by Persephone

Author's notes: "Ashes" was inspired by Rhiannonhero's "Pompeii" and is a sequel in an alternative universe. Posted with permission. "Pompeii" can be found at the Smallville Slash Archive and I'm afraid this story won't make much sense unless you've read it first. Last but not least: many thanks to Jade, Myownspecialself, and Terri for their kind help with beta.

"So you're really sorry?" Clark said.

"Absolutely, Clark." Lex said smoothly. He searched Clark's eyes, willing him to believe. "If there's anything I can do, any way I can make it up to you, you just have to say the word."

Clark had miraculously forgiven him for his base actions, but still, they would kiss for a while and then, when things began to get hotter, Clark would back off. Lex had caused this situation himself. He was entirely to blame for it -- he knew that. He just was incredibly frustrated. Hence the second attempt at apologies.

"I see." Clark turned onto his back, cradling his head and his unshared thoughts in the cup of one hand, the sharp angle of his elbow pointing away from Lex.

Lex snuggled a little closer on the lumpy surface of Clark's couch, dropping a soft kiss on Clark's shoulder, nuzzling in to breathe the fresh, sweet fake-apple smell of Clark's cheap shampoo in preference to the warm hay smells of the barn.

Lex pulled back enough to admire the dark shapes Clark's eyelashes made on his smooth cheeks, the pure sculptural lines of his perfect face in the starlight. He was such a pretty boy.

"Anything. Any way."

Would Clark want a blowjob to start with? Lex was more than willing; his mouth watered at the thought, and he was already getting aroused. Clark was biting his bottom lip hard enough to whiten the rosy flesh. Lex leaned over and tugged the abused skin out of Clark's teeth, sucking it gently to make the pain go away. Clark breathed a tiny moan and Lex took the opportunity to thoroughly explore Clark's mouth, bracing himself with a hand in the cushion by Clark's head, not wanting to crush or loom over him. Not that he could really hurt Clark, even a little, but this was a delicate time, and Lex knew that the things that can't hurt are often the scariest. Like the dark.

When Lex finally broke the kiss, Clark's eyes were clouded and they were both breathing faster. Lex smothered the urge to smirk, preferring to lean in for another kiss, but Clark's hand on his chest stopped him. Clark gently pushed Lex away, swung his long legs off the couch, and stood up. Lex sat up too, and had to crane his neck to see Clark's face.

"If you're serious, give your staff the night off tomorrow, and be at home when I come by at ten," Clark said.

Lex stood up too so they were chest to chest. "Fine. Ten it is." He tried a smile, but his face felt stiff. He went to kiss Clark goodnight, but Clark stepped back and gestured at the stairs, dropping his eyes and his hand, and turning away.

Lex walked quickly to where the smooth carapace of his latest Ferrari gleamed in the moonlight, pulling his jacket around him to keep out the night's chill.

The following day, Lex's staff were happy to have the day off with pay, but without even Enrique or the occasional maid drifting about in the background, the castle was more of a morgue than ever.

Although Lex thought that a morgue might be appropriate for one recently returned from the dead, the similarity did not please him. He tried to concentrate on work but couldn't. He tried to enjoy the meal prepared and left for him by his departing staff, but it was tasteless.

When evening came on, in frustration, he took one of the Porsches and dropped into the Talon for coffee and perhaps a surreptitious danish or two.

As Lex took his seat and the waitress fussed with creamers and spoons, he noticed Clark was in one of the corner booths, sitting opposite a dark-haired man Lex had never seen before. The two of them had their heads bent over some papers, and Clark seemed to be explaining something to the stranger, occasionally pointing out something on the paper. The stranger was nodding and taking the occasional note.

Lex didn't want to interrupt. He decided to go over and say hello later. He sipped his coffee and decided against pastries. At one point, a bunch of giggling Smallville High students burst through the front door, and Clark glanced up and happened to catch sight of Lex. Clark's stare was cold enough to make Lex shiver. Clark nudged the stranger and indicated Lex with the jerk of an eyebrow. The stranger turned and took a long slow look at Lex. Lex had had x-rays that were less intrusive. Then the stranger turned back and nodded at Clark. The two of them turned back to their papers.

Lex finished his coffee in one gulp, feeling it scald all the way down, and went back to the castle without stopping by Clark's table to say 'hello.'

Night was falling and ten o'clock was fast approaching. Lex paced back and forth in the hallway. Still warm and a little damp from the most thorough shower of his life, his skin bled heat quickly in the marble-floored hallway. He was getting chilled. His carefully chosen silk shirt and dress pants weren't much protection.

Finally, at ten o'clock on the dot, Lex heard tires scrunch on the drive. He darted to the front door and opened it to see Clark getting out of a taxi. In the driver's seat, the dark-haired stranger sat with all the animation of an Easter Island statue, staring up at Lex standing on the steps without even a nod of recognition.

Clark took a book bag from the taxi and walked to meet Lex.

"Thanks for coming," Lex said. "Isn't your friend going to be joining us?"

"Maybe later," Clark said. He closed the front door behind them, so softly Lex didn't hear the lock click. Lex turned to usher Clark into his office, but Clark said, "No, let's go to your room."

"Okay." Lex led the way, and Clark didn't say a word until they reached the master bedroom.

Clark closed the door behind them, picked up a heavy Victorian overstuffed armchair as though it was made of matchwood, and moved it within five feet of the bed. He placed his book bag on the chair, and stripped off his jacket, dropping it carelessly on the floor.

Lex felt his blood start to heat. This was more like it. He moved closer to Clark, sliding his hands around Clark's waist under his tee-shirt, stroking the warm, smooth skin of his back.

Clark put his lips a scant inch from Lex's mouth. Lex's eyes started to flutter closed in anticipation.

"Take your clothes off," Clark said flatly.

Lex blinked. "That's not very romantic."

"Less romantic than you fucking me when I wasn't awake to consent?"

Lex dropped his hands as if Clark's skin were poisonous.

"Anything, you said," Clark said, biting the words off.

"I--" Lex said, taking a step backwards.

"Any way, you said," Clark said, taking a step forwards. His face was icily calm. "You wanted to make it up to me, you *said*."

Lex backed up a bit further and his calves bumped into the bed. "Yes, but--"

"Take your clothes off."

Lex ducked his head, considering his options and trying to ignore a cramp of fear in his gut.

What was the worst thing that could happen? At least he'd get laid, which was his original plan for the evening. He reached up and unbuttoned the top button of his shirt. Then he paused.

Clark folded his arms.

Lex undid another button, attempted a teasing tone. "Aren't you going to undress too?"

Clark didn't smile. Or move.

Lex swallowed and undid another button.

"Don't take all night. I have plans for you," Clark said, softly, and it should have made Lex's knees weak, but it just made his fingers fumble.

He finally got all the buttons undone, and took off the shirt.

Clark put out a hand and Lex handed it over. "Shoes next."

Obediently, Lex untied his shoelaces, kicked off the shoes, and peeled off his socks, feeling a stab of embarrassment at the pressure marks they left on his legs. He straightened up. His fingers went to the button of his pants, and his eyes went to Clark's.

Every time he'd imagined undressing in front of Clark, which was frequently, but not half as often as he imagined in minute detail Clark undressing -- slowly -- in front of him, he'd imagined a look in Clark's eyes a thousand degrees away from the cold assessment that was all he saw in the hazel depths now. He undid the button and the look didn't warm any, although Clark's lips did tighten with impatience. Lex unzipped quickly, stepped out of his pants, and just stood there.

"No underwear." Clark's voice was as warm and welcoming as a Luthor family Christmas. "Eager for it, weren't you?"

Lex's face grew hot.

"Get on your back on the bed."

Awkwardly, Lex climbed on top of the big bed, feeling himself to be all elbows and knees. He lay down straight and stiff like an effigy on a tomb and clasped his hands over his stomach. Clark stood by the bed, inspecting him from scalp to toes. Then Clark went to the window, opened the drapes briefly, and waved.

"What-- what are you doing?" Lex asked, hating himself for the hesitation in his voice.

Clark came back over and sat beside Lex on the bed. "Here's the deal." He ran a fingertip up Lex's arm, then over his ribs to a nipple, circling it. It stiffened immediately, and for the first time, Clark smiled. "My friend is going to come up here, he's going to sit in that chair right there, and he's going to watch me fuck you--"

"No!" Lex sat up with a jerk, dislodging Clark's hand. "No way--"

Clark pushed Lex flat without visible effort and pinched the nipple gently, flicking it with his nail. "--otherwise, I walk away and you never see me again--"

Lex searched Clark's eyes for signs Clark was joking. There were none.

Clark moved his attention to the other nipple, pinching it too, a little harder than before. "--except maybe in passing in the Talon, like today."

Lex felt the pain in his stomach sharpen. He stayed still, his toes curling, his thoughts rattling in the cage of his head. That wasn't enough. He couldn't survive on that little contact. He couldn't survive in that proximity, kept at arm's length. He'd have to leave Smallville and never see Clark again. A clean break. The same as he'd done with the pharmaceuticals, and for the same reasons.

"If that's what you want, all you have to do is get off this bed." Clark's hand slipped down to cup Lex's soft cock. "The idea may not turn you on. But it's not about that, really, is it?"


"Fine," Clark said without a change in his intonation or expression. He started to rise from the bed. "It's been nice knowing you--"

Lex grabbed his arm. "I meant, no -- it's not about me getting turned on. I'll do it."

Clark sat back, and said nothing for a long moment.

Lex tried to get a grip on his breathing, waiting for Clark to say it was a joke. To say he was only kidding.

"Good," Clark said calmly. He got up and went to his bag, taking some things out of it. "I don't want to make it too unpleasant an experience for you." He came back to the bed, and showed the things in his hands to Lex. A bottle of lube, still factory-sealed; a short length of rope that looked suspiciously like baler twine straight from the Kent farm; a navy cotton scarf.

"Put your hands together, above your head." Clark's voice was still as calm as though he was saying something ordinary, like calling his next shot in a game of pool. Eight ball in the corner pocket. The advantage of pool was that even if you got beaten, you had time to see it coming. Lex put his hands, still clasped to hide their trembling, up on the pillow. Clark tied him to the stout brass bars of the headboard as quickly and neatly as though he'd been doing it for years.

Clark picked up the scarf, folded it into a long strip, and moved towards Lex's face. After Clark's eyes, the empty darkness of the blindfold was nearly a relief. The scarf smelt faintly of Martha Kent's perfume. For a moment, it was bizarrely comforting.

But not for long. The mattress shifted as Clark got up. To let the stranger in. Lex stifled a gasp. There was a soft click of settling floorboard as Clark passed the armchair, then the clicks and creaks of the bedroom door opening and closing, and footsteps muffled by the thick pile of the rug, coming closer.

A gust of chilly air skated over Lex's skin, raising goose bumps everywhere except on his burning face.

"Sit there," Clark said. "Keep quiet, like we agreed."

Clark and the stranger had discussed this earlier. They must have. Maybe even in the Talon this afternoon while he was there.

The leather-covered upholstery of the armchair squeaked under the stranger's weight.

The mattress dipped and there was a crinkling sound -- Clark tugging the hygiene wrap off the lube bottle. "Pull your knees up." Clark's voice above him, very close. Something -- the lube bottle -- dropped on the pillow beside Lex's head.

Lex hesitated.

"All you have to do is get off the bed," Clark said, his voice coming from further away.

Lex took a deep breath, and folded his legs against his chest. He felt Clark's hand lift his balls, and turned his face to the wall. He felt Clark's warm breath puff against the back of his thigh, the cold slide of Clark's lubricated finger against his opening. A sound escaped him before he could shut his teeth to trap it.

Clark's finger paused, then continued to push in slowly. "Don't worry. I'm not going to hurt you." Delivered in such a cool tone, the reassurance was less than reassuring. The finger slid in and out several times, spreading a generous amount of lube.

Lex concentrated on keeping his breathing even. Maybe that would help. So might pretending it was happening to someone else. The blindfold could help too. He tried to pretend that there was no one else in the room with them, that no one else was watching. That this was just a sexy little game, just between the two of them. But he felt about as sexy as a visit from the IRS.

Clark tucked a pillow under Lex's ass, and pressed Lex's knees further apart and more firmly back against his chest, which pressed the slack mass of his still-limp cock against his belly.

"Stay like that," Clark said. The mattress shifted -- Clark getting off the bed.

Lex heard two matching thuds as Clark's sneakers hit the deck, then five soft flumping sounds as Clark's clothes dropped. The stranger was getting to see Clark's glorious naked body. Lex bit his lip.

The lube bottle was picked up from the pillow. After a moment there were wet sounds nearby. A scuffing sound and a small cough from the armchair. Lex waited, barely breathing.

The mattress dipped again on one side of Lex as Clark got back on the bed, then on either side of his body and below his exposed ass. Clark's body heat warmed Lex, the pressure of the shaft of Clark's cock along his cleft made him squirm a little, the thick head nudging into Lex's balls. Clark stilled above him, and the mattress to Lex's left rose a little as Clark's hand lifted off it.

What was he--

Then Lex felt the solid hot line of Clark's erection shift away for a moment, and the broad smooth head come back to press directly against Lex's opening. Despite himself, Lex's hands twisted in the rope's coils.

"It's not too late to stop," Clark said.

Was Lex imagining a note of strain in his voice? Clark rubbed the tip of his cock back and forth a little, slippery in the lube. Over at the armchair, the leather upholstery creaked.

Was that the stranger shifting in his seat to get a better look? Fuck him.

Lex gulped air. "Do it."

The first moment of penetration was bad. It hurt sharply and Lex expected Clark to pause when Lex gasped. But Clark didn't, moving his hips forward inexorably and smoothly without stopping until his big cock was buried fully in Lex's body. Lex shook under Clark, biting back a shriek. Clark stayed still, in deep, only his head easing forward so his face was pressed into the pillow beside Lex's, strands of Clark's soft hair tickling Lex's face. Lex took a deep lungful of the green scent of Clark's shampoo, trying to let it soothe him.

How long they stayed like that, Lex had no idea. There was only the ebb and flow of Clark's humid breath against his neck to mark the passage of time, the warmth of Clark's body on his, his fingers going numb in their bindings, and the hot pain of Clark's cock slowly easing deep inside.

When the pain had reduced to bearable levels, Lex started to relax under Clark's weight. Immediately, Clark turned his head in the direction of the armchair.

"Now?" he said.

"Yes," an accented voice whispered. Lex shivered miserably.

Clark slowly pulled out almost the whole way, the mercy of it making Lex pant helplessly in relief. Then Clark slowly pushed back in, a long groan of pleasure from deep in his throat matching the instroke. Lex gritted his teeth so as not to cry out. Another withdrawal, and another slow push in.

Then another, and another, and another, and Lex's harsh desperate inhalations were getting him only thin shreds of air.

Clark's knees pushed and slipped against the bedcover as he struggled to find purchase to get deeper, making the deadweight of Lex's body slide up the bed a clear inch with each thrust until the top of Lex's head ended up pressing his clenched fists against the headboard.

Lex clenched his jaw.

It couldn't last long. It would be over soon.

Lex felt Clark push in as deep as he could and then hold still. Lex stiffened as Clark's hand smoothed down over Lex's sweating chest and his fingers wrapped around Lex's cock. "What the fuck--"

Clark's voice was a thick rasp in his ear. "Shut up, Lex." Clark's hand squeezed him and distantly, Lex heard the scuffing noise again from the armchair, heard the upholstery creak in protest as the stranger moved in excitement. Tears burned against the inside of Lex's eyelids, as Clark began to jerk Lex off.

Clark's hand was still somewhat slick with lube and Clark breathed rapidly and deeply in time with the movements of his hand, his whole body thrumming with the repressed need to finish. His hand squeezed Lex again, too tight, and Lex shuddered and tried to pull away. But there was nowhere to go. Clark had him pinned.

"Oh, yes," the accented voice from the armchair said thickly.

Lex couldn't breathe, couldn't fucking breathe. Being tied and fucked like a whore in front of the stranger was one thing, maybe he even deserved it, but Clark attempting to make him enjoy it was unbearable. Clark's hand was sending little sharp stabs of pain into his balls, and perversely his cock was hardening.

Clark bit at Lex's earlobe and his hand moved faster. "Come," Clark muttered in Lex's ear. "I want you to come while I'm inside you. I want to feel it."

Lex made another attempt to jerk back out of Clark's grasp but Clark was immovable. In desperation, Lex put his feet flat against Clark's ribs, his soles slipping on the sweat there, and tried to shove him away with all the strength he had. It was like shoving a wall.

"Oh," Clark breathed. Lex's breath was coming in sobs. He tried again to get leverage to force Clark away from him, and felt a spark of hope flare when Clark's hips swayed away from him for a second.

