Word Count: 4130
Archive: Fine, just let me know
Summary: It was time for both of them to take a refresher lesson in connections. Sequel to Dance With Your Heart.
Click For Full Size
Leaning against the front of Pamela's desk, Lex frowned absently as he watched the trophy wife of one of Metropolis' premier businessmen walk out to the building's parking lot. Their fifth private lesson in the past week had just ended with a promise of even more in the future. His intense regard of the lithe, young body, as she slipped behind the wheel of her late-model BMW, was interrupted by Clark's whirlwind entrance from the main studio.
"One of these days, Pamela, I'm going to remember to grab more than one contract when I go out there. Seems like I always mess...." Clark's rushed explanation faltered to a stop when Lex turned in his direction, dark lashes fluttering downward failing to conceal green eyes that had suddenly narrowed. The muscles in Clark's jaw bunched for a moment and then released enough to allow a gruff, "Hey...Lex." Bright color bloomed above a brittle smile as Clark shifted nervously in place.
Lex suddenly felt as if the few feet between them yawned as deep as a chasm. Before he could ask Clark what was wrong, Pamela's calm voice interrupted. "Here are two blank contracts, Clark. Let me know if you need more."
"Thanks. Catch you later." Clark's mumbled response hovered in the suddenly vacated space, as his lanky body retreated from the foyer.
"I don't understand what's going on with him lately. It's like...he...." Lex shrugged helplessly as he failed to find the words to explain the recent uneasiness in their relationship.
Pamela studied Lex and then dropped her gaze in order to tidy her immaculate desktop before suggesting, "It seems to me that someone needs to be reminded that those contracts contain non-fraternization clauses...and that only dance lessons are for sale here."
Lex frowned in puzzlement before nodding in reluctant understanding. "I'm assuming you mean Lana Lennox?" Lex waved in the general direction of the parking lot. "I know she's been taking up a lot of my time, but she could bring in a lot of new students, not to mention the money for her own lessons. Lana wants a few dance trophies of her own, and that means a lot of intensive one-on-one instruction. He should understand the way the business works by now."
Pamela stood and stepped around to the front of the desk. Her hand rose to Lex's face and she gently rubbed the corner of his mouth. She displayed the brick-red lipstick left behind on the pad of her thumb with a knowing smile. "Not really your color, Lex." Using one of the tissues from the box on the corner of her desk, Pamela wiped away the damning evidence. As she resumed her seat, she glanced up at Lex, who was wondering if it was possible to spontaneously combust from blushing, and pointed out, "I never specified who needed the reminder, Lex."
Lex hovered just inside the doorway to the main studio and watched as Clark worked with his group class. To the casual observer, Clark was thoughtful and pleasant as always, his grin as wide and bright. Still, now that Lex was looking, the evidence of Clark's distress was plain to see. The smile never reached his eyes, the typically jewel-like color dull and lifeless under the soft lighting. His attention seemed to wander at times, recovering at a snap with a student's question, only to drift away again as he worked through the familiar moves with fewer words than usual.
As Lex silently withdrew, he realized he'd been seeing the same thing happening for a while, but had managed to ignore it in the constant whirl of his own schedule. He began to wonder how long it had been going on before he'd first noticed the change, how long Clark had been struggling to keep up appearances.
Unfortunately, it didn't take much thought before Lex had a pretty good idea of when and why it had all started.
The Lillian Luthor Dance Studio hadn't suffered from the owner's relationship with another man, in fact, after their success at the nationals, the number of students had grown substantially. Lex was fairly certain that wasn't the problem. Clark loved working with the beginners and handled the studio maintenance after hours using his strength and speed to good advantage. He'd even begun taking part-time classes at the university with the idea of possibly obtaining a teaching degree or working as a dance therapist. With Clark's occasional 'volunteer' activities added into the mix, Lex knew the result was a busy life, but one that had never left Clark looking as if his world was slowly crumbling beneath his feet.
Clark and Lex had never particularly hidden the fact that they were together, but neither had they flaunted their relationship, preferring to keep it low-key and private. The unspoken agreement was upheld when the increase in lessons and responsibilities forced their original goal of competing professionally in same-sex competitions to be sidelined for a year or two to allow their schedules to settle. Instead, Lex had decided to focus on private lessons with the students interested in competing as amateurs at a regional and national level.
