|Clex coda to "Cure"
||[Oct. 22nd, 2007|06:00 pm]
Juxtoppozed has written a great Clex companion story for "Cure" and suggested others do the same. So here's my Clexy take on "Cure":
There's no reason for Clark to stay. The doctor has seen Lex; the prognosis is positive. Lex will be fine, as he always is. It's not like Clark has nothing else to do: Chloe's in immediate danger from Knox. He's got a volatile and pissed off cousin on the loose. And there's Lana. Something's definitely up with Lana.
But still Clark stays, watching Lex sleep, tuning out the layers of hospital noise to listen to Lex's steady breathing.
It's not as though he cares what happens to Lex. Not any more. He's thought about killing Lex himself. No really, he has. Pushing him up against the barn wall, a hand on Lex's soft throat. Lex's eyes locked on his….
Unbidden, an image of Knox attacking Lex pops up behind Clark's eyes, accompanied by a flare of anger that briefly tinges the opposite wall red. The rage Clark had felt…but surely he'd feel the same way if it was a stranger being attacked? Not just Lex. Anyone. He suddenly flashes back to Oliver attacking Lex last year. Oliver had shot Lex and then he'd smirked, pleased with himself. Clark had tossed Oliver across the room for that, just like he'd thrown Knox tonight. It was wrong, what Oliver did. It's wrong to kill, even if it's Lex.
Especially, if it's Lex, pipes up a little voice in his head. Clark ignores it.
By the time Lex wakes up, hours later, Clark has his righteous indignation locked and loaded. It's a bit of a disappointment when Lex doesn't really engage with him, beyond the one passing jab about Lana. Lex tells him about Knox in a voice raspy with exhaustion. He seems to sincerely want Clark to stop Knox, to save Chloe and the other patients. Lex's skin is so pale against the blue hospital sheets; his eyes are tired.
When Lex stops talking, there's an awkward pause. Clark has no reason to stay and every reason to go. But still, he has to prod himself out of the room. When he looks back, Lex's eyes are closed.
* * * * *
When it's all over and Chloe is safe, Clark sits alone in the kitchen. Lana has gone to bed with a cheerful good night. Too cheerful, but Clark doesn't feel up to investigating that just now. They've had a few too many brittle conversations already today. Between Kara's anger and Lana's happy homemaker façade, the peace of the house is balanced on an eggshell. Clark doesn't want to break it.
He should go up to bed too. But he isn't tired and he knows he won't sleep. Perhaps if he goes for a run…..
If he's honest with himself, Clark would admit that he was heading for the mansion all along. But it takes two loops around the Great Lakes before he actually does admit it. He slips in through the side door. Lex's security is as negligible as ever. Possibly Lex has simply given up caring about his own safety or else he has decided it's worth sacrificing security to allow certain intruders access. Maybe just one intruder, thinks Clark but that could be his vanity. Lex has never kept him out of the mansion yet.
With Lana gone, the mansion feels different, almost like it's Clark's space again. Which is weird, backwards thinking. Lana wasn't the invader; she was the victim of Lex's machinations. Her departure from his house shouldn't somehow represent an opportunity for Clark to reclaim his territory. And yet,this was his place, long before Lana came. Clark remembers rushing into the library, so many times, knowing that whatever Lex was doing , however busy he was, he would stop to listen to Clark's latest problem. Offer a drink, a game of pool, a historical parallel: give impartial advice in a way Clark's other friends couldn't manage; listen uncritically in a way Clark's parents never could. For a long time, the mansion was his refuge, from the farm, from school, perhaps even from Lana.
Lex's bedroom is uncharted territory but Clark slips through the door anyway. It's a big bed; Lex looks small in it. His face is pale in the moonlight, his eyelashes casting spiky shadows on his cheek.
There's a chair next to the bed. Clark sits down silently. If Lex wakes up…..well, he can be gone before Lex unseals an eye.
Lex sighs in his sleep. The wound on his face is already beginning to heal. By tomorrow, the bruise will be nearly gone.
Clark rests his chin on his locked fingers:
Why am I here? I have a girlfriend at home that loves me and I'm sitting at the bedside of a man who hates me.
Except, after everything that's happened with us, he doesn't hate me. Not deep down. When we were trapped in the tunnels, he risked his life to come back for me.
Another thought surfaces, one that Clark always tries to push away: Lana didn't help. She left him to die. She'd let him die even now, probably. Perhaps one day she will leave me to die, if things go badly between us again.
No. She'd never do that.
Lex's fingers curl against the duvet. He flinches in his sleep, recoiling against an invisible hit. He makes a small noise, a fearful noise.
"Shhhh," whispers Clark, and before he realizes what he's doing, he's reaching out a hand to stroke Lex's cheek.
It's a mistake. Lex will wake up; he'll be scared, then furious.
But Lex doesn't wake up. He frowns slightly, tilts his cheek into Clark's touch. Clark brushes the soft curve of his cheek with a finger tip, touching so lightly as to be almost imperceptible. Lex's pupils dart beneath his eyelids. His dream must have reached a climactic moment. Then Lex speaks:
He's still asleep, sound asleep but Clark whispers "yes" anyway and puts his hand over Lex's clenched fingers.
He sits like this for a long time, feeling more at peace than he has in months. There will be more trouble with Lex in the future, he knows this. There will be plots Clark needs to stop, research he needs to shut down, confrontations that will leave both of them drained and miