For everything there is a season,
and a time for every matter under heaven...
a time to keep silence,
and a time to speak.

~ Ecclesiastes 3:1, 7b

"I don't know!" Clark yelled.

"Nonsense," Jor-El intoned. "Tell me what you want, Kal-El."

"You to leave me alone!" Clark closed his eyes to block out the cave surrounding him. He hated when Jor-El did this, when he summoned Clark to him like some trained puppy. This time, instead of telling him how to live his life and how to rule the people of earth, Jor-El was asking him what he wanted. But Clark had learned well from exposure to the Luthors and to Morgan Edge: the question was a trap. He didn't know what kind, but he knew as soon as he answered, Jor-El was going to throw some kind of whammy on him or twist his words around or use his reply to hurt someone. Answering just wasn't worth the risk.

"What is your desire, Kal-El?" Jor-El demanded.

"I don't have any. I'm happy just being a high school student living with Mom and Dad."

"You are not happy. You are just conditioned to think so. I left you alone too long and you have conformed too well to the thinking of these primitives."

Clark snorted. "You didn't think they were so primitive when you were banging Lana Lang's aunt."

"A youthful indiscretion--which you should be considering. Perhaps I should ask who is your desire, Kal-El?"

That was it! He was not about to share something so personal with a virtual stranger. Clark snickered snidely when he realized the pun he'd made--Jor-El was virtual in every sense of the word. "I'm leaving, Jor-El. I have nothing more to say to you."

"I know about the moments you have shared with the niece in your loft. If she is your desire--"

Clark was too angry to be embarrassed. "You perverted--! How dare you spy on me!"

"Or perhaps you want the well-endowed blonde? In a way she reminds me more of Louise than the niece. I suppose it is the wantonness of her spirit or the curvature of her body."

"Don't talk about Chloe like that, you filthy old man! If this is the way you Kryptonians were, no wonder you blew up your fucking planet." He'd learned a lot in Metropolis, not the least was the easy use of words that his mom would make him eat soap for using.

"You will not talk to me in such manner!"

"Fuck off, Jor-El. You can take your plans of world domination--and getting your jollies vicariously through me--and shove them up your ass!"

"Be aware, Kal-El, that defying me has consequences."

"Gonna brand me again? Make me scream and rip off my clothes whenever you want?" Clark crossed his arms and glared at the cave indentation. "So maybe your jollies aren't just vicarious, you sick fuck!"

"You will quiet now!"

Clark opened his mouth--and nothing came out. He tried again and again until he mouthed in Jor-El's direction, WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU DO TO ME?

"Until you speak your deepest desire, you will not speak again. Neither will I."

JOR-EL, Clark silently screamed. But there was no reply and he didn't have to have Kryptonian blood to know Jor-El had "left the building."

The fucker.

Clark ran back to the farm, streaking past his parents to get a pen and notebook before settling to a stop at the kitchen table.

"Where have you been, Clark?" Jonathan asked impatiently. "After the nonsense of past summer, you know you're not supposed to leave without telling us. Unless there was some emergency?"

*Jor-El in my head. Had to go see him,* Clark wrote. *He took away my voice.*

Martha paled and Jonathan scowled. "Why? What did he want?"

*To know what I wanted.*

"Did you tell him?"

*Said I didn't know. Told me I would talk again when I knew what I wanted.*

"Bastard," Jonathan spat, then gave Martha a sheepish look in apology. "You know what you want. He just didn't want to acknowledge it. Isn't that it, Clark?"

Clark shrugged. He knew what Jor-El wanted. He knew what Jonathan wanted. He had no idea in hell what he wanted.

"I should go down to that cave and--"


"No!" Martha said at the same time Clark was scribbling it. "Jonathan, nothing good ever comes out of you confronting Jor-El."

"Nothing good? I got Clark back home, didn't I?"

"But at what cost?" Martha asked softly.

Jonathan stomped out of the room.

Martha sighed and leaned over to kiss the top of Clark's head. "I had enough trouble with one father. I don't envy you having two. Do you want to stay home tomorrow, or should I write a note for the principal?"

*A note. I may be dumb, but I don't have to be stupid.*

"It's not nice to call the mute dumb, Clark. Did Jor-El give you any indication of when this might wear off?"

*When I can name what I want.*

She reached into the cabinet for the dishes and he took them out of her hands. "Do you honestly not know or are you deliberately antagonizing your fa--Jor-El?"

*I honestly don't know. I don't know my thoughts from Dad's thoughts or your thoughts. You raised me as a human, but I'm not. There has to matter, doesn't it?*

Martha scanned the hastily written words. "I don't know, honey. That's for you to decide. But no matter what planet you were born on, you now live on Earth. That has to matter as well."

*Thanks, Mom.*

He thought about his mom's words for the rest of the night.


