Title: Unstoppable
Authors: Lex's Lady & Mistress Ace
E-mail: vicedragonv@msn.com & rosewood@inreach.com
Feedback: It's the icing on the cake. We write because the story demands to be told. Feedback lets us know if we struck a chord with you.
Distribution: Our website, of course, www.fandomwriters.com. The list archives are welcome to it also. Anyone else, please ask first. We'd like to know where our fic is going.
Rating: NC-17 (eventually or maybe quickly depending on the whim of the muses)
Category: Crossover, Romance, Angst
Spoilers: All of season 1 of Smallville and season 6 of Buffy: The Vampire Slayer
Pairings: Buffy/Clark/Lex, m/f, m/m
Disclaimer: We don't own the characters at all (however much we might wish we did). Buffy and all references to BTVS are property of the great god Joss Whedon, et al. Clark, Lex and the Smallville storyline belong to Miller-Gough et al. We're just borrowing them for a while. We promise to put them back unharmed and perhaps a little happier.
Notes: ** denotes internal thought, * = italics.
Summary: What if the Summers girls moved to Smallville? What if Buffy discovered that Clark had a secret and thought he could use a confidant?
Dedications: From Em: To Ace, for her never-ending support and her willingness to work on this with me. She writes both Clark and Lex in a way I could never hope to achieve, and I couldn't possibly have done this on my own.
From Ace: To Em for reminding me why I love Buffy. To Beth for being my Smallville watching partner even when the scripts were awful. To the whole Clark/Lex list for opening my eyes to the potential here. And finally to Christina for her great story; Runaway Trains at 3 A.M. which was part of our inspiration. You can find it at: this site.

Chapter 14

Warm kisses on his temple brought Lex up out of his dark mood. Buffy's hands felt so good and Clark's palm formed a cradle around the base of his skull. When he finally lifted his head an opened his eyes, Lex found two people watching him very carefully. He swallowed, coughed and quietly asked, "Water, please?"

Buffy nodded and slid them both up the bed until her back was propped up against the pillows. Lex was still cradled in her arms, and her movement had been careful enough to not separate their lower bodies. She reached for the water bottle but Clark had to hand it to her because her arms weren't long enough. "Thank you, baby," she murmured. She uncapped the bottle and held it for Lex, murmuring to him soothingly.

Lex took a sip, letting the cool water flow into his mouth. Normally he would have objected to being treated like a child but right now he didn't have the strength or the inclination. This was more honest affection he'd received since his mother died and Pamela was forced out of his life.

Chewing thoughtfully on his sandwich, Clark watched Buffy and Lex together. They looked good together, like they belonged in the same space. Buffy was tilting the water up again and Lex was drinking, not reaching for the bottle or taking control. He seemed to be content with the whole situation.

His friend had to be the only guy in the world that made drinking water sexy. Clark watched as Lex circled the edge of the bottle with his tongue, then opened his lips and sucked it into his mouth. His heart stuttered for a minute when he remembered that his cock had been in that mouth. Oh God, from now on he was going to get a hard-on whenever he saw a Ty-Nant bottle.

The next sip Lex didn't swallow. Instead he held it in his mouth until Buffy moved the bottle away. A hand that no longer trembled cupped Buffy's chin as he drew her in for a kiss. And fed her that sip of cold water, slightly warmed by his mouth.

Buffy smiled gently and accepted it, drinking the water from his mouth as he kissed her long and slow. When Lex pulled back, she smiled at him and murmured, "Thank you." She dipped her head to kiss him softly again while her hands busily recapped the bottle and let it fall to the bed. Her hands now free, she wrapped one around Lex again and her other reached out to Clark.

The last bite of the sandwich was consumed before Clark took the invitation and laid back down next to them. He kissed Buffy and then kissed Lex, taking his time with both of them. By the time his mouth parted from Lex's, Clark was trembling again. There was a hand on his hip tracing lazy circles while Lex licked Clark's lips and pulled away.