"Oh, yes--" Clark groaned, and thrust back in even harder. "Do it again."

Lex froze. Clark's hand moved relentlessly and Lex's mouth opened in a soundless cry as the sharp slicing pleasure started to build in him.

"I didn't mean-- I can't--" Clark gasped. "You *feel* so--" He awkwardly started to move his hips in shallow thrusts, and for Lex the renewed burn made him gasp even as the grip on his cock began to drag tingling rushes out of him. "Oh fuck, Lex, I need to--" Clark changed his balance, shifting his weight from his elbows to the arm bracing him above Lex, changing the angle of his penetration too. Clark's thrusts started to strike sparks in Lex's head.

Lex gritted his teeth against the need to beg Clark to do it harder. The rumble of Clark's groans grew louder and his hips and hand moved faster with each thrust.

Clark's wet open mouth pressed against Lex's throat for a second, and then lifted away. "Lex," Clark groaned. "Oh, fuck, Lex--"

Clark's hand released Lex's cock. Lex yelped "Don't stop!" and his whole body flooded with shame.

Clark's hands slid down and gripped Lex's hips, lifting them off the bed, allowing Clark to thrust even deeper. Lex felt his pelvis creak under the strain. He cried out hoarsely.

Clark stopped dead. "Lex! Lex, I can't--" Clark gasped. Lex felt hot wet spurts drench his insides. Clark's body jerked and his fingers dug painfully into Lex's hips. The cries reaching Lex's ears sounded like nothing human.

The gasp from the direction of the armchair made Lex want to kill the stranger, to kill Clark, to kill himself. He lay under Clark's collapsed and trembling body, unmoving, feeling black blind fury coil in him.

When Clark's heart stopped pounding like a trapped bird against Lex's chest, and his breathing slowed back to normal, Clark gently withdrew. He untied the blindfold. Lex squinted against the light, straightened his cramped legs out and rolled as far as he could with his arms tied, so that his back was to the stranger.

"Untie me," he said furiously.

"Not yet," Clark said. He scooted down in the bed so that his head was level with Lex's hips and took the head of Lex's cock in his mouth, starting to suck softly.

Lex ducked his head awkwardly, trying to smother his cries against his shoulder, feeling the pulses of release so strongly that it felt sharper than pain.

Clark pulled off, licking him clean, and quickly undid the ropes, rubbing Lex's numb fingers to help restore the circulation. Lex couldn't put it off any longer, so he steeled himself and looked over at the armchair. Which was empty, except for a small black box.

Lex blinked. Clark was kissing the abraded areas of Lex's wrists.

There was a gasp from the box. "Oh yes," it said.

Lex looked back at Clark's bent dark head. Clark was concentrating suspiciously hard on the restoration operations.

"Clark," Lex said.

"I can explain," Clark said quickly.

The box made a creaking, scuffling noise, and then produced a long gasp.

Clark looked up at him, his eyes full of gentle light. "I get jealous when you talk to other people. Even your staff. Even my mom! Did you think I'd ever share you in any kind of sexual way, even the sight of you?"

Lex jerked his hands out of Clark's gentle grip, got up stiffly and staggered over to the window. He parted the drapes and looked down to the truck, where the stranger was still safely ensconced, reading a newspaper in the small cheerful glow of the taxi's cab light. It was difficult for Lex to make out his face clearly from this angle, but it even so, it was obvious that he had a bored expression on his face. While Lex was observing him, he flicked another cigarette end out the window to join the dozen or so that already besmirched the immaculately raked gravel, and glanced impatiently at his watch.

"Who is he?" Lex asked.

"He's a Grandville taxi driver, that's why you don't know him to see. He thinks I'm taking a long time to pick up my suitcase on the way to Metropolis airport. The meter's been running all this time. By now I probably owe him my allowance until the year 2006." Clark went over to the tape recorder and hunkered down to switch it off.

Lex allowed the drapes to fall closed again.

After all, it would be advisable to have no witnesses when he killed Clark.

"Clark," Lex said calmly, "I'm going to kill you."

Clark sat back on his heels.

Lex knew he was going to enjoy every second of wiping that stupid goofy grin of victory off Clark's ridiculously handsome face.

Clark cleared his throat. "Would it do any good if I told you I was really sorry?"


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