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The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation

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children of dune - leto 1

Thebes by lexcorp_hope

I honestly think the entire historical challenge was almost created for this story. When I'm competent, will do something more than be amazed, but right now, that's about what I've got. If you haven't read it, you should be doing so now. It's completely incomparable. latxcvi was right. This is Clark, this is Lex, and this is the spirit of it.

Cycles by zarah_5

I had to read it three times. And I still dont' think I have it all. And I'm still thinking about it.

Echo by schmevil

Three words. Piercings. Concert. Lex.

The Last Days by Lux.

The writer's notes mention English isn't her first language, and there are a few awkward phrasings, but other than that? Lovely. I liked the flow, I liked both Clark and Lex, and I liked how it all slipped together so effortlessly. *grin* I want to *keep* her.


Teh Summer of WiPs, listed out and annotated by the lovely, brilliant, all-knowing, all-wise mecurtin

Yes, I'm happy to see a single refernece point. How'd you tell?

I'm slightly beneath the mood weather, but serious application to enhancers should fix that. There's also triple chocolate cake waiting.

About fourteen or so months ago, I wrote this up whilst in an anti-Clark temper tantrum. In diary. I'm thinking about it again.


The kid is aloof.

Eck. My Clark issues. Serious, serious Clark issues, and the more I write CreepyLexFic, the more aware I am of all that damn potential symbology in the show. And how really, really SCARY that is.


I was editing CLF and thinking, and musing, and sort of doing nothing, then went to read blogs because that's what I do when miserably bored. And read and started thinking on what it is that attracts me to Lex to the point where I'm perfectly willing to justify him taking out Dominik for fun.

Lex is so human. Or--he's exploring humanity. Sort of.

This comes back to my long love of Trek, what with all the non-human characters exploring their humanity or what have you. Spock. Data. Seven (God help us all). These characters are most popular for a reason--they connect with us in their drive to discover themselves. Who they are, what they are. And in Smallville, you'd seriously think the alien superhero is the one who is exploring himself the most thoroughly, but it's not working out that way. I mean, on ANY level. Clark seems to know exactly who he is--Future Superhero, Great Destiny Holder, Boy With Hopeless Crush, Good Son, Friend to All Humanity. And whoo-hoo, you don't say? And they say creativity is dead in television. Look at that. And to think, he's going to be just like this, just in a godawful uniform, ten years from now.

He's not growing. I mean, he's NOT. I cannot see a discernable change in him on any level--when he rebels, he does it in tiny, insignificant ways and immediately goes back to status quo having Learned His Lesson (TM). He's--really, really, squeaky clean. Putting Phelan up against the wall is the first time I felt that shot of energy, of hope--of SOMETHING in him that's more than the sum of his parts. He's compassionate and he's so good it hurts to look at him, he's mature in a weird, sort of frightening way, but there's that temper, that flaw that we can touch. That we can connect with. And that moment, I loved Clark. I sat back and thought, thank you GOD. Yes. There it is. That's the part that Clark needs to fight, needs to accept, needs to deal with, needs to understand. The part that every human has, the weakness they have to deal with and learn to live with. He HAS one. And THAT is empathy, that's what creates it, and....

And like a fucking snowflake in Smallville continuity, that's gone before the next episode airs.

I have this really, really bad feeling that I'm never going to connect with Clark in ANY episode. I connect with him in fanfic--Te, Sarah T, Livia, Bas, Andy, Bethy, et al. They give me a Clark who is living life. They give me conflicted Clark and Clark being more than this--finished product. He's--as a character, we KNOW what he's going to be. HE'S JUST LIKE THAT NOW. He is Clark Kent, Superhero as of right now, and there will be no--growth, so much as him becoming more and more what he already is. It's--God, that's depressing. More good. More responsible. More aloof. More sure of his own innate goodness.

The scariest part of this? This is backing up my Lex/Lana bend. I don't like Lana--but I have to give credit, she's DOING things at least. She's changing. She's learning herself. She's actually actively trying and failing or trying and succeeding. She's being manipulative. I do not like her, but at least she's not static.

And all roads lead to Lex (you knew this, right?). Who is so damn human we ache for him. Knowing the future, knowing the history, knowing him as MR has portrayed him--we want him to succeed. We watch his conflicts, bite our lips when his dad tries out some vaguely Medici family philosophy on him. We want him happy, and he's living like no other character on this show, he's living for like, ten people. He's trying and failing, trying and succeeding, getting his ass kicked, looking for himself, for his father, for his life, for redemption, for meaning. He's growing and changing right in front of our eyes, and it's BEAUTIFUL. This is what a character is supposed to do, to be, this is what people live for when they read and write, and that this is happening on a show like SMALLVILLE....

It literally takes my breath. This is GOOD stuff.

He's a kid who loves fast cars, a plant manager who is doing brilliantly at his job, a son who feels unloved by his father, a man whose learned ruthlessness as a reflex and an instinct, that lying is a necessity, not an option, a guy who, when you get the loyalty, you get it with his entire soul--and just a boy who wants to be trusted and cared about and liked for his own sake.

And it's symptomatic of his luck, lousy damn Luthor luck, that he connects with the one person completely incapable of connecting back with him. With someone who is unable to bridge the space between them that makes true friendship work, unable to give as much as he gets. It's--just horrifying, that there's this suspicion that the most damage done to Lex won't be by his dad or his life--the big damage is being done by Clark. He's trying to buy Clark, and Clark is letting him think that THIS is the way to go. Here, take my mom's box, take my tickets, take my limo, take my connections, here's power, here's the Talon for your crush, here's a football team for her boyfriend, here's whatever the fuck you want, Clark, take whatever you want whenever you want, just be my friend, please.

Oh God that hurt to write.

And Clark is LETTING him.

Wow, I have officially worked myself into a temper tantrum.

And on Clark's side....

Don't ask questions, don't ask too much of me, keep your distance, we'll be friends but only when I say so, you can give me things but don't expect anything in return, live with the lies and deal with me on my terms, close your eyes when I do weird things, take it when I kick you, or you know what? Forget it. And if you do all this? I'll be nice to you most of the time. The past will only matter when it's yours. I reserve the right to keep my moral high ground no matter how dishonest I am. And I'll only talk about you behind your back when you can't hear.

You think I'm being brutal? Look at the history. I can do this for days.

Don't get me started on what Pete and Chloe have to deal with. Because then I just want to sit Chloe down and tell her, YOU CAN DO BETTER.


Am I being fair? Not completely. Clark really is a good, sweet, compassionate, kind, generous boy. He has wonderful, good qualities. But with the sole exception of Lana, they're all blurred by that--aloofness. That slightly above the earth mentality. That--distance.

And Lex? He's ruthless; he emotionally unstable at times and acts out of that instead of reason; when he's cornered, he's absolutely merciless; he has a cold streak that comes out at the worst of times. There's not much compassion in his make-up, a real lack of empathy, and a scary ability to make right or wrong a public relations thing, not a personal moral code. Despite all those things above, he's also deeply loyal, kind, generous, and he's not malicious. At all. He has a--frighteningly idealistic mindset, coupled with ambition and intelligence and absolute confidence in himself. He has a strong desire to actually DO the right thing. And this is part of his NATURE, not his upbringing. And he's utterly incapable in every way of not giving everything he has and is. Completely.

That's a combination that's pretty much bound to go really fucking wrong. And coupled with Clark--Clark and his pathological inability to connect, Lex with his almost desperate need to do just that...

I don't even know how to describe how scary this is. And the difference between them is more than in the means to the end. Phelan would have died if he'd pulled something like that on Lex. And stripping away the moral issue thing, put Clark and Lex on equal footing, if someone Lex loved was threatened, there is NOTHING Lex would not do for them, up to and including murder. Clark--didn't. Won't ever. Not for anyone.