A shower would be a good idea soon. His legs were sticky, his cock was sticky and his ass throbbed pleasantly. There were other ways to get clean, lots of other ways but right now simple was best. So Lex suggested it as he scraped a nail up along Clark's hip, his arm brushing Buffy's nipple. "I think a shower will be in order soon. Unless you're still hungry, Clark?"

Buffy shivered lightly and very much wanted to ask Lex to suck the nipple his arm brushed against, but she refrained. A shower sounded really good, too, and she said so, "Ooh, shower. I was wondering if there was a shower big enough for three somewhere in this castle of yours, Lex..." And she had been. She'd been too caught up in worrying about Lex to really look around the bathroom they'd been in, though she noticed the two sinks.

A shower sounded like heaven, though. And the heat would keep her hands from stiffening up, as well as giving her a chance to look at them in better light. Fortunately, neither Lex nor Clark had noticed the bruises yet. Or else they'd just not commented.

"Hmmm... I might have one that small somewhere." Lex smiled as Buffy's eyes flicked to his face, then dipped his head down to suck on a pebbled nipple that was begging for his mouth. Which was probably still cool from the water if her gasp was any indication.

Clark caught Buffy's hand in his and kissed it gently. He heard that gasp, stared at the hand held in his and started to shake. His eyes went wide, staring at the dark bruises blooming on her skin. Oh God... he'd hurt her. He'd done what his parents always warned him about.

What made it worse was he did it while making love. He stared at her hand, listening to some sort of panicked sound that reverberated in the room before scooting away from both of them. His feet hit the floor with two solid thumps and Clark was across the room, grabbing his clothes and trying to pull them on at the same time.

Bad.

He was bad.

He'd hurt someone he loved.

Sex was a bad idea... he should never have it again.

Never, never, never...

Oh, Hell. This was bad, very bad. She considered calling out to Clark, but she doubted he'd even hear her in his full-blown panic. With a look of apology, Buffy slid out from under Lex. As soon as their bodies were untangled, Buffy was at Clark's side. She took the clothing out of his hands, backed him against the nearest wall and held him there. "Clark. Clark, baby, stop. Listen to me for a minute. Okay? Just listen."

As if he knew what was going on, Lex was immediately beside Buffy. Together, they pressed against Clark and held him still. He couldn't escape; maybe now they could get his attention.

"Calm down, Clark. Just calm down." Hip to hip, chest to chest, Lex held his friend in place against the wall. Clark was trembling, eyes wide and staring at the ceiling, at the floor, at everything and anything but them. Spooked, totally and completely spooked. Lex had no idea what had caused this and he wasn't going to let Clark go anywhere until he figured it out.

Broke her. He broke her. Bruises all over her hands. Dark and purple like the bruises that appeared on Lex's chest when he kicked him into the racks in that garage. Like the bruise that colored the back of Lex's head for the first few days after Earl pistol-whipped him.

The sounds coming out of Clark's mouth were terrifying. They weren't words, they were cries for help. Deep and panicked and this wasn't getting them anywhere. Lex debated slapping him or kissing him and opted for the kiss. He buried his hands in Clark's hair, yanked his head down and stopped those cries with his mouth while Buffy talked to their frightened lover.

"Clark, love, it's okay. You didn't do anything wrong. Not a thing. Lex is fine. I'm fine. You don't have to be afraid or upset. It's okay, love. Really, it's okay." Buffy honestly didn't know whether or not her words were having any effect, if he was even hearing her, but she kept talking. Saying the same things over and over, her arms wrapped around Clark and her voice pausing to place light kisses on his chest between repetitions.

