by Pearl-o

It was raining outside, hard, thunder and lightning and all the extras, and Clark didn't realize he was staring out beyond the window until Lex's voice drew him back.

"When I was younger, I was afraid of thunderstorms." Clark's head twitched towards him; Lex was looking at him as he took a sip of his coffee.

Clark looked down at his own mug quickly. His hands were wrapped around, overlapping and almost ridiculously big against its surface. "I always liked the storms," he offered, and Lex gave him a smile. "Mom and Dad used to have to drag me in from the yard."

"I would think about getting struck by lightning. Imagine all that electricity, energy coursing through you..." Lex leaned forward a little in his chair. He was only a few feet away from Clark.

"It -- it'd hurt," Clark said. "Itch afterwards, like a bite you can't scratch," and he shut up before he said anything more.

Lex nodded, like he was considering Clark's words carefully. He said, "It's not something worth fearing."

"Is there anything you think is worth that?" Clark said. He wasn't looking up at Lex, quite, but he caught his pleased expression anyway.

"That's a good question, Clark," Lex said, and Clark knew he wasn't going to get an answer.

He placed his mug down carefully on table next to his chair. No coasters; his mother would be appalled. "I'm full of them," he said suddenly, and then realized it was kind of late to respond.

But Lex just turned up the very corners of his mouth a little and didn't say anything.

Clark wiped his hands lightly on his jeans, and stood up. He moved a few steps away, closer to the window, where he could see the rain falling outside in the dark. X-ray vision didn't really help with that much, anyway.

He could still feel Lex from over here, this warm, solid thing right there behind him. Lex had always been like that, like this presence Clark could never shake off.

Not that he had ever really wanted to.

He shivered when the next lightning bolt struck. It lit up the sky, just for a moment, but Clark could see it all perfectly clearly. He wondered what it looked like to Lex. Just a flash of light, random and meaningless.

"You okay, Clark?"

Clark moved his head back towards Lex, and smiled down at him again. He was looking at him with an odd expression, like he was looking for something, but Clark wasn't really sure what. "Fine."

"So what do you want to do?"

Clark shrugged a little, ducked his head. "I don't care, Lex. Whatever. It doesn't really matter."

He turned back to the window again, standing absolutely still as he watched the heavy pattern of the rain against the glass and waited for Lex to walk over.

Lex's hand was light against his arm, and it only rested on the edge of his sleeve for a second or two before he pulled away. "It's quite a storm, Clark," Lex said, softly, so that if Clark wasn't a freakish alien and only a foot away he might not have heard.

The storm had only started an hour ago. It had been in the air all day, everything thick and still and waiting for it. Clark had almost been able to taste it.

Getting struck by lightning hurt. Energy and heat and electricity all crackled through you, till you were nothing but weak and vulnerable and scared.

The thunder rolled again, just as he turned to face Lex and moved his hand up to rest along Lex's jaw.

Lex's eyes still scared Clark sometimes, but he leaned in anyway, nice and slowly, as the lightning hit again.

He would remember this, he thought, every thunderstorm of his life.


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