Clark heaved his backpack into the corner as he slammed the screen door. School had been okay because the only time for a conversation was during lunch, and there had been enough unoccupied places to hide in during that forty-five minute period. The post-school visit to the Talon, however, had been a nightmare. Lana looked hurt every time he didn't respond to her comments, as if she was saying anything important. Chloe, as usual, talked so fast that he couldn't have commented even if he'd been able to, and the revelation that Chloe didn't care--and never had cared--if he responded or not sorta ticked him off. Pete, when he hadn't been laughing his head off or whispering jokes about aliens, had given him pitying "if only you were a real boy" looks. The looks had...hurt. How he'd been friends with the jerk so long he had yet to understand.

Ah, it was good to be home among people who really cared. Except, when no one came running to chastise him for slamming the door, he remembered his parents were attending their bi-monthly bitchfest, also known as the local Grange meeting. Yes, U.S. farmers were treated like dirt (pun intended). No, they couldn't believe another subsidy had been cut. And my, weren't LexCorp fertilizers a planetary blight for which all Luthors should be sent straight to hell where they could burn in eternal flames forever.

More jerks. God, he was surrounded by jerks.

After downing the puny remains of the gallon of milk he found in the fridge, he sighed and acknowledged that he was feeling uneasy. Not being able to talk had made him sensitive to silence, and the silence of the house was grating on his nerves. He turned on the television, and it seemed excessively loud even when he turned down the volume. He turned it off, and the quiet resumed like an annoying drip at the faucet. He refused to go back to the Talon, but he couldn't stay here and stay sane. So there was only one thing to be done--he'd go see Lex. Since the Luthors weren't, at the moment, burning in the eternal flames of hell, he'd visit his friend. It wasn't like they talked all the time when they were together anyway. Sometimes Lex had business to finish, and he would wave Clark to the sofa where Clark would quietly do his homework.

Or look at Lex.

Looking at Lex was a good way to pass time. Maybe it was an alien kink, but he kind of liked the shape of Lex's smooth head. He often thought about how it would feel to stroke the bare skin, to put his lips against it, maybe lightly brush it with his tongue.

It was a very nice head.

Clark adjusted a certain head of his and debated whether to go see Lex or take advantage of his home-alone status and indulge in a heavy session of fantasizing and self-love (as his seventh-grade health teacher liked to call it). His hand was a familiar partner and at his age, getting off was getting off. Maybe it would relax him enough that he could forget the anger he had toward Jor-El and his shithead friends. He could think about accidentally spilling his drink on Lex and Lex ripping off his shirt to expose taut nipples and defined pecs. Or Lex standing next to the desk, water bottle poised at his lips, with Clark on his knees before him. Or Lex bent over the desk, perfectly creased pants puddled around his ankles, bare ass spread by Clark who was on his knees behind him, tongue invading the tight--Or maybe it was Lex on his knees, Clark sliding in past that tiny scar on his lip, his hands pressed against the smooth surface of Lex's scalp, a finger escaping to stroke that intriguing knob at the base of his skull...

Clark shuddered and looked at the mess he'd made in his underwear. He hadn't remembered unzipping his pants and sliding his hand inside, but the evidence was obvious. After a quick change and clean up, he chucked the soiled clothing in the washing machine and did his evening chores. By the time he finished, so had the wash. A judicious mixture of heat vision and super speed had him soon dressed in his original clothing. It would be just like his mother to remember what he wore to school that morning.

Finding himself still uncomfortable in the silence, he grabbed his backpack and headed over to the mansion. He approached his friend with pad and pen in hand.

*I can't talk and I'm tired of writing.*

Lex read the note and angled his head toward the sofa. "Make yourself comfortable. I have about twenty more minutes of work on a report. I'm sure you can amuse yourself."

Clark nodded happily and settled in on the couch, his joy doubling as Mrs. Graham brought him cookies and soda. With a book in his hand, warm cookies in his mouth, and his eyes on Lex, he was in heaven.

"So is this affliction medical-related?" Lex asked exactly twenty minutes later.

Clark nodded and grabbed for his notepad.

"Unnecessary. I promise to only ask you yes-or-no questions."

Clark smiled. He'd known Lex wouldn't be a jerk like the rest of his friends.

Mrs. Graham entered the room. "Dinner is ready, Mr. Luthor."

"Thank you, Mrs. Graham. Come along Clark. This is your parents' Grange night, isn't it? You can microwave whatever your mother left for you as your midnight snack."

Clark grinned. He'd chosen very wisely when he'd decided to visit Lex.



Clark shrugged. Two hours later, Lex had thoroughly beaten his ass in pool. Not that Clark cared; watching Lex bend over the table with his cue in hand, pants cupping his bottom, shirt pulled taut against his back...well, Clark had already won, hadn't he?

