danceswithgary: (CLex - Tango)
[personal profile] danceswithgary
Title: Winning and Losing
Author: danceswithgary
Pairing: Clark/Lex
Rating: R
Warnings: None
Spoilers: None
Word Count: 3589
Archive: Fine, just let me know
Summary: It only took a single moment of frustration and inattention. Set in the Dance With Your Heart 'verse - sequel to Not Only The Tango.




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Winning and Losing


Clark stands in the slanted shadow just outside the door of the studio, watching. Across the room, once-fluid movement hitches and a perfect X-line breaks as Lex pulls up and grimaces in pain. A muttered curse is inaudible save to alien ears, and Lex quickly summons a smile for his concerned student as he rubs his right shoulder and gently tries to shake out what he's described as a 'tingling ache down to my fingertips.' Less than a minute later, elegant head held high, he resumes dance position and accepts the smiling woman back into his picture-perfect hold. In the next measure of the waltz that lilts from the speakers above the mirrors, the pair is once again in motion. Their smooth measured sweeps across gleaming wood display nothing but the expected precision and grace.

After all, Lex is and has always been the consummate professional.

Clark wishes with all his heart that he could claim to be the same.

~!~!~


Gathered in the main hall after the final performance and the awards ceremony, Lex and Clark grinned and laughed together, the glittering statuette they held between them the focus of the excited crowd of students and teachers. The group's triumphant chatter trailed off at a glittering interruption.

"Congratulations on winning top studio, Lex. Too bad you don't have a partner so you can participate in the real competitions." The deep crimson smile was false, its pretty lies betrayed by the predatory gleam in Victoria's eyes as she greeted her former partner.

Skillfully intercepting an angry step forward, Lex casually slipped between Clark and Victoria, his smile amused and his tone lightly dismissive of her sarcastic jab. "Do I detect a hint of sour grapes, Victoria?"

"I doubt that's possible, Luthor." Sliding into place next to his partner, Tomas Pacheco slipped a propriety arm around Victoria's waist with a supercilious smile. "After all, she made the smart move and traded up to international championship level."

Aware of their curious audience, Lex shrugged, his thin smile was just as falsely polite. "You're entitled to your opinion, of course. Personally, I have no doubts as to which of us ended up with the better deal in life." He turned back to Clark and the waiting students, flashing his real grin. "I vote that we all get out of here and celebrate our win by…dancing!" he teased. "I know a great club, 'Viva'. It's just a couple of blocks from our hotel, easy walking distance. Hot music, cold drinks. On the studio. Everyone up for it?"

With a cheer, everyone from the Lillian Luthor studio made it clear that they were ready to party.

~!~!~


A soft moan jolts Clark from dreams that offer no respite. Lex shifts restlessly in the bed beside him, rolling to his back from his right side, but he doesn't wake. Clark stares up through the skylight at the cloud-draped moon until Lex's breathing deepens again, then he exits their bed, silent as a shadow. Gathering the dark clothing dropped carelessly to the floor earlier, he creeps from the room and heads for the rooftop garden. It's only a matter of moments for him to dress under the stars and, after listening carefully to ensure he's alone in the night, he drops over the side of the building to land lightly on the sidewalk below.

He sets off at a run for the center of the city, searching for redemption.

~!~!~


Both students and teachers chattered and laughed together as they walked inside the Latin club, everyone still riding high on the day's adrenaline and their successes. Clark surfed the wave alongside them, anticipation fizzing through his veins, sizzling under his skin. The group paired off to dance a set, then traded partners in a dizzying whirl, music and spinning lights a bright kaleidoscope of delight and pleasure.

Suddenly, it all changed when Clark followed Lex off the dance floor and over to the bar for a drink, the simple joy in the dance fading when Clark caught sight of the couple already standing there, the same glittering pair that had intruded on their earlier celebration.

Clark felt only the faintest tension and hesitation under his hand balanced in the center of Lex's back, but it was enough for him to know Lex shared his uneasiness under the bright noise of their surroundings.

~!~!~


"Clark, there's been a change in today's schedule. Eric called in sick, Alicia's booked outside for a high school demo, and Lex has a private, so I need you to take the 7:30 Salsa group." When she doesn't receive an answer, Pamela glances up from the calendar she's adjusting and frowns in Clark's general direction. "Clark? Did you hear me?"

His attention focused on the floor he's dry-mopping, Clark shakes his head and mumbles, "Um, I can't, Pamela. I'm…uh…taking a break from teaching, remember?"

"What?" Pamela rises from her chair and walks around her desk to stand next to Clark. She folds her arms and purses her lips before she insists, "Listen, I've been more than patient with you, and so has Lex, but this has to stop. Everyone pulls his or her own weight around here, and that includes you. We need you out there, especially for the beginner groups."

Clark turns and walks away from her without a word, pushing the mop across the polished wood in front of him.

