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The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation


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fic: a separate peace
children of dune - leto 1
seperis
*thinks*

This is--not what I expected. I'm still working out what it IS, since I'm not sure.

Thanks to Pearl-o, Caro, and Bethy for reading it over and telling me their first impressions.

*****


A Separate Peace by jenn

Apology:

*Wake up.*

Clark's aware of the chilly night with the pull of the blanket from his shoulder, and he jerks at it, wondering if it could possibly be morning, and is he whining at his mother like a little kid? It can't have been that long yet. He'd left his parents early in the evening to their own private celebration, retreating to the loft in silence to hide under some blankets and start forgetting.

It's a must for Smallville. His fingers scrabble at the blanket but somehow it pulls free when he forgets to use all his strength, pooling around his waist. The t-shirt's too thin--he doesn't get *cold*, per se, but there's discomfort in icy air sliding against sleep-warmed skin.

Opening his eyes, Clark gets a glimpse of the rafters hung with shadows before his gaze is drawn down by a single smooth, cool touch to his cheek.

Lex is crouching by the edge of the couch, leather-coated hand already withdrawing to close over the edge of the couch.

"Lex?" The beginnings of surprise are drowned out by the look on Lex's face. "Lex, is something--did something happen?" He thinks he can smell alcohol, not the brandy that he'd become accustomed to, something sharper. Lex is as immaculate as always, though, dark suit and carelessly elegant even in what should be the height of inelegance in pose. The blue eyes shift over him warily. "I--what?"

The silence stretches briefly, tellingly, before Lex's head tilts. The thinking look, like right before he lies. "I'm sorry, Clark. I thought you'd still be awake."

At *midnight*? A quick glance shows the green neon numbers of the clock in the corner, marking the hour. Dad had relented and let him move it up here weeks ago, tacitly giving him permission to sleep in the loft when he chose to, trust that he would never abuse the privilege.

This--this was definitely an abuse of the privilege, no question.

"No--no problem." It's too real for disconnection--Clark's aware of the lumps of the couch beneath his back, the bare springs pushing up beneath. His toes are peeking out from beneath the blanket and a normal person might notice they were very, very cold. "Is--did something happen with your dad at the hospital?" No other reason can penetrate. There are times when Clark feels like some bizarre cross of Lex's confessor and Lex's ideal--an uncomfortable position at the best of times, plain terrifying when days like the last have happened. He looks for worry, resentment, or anger, finding nothing but unblinking regard, like Lex isn't completely here at all. "Are you--have you been drinking?"

"For years." The smile's slow and strange. One of those conversations, then, where Clark's not entirely sure Lex is talking to him at all. Getting an arm back, Clark sits up, scooting back enough to lean into the armrest, drawing his legs up. Unmannerly to leave guests crouching on the floor, though God knows, his mother's lessons in good manners hadn't gotten around to covering this. "I--my father--" Lex frowns, like he's trying to remember. Alcohol? "He's--"

"He'll be fine," Clark says with absolutely no idea if it's true. He's not used to having to draw Lex out--it's a on or off sort of thing. Either Lex tells of his free will or doesn't tell at all. Clark's still working out how to get around that. It's the stuff Lex doesn’t tell that Clark's beginning to think is the stuff he needs to *know*. "I mean--you said the doctor said that he'd recover okay. That he wasn't--shot anywhere really--" Important? Jesus. Sliding a hand through his hair, Clark gropes for something to say. "Um. Sit down. Here." He draws his legs up further, trying to make the invitation obvious.

"Oh." Lex moves--liquid movements that Clark's never seen before, nothing like anyone drunk could manage, surely. Seated just inches from his feet when there's enough space for him to be farther away, and Clark's toes feel the brush of cashmere, soft wool, and silk as Lex settles back. "Thank you."

"Sure." Clark waits--it's got to be confession, but Clark can't imagine for what. He's not even sure he wants to know what, with Lex turning that intensity back on him. Something big, then, and Clark remembers Lex in the barn and the tornado, that need to *tell* that scraped across Clark's every nerve. He's felt like that too many times not to recognize it, has been denied too many times not to resent it. "Um. Is everything okay?"

"Better," Lex says slowly, almost tasting the words. "Much better, I--my father is fine, I suppose." He doesn't sound worried, but that doesn't make Clark relax any. "I wanted to see--how you were." There's not a question, but Clark almost feels like it wants to be one.

"Dad's okay. He's just glad to be out of jail." Clark breathes out, shutting his eyes for a second. Confession would be so cool. He'd like that option one day. He'd like someone who would sit down and listen while he told everything--and he does mean *everything*. Like, my dad was in jail and when I heard he had a fight with Mr. Luthor and he got drunk at the bar? I wondered if he did it. Pete hadn't believed for a second, and neither did Chloe, but hey, I did. Tell me how great a son I am *now*. And don't thank me, Dad, please. You have no idea what you're thanking me for.

Wow, that's something else he's not telling, and he adds it to the list in his head and waits for Lex to tell him something. Something about himself, drown out some inner voices and cool himself down.

"Did you think I did it?" Lex asks, and there's a strange quality in his voice. Not even curious like it should maybe be, and pretty damn direct, for Lex.

This is why Clark avoids conversation about himself. His toes dig into the couch, his mind already offering ten thousand ways around that question, and it should shame him, but Lex is scraping way too close to raw nerves. "I was worried about my dad."

"I forgot," Lex says, and Clark's eyes jerk up. Lex is smiling at him, affectionate and amused. "How you do that. All I wanted was a yes or a no." Lex shrugs. "Never mind."

