Lucifer's inner circle, raised his raven wings with all the powers of the wildest storm of the skies trapped within. That was just to get their attention.

It was then that Astaroth played what he considered to be his master stroke as he worked on of his most powerful compulsion charms to subvert Lex's cause.

"Unnatural allies accept your truth! Adversary to Adversary, Light against Darkness as it should be. Creature not of this world, I command you kill your ally and fulfill your destiny!"

The charm poured into Clark, worse than the lightning, worse than anything else filling him with a cold implacable sense of purpose and he pushed himself up, taking the sword in his right hand, and turned towards Lex.

Any that were still mobile moved very hastily out of the way as he stalked towards him. There seemed to be nothing in his eyes of the farm boy who had stepped into Lex's life and caused a sweet form of havoc, happiness and pain. He was unflinching in his power, merciless. In that moment, Lex could see the alien in his friend and could understand the danger he represented. Much as he understood himself.

He backed up, raising his sword defensively, his wings still bright under the shining of blood. He didn't want to kill his only friend. He never wanted that. Why did everything in his life conspire to put him in opposition to the things he really wanted to embrace?

But when the sword of his friend struck out at him, he reacted defensively, just like he always did and swords that had been joined in a common cause were now so easily turned on each other.

It quickly became a duel between two and just two, and Lex snapped his wings, trying to gain the advantage by taking to the air, rising like a star trying to stop the fight by removing it. "Clark! Clark, fight it! Don't do this -- you're my friend!"

Clark swept at him with the sword, his eyes still blank.

An inner voice in him pleaded at him to stop. He had been here before. He had nearly killed his father while out of control and his father had told him he had proved no one could make him do what he did not really want to do. He could fight it. He had managed to keep his Clark-self alive against the odds during his ordeal with Jor-El even if he had lacked the strength to throw him out himself and had needed his mother's help to claw his way back into control.

He wrestled that compulsion as he had the spilt reality of himself. He might not be immune to magic but he could use his will to fight that inner battle, even as his arm rose and fell, lunging hard and without mercy...

There was blood on his sword. Bright and red, not... not black, green or bile yellow... Red. The smell of it was thick and metallic as it trickled over his hand, tugging him back to awareness.

"That was not our truth! No leader of ours should be struck down so easily!" bellowed Astaroth in a voice of thunder and delight.

And Lex... Lex *was* struck down. Laying in a puddle or dark crimson fluid on the ball room floor, his own sword clutched loosely in his fingers, his blood spattered angel wings twisted beneath him as he struggled to get up.

It would be easy to strike him down. So easy. Put an end to the ambiguities, to redraw the work in black and white, good and evil. Clark raised the sword and...

His will clamped a hold of his body and held it rigid. Vulnerable, deliberately so.

"No..." he managed in a strangled voice as the fear of what he might do swept over him. "NO!"

"You will obey me creature!" Astaroth ordered in a fury. "Finish him!" More of his force, his power surrounded Clark and he swung his hand back again with the sword raised high...

And once again he stopped even as the lightning around him seemed to drown him forever. Better this than killing Lex. He didn't want to die, but he wouldn't be able to live knowing he had killed Lex, and with him all of his secret hopes and fears. He prayed silently for it to end soon because not even his body could take this and it felt like he was being torn apart cell by cell...

And suddenly it *stopped*. It let go of Clark and Clark felt like he were going to die from the energy it had made him expend. Someone was screaming, the lightning flowing backwards...

He turned as he fell, seeing the rather startling and satisfying sight of Astaroth with a sword that had pierced him through like a thrown javelin, right through the chest. Lex's sword, burning with his power so that Astaroth was filling with fire from the inside out. And as he burned and flame flared from his mouth and crimson eyes, hissing and spitting around him, one by one his legions vanished as their Lord fell.

And without those numbers other demons that had been his allies were very nervous about being left to face the music and a possibly vengeful demon who had vanquished one of the strongest of their kind and his followers.

By the time the black shadow-slick that was Astaroth's essence had spilled and seeped away, the ballroom was surprisingly empty.

Some of Lex's faction disappeared, slowly, others wandered away and faded, their thrill-seeking attention spans sated. Alastor lingered, standing by Lex's body, wings ruffling as he looked down on him.

"My Lord."

Lex sucked in a slow breath, eyes scrunched closed until Alastor breathed a stream of air down onto him. "Whether you keep your mantle or pass it on, it is my duty to see that the choice is yours. Heal."