~!~!~


The music too loud for real conversation, exchanges were limited to shouts or intimate mouth-to-ear discussions. The second time Victoria leaned forward to 'chat' with Lex, smearing a glossy trace of dark red at the edge of his jaw, Clark abandoned any pretense at polite behavior and listened.

"I really can't believe you're not bored out of your mind with these amateurs, Lex. You just don't want to admit you made a mistake picking him over me."

Lex didn't answer Victoria, merely shrugged and pulled away with another polite smile before downing half his second scotch in a single gulp. Clark glanced toward Tomas, who didn't appear to be quite as adept at concealing his feelings, his mouth twisted in a sour line as he stepped closer to Victoria. Dark, angry eyes flashed Clark a challenge over Victoria's shoulder, and then Tomas tugged her toward the dance floor without a word. Once there, they spun into a series of moves that cleared the floor around them, the students as well as the club patrons applauding the flashy display.

~!~!~


The stars are covered by clouds when he lands on the concrete pathway, so the familiar rattle of ice cubes against crystal is Clark's first hint that he's not the only one awake in the dark garden. He sighs and continues forward, well aware that he isn't going to escape this time.

"I see you've finally decided to return from whatever emergency it was that forced Pamela to ask David to come in on his night off." The tone of Lex's drawled observation is sardonic and, now that Clark knows where to look in the faint light, he can just make out that the expression on Lex's face matches. "May I assume by your presence that Metropolis is once more safe from evildoers, raging fires, and all those helpless kittens stuck in trees?"

Clark stills as Lex stands and casually saunters toward him, the empty glass left behind on the arm of the wrought iron bench. His breath catches in his throat as Lex's palm settles in the center of his chest, pressing warm and gentle against wind-chilled skin when Lex lifts his face to brush a kiss across Clark's lips. He chokes back a moan, clenches his hands at his sides, quivering with the effort required not to sweep Lex into his arms, to restrain the raw, aching want that threatens his control.

With a sigh, Lex steps back. "I've tried to give you time and space to work out your problem, but this has gone on for too long, Clark," he mutters, and Clark can hear more than a hint of frustration underlying Lex's complaint. "However, it's late and we're both too tired to discuss things reasonably tonight. We'll deal with it in the morning." Reaching out, Lex grabs a wrist and tugs Clark toward the door. "Come to bed, Clark."

There's no chance Clark will resist. Lex is holding on with his right hand.

~!~!~


Clark felt the bright burn of frustration flickering at the edges of his calm as Tomas led Victoria through another crowd-pleasing amalgamation; their footwork clean and sharp, arms and legs slicing glittering trails through black-light flashes. Tomas' head lifted as Victoria stretched into a deep extension and his dark eyes drilled across the room into Clark's and then past, Tomas' sneering dismissal one more goad.

Caught up in the spectacle, it took a few moments for Clark to realize Lex wasn't beside him in the crowd. He turned to see him standing a few feet away, every muscle taut as he watched his former partner spin and shimmy to the smoldering Latin beat. Suddenly, his attention shifted to Clark and a predatory grin raised the hairs on the back of Clark's neck, the intensity of Lex's gaze a lick of flame, searing need so deep inside that Clark trembled.

Lex raised his hand to draw Clark close, and they began to sear a path across the crowded floor in less than a heartbeat.

~!~!~


Lex had left the small lamp by the bed on while he'd waited for Clark and it sheds an amber glow warming the rumpled sheets. He locks the door to the garden while Clark shuffles across the carpet to the side of the bed and begins to work at his jeans one-handed, well-worn sneakers already toed off at the door. When it comes time to shove the unbuttoned denim down his legs, he glances at Lex from under his dark lashes in time to catch a fleeting grimace and he freezes, fears he's managed to jostle Lex's arm despite his care.

"You reek, Clark," complains Lex, and Clark is able to relax a little at the annoyed tone that betrays no hint of pain. "There's no way you're getting into bed smelling like…whatever the hell it is you've managed to get into tonight." Lex releases Clark's wrist and backs up a step, deliberately placing himself between Clark and the bedroom door, not that Clark cares his exit is blocked.

Clark's tired of running, and he's so damn glad that Lex is finally forcing him to stop.

"It was a dumpster," Clark mumbles and doesn't offer any other details. He tugs his shirt off and heads toward the clothes hamper in the corner, but Lex intercepts him with a set of curt orders.

"Shower. Now. Just dump those clothes in the bathroom and I'll find a plastic bag to stuff them in."

Clark shrugs and follows Lex's instructions because it's easier than arguing, especially when Lex is right. It takes him less than a minute to strip, even without using his speed, and by then the water is the perfect temperature for muscles that have been tight for weeks. He only flinches a little when he senses Lex behind him, and then relaxes even more under Lex's soapy hands, the long, firm stokes down his back sluicing the tension away.

