It was not an entirely unusual scene. Nice Sunday morning. Lex, out on the balcony. Superman, floating in midair. They might have been discussing politics, the dinner menu, or Lex's latest plan for world domination.

"Just, let me get this straight," Lex said. "You went to another dimension."

"Um, yeah." Superman looked slightly uncomfortable.

"This dimension turned out to be some kind of trap engineered by Brainiac," Lex went on.

"Right."

"And in this dimension there was a false Krypton populated by criminals from the Phantom Zone, which is, from what I can gather, some kind of Kryptonian jail."

". . . sort of, yeah."

"So you incited some kind of Kryptonian rebellion," Lex continued, "which caused the destruction of this dimension. And you brought home a superpowered dog."

"Woof!" said the superpowered dog in question, who proceeded to chase his tail. In midair. At superspeed, so that he was just a gray circular blur.

"He followed me home!" Clark protested. Then, "Can we keep him?"

Lex went back inside.

---

"We've had this discussion before," Lex said. At least Clark was out of the uniform. He never could have a serious discussion with Clark when he was in tights.

"He's so cute!" Clark said, watching the superdog sniff warily around the penthouse. The dog was light gray, medium-sized and looked to be part hound, or the Kryptonian version of hound. "What should we name him?"

"You're busy. I'm busy," Lex plowed valiantly on. "Dogs are a lot of responsibility. They need a lot of time and space. Which we do not have."

"He can stay on the roof!" Clark said.

"Why can't he stay at the Fortress?" Lex wanted to know.

Clark looked horrified. "He'd be lonely!"

Lex could feel an impending headache.

"Look, it's not like I can take him to the pound," Clark said. Lex was forced to concede that Clark had a point. "And I kind of destroyed his home."

"What about Smallville?" Lex suggested. "Weird things happen there all the time, and your parents are used to taking care of--" He stopped at the look on Clark's face, large-eyed and a little reproachful, and realized that he just wasn't going to win this one. "All right," he sighed. "Until we figure out something to do with him," he added before Clark could get too happy. "I still maintain that we really can't take care of a dog."

"Oh, thank you thank you thank you!" Clark grabbed Lex in a rib-crushing hug (fortunately not literally). "I'll make it up to you," he said into Lex's ear, promising lots of naked gratitude. Lex was totally up for that.

"He's got to be trained," Lex told him. "I don't want anyone associating a superpowered dog with Clark Kent."

"Don't worry," Clark promised.

An hour later, the dog had broken a chandelier and gouged giant chunks in a closed door. Clark hummed happily to himself while he built a Doghouse of Solitude on the roof.

---

"I have to go," Clark said, hustling a puzzled-looking dog into the living room via the balcony doors. "Can you look after Krypto?"

"We are not calling him Krypto," Lex said automatically, and then, "why can't he stay out on the roof like he usually does?"

"He's, um, started chasing airplanes," Clark said with a guilty look. "I really gotta go deal with a flood in China, so can you just look after him and make sure he doesn't get out?"

"How am I supposed to stop a superpowered dog?" Lex demanded, but Clark was already gone. Lex sighed. So it was just him and the dog tonight, he supposed.

Clark had devoted a significant amount of time over the past several days training the dog (who was not going to be called Krypto). Fortunately, the animal was quite intelligent and picked up rather quickly. Property damage had gone down substantially. The thing, Clark had said excitedly over dinner, was going to be teaching the dog to use judgment. Clark wanted to take the dog along on rescues eventually, but that meant the dog had to learn when he could and couldn't use his powers.

The idea of Clark having an animal sidekick gave Lex ulcers. This was not at all what he'd envisioned when Clark became a superhero. The garish primary colors was bad enough, but now a dog?

Oh God. What if he gave the dog a cape?

The dog looked up at Lex and made an inquisitive sound best translated as, "Roo?"

Lex sighed and resigned himself. He picked up the evening edition of the paper and sat down on the couch to read.

The dog followed him. "Roo?"

Lex did not respond.

"Roo?" The dog sat down by his knee.

Lex still didn't say anything.

The dog was dangerously close to actually touching him. "Roo?"

"What are you, Scooby Doo?" Lex demanded.

The dog actually looked hurt. Had he been taking puppy-face lessons from Clark?

Then the doorbell rang.

Lex looked at the dog. "This had better not be about you," he muttered, and hit the intercom.

