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The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation


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svwip: stories out of childhood (prisonfic)
children of dune - leto 1
seperis
Postdated. Added here 7/8/2007.

I'm moving some snippets of fic out of diaryland and posting here for archivial purposes.



Stories Out of Childhood
by jenn
Original Postdate: 3/22/2002

*****

There was a lot to be said for that prison chic look. Grey stone walls and metal toilets and that lack of personalization that made a cell so--cell-like. Smell like a cross between a backed-up sewer and cheap bleach. Slumming for the kid who used to shoot up China White at the Four Seasons, penthouse level, and bought his narcotics with a platinum credit card. Step up from the delinquent in Metropolis in that he had the cell to himself.

Familiarity all around, from the blood he was spitting into the toilet to the ghost of his father watching him with two decades of Luthoresque disapproval in tow like expensive luggage.

"Not what you're used to, eh, Luthor?"

Cliched re-enactment of a jailer from a B-movie, fat and stupid and with all the subtlety of a trainwreck, but his brother worked at LuthorCorp and Lex lifted his head, wondering if he should just go ahead and throw up, never mind dignity. Dignity wasn't exactly high on the list right now--breathing was increasingly difficult.

Lovely job, Lex, said inner-Lionel, enjoying the show and Lex gave up to nature and finished the job. The toilet bowl was streaked bright red and thick, and Lex wondered how much blood the human body held. Twelve cups, eight pints, four quarts, one gallon. A jug of milk at the grocery store he'd been to ten hours earlier when the day hadn't looked like it would end up this way but then--

--well, life had this thing with him, about fucking him over. In interesting ways, just to make sure that if he was going to be hurt, it never had a chance to really heal.

And this is what being altruistic gets you, son, Lionel said, and he could have been leaning against the wall, right beside him, and that was familiar too. Lex pushed his hands into the floor to get the shock of cold against overheated skin. This is what I told you, what you should have fucking learned a damned long time ago.

"Yeah, right. Luthor life lessons, forgot *all* about those. Where's the one that calls for father son bonding in the body of a whore anyway? Added later for kicks? Hey, I was good with the helicopter, Dad, we didn't need more than that."

A crude way to refer to your lover, Alexander.

"When you fucked her, did she use the right name?"

Yes. Did she with you?

"Not sure. I never cared enough to listen."

"Luthor, what's with you?" Oh yes, jailer, and Lionel smirked, turning a little to gaze at the man in amused condescension. "Still flying, prick?"

Oh God, did he wish.

"Abe."

The guy stalked closer, fat trembling like an outtake from Return of the Jedi during the Jabba the Hut scene, and Lex watched, a little hypnotized by the almost liquid look of it moving beneath skin that barely seemed able to hold it inside. Shivering and flexing beneath the oversized blue shirt, keys rattling like an afterthought.

"Huh?" Pressing as close to the bars as his stomach would let him.

"Abe Hanson," Lex said breathlessly, pushing away from the toilet. Floor was cold through his pants. Why one should always wear jeans when going out to do nefarious deeds. Write that down. He'd want to remember it for next time. "Level Two. Assembler." Lex reached up, tapping his head, catching the blood on peripheral vision, feeling it against his temple, slick and wet. "IQ higher than your current blood pressure and a better memory. Don't fuck with me."

"You threatenin' me, kid?" Pushing closer, and Lex wondered, fascinated, if the bars would survive the pressure.

Not at all the model of fashionable young America, are we, Lex my boy? Lionel was grinning, all immaculate suit and white shirt and tie. Happy capitalist. Ready for a brunch with the wealthy. Utterly at home in a Smallville cell, though, and who wouldn't be surprised by that? Raise your hands, please.

"More of a public service announcement from your friendly neighborhood millionaire," Lex said, licking the iron taste from his split lip. "Prison's three dimensions, money makes the fourth, not time. Put it together."

Lex was pretty sure the guy outside the bars was mentally cutting him to pieces and flushing him down the toilet, which might actually be an improvement on the situation as it stood.

You're being stupid, Lionel said, checking his nails. Buffed to a low gloss, very masculine. Don't push so much. You'll only make it worse for yourself.

"That's all I do, Dad," Lex murmured, keeping the jailer in his line of sight. His wrist might be cracked, but generalized pain was doing a lot to distract from the specific. "You'd be really surprised to know what I've been learning recently."

How not to cover your tracks, apparently.

"I'd sell my soul to see you spin *this* one, Dad."

Bad seed gone to rot, Lionel answered, and looked up. Lex, son, you have no idea how easy it would have been all these years to cut you out of the lineage. How badly I've wanted to. All I needed was an excuse.

"Spin it in circles. You don't know--"

"Don't know what?" Pushed into the bars and Lex laughed, hard, choking on another gout of blood and grabbing his side. There was an excellent chance his lung just got pierced with a rib.

Lionel was waiting, a little disgusted with the entire display of vulgar humanity before him. A little too high in the instep to know an honest emotion if it fucked him up the ass a few times with a tennis racket.

You're too ruled by your emotions, Lex. Lionel shook his head. Like your mother, always were.

"You don't know--"

"What the fuck don't I know, kid? Huh?" And Lex couldn't stop laughing, not now, maybe not *ever*. It was too good, too sweet, too fast, too hard, and he might die, but it was good to *know*.

What, Lex? Tilted head and one eyebrow raised. Waiting, still so sure. Lex had never had that surety that only years of power would bring. Maybe never now, but hell, it'd be worth it just to see--

"You're getting some roomies, Luthor." Rich with spite. "You play well with others?"

