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The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation


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rain, recs redux, and art
children of dune - leto 1
seperis
A night of LJ withdrawl was horrible, horrible, horrible. You know, at this rate, I'd better get a really reliable addiction, like, say, heroin.

But anyway.

Due to karma because I was laughing at a friend buried in snow, rain has begun. And when I say rain, I mean, I am watching for Noah and his Ark out the window rain, and I swear, the animals around here are moving two by two toward some unknown destination. It's slightly surreal. I went to bed last night with some normal raininess and woke up to the Poseiden Adventure in the front yard. Driving The Child to school, I watched the rushing rivers where there were once fields and monitored bridges in some interest. I live on a hill. There are two road-type ways off this hill and both involve bridges. No, I am not driving over muddy fields to get away if necessary. The only thing I really never worry about up here is actual flash flooding. Tornados, yes. Flash flooding, not so much. But those bridges are interesting to watch.

My area holds the unofficial highest rainfall in a twenty-four hour period--either for the state or the country, I really can't remember which. No, I don't know why it's not official, but it is somewhere in an almanac of some kind because as a kid, I had to look it up at school. Growing up, I never could figure out why so many fields had very, very deeply cut trenches (and a LOT of them) and why there were so many bridges up until my fourth grade science teacher told us about that year. Over the years, of course, they wore down (no trees, soil shift, what have you), but the original cuts in the landscape were made many, many, MANY years ago, well before I or I think even my parents were born if I remember correctly, and every so often, we get another Really Rainy Period to recut the trenches. The dry spell a few years back did a LOT to even out the landscape.

Right, uninteresting in the extreme. Moving on.

Recs Redux

My Rainy Day Reading. I've recced them at various times since I first read them and they are among those I curl up with whenever I need a pick me up. This only covers about ten percent of my harddrive-saved fic, since anything I like well enough to read more than once goes into a folder for emergency pick-me-ups.

For sanity of friends page, cutting here, recs inside. I got a little--er, carried away.


Longer/Multipart

Shine, Neon, and Bonfire by Kassie and Lar

This still stands out as one of the best series I've read, starting off in slow pre-slash and moving onto some of the best Clark/Lex I've ever read. The entire journey, Clark's discovery, the pace, are all perfect. I especially love Clark in this--consistent with the show, but better, because he's also interesting and engaging as he comes to grip with both himself and his attraction to Lex. Lex is beautifully Lex throughout, and there's almost an ache throughout as the storyline develops. Neon, especially, for this.

Standing next to the car, working with the tiny amount of blood left in his brain with most of it flooding next to his skin or dwelling in his nether-regions, Clark leans back down, peers in and sees Lex watching him. Tries to think of something to say, wants to get back in the car and just tell Lex to drive somewhere, anywhere, turn the music up. Instead he stands there, hunched over, hard and needy and too unsure of everything in his world now to know what he should do. He just wants a sign, one gesture to show him what to do. He thinks maybe friends in Metropolis might act this way, wishes Lex would tell him that.

Lex ponders the steering wheel for a few seconds, and when he looks back his eyes are very dark in the harsh light of the car. "You don't need an excuse with me, Clark. 'I'm confused' will do."


Mmm. Yes. Happy.

Undertow by elynross.

A long afternoon read. I like this one for a LOT of reasons, not least of which is how much goes ON in there. Swimming, UST forever and a day, angst, and some damn hard work lead into the very well-written Clark/Lexness. It's not just hot--it makes the characters work to GET there. Clark and Lex are both well-rounded, interesting, angsty, and just a LOT of fun to follow along with on the ride.

Prettiness like this.

Clark didn't step out of the shadow of the main entrance until Lex had gotten out of the car and pulled his bag out of the trunk. Then he stood with his hands in his jean pockets, and for a minute they stared at each other. He looked...determined. He looked good. Lex finally made himself turn and shut the trunk. "What are you doing here?"

Clark walked over and blocked Lex's path, practically trapping him next to the car with his body. "Waiting for you."

Lex didn't want to stop and think about how that made him feel. "How did you know I'd be back tonight?" He took a drink of his coffee and considered ducking around him, but somehow he knew he'd lose ground if he did, and he wasn't sure he could afford it. This close, Clark seemed calm, amused. A wall of calm -- which heightened Lex's own inner turmoil that much more. He stood perfectly still, wondering what Clark would do if he screamed.


Smog and Ozone by Jane St. Clair.

Carrying on the tradition of bringing in Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson to play in Smallville canon, Jane goes about it a slightly different way. Lex is so Lex he's pitch perfect throughout, and the introduction of Dick to Smallville is wonderful. Clark is--*thinks*--not so much canon-perfect than how I wish the show would HAVE him. He's smart, perceptive, fun, and more than that, acts like a teenager without being cliched or annoyingly whiney and stupid. The first time is lovely and I like how the entire storyline develops.

Clark bends over him. Whispers in his ear, "You lose. I win."

Not acceptable.

And if he has to win...