He could hear Buffy talking and felt Lex kissing him. A hard, desperate kiss that fit his mood exactly. All of his parents' warnings of 'be careful' and 'don't touch' rolled round and round in his head. Clark couldn't force the memories away anymore than he could push Buffy or Lex away. Holes in the walls and his dad nursing a broken wrist and the time he punched his hand through the side of the truck. If he hit Lex, he could break every bone in Lex's body and his hand wouldn't even sting afterward.

Tears, there were tears on his cheeks and Lex really couldn't tell if they were his or Clark's. His lover was unresponsive to his kiss, leaving him with a sinking feeling in his chest that wouldn't go away. This was worse than realizing that he'd shot Clark... worse than anything he could think of. Clark was right here in their arms and he was still slipping away.

Unresponsive and looking lost. Like he was escaping... into himself, because he couldn't handle reality. That he thought he'd done something terrible. Just like... just like Willow and Xander told her that she looked when she freaked out over Glory taking Dawn. And that gave Buffy an idea. Before she died, Tara had reinforced Giles' assertion that Buffy was more than just physically strong.

Could Buffy possibly reach Clark the way Willow had reached her?

**Please, Clark, come back to me. Come back to us.** Another kiss just as desperate, pulling so hard on Clark's hair Lex was amazed none of it ripped loose. He was fighting a losing battle here and God he hated to lose.

Hard mouth against his, hard body pushing against his, sharp hip-bone digging into his stomach. Clark wanted to kiss Lex back, he really did but if he gave in then sometime in the future - maybe not today and maybe not for years to come - but one day he'd come out of the post-sex haze and find Lex ripped apart underneath him. Broken bones and blood everywhere. This was his worst nightmare come to life. Buffy was a supernatural being and he'd left even her bruised.

Buffy moved to rest her hands on Lex's arms, pulling him back gently. "Lex... Lex, let me try something. I think I can reach him... please?" She wasn't entirely sure, but she thought she could do it. And Lex was rather panicking, himself. He was in danger of hurting himself while trying to reach Clark.

With a hand that shook, Lex wiped at his face. There were tears there and copper in his mouth from what was probably a split lip. Clark's head was down, his eyes locked on the floor instead of them. The only thing keeping Lex from attacking him again was Buffy's hand on his arm. He couldn't lose Clark. If he lost Clark, he lost everything.

God... he should never have agreed to this. Should never have suggested coming back to his room. Now he was going to have to explain to the Kents why their only son was catatonic and had semen in his ass. The statutory rape charge alone was going to be enough to put him in jail for years... and that would only happen if he managed to dodge the shotgun blast.

But none of that mattered. All that mattered was getting Clark back. If Buffy thought she could reach him then Lex had to let her try. If she failed he'd make the call to the Kents and then the sheriff. His voice was hollow and his eyes never left Clark's down-turned face as Lex gave permission. "Go ahead."

Buffy nodded and slowly let him go. She moved to stand right in front of Clark, head tipped back to look into his eyes. Dark, vacant eyes... poor baby. So scared. And she had a pretty good idea of how he felt.

With a deep breath, Buffy braced herself. She rested her hand on top of Clark's heart and centered herself the way Giles had taught her when summoning her abilities - strength, healing, whatever - and believed that it would work for this, too. She found the power within her and focused it. Focused her mind and her intentions and her willpower.

When she felt ready, she muttered a phrase in perfect Latin, too quiet to be heard; it was half spell and half prayer. She focused her energy outward, reaching out to Clark...

...and found herself in an unfamiliar place, looking around for Clark. She knew he was there... she just had to find him.

Standing outside of them, Lex kept one arm around Buffy and one around Clark. It was probably a very bad idea to touch either of them but he couldn't help it. Any more than he could stop the tears that were rolling down his face as he looked into Clark's vacant eyes.

His father tried to burn every single emotion out of him and almost had succeeded. Being with Clark, being his friend and involved with his life had brought those emotions back. It felt so good to feel again.