Bruce Wayne looked back at him. He was smiling, but his jaw was tense, and he looked a little flushed and hurried. Lex immediately had a Bad Feeling.

"Sorry for the sudden visit," Wayne said. "But a personal matter has come up, and I was wondering if I could entrust my ward to you?"

Wayne's thirteen-year old ward peeked out from behind him and waved at the screen.

"I know it's a terrible imposition, but I'd rather not leave him alone at the hotel, and--"

"I don't see why not," Lex said wearily. Why the hell not? Maybe the dog and the kid could entertain each other. He opened the door.

"Thank you so much," Wayne said, not setting foot into the penthouse. "I'm afraid I have to leave immediately--you'll be good, Dick?"

"I'm always good," Dick said.

Wayne smiled briefly, and Lex thought that was maybe the most honest expression he'd ever seen on Wayne's face. Clark insisted on having
him over for dinner every once in a while, claiming that Wayne was really just lonely and needed a friend ("Clark, you didn't go to school with him. He was five grades below me and older than Mr. Steele, who was seventy-two."), and occasionally Wayne returned the favor. But Dick Grayson seemed to be doing more for Wayne than all the dinners in which they'd tried to avoid talking about "business," a third of which had been interrupted by one or both of them departing to deal with an emergency, leaving Lex to commiserate with Alfred Pennyworth.

"All right," Wayne said, tousling Dick's hair. "I'll be back soon." And then he was gone, the penthouse door snicking shut softly behind him.

"You have a dog!" Dick exclaimed with delight. He immediately started scratching the dog behind the ears, who woofed and wagged his tail. "What's his name?"

"Napoleon," Lex said.

"Hi Napoleon!" Dick squatted down so he was on level with the dog. "I wish Bruce would get a dog." The dog licked his face, and Dick laughed. "Stop that!" he said, but he didn't push the dog away. Of course, given this particular dog, he might not have been able to if he'd tried.

"Do you want anything to drink?" Lex asked solicitously.

Dick looked thoughtful. "Coke?"

"Sure." Lex opened the fridge and pulled out a glass bottle of Coca-Cola and a bottle of water for himself. He cast about for a conversational gambit. What did you talk to a twelve-year-old about, anyway? Pokemon? Girls? Movies?

"Thanks," Dick said, taking the bottle from Lex and twisting off the top. He'd moved to the couch, the dog--who was not allowed on the furniture--lying next to him, his head in the boy's lap.

"So," Lex said, sitting down on the couch next to Dick, "you've grown since the last time Clark and I saw you!"

Oh God, he was turning into one of those annoying family friends/relatives, who pinched your cheeks and commented on how much you'd grown and then asked how you were doing in school. Not that Lex had really had any of those relatives, but he'd seen them on television and they seemed very annoying. Of course you'd grown, when the last time you'd seen Aunt Betsy was at Christmas and you were eleven, and were you really going to tell her that you were failing math?

Dick did seem bigger, though. Maybe not precisely taller, per se, but more. . . filled out? He'd always been muscular, what with being an acrobat kid and all, but now he seemed broader, too.

"I can bench 100 pounds now!" Dick said proudly.

Lex took a sip of his water. "That's pretty good for your age."

"Yep." Dick flexed. Those were some pretty impressive biceps. "But Bruce says I'm not ready yet."

"Ready for what?" Lex hoped the dog wasn't shedding on the furniture and resigned himself to vacuuming fine white hairs off the black leather tomorrow.

"Ready to take on someone like Scarecrow." Dick kicked at the coffee table and sulked.

Lex reflected, not for the first time, on how very strange his life was. He was home alone on a Thursday night, taking care of his superhero boyfriend's superpowered dog and talking to his superhero acquaintance's (Lex didn't consider Wayne--Batman?--a friend, although Clark apparently did) sidekick about some supervillain that was currently running rampant in Metropolis.

"Should we be worried?" Lex queried.

"Nah. Bruce has taken care of Scarecrow before." Dick had perfect faith in his guardian and mentor. It was touching and sickening at the same time. "But he keeps coming up with new versions of his fear gas." He brightened suddenly.

"Roo?" said the dog, perking his ears.

"Hey," Dick said, "can I read your comic books?"

---

Clark came home several hours later, giggling incessantly, one arm slung over Wayne's shoulder.