The wound that Clark had caused, and others that the other demons had caused faded from him slowly, leaving him pale and weak but whole. Not for the first time Clark wondered who exactly Alastor was, but was most of all grateful to him.

If only he could actually move, he would say so. Or breathe. Or apologize. Shit, he'd do something.

Lex stirred a little, peering up at the other demon. Angel. Whatever he was. "Duty to the blood," Lex mumbled. "Thank you. Take your leave at your leisure..."

Alastor nodded and gestured to the others loitering in the aftermath. If he was going to leave there would be none behind him and he made that meaning very clear.

The place emptied of everything and everyone save Clark and Lex. A point that Clark noticed the next time he opened his eyes from trying to convince himself his body hadn't exploded somewhere along the line and it had just forgot to tell him until now.

The floor was littered with things from that party, which apparently hadn't been entirely made of holy or unholy matter. And there was Lex, laying half-sitting up on his elbows. And his sword, and Clark's sword lying on the floor looking like two discarded movie props.


Clark looked around, blinking a little. He was rather amazed his head didn't fall off when he moved it. "Think that's me, yeah."

"Good..." Lex shifted to his knees, slowly, and tried to not fall over.

"You okay?" Clark felt a hot rush of guilt. "I'm really sorry. I didn't mean to stab you..."

That was a really lame apology -- I didn't mean to stab you. Clark was embarrassed that such stupidity coming from his mouth.

"Are... you okay?" Guilt didn't seem to be assailing Lex, but it was a miracle that they were alive.

"Yeah, I'll be fine," Clark replied making a concerted effort to move in Lex's direction. "I guess he didn't like it much when I wouldn't do as I was told."

"Glad... you didn't." He sucked in a breath, shaking his head. His wings shook, too, and they hadn't disappeared with the horde.

"Me, too. No one can make me do something I don't really want to do," Clark said with a faint smile. Belatedly he realized that he had complied very easily with the first two charms that had been cast on him and that raised a whole other set of questions. "You look pale, Lex. Less, uh gold?"

"Took a lot out of me..." His wings sprawled heavily around him, and he groaned, concentrating hard. Slowly, the wings twitched and started to shrink away.

Clark finally managed to get over next to him, where he couldn't resist touching one of the silver and gold wings even as it shrank, sliding warm dry metallic feathers over his fingertips. "I'm trying to think of a way to say how fantastic these are without sounding like a complete dork."

Lex laughed a little, and they gave a shuddering twitch. "Better than what you came in wearing?"

"Much better," Clark agreed. "It seems a bit stupid to say I can't believe it. Because... yeah. Alien sitting here and everything."

"Yeah. Never thought it'd come in handy," Lex laughed a little raggedly.

"It was a slightly more substantial apology though," Clark replied trying to put a positive spin on things. "The hacking attackers to pieces thing. I wasn't entirely sure you were convinced by my first one."

Lex stretched out flat on the floor, exhausted as the wings retracted into him all together. "You picked a bad time...?"

"Story of my life," Clark replied leaning over him. "You still hurt?" The gleaming horn nubs were still present and he smiled, touching one with an exploratory finger, testing to see how real it felt under his fingers.

Hard, solid, and a quick flash of deeper vision proved them to be very real, rooted into Lex's head. Clark had to start doing that sort of thing *before* he went into places. Then he could do a 'demon and angel' scan while he looked for the usual glowing green tainted skeletons. Hell of a thing to add to his list of things to look for.

He noticed Lex looking up at him. "Sorry, I... uh... horns," he said by way of explanation for his action. It wasn't a particularly good explanation, but it was probably better than confessing he had an insatiable curiosity about how they felt.

"Yeah. Horns." Lex frowned a little, trying to pull them in; it was a slow process, and his concentration was fading in and out. "Day for secrets, huh?"

"No kidding. I can't believe you knew," Clark said watching him. "Leave them, you look exhausted."

"We... should probably get off the ballroom floor..." He closed his eyes a little, pushing himself up.

"Here, let me," Clark said slipping an arm under Lex's shoulder. "Where do you want to go?"

"Library?" Lex's arm was shaky, but his clutch was desperate. And why wouldn't it be, after the fun that they'd just had? It had been something deadly serious for him at least.

"Library. Library I can find," Clark replied half carrying him, half steering him. He couldn't help but worry over him. "I'm not going anywhere okay?"

"Tonight's been a night full of tricks, Clark," Lex assured. "You... never know after a while."

"Tricks?" Clark was puzzled by that. "What was a trick?"