Let me point out, take a vote, which one do you want to have on your side when you're falsely accused of murder?


I'm being unfair again. I just--can't get why we're supposed to be fascinated by the Clark and Lana drama, when both of them have no intention of changing the status quo. I can't quite get the idea that seeing Clark be Superman as a kid is going to be revelatory in any way. Lex is revelatory--talk about reinterpreting everything you thought you KNEW about him....


I've been trying to figure out how much I still agree with. There were three entries on the subject, but this one I like best, because I was thinking only to myself about what was annoying me with the show and with Clark. I'm never going to love him, but I have learned to like him, despite the fact he broke last year's record and I spent over three eps, despite my better sense, imagining him neatly dissected. Or messily. Dull scalpels, even.

Come on. Did anyone get through that murder accusation without wanting to just drop kick him into the next week? But on the other hand...eh. I need to think on it more before I try writing him again.

Mulling. I should do an entry on this soon to keep up where I am in my head now. Besides, Exodus has my compassion up and running. Poor, poor woobie. *g*

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Regarding your Clark rant: Fascinating stuff, and I can certainly understand your frustration if what you say about Clark's (lack of) development is true. I wouldn't know -- I've only seen three or four SV eps cuz it airs the same time as Buffy -- so I'm much more familiar with Fanfic!Clark than Canon!Clark. But character development is one of the things I love about Buffy and Angel, so I'm pleased that Lex at least seems to evolve organically. Lana, OTOH, still annoys me. I saw "Visage" on Tuesday for the first time, and while I thought it was a fairly good ep and I greatly admired the extent of Lana's screwed-up-edness (it's a word, trust me!), I was still annoyed by her. Not really sure why.

Anyway: Clark. Perhaps Clark's distance comes from having it drilled into his head from childhood to hold back, to control his strength, not go full-out for fear of hurting someone. I can see how that restraint in his physicality, coupled with his secrets, would have him also showing restraint and distance in his emotional/personal spheres. When he goes all-out (as with Phelan) he can seriously hurt people. Let loose, he could destroy Smallville in a matter of minutes, right?

So I can see him teaching himself, training his body and his mind to hold back, to not let things show, to always keep some part of himself away from scrutiny. It's not just to protect himself and his secret but (in his mind) to protect all the fragile humans from his alien freakishness. From his alien-ness. From that part in him that's not human, that may not (he suspects) react like a human and will therefore hurt and/or scare people. So even when others show affection, even with Lex who gives so much all the time, Clark has trained himself so well that he can't break out of that mindset of distance. Like what you said in your post about body memory. You've got yourself trained that it becomes instinct, something you do without even realising you're doing it, without thought.

Anyway, just a possibility. I'm trying to catch SV on summer re-runs now that I've committed myself to this fandom! So one day I might do a post on SV too, it sounds like there's lots here to think about.

*nod* I think it's habit, and he's not completley conscious of it--now past season two, its' somewhat easier to see it in him, but damned if season two didn't also wipe out a lot of my hope for him as well.


I'm trying to catch SV on summer re-runs now that I've committed myself to this fandom! So one day I might do a post on SV too, it sounds like there's lots here to think about.

*grins* I can't wait to see your thoughts. *pokes* Hurry up.

Dude, thank you so much for the kind and effusive rec; this was one of those stories that happens only with a lot of kicking and screaming, I'm so glad that you enjoyed what came out of the literary (??) tantrum!

It's beautiful, but it's more than just that--I expect that from you. There's a timeless quality, like something you'd read in a very old legend or myth. Vivid and bittersweet and utterly, utterly addictive from the first word to the last.

I still need to absorb everything. Possibly re-read a few more times to try and capture it all. *hugs* You outdid yourself on this one.

And I still dont' think I have it all. And I'm still thinking about it.

Um. Eek? Is that a good or a bad thing?