Finally, Buffy began to make sense of her surroundings. She was on a farm. More specifically, the Kent farm. Clark had gone home, in his mind. She walked slowly around, looking for anything unusual... and spotted a big wooden door set into a small, angled structure that went into the ground. A storm-cellar, maybe? They were in an area that got tornadoes, after all. Slowly, she walked toward it and down the stairs.

The cellar was dim, damp, and smelled a little musty. And in the shadows, was Clark. Sitting on top of an oddly-shaped metal structure of some sort. "Clark?" she called softly.

His head snapped up and Clark simply looked at her. There were tears running down his face and his hands were covered in blood. "I killed him, Buffy. I was kissing him and I squeezed too tight and there was blood everywhere." His gaze slid away from her, drawing her attention to a crumpled body beside one of the pylons.

Lex's head was tilted back and his mouth stood open in a silent scream. Steel-grey were eyes glazed over and a few dried leaves littered his chest. There was a pool of blood on the ground, staining his clothes or what was left of them.

The sound of insects was the only thing that broke the silence. They buzzed around and every time one tried to land on Lex, a red light appeared and the bug burnt to a crisp. The light seemed to be coming from Clark. "I can't leave him... My parents came and they saw him. Dad wants to bury him in Miller's field. But I won't let them take him."

Buffy shook off her shock and crossed over to stand in front of Clark. "Baby, what are you doing to yourself? You haven't hurt Lex. He's afraid for you, afraid of losing you too, I think, but you didn't hurt him." She held her hands out to Clark, but made no move to touch him if he didn't want her to. She didn't want to scare him.

She blocked out as much of her surroundings as she could. Her heart ached to see Lex lying there, even if it wasn't actually Lex. And she had to focus on helping Clark. He needed her, now.

"I... I w-wanted him for months and months and months. H-he... I found him down here and he was looking at the ship." Clark rubbed his hand over his face, leaving thick rusty smears across his cheek. "And he didn't hate me for lying to him. Lex... oh God... he said he loved me and he'd protect me and I kissed him."

His arms locked around his knees and Clark rocked forward and back, his eyes never leaving Lex's broken body. "We started getting undressed and he was hard... and he pushed against me. And... and... Buffy... I grabbed his hip and it broke. My fingers went right through the skin and he was screaming into my mouth."

"Oh, baby... shh, love." Buffy climbed up and sat down beside him. Her arm slid around his waist and her other hand rested on his arm. "Clark, love, it's only in your mind. This isn't real, this is what you're afraid of. And I understand that. It's scary to be stronger than everyone, to always have to so careful with everything that you touch. I understand. But love, you haven't hurt anyone. And you won't, I know you won't."

She kept her voice soft, soothing, trying to assess the situation and break Clark out of his cycle of fear and pain.

After a moment or two, Clark looked up from his study of Lex's body. His eyes met Buffy's beseeching her to make it all okay. Lex was his best friend and he loved him and if she could make this all go away, he'd never touch Lex again. "They've always told me to be careful. But I keep getting stronger and I'm never going to be able to be with anyone."

"No, Clark. They're wrong," Buffy's voice was soft but firm. She knew he was wrong. "You can be with us, love. Me and Lex, both of us. You can. I'll teach you how to control your strength, until it's so much a part of you that even when you lose control you still don't use your full strength. I promise, baby, I'll teach you." She held him tighter, looking up at him with understanding and trust.

"And I'm still getting stronger, too. You can't hurt me, Clark. You can't, even if you wanted to. And I know you don't want to, and I trust you. Okay, love? Can you trust me? Trust that I'll keep you from hurting anybody until you learn how to do it yourself?" Her eyes pleaded with him to let her in, to let her help.

Clark sagged into her arms, his eyes closing. Tears pattered onto her shoulder and he started sobbing. His arms, which had remained locked around his legs, encircled her while he cried and cried and cried.

Lex's body faded away. The cellar faded away as did the ship. Leaving nothing behind but Clark and Buffy and another pair of warm arms holding them both.