"I’m glad you helped me clear Dad's name," Clark says, because it feels like he should offer something here. Yes, Lex, I suspected you, because on this one? I would have suspected Lana if I could. And don't think I didn't try. "Um. Dad was--"

"I'm sure he's glad to be home."

Where is this going, anyway? Clark wraps his arms around his knees, resigned to a night of sitting and listening to conversation that doesn't make sense. Sleep was hard to get to anyway--fitful and disturbed, with half-dreams of his dad yelling at his mom and his dad with a gun. The bizarrely comforting thought of Lex with one, making the double shot that took out the person who is responsible for most of the stress in Clark's life. The enabler of his life, for that matter. Damn. Forehead pressed to his knees, Clark wonders if there's a way to get Lex to leave short of pissing him off badly and bringing a whole new level of complex to his life. Lex forgives, Clark counts on that, but he sometimes thinks Lex is never entirely sure what he's forgiving Clark for.

Clark does that a lot, though--he's forgiven Lex things that he'll never know about. He wants to keep it that way, in some part of his head. Suspicions are one thing. Concrete knowledge is entirely different.

"What would you have done? If it had been me?" Lex asks, like it's an important question, but it brings Clark upright. Alcohol, late night, and Lex is going to hate them both for this conversation in the morning. He's showing too much.

"I--don't know." He'd like to say outright rejection's the first reaction, but the trade off of a family that's not scared to death of Lionel doesn’t sound too bad, no matter what kind of morals he's been taught. There's ethics and then there's practicality, and Clark's learning. "I didn't--seriously think you set up my dad." Ordered someone else take the fall, though? Clark can see that. "You thought my dad did it. What would you have done?" If it'd been as true in life as it was so briefly in Clark's head. Dad up for murder, mom falling apart, and he can't think like this. Goes nowhere.

Lex *had* thought Jonathan had done it, even if only briefly, and that rankles still. Lex had thought so, Clark had maybe thought so, and Clark had seen the flash in his mother's eyes, pure shock, and for about five seconds, he'd hated her for putting all this into motion. And for that shock, because dammit, he'd needed someone to tell him it wasn't true, and no one did. He's sixteen. Faith in his family should be a given, not an option.

"Prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," Lex answers easily. "Probably destroyed your family, while I was at it. You'd do the same, right, Clark?"

There's a coolness to the words that defies simple retaliation--and hadn't Lex said they were okay? Right, maybe he forgot the memo. Shifting up, Clark looks over his knees, watching Lex's face warily. Lex is so rarely retaliatory--just Desiree in memory. That cold moment in the hall of the hospital.

"Yeah." His voice shakes a little, but he can't control that.

"It must be hard," Lex muses softly, almost to himself. "For you during this. I didn't think of that."

Right back square in Clark emotional landscape, but there's an uncomfortable kind of sympathy in his eyes.

"I--yeah." This feels wrong. Clark shivers, pushing into the couch with his heels. A desperate glance at the clock. "Um, Lex, it's late--"

"When no one believed you," Lex goes on, and Clark's mouth clamps shut over the words. "You were the only one who *knew*, and you had to find a way to prove it. Your dad's reputation being dragged through the mud right in front of you."

Right, Dad's rep for hating Luthors more than anything. Such a great, great way to start an impromptu investigation. Frowning, Clark stares at his knees.

"It was frustrating, wasn't it?" Lex's voice makes it less question than certainty, doesn't require Clark to respond. Letting Clark get away with saying nothing, lie or truth. "When they didn't believe you?"

"Yeah." It comes out mostly by accident, and Clark looks up, but Lex looks sympathetic. Like he knows. And God knows, he should, with his dad. With his own reputation.

"I know." A hand rests almost incidentally on his knee, and it's so rare Lex uses physical displays that Clark lets it stay. It's comforting, somehow. "Reputations are a killer, fair or no. They should know him, shouldn't they, Clark?"

They do know him, though. Clark fixes his gaze on his lap. He can remember the bartender's words, his mother's face. Tell me this isn't true, Mom, but he hadn't said the words, because he couldn't break the illusion that everything was okay, some huge conspiracy that he'd figure out because that's what he *does*. "Yeah."

"It wasn't fair, Clark. Leaving you to fix their mistakes."

Fix Dad's mistakes, maybe. Too many years of too-vocal protests, too much hostility, and Clark can't seriously blame Lex for believing the worst, not when Dad had been acting like that for so long.

"I should have had more faith in your dad, Clark." Lex sound disturbingly regretful. "I--wasn't thinking clearly. But even with that evidence, I know the Kent family honor. I'm sorry for that, Clark."

Clark looks up sharply, mouth working. "I--" The words catch in lump in his throat. "I was mad, but--your dad was in surgery. And--and what Ethan said--" Lying bastard. His dad's friend, who betrayed them, all because of Lionel. Who got off scot-free, and how f--fucked up is *that*?

Clark feels himself blushing just *thinking* the word.

"Ethan just made it all up to save his ass," Lex says, gently rubbing Clark's knee, and Clark looks up in gratitude. "None of it was true, and I should have known it."

If just *someone* had believed--just for a minute. Believed what Clark had to, that his dad would never, ever-- "You were upset," Clark whispers. "Ethan--he tricked everyone. He--he used Dad's reputation against him."

Lex nods, still rubbing, and it's soothing. Clark shifts enough to give Lex a little more access. "Your father isn't a violent person, Clark. Not like that."

Leave out Phelan and Nixon and that time everyone was acting crazy, and a few other minor incidents, but like Mom said, it's Dad. Dad in his uncertain, temperamental glory, shooting off and leaving a mess behind. Clark tries to ignore the shudder of anger that ripples beneath his skin.