Lex gave a hazy shrug. "Should I call that a treat?"

"Maybe that's yet to come," Clark said with a smile, gesturing to the library. "In here, that's it. ."

Lex lifted his feet so he didn't scuff the wooden floor. "You know, I'd always wondered what the hell my dad did on Halloween..."

"You've never been before?" Clark asked, aware that Lex was more than just a bit tired. He was exhausted. Drained.

"No, contrary to popular belief..." Lex yawned, and pulled away from Clark a little so he could slump down onto the sofa. "I don't usually attend demonic gatherings."

"Who was that Alastor guy, and the one with eyes like a fly?" Clark watched him slump. He felt achy but he had bounced back a lot quicker than Lex. He wouldn't put it past Lex to be hiding something from him either - the difference being now that he realized that it was Lex's idea of protecting him rather than some intention to lie to him.

"Alastor... is my father's personal servant. Of them. It's complicated, but he's still loyal to whatever their cause was, and less power hungry. And Arioch... does what amuses him most." Lex's lips twitched a little as he laid back, and he grimaced quietly.

"Complicated," Clark said as he sat with him, hearing the unsettled rasp to his breathing. "Lex, what's wrong with you? You keep evading what I'm saying when I ask if you are okay?"

"I'm fine, Clark. I'm apparently the fucking Anti-Christ -- what do you want me to say?"

"You are half-angel, half-human. That doesn't automatically make you the anti-Christ," Clark said firmly. "That makes you... special."

"Clark, sit down," Lex sighed. "What time did your parents expect you home?"

"Probably a couple of hours ago," Clark replied even as he obeyed. "Only, sometimes I sleep in the loft when I'm late back, so I don't wake them. This is more important than any curfew."

After all, Lex knew, and also had a huge secret of his own to deal with.

"Fate of the world important." Lex closed his eyes briefly, concentrating away the horns with more success this time. His skin was starting to lose that shiny golden color. "I'm glad you came back."

"I should never have let you push me out of the door," Clark replied quietly. "I was serious about making things right, and I guess the thing that put everything wrong was kind of pointless, anyway."

"Lots of things are small in the grand scheme of things," Lex sighed, eyes still drifting closed. "Thank you for what you did, though."

"Was it enough?" Clark asked seriously. Lex was going really pale now. Even for Lex. "Stay awake, Lex, you look like you should be in hospital or something."

"No, I'll be okay..." He made his eyes open up. "Just tired. It's draining..."

"Well you look like shit," Clark said succinct in his description. "This can't be normal, even in this circumstance. What usually happens?"

"I fall asleep?" Lex jokingly suggested. "The best outcome is that you're not lying to me anymore, Clark."

"I've wanted to tell you for so long," Clark murmured. "Mom and Dad. Well, I guess I was scared and so were they. And then things seemed to go from bad to worse." He contemplated a moment. "I don't think you should fall asleep like that. You need something to eat, maybe?"

"Maybe." Lex seemed reluctant to do anything, though. "You're not going there alone. I'm not sure they've all left. I'll go with you."

"I could be there and back in a few seconds. So what does a half angel, not really a demon count as energy food?" Clark asked lightly.


"Blood?" Clark hesitated. "What, really? In a vampire type way?"

"I don't know? It was just a craving. If there's a frozen steak or something in the freezer, that'll do..."

"That's... stupid Lex, if you need blood, you need blood," Clark replied turning to look at him. He was responsible for Lex losing that blood, and he bounced back from it really quickly. What would it harm for him to drink some of his? If it paid back a little of the guilt of stabbing him it would be worth it.

Lex lifted his head a little, shying back from Clark. "I know what you're thinking."

"What?" Clark looked at him, blushing a little at being so transparent. "What if I am?"

"I'm not going to drink your blood, Clark," Lex muttered.

"Why not? I won't even notice it in the morning and I am responsible for sticking a damn big hole in you so you lost most of yours," Clark replied forcefully.

"My skin'll probably boil?" Lex half-suggested, a weak one at that. It was obvious though that he needed the real thing desperately otherwise he wouldn't ever have considered agreeing. "All right. Just... let me have your wrist?"

Clark smiled in triumph. "Wrist it is," he said proffering his left one casually. "And I wouldn't worry about the boiling part of it. Your father's been after my blood for some time."

Lex reached for Clark's wrist, loosely grasping onto it as he pulled him closer. "I know."