There were tears now that matched his own flowing down Clark's face. And for the first time since Buffy pushed him up against the wall, Clark moved. His arms wrapped around Buffy, his face dropped into her shoulder and sobs filled the room. Still at a total loss as to what triggered this, Lex did the only thing he could do.

He held onto both of them. Held onto them for dear life.

Buffy was aware of when she returned to her own body, but her demeanor was still the same as it had been in Clark's mind: gentle and understanding, soothing and caring. She held Clark tightly and just let him cry. His pain washed over her as if it were her own and she looked up at Lex briefly with sorrow in her eyes. Sadness for the boy in their arms who was hurting so much because he was afraid of himself.

"I'll explain in a minute," she murmured to Lex. "We have to calm him down first." Without waiting for him to agree, she returned her attention to the shaking form in her arms. Crooned softly to him, and ignored the tears that began to fall down her own face.

When Clark finally opened his eyes, they were back in Lex's bedroom. He sniffled against Buffy's shoulder, his throat thick with tears. The other arm around him tightened and he heard a muttered, "Thank God."

Lex! Lex was alive and holding him, holding both of them. When Clark lifted his head, his eyes met Lex's and there was so much relief and love reflected there that he found himself leaning in for a kiss. Which Lex gave freely, pressing his lips against Clark's, grateful for his underage lover's return to sanity.

Buffy smiled gently as she watched her lovers kiss. There was so much relief in both of their eyes that it was soothing to watch them relax as they kissed. And unlike earlier, she knew that they were both fully aware that she was with them and she was willing to give them the time they needed to reassure each other. She understood the feeling.

Rather than deepening the kiss, Lex pulled back slowly. He studied Clark's face, debating whether he should urge his friend to get dressed so he could take him home. Because home was clearly where Clark had been heading when he grabbed his clothes. Lex was about to suggest it when Clark shivered then hugged Buffy closer. So instead Lex offered a different alternative. "Let's go back to bed and talk... all right?"

Clark nodded, sniffing again. Buffy's hand came up to touch his face and that's when Lex finally spotted the bruises. Suddenly everything made sense. Clark had bruised Buffy, someone almost as strong as himself, and he'd lost it.

"Shhh, love," Buffy soothed Clark gently. "Everything will be okay, I promise you. Let's go back to bed with Lex..." Of course, he'd have to let go in order to let her walk back across the room, but she wasn't going to suggest it. Clark was so obviously hurting that she wasn't going to move away until he let her, of his own accord. If that meant standing here for the next hour, she'd do it.

But it really would be more comfortable for them all to settle on the bed again.

Clark nodded again, not trusting his voice. He let go of Buffy and allowed them to lead him back to bed. Once there, he leaned against one of the posts while Lex flipped back the covers and took his arm again. That gentle hand guided him up and into bed.

Soft, the sheets were the softest things he'd ever felt. Clark's eyes closed, his body snuggling down into their comfort, turning his face into one of the pillows. Lex helped Buffy up onto the bed before crossing to the other side and crawling in next to Clark.

Buffy lay beside Clark and curled herself up against him. One arm went around him while the other propped her head up so that she could watch him. She ducked down and kissed the top of his head briefly. "Are you alright, love?" she asked very gently when they were all settled in. "Talk to us, please... I think I know what happened, but we can't help if you don't tell us about it."

"I hurt you." To his ears, Clark's voice sounded incredibly young. Lex closed his eyes, pulling the covers up to their chins while he considered what to do.

Initiating sex with Clark had been a mistake. He was too young for it and too young to deal with the consequences. Bruises happened... especially when the sex was really, really good. Lex was used to bruises and the stiffness that came after being screwed into the mattress. It was a feeling he enjoyed.

But Clark wasn't dealing with it well at all. Sixteen. His lover... the love of his life was only sixteen and that made him a pedophile. It was time to start liking the color orange...