"T--Ethan said there was a restraining order.". Lex must have heard about that. Put with everything else--God, that looked *so* bad. But Lex just rubs his knee absently and nods, like it doesn't mean anything. "My dad wouldn't do anything like that, Lex. He just--wouldn't. No matter how angry he got."

"I know." A hard squeeze, and Lex nods. "He's never shot anyone. And--I have."

Clark doesn't think about the Nicodemus flower thing often. Not really. It was all accident--the gun had gone off without Dad meaning it at all, it was the *flower*, his dad would never hurt anyone, especially him. Dad had been--so out of control, like he'd been mainlining grain alcohol for hours. One hand touches his chest without even meaning to, remembering the shock of the bullet, the hand-sized bruise he'd stared at in the mirror for hours afterward.

He strokes over the skin, slow and easy, remembered snap of too-brief pain, almost drowned by the shock.

"Yeah," Clark whispers. "He'd never shoot your father, Lex. You know him. He--he gets angry, but he doesn't *hurt* people. Even--even if he'd been drinking." That thing with the flower was the anomaly. "He's a good man." It's scaring him that he keeps saying that. Lex has to believe. He has to.

"A very good man," Lex agrees softly with another squeeze, then his hand relaxes, just sitting on Clark's knee like Lex has forgotten it's there at all. "I saw how much stress you were under, Clark. I was angry, not blind." A pat Clark can barely feel through the twin barriers of blanket and denim. "Your dad must have been proud of you, for everything you managed."

Clark's mouth goes dry. "Yeah." Glad to be out, glad his son had found a way, and he and Mom had spent all of dinner staring at each other like the other might vanish. Like after-Phelan all over again. Biting his lip, Clark looks down.

"Clark?" Lex's voice is all gentle worry, and the hand on his knee tightens. "Clark, are you okay?"

Of course he's fine. He takes a deep breath, letting it out slowly. "Just--everything's catching up, I guess."

"Do you want to talk about it?" Lex shifts close enough that the soft material of his coat covers Clark's toes, cashmere and wonderful, and he can't help wiggling his toes in it a little. Lex won't know. Probably wouldn't care if he did.

"I--" God, it would be a relief, but Clark can't even begin to form the words. I doubted my father, Lex. I doubted you but you're my friend. He's my *dad*. "I'm just tired."

"It's okay, you know," Lex says softly, and the soothing hand tightens again. Clark forces himself to look up. "Doubt's okay, Clark. It--it has nothing to do with *you*. It's the person you doubted that's at fault."

Is it? Clark shivers, nothing about the cold. "I--" Clark stops hard, biting his lip.

The touch on his face is a surprise, thumb pressing against his lower lip until he lets it go. "Don't do that. It's not your fault, Clark."

How can he say that? "Lex--"

"You had reasons for your doubt."

"He's my dad!"

It's even uglier when it's put into words, dirty, something no son should believe of his father. It hangs between them, so real, this huge accusation that can't be taken back, and Clark shuts his eyes tight. No. He's not--that kind of person.

"It's not your fault, Clark." The hand strokes so gently, and it's almost like the forgiveness that he can't give himself. "You can't blame yourself for circumstances that were beyond your control."

"He's my dad," Clark whispers, and he hears the break in his voice, the way he won't cry, even when he wants to. That bartender and his story of alcohol. Blackouts. Just like the flower. Not remember.

God, no.

"It was his actions, Clark, not yours. And you believed enough to help him, try to clear him--"

"I had to know," Clark hears himself say, and Lex makes it alright, the steady stroking that he can't help leaning into, and Clark lets Lex press his knees away, shifting closer, so close that soft cashmere brushes his bare hands, locked in his lap. "I--I had to know. God, Lex, I--I was--I--" He's never stuttered before. It's almost enough to break him.

"Shhh." Warm leather settles on the back of his neck, rubbing in slow, smooth circles. "Clark, you don't have to--"

"I--I--he fought with Lionel, he *lied* to us and he didn't tell us everything and he's my dad. If my dad--if my dad--" Clark hears his voice break completely, and he sounds, God, ten maybe. "He lied to *us*. He lied to *me*."

"That's not your fault."

"I didn't want to--I didn't want to believe he--that he could do that, but he lied. He lied to the police and he lied to me and he lied to Mom, and he *hates* your Dad, Lex, and--and he was so mad, and God, it could have, I--"

Lex tilts his head up, and Clark's shocked when slim fingers trace his cheek, the leather coming away shiny and wet. He's--crying. He's crying in front of *Lex*.

"Tell me, Clark."

Clark swallows the lump away. It's impossible not to, now. "I saw him shoot somebody, too."

"Oh, Clark." He doesn't know how, but he's pulled, so gently, and his head's against Lex's shoulder, and Lex is *holding* him, like he's the one that's been hurt. This is so new, so strange, so *wanted*. Like he's a little kid and Clark wishes desperately he didn't need it, that he could pull away. Be grown up and strong and--but-- "Clark. Stop blaming yourself."

"The--that time? When everyone was acting so weird? With the flower? He--acted like he was drunk, and he was so mad, and he took his gun and left. And I--I followed him because, because I didn't want him to--I didn't--" Clark shudders, hand on his chest again. He thinks he'll feel that shot until the day he dies. "He--"

His mind's screaming about *secrets* and *wrong* and *don't tell*, the words he knew every meaning of before he could even spell them. Never tell. Keep apart. No one that close. Even Pete, who's too close sometimes, making Clark feel suffocated, every instinct tense and shocky every time he thinks about it. That he knows *anything* at all.

