Suffice to say--not bad, kinda strange, and being told yet again that I need to gain weight didn't exactly thrill me. But the food was amazingly good, including Seven Layer Dip, and there was tiny cheescakes and a strange kind of cream pie involved flavored with vodka and hazelnuts in the crust. I am so getting that recipe. Also? Got another collectable teapot. And I will never admit I collect them. Ever. Even though I have six now.
Two more family parties of joy to attend at minimum, one on Christmas Eve, one next Sunday. Oh goodie. More baking in my future. The kitchen is the scariest place on earth. More shopping. I may get to actually answer EMAIL one day soon.
rivkat -- got your beta. I'm sorry I haven't answered yet. I started a Very Long Reply with some questions involved. It's in my drafts folder, as the Christmas Spirit kidnapped me before I could finish with the entire ending situation. I'm highly appreciative and thrilled about the entire destruction of italics. Did you happen to count how many words I italicize per page? I did. That is the scariest number. They breed, I tell you. BREED. Thank you so much. Expect email before the Second Coming. Really.
Rana -- your beta is almost done. See above, Christmas Spirit, cookies, Second Coming, you know. Ignore italics portion. That's just scary. *g*
LM community members -- I posted a snippet. And a convo. So did Andy. We really need a timeline me thinks.
Anyone else--I swear I will answer things Very Damn Soon. I swear. I really, really do.
And believe it or not, this is STILL my favorite season. I was singing "Oh Come All Ye Faithful" today at random. Quite the spookiness, as I have no singing voice worth listening to. Coyotes have been known to howl when I try for high notes. My Christianity shows itself at the strangest times. And for amusement factor, Child came home from the last day of classes worried because Some Other Child told him that his mother said the Harry Potter books were the work of the devil.
I'm trying to think of something witty to teach him to use next time this comes up. You know, I saw this on TV, but I honestly had no idea people said things like that outside talk shows. I mean, REALLY.
Usual MO in place, for those who follow my pattern of posting, which would be just me, but it's amusing. I'm tense, I write. This sucker was written during a cookie experiment that went very, very wrong. I refuse to say anything but this--always make sure that you actually programmed the oven correctly and no one hit the button labeled Broil HI.
Keep that in mind.
Um. *thinks* RivkaT and her recent story Yellow made me mull on Kryptonite again, and being reminded of the Superman movies set in it place harder. So.
The Fortress hadn't given him any real warning about the side effects.
He kneels by the toilet, throwing up, shocked at the bile-burn in the back of his throat, the smell of it. His mouth feels raw and used, but there's no basis for comparison, none at all, and he rides the shudders that aren't anything like Kryptonite poisoning.
Collapsing on the cool tile of his bathroom floor, Clark shuts his eyes, letting the chill settle into every bone through denim and decade-old flannel. It's brand new and familiar like a dream can be, but more real, somehow, like life's been a long fantasy and this is the reality. Dirty, filthy taste coating his mouth, Jesus, this he couldn't have anticipated, and he struggles to his knees for his toothbrush. His stomach hates sudden moves, and he's collapsing again, barely noticing the sharp thud of his head hitting the tile again.
Shock, his mind offers up with surprise. You didn't expect something like this?
Obviously not, and he scrabbles feebly at the floor, the rug brushing the tips of his fingers, a vivid, coarse feeling, a slice of pain so bright he gasps. Lifting his hand, he stares at the glass that's buried in his flesh. Broken glass, from the water he was carrying, though he can barely think through the twists in his stomach
Glass, bright and sharp, sticking out at a jagged angle. Blinking, he watches blood lazily trace a line down his finger, oozing over the first knuckle and pooling in the web of skin at the base of his fingers. Colder as it moves, almost icy as it reaches his palm, tracing a lifeline that might have actual significance now.
Human, his mind says, and he can't do anything but agree. Belief's an imperative now. He doesn't have a choice.
Ecstasy is sublimated under the spasms wracking every muscle. His entire body's screaming with the change, and something ripples through him, eyes rolling back in his head as his body shudders, toes to the top of his head.
No, the Fortress hadn't covered this at *all*. Probably didn't know. He's the first and last of his kind--or not anymore, and that chokes out a broken laugh that hurts his throat and his ears. It doesn't sound that amused.