Everything had fallen into place, and they'd had over two years together making it all work, their schedules full. With everything they had on their plates, they sometimes went an entire day without seeing each other outside their bedroom, and even then only exchanging a few words before crashing into sleep from exhaustion. Nevertheless, Lex had honestly thought they were happy together.
Then Lana Lennox, formerly Lana Lang of Smallville, appeared on the scene.
Trudging up the stairs to the apartment, Lex reviewed what he suspected to be the catalyst for the change in their interactions. Clark had appeared pleased to see Lana when she first signed up for lessons, He seemed happy to renew a casual acquaintance he'd left behind after he'd graduated from high school. She, on the other hand, had been less excited.
Coolly pleasant toward everyone in the studio, Lana's sophisticated manners, acquired in Paris before her recent marriage, belied her twenty-two years, and often made Clark appear puppyish and awkward in contrast. Nevertheless, it was easy to see why her much older husband was entranced by her...and willing to finance anything she wished for to keep her happy.
Apparently, what she'd decided she wanted was the splash and glitter of dance trophies, and she was willing to spend the time and the money needed to make it happen. Lex was more than willing to help, especially since she actually possessed enough natural grace and raw talent to bring her goal within reach. Weekly lessons had rapidly multiplied to daily and, before she'd left today, she'd asked Lex to work with her exclusively.
When he'd agreed to shift all of his lessons and students to the other instructors, she'd hugged and kissed him in delight.
As he entered the bedroom and caught sight of the unmade bed he shared with Clark, Lex flinched; regret washing over him as he considered how those actions could have been interpreted if Clark had walked in at that exact moment. Lex may not have participated in the kissing, but he hadn't removed Lana's arms from around his neck, hadn't stepped back from the body pressing against his...or made it clear to her that a boundary had been crossed.
Although they'd never exchanged formal vows, Lex was aware that Clark believed what they had together to be as real and committed as his parents' marriage. An overly eager kiss of gratitude from a student shouldn't have been enough to change that belief but, when combined with the distance growing between them, Lex realized he had to do something to ensure Clark knew exactly how important he was and how much Lex wanted them to work.
The final candle lit, warm Latin beats thrumming from hidden speakers in the corners of the darkened studio, Lex took a deep breath and stretched in front of the wall of mirrors. Tiny flames reflected infinitely around the perimeter, barely revealing the lines of Lex's black-clad body as he alternately flexed and released muscles determined to clench in nervous anticipation as he waited. The aged building had become progressively quieter after the final lesson had ended, muffled exclamations and clicking footsteps signaling the exit of teachers and students. The long workday finally ended, there was only one voice Lex expected...hoped...to hear in the night-cloaked studio.
Only a momentary hitch in the rhythmic movements betrayed Lex's startlement at Clark's tentative greeting from across the dimly lit room. His bare arms gleamed in the candlelight as they continued to describe the music dancing in the air, his hips curving in sensual counterpoint. As the song ended, Lex relaxed into a resting pose, observing Clark's silent approach in the mirror. Noting the choice in clothing...the loose white pants and tank Lex had laid out for Clark on their bed...Lex closed his eyes for a moment in thankful relief. They flew open again as a warm hand cupped his shoulder, and he smiled at Clark's reflection, briefly amused by the bafflement and arousal vying for control of his beautiful face.
"Hey, what's all this about?" The wave of Clark's arm encompassed the empty, candle-lit studio, as well as their contrasting clothing and bare feet. "I got your note asking me to change and meet you down here. I wasn't expecting...I mean...."
The background music slipped into a guitar solo, the sultry tones haunting as the artist painted a story of sorrow and loss with each lingering note. Lex turned into Clark's arm, his hand rising to halt Clark's words with a gentle caress before coming to rest on the white cotton over his heart. "It's been a while since we've had a lesson together, Clark. I decided we needed some time for us."
"Dancing? In the dark?"
Lex could hear the doubt beneath Clark's questions, and he was suddenly glad the shadows helped conceal his dismay at the lowering of Clark's expectations. Once, Clark would have been eager and playful, but that had shifted to a pained acceptance. Lex wanted, no...needed...to fix what had become strained and twisted...before it broke irreparably. He softened his tone and leaned in closer to reassure Clark, "Yes, in the dark. I believe that sometimes people rely too much on what they think they've seen. Tonight I want you to concentrate on what you're feeling, to remember what I've taught you and...perhaps...learn something new."