"You don't have to--"

"He--I thought…. He's--he's so scared of losing Mom, losing everything. He's--so angry, he hates your dad and he--" Clark can barely believe he's saying it, but it feels too true, and it's impossible to stop. Impossible to take back, and he turns his head into warm cashmere, wondering if he could burrow down into that fabric and never come out again. He's going to hate himself tomorrow.

"He wouldn't. He didn't."

Clark swallows. "You--Lex, I thought he might. Have."

It's this eternal stretch of time that Lex just holds him, and Clark's too exhausted to even think, even try to trace every mistake he's made tonight. Lex, though--Lex isn't angry or horrified or disgusted, just holding him and Lex doesn't touch anyone, anytime. Stroking his hair now, soothing and sweet, telling him without words it's okay.

"It's okay to be angry," Lex whispers, so gently, it slips over Clark like a blanket. "It's okay, Clark. You don't have to always be good and keep it in."

"He's my dad."

"That doesn't make him always right and you always wrong." Fingertips graze his forehead, pushing his hair back, and Clark's vaguely aware he's clutching soft cashmere in both hands. Lex is warm and hard underneath. "It's an impossible standard, Clark. You can't hold yourself to that."

"My-my mom." It's the worst thing, the worst part, and he's shivering constantly. He's never been cold until now. "I--I saw it. When she looked at him. She thought he--thought he maybe--" She remembers the bullet holes in his shirt, too.

"That had to have been hard to see," Lex says, and there's another graze of fingertips against his skin, lingering, gentle. Threading through his hair, almost hypnotic. "But Clark--"

"I'm his son," Clark whispers brokenly. "She's his wife. If--if we could even *think*, if we--"

"Clark, don't--"

"I thought he was--he was what I was supposed to be! I wanted to be like him when I grew up!" It's like a train crash, no way to bring it to a halt, hit pause, draw back. "I don't--I don't--" He's his dad. Clark wonders if every teenager gets a moment like this, shocky and wide-eyed and terrified. His parents are people. His dad--his dad could have been a murderer two nights ago, if that bartender hadn't been--hadn't been a f-fucking *liar*. "I--everytime I look at him, I know he sees it. I know--I know he thinks--that he thinks--"

"That can't be true."

Clark closes his eyes and noses cashmere softly. "He saw it in me, Lex. How can--how can he--"

"That's not your fault either."

Clark hears himself laugh. "Everything's my fault, Lex."

The stroking pauses, and fingers slide under his chin, tilting his face up. Clark doesn’t want to, but the gentleness is more relentless than his strength could ever be. "You're not responsible for everything that goes wrong." The stroking starts again--vaguely hypnotic, and so little Lex, touching him, touching *anyone*, he doesn't even do this for Helen, but it's too good to think about. "Shh. Just close your eyes. Let it go. You didn't do anything wrong. You never do."

Clark wants to laugh at that, but he's pretty sure it won't sound right.

"He brought it on himself with his temper, Clark. You didn't cause any of it, I promise. Let it go. Just--accept it and move on. You can do it, Clark."

Do people get over things like this? Clark wants to protest, but God, he's tired, and Lex shifts over, urging him without words to just stretch out, and Lex is better than a pillow, warm and soft, too, the material of his pants comforting against Clark's cheek.

"It's not your fault," Lex whispers gently, soothingly, in rhythm with those slow strokes of his hair, and Clark remembers Kyla touching him like that, but it's lost under a wave of something very close to exhaustion.

"I'm sorry, Lex," Clark whispers, because he has to. And he can say it, here, in the dark. Lex knows so much already, he's got to know that, too.

"I know," Lex murmurs soothingly, and his hand slips accidentally against Clark's cheek, stroking briefly. Clark thinks a little vaguely that he likes it. "I forgive you."

*****

A few notes. Sort of.

Constructive criticism would be awfully nice if anyone has time. I think I know where it's going, but...I'm not entirely sure. A lot is based on perception, and I'm not sure this is quite enough to give the right impression.

God, I have no idea what I'm doing, but at the time? Seemed like a REALLY good idea.


Well, I'm not sure I can tell what it is or where it's going, either... but I like it.

It's like Lex has come to give the comfort that he's never gotten, and that's the only way he can find solace, vicariously. Or something.

I like it. :-)

*grins* Thanks!

I'm still--weirded out by how it turned out. It was supposed to do something else, but it--well, won't. Or didn't. Hmm. I'm thrilled it didn't come off completely out of left field though. Phew!

*hugs* Thanks SO much.

Hmm. You do an admirable job with this one. Fine line, delicate balance, all that business. Because you *are* tackling something very difficult, and... wow. I can't imagine too many other writers I'd let near this bunny, you know.

I think a lot depends on what Lex's motivations are. What's he after? *Is* he after anything? Consciously or unconsciously? There's a real sense that he's playing Clark, not even to be all evil, but just to get some sense of closure.

And personally, I'd play that up, and lose things like:

"You don't have to--"

If not, then I think the story loses a lot of its power and general structure.

Also, you might want to consider the way Clark falls apart. Canonically, he tends to do it in rather... brittle, angry, *forceful* ways -- even scary ways. I'm not saying he wouldn't cry at all, I'm just saying it wouldn't be amiss to tone it down a tad.

*nod* I cannot, and rarely have been able to, write anyone crying. And it really did feel uncomfortably wrong when I did it, but breaking Clark is a totally new, uncomfortably fun experience. *eg* Usually I get to break Lex.

Hmm.

