One thing though--does anyone know where Maygra's work is? Anyone?
Topography by hackthis. Mmm. Clark/Lex in the language of geography. Also? Very hot. And gorgeous style going on.
Fireworks by penelope_z. Another off-center, slightly surreal, and very painful fic from the lovely Penelope, who just hurts me. Beautiful, moving, and just. Mmm. Yes.
Wilde Like by thamiris. Oh damn. Absolutely gorgeous Prodigial missing scene. Rich, wonderfully written Clark, sexy and sweet and beautiful. Not to mention how great Lex is. *happy*
Sparks Fly Upward by liviapenn. Whoo hoo! Livia wrote Lucasfic! An unexpected meeting between Lucas and Ryan in Edge City. Wonderfully written and so good.
Five Imaginary Incidents from the Lives of Unimportant People by pearl_o. Well, damn. The five things challenge has brought about some seriously interesting ideas, and this one is no exception. I like them all, but my especial favorite is number four. Guess why. HIGHLY recommended.
The Green Fairy* by lexcorp_hope. Wow. No spoilers, do a cold read. It's--REALLY not what I expected when I started reading. Go go go.
Edited to correct title, because I'm a moron
Another Rec Redux, since this will remind me to add it to my webpage. I have GOT to organize my entries soon so I can find these things when I need them.
Breathing Amber by harriet_spy.
It's one of the most chilling stories I've read in any fandom. There's a slow start, this beautiful town, the lovely Lana, and the faintest sense of unease that grows slowly through the story. A strangely sick feeling of not-change, and you really don't get it until the end.
For a characterization of first season Lana, it's marvelous. The girl who wants everything to remain the same--her friends, her hometown, her life. And Smallville becomes just that--a huge, unliving monument to a world that should be gone, all held by the power of her need and one man's determination.
Frankly, in all its subtlety, it's one of the most powerful stories I've ever read, and it creeps me out EVERY time.
I need more hours in the day.
Still reorganizing memories page and adding as I find them. I cannot find the long entry I did on Ruat Caelum or Everything's Eventual here, though I think I missed the latter just skimming.
Anyway. Ficletness. Kind of--meandering. I know where I'm going, but not entirely how to get there, if that makes any sense at all. Or maybe this will be a huge collection of loosely related episode codas.
Spoilers for Rush.
A Separate Peace: Carpe Diem by jenn
She's behind the counter when the bell on the door rings and bangs her head trying to stand up fast enough to see who ignored the closed sign. A few choice words are hovering on the tip of her tongue, but she bites down hard. Nell never approved of coarse language--those exact words, *coarse language*. Ladies don't talk like that.
Lana isn't feeling that ladylike. "Damn." Hand pressed to her forehead, she straightens, scanning the room, but there's no one in sight.
"Flowers?" Lex does that, too--one second not-there, then there, holding a rose in one gloved hand, and Lana blinks hard, staring at the red flower. There's a small, not so great part of her that wants to reach out and crush it, but her hands are busy and anyway, she's not sure how Lex will take it.
Lex, who right now has that smile that reminds her a little of Clark, but hell, everything right now is reminding her of Clark.
"I just closed up." Rubbing her forehead, she looks down at the counter, ignoring the throb in her head that seems to counterpart the slow sway of the rose. She can feel Lex staring at her and draws in a breath. "There's coffee left."
"Bad night?" The rose drops on the counter and she hears him circle, doubtless to find a clean cup. She almost snaps there aren't any, that she hasn't had time to do the dishes yet, but bite of her tongue, be a lady, Lana. And while you're at it, don't take out the temper on your boss.
"You could say that." Frowning at the counter, she grabs for the tray of mugs, listening to them clatter in some vaguely satisfying way that isn't helping her temper at all. "Busy."
When she turns around, Lex is surveying her over the rim of an apparently clean cup. She wonders where he found it. "I see that. You sent everyone home early?" He eyes the mess and Lana feels her mouth tighten.
"I can handle it." Which she can. So it's a mess and she's exhausted, but hell if she's quite ready to go home. Chloe's back from the hospital, Gabe's hovering over her, worried as hell about aftereffects, and Lana had done some seriously creative truth-telling to get out before Chloe's eyes could ask her any more questions.