Rolling onto his stomach, he shuts his eyes briefly. Focus. Irony would be dying now of blood loss from a fucking cut *finger*. Or knocking himself out on the edge of the toilet. Opening his eyes again, he stretches both arms, trying to steady shaky hands, just enough to pull it free. It breaks, another shock of bright pain, and there are tears forming behind his eyes.
Oh God, he's crying for a cut finger. Giggling threatens to erupt before the next shock of pain, *real* pain. Some kind of fucking hero.
He should call Lois. Get her here. She knew what he was planning, knew--understood. She'd know what to do, all these things he doesn't. He doesn't even have *bandaids* for God's sake, no antibiotic, he's never needed it. Blood is splashing vividly on the floor, pooling bright red and accusatory.
Oh yeah, he really thought *this* through.
Letting Lois see him like this when she's seen Superman--Clark shakes the thought aside and rolls on his side when his stomach heaves again. Bile this time, yellow-green, but he can almost ignore the burn for his finger.
And the tile's so cool he might never get up again.
The next spasm is completely unexpected, and Clark's body curls up, mouth opening on no air and no way to get it. Panic takes over--what do you do, he thinks, remember, you saved humans all the time. Save *yourself*. He'd wondered why they fought him sometimes.
Now he gets it. There's nothing like this, nothing in his experience, that comes close to this loss of control. Even Kryptonite was specific, and he knew when it was gone, he'd be fine. Not this time.
He has no idea *what* the fuck this is.
So cold, though. And he's never been that before, and it's distracting, soothing, something to explore. Forcing every muscle to relax into the shudders, he watches his own blood smear the floor. He can take this. It's what he chooses. God, it's what he *wants*.
His eyes are almost closed when something warm slides under his head. Thick, harsh cloth against his cheek, and he rubs against it instinctively, trying to focus his eyes off blood, but the too-fast movement of his head just brings the nausea back and vision's off. Instantly, cool hands are on his face, turning it sideways, and he's vomiting onto the floor, raw bile flecked with blood.
That--can't be good.
"Ssh." Fingers smoothing over his face, and Clark tries to recognize the voice. "You're a fucking moron."
He thinks he can hear a snicker, or a sigh. You never know with Lex. Lex, who's relentless by nature and bored by choice, levering Clark up until he's sprawled in some kind of sitting arrangement, and something wet and soft streaks his face. Clark realizes he's been sweating. When the cloth flashes too close to his eyes, he sees blood.
"What--" Words are hard to form; his mouth feels like it's stuffed with cotton and his tongue's far too big to try anything like English. Kryptonian either, and he feels a grin spread his lips briefly. This will be funny one day. In the future. Far, far in the future.
"Shut up." He's braced against a warm, strong body, and it's Lex, though logic says he's hallucinating and dying on his bathroom floor alone. Still, instinct is instinct, and he'd know Lex on his deathbed. Beneath the stench of vomit and blood and God knows what else, the sharp masculine cut of scent, metal-edged and frighteningly vivid, is too familiar. It's Lex.
His night could get worse, Clark reflects when another spasm shakes his body and strong hands brace him, keeping him from shaking himself apart. His hand's taken and lifted, sharp pain when Lex removes the glass, wrapping it in what feels like toilet paper, layer upon layer. Letting his head roll back, Clark looks up.
"It's been awhile." He can't help smirking.
"Not long enough." Under Clark's hand is a warm thigh, wool covered and solid, easy to brace himself on. Grounding, too, and his fingers like the feeling of the cloth a little too much for comfort. Lex's arm around his chest is almost too-tight, but Clark doesn't care. It's enough that there's something to hold on to, grip with the next spasm that rips up his body like he's being cut open inside and out. "I assume this is reaction to whatever the fuck you did up in the Fortress?"
"Yeah." Clark chokes out a laugh. "Should have stayed--there. With the medical facilities." Can't get back now. Frankly, he's not even clear on how he got back to Metropolis, since obviously he didn't fly on his own. There are vague memories of a private plane and a man that didn't speak much English but watched him a lot. Okay. "You bought my pilot."
"Michael was very disappointed you weren't carrying something interesting like heroin or weapons of mass destruction. A let-down for the man, I assure you." Lex shifts a little--motion isn't good, but Lex is about as capable of stillness as Lois is of silence. Strong arms reposition themselves under his arms, and Lex pulls them both up effortlessly.