I think a lot depends on what Lex's motivations are. What's he after? *Is* he after anything? Consciously or unconsciously? There's a real sense that he's playing Clark, not even to be all evil, but just to get some sense of closure.

The thing is--it feels deliberately manipulative, which while Lex IS, he isn't really this MUCH, or good enough at it that Clark wouldn't catch it. So it feels like Lex, but not--quite the right one? Does that make sense? And I'm not sure of his motives, either.

And personally, I'd play that up, and lose things like:

"You don't have to--"

If not, then I think the story loses a lot of its power and general structure.


Yeah, that's where I started backing down on manipulative Lex and boom, it reads even worse. *nod* I'm in total agreement.

Also, you might want to consider the way Clark falls apart. Canonically, he tends to do it in rather... brittle, angry, *forceful* ways -- even scary ways. I'm not saying he wouldn't cry at all, I'm just saying it wouldn't be amiss to tone it down a tad.

*nod* Crying--really doesn't work for me, even when I was writing girls, so yeah. And I'm fond of Clark's very short temper and ways of dealing in anger.

*hugs* THanks, chica! I appreciate the analysis.



I'm fine with Clark's tears here because he's experiencing an epiphany he's never had on the show, and he probably never will -- at least not this forcefully. I think he would be exactly this traumatized by the collapse of his denial of his father's culpability. And if Lex draws this reaction out of Clark for manipulative reasons, I think that's fine too. He doesn't deserve Clark's apology any less, and Clark needs to open his eyes to everything that's wrong about what Jonathan teaches him.

I think this scene redeems the episode. It's an excellent explanation of Clark's stupidity in regard to Lex. If only you worked for TPTB.

I can like Clark again after reading this.

And the bunny? It's kind of a Hamlet bunny. Not strictly speaking, but it has that feel. And I've started it.

I can like Clark again after reading this.

That is--marvelous. *hugs* Thank you!

I think I'll be reworking it a little, or maybe adding some. It feels0--not so much unfinished as incomplete. Okay, that only made sense in my head. But there it is. *g*

And the bunny? It's kind of a Hamlet bunny. Not strictly speaking, but it has that feel. And I've started it.

*snaps to attention*

I adore you. *nudge* Email me when you have some so I can see? *bouncebouncebounce* Please please please?

*hopeful*

(Deleted comment)
Wow. At first, it sounded like Lex was playing with Clark, when he said things like "Reputations are a killer, fair or no. They should know him, shouldn't they, Clark?". It sounded like he was saying, see? Me and your dad were under the same circumstances but you chose him over me, and he was gonna turn it all around on Clark at the end.

That's--exactly how I thought it was going to go--or close to it. Then it--didn't. *nod*

But then it was Clark feeling guilty for thinking his dad did it. Which I *really* liked. Because you can totally see it when they were at the jail. Clark obviously doesn't believe that Bo didn't do it, but it's his job to solve everything and Bo himself basically tells him this. Normally Bo would warn Clark, ask him not to risk himself, but he doesn't this time. Don't know where you're going with it so far, but I really like it.

*hugs* Thanks!

All these comments are so clarifing for rewriting. I keep referring back to see how people took it to see if I can make a cleaner story. Thank you so much!

Wow. That was...well, I'm still not sure what that was, but...ah, I'm still in doubt. Did Clark's dad shoot Lionel?

And what does Lex mean when he said that he shot somebody, too? Is he referring to the immediate accident, or some time in his past?

I guess all this is unclear because it's based on perception...or maybe it's just me being stupid. Anywho, great fic! Loved the snuggling...getting pats from Lex. man, is he lucky. *jealous jealous jealous*

*grin* Can't wait for the continuation! There is, uh, definitely going to be a continuation, n'est-ce pas?

-lestrange


Wow. That was...well, I'm still not sure what that was, but...ah, I'm still in doubt. Did Clark's dad shoot Lionel?

Ooh, I should have said. This is a coda, sort of, to Suspect. Have you seen it yet or should I warn you away from being spoiled?

And what does Lex mean when he said that he shot somebody, too? Is he referring to the immediate accident, or some time in his past?

Vortex, he shot Nixon, but Lex also shot Clark in Hug.

*Grins* Wow, it scares me I know EPISODE NAMES now. *laughs*

I guess all this is unclear because it's based on perception...or maybe it's just me being stupid. Anywho, great fic! Loved the snuggling...getting pats from Lex. man, is he lucky. *jealous jealous jealous*

*grin* Can't wait for the continuation! There is, uh, definitely going to be a continuation, n'est-ce pas?


*pets* Never stupid. It--IS a lot on perception. And hee, yes, definitely a continuation! Er, I think.

*hugs* Thanks for the comments!

Mmmmmm. Yummy, yummy style of writing. Very intriguing. I like your Clark in this, with his recognition of his odd place in Lex's world, at the start - and Lex is very vivid through Clark's eyes.

Lex seems a little...creepy - the comforting is nice, but Clark is struggling so hard against saying the things he wants to say that Lex seems almost as though he's trying to soothe the words out of him; he's softer than I expect Lex to be. Edge-less. His actions don't seem to have clear motives attached, so I'm wondering - what is it Lex is after? Has he changed his tactics with Clark for a reason?

Clark's gradual confession of his own doubts about his father is a good illustration of the tell-don't tell dichotomy/war Clark's got going on. I'm not entirely sure what impression you're trying to give, but I like it; Clark seems to be coming to quite a realization - you may be skirting the edges of something here, rather than hitting it head on - and tho Lex is quite distinct because Clark does know his traits and habits and such, he's still a bit of a cypher with regard to the reasons he's drawing Clark out.

