*sighs* Arkham and The Yard are doing the same thing for the most part. Lots of pieces that I need to assemble and every time I start, I think, oh, but I need THIS. Gah.
Things That Refuse to Do Anything But Mock Me. It's like snippet hell or something. Geez.
#1 -- Attrition
His son, sighting him as coolly as an assassin in the some overblown Hollywood production, black gloves stretched tight over Lillian's elegant knuckles, watching him through Lillian's blue eyes. Like the last days, when the painkillers took over and her mind was leeched away on a cloud of euphoria, before she started to scream because nothing they gave her could stop her pain. He remembers holding a struggling Lex in the hall and telling his son it wasn't Luthor to do this and every bruise from tiny heels welcome, Jesus, so welcome, every one of Lex's enraged screams drowning out the sounds of a pain that Lionel couldn't ease. I can kill the children of these doctors before their eyes, Lionel had thought in wonder, and they still couldn't stop this.
#2 -- Outtake 1
Like that thing Lex did at sixteen--a human club, for God's sake? Kal still remembered the terror in the house, the way the city had been scoured top to bottom, before Lex had been found and brought home, somewhat hung over and very, very high. It didn't happen often--Kal could count a half a dozen times that Lex had been caught, and it was almost always when he was under stress. What he wasn't so sure of was that Lex was always caught.
He suspected Lex got out a lot more than anyone knew, even considering the scrutiny he was under now. Of course, that was assuming he wasn't kept entertained at home, and Kal was beginning to think that maybe Lex should be.
He'd talked to Mother about this, too.
#3 -- Spring Wakening
He's been injured, Helen had said. Concussion. Memory loss. Coordination. It'll be a while before he's healed, she'd told Mom. Before he'll want visitors, even friends. Mom hadn't said that this wouldn't be a problem.
But. Clark's been watching.
Temper fits and shocks of violence, like when some report annoyed him and he destroyed his desk. Throwing a lamp through a plate glass window at dinner. Lex, all strangely naive surprise after, looking around as if he wondered what had happened to him, where it had come from.
Clark likes to watch from the roof sometimes, x-raying down to see Helen try to keep control. It shows on her face, how she flinches when he comes in the room, and she's teaching him, all right. At first, he'd do anything she said. She called it love. Now he's--doesn't.
He broke into the room last night, after all.
That room. The one that's Clark's, where Lex goes to try to remember. Long, elegant fingers, taped knuckles from putting his fist through the wall and barely missing a servant's head, stroking down screens and over consoles. Glimmerings of light in very blue eyes when he watches the monitor.
Clark watches Helen walk in and stop, and Clark wonders if she knows yet that she's being trained. When Lex's head snaps up, she takes a single step back. "You shouldn't be in here," she tells him, and if her voice doesn't give away her fear, her body does.
"I own it, don't I?"
They yell for a while. It's not interesting. Lex won't hit her--but he's learning all the other ways to hurt her. Maybe even ways he didn't know before because he never wanted to. That's a difference Clark likes a lot.
#4 -- Threaded Through It All
He doesn't tell her he doesn't think he *did*. There's gaps--huge ones that time will fill if he were ever to have any, but she doesn't know that and now he never will. There's another voice that droned him to sleep that no one else could hear and all it told him was 'don't'. A voice as warmly familiar as the red-haired woman he'd called mother and the face of the woman before him that sneaks into every dream and whispers about high school crushes and how weird Smallville really is.
I *remember* you, he wants to say, laugh, maybe just carve into her skin as deeply as they've written into his, and I remember who I am and now I remember why. And God, he has so many questions, because Metropolis is familiar and not at all, and time's passed, years, centuries, he doesn't know and maybe he shouldn't even care. Not one he can articulate, and none she would ever answer. I remember you, Chloe, when you were thirteen and kissed me and seventeen in my bed and twenty walking out of my life, and it's been too long for you but not for me. I *remember*.
The dark-dressed men with her take a step toward him, eyes cool and impersonal. They don't know--they didn't dance with him at the prom or fuck him in the loft or leave him on a Smallville street for the last time. Maybe now she doesn't remember either, and he wants to tell her he's sorry that he didn't love her, but even more sorry that he never wanted to kill her, because last week they cut him apart with sharp scalpels and didn't sew him back together well.