Lex really is too strong to be completely human. Clark wants to laugh at the thought that Lex is now the most alien in the room. In a manner of speaking.
For some reason, he doesn't shake too much on his way to the narrow bed in the corner of his bedroom, and it's warm and soft under his back. Lex lowers him down as gently as a child, pulling the blankets up, then turning Clark on his side just as the next spasm hits--how can he still be throwing up, there's nothing left in his *stomach*.
"I can't believe you didn't ask a few more questions before you did it," Lex says from somewhere far away. The next country, perhaps. He's lightheaded. Obviously.
"I can't believe that the Fortress considers this 'consequences' and didn't go into detail." Clark sucks in a foul-tasting breath. "I thought it meant for the *world*."
"You might have guessed that the transition from alien to human might be a little jarring." Lex's voice is so dry it almost grates, but the washcloth is back, sliding over his mouth. Clark wants to lick it, get rid of the taste in his mouth.
"*Little* jarring?" Clark opens his eyes--blurred vision. What if he needs glasses now for real? That will suck. A *lot*. "I don't--why are you here?"
He can almost hear the smile in Lex's voice, and the finger in his hair are gentle now, stroking back. "I have you watched from time to time." More gentle stroking, fingers lacing through his hair. It feels wet, curling around Lex's fingers like it's trying to hold on.
Clark feels the completely inappropriate laugh try to break out from between his lips. "How--"
"I've studied Kryptonite for years, Clark. You think by now I don't know which one takes your powers?" The washcloth is back, and Clark lets himself lean into that, loving the feel of rough, nubby material cleaning, soothing. "You're engaged to Miss Lane. I put two and two together."
Oh. Not exactly two and two, except in Lexworld, where weird yet strangely right conclusions could be leaped to without anything as irrelevant as actual evidence. But it's easier just to nod, and the bed shifts when Lex reaches for the phone. Distantly, Clark hears Lex dialing a number.
"Chloe. Shut up." A pause. "Do you want to hear this or not?" Another pause. "Tell Lois he's fine. Yes, like she'd believe me." Another pause, longer, and Clark tries sight again. Marginally clearer. Black wool thigh near his chest, inches from his fingers. He follows the line of material, up to a crisp white shirt. Lex must have discarded jacket and coat somewhere. The sleeves are rolled up. Very Lex. Wouldn't want to get too dirty. "No, you both can stay right where you are." Another pause. "Then you should have been here first. Tell Lois to be here in the morning. He should be fine by then. Mercy and Hope would love a chance to chat, sweetheart, so feel free to pass that along. Goodbye."
Lex can't even be solicitous without being threatening. But--Clark doesn’t want to see Chloe. Or Lois. Not like this. Macho-guy thing--frankly, Lex seeing it sucks so much it hurts, but that's unavoidable now. Lois? Unacceptable in every way. He shivers at the thought, and instantly, warm hands stroke over his back, tucking the blanket in around him.
He'd once heard speculation that Lex was insane. It's almost believable, and Clark finally gets to his face. Usual Lex, totally unreadable, except for the smirk and the familiar tilt of his head.
"You're fucking kidding."
"Your mother would wash your mouth out with soap if she heard that. Drink this." A bottle magically appears and Lex hand slides under his head, levering it up enough to reach the lip. It doesn't taste like water, faintly metal-edged, but that could be the blood and bile slicking Clark's tongue. It goes down a lot more easily than anything's come up, though, and Clark shuts his eyes at it hits his stomach, expecting the cramps….
…that never happen.
Well, that's unexpected.
"How did you--"
"You never did listen well," Lex remarks. "Take another drink before you try to talk." The bottle's back in place, but Clark's not fighting it. Thirstily, Clark gulps, but in an act of pure evil, Lex pulls the bottle back. "Not too much. This will help."
Clark lays back on the pillows. There's a fine sheen of sweat crawling over his skin--uncomfortably slick, and he can feel it popping up in places that have never sweat before. Under the blankets seems uncomfortably hot, and Clark tries to shrug them off. A hand on his chest stops him instantly--Clark blinks as he realizes he can't fight it off.
And Lex is smiling like he just got handed the entirety of Europe for his personal demesne.