"What happened?" Lex demanded.

"He got a faceful of the Scarecrow's fear gas," Wayne said, grimly unloading Clark into Lex's arms. Clark clung and continued to giggle. "It doesn't seem to have quite the same effect on Kryptonians."

"I can see that," Lex said.

"Krypto!" Clark exclaimed. The dog came bounding toward him. Clark allowed himself to be knocked over and rolled around happily on the floor as the dog licked his face. "Good boy, Krypto! Were you a good boy? You weren't giving Lexy-wexy any trouble, were you?"

"How was Dick?" Wayne asked.

"Good," Lex said.

Dick came running up, beaming like a lighthouse. "How'd it go?"

"Picture-perfect, except for Superman's interference," Wayne said. "Fortunately, I managed to get the situation under control."

"I totally saved your butt," Clark sang out as the dog gnawed ineffectually at his arm.

"You ruined a perfectly thought out plan," Wayne replied without looking at him.

"Pffft, whatever." Clark hugged the dog like a giant teddy bear and closed his eyes.

"I'll take my leave now." Wayne took Dick by the hand. "Thank you very much for your assistance."

"No worries, chum," Lex assured him. "Have a good flight back to Gotham."

They left. Lex breathed a sigh of relief and turned to Clark, who had apparently fallen asleep with the dog on top of him. Lex was contemplating how to get the dog outside and Clark into bed when Clark's eyes suddenly snapped open.

"Up, up, and away!" Clark crowed, startling the dog.

"Grrn?" the dog queried.

"To Waterloo!" Clark rolled out in his Superman voice, and then cracked up. "Oh man," he wheezed. "I'm--I'm really high."

"Yes, you are," Lex agreed. Was he like this when he was high? Well, not that he'd been high for a while--one of the sad, sad things about leading a sober, adult life. And in that sordid, misspent youth that had been the topic of so many sordid tabloid articles, he'd never been high in a room that wasn't filled with equally high people, so it wasn't like he could ask anyone.

"It's kinda nice," Clark said, apparently fascinated with the dog's ears. He made them flap, like little furry wings. The dog just blinked at him.

Lex mentally went over the pantry in his head. There was a bag of tortilla chips, definitely. There were plenty of beverages.

Clark pushed the dog off his lap and stood up. He gave the kind of long, languid stretch that Lex usually enjoyed, but this time Lex was too busy mourning the lack of irresponsibility in his life. He wanted to be stoned out of his mind, dammit.

"I am going to put Krypto outside," Clark declared. "And then we're going to have sex."

"Sure," Lex said absently while he mentally tabulated the stoner movies in his DVD collection. "Wait, what?"

"I am going to put the dog outside." Clark took a step closer to Lex. "And then we're going to have sex."

Lex took a step back, only to realize that the door was behind him. Clark was really really close all of a sudden, and he smelled like chemicals and sky and sweat, and Lex said, "Ah, you're really high, and--"

"I want sex." Clark pressed Lex to the door, a warm line of contact between them, and bent his head to nip at Lex's neck. "C'mon, Lex." There was a little bit of whine in his voice. "C'mooooon." He tongued Lex's ear.

Lex had enough presence of mind left to say, "Dog. Outside."

Clark didn't budge. "Mmmm, don't wanna move." He nuzzled Lex's jaw.

For what was perhaps the first time in Lex's life, he didn't really want to have sex. Lex had had sex while high plenty of times in his life and it was generally a very enjoyable experience and more satisfying for everyone concerned, but everyone concerned was also high. Lex managed to get one hand in between them and pushed, but Clark didn't seem to be going anywhere. Maybe he should be worried.

The dog barked.

"What is it, boy?" Clark asked, spinning around. "Did Timmy fall down the well again?"

Lex decided that he would buy the dog a steak. No, three steaks. Finest quality. Yes. Every single day for the rest of his life.

Clark's eyes widened. "Oh God, it's a dinosaur."

"Er," Lex said. "No, it's just the dog." The dog in question was standing by the balcony doors, looking like he wanted to be let out. Soon he'd start scratching the door, and it would make a horrible sound not unlike microphone feedback and leave parallel gouges in the plate glass and they'd have to get the doors replaced again.

Clark raised a finger and pointed to someplace in the dog's near vicinity. "No, it's a dinosaur. It's--it's got a long neck, and it's eating leaves."