It was a little late for shocks considering the revelations of Lionel Luthor being the devil. "Will it hurt?" he asked curiously. "I don't want you to blunt your teeth."

Lex was studying Clark's wrist, and shook his head. "Shouldn't hurt either of us."

"Go on then," Clark encouraged. "It's a willing gift. You wanted things willing."

Lex closed his eyes, and pressed his lips to Clark's wrist in a kiss. It was slow, as if Lex was regretting what he had to do; he stayed still, though, and drew his lips back to press teeth into Clark's skin on either side of the veins.

Lex had been right; it didn't hurt, quite the opposite. Clark had been steeling himself a little for some sort of pain, but what caught him totally by surprise was that the sharpness of sensation burned immediately into a very different feeling. A jolt of pure languorous pleasure ran up his arm and made him gasp. It became very evident almost immediately what sort of reaction he was having, from the way his pants barely constrained the evidence. His mind filled with a want and a need for Lex, imagining soft kisses, tumbling rough passion as the suckling bite drew out his deepest dreams. Wanting what he had been forced to do before. Wanting the taste of Lex in his mouth, imagining those teeth pressing in to him everywhere with that burst of gasping ecstasy. In his neck, laid bare with his body over him, pressing down on him as he moved with twitches of delight, on his inner thigh with enough force to make him lose control, that mouth around him, teeth sharp and careful against sensitive skin...

The images and feelings were vivid and wonderful, increasing as his arm throbbed with a rhythm that made his whole body respond with a sexual need that had to be satiated.

Lex seemed to be in his own sort of ecstasy; one more hand latched onto Clark's arm, and Lex was loosely holding him as he slowly drank his fill, eyes closed. He looked even more like an angel then, without the supernatural trappings but with face eased of all trouble, worry or pain.

Clark wanted him to be like that forever. He'd never seen anyone so beautiful.

It was as if his veins were filled with some sort of inhibition removing drug or a dammed emotion had been unleashed and was burning in him, waking him to more. Now he knew why vampires were meant to be sexy. God! He wanted more. He wanted every uncovered fantasy and more besides. He wanted to tell Lex everything, he wanted him to know that there were no strings attached. He wanted the reality of giving things willingly

He took his other hand, unconsciously pulling the rags of his costume clothing clear of his torso and neck, inviting him to more tempting pleasure for them both. "Lex... more...? Please?"

At the plea, Lex drew back, breathing a little hard as he closed his hands over the spot he'd been sucking. "Jesus, no, Clark. I'm not going to... suck you dry."

"You won't... I trust you," Clark replied looking at him with eyes dark with a deep arousal that wanted quenching. The look of desire in him was unmistakable and an unspeakable temptation. "I want this. Why do you think the charms worked before?"

Lex just shook his head, lowering Clark's hand down to his lap, holding it between them as if Clark's own arm were a shield to be used against him. "Your head isn't clear."

"It's clearer than it's ever been. Clear of the lies we both made to protect ourselves, clear of the thought that there was no one out there that would ever understand what it might be like to never be the same as everyone else.," Clark said in a low whisper. "You cannot make me do anything I don't truly want in my heart of hearts to do. It's easier to say it now somehow... but I've wanted this. Haven't you?"

"I do..." Lex licked at his lips, then sat back, looking at Clark. "I'd still rather wait."

"For what?" Clark murmured shifting forward a little intent on pursuing the moment.

"For me to work my way out of this form," Lex muttered, "So I can trust my actions again." He was still holding on to Clark's arm, after all.

Clark smiled. "But I like the biting," he said and relaxed, blissful at the prospect that Lex might not actually be dismissing the idea.. "Whatever you want Lex. I'll just lie back and enjoy."

"Why don't we both rest," Lex murmured, pressing another kiss to Clark's hand as he raised it. "Just lie against me and close your eyes, Clark."

Clark was more than happy to do that. It felt good. It felt better than good. It was the combination of a languid sensuality and a jolt of pure desire throbbing in him.

Lex slowly folded his arms around Clark, and touched Clark's eyes with gentle fingers, murmuring muted words.

It felt right, it felt comfortable and wonderful, enhanced by the strange rush that came with surviving the impossible. Everything had changed now; they knew each others secrets, and that they were so important. Not as important as the way he felt about Lex, though, and could finally admit that he did. He was going to remember how Lex felt against him right now forever, the way he had touched the feathers of an angel's wings, the way the horn had felt under his fingers...

Until Lex pulled at his energy with the fingers that laid over Clark's eyes, and sucked away all the memories of this night, protecting him with a gentle amnesia. At least, Lex hoped that he had, for Clark's sake.