"Are you staring because you want to tell me something, or are you staring because you have nothing to say?" Lex asked in amusement. "You don't have to answer. I promised you only yes-and-no questions, so that was just rhetorical. It's been a while since I've been in such quiet company. When I was working on my psychology degree, I interned at a facility for autistic children. Although they crave the same attention as 'normal'--" Lex bent his fingers, signaling the quotes around the word-- "children, they lack the ability to respond as freely. When that lack is combined with humanity's desire for response, the children are left isolated, which just enhances the perception that they are detached from the world most of us inhabit. I learned a lot that summer about silence and how to communicate when surrounded by it. Another game?"

Clark wanted nothing more than the ability to talk at that moment, to tell Lex that it was awesome that he'd worked with children, that he was glad they were friends no matter what the assholes of Smallville had to say, that right now he was fuckin' PROUD to be in the same room with him. He wanted so badly to tell Lex all of that..and more. He wanted to tell Lex how much his random acts of kindness turned him on. Hell, he just wanted--


Clark wasn't sure which one of them was more surprised when the word came out strong and clear. Then Clark grinned because he knew Jor-El had his answer, and it wasn't the answer his biological father was looking for. But it was the truth. He didn't want to take over the world like Jor-El wanted, and he didn't want to hide from the world like Jonathan wanted. What Clark wanted...was simply Lex.

Lex noticed Clark's grin and gave a smile himself. "Why am I not surprised by a miraculous recovery in Smallville?" He casually gave Clark's shoulder a congratulatory squeeze.

Which Clark turned into a hug. "Lex," he whispered against the ear next to his mouth. He was rewarded by feeling a shiver race along the figure in his arms.


"Lex." Clark's hand rose from its spot on Lex's spine to cup the back of his neck, the fingers reaching up to caress the scalp. Oh, yeah. Just as silky as he'd thought it would be. He shifted slightly, his lips bypassing an ear to land onto the surface his fingers were currently loving. Felt good against his lips, too. He opened his mouth, allowing the tip of his tongue to snake out. The taste zinged straight to his groin.

"Clark?" Lex said again, his tone a little shaky.

Clark liked that. He let his tongue dally a little longer. He whimpered as Lex gave him a slight shove. "Lex," he cried desperately.

Lex took a step back and laughed nervously. "I'm sure your parents aren't going to appreciate that apparently the only word you can say is my name." Clark took a step forward and Lex held up his hands in warning. "Look, Clark, I know that strange things happen in Smallville. I know there are flowers, exotic lifeforms, and other items--artifacts--that create unusual reactions in the citizens here. I suspect you were exposed to something that took your voice away and is now making you orally fixate on my head. While that is not necessarily a bad thing, I do not want to plagued with the accusation tomorrow that I took advantage of whatever condition you are experiencing. Granted, this is better than the aggressive stance you took towards me the previous two times you were under an outside influence."

Aggressive stance? He'd been a total shit toward Lex while under the power of the red version of kryptonite. And he'd never apologized for it. No wonder Lex was backing off. "Listen, Lex, I know that even on my good days I can be a total ass, but this is me, okay? I mean, the oral fixation on your head part." Lex paled and Clark scrambled to make his feelings clearer. "I mean, the whole wanting you as mine part is me, not some weird Smallville influence. And it's not just your head, although..." He reached out, thankful Lex didn't flinch as he traced the fine skin. "You're beautiful all over, Lex, inside and out."

"What do you know about my insides?" Lex asked hesitantly.

"I know that your mind is brilliant and your heart is kind, when it's allowed to be." Taking Lex's silence as encouragement, Clark drew closer, pulling his body tight against Lex's, allowing the man to feel what he did to him. "Before I came to see you, I didn't know what I wanted. I was pulled, urged, in so many directions. I didn't know, Lex. I didn't know until my father forced me to figure it out."

"I don't think this is the answer Jonathan was hoping you'd find."

"Not Jonathan--my biological father."

"You've been contacted by--Clark, you should have told me!" Lex headed for his desk. "This could be another mistake like Lucas's mother. Give me his name and I--"

"Lex, stop. He's the real deal, trust me. Well, actually he's not real, not alive anyway. It's an avatar of my father, I guess: a recording that reacts like my father would have reacted if he hadn't been killed when the planet blew up."

Lex slumped into a chair. "I'm feeling a little like Alice at the moment, Clark, although I can't remember stumbling into a rabbit hole."

Clark sighed. If he continued, he'd have three parents pissed at him. If he stopped, Lex would lose all patience with him--and he'd never have another taste of that delicious head. No contest. "I'm an alien, Lex. Not the illegal kind from Mexico or somewhere, but the kind that, you know, you can buy on a keychain and they, like, glow-in-the-dark," he blurted out.