Clark's fast, but he doesn't expect Lex to uncurl suddenly. Nor to grab him. Heavy and off-balance, easy for Lex to roll down. Lie on his chest. Kiss him hard.

Even in play, it's wonderful. Liquid, sweet-edged. Charged with the manic energy Clark's been running on. It obviously takes him a few seconds to decide whether or not they're still playing, and by then, Lex has his tongue between Clark's lips, and he's working on making the kiss very gentle and very serious.


MeteOros and Eos by Kellie Matthews.

I read these about once monthly to reconnect with my favorite ficcing time, the post-Jitters/Victoria arc. Some of the most interesting Lex fanfic has come out of that time period. These are Long Reads--a full plotline and arc, character development, work to get from the UST to the consummation, and all of it is beautifully written and developed. Clark and Lex are wonderful--again, unlike the show sometimes shows, Clark the teenager gets to BE a teen without making you want to strangle him, and Lex is great. I loved the pacing--we get to see the characters interact, feeling their way around each other before moving into sex, and I love that. Both stories do justice to the characters and to the universe that created them. An incredibly satisfying read, start to finish.

Clark closed his eyes, took a deep breath as if he were about to dive into cold water, and leaned in. They bumped noses at first, until Lex turned his head a little and there. . . wide, full lips against his; a light, sweet, brief touch. Then again. Then suddenly there were hands on both shoulders -- God, he had big hands -- and Clark was pulling him close, hard, that light pressure gone as Clark's mouth firmed on his, and he felt the hot flick of tongue. For endless moments he kissed back, letting his lips part, letting his tongue seek, and find, until the eager, inexpert kiss reminded him who he was kissing, and sanity reasserted itself. He stepped back, shaking his head.

The Middle of Nowhere and The Road Home by Meredith Lynne.

I'm seeing a pattern develop in what I'm picking out for today. Again, development. Start off with two characters, basing down their connection and why, moving on to attraction, with PLOT. I like plot. One might say I really, really love it. Then again, I really like Long Reads, where everyone has to work REALLY hard to get to the orgasms. This set especially works for me as late as now, despite the fact it's based off of early first season canon. The characterizations are very sharp, and I simply love how Merry writes Lex--intelligent, cynical, jaded, but also hopeful and believing. It's a hard combination to pull off successfully and she manages it every time without a misstep. The banter is absolutely fabulous.

"Don't you have a spare?"

Lex frowned. "A spare what?"

That grin shot out, powerful even in the dim blue light from the dash. At the moment, it wasn't terribly endearing. "A spare tire, Lex. To replace the one you just blew out."

Lex snapped the phone shut and reached deep inside for patience. "Okay, first, I didn't blow out the tire. A crater the size of Metropolis in the middle of the road, a crater that should have been fixed around the time you were born, blew out the tire. And second, I have no idea if I have a spare tire. I assume, if I'm supposed to have one, I do." If he was supposed to have one and didn't, someone was going to pay for it with his job. And possibly a limb.

Clark nodded, his eyes wide, his face oh, so innocent. "Do you know if you have a trunk?"

"You know you're walking home, right?"


Divergence, Lord of the Flies, It Came Just the Same, Common Ground, Identical, and Persuasion by Lanning.

Again, plot. Character development. Serious, serious work for the boys to get together, but also, A, B, C, AND D plotlines. Multi-pov. Character change. Well written original characters that are not only interesting but distinctive. Extra points for fascinating, sympathetic use of Jonathan Kent to the point where I like the man. Lex and Clark are marvelous, well rounded, fascinating, addictive to read. So much goes on throughout--from Lex's escape from Metropolis, through the Kents and their slowly eroding suspicions, Clark's determination and honesty, to Lex's slowly developing ability to believe and trust himself. This is still a WiP, but do NOT let that stop you from reading. Lanning is flawless in putting this story together and it can only get better from here on out.

"Clark," Lex whispered. This had to stop. This had to stop now or it would never stop, he'd never be able to let it stop or make it stop, he'd never be able to let Clark go. "This is...there are...a hundred reasons...a thousand...this is... a bad idea." Oh, yes. A masterpiece of brilliant, firm, and coherent argument. Clark would be running along home now.

Clark said nothing for a moment, then slid his hand up under Lex's shirt, moving warm fingertips across Lex's belly. Lex choked back a groan. So much for brilliance. "We're good for each other," Clark muttered rebelliously. "We are."

"Listen to me, Clark." Lex drew a shaky breath and tried again. "I can be good to you. But I can never be good for you."

"You've already been good for me."

"I haven't-"

"You have. You don't know how much. I want you to know. I want to show you."

Lex pulled himself together enough to lean away and open his eyes. "Look around you," he said harshly. "Look at my life, Clark. It's ugly. There's nothing here that's good - for you or anyone else."

"Except you."


*****

Short

A Picture of Home by Wendi.

Sweet, light, beautifully written futurerfic piece, Clark right after college and Lex coming into his own. The interactions are perfectly natural, old friends reconnecting after an absence, moving easily into more without a misstep. Also hot, but that's beside the point. It's like happyfic central here.