Mmmmmm. Yummy, yummy style of writing. Very intriguing. I like your Clark in this, with his recognition of his odd place in Lex's world, at the start - and Lex is very vivid through Clark's eyes.

*smiles* Thank you very much. I really do enjoy writing Lex through Clarks' eyes--he has to be both confusing and fascinating, with all those different parts of his personality and his uniqueness in Clark's experience.

Lex seems a little...creepy - the comforting is nice, but Clark is struggling so hard against saying the things he wants to say that Lex seems almost as though he's trying to soothe the words out of him; he's softer than I expect Lex to be. Edge-less. His actions don't seem to have clear motives attached, so I'm wondering - what is it Lex is after? Has he changed his tactics with Clark for a reason?

*nod* It IS a little creepy--it's not typical Lex behavior, and it feels manipulative, like he's TRYING to get something out of Clark in a way that Clark will find hard to not give. If that makes sense.

Clark's gradual confession of his own doubts about his father is a good illustration of the tell-don't tell dichotomy/war Clark's got going on. I'm not entirely sure what impression you're trying to give, but I like it; Clark seems to be coming to quite a realization - you may be skirting the edges of something here, rather than hitting it head on - and tho Lex is quite distinct because Clark does know his traits and habits and such, he's still a bit of a cypher with regard to the reasons he's drawing Clark out.

*nod* I need to work on that and get at least Lex partially clarified, even if Clark never figures it out.

*hugs* Thanks for the comments. Phew. I kept staring at this going, WHAT did I do here?

I got the impression that Lex (and the alcohol he's imbibed) had come out of the hospital conver/confrontation with Lionel, brooded and, lacking the ability to kick the crap out of Lionel, came over loaded for proverbial and manipulative bear. And then Clark didn't lie to him again. Which leaves both of them confused as hell.

I liked this very much! I didn't have a problem with Clark crying here - under the circumstances and given the amount of stress he's been carrying, it is a natural reaction.


Ah, I was waiting to see if anyone had the same reaction as me *g*. With the initial set up of Lex + alcohol, the rest all fell together logically for me. Very nicely done.

Apologies first for this being so long. :-) I could blame it on my being awake in the middle of the night when I should be sleeping, but it's just me.

"It was frustrating, wasn't it?" Lex's voice makes it less question than certainty, doesn't require Clark to respond. Letting Clark get away with saying nothing, lie or truth. "When they didn't believe you?"

"Yeah." It comes out mostly by accident, and Clark looks up, but Lex looks sympathetic. Like he knows. And God knows, he should, with his dad. With his own reputation.


This is a prime piece of your wonderful writing that I thought was Lex doing a bit of doublespeak. On the surface he is being sympathetic to Clark but I felt if you read between the lines he was also bringing up how most of the people and during this episode Clark believe the hype of his own turbulent teen years, the reputation of being a Luthor, the 'evil' of his father's shadow looming over him, and tar him with the same brush of untrustworthyness or refuse to give him a chance to show himself and to trod a different path than that of Lionel.

That thing with the flower was the anomaly. "He's a good man." It's scaring him that he keeps saying that. Lex has to believe. He has to.

Sounds like Clark is desperately trying to convince himself here too. I like that. *beams* I like to see Clark exploring his emotions instead of constantly breaking things and shoving people against walls. I know the within the context of the show Clark is still young and also taking baby steps into how to use his powers effectively, but except for Clark taking his frustration out on a house beam when Nixon had his father framed for murder in order to blackmail Clark*1st sn.* I feel sometimes the shows writers use Clark using force too much or in too many wrong ways making him seem more like just a hair shy of a bully and not a scared for his dad (or someone else)kid.

Up until the point where Lex starts going on about Ethan I was still expecting him to be manipulating Clark for a bit of gut wrenching revenge in retaliation for Clark using his killing of Nixon (which saved Clark and his dad, but also saved Lex's scheme being totally exposed) against him when he practically accused him of shooting Lionel in the episode. (At that point in the epsiode myself I was yelling at Clark for betraying Lex and not thinking this through. I keep forgetting he's still got some growing up to do and that the show's writers are making Clark more immature by the moment it sometimes seems. *growls to self Clark is throwing the love of his life away there* ok *grin* ending ep. rant)

more...

He lied to *us*. He lied to *me*."

I really liked these sentences. Not only did Jonathon lie about thing(s) in this ep., but the second sentence here also has a greater secondary impact as in a subconcious, or concious, way Clark can be referring to the fact that his dad (and mom) had never clued him into his true orgins until after Lex ran into him with his car in the premiere epsiode. Which I feel could help lend credence to Clark's little crying jag here. Revelations from one's parents about things and people in the past not being like you thought they were can throw you for an emotional loop a long time still after you've been told.

For example, within the span of little more than a year apart my mother and her mother died. Literally right after my mother's funeral my father shocked my sister and I by telling us that before he met my mother he had been married before and it quickly ended. Stunned by this revelation I felt the foundations of my world rocked as I forced myself to ask if I had any siblings out there and secretly wondered why this was all coming out now. Apparently this previous marriage was something that my dad still is upset about, as after telling us about it and that there were no children from this marriage that he never wanted to have it brought up and discussed again. And not long before my grandmother passed on she let out another couple of family secrets, not as immediately affecting me as my dad's but I began to wonder if I was either living in a soap opera or if I even knew my family at all. And I still wonder sometimes about my perceptions of life. Maybe after this episode Clark is wondering some himself about he sees his family and life in general. Sorry for the long ramble.

