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The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation


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svfic: somewhere i have never travelled, 24b
children of dune - leto 1
seperis
Sorry about the interruption.

*****



Cassius drives like Lex, and it scares him that Lex might have found his car soulmate right here. There shouldn't be two people in the world who act like this behind the steering wheel. Lex at least has his healing thing to explain his belief in his own immortality, but Cassius--

They hairpin turn onto the freeway, and Lex's little airstrip in just ahead. Maybe he could see it. If he's stupid enough to open his eyes, that is.

"I should have asked for a helicopter," Clark mutters, eyes closed. He lost whatever remained in his stomach just outside his apartment, with Ms Shanley observing that at his age, he should party a little less.

"So do you have an actual plan yet?" asks Cassius as he practices the fine art of dodging. This is like a huge game of pinball or something. How do these people get licenses? "Or did you bring some anti-Kryptonian weapons in your little backpack there?"

Clark can't drive right now. But it's growing more tempting by the second.

"Yes, I have a plan. You know, I've been saving the world for over a decade. I just might actually know what I'm doing when it comes to this sort of thing." At least, he thinks so.

"You had powers, then."

Clark grins through the headache. He's having it amputated later. "I have powers now. You're just looking for the wrong ones."

Traffic had slowed them down a *lot*. Clark wishes he had the courage to look at the clock on the console, but can't quite face that yet. That will lead to panic, and panic leads to a reminder of how his body just isn't cut out for this right now. Keep his stomach quiet, work through the headache, and later, much later, in a much fairer future, Cassius the oh so great doctor and geneticist is going to design a virus that Lex can catch. Or something. Because in that fair future, he's going to do something incredibly stupid and make Lex come rescue him when he feels like absolute shit.

"Why are you doing this?" Cassius asks, and Clark wonders what he means. Who else *can*? It's not like Clark's been given a lot of options here. "You know, you and Lex--I don't understand. You fought each other for years. I won't even tell you the things he called you when he got drunk--"

"Don't worry. He's just as likely to say them sober at the top of his lungs when he's pissed," Clark answers. Ah, the good old days. When Clark wasn't sick and Lex wasn't suicidal, just egotistical and somewhat on the edge of megalomaniacal. Clark's almost nostalgic. "It's--hard to explain." More like impossible. "Haven't you ever been in love?"

"No." But he can hear the shock in Cassius voice. "You're doing it for *that*?"

Clark shrugs and regrets it. "Everyone does it for that in the end. They just don't like to call it that. Too pat an answer." The jerks of the car aren't exactly comforting, but Clark imagines Cassius is getting better at controlling the car. There seem to be fewer of them. "Why do you think I was Superman? Because I really liked those tights?"

The silence is too--something. Like Cassius is thinking. They're out of populated areas, so maybe he's getting his composure back. This might or might not be a good thing.

"You loved the world that much?" Biting sarcasm. Clark doesn’t even wince.

"Enough to stop doing it when I knew I'd hurt it more than I could help," Clark answers. "You want absolutes, talk to Lex. He likes them better. He's always liked impossible standards and being able to hate himself when he fails to live up to them. It makes it easier."

"Easier to what?"

"To give up having any." Lexian psychology. Clark thinks he's learning it. Maybe. "How much longer?"

"Five minutes. The roads are atrocious."

"Can you see if Bruce has landed yet?"

The little pause almost tempts Clark to open his eyes, but it's really better if he doesn't. His sight sucks anyway. "If by Bruce, you mean a bizarre black plane sitting the middle of Lex's airfield, probably." There's a pause that stretches, and Clark wonders why Bruce--

"Clark, why is Batman in Metropolis?"

Clark wishes he'd kept his mouth shut. He'd asked for this one.

"Never mind." The Justice League at this rate wouldn't have a secret identity left between them. It's almost funny. Clark wonders what kind of sanctions are put on former superheroes who out other superheroes. He might as well write a tell-all book. The dirty secrets of the Justice League; he'd sell millions, maybe billions. He can see this. "How much--"

"Shut up, Clark. I'm trying to figure out why Lex would let the roads get this bad. Jesus." They bounce--pothole, Clark surmises, and he puts his head on his knees and swallows hard. Not getting sick. Not in this car. Clark's killed Lex's shoe collection. A Porsche being destroyed would just be icing on the cake.