Stepping back and raising his arms into dance position, Lex extended an invitation. "Let's warm up together, shall we?" After only the briefest hesitation, Clark dipped his head in acceptance and slid forward inside Lex's frame, adjusting his hands to form a connection. The music changed again to a stronger, slightly faster beat, the notes teasing at Lex's pulse...the pulse that echoed beneath his fingertips as they pressed into the edge of Clark's shoulder blade.
Without a word, they began to move together, falling into memories carved into muscle by hours of practice. Advance, retreat, follow, lead...Clark responded to Lex's subtle cues, never holding back and, with each pattern drawn forth, Lex knew he hadn't lost Clark, that it wasn't too late.
"I've missed this so much, Lex."
Clark's soft confession warmed Lex's temple as their steps slowed to a sweet shuffle and sway for a familiar ballad. He closed his eyes in contrition, nodding in agreement as well as to feel the caress of the silken curls he loved to touch. Shifting his arms, he pulled Clark in closer, sliding one dark leg between two bright to bring their opposite hips together.
"I have, too," Lex admitted with a sigh. "It's so easy to make it all flash and glitter and to forget the basics...like why I chose this as a career instead of pursuing that MBA." The music changed again to an urgent staccato, demanding sharp movement, and Lex shifted his hold, changing the lead. "I haven't forgotten, Clark. I just needed a little reminder."
Lex could feel Clark listening to more than the music, absorbing Lex's words as he began to open his stance to allow Lex to balance through a series of ochos, Lex's kicks extravagantly high as he swiveled on the calloused balls of his feet. "Like the Argentine tango routine I'm choreographing for Lana." Muscles tensed under Lex's palm and he knew he'd scored a direct hit as he kicked under Clark's extended thighs for several ganchos. He followed through a spinning lift before continuing with a flashy molinete, a full circuit as Clark rotated in place as the balance point. "What we're doing right now are steps used in fantasia, show tango meant for a stage, vivid, driving, intense. It's all costumes and makeup and acting."
Lex signaled a halt to catch his breath, leaning against Clark's shoulder and refusing to allow him to move away. "Fantasia, Clark, a facade. It's not real. It's not spontaneous." Drawing back, Lex cupped Clark's jaw to bring his lips within kissing range. "It isn't the ordinary everyday you share with someone you love."
For a moment, it seemed as if Clark was searching for a response, but then his head lowered to allow him to brush across Lex's mouth with his petal-soft lips. Lex tipped his chin up to deepen the kiss, his tongue slipping out to sample the sweetness hidden inside. A moan made it clear Clark was working hard to understand Lex's lesson, and Lex hummed in pleasure before reluctantly pulling away and restoring his frame as a signal to continue.
Violins and a bandeleon introduced a new slower, sweeter melody, and Lex smiled as he backled an altered styling, one Clark wasn't as familiar with, the movements and dance position closer, more compact, chest-to-chest. Clark continued to lead, but the stiffness of his posture betrayed his uncertainty, as did his halting question. "You've changed how you're moving? It almost feels like the crowded dance floor compressions."
Lex squeezed Clark's hand as he executed a salida, walking to a cruzada, tapping the toes of his right foot, which he'd crossed behind his left, to mark time without stepping. "Yes, this is a different version, called salon. It's still Argentine tango, but it's meant for a relaxed, more casual venue. I've taught you the basic steps for the Argentine, which are expanded for fantasia, but I haven't shared the history...at least, my own history...of the dance."
Leaning into Clark, Lex slid his inner thigh along the outside of Clark's leg, his knee almost reaching Clark's hip before reversing direction. He only needed to turn his head a few inches to murmur into Clark's ear, "There was a competition in Buenos Aires, and one night a group of us decided to hit the one of the famous tango salons. It was eye-opening." Lex knew he didn't need to specify who had been with him that evening. Victoria had tried to come between him and Clark once before, and that particular memory wasn't the one Lex was trying to summon.
"The dance floor was crowded, and I understand they always are, so you can guess why the steps are restricted. What interested me the most were the dancers themselves, older couples that never changed partners between songs. There was such a sense of intimacy between them, as if they'd always been together and always would be."
Lex closed his eyes for a moment as he remembered. "I watched those silver-haired men and women with their crooked backs and fingers, their faces crinkled with years and laughter...and I envied them. They had danced together for years and telegraphed their mutual desire and trust with every step. Those couples still felt the joy of movement, and they were the everyday, the ordinary...the loved. That's what I want in my life."