Questions she knows Chloe doesn't want the answers to any more than Lana wants to give them.
"A lot of clean-up," Lex observes, crossing to a table. "I brought the reciepts from last week. I thought you would like to go over them at your leisure. If now is bad--"
"It's not like I have anything else to do this weekend," Lana snaps, and oh damn. Fingers tightening on the tray, she takes a breath. "Let me go load the dishwasher." She doesn't wait to hear his response, escaping before she stumbles into absolute rudeness. Dammit. Damn. It. In the back, she leans into the wall, almost wishing she could just drop the tray and watch everything break. Almost as satisfying as throwing things. Which she also doesn't do.
Because ladies *don't*.
Instead, she opens the industrial size dishwasher and starts loading. It's mindless and exactly what she needs. Espresso cups, au lait, the latte ones, glass and ceramic, plain coffee, large coffee. Spoons by the thousand, cake plates, sandwich plates that hadn't been able to go in the earlier wash.
She's still stacking when she hears the door open, but she doesn't look up.
"Rose, candy, and hostility. Sounds like you've been a recipient of Clark's--less diplomatic side today."
How the hell--. Straightening, she looks wipes her hands on her apron, but Lex is only watching her with that impersonal, amused expression. She doesn't like the light sparkle in the blue eyes, like he's laughing at her. "I'm almost done." Even to herself, her tone sounds hostile. Nell in the back of her mind is aghast. Nell's not here.
And will wonders never cease. She can actually feel her inner sarcastic bitch, witticism at the ready, start to take over, but Clark deserves it, not Lex. Drawing in a breath, she clenches her hands and gets to her feet. "I'm almost done. Thanks, though."
"It's going to take you hours." Probably half the night, as a matter of fact, but who's counting? There's a cot in the office--she's fallen asleep there before after a too-busy night, but this is a little more deliberate. She doesn't want sleep. She wants activity. She's beginning to wonder if redecorating the Talon would be a bad idea.
Wiping her hands on her jeans, she looks at Lex. The smile's as gone as a memory, blue eyes fixing on her without anything but pure understanding, and she pushes the dishwasher closed. "We--" Stopping, Lana bites her lip. Clark is Lex's best friend. She doesn't have any illusions on where he stands in regard to that. But…. "I just--just realized I don't--I don't know him."
The nod's so brief she could have imagined it, then Lex glances down at the dishwasher.
"Want to get out of here for a little while?"
Lana hesitates. "I won't be good company."
"I won't be either." There's an edge to his voice that makes her look up, but Lex is looking at the door. He's leaving with or without her, and suddenly, the Talon is too quiet and too dark, too much space for her thoughts to occupy her. Nodding, she follows him out, grabbing her jacket, her eyes coming to rest on a booth where one of the waitresses had told her Chloe and Clark had--had made out.
Here. Chloe or Clark's choice, she's not entirely sure which. She *doesn't* want to know.
A shudder crawls the length of her back and she jerks her jacket on, aware Lex is looking at her again, but she doesn't care to explain. A glance down and her last glimpse is of the rose, shredded in the trash can, a blood-red mess of ripped petals and pale green leaves.
Oh. So she's not the only one Clark's been playing with recently.
"I've never seen it this well-lighted," Lana says softly, craning her neck as she looks around the caves. She'd missed the rave--between the Talon and homework, she can't remember the last time she had a night out. Lex is pacing the length, hands in his pockets, studying the walls like will alone will make them spill their secrets. There's equipment scattered around their feet like a child's toys, but Lex turned on the huge lights when they came in, and the entire cavern is as clear as day. "Amazing. What--" She almost reaches out to touch a hieroglyph, but remembers at the last moment that this is a historical preserve and apparently Lex's new pet project. "Have you gotten this translated yet?"
"Working on it," Lex says from behind her, and she turns to see him studying some abstract animal--no. Coming up beside him, she squints a little. "See that one?"
"Two headed snake?" These are one of those rare times she wishes she'd taken those optional Native American history classes the school offered. Not that she'd understand any better if she did. Lex has brought in a specialist for translation. "Nice."