Lex blinked. "You glow in the dark?"

"No. Well, at least I don't think so. But that may change because there have been a lot of new stuff happening to me lately, like X-ray vision and heat vision. And at first bullets used to bruise me, but now, they just bounce off. Then again, I can outrun them so they really don't have to hit me at all, do they? I wonder why I never thought about that?"

"Clark," Lex said with a tight smile, "I hate to be vulgar, but what the fuck are you going on about?"

"I'm an alien."

"Heard you the first time. An alien from another planet that isn't Mexico, correct?

"Yeah. Krypton."

"The planet Krypton?" Clark nodded. "And although you don't presently glow in the dark, you just might at some future date?" Another nod. "You have a lot of powers, like outrunning bullets, but you never thought to outrun the bullets?"

"Well, not the bullets that were after me. I did outrun the bullets to stop them from hitting Lucas."

"As in my brother Lucas?" A nod. "And you have a dad--I mean, another dad other than Jonathan. But he's not real. He's just a simulacrum, because your real father died in a planetary explosion."

"A simulacrum. I like that. Sounds much more sophisticated than A.I., especially after seeing that depressing movie. The ending sucked." Lex had tried to explain the ending as a psychological treatise on blah blah, but he could tell Lex had been bummed, too. Sucky. That's all it could be called.

"You do realize you're rambling, don't you?"

A nod.

"What does this have to do with first a) your silence and b) your fondling of my cerebrum?"

"See my dad, Jor-El the Simulacrum, wants me to rule the planet. And my other dad, Jonathan the Human, wants me basically to mind my own business--which includes never telling you my business. I, on the other hand, didn't know what I wanted. So Jor-El told me that I wouldn't be able to speak until I could tell him what I wanted. That's why I couldn't speak until I said your name."

Lex snorted. "I'm not sure which one impresses me more: that you chose me over the planet or that you chose me over Jonathan's objections."

"They're both true."

"And this fascination with my head? Or was that just because it was the only part of me that was naked at the moment?"

Clark shrugged. "Won't know until I see all of you, will I?" he challenged shyly.

"That could possibly be arranged if I was sure that this is what you want, Clark. I don't want to be the way you stick it to both of your fathers. I spent most of my youth doing that exact thing to my father, and I regret the hurt I caused the people I used. I don't want you facing that kind of regret."

Clark had wanted Lex sexually and had loved Lex as a friend. But with Lex's words, and the sincerity in his voice, Clark felt himself falling in love. "You are what I want, Lex. If it weren't true, I wouldn't be talking to you. Don't you see? Jor-El can read my mind. He can read my heart. I'm not lying or confused or trying to get back at my parents. It was you who broke my silence. You, Lex. You're my deepest desire."

Lex stared at him for a long minute, then dropped his eyes. "I'm scared, Clark," he whispered.

"Oh." Clark stepped back. "I'm not a bad alien or anything. And I--"

"I'm not scared of you," Lex said impatiently. "You've had plenty of chances to hurt me if you were going to."

"But you didn't know I was an alien then."

"So what? Ninety-nine percent of this town is not wholly human. I'm not wholly human, thanks to the meteors."

"I think the meteors might be parts of my homeplanet that got caught up in the gravitational pull of my spacecraft."

"Interesting. You wouldn't happen to know where that craft might be, would you?"

"I, um, sorta blew it up."

Lex laughed. "What is it with you people and blowing up things? When I level LuthorCorp Towers to replace them with LexCorp Towers, I know who to call."

"So if it's not the alien thing that's scaring you, what is it?"

Lex's amusement left him. "The whole 'deepest desire' thing. I don't want to disappoint you, Clark, but I will. That seems to be an affliction of mine--to be a disappointment."

Clark knelt beside Lex's chair. "Your actions can, and probably will, disappoint me on occasion. I know I'll disappoint you. But that doesn't mean you'll be a disappointment, Lex. Love doesn't work that way."

"Love?" Lex looked even more distressed.

Clark smiled and gave him a light kiss. "You'll get used to it. I hope. But for now, I'll settle for lust."

Lex relaxed. "Lust I can do."

Clark purred. "I'm sure you can."

"How long until your parents get home?"

"How bad have you and your father been?"

"Excuse me?"

"They can bitch about you Luthors for hours."

Lex gave an evil grin. "I'll make sure to misbehave just before the next meeting."

Clark stood and held out his hand to tug Lex to his feet. "Good. But tonight, we'll just have to make it a quickie. I have a stop to make on my way home."


"By the caves to have a chat with a certain simulacrum."

"And what are you going to tell him?" They walked up the long staircase hand in hand.

"To shut the hell up." They both laughed and disappeared into Lex's bedroom.

Silence didn't reign again until hours later.


Written for CLex Fest 9th Wave Challenge: Mute.

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