A hush fell over the room, the final notes of the song fading away to leave only the faint whisks of clothing and puffs of breath. Lex obeyed Clark's lead and leaned into a resolucion, forehead tucked against Clark's throat. They held the position for a few moments before Clark stirred restlessly and rasped, "Lex, I was so afraid that...we...."
Lex raised his head to kiss away Clark's indecision and replaced his attempt at speech with a soft-spoken apology. "I'm sorry it took me this long to remember, Clark. I'll make sure I won't forget." He shook his head ruefully. "It shouldn't have taken Pamela to remind me about the terms of the damn contracts, especially considering why you and I started without one."
Twisting his lips into a self-deprecating frown, Lex added, "They're in there as a buffer for the teachers as well as the students. Pamela's going to clarify some of the wording for Lana before the next lesson, and I'm going to make sure all my students understand that I'm very unavailable off the dance floor. If Mrs. Lennox can't play by the rules, I'll refund her money and void the contract."
Clark frowned, an expression that had become all too common in the past weeks, one Lex was determined to banish. He took a deep breath before blurting, "Are you sure? I thought maybe you wanted to...with her...."
Lex shook his head and interrupted, not wanting Clark to voice his worst suspicions. "All I'm guilty of is being too polite to ask her to keep her overly friendly kisses and hugs to herself, Clark. That...and of not hiring more instructors when we picked up all those extra students, so that you and I could have spent more time together...awake." Gently placing a kiss at the corner of Clark's mouth, Lex murmured, "Pamela's taking care of that problem, too."
A warm smile rewarded Lex's efforts at apologizing. "I think Pamela deserves a raise."
The restrained strength in the arms that gathered Lex close had always left him feeling safe...as well as aroused. He settled against Clark's chest for a moment as he agreed, "Yes, she does. I don't know what I'd do without her." Gently freeing himself to step back, Lex continued, "I don't know what I'd do without you."
Raising his hand to Clark's face, he murmured, "Do you remember that first night?" His hand trailed downward, fingers tracing the line of neck and shoulder while Clark stood trembling slightly beneath the gentle touch. "I do." Lex chuckled at the memory. "Who would have thought I'd be jealous of a mop?"
Pressing into the hand that traveled down his chest and along his ribs, Clark hummed in satisfaction before protesting, "I seem to recall that I was very willing to change partners."
"Fickle man," Lex teased, slipping around Clark to place a kiss at the top of his spine. "The mop was devastated, although I considered myself quite fortunate." His tongue tasted the salt just above the damp cotton of Clark's shirt, his hands sliding beneath the hem to shove the unwanted barrier to Clark's skin upward. With a quick jerk, the shirt was over Clark's head and onto the floor, Lex's hands measuring the expanse of candle-lit flesh exposed.
"God, you feel so good." Lex's words were muffled against Clark's shoulder as Lex kissed his way from one side to the other. "I still can't get enough of your skin, your strength...just...you." Lex glimpsed Clark's face in the mirror, eyes closed, mouth slightly parted as he panted beneath Lex's caresses. "You drove me crazy that first night. You still do."
Resting his hands in the cradle of Clark's hips, Lex bent his head to lean his forehead between Clark's shoulder blades. A catch in his voice betrayed his emotion. "We were almost over before we began because we couldn't trust what we felt for each other. I don't want to lose this, Clark...lose what we have together."
"Neither do I!" The low growl was almost as startling as Clark's sudden pivot to allow him to confront Lex. His broad hands cradled Lex's face as if he were holding a precious object, and he feathered kisses across Lex's eyes and nose before settling on his lips as whisper-soft as his voice. "We're going to be fine. We love each other, right?"
Lex's simple agreement sifted out on passion-heated breath. "Yes."
A yank, twist, and flip sent Lex's shirt flying to join Clark's on the polished wood, the black and white cloth forming a twisted yin-yang. It seemed appropriate to Lex, a symbol of balance and togetherness tempered by inevitable imperfection. His attention was instantly recalled to Clark when he was drawn close again, nothing but the thin fabric of their pants separating skin warmed by dancing and desire.
"Want you, Lex," moaned Clark, as he sampled the skin beneath Lex's ear. "Need you."