"They're just bruises, baby," Buffy soothed him gently. "They'll be gone in a matter of hours, for me. Maybe a few days, if I didn't heal fast. And while it's true that I would be hurt if I were normal, I'm not. Clark, love, you can't hurt me that easily. And I can teach you how to avoid hurting other people."

Poor baby... her sweet, gentle love. He really had no idea. "Listen to me for a minute, okay? Part of sex is losing control. It's part of what happens. And sometimes little things happen, like bruises or scratches. And that's okay, and they don't really hurt. And that's what I have right now... little bruises that don't really hurt and will go away in a little while. Okay?"

She was making sense but the image of Lex lying in his own blood with four finger holes punched through his skin stayed with Clark. "I hurt you and I can hurt Lex. I keep getting stronger every day."

Next to him Lex stirred, raising up on one elbow. His hand came to rest in the center of Clark's chest, the palm covering his heart. "And I heal, Clark. Faster than anybody else in the world. Remember when I got tossed out of the limo?" Clark nodded, a hint of desperate hope showing in his sad eyes. "I broke four ribs, a collarbone and my right leg. Yes... I know. Two days later I was on my feet again."

Buffy stared at Lex for a moment, startled. "Good God, how did that happen? Lex, you heal like I do!" Possibly even a little faster. Numerous injuries tended to take a little longer to heal though, like her other abilities, her healing abilities grew as she got older. Depending on whether or not he continued to heal faster as he got older, she may or may not catch up with him.

She was intensely curious about Lex's recuperative abilities, but her questions would have to wait for later. They needed to reassure Clark right now. "See, love? Between our respective healing rates and the fact that I can teach you to control your strength without thinking about it... we'll all be okay."

Her voice gentled even further as she continued, "I know what you're afraid of, love. I saw it, too. But I think you underestimate yourself and your ability to control your own body. I trust you and I know that you would never be that careless. Especially around someone you love. It just wouldn't happen. I don't care how many people insist that you could hurt someone... you're too gentle with people to do any damage. Especially not like that."

"Listen to her, Clark. Bumps and bruises are all part of sex... of good sex. And if you're that afraid of hurting me, we can always take extra precautions." There were chains and cuffs in the bottom drawer of the nightstand. In the locked bottom drawer. They were toys that Lex never anticipated using with Clark but life had taught him to be flexible.

But they might not be necessary. Lex preferred to keep his kinks as kinks instead of reality. Clark had been with the Kents since he was three years old. Even with the standard tantrums that all kids threw, his parents had escaped unscathed. So being able to control himself under the worst of circumstances had already been proven many times over.

"We won't need to take too many precautions, I don't think," Buffy murmured. "I can be your failsafe... I'd recognize the signs of losing control of your strength, Clark, and I could stop you before you got too out of control." Part of her protective nature, though she wouldn't need to be so careful once Clark was comfortable with his strength and control.

"I'm used to it, honestly. I went through it, myself. And I've already been doing it," she added gently. "I really didn't mean to come between you two, earlier, but I didn't want you to end up with broken hands, Lex..." She sounded both apologetic and protective at the same time, and it was an odd but honest combination of emotions.

"I appreciate that." Lex touched her face with the back of his hand before returning his attention to Clark. The fear in those dark hazel eyes was fading rapidly. "We love you, Clark. And we trust you. All you have to do now is trust us."

Slowly, Clark nodded. He didn't want to give this up, didn't want to give up the closeness and the kisses and return to his old life. Not after having been inside both of them, been this close to both of them. If his parents could teach him how to control his strength and they were fully human, then Buffy and Lex had every chance of staying unbroken.

With a soft sigh of relief, Buffy sank down and rested her head on Clark's shoulder. Her arm around him tightened slightly and the last of the tension in her body faded. "I promise to teach you everything I can, love. We can all be together and still be safe."