"Yeah, we're--security's gone." Cassius sounds surprised.

Clark snickers. "Batman probably took care of it. Just drive through. Hurry." Something like relief's already thickening in him, making everything clear and less utterly terrifying. Lois is here. Bruce is here. He can do this.

Cassius drives through the parking lot, circling some overgrown building where Clark's pretty sure Lex houses slightly illegal aviation items of interest, and then makes a break for the chain that separates the parking lot from the air strip. Oh. Well, that's a good idea. And he can throw up in Lex's Porsche with impunity, because no way in hell Lex will ever use this car again.

He's hysterical.

When Cassius comes to a stop, Clark lets his eyes open completely. Yes, that's Batman's plane. And that's Lois, so calm, collected, and utterly herself Clark's tempted to simply fall into her arms and let her take over. She's already moving toward them even before Cassius skids to a highly unprofessional stop.

His door is opened with no ceremony at all and the smell of smoke, leather, and expensive perfume overwhelm him. "You look like shit, Smallville."

Clark grins up at her. Perfect make-up, flawless coordination of all accessories, and also unnaturally strong, since she undoes his seatbelt and hauls him out. If there'd been anything left in his stomach, he would have ruined her pantsuit.

"I've missed you," Clark says into her hair, trying not to put too much weight on her. Gently, she braces him against the car, looking him over with a quick, clever eye.

"How do you feel?"

"Remember that time with the Kryptonite and the guy who liked to use it as lotion and he put it on me? Worse."

Lois grins, bright and fast. "Welcome to humanity. What--"

"Bag. Get my bag. We've got to--" Clark shudders, half turning to see Lois' eyes fixed inside. "Cassius. Come on."

There's a moment where the man doesn't move.

"Stop smoking, Miss Lane," Cassius says, and Clark almost knocks his own head into the car. Beside him, he feels Lois stiffen, then the name clicks.

"Tomorrow," she says slowly. "I don't believe we've been introduced. We can do that on the plane."

Clark leans inside the car, looking at Cassius. Dark, glittering eyes and the man's on the very edge. Lex must have kept him under a lot of pressure these last two years. "If he gets hurt, he'll be hurt pretty badly. You're the one who treats him. Come on. We don't have time." Clark hears something like a hysterical giggle erupt. He's getting lightheaded. Fluids would be good here. Surely Bruce has some in his little toy. "Come on. Haven't you ever wanted to save the world?"

The pause lasts forever or maybe no time at all, then Cassius turns the key, eyes fixed on Clark.

"You're--"

"The best ever at what I do," Clark answers, holding Cassius' eyes. "Remember, I'm the only one who ever beat Lex Luthor at anything. Or even came close."

It's a little triumph when the car door opens, and Clark lets Lois' arm go around him, holding him up. She really *is* strong--a second of bracing, then she kicks off her heels, dropping her height a little but getting her balance easily, ruining one hundred percent silk stockings. He supposes his credit card can stand the hit this will cost him. Taking as much of his weight as Cassius did, she starts them moving smoothly, his bag over one shoulder. "You want to explain now?"

"Three Kryptonians, one Lex, one martyr complex. I think I know a better way."

"Fair enough. Bruce isn't happy about being outed, but we had a lovely chat." Clark wishes he could see Lois' mouth, because he knows she's smiling. "Watch your step, Smallville."

Clark nods, mouth dry. "What I want to know is how he's getting into the Fortress. It shouldn't have let him in."

Lois laughs softly. "Two years, right? He probably just annoyed the AI until it gave in to get him to shut up. How are you?"

"Well. If I'd eaten recently, it'd be worse. Jesus, I'm going to kill him for this." It's taking forever, and Clark has the uncomfortable suspicion if he slows down, Lois might try carrying him. And might even succeed. He's still a guy. His pride's not up for that. Forcing his feet to move, Clark looks up to see the plane very close. "How unhappy is Bruce?"

Lois snickers softly and the arm around him tighten. "You'll see for yourself."


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this just keeps getting better :D

Woohoo! You really got on a roll, didn't you, Jenn?

And I'm certainly not going to complain about having to go to a second post, since it means that it's an extra-long installment.