There was absolutely nothing there. Just the living room furniture, a standing lamp, the floor-to-ceiling windows that showed Metropolis glowing violently outside. Nothing that even remotely resembled a dinosaur of the sauropod variety that Clark seemed to be describing.

Great. So Clark wasn't just high, he was tripping.

"It's right there!" Clark insisted, his voice high and strident. "Can't you see it? It's looking at us!" He looked at Lex, eyes huge and frightened. "You can't see it, can you?"

Lex had never been the sober one in these situations. What was he supposed to do?

"You can't see it." Tears formed in Clark's eyes. "You can't see it."

Maybe Lex was having a bad trip, because this couldn't be happening.

"It's okay," he said, approaching Clark slowly, palms out, like Clark might bolt any second. "You're high, it's okay, there's no dinosaur."

The dog whined. He really wanted to be let out.

"I need to let the dog out, and then we're going to go into the bedroom and everything will be okay."

"It's right there!" Clark said thickly, one hand over his face. "I don't know why you, why you can't see it. Oh God, make it go away."

Lex swung one door open, and the dog was nothing but a white blur, whizzing up to his accustomed abode on the roof. Then he padded back to Clark, who by now was simply standing in the middle of the room, knuckling his eyes. He put a hand on Clark's back, received no response, and started rubbing comforting circles. "Let's move to the bedroom, okay?"

Clark nodded, so Lex took him by the hand and led him down the hall.

"Is it gone?" Clark asked as Lex started unbuttoning his shirt. He had his eyes closed, like that would deny the dinosaur's existence.

"It's gone." Lex dropped the shirt on the floor and started taking off Clark's belt.

"It was eating leaves. And looking at us."

"It's okay." Lex unzipped Clark's pants and pulled them down.

"Why are you taking my clothes off?" Clark wanted to know.

"So I can kiss you." Clark tasted strange, like pine and alcohol. He relaxed under Lex's mouth, pliant and submissive in a way he hadn't been since he became Superman. Clark got the idea and kicked his pants away, then brought his hands up to rest on Lex's hips.

Lex broke the kiss gently. "Let's get into bed, okay?"

"Mmmm." Clark let himself be guided gently under the covers. Lex pulled them up to Clark's chin. "Are you coming, too?"

"Of course." Lex quickly divested himself of his clothing and crawled in next to Clark, whose heat had already pooled under the covers. It was like slipping into a warm bath and just as soothing and comforting. Clark reached out one arm and reeled Lex in, curling around him like a vine, and went straight to sleep.

---

"Wake up, sleepyhead!"

Lex was kissed, forcefully and messily. He opened his eyes. Clark straddled his body, beaming like a saint in a stained glass window.

"Grblx," Lex said.

Clark laughed. "If you don't get up soon, you'll be late for work."

Something wasn't quite right here. Lex rubbed his eyes, trying to put two and two together. Clark had been incredibly high last night, correct? Lex generally didn't remember much of the nights he'd been out of his mind, but the morning after was usually, to put it bluntly, a stone-cold bastard. They involved waking up feeling like something had crawled into his skull and died. They involved a mouth like a dry sponge. They involved waking up next to strangers, sometimes more than one of them. Clark, however, was practically glowing, vibrating with energy like a little kid.

Life really wasn't fair.

Clark's head suddenly jerked up. He frowned.

"Whuzzuh?" Lex asked.

"Krypto's barking," Clark said. "Something's wrong."

Lex wanted to point out that if the dog barked every time something was wrong, there must be something wrong all the time. But Clark was already gone. Lex sighed and stumbled into the bathroom.

Batman was sitting at the breakfast island when Lex came in. Lex went to the coffeemaker, poured himself a cup of coffee, and asked Batman if he wanted a bagel.

"No thanks," Batman said.

"I already offered him one, but he said he doesn't eat on the job," Clark added.

"Are you here on business, then?" Lex asked, taking a sip of his coffee. Clark had made it just the way Lex liked it.

"I was just checking up on Clark. We don't know how the fear gas acts on Kryptonians."

"I think we do," Lex said dryly.

"I don't really remember what happened last night, actually," Clark said sheepishly, rubbing the back of his head. "I got back from China and the AI paged me about a disturbance, I went to check it out and. . . yeah. What happened?"