His Dad had shouted. His Mom had shouted, and he still couldn't quite remember what he had been doing. He felt like he had some sort of a hangover when he had woken up but his Dad was not overly impressed with that as an excuse for him coming back really late and then crashing out in the loft considering he didn't get affected by drink. He assumed that happened, because he woke up on his couch with a crick in his neck and aching in every muscle with a headache that made him wonder if dying was an option.

Which of course could not be the drink even though that was the only thing it could be. But he'd been driving so surely he hadn't been that bad, unless they had spiked the punch with something. Who the hell knew in Smallville.? There was always someone out there who didn't need a reason to be crazy.

He vaguely remembered a mission in his head to go and apologize to Lex -- he must have started feeling woozy and come straight back home, so after he had done his penance to his parents, later that day saw him seeking admission to Lex's presence.

The journey felt... familiar for some reason. When he drove to the Castle that day, he had flickers of thought, of memory that things had been different and that he'd been there already but... why couldn't he remember? Clark wasn't one to forget that he'd seen Lex, particularly since they'd had animosity between them lately and he'd had to steal moments with him in among their mutual wariness.

It meant that he was frowning slightly even as he was shown inside, trying to place an elusive something that flickered in his thoughts.

It felt... different than he last remembered. Like the atmosphere had changed since the last time he'd been in there. Or that... It was just hard to place.

Clark was still frowning by the time he was escorted into the library.

"Lex, sorry if I'm disturbing you?" Clark said trying to smooth out that faint worried look. "I can come back later?"

Okay, now he had deja vu in a big way.

Lex stood up from behind his desk, and left his laptop on. "Hey, Clark -- no, you're not disturbing me at all."

"That's good. We missed you at Chloe's party last night," Clark said conversationally, trying to pinpoint that feeling. "You missed a good opportunity to laugh at me dressed up in angel wings."

Lex's mouth twitched. "Well... I'm sorry I couldn't come. I had some work to get done here."

"If I'd known that I would have definitely come up here last night and dragged you off to have fun," Clark caught himself frowning in puzzlement again as if his thoughts were saying that he was getting close to something hidden/. He cleared his throat. "I know I was thinking about it. "

"Yeah? Intent is half the battle, Clark. So... What's up?" So casual, too casual for Lex.

"Well, I wanted to come up and apologize to you," Clark said a little awkwardly, returning to his original intention. "I've been really shitty to you, Lex, I know I have and..."

The wave of deja vu was very strong then and he stopped mid-sentence, aware of the turmoil saying those words raised in his mind. He had a flash of sense memory, of lips against fabric so real that he licked his lip to see why the sensation lingered there.

"Are you all right, Clark?" Lex bent to grab a bottle of water, and offer it out to Clark. "Here, you look pretty wiped. You didn't get drunk at the party yesterday, did you?"

"I'm beginning to wonder if the punch was spiked with something," Clark replied ruefully, taking the water. "I felt like a house had fallen on me or something this morning. I don't actually remember getting home, and Mom and Dad let me know about that at length, too."

Lex grinned as he leaned against the edge of his desk. "So, you had a wild night?"

"I feel like I did, but I... can't actually remember much," Clark answered easily. "I can remember Chloe being a little too interested in how the wings attached. Somehow I broke the damn things coming home."

His mind was suddenly putting undue pressure on him to speak as he seemed to be getting further away from his intention..

Tell him! Tell him everything. Tell him Come on idiot, just tell him!

That was really distracting and alarming. He coughed slightly as the words clamored at him inside his head. All he came up to do was apologize, not to spill his life time secret.

"You're lucky that you managed to drive back in one piece," Lex noted. "You didn't wreck another truck, did you?"

"You make it sound like I make that a habit," Clark replied and paused again. Lex hadn't made any sort of reaction to his proffered apology, not even raised an eyebrow. "Uh, yeah... so I was wondering if we could..."

His mind provided a whole set of alternatives as a possible end to that sentence, some of which made him blush just to think about. Lips on skin, arms around him and the scent of Lex breathed in...

"...uh, talk maybe?"

"Sure." Lex gestured for Clark to sit down on the oh-so familiar leather sofa. Another wave of vague *sureness* hit Clark. That there was something up aside from his apparently terminally embarrassing hormones. "About... you apologizing?"

"Sort of," Clark sat down next to him, his thoughts very, very insistent now.

