Title: The Merest Whim
Rating: Anybody, G
Length: 834 words
Spoilers: future fic, no unaired spoilers
Warnings: slash, obsession
Disclaimer: Not mine, seriously. All belongs to Al & Miles, WB/CW and DC Comics.
Summary: A picture says a thousand words. Lex investigates.
Lex took out his phone and uploaded all the recent images onto his laptop. Taking a sip of coffee, he opened IMG042 and examined it for a good long while.
The merest whim, the slightest impulse, made him surreptitiously take this photo before he had coolly said, "My security will escort this man out."
"Mr. Luthor, I can assure you that all of our interns are carefully selected..." Mr. Sassman, producer for WGBS Metropolis, started to say.
"He's a known security risk," Lex said. "Need I remind you that I've granted an exclusive interview?"
Sassman sighed, turned back to the leather couch where a production assistant and said intern were lounging. "Clark, I'm sorry, could you go outside and wait in the van?"
"No, he needs to vacate the premises. That includes the grounds." Lex said this to Sassman, refusing to so much as glance at Clark. After the initial shock, when he only had time to register 'Clark' and 'here' and 'my home', he dismissed him.
The familiar voice rose from the couch, the familiar voice which had risen from the couch so many times. Three years. Three years since he had been welcome here. "Lex, come on, just let me do my job. I don't want to be here any more than you want me here." The voice closer now, closing in. "It's been three years. Don't be ridiculous." Softer and closer still. Lex fought the pull of gravity, the urge, to turn towards it. "Lex, hey..."
Lex picked up the phone, eyes locked on Sassman. "Peter, get the helicopter ready to escort Mr. Kent back to Metropolis. Thank you."
Sassman nodded. "Okay, Mr. Luthor, I'll walk him out." He turned towards the crew and the arc lights. "Alright, people! Be ready to roll in ten."
From the doorway, the producer's hand touched Clark's back. And stayed there. Even though he had been leaning into Clark, Lex could just catch, "First name basis, huh? You've got to tell me about it sometime."
"No, I really don't," he heard Clark respond.
Now that was a man who really didn't love his job. Come tomorrow, he wouldn't have one. Not with Galaxy Broadcasting nor anywhere remotely near the industry. Perhaps he could manage to push a vacuum cleaner, pull a mop, with ten broken fingers.
But when Sassman returned and said, "Ready, Mr. Luthor?", Lex merely nodded, sat back, and waited for Gina Tanney, voice and face of Metropolis, to begin.
Now Lex had time to examine what, besides shock, had caught his eye. For there, spread to full-screen, sat Clark—relaxed and smiling. And more beautiful than Lex could bring himself to remember.
He had never considered himself a photographer, and he certainly had no time to set up this shot, but the cascade of light and shadow across Clark's skin, the fine hair of his arm, gave the illusion of skill. Even his lashes lay languid in the light.
His hair brushed back revealed a forehead, strong and masculine, that the bangs had always kept hidden. Stubble and sideburns and the dark flecked with a bit of auburn. Each vein a road of strength. No longer a boy, but a man. Time had managed to steal this from Lex as well.
And yet the smile caught him, secretive and relaxed. Happy. Reading. Surrounded by Lex's things and yet so fully himself. A self that Lex didn't know and now no longer could.
Lex magnified the manuscript, letter perhaps, but couldn't make it out, pinpoint it.
Perhaps he and Chloe, now in Singapore, had reconciled. Perhaps Lana had tentatively contacted him from California. His mother, so close, would have no need to write.
Downsizing the image, Lex pulled up all three of Clark's email accounts and skimmed through the thirty-eight messages waiting there. A few from Chloe, none from Lana, nothing revealing. Two from Oliver, one from Bruce. And a joke from Lois, 'How many blondes does it take...?'
He enlarged the image once again, glanced at the headphones lying about Clark's neck. At first, Lex had assumed them production gear. But closer inspection revealed them to be high quality Bose, for music perhaps. Expensive. Certainly beyond Clark's means.
Lex pulled up Clark's online banking account. He appeared to be late on some of his payments, but only by a few days. The credit statement, itemized, revealed no large purchase.
A gift, no doubt, from Oliver or Bruce. One that hadn't been returned. One that had been accepted.
A quick check through UPS Tracker, and Lex found a small shipment from Gotham to Clark's Metropolis apartment. Bruce. Of course.
Lex closed all the files except for the picture. The tips of his fingers traced the shoulder.
He picked up the phone and hit '3', unmarked and unlabeled, on his speed dial.
"Hello?" A silence and pause. "Lex?" Clark said, but didn't hang up. "What...?"
He interrupted. "Clark, about today..." he began as he once more traced his fingers across the screen.