Silently, she thanked the Powers for the gifts they'd given her: the relationship that she found herself in, the love of one innocent young man, the power - be it magic or whatever else - that she'd used to reach out and find Clark in his own mind, and the knowledge she'd gained through her own hard lessons that she could use to keep one she loved from the same pain.

After a few minutes of silence, Clark raised his hand and touched her shoulder. It was a tentative gesture at best, hesitant and unsure. The look on his face reached something deep inside Lex and twisted. Watching Clark pet Buffy awkwardly reminded Lex of how his own father normally touched him.

Reaching out, Lex covered Clark's hand with his own and he drew it down along their lover's back. When Clark looked at him, Lex leaned in for a kiss. A much softer kiss than the frantic ones he used trying to bring Clark out of the catatonic state he'd fallen into. Thank God Buffy had been able to reach him.

With a small smile, Buffy leaned back slightly against her lovers' hands. Just enjoying having them touching her. She didn't know what Clark wanted right now and was afraid of pushing him in any way at all after his scare. Her hands didn't really hurt much at all unless she put too much pressure on them, it was just that the bruises stood out badly against her pale coloring.

She could already feel the tiny tingle that meant her body was healing itself; it meant that the marks would start to fade before long and in a few hours would be completely gone. The spot on her wrist where Lex had marked her earlier was already fading, mute evidence of her body's ability to mend itself quickly.

Cuddling was another thing foreign to Lex. His usual encounters, with either sex, were meant for pleasure or power or both and not for comfort. Comfort was sought in books, in good Scotch, in winning. It was not sought in the arms of another person, or it hadn't been since two weeks after his thirteenth birthday when he stood beside his mother's coffin and touched her face, only to find it cold.

Seeking comfort with another person meant giving up control and that was something he could never do. So it surprised him immensely when after that kiss ended, Lex found himself laying his head down on Clark's shoulder and holding him close. The waves of comfort that came from the simple touch washed over him.

So this was what love felt like.

What being in love felt like.

He reached over the expanse of Clark's chest and took Buffy's hand in his own. With infinite care, Lex kissed each of the bruises and placed a final one on the wrist where only the faint trace of his own mark remained. His heart expanded more and more with every breath that Clark took. Lex was tied to him and, in some curious fashion, he was now tied to Buffy as well.

The bloody images within his own head were fading. Being flanked by two people who loved and trusted him helped. Clark closed his eyes, turned his head to nuzzle Buffy's hair and then turned the other way to do the same against Lex's bare scalp.

Buffy curled her hand lightly around Lex's and smiled. While everyone was relaxing, Buffy let the nearness of her lovers comfort her. She did her best to push the images out of her mind; images of Lex dead, things she'd seen in Clark's mind. It was awful... simply awful. And if it disturbed her so much, after everything she'd seen and done, then no wonder Clark had withdrawn.

They both loved Lex... and seeing him like that, the way he'd been in Clark's mind... was incredibly disturbing and just as heartbreaking.

The fireplace crackled, the noise a comforting counter-point to the rhythm of their breathing. Slow and deep and after a few minutes, Lex realized that Clark had fallen asleep. He raised his head from the boy's shoulder and confirmed that his lover's eyes were closed, his incredible mouth slack and half-open. Next to him, Buffy raised her head as well and they both watched the rise and fall of Clark's chest.

Now would be a good time for them to talk. Lex had far too many questions about what had happened; starting with the chant and ending with Clark coming back from his catatonic state awash with tears. The exhausted look on Clark's face was enough to convince him that the boy would be out cold for quite some time. Catching Buffy's eye, Lex inclined his head towards the sitting area before sliding out from underneath Clark's arm and then out of the bed.

Buffy had known this part was coming. Clark would likely sleep for quite a while, after what had happened. With a very soft sigh, Buffy pulled away from Clark. She tucked the covers in around him, brushed a strand of hair away from closed eyes, and followed Lex over to the sitting area.

*****

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