Shopping Spree 7

by dossier

Notes & Warnings

Lex led the way out of the bookstore, a half-naked Clark in tow. It appeared the methods he had employed so far had only caused Clark deep embarrassment and chagrin, without visibly advancing his cause. He was just about to lower the battle standard to retreat and contemplate another avenue to accomplish getting Clark into a pair of Speedo's, when a fortuitous turn of fortune occurred. Lex turned to suggest they return to the hotel, and found Clark several yards behind in earnest conversation with a mall security officer.

It was apparent from this distance that Clark was getting hassled, and as Lex closed in on the pair, he decided he didn't like the look the cop was giving Clark.

His Clark.

Lex glowered within, but the smooth face and mobile lips were set in a slightly bemused mask. Lex paused as he read the badge that wasn't an official symbol of the law, but only a token of the authority granted to her by the corporation to maintain order at the establishment. "Lex Luthor. Pleased to meet you, Ms. Ryder, is there anything I can help you with?"

"It's alright, Lex. She was just reminding me that the rules require a shirt in the mall." Clark looked down at his shoes, and Lex could feel the misery pouring off his friend in palpable waves.

"I think the rules could certainly be swayed, considering the circumstances. Did you tell her that you had been attacked and soaked by an idiot child wielding a watergun in the mall?"

"Uh, I. We hadn't got that far."

"It doesn't matter, if he's going to be in the mall, he's got to have a shirt." The mall cop included them both in an obdurate look.

"I promise, I'll have him in a shirt in no time flat. We were just on our way to Gregory's to get a new one, weren't we Clark?"

Clark stared at Lex. He did *not* want to go back to that place and have that awful Antoine mess with his hair, or help him dress. That guy creeped him out completely. On the other hand he didn't want to ruin Lex's shopping trip by getting thrown out of the mall for indecent exposure. And somewhere back in the back of his brain niggled a tiny niggle that maybe it wasn't suit at all, but the *venue*.

"I could put the wet one back on…" Clark offered hopefully.

"Nonsense--I won't hear of it! You'll catch pneumonia, and then where would that leave me with the Kent's? I'm already pariah enough on the farm."

"I don't care which you do, but you better do one or the other PDQ, or else I'm going to have to escort him from the mall." The middle-aged woman sounded tough, but the whole time she was eyeing Clark's naked torso in a lewd manner. It was kinda gross to think someone the age of his *mother* was giving him that look.

"I assure you, Officer Ryder. I'll have the situation under control in a matter of moments. Thank you for your conscientious attention to your duty." Lex took Clark by the elbow and steered him gently towards Gregory's and away from the rent-a-cop. Clark went along easily enough but the situation had him despairing of ever getting free long enough to figure out what he was feeling, and what he was going to do about it.

Lex stole a sideward glance at Clark. It was only too clear that the teenager was lost an internal dialog of some intensity. He wasn't going to interrupt Clark's conversation with himself; Lex had given his word to get Clark out of the mall proper.

They sailed into the department store, Lex with a cool look of satisfaction, and Clark with the grim look of a man going to his execution. He was tired of feeling like the victim. The little scene in the Chinese restaurant with the flaming manboy had gone pretty well. He'd managed to hold his own, and floor Lex in the process. That made him smile. The trick was this, what if he got what he was chasing if he went on the offensive? And just exactly what would he do with it when he caught it? That thought gave him the shivers.

Lex noticed Clark shaking, and the look on his face was inscrutable. Normally he could read Clark like a Golden Book, but this was an expression that would have done justice to the Sphinx. "What are you thinking about, Clark?"

Clark pulled himself from his reverie, and smiled at Lex; that slow wide smile that couldn't ever be as sweet and innocent as it looked. "I was thinking. Maybe, uh this wouldn't freak me out as much if I didn't have to deal with Antoine. You know?"

Lex briefly considered the morning's encounter with his fresh perspective. "Yes I can see where that might have been discomforting. What would you suggest?"

Clark had opened the gambit and had to follow through. He took a breath and rushed it out all at once. "Don't want to wear them in the store, and I don't want Antoine's' help."

It wasn't a very specific suggestion but Lex though he knew the gist of it. "Alright, no Antoine and no walking around the store in the swimsuit. Tell me Clark, if you won't wear it in the store, how do you expect to be able to wear it at the hotel pool? There will be far more people there than just Antoine."

"I don't know, it just seem like it'll be as bad as the feeling I get from Antoine. It's like I'm being peeled in layers by his eyes."

"I mentioned this before Clark, whether you realize it or not, everyone gives you that look. Stand up and be proud, it's really a compliment. People who have the kind of looks you do are pretty rare."

*You don't know how few* Clark thought, but he smiled anyway. "I'll try."

Lex reached out and squeezed Clarks' shoulder, and let his hand lay there just a beat too long as he felt the warm, tanned skin under his fingers. "Come on, I'll shoo Antoine off."

The men's department was again cleared, and Antoine was banished to a coffee break. Lex was content to watch Clark browse through the swimsuits unaided. He had a black suit in his hand, and was closely inspecting an orange Hawaiian print version.

"If I might make a suggestion, Clark?"

Clark looked up at him; the dreamy but somehow intense look in his eyes always caught Lex breathless.

"Go with a solid color, and I don't think black is your color. It's not like you're trying to hide anything."

"Uh, right. Nothing to hide here." *Except the fact that I can't control my reaction to Lex*, but he obligingly returned the black suit to the rack, and picked up a blue one. Lex reached over and pulled a similar cut and style in red off the rack and handed it to him.

"In case you can't decide."

"Yeah, sounds good." Clark wouldn't have picked those colors for himself, but they did look nice together, he thought. "Let me go try these on. Will you wait at the door for me?"

"I'll wait anywhere you like, Clark."

~fini~


Notes

Fandom: Smallville

Category/Rated: mild pre-slash/ E

Year/Length: 2001/ ~1270

Pairing: Clark/Lex

Disclaimer: Not mine, no profit, only having fun.

Author's Notes: My first Smallville story. This was a section of a round robin I contributed to back in 2001. It was quite wonderfully smarmy and trashy and fun.

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