"I like it," Lex says carelessly, but his gaze is very steady. "He spends every morning here, my security reported."
Lana flicks her attention back to Lex.
"Do they--say what he does. Here?" She won't ask outright if they're watching him. Though she can guess. From the slight smile on Lex's face, she'd say she guessed correctly.
"He copies down the symbols, makes notes, that sort of thing." Lex backs off a step, shrugging slightly. "The new security guard has orders to let Clark in any time he wishes." Lex looks thoughtful. "I should think about telling him that one day."
No mistaking that edge of malice, and Lana thinks if she wants to even ask the question. "Something happen?"
"Like you, a lot has happened," Lex says, and now he only sounds very tired. "With any luck, I can have this wrapped up soon and leave him to his cave gazing in peace."
Lana knows the feeling. "Let me guess. He was pissed at you about something with the caves?"
"The linguist I hired restricted access." Hands back in his pockets, Lex takes another step back, tilting his head slightly, like he's examining some of the other pictures. She doesn't think he sees even one right now. "He's the best. So I agreed."
"And Clark took it badly." Remembering how Clark gets when he's obsessed, Lana wonders what he said. "I'm sorry."
Lex laughs softly. "You're not the one that should be apologizing."
"He thinks about her here," Lana says softly, staring at the wall. She won't admit jealousy, not really--Clark had been so happy and she'd never been able to give him that. It was hard to hate a girl who made Clark light up from within. Taking a few steps, she touches the wall, taking in the rough texture, trying to erase Kyla from her mind. "He--he doesn't talk about her much. Not since she died."
"I know." There's a quiet edge to his voice that makes Lana want to see what's showing on his face. "It was hard for him to lose her. Before he even had her."
"He loved her, didn't he?" Lana's never believed in love at first sight or that kind of nonsense, but--then again, she does. Here, she can. This huge, ancient cavern filled with something that has nothing to do with anything in her life, any part of her friendship with Clark. She can see why those kids came down here for the rave. There's a secret feeling, like you could do anything here and it wouldn't count.
"I think he wanted to," Lex answers, so gently she knows he heard something in her voice. Damnit. Damn. It. Raising her hand, she brushes at her face. Dust everywhere. Her eyes have always been sensitive to it. "Do you believe in destiny, Lana?"
The rock against her back is strangely cool. Lex has moved back another few steps, putting half the cavern between them, like they need to make room for her answer. She has no idea what to say to that. Yes. No. Make your own. But only if it's meant to be.
Jesus, she sounds like a stereotypical teenager even in her own head.
"Is that what he's looking for?" This cave says something huge, and she can feel it, just beyond the reach of her fingertips, teasing the edges of her mind. Jessie. Kyla. Chloe. She's written their names into her mind so often it's like a constant, unending repeat.
She's had every opportunity except the right one, and God, she's glad now that she never took any of them. Pulling away from the wall, she turns around, meeting Lex's eyes. Some part of her wants to know. "What did he do to you?"
Lex's smile is slow. "Nothing I haven't grown accustomed to. You?"
That he can put so much meaning in so few words--taking a breath, she leans against the wall. "Him. And Chloe. We--we were supposed to go on a date."
She's got Lex's full attention. She can see him remembering. "Again?"
She snickers softly, voice shaking. "Jessie, Kyla, Chloe--I'm everything he wants until he has me."
"I'm nothing he wants until he needs me."
The bitterness is unmistakable. Biting on her lip, Lana stares at the stone feet behind him. "He's not a bad person."
She thinks he smiles, but her eyes are still scratchy from the dust. "I know."
And wouldn't it be easier if he was? Or even an average one, who wasn't so earnest, so sweet, so--Clark. So different that every flaw showed up like black ink on his forehead, every failure, every inconsistency. So much easier to forgive Chloe, and not just because of the parasite.
Awkward silence while they both search for words or maybe avoid them. They don't have anything in common except this one thing, and now it seems huge, more defining than even the Talon.
"I need to get back to the Talon," Lana says finally, and her voice seems unnaturally loud. "If--if I'm going to be ready to open."