"You don't know," Lex breathed, staring his father straight in the eye. Easier than it had been, easier like dying and like flying and like falling. "I care, Dad."

Does it matter? And surprise, surprise, Lionel was interested. He'd have given his soul two years ago for this. Two days ago, too. Two hours ago, just maybe.

Not now.

"Yes," Lex said and pushed his head back against the wall, closing his eyes. Flares of nauseated pain that didn't do more than shake his body, almost negligible compared to the air that was thickening into something heavy and unbreathable. "I have everything to lose now. I *care*."

*****

He'd gotten drunk after coming home from the plant. So drunk, in fact, that it'd taken two days to get back to relative sobriety, curled up in bed, depressingly alone, and bruises already faded to sick yellow-green. Fast healing, his doctor had always said with a skeptical look of inquiry that asked questions Lex couldn't quite decide how to answer just yet. He hadn't bothered going this time, not wanting to explain the whys and hows. Wanting even less to understand them himself.

Self-analysis wasn't a big Luthor family trait.

There were a lot of vivid moments to brood over, though. The way the maniac had looked at him, the feel of the jacket hitting the floor, the sheer shock that hit just about the time Lex realized he'd jumped without a parachute and didn't give a shit.

The utter silence that meant the door was sealed and he was locked inside with a madman and a gun that looked far too interested in checking if Luthor blood ran as red as anyone else's.

And of course, typical, he was saved and all turned out well, and he got drunk because that was what spoiled little rich boys did after they almost died. Classic cliche of the genre, belonged to him like every other one he'd been playing at all his life. If he'd had the energy, he would have fucked too. Casual sex while high and drunk, maybe somewhere public and non-spinnable, just to push the line a little. Remind everyone he wasn't a nice guy.

Except--he'd meant it.

And he hadn't gotten drunk from the trauma of being locked in that building by dear old Dad because, frankly, that had been pretty much expected. Not drunk because of the pain in his head, not drunk due to distant fathers, dead mothers, poor-little-rich-boy angst he'd been trying out like the latest in designer narcotics or any other of the thousand reasons he'd justified rebellion and borderline sociopathy for nearly eight years of twenty-one.

He'd meant it. Meant every second, and his dad called it unforgivable impulse, but he'd do it again.

Scary stuff for the kid who watched someone die at his feet and forgot he was supposed to be sorry. Terrifying stuff for someone who got a twisted sense of accomplishment when he'd gotten Roger on his knees figuratively (and probably could have gotten him there literally and recreationally, but hey, it'd been a long day).

Unreal for a Luthor who should have had it bred into him that his blood was worth fifty times that of any other person in the plant that day.

Even Lex couldn't spin this story to anything but the truth. Simple and rather bizarre, that he'd chosen not to let those kids die. Not for his father, not for him, and sure as fucking *hell* not for LuthorCorp.

*That* was scary. That said that the Luthor Life Lesson Plan was failing and he'd better fix it.

Or maybe not.

"Jesus, he should be in a *hospital*."

Look, son. Lionel was back, of course, and Lex thought about moving a little, being alive still and all, but that brought some vivid images of the last time he'd moved. Black eye probably, maybe kidney damage with any kind of luck. Look, my boy, you have some controversy. Your specialty.

"He got in a fight with--"

"You that fucking dense? Money, Joe, kid has money. His lawyer's gonna crucify us. His dad's flying down and your ass is going to be toast. You know that, right? Ain't got the sense God gave a sheep."

Of course, crucify. Boys left in the field on for fun and profit. Jailers who Lex would enjoy watching die somewhat messy and if he was feeling like being human he'd do the work himself with surgical gloves and some blowtorches.

"I ain't responsible--"

"You're stupid, Joe. They brought him in bad shape, and no one's gonna believe he did anything but lay there when he got the crap beat out of him. Jesus, is he breathing?"

That was the question, wasn't it?

Of course you are. Luthors are stronger than mere flesh. Lionel was fixing his suit cuffs and Lex opened his non-swollen eye enough to watch the show. Dad was such a perfectionist. Perfect wife with the imperfect heart, imperfect son with an imperfect conscience. Speaking of that, Lex, when *did* you pick up this curious enjoyment of guilt? You think you changed something? You truly believe this matters? It's nothing, less than nothing.

"You don't get it--"

"Kent kid just gave his statement. Luthor here saved his life. Jesus God. Call an ambulance right the fuck now."

"Dad, it matters," Lex answered, breathing lightly. Lots of work now, but well, he had to do something to pass the time. "I figured it out."

"You're shitting me. What the fuck do you mean the Kent kid--"

"Witnessed the entire thing. Came to and said...."

What did you figure out exactly, Lex?

"Lots of things." Lex wondered if the ceiling was actually retreating now, and it was nice that Lionel was keeping in his range of vision so he didn't have to turn his head. "Got a question, though. Big one, Dad. Answer to your best--answer as best you can. Or close enough to jazz."

I'm waiting, Alexander.

"They're on their way. His lawyer's gonna be here any second. Helicopter from Metropolis. Jesus. We're dead."

"We ain't. There ain't nothing--"

Waiting, Lex.

"I'm here, Dad. Here's the question. Easy one. Have you been watching?" The cell door was opening, caught on peripheral vision. Blowtorches and iron maidens and surely the castle had something suitable, right?

Watching what?

"What the fuck is Luthor saying?"

"Beats the shit out of me. He's been like that since they brought him in."

"You haven't been." Lex pushed an elbow under, felt hands that weren't his lifting him up and didn't like it. Like Dad, like Victoria. Like everyone, come to think of it, even Clark. "Last time you get the chance to see. Watch this."


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Holy smokes that hurt to read, well done.

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