He may be crazy now, and that doesn't bother him.
#5 -- Actually, this one is from Arkham and making progress, that Dev and I are working on. Okay, I keep staring at it and adding lines, and she's blitzing through it like a natural. *grrr*
The smell of coffee opens Clark's eyes, and he steps away from the counter, refusing to look back. Coffee cup on the third shelf, bare of almost all dishes. He'd given almost everything they'd owned to Lana and Chloe when they'd helped him pack. Her Planet mug's beside it, never gathering dust like he should let it, but he washes it every day with his own. His fingers trace the edge, where her lipstick used to mark it so permanently that he'd never thought it'd really wash away, even after it had. Shaped by years of use for her fingers--his don't fit in the handle, too thick and clumsy, and he pulls away before he breaks it by accident.
She hides in corners here, like she did at the last place. Her voice is on the telephone even when it turns out it's just a telemarketer, but he'd listened to the woman talk for an hour just for the familiar cadence of a polystate upbringing.
He pours coffee with a steady hand--sugar, no cream, her favorite. It doesn't burn his tongue even though it used to burn hers. She'd catch it between her teeth and curse, but it happened every day.
"Insanity," Clark tells the kitchen, "is doing the same thing over and over and thinking you'll get a different result each time."
By that definition, he's been insane for years.
#6 -- Where No One Else Can Follow
"We--need to pay." But he's already finishing his coffee.
"No problem. My sister's the cashier." The grin comes back, and Lex struggles to his feet, automatically straightening his hat as Ethan comes out from behind the table. They go down a short hall, a broken door declaring Emergency Exit Only that doesn't even try to light up as Ethan pushes it open and they get outside. There's a rusty black van parked by the dumpster, and Lex rubs sweaty palms into his jeans.
Ethan, who climbs in like it's normal for him to escort other guys home, and hell, maybe it is. Lex has been on the other side of this moment too many times. Seduction's like art--once you know what to look for, the patterns it follows, it's easy to see. Gauge quality and quantity almost automatically, and Ethan's at the top of the game, no question of age and every sign of pure experience.
Ethan, who barely makes the legal limit to drive and can still move like that, hand on the gearshift to jerk the car into motion, sweat breaking out across Lex's forehead.
The shocks suck and the engine's so loud that conversation is impossible, and Lex doesn't know whether that's good or not. Hands moving to fix on his own thighs, he stares out the dirty windshield, taking in the smells of a vehicle probably older than he is. He can feel every bump in the street as they turn onto Chambers, a shiver at a pothole.
He never catches Ethan look at him, but that doesn't mean jack shit compared to the feeling. It's like--like being at one of those fucking idiotic debutante balls he's attended most of his life, evaluated for potential worth, only child and heir to his father, old money willing to let in the new when the fortune's in the billions. Ignore the crassness of Lionel's bloodline and the freakishness of his son for bank accounts and business concessions.
Like that now, but totally different. It's not his name or his money or his dad's connections, but his body.
Gotham Underground by Dana. I enjoyed this a LOT. I love Lex. I love Bruce. I warmed up to Clark quickly. *hugs Clark* Nice plotline, creepy, and fun to read. And well, yes, hot, too. Mmm.
The Enemy Within by jett. No spoilers. Read it straight through. Trust me on this one, it's best that way. Now.
The Scientific Method by Lenore. Hee! Sequel to Asset Management, Clark and Lex ponder alien--setbacks. Not that this can't be overcome with a little research.
Yes. This makes me happy. mmm.
Christmas, v.2 by zahra. This is so cute it just hurts in a good, good way. *sighs happily* Love it.
Distant Lands by Beth. Fourth in the series, links to the first three in the entry. Clexy goodness. This one involves chocolate. And I worship the ground she walks on.
Mmm. Good ficness everywhere. Re-read my hardcopy of Manifest Destiny by Livia today, teh one I printed out and carry around for emergencies. What kind of emergency, I don't know, but wouldn't it just be tragic if there WAS some kind of CLex related emergency and I was caught unprepared?
I am so a Girl Scout.