Emrinalexander wrote:
I got the impression that Lex (and the alcohol he's imbibed) had come out of the hospital conver/confrontation with Lionel, brooded and, lacking the ability to kick the crap out of Lionel, came over loaded for proverbial and manipulative bear. And then Clark didn't lie to him again. Which leaves both of them confused as hell.

I thought that was a very good statement. Though I don't know if I'm presonally convinced Lex was out for bear, maybe angry and frustrated with Clark and his father but after seeing sleeping Clark and after a point in the story's conversation some of the wind (for revenge or manipulation) was taken out of his sails.

thete1 wrote:
I think a lot depends on what Lex's motivations are. What's he after? *Is* he after anything? Consciously or unconsciously? There's a real sense that he's playing Clark, not even to be all evil, but just to get some sense of closure.

A very good point thete1. I'm not sure what sense of closure you mean, but I can see Lex needing something like a sense of closeness/or reconnecting with Clark. Not wanting to be adrift emotionally from the one he looked to in some way as a tether to his own goodness, a person he needed to believe that Lex had good in him. Clark is like a light to keep the darkness in his soul at bay. If Clark stops believing in him what's to stop him from crossing closer and faster to being like his father he might feel.
Ok I'm crossing shows but this might help explain what I mean. On a recent ep. of Buffy:tvs Spike was being tortured physically and emotionally to give up his faith in Buffy/in his own worthiness/goodness but he didn't. If he had he would have become more of a pawn of The First and have been lost once again since regaining his soul, his second chance.

I promise last posting from me today. *BG*

Upon first glancing at your title for this fic, "A seperate Peace" I was quickly reminded of a favorite novel that I first discovered in my sophmore English Lit class, same title but the author was John Knowles. A wonderful coincidence which gave me a smile. You both are talented writers who draw your readers in with your depth of prose and move the reader to reflect.

I'm not sure where you're going with this, either, but I really like it.
As for Clark crying? Well, I see te's point about how he usually expresses it, but I think you're okay here. Clark normally reacts with explosive anger and force, yes; but you've made it clear that this isn't the run-of-the-mill trauma, here, this is bone-deep. Kinda like Lionel; he's normally snarky and manipulative up the wazoo-but after the meteor shower he was so shocked all he could do was stand there.
As for Lex? I think you do need to be a bit clearer what he's there for in the first place, but you could do that later in the story or here in rewrite-I do think he was up to *something* at first, even if it was just real closure. However, Clark confessing to something that shocking could definitely flip Lex's switch to comforting mode.
OR was that was Lex was after in the first place? He could see that clark accused him because he'd lost faith in his father and was trying desperately to lie to himself about it-because he's been there, done that with Lionel-and figured that getting clark to admit that would help him - as well as provide some vicarious satisfaction to Lex, especially after the shitty way Jon acted during 'insurgence'.
(I STILL wish someone would point out to Jon that if he'd yanked that stick out his ass about William Clark, then Martha could have gotten HIM to help them adopt clark-they didn't know about his abilities then, so the later reasons don't apply-and thus, Jon and Martha would never have been in any sort of debt to Lionel. So Jon brought that one on himself, too.)

Vanessa

As for Lex? I think you do need to be a bit clearer what he's there for in the first place, but you could do that later in the story or here in rewrite-I do think he was up to *something* at first, even if it was just real closure. However, Clark confessing to something that shocking could definitely flip Lex's switch to comforting mode.

Hmm--like he came to maybe to twist the knife and ends up understanding Clark's behavior. Huh. *nod* I like it.

OR was that was Lex was after in the first place? He could see that clark accused him because he'd lost faith in his father and was trying desperately to lie to himself about it-because he's been there, done that with Lionel-and figured that getting clark to admit that would help him - as well as provide some vicarious satisfaction to Lex, especially after the shitty way Jon acted during 'insurgence'.

Ooh. I like this one too!

*thinking*

Thanks for the thoughts! I appreciate it!

"I forgot," Lex says, and Clark's eyes jerk up. Lex is smiling at him, affectionate and amused. "How you do that. All I wanted was a yes or a no."

This is the line that had my heart in my throat. I would think that perhaps, while Lex is affectionate and amused, this would also be painful in the way that Clark's avoidance of a straight answer always is for him.

The silence stretches briefly, tellingly, before Lex's head tilts. The thinking look, like right before he lies.

Yes, the trust issues definitely go both ways. Would Lex be more likely to trust Clark if it were not so obvious that Clark is keeping things from him, or is his mistrust so deeply ingrained that he would follow his first instinct to lie? Is he lying now?

The subsequent repetitions of 'You don't have to...' are, in fact, exactly what would let Clark reveal things in a way that direct questions never did. When someone is pushing for answers, his guard is up, but when someone (when Lex) keeps telling him he's not demanding answers, in an odd way that gives him permission not to be as careful about what he's revealing.

Is Lex consciously seductive, or is it 'just happening'? He certainly shouldn't take advantage of Clark's vulnerability, but how could he resist doing so?!? At this point it looks like Clark is falling back into emotionally exhausted sleep, but when he wakes, there's a precedent for physical contact which wasn't there before. And somehow, somebody is bound to act on it. (At least, my shallow prurient interests hope so!)

Given the experience of what you've written already, it still seems like a REALLY good idea. Please carry on!

Is Lex consciously seductive, or is it 'just happening'? He certainly shouldn't take advantage of Clark's vulnerability, but how could he resist doing so?!? At this point it looks like Clark is falling back into emotionally exhausted sleep, but when he wakes, there's a precedent for physical contact which wasn't there before. And somehow, somebody is bound to act on it. (At least, my shallow prurient interests hope so!)

I'm a MASSIVE fan of prurient.