::scrambles off because, right, history and english. tomorrow. so she's never actually been here::

Well, I have to comment on this. I remember when you first posted it to your blog, but I hadn't seen all of S1 at that stage, and couldn't really comment. Now, I can. *bg*

All in all, I just can't agree with this view of Clark and Lex. Possibly it's a case of sometimes, Lex bugs me more than Clark. *muttergrumbleReaper*

He is Clark Kent, Superhero as of right now, and there will be no--growth, so much as him becoming more and more what he already is...

I wish I could argue against this, but really, I'm not sure. There are flashes of anger and insecurity, but his flaws are never overt or extraordinary enough to make him easy to personally connect to him. He's a Good Boy, as much as Lana is a Good Girl, and there just doesn't seem to be much change.

On the other hand, I think you give Lex far more credit for changing, and for good intentions. Personally, I fail to see quite the same amount of change. A good deal of Lex's actions still seem to be motivated by the basic teenage urge to out do/rebel against/show up his father.

I will allow that Lex tries to do the right thing, but... Yes, he doesn't quite know how to do it, but I can't buy into the idea that canon Lex is seeking Clark's friendship out of the goodness of his heart. I can't help thinking that you need to take into account Lex's ulterior motive of discovering Clark's secret. Personally, I also think that lust is another big aspect of his interest in Clark, but I'll try to keep this to actual canon. *bg*

Another point that bugs me is the aloofness of Clark. This isn't something purely on Clark's side. Lex keeps himself aloof from Clark, and I get the strong impression that his confessions are chosen. There frequently seems to be a purpose being confiding in Clark. It doesn't have the natural flow of conversation, it's always slightly stilted, slightly uncomfortable and inappropriate.

Perhaps it's a case of Lex is highly intense, and he pushes. He tries to demand intimacy and I can completely understand Clark's immediate reaction of backing off really damn fast.

...here's whatever the fuck you want, Clark, take whatever you want whenever you want, just be my friend, please...And Clark is LETTING him.

I don't think that's fair. Yes, Clark is letting him, but I think it's the lesser evil. Clark runs the fine line of either being ungrateful by accepting gifts and not "repaying" Lex, or refusing the gifts, and proving to Lex, again and again, that he doesn't trust him, that he doesn't want to be associated with him.

Lex has this ridiculous need to give, to prove how useful he is. Personally, I think he likes being the richest/coolest/smartest guy in the place, the one who you need to rely on, the one that you're dependent on. It's a power trip, as much as his father's. There is no way that you can convince me that Lex doesn't enjoy his power over Nixon and others. He likes being the one in control, the one that can call the shots, the one that can walk away.

And yet, he seems not just frustrated, but genuinely hurt when his gifts are refused. Unfortunately, to some extent, Lex does expect a price tag, a condition, to go along with his gifts, and I can't feel sorry for him if Clark refuses to be bought.

Exactly. This is one of the things that always bothers me, this implication that Clark is mercenary for accepting Lex's gifts. It makes me wonder if I'm the only one who remembers all the antipathy towards the Kents in season one because they had the temerity to *refuse* Lex's offerings-- at various times the Kents were labeled paranoid, self-righteous, hateful and *stupid* for not accepting Lex's offers of money in Cool, Obscura, etc. And yet when Clark accepts gifts, suddenly he becomes mercenary, grasping, a 'taker.' Personally, I just don't see it. Look at "Tempest," where Clark comes over to ask to borrow the limo, then doesn't even ask when he sees that Lex is going through some hard times. He obviously prioritizes Lex's peace of mind over picking up his date in a cool car-- for a sixteen year old boy, this is huge!

Or look at Visage, to see how organically Lex works in an offer of help into a normal conversation. They're just hanging out, talking about girl troubles, and Lex offers to bring in a doctor for Whitney. Clark doesn't *ask* for the special favor, and really, why should he refuse? Lex makes it quite clear in "Metamorphosis" and several other episodes (the one where he says it 'stings' that Martha's working for Lionel, for instance) that he's more offended by Kents refusing gifts than accepting them.