The writing on this is so sharp and clever (and not in just a shallow way) and dead-on, and your characters are so well-presented -- especially the Clark voice, cause he's funny and smart and strong and charming and it's believable that Lex would love this person. And Lois is a delight. This story is rushing right to the top of my little mental "best of Smallville fic" list.

Often, when I'm really caught up in a story, I start to skim the exposition, especially description and action (my internal spacial visualization isn't always the greatest; it's surprisingly seldom that I miss anything major) -- but when my reading auto-pilot starts to skim this story, I force myself to stop and read word-for-word. Because just about every line is a gem.

I'm just blown away by what you're doing here. When the story is finished, I'd love for you to comment a bit on your process/method ... did you outline the story before you started? How extensively? How much rewriting are you doing, day by day? etc etc etc.

Cautiously uncurled from the thumb-sucking fetal position; now perched on the edge of my seat, gnawing my nails to the wrist....

The writing on this is so sharp and clever (and not in just a shallow way) and dead-on, and your characters are so well-presented -- especially the Clark voice, cause he's funny and smart and strong and charming and it's believable that Lex would love this person. And Lois is a delight. This story is rushing right to the top of my little mental "best of Smallville fic" list.

I was just discussing this w/ my best friend today, saying exactly the same thing. I her that I an putting this at the tip top of my "best of..." list. Compared to Jenn's characters, the SV writers' characters seem like brief sketches. That she can do this in short story form and even make her secondary characters come alive enough to walk off the page, says so much about her inestimable talents.

Ditto about "read & discuss" hour, too. I marvelled to my roommate asking how would she go about writing such a compelling tale. "What -- does she make an outline?" Then we railed about our mutual inability to make an outline we can stick to. I rarely know how my stories are going to end.

What Djin wrote, please, Jenn?

Lather, rinse, repeat:

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK!


"Yes, I have a plan. You know, I've been saving the world for over a decade. I just might actually know what I'm doing when it comes to this sort of thing." At least, he thinks so.

"You had powers, then."

Clark grins through the headache. He's having it amputated later. "I have powers now. You're just looking for the wrong ones."


That's our boy! Superman really is a state of mind.

"You want absolutes, talk to Lex. He likes them better. He's always liked impossible standards and being able to hate himself when he fails to live up to them. It makes it easier."

"Easier to what?"

"To give up having any." Lexian psychology.


Best description of OughtToBeFutureCanon!Lex EVER.

"You're--"

"The best ever at what I do," Clark answers, holding Cassius' eyes. "Remember, I'm the only one who ever beat Lex Luthor at anything. Or even came close."


Best description of WhyHe'sAnArchetype!Superman EVER.


I'm actually seeing this part as it could be filmed. Though it's Dean Cain, not TW, and Teri Hatcher for me along with MR. And some wispy blond for Cassius, possibly the guy who played Lt. Barclay on TNG. When I go back and reread the whole thing, I might have quibbles with the pacing, but each installment is going off like a firecracker. The twist with the gold was breathtaking -- literally. It's a beautiful, beautiful use of the "Gift of the Magi"-type situation. Although since Lex seems to have known what he was choosing to do, maybe that's not quite the right model. Regardless, it's just incredibly good.

"Haven't you ever wanted to save the world?": Perfect. I was actually expecting something more along the lines of, "Come on. Do you really want to live forever?" but what you had Clark say is what Clark would say. Though if he could see past Clark's charisma, Cassius might point out that Lex's got the world-saving covered and that Clark is really attempting a last-minute change of plan to save the world plus one.

I would say I'm green with envy at your ability to do this, but really I'm just glad there's someone out there who can.

"Haven't you ever wanted to save the world?": Perfect. I was actually expecting something more along the lines of, "Come on. Do you really want to live forever?" but what you had Clark say is what Clark would say. Though if he could see past Clark's charisma, Cassius might point out that Lex's got the world-saving covered and that Clark is really attempting a last-minute change of plan to save the world plus one.

See now, that's what *I* was gonna say. So I will just point up and nod. *nods*

Characters: I see SV's Lex and Clark. I still love a young Margot Kidder as Lois--she's just sharp enough to play her to the hilt. As for Cassius, I see Michael Harris who played Dr. Daniel Cassian,a politically connected scientist overseeing an elite bio- crisis team, on The Burning Zone. Apparently, he had a guest staring role on Lois & Clark as well. (I thought of him because of the similarities in the characters' names and the character's vocation. So, in my imagination, he stuck.