"Human, Clark. Like I'm not." The pressure increases--it's a shock, and Clark blinks, reaching up to close his fingers weakly around the delicate looking wrist. Instantly, and pretty damn surprisingly, Lex backs off, hand now simply resting on his sweat-soaked shirt before it's joined by the second, busily unbuttoning the ruined material. Clark thinks about protesting, but it smells.
And further moving would involve far too much effort. Much easier to lay here and let Lex strip him down to his boxers, clothes discarded, then a few long minutes on the other side of the room with the cellphone.
When their eyes meet, Lex holds the gaze for seconds too long before crossing the room, pressing his palm to the tiny mouthpiece.
"Lois wants to talk to you. She's downstairs." Lex sits down, extending the phone until it's pressed to Clark's ear. He can hear her cursing from inches away and it brings a smile to his face, carefully moving until he can hear her clearly.
"Lois?" His voice sounds--really bad.
The steady stream of invective ends like a radio dial being turned. "Clark?" Breathless relief fills the single syllable. "Clark, oh God, are you--what--"
"I'm fine." Glancing up, he sees Lex studying the far wall as though it's covered with the personal sayings of Alexander the Great. Almost enough to make him laugh. "Really, Lois. I'm okay. Just--wiped."
"What the fuck is Luthor doing there?"
The question of the ages. "Apparently making sure I survive the experience. Everything--everything's okay, I swear. Some sleep and I think I'll be okay."
She doesn't like it. Vocally doesn't like it. More than one time. Clark can't keep up and doesn't even try, just enjoys the steady rhythm of her voice and how she can make even fuck sound sweet and somehow tender.
The phone's gently removed from his ear.
"He's falling asleep," Clark hears Lex say, amusement rich in his voice. Clark doesn't bother opening his eyes. "Go home. He's yours tomorrow."
That sounds--oh, just a little bizarre. Clark shakes the thought away, letting the voices drift. The spasms in his stomach are reducing by the moment to faint cramps, like something is gently pushing against the surface of his stomach. Curling onto his side, he feels Lex stand up, walking to the door, and that's Mercy's voice, though Clark can't make out the words.
The spasms grow--Clark shudders at the sudden chill, burrowing under the covers, voices becoming nothing but an indistinct, almost annoying drone of sound. Teeth suddenly clattering together, God, this is *cold*, this is how people feel in Kansas winters, God, he never knew, never guessed it felt like this. The covers don't seem to hold any heat at all, seem to suck it from him, and he pulls his knees to his chest, trying to find--something. Warmth. Anything.
"Clark. Shit." The door closes far too loudly, and then too-hard footsteps. The mattress dips and Lex's hand brushes his face. God, so hot. Wonderful, vibrant heat that he can't help moving into, making an embarrassing sound low in his throat.
He's miles out of shame. Hell, he's a few thousand miles out of complete sanity as well. Who the hell tests the powers of gold kryptonite on their fucking *body* without further research?
"Clark. It's okay. Hold on." Blankets aren't doing anything, no matter how close Lex tucks them in, and Clark tries to lock his jaw enough to stop the constant clatter of enamel. "You know, research would have been smart, Clark."
"Heh." What an idea.
"This didn't come up during…" Lex cuts himself off. "Not that I ever had the actual substance, but extrapolation…" He drifts off into possible thought, and Clark slits his eyes open enough to see Lex frowning. "You're so fucking stupid."
"Worth it." Mumbled between clenched teeth. *Human*.
"She'd better be." The hand's back, and Clark wants to grab it, pull it under the covers and curl all around it. The bed shifts again, comforters drawn aside--Clark almost protests before he gets it.
Big, warm, *hot* body, and screw the war, fuck the enemy thing, Lex is like a space heater and Clark doesn't even hesitate. He rolls over and curls up as close as he can, draping a leg across beautifully warm wool, an arm over a silk-clad chest, and burrows his face into a silky shoulder.
Lex makes an unclassifiable sound. In Smallville, an adolescent Clark might have called it a laugh.
I shall do three things.
One, sleep more than six hours. No wait. I have to be up in three. Please God, let this sleeping pill kick in.
Two, remember I have a diaryland diary that loves and misses me.
Three--um. I'll think about it later.
*hugs to everyone* I am testing the recipes people sent me later today. I am REALLY looking forward to this. Thank you.