When Lex nudges him to turn, Clark obeys, his eyes drooping with pleasure as Lex's hands wander across his chest and downwards, soothing rather than arousing. He reaches forward to trace Lex's collarbones with gentle fingertips, and Lex shudders and presses forward and his hands still for a moment before he continues to clean away the odorous evidence of Clark's night.

"I know I said we're both too tired right now to work this out rationally, but maybe that's where I've been wrong all along." Lex's voice is calm and, since he doesn't raise it in order to be heard over the water, he's obviously depending on Clark to listen. Clark does because, now that he's stopped running, he believes…he knows…that Lex can help fix what's gone wrong inside of Clark.

When Clark doesn't say anything in return, Lex frowns and shakes his head, sending drops of water skidding sideways. "I mean, let's face it. What's been going on with you was never entirely rational to begin with." Shutting the water off, Lex grabs a towel and quickly dries off before using another one on Clark. "Let me do it, Clark." His actions are gentle, despite the impatience Clark detects edging Lex's explanation for taking over. "I'm not missing a chance to get my hands on you, now that you're actually touching me back."

Clark winces when Lex's words hit home, his guilt still sharp and stinging. Lex doesn't let him pull away, though, grabbing Clark's hand to lead him out into the bedroom. "You need to get it through that thick skull of yours that I didn't get hurt that night because you…we…were behaving like reasonable, rational people. It was our damn lizard brains kicking in, or mine was along with whatever the alien equivalent is."

~!~!~


Tomas and Victoria were only a few feet away, a space cleared around them as their arms and legs slashed and curled to a fast salsa. Clark could see the sneer twisting Tomas' face, Victoria's haughty disdain with each turn in their direction, and his hand tightened as he led Lex through a series of swivels that ended with a spin. He could feel the rising tension in Lex, how he pushed back equally hard, forcing his responses to Clark to accelerate with each successive pattern, each feeding off the other.

Watching Tomas instead of his own partner, Clark raised his left arm to direct Lex around his back while stepping forward. At the same moment, Lex chose to step in the opposite direction to force a flashy free spin, and Clark felt a sickening jolt and crunch before Lex jerked loose with a cry of pain and clamped his left hand over his right shoulder.

~!~!~


Dropping Clark's hand, Lex crawls onto the bed, shoving the rumpled covers to the bottom before flopping onto his back with a theatrical groan. "God, I'm beat." He looks up and beckons Clark closer with a languid wave of his right hand, frowns a bit, then asks, "While I'm fairly certain that you still love me, am I also right in assuming that you don't really want to stop teaching or give up on finishing your degree?"

Nausea twists in the pit of Clark's stomach at the thought that Lex is only 'fairly certain,' and at the same time he thinks that Lex isn't perfect either and Clark knows he caused it by keeping his fear and anger to himself, and Lex is tied up inside of all of that and should share the blame. Still, Lex was the one who'd been hurt, so Clark kneels on the bed next to Lex's hip, resting his hands in his lap, and says haltingly, "You're right…everything you said…and I'm sorry. I do love you and I never meant for you to think that I didn't."

Reaching out to take the closest of Clark's hands, Lex squeezes it as he apologizes too. "I've never doubted you, Clark, and I'm sorry that I implied otherwise." With a sigh, Lex rubs his thumb over Clark's knuckles. "It doesn't help that you can't walk into a therapist's office and say, 'I need help because I'm afraid I'll hurt my partner or students with my alien strength,' does it?"

Splaying Clark's fingers, Lex lowers Clark's hand to lay flat against Lex's belly. "Let's try a little homegrown 'touch therapy.' We'll start slowly, because I'm not expecting a miracle overnight." Lex guides Clark's hand upward, pressing down gently whenever Clark fails to touch Lex's skin. "I'll be happy if you eventually start touching or kissing me without being asked and then go on from there."

Clark can hear the sadness behind Lex's quiet suggestions and resolves to do his best to give Lex what he deserves. Clark then silently laughs at his resolution, because that happens to be what Clark needs, so Lex would call that a win-win situation. With that, Lex no longer needs to apply any pressure. With a few quick movements, Clark's kneeling between Lex's legs, Lex's skin gilded by the lamp and wonderfully soft and warm under both of Clark's hands.

Stroking upward from Lex's hips, knowing where Lex is most sensitive, Clark rolls Lex's nipples under his palms until they peak, and then Lex grabs Clark's wrists and forces him to stop. "Don't take this the wrong way, Clark, sex is good, but…." Lex shakes his head with a rueful grin. "Who do I think I'm kidding? Sex is fucking fantastic…but it's not really the goal here. Okay?"

Clark carefully tugs his hands free, flattens them on the bed next to Lex's shoulders, and then leans forward to brush a kiss across Lex's lips. "What if I want to?" He pulls back and waits, watches as expressions flicker across Lex's face, until desire displaces worry and Lex reaches up to urge him downward into a deeper kiss.