Lex only nods, giving the cave another glance before his hands slide back in his pockets, restless energy coming off him like heat. Suddenly, the cave feels very cold.
"…are you sure? If there are more…..". Clark, sounding unmistakably worried, and Lana feels herself stiffen instantly.
"Shh. Security will hear us. I just want to look." The other voice is distinctly female, and she doesn't need three guesses to figure out who that is. Chloe had been knocked out when she'd left home for the Talon. Apparently, she's feeling better.
"I'd love to know what happened one day, by the way," says Chloe, and Lana can hear the laugh in her voice. "You have any idea how well 'parasite' works when that's your excuse when your dad finds a *hickey* on your neck? Not to mention getting that dye out of my hair."
"I told you. I wasn't around for everything." It almost sounds true. "Come on and let's look around before--" Lana watches them emerge, looking around at the lights in surprise before naked shock wipes expression from both their faces.
Apparently, they hadn't been paying attention. Wrapping her arms around herself, Lana makes herself watch the myriad expressions slip across Clark's face--guilt and surprise, a hint of anger and worry, then that bone-deep, almost aching pain when his eyes fix on her. That way he could make her feel like she's just kicked a puppy, makes her want to apologize even when she's not sure what to apologize for. Don't doubt me, his expression always says. You know me better than that. Believe me. Please.
"Hi." Chloe breaks the silence awkwardly, her smile fixing as she looks between them. "I--we just came down--"
"Check in with security?" Lex says coolly, and Lana watches the color stain both their faces. Most of her likes that, likes the way Clark shifts and tries to look at anything but them, fixing somewhere near their shoes before he looks back up.
"Did I miss something?" Chloe says slowly, and Lana's mouth opens, but God knows what would spill out. Yes, you did, Chloe. You missed a *lot*. "What--what are you doing down here anyway this late?"
Lana feels more than sees Lex tense.
"I do own it," he says mildly. "I could ask you the same question with better reason."
Lana watches in fascination as the muscles in Clark's jaw tense, dark eyes narrowing briefly, like he's looking for an argument. "I--we wanted to see if--what was down here. If there were any more of those--those things."
"And get infected again?"
"They're dangerous," Clark answers shortly, then takes a breath. Still angry, she thinks. "Look, I know, I'm not supposed to be down here, but this is important--"
"You're welcome to be here any time you want, as long as you don't interfere with the research." Clark stops short, blinking. "Security has your name down for full access."
Amazing. She's never seen Clark look quite like that. Arguments derailed, conversation over, and she can see he hadn't been ready for that, had been preparing for confrontation. Leaving him--strangely helpless. He glances at her again, quick and wondering, and she wonders what he's thinking.
Chloe's looking at them all like she's trying to figure it out. And she might. God, she might. The shiver has nothing to do with the cold, but Lex seems to see it, reaching out to touch her shoulder, get her attention. "I'm sorry, Lana. I forgot how cold it gets down here. Are you ready to go?"
From the corner of her eye, she sees the beginning of Clark's protest before he bites it back, then fixes her eyes on Lex. Lex, who looks so blank he might as well be a brand new piece of paper and only Clark could make them feel this guilty for being hurt.
"Yeah." Pulling her jacket tighter, she leans into his hand just before he would have withdrawn and maybe he catches on, because the fingers against her shoulder don't move. "Good night. I hope you find whatever you're looking for." The hand slides to just above the small of her back, and there's a completely welcome tingle that's not diluted at all by the look on Clark's face when they pass.
It's not like she's taken any boys to the Fortress of Solitude to make out with them, after all. Behind them, she can hear Chloe murmur something.
"Lex." For a second, she thinks Lex won't answer, just until he stops, half turning, and she misses the touch on her back. Hands in his pockets, looking back at Clark--yes, that look. The one she's felt on her own face, that angry, unhappy twist when you forgive not because you want to, but because you have to. "Lex--thanks. For letting me back in."
Because Clark says thank you and means it, and for some reason, that alone can make Lex stop, something flickering behind blue eyes that makes her hurt for him. For herself, too.