About Lex...

He is not Clark's bitch. He has no problem lying to Clark's face, even lying about important things that affect Clark directly. He has no problem showing his irritation when Clark's being a typical fickle teenager ("Skinwalker") yelling at him and telling him to get out when he's an ass ("Suspect") keeping major secrets from him (the Porsche, Nixon, Hamilton, the embezzlement in "Kinetic," the whole Room of Obsession and Vial of Blood debacle) and saying 'no' when he needs to ("Skinwalker," again, and "Red" when he kicked Clark out of the caves.) He does not give Clark "whatever he wants whenever he wants." Gifts of material things are not automatically a sign of intense emotion or pure intentions, especially not when it comes to Lex.

I mean, seriously, at this point, both Clark and Lex are equal on the lying front. I frankly have less sympathy for Lex's lies, because more often he's lying to cover up dumbass things he's done, instead of protecting himself. And yet Lex is the one who's being sinned against, because why? Because he's proven his devotion to the friendship-- by giving Clark lots of expensive presents?

Anyway. Anybody who seriously thinks that all Lex wants from Clark is pure, untainted friendship-- I have to wonder if they're actually watching the episodes, or just reading the fanfiction, where he often doesn't seem to have a dark side at all. (I have taken to bitterly referring to fanon!Lex as Mister Perfect Boyfriend Man. He's sweet, kind, ethical, gives great backrubs, and he definitely never bribes, threatens, embezzles, lies to or spies on anyone. Ever. Yay Mister Perfect Boyfriend Man!) I think it does an incredible dis-service to the character to white-wash him like that, in fiction and in analysis.

*hugs Livia* Look, it's a gal who can agree with my argument and back it up with actual examples! *g*

Yay Mister Perfect Boyfriend Man!

Bwahahaha! Obviously, I haven't been reading quite the same fanfiction as you, but that phrase just cracked me up. (For some reason, it's just making me imagine it as the title of a song by Shaggy...)

I think it does an incredible dis-service to the character to white-wash him like that, in fiction and in analysis.

*nods* I think it's because there is the potential in Lex. That, if he really put his mind to being good, he would be incredible. But, just because we feel for him and want him to be good, doesn't mean that we can ignore just how morally ambiguous most of Lex's actions are.

Personally, I was willing to give Lex a lot of room, right up until Reaper with the whole embezzling and tying up Dominic. Just then, I realised how immature, selfish and disconnected to basic social standards Lex really is. He doesn't seem to understand why basic rules should apply to him, and that makes me very wary of him as a character. He doesn't have a strong internal moral compass and he doesn't accept any external rules either.

Some people have Clark issues, I have Lex issues. *bg*

Sorry, you caught me on a slightly grumpy/*grrrr* mood, so I'm a little more argumentative than normal. Although, as for wanting Lex to succeed? I completely agree with that. But then, I always wanted Lex to succeed on the movies and in Lois&Clark. *g*

Phelan would have died if he'd pulled something like that on Lex. And stripping away the moral issue thing, put Clark and Lex on equal footing, if someone Lex loved was threatened, there is NOTHING Lex would not do for them, up to and including murder. Clark--didn't. Won't ever. Not for anyone...which one do you want to have on your side when you're falsely accused of murder?

I'm not sure. Because, to have Lex on your side, you need to be absolutely certain that Lex is on your side, which is generally debateable depending on how much Lex personally has at stake. Generally, Clark will do the right thing, and if you're a friend or a loved one, he will do as much as possible to protect you. He does give those close to him preferential treatment, and he does try his utmost to protect.

With Lex, he protects by attacking. It's a case of splitting hairs, but I think with Lex you need to have a genuine concern that he may get too carried away with getting revenge. He's not rational, he's not just, and a great deal of his protection seems to be self-motivated. He doesn't protect because people need protecting, he protects because those people belong to him; it's a personal slight.