Clark's eyes drift closed as he tastes what he's been missing, lets his tongue dip inside and then flick lightly against Lex's, savors the sweet pressure. When Clark pulls back and opens his eyes again, the expression of need and pleasure on Lex's face simmers down his spine, and Clark shoves back onto his knees because he needs to watch as he touches Lex. Clark forces himself to keep it slow, to allow each sensation time to settle back into the places it had gone missing, and Lex holds still except for the occasional shiver.

Finally, Clark takes Lex's very enthusiastic response in hand with short strokes, Lex curses under his breath about waiting too damn long and throws his head with a groan, and then droplets glisten golden across his belly up to his chest. Aching with his own need, Clark drops forward onto his hands again to hold himself over Lex, dragging across Lex's belly, drawing undecipherable designs with a velvet-tipped, blood-warm stylus until he silently blots them out with his own slick contribution. He hangs above Lex for a few moments, trembling, then pulls back and leaves the bed in a surge of motion to retrieve one of the damp towels, using his speed because he doesn't want to leave Lex for any longer than he has to, and he's so very gentle as he wipes away every trace.

Both of them clean and dry again, Clark settles on his side next to Lex, sharing Lex's pillow. Lex rolls to his left side so that he faces Clark and then reaches out to rest his palm over Clark's heart, saying quietly, "It would be so easy to fall asleep right now, but I need to know that you understand I share the blame for that night. I was drinking, my reactions were off, and I played right into Victoria's stupid little mind games."

Lex sighs, and Clark can't ignore the weariness in his voice as he continues, "That still doesn't make it anything more than an accidental injury, Clark. They happen to dancers all the time. You know that, right?" Lifting his hand, Lex brushes the curls back from Clark's forehead and then gently tugs on them until Clark finally nods in agreement.

As tired as he must be, Lex apparently isn't ready to end the discussion there. He points out, "You worked so hard with Chloe and me that first year learning how to control your movements, while worrying about whether your gifts made competing unfair. Although it proved they really don't, you can't let one accident ruin your life. Our lives." Trailing his hand down the side of Clark's face, Lex gently traces Clark's lips with his thumb, and then asks, "I trust you, Clark. I always have. Got it?"

Taking a deep breath, Clark smiles across at Lex, finally starting to believe it's possible for him to get past what happened that night, as long as they take it one step at a time. "Got it."

~!~!~


Promenading slowly around the floor of the senior center's commons area with a blue-haired lady, who flirtingly insists she's 'Bella,' Clark catches glimpses of Lex dancing with Clark's ninety-year-old favorite. Even as he gently cradles Bella's gnarled fingers and nods at her cheerful chattering, Clark unabashedly eavesdrops in time to hear Lex ask Mrs. Wilson if she's enjoying herself.

She pats Lex's arm with a pleased laugh. "Oh my heavens, yes. I always do when you all come to visit. In fact, I just danced the loveliest rumba with Clark. He's always so thoughtful and gentle when he leads me, and he's ready to catch me whenever I wobble." Although Mrs. Wilson's face is turned away from Clark, he's danced with her often enough that he's sure she's smiling up at Lex. "I thinks it's lovely to be able to trust someone to take care of you, don't you?"

Lex carefully leads Mrs. Wilson through an appropriately named senior walk and chasse to proceed down the line of dance before he glances up to catch Clark watching them. With a smile, Lex looks back down at Mrs. Wilson, and then Clark grins when he hears Lex agree. "Yes, I do. It's one of the best feelings in the world, and it goes both ways."


***


Notes: This is semi-autobiographical - I suffered a shoulder injury under similar circumstances with an instructor and enjoyed many dance demonstrations at senior centers with Gary.

Standard Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters herein. The characters of Lex Luthor and Clark Kent as well as any supporting characters are the property of their creators and DC Comics. Gough/Millar Inc and the WB Network TV own Smallville. Any deviation (or deviant behavior) from the originals, however, is mine.

Feedback is both welcome and appreciated.



Date: 2010-05-05 05:04 pm (UTC)
ellia: pink square with the text 3weeks4dreamwidth (3weeks4dw 1)
From: [personal profile] ellia
This is beautiful, i'm a real sucker for stories that deal with Clark worrying about his strength hurting someone, and this is a really great take on it. I love the way you've written Lex helping him through it, and how they manage to make it work.

Date: 2010-05-05 11:57 pm (UTC)
roxy: (Default)
From: [personal profile] roxy
Beautiful! The pace of the story, the way the events are unfolded was like a dance. I'm really starting to enjoy non-linear stories, and this one was excellent. Your Lex and Clark are, as always, perfectly in character and shine with the love they have for one another. I really enjoyed this installment of the DanceVerse.

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