I would say I'm green with envy at your ability to do this, but really I'm just glad there's someone out there who can.

Yes! Thanks, again, Jenn.

Simply breathtaking.

Mmm, saying anything else seems to be redundant at this point.

Keep his stomach quiet, work through the headache, and later, much later, in a much fairer future, Cassius the oh so great doctor and geneticist is going to design a virus that Lex can catch. Or something. Because in that fair future, he's going to do something incredibly stupid and make Lex come rescue him when he feels like absolute shit.

And what's getting me about this wonderful story today is that in the midst of all this great drama there's banter. Even when Lex isn't there, it's internal and it's hilarious, and Lex may as well be there to keep knocking it back like a tennis ball, but he miraculously doesn't have to be for the banter to just keep on rolling, one-sided. Because that's how close they are. Look how shmoopy you leave me. : )

I waited until I read both parts of this part to comment.

Better and better.

Layers on layers.

Can't wait for the icing!

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! *bites fingernails*

Damn, I love this.

Can't wait for more.

my day has been an utter hell... a nightmare... but even after all that, I still find myself smiling after reading this. Tense, vivid, funny, romantic... just... *sigh* loving it. Can't wait for the next installment!

Chris

Ah, the good old days. When Clark wasn't sick and Lex wasn't suicidal, just egotistical and somewhat on the edge of megalomaniacal. Clark's almost nostalgic.

Oh. Oh so good. Again, I'm reduced to saying that there are so many good things here and so many wonderful turns of dialogue and I LOVE IT. LOVE. IT.

Ahem. Yes, then; waiting for more. Thank you!

... Oh. Well, that's a good idea. And he can throw up in Lex's Porsche with impunity, because no way in hell Lex will ever use this car again.

He's hysterical.


He's hysterical? I'm hysterical! This is so amazingly good! I can hardly wait for the next installment...but I don't ever want it to end. Wow.

Um...what did he need to pick up at his apartment?

hmm... I was wondering that myself. Best guess I could logically derive would be the Superman costume. Though I hope he'd only use it to fool the three new Kryptonians into thinking he was (still is) Superman with all his powers as a distraction while the rest of whatever plan they've cooked up with is carried out. Or if it is the costume I devoutly hope he does not have a plan/way to get his powers back. I am in love with the way Jenn writes Clark as a human and the way he's learning all over again how to be in this world and to be able to share his love and life with Lex.

Argh!!! I didn't even realize it, but I was biting my nails while reading. Something I haven't done in more than six months.

But it's just so good, and enthralling, and everything I love about your writing that it's ok.

Can't wait for them to catch up with Lex...

Cassius drives like Lex, and it scares him that Lex might have found his car soulmate right here.

LOL. Better watch out Clark or you'll have competition for Lex's love. *snicker* I love your use of humor and wit Jenn!
+++++

"Three Kryptonians, one Lex, one martyr complex.

*snerk* The new motto for LexCorp.
+++++

"Clark, why is Batman in Metropolis?"

Clark wishes he'd kept his mouth shut. He'd asked for this one.

"Never mind." The Justice League at this rate wouldn't have a secret identity left between them. It's almost funny. Clark wonders what kind of sanctions are put on former superheroes who out other superheroes. He might as well write a tell-all book. The dirty secrets of the Justice League; he'd sell millions, maybe billions.

*claps* Drama and comedy all in one story. Can hardly wait to see what happens next.


Lois laughs softly. "Two years, right? He probably just annoyed the AI until it gave in to get him to shut up. How are you?"

Bwahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!!!

Have I mentioned that you are a total rock star?

Will you marry me???

(Waiting with bated breath for the continuation!)

(Can't wait to see Bruce's reaction!!!! hahahaha! *Cue: Maniacal Laughter*)

Props to you! --xarienne.


I've just spent the past two - three? - hours sitting here, eyes glued to the screen, reading through all 400K+ of the story so far. Now it's dawn, and I'm still sitting here, trying to come up with the words.

I don't even know where to start.

Except...

"Come on. Haven't you ever wanted to save the world?"

This was where I said, My god, I love you, Jenn.

Like RivkaT said, perfect.

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