I'm thinking about that. It does seem like Lex is more manipulative than usual. *nod*

And right, definitely, a precedent has been set. Even if Clark isn't aware of it yet.

Thank you SO much for the comments. Seriously great food for thought. *hugs*

Somethings are what they are.

Jenn, this is a lovely, warm, comforting, little mood piece and I thank you for it. Maybe it didn't go were you thought it would but it's all there, a full circle, a wonderful moment of reconnection.

In my own private SV universe this story makes perfect sence. Lex's motives for coming to Clark are obvious-the dissatisfation of their earlier "are we okay" scene, Lionel, god, Lionel the neverending provider of pain, and drinking and a need for Clark nearness. He starts out wanting reassurance and comfort from Clark but ends up giving that to Clark, because he sees that is what Clark needs. Lex always gives to Clark.

Lex's vagueness in the beginning works for me because he was watching Clark sleep. Which no doubt put his head in an amazing spin, it certainly would mine. *Sleeping Clark* By just being there, by looking for Clark's feelings, without pushing or demanding, allowing Clark the chance to give up a bit of himself, Lex's kindness gets him more than he probably thought he ever would. A real moment, a touch. This was great !!

Not everything has to be epic; not everything has to lead into hot, panting sex,(though you know we love that too). You don't always have to fill in the blanks. This piece is what it is. I adore it. You don't have to beat it into something else for me because I was moved by it just the way it is. Warm snuggling with Lex, made my day. Thanks & love, Vee

Re: Somethings are what they are.

Lex's vagueness in the beginning works for me because he was watching Clark sleep. Which no doubt put his head in an amazing spin, it certainly would mine. *Sleeping Clark* By just being there, by looking for Clark's feelings, without pushing or demanding, allowing Clark the chance to give up a bit of himself, Lex's kindness gets him more than he probably thought he ever would. A real moment, a touch. This was great !!

Huh, I didnt' think of that.

*Warm feelings*

Thanks, and you're so sweet! *hugs* I like them cuddly. The cuteness factor and all that.

*hugs*

Heat

(Anonymous)
::heart:: Great fic. Clark comes across very teenagerly and Lex very wounded by the past, distant and recent, but somehow not bitter. Every time he said something about fathers not being automatically infallible I could _feel_ the weight of experience in his words.

...but. But.

"I know." A hard squeeze, and Lex nods. "He's never shot anyone. And--I have."

Heat? Where Jonathan Kent tried to shoot Lex dead? And no one ever told Lex the truth about Desiree? So Lex has no idea Jonathan was anything but of sound mind and body?

Otherwise. Awesome fic.


t.a.d.

Heat? Where Jonathan Kent tried to shoot Lex dead? And no one ever told Lex the truth about Desiree? So Lex has no idea Jonathan was anything but of sound mind and body?</>

Heat AND Nicodemus, since in Nico, Jonathan did in fact get a bullet out that hit Clark. It's my amused place when Jonathan gets too annoying. I think, wait til SOMEONE tells you about that one, Mister.

*grins*

And thanks!

I get what a lot of other peoples' comments are saying, that Lex here seems like he's manipulating Clark. I saw that a bit towards the end especially, where Lex repeatedly says things like, "It's not your fault," "you don't have to," etc. to the point that it starts to sound patronizing, but what I mainly saw in this was a Lex/Clark parallel. It seemed to me like Lex was seeing Clark, struggling with guilt over doubting his father's innocence, as sort of his own younger self. When Lex lost faith in his father, it must have felt a lot like Clark feels here, so horrible to see his father step off of that pedestal, to not trust him, and to feel that lack of trust in himself. It's like Lex is projecting himself onto Clark, or recognizing his own past traumas in Clark, and giving the comfort that he as a boy never got.

Like what elke_tanzer said: "It's like Lex has come to give the comfort that he's never gotten, and that's the only way he can find solace, vicariously."

He's giving Clark the comfort that he would have given to himself, if he could have. It's all very Sadwoobie!Lex, because Lex is too far past the point himself to go back to that innocence and goodness that Clark still has, yet he comforts and redeems Clark.

Does that make sense? Anyway, I love how subtly you approached the issue of Clark getting shot by his father, with Clark verging on revealing this to Lex, and Lex probably figuring it out but not pressing for an explanation. I think the dialogue towards the very end is getting a little too ambiguous and it's hard to figure out exactly what they're talking about. Also, I agree that Clark's crying should be toned down just a smidgen, but I think as this is an out of the norm revelation, Clark crying is totally plausible and works well. Clark's so sweet. :)

Lovely, lovely story, Jenn.

Oh, and hi! I'm one of those shy people who added you as a friend. Um, hope you don't mind.

--Aimee

*waves* Nice to meet you, Aimee!

It seemed to me like Lex was seeing Clark, struggling with guilt over doubting his father's innocence, as sort of his own younger self. When Lex lost faith in his father, it must have felt a lot like Clark feels here, so horrible to see his father step off of that pedestal, to not trust him, and to feel that lack of trust in himself. It's like Lex is projecting himself onto Clark, or recognizing his own past traumas in Clark, and giving the comfort that he as a boy never got.

Good point. I wonder how hard it was for Lex when he had to acknowledge his father was more than just falliable, but also just--immoral, completely.

I think the dialogue towards the very end is getting a little too ambiguous and it's hard to figure out exactly what they're talking about. Also, I agree that Clark's crying should be toned down just a smidgen, but I think as this is an out of the norm revelation, Clark crying is totally plausible and works well. Clark's so sweet. :)

*nod* I think so too.

Aww, and thank! *hugs* I enjoyed the comments immensely!