Deconstructing Clark

Laying aside the fact that so much of what's wrong with Smallville can be laid squarely at the feet of its creators, who are in desperate need of therapy, I have a slightly different viewpoint. But you knew that. *g*

I personally ascribe both Clark's aloofness and lack of self-motivated growth to deep fear. He's not human, he's had it drummed into his head nearly every day of his life (with good reason, I think) that he's not human, and I think he's afraid that if he looks at himself too closely, he'll see how very not human he is, and the...veneer of humanity he and his parents have so carefully constructed will start flaking away. I continue to believe that, more than any lack of trust in anyone else, Clark keeps his secrets buried because he personally doesn't want to look at them. Before he can admit he's alien to anyone else, he has to admit it to himself. And I do think we're still seeing the fallout from his confession to Pete. I think he told Pete in the first place because a) terror forced his hand and b) Pete (unlike Lex) wasn't going to delve too deeply. Clark could demonstrate a couple of his "cool alien powers" and Pete would be satisfied (also, it does seem to me that Clark drew away from Pete quite a bit more in second season than in first, and I think his revelation did have something to do with it). Unfortunately, by telling Pete, Clark opened the Pandora's Box of his alieness, and while Pete can walk away from that, Clark can't. In second season, I see him vacillating between a fascination with his own nature and an overwhelming terror of it. I think he reflexively clings to the behaviors that have allowed him to live a relatively normal life thus far while pushing away anything that threatens that status quo. And Lex, whatever else might be said about him, definitely threatens just about every status quo on the show.

From what you said above, I think we hold pretty similar ideas about how Clark will develop (or not), but I don't hold that against Clark. I do think there will be more self-examination along the way than you predicted, even if much of it is forced by outside circumstances instead of being internally driven. Clark is still very much a reactive character at this point. I'd like to think third season will see a change in that, but I'm not holding my breath. In any case, Clark has had to look at the beast beneath the skin at last. He's being forced to connect with himself, which is something he has to do before he can connect with anyone else. Whether he follows through and really explores his own nature, or whether he shoves it all underneath an even thicker "armor" of humanity and pushes people even further away, remains to be seen.


I do think Lex has one big advantage over Clark that's rarely addressed. Lex may have spent the last twelve years being called "freak," but he has the surety underneath it all that he's human. Clark thought he had that surety, but it turns out he was very, very wrong. So on top of the usual identity weirdness that comes with being raised as a human American teenager, Clark also gets to wonder how much of the "human" part of the equation applies to him. I think he keeps himself at a distance as much as anyone else, because he's afraid of the answers. I also think he doesn't enjoy lying, and he thinks that by not being particularly close to anyone, he has to lie less often. The sad thing is, I think he's right. Don't ask questions, don't make me lie to you, don't get too close and see me for what I really am because I don't want to know what that is, don't believe me when I act human but don't make me face the lie either, let me pretend even if you know it's pretend, don't make me look, don't make me look, don't make me look.

All that said, I also think Clark is very good with the self-sabotage. He was raised human. He was raised with the human need for contact. And, in some part of himself, he knows he can't keep his alieness caged forever, but he's afraid to face it alone. So, he leaves breadcrumbs, clues for Lex (and Chloe, once upon a time) to put together. Of course, he can't admit he's leaving breadcrumbs, so when Lex pushes he retreats back to the defense of ignorance and innocence, but once Lex backs off, he starts laying that trail again. I think he's begging Lex to figure it out even as he's begging Lex not to confront him with it. And for me personally, that hurts just as much as Lex's desperate need for connection.

The Summer of WIPs

Thanks for posting the link. Lots of fabulous stories in progress.

Wouldn't mind seeing more installments of The Yard. And a continuation of "Pretty When You're Mine", hint, hint.

Do you accept bribes of chocolate?

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