Feeling the hard length of Clark's cock burning against his belly, Lex shifted his hips to allow his own to settle in the curve of Clark's hip. Nipping down the invulnerable flesh of Clark's neck, Lex assured him, "I'm...right...here." Impatiently, he yanked on the elastic waistbands of their pants, attempting to shove them down and off with only one hand, reluctant to let go of Clark with the other.
Clark chuckled, the low rumble of his laughter vibrating against Lex as he lent his struggling boyfriend a hand. "Need some help?"
Kicking his pants toward the increasing pile of clothing, Lex shook his head and grumbled, "Not any more, you goofy alien."
As Clark kicked free of his own constraint, he smiled at the private nickname Lex had adopted for him after he'd revealed his origins. It was one that no one else heard, that belonged only to them, and it brought back many memories filled with laughter and love. Clark shook his head in obvious amusement. "Not goofy enough to let you go."
Lowering his hands, Clark lifted until Lex responded and wound his legs around Clark's hips, then he strode forward until Lex's back encountered the cool glass of the mirror. Hissing at the unexpected chill, Lex yelped, "Bastard! That's cold!"
Muffling Lex's protests with his lips, Clark murmured, "Not for long."
Refusing to admit that Clark was right, Lex wiggled and twisted in an attempt to free himself. His unsuccessful bid for freedom transmuted to passion when his movements made both men groan at the result, their cocks dragging across hair-roughened skin that only heightened their mutual arousal. Wrapping his arms around Clark's neck and meeting his kisses with renewed ardor, Lex insisted, "Touch me."
Clark lost no time in obeying the groaned command. Using only one arm to support Lex, he reached between them to wrap his fingers around both their cocks, his heated palm cushioning the grip. "Yes," moaned Lex into Clark's mouth, his tongue testing the resistance of plump lips that promised heaven. "So good."
The strokes were short, both men so hard that very little skin rode loose over their erections. Clark's grip slackened a fraction when a few drops from each of them eased the way, but not enough to pull them back from the edge they were rapidly approaching. Lex wrenched his mouth away to set his teeth in the side of Clark's neck, attempting to trap the shouts that struggled free when he reached the peak. "God, Clark! Fuck! Fuck!"
Although Clark's release was silent, Lex felt the warm spill that joined his, both cocks pulsing in the slick channel of Clark's hand. Dropping his head against Clark's shoulder, Lex gasped softly, "Give me a few seconds and I'll remember where I left my legs."
Clark evidently disagreed because as they began to shift back from the sweat-smeared mirror, he settled Lex a little closer against him and then headed toward the door. Lex grimaced as he caught sight of the mess they were leaving behind and sighed, "Guess we better get everything cleaned up before anyone sees it." The glimmering lights prompted him to remind Clark, "Candles."
"I'll take care of it. Don't worry." Lex allowed the warm indulgence in Clark's voice to soothe him and, in return, he decided not to argue against being carried upstairs...naked. A few huffs and the room grew dark and Lex relaxed against warm muscle, letting his eyes drift closed and enjoying the indulgent ride and sleepy conversation.
"Mmmm. Too tired. Towel."
"Clark...know where to go...next vacation."
Sequel: Winning and Losing
Notes: As a jumpstart for my missing muse, herohunter requested a deleted scene from the story I co-wrote with morganichele, Dance With Your Heart. I went for a short sequel instead.
"Jealousy"- Vera Bloom and Jacob Gade (One of the most well-known tangos)
Jealousy, night and day you torture me
I sometimes wonder
If this spell that I'm under
Can only be a melody
For I know no one but me has won your heart, but
When the music starts, my peace departs
From the moment they play that lovely strain
And we surrender to all its charm again
This jealousy that tortures me is ecstasy, mystery, pain
We dance to a tango of love
Your heart beats with mine as we sway
Your eyes give the answer I'm dreaming of
That soft word your cruel lips will never say
I fear that the music will end
And shatter the spell it may lend
To make me believe when your eyes just deceive
But it's only the tango you love
Some videos for the dance aficionados!
Performance of 'Jealousy' - Argentine (het - fantasia)
Tango Bar - Argentine (het - salon as Lex described)
Two Men (Argentine Tango - street performers fantasia - close to what Lex and Clark would have started with)
Two Men (Argentine Tango - I would consider this a fusion of fantasia and salon)
Two Men (Argentine Tango - fantasia)
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.