"Nothing worth repeating, really." Lex unfolded the newspaper and read the headline. It was, predictably, about Scarecrow. There was a blurry photo of Superman and Batman from a distance, near a giant smudge that might or might not have been an explosion. Lex put away the front page and opened the local section.

"You could have used the front door," Clark told Batman. "You know, like a normal person?"

"I didn't want to alarm you."

"Well, you alarmed me."

"I didn't think I'd be seen. I wasn't counting on the dog."

Clark smiled smugly.

"We're not calling the dog Krypto," Lex said absently, skimming an article on street repairs.

"Krypto? You're calling the dog Krypto?" Batman somehow managed to look incredulous even with the cowl.

"It's a perfectly good name. He came from Krypton, after all."

"Why not name him Pluto? Or, I don't know, Heat Vision? Flight?"

"He needs a more dignified name," Lex said. "Like Caesar. Or Napoleon."

Clark didn't roll his eyes because he was too mature for that now, but he managed to give that impression anyway. "Everything's always some dead emperor with you."

Lex finished his coffee and put the cup in the sink. "We'll discuss it when I get back from work," he said. "Have a good day, and try not to cause too much property damage."

"You too," Clark called after him.

---

Lex had an extremely pleasant day at work. A deal came through, a project team finished the research phase ahead of time and spent less money than expected, and he found an excuse to fire someone he'd never liked who was incompetent at his job anyway, which gave him another excuse to promote someone he'd always liked who was actually good at what she did. He treated himself to chu-toro for lunch. Then, when he got in the penthouse that evening, he found Clark home early.

The kitchen smelled like herbs and chicken. Lex bussed Clark's cheek. "You never cook anymore."

"It's just chicken pasta."

"It'll be delicious." Lex unknotted his tie. "How's Napoleon?"

"Krypto. I found him, I should get to name him."

"On the contrary, I think that gives me perfect license to name him."

"What do you care what we name him, anyway?" Clark challenged. "You don't even like him."

"He can detect Batman from great distances. That wins him over in my heart."

Clark tried to look exasperated, but Lex could see the smile pulling at the edges of his mouth. "Lex."

"I'm just saying." Lex dropped another kiss on Clark's mouth. "I'm going to go change."

"Sure." Clark went back to stirring the pasta.

When Lex came back, Clark said, "I think we should install a doggie door in the French doors. So Krypto can go in and out."

"First of all, it would look ridiculous. Secondly, it would tip off any visitors that we have a dog that needs to enter and exit from the balcony."

". . . I guess that makes sense."

"I do, occasionally." Lex was delighted to see that someone--maybe Clark, maybe the housekeeper--had vacuumed the hair off the couch. He also saw that Clark had, in his absence, set up the little table that they only used for special occasions, tablecloth and all. There was a bottle of wine, which Lex inspected. Clark had never really gotten the hang of choosing wines, but Lex didn't keep any wine around that wasn't a good vintage anyway. "Did anything interesting happen at work?"

"Perry threatened to gut me and drink my blood."

"That's new," Lex remarked. "What did you do this time?"

"Why is it always my fault?" Clark carried two plates of chicken alfredo out of the kitchen.

"Because he's the editor. Is there a special occasion, Clark?"

"No."

Lex just looked at him.

"Bruce told me what happened last night." Clark didn't shuffle his feet anymore--that'd disappeared long before the eye-rolling--but he did stare at his toes.

"Oh, so this is an apology dinner."

Clark looked up, but Lex was smiling. "Yeah, sort of."

"I can live with that."

"Can you live with the dog being named Krypto?"

Lex looked at the ceiling. "I suppose."

"Thank you." Clark kissed him, softly and almost chastely, the kind of kiss that longtime lovers give each other. It always made Lex a little gooey inside. "You're too good for me."

"Yes, I let you name the dog."

Clark laughed softly. "Not that. Just everything."

"Ah." Lex looked at a point on the opposite wall.

"Anyone else would have been really pissed about last night." Clark looked concerned. "Are you sure I didn't do anything bad?"

"You saw a dinosaur."

Clark stared. "No."

Lex nodded. "It was eating leaves. And looking at us."

Clark didn't look like he quite believed Lex. "You're kidding me."

"You started crying when I said I couldn't see it."

Now Clark looked positively stricken. Lex chuckled and kissed him on the nose. "Come on," he said. "Dinner's getting cold."


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