"Clark?" The word was drawn out, amused and it immediately brought an answering smile to his lips.

"Yeah?"

"There's a very determined mouse staring at me." Lex tilted his head, returning the stare as if this were a business rival and not Clark's reluctant roommate. "I think he expects me to fix the radiator."

Clark choked, swallowing too much chicken, half chewed, and pounded a fist against his chest as he barked laughter between coughs. "No, no. He doesn't care about the cold. He's hungry. Lex, you smell like *food*."


Champagne Wishes by Te.

Again, the post-Jitters Lex. For those who watched the transition, fanfic took a seriously interesting turn in the Lex characterization following Jitters. Te's Lex is a good example of that--vulnerable, jaded, not a little bitter, and dealing in his very Lex way. Another good Clark characterization, and I love their dialogue throughout.

And this little bit of Lex brilliance always sends me into the giggles.

Runs his tongue around the rim of the bottle, fucks the opening twice before remembering the inadvertent physical comedy of an acquaintance getting his tongue stuck in a bottle. Granted, it was a beer bottle, and the guy's tongue had been swollen from whatever pretty little pill had been making the rounds at the clubs that week, but... still.

Not exactly the best ending for the evening.

Idly considers climbing onto the roof and screaming something pithily attractive like 'free blowjobs here!'

Realizes that he has, maybe, four more good-sized swallows of champagne before that starts to seem like an excellent idea.

How far does sound carry in the country, anyway?

It would probably be more prudent to just wait by the road and flag down passing truckers.


Better by shallot.

Again, the post-Jitters phase of fandom was VERY good to SV fic, Lex in particular. This is a Clark POV story, set the night after the plant, and probably has the slowest and most interstingly hot seduction I've read, barely crossing into explicit without ever losing the sheer heat of what's happening between them. The best of what GOOD h/c is, and beyond that, a fabulously realized Clark and a very vulnerable Lex.

"Just so you know--" Lex was struggling out of his shirt, his arms tangled in the sleeves. Clark edged closer and helped him free, tugging the shirt out from under him. "Thanks."

Clark licked his lips and tried not to stare at Lex's bare chest. "Just so I know?" he prompted, a little strangled.

"Yeah," Lex said. He rubbed his stomach with one hand, fingers dipping briefly under the waistband of his pants, and unbuckled his belt. "It's okay. That you're lying to me, I mean."

"Yeah?" Clark watched Lex unbutton his pants. He was really-- God. Lex was going to be naked in a minute. Almost naked. It took him a moment to actually hear the words. "Lying?" he said, suddenly scared in a whole new way. "About--?" He broke that off, tried again. "I'm not--"

The zipper was loud. "Why don't we just leave it at that?" Lex glanced over at him and smiled. "Kind of puts us on even ground."

"Even ground?" Clark managed, his hands curling up tightly.

Lex shrugged, sliding the pants off his hips. "You don't want to tell me the truth. I can deal with that. Let's just avoid the bullshit where we pretend there's nothing to tell."


So Like a Rose by Brighid

This is one of my favorite short fics of all time. It's not just the beautiful, lyrical prose, or the lovely characterizations, or even the way she makes me buy a first-person POV of Lex, which is hard to do. It's how it's all brought together in one lovely, heartwrenching, bittersweet package. It just makes me smile every time.

"Clark. You probably shocked the hell out of them. They're probably worried about you, about what this will mean to you, to your life. Give them time. They love you." I leaned into him, nudged him.

Long minutes stretched in silence, and then came his voice, rough and thick. "You didn't ask me how I knew," he said, and the words were pulled out of him, from a place so deep I thought that I could almost smell blood.

"How did you know?" I asked, obligingly, and suddenly I was the one shaking.

"I fell in love," he said softly, simply, waiting for the recoil, for the rejection he was so sure was coming.

A sharp hiss of surprise, instead, when my hand found his, when the other hand came up and cupped his dark head. His tears tasted like salt and something sweeter and I licked every drop away and if the riverbank had been rebirth, this was redemption.


That's a LOT more than I planned to do. More another rainy day.


Okay, that took more time than I thought. Have to hurry now.

Got caught up in Adobe yesterday, as I am wont to do when I can't write or am sulking about a bad episode. Or when I'm avoiding tstar78 and valisme murmuring sweet Lucas nothings. *grins* Okay, so that was me mumbling those at them in hopes of inspiring them, but they enable, dammit. And they didn't run away too fast, either.

Anyway. A cover came out of it.



One Thousand Miles by zahra




I'm reorganizing my memories, so anyone who actually checks out that page will notice some shifting around as I add in episode reviews and specific story reviews into the mix. I'm going to eventually post some Star Trek and X-Men ones I did in my other fandoms, especially the ASC awards feedback votes, since I go through phases of being ultra locquacious in feedback, much to the amusement of those who get my long, long interpretations of their fics.

Mmm. Rainy days.