Tell him! Everything! He knows anyway so this is just stupid and if you make him find out then you will have lost everything again, and you've been given back this chance to MAKE it a gift to him rather than something he has to steal and take. Trust your instinct, the fate of the world relies upon telling the truth. Just this once Clark, be the fool instead of killing yourself and him with caution and lies. Believe it. TELL HIM NOW!

It was a compulsion, a command that ripped away all doubts and fears and tore the heart of truth out of the shroud of lies

"Lex, I'm an alien."

It came out in a complete blurt of incontinent truth that shocked him to the point where he stopped breathing.

Lex didn't have any shocked reaction. His mouth just twitched a little, and then it curled into a slow, slow smile. "I know." That sounded... suspiciously dry-voiced. Tight. Like Lex was restraining his real reaction. But the smile was touching his eyes, a real pleased curve of mouth. "I won't tell anyone."

Clark was still looking startled and shocked at himself. "I... can't believe I just said that. Mom and Dad are going to kill me. But... I feel it's really important that you know the truth. Really important that there aren't any secrets between us."

That, that part gave Lex a little pause, and he shifted to sit beside Clark almost reluctantly. "You... aren't the only one with a secret, Clark. I'm glad that you told me yours first, though. It means a lot to me."

"I've wanted to tell you for a long time, but Dad -- he just can't trust your father and he has a blind spot when it comes to anything to do with him," Clark said apologetically. "You already knew?"

"Pieced it together," Lex confessed quietly. "Not... from when I was investigating you, Clark. But from simply watching you."

"I guess I'm not as careful as I think I am," Clark replied meeting his eyes. "You've made a hell of an anticlimax out of reason to angst, you know that?"

"I guess that should please me?" Lex smiled a little. "But you finally told me. That's... what matters."

"I could find another secret to be completely irritating about?" Clark suggested smiling back at him again, almost dizzy with the relief of it, even if he was feeling a little let down by the lack of reaction. He had been expecting at least an "Oh my God," or a "You are kidding right?" if not a whole Porsche load of imaginative invective.

"Possibly," Lex teased, still looking at Clark with that odd, odd expression. "Give me a little time, and I'll share my secret with you. I just need to... work on my presentation."

"I can wait. I made you wait long enough," Clark smiled at him watching that expression. For some odd reason his left wrist started to tingle and prickle enough for him to rub at it absently. "I think I might use the fact that I.. like you a lot as my next secret."

Lex went a little quiet, as if that shocked him where the other pronouncement had not. "It's not much of a secret, if you just told me," he finally said, leaning in towards Clark.

"It's a pretty good one. Half the time I hide that even from myself," Clark turned his head to Lex. "But I seem to have come out in this rash of honesty today. No one knows about that aside from you and me."

"I won't tell your parents," Lex promised, leaning in to kiss Clark. He'd been harboring the same thoughts, if he was already willing to make the move on Clark.

Clark tilted his head a little uncertainly and shyly at first, a feeling that lasted until their lips actually made contact. It was then that a very familiar sensation, and unforgettable feeling swept through him putting a languorous fire in his blood.

He'd done that before. He'd been there before, on the sofa, when Lex had been looking at him with wild hungry eyes, and... His mouth parted just a little as the kiss deepened in intensity, and his tongue slipped into Lex's own mouth, questing over the small sharp points of his canine teeth. A sharp want stirred the memories in him even as he drew back and remembered,

'You can't make me do something I really don't want to do...'

Not even forget.

No matter what had been done to him, and he still wasn't sure what had, he remembered. Little things started to pour back into his mind. Little memories as Lex looked back at him, eyes questioning but wanting. He knew Lex's little secret, too.

Clark's smile was almost dazzling. There were no words to break that to him, to say he understood, he knew what it was like not to belong, not to be sure if there was any choice for him for his future. To be the only one of his kind, and all that that meant with the loneliness that could cripple and wound.

Mere words couldn't do it, but as he recalled, actions spoke more clearly than words.

Still looking directly at Lex, holding that pale blue gaze, he reached with his left hand to the exact spot where he had touched the living horn that had been growing there the night before and rubbed over it gently and deliberately.

He saw the exact moment that Lex realized with amazement what he was trying to say to him.

They were two of a kind. The stuff of legends. And the only choices they had were the ones they could make together.

It was quite a lot to be communicated by one brush of fingertips over the forehead.

Clark decided, after a heartbeat's consideration, that a message that important really should be reinforced with a kiss.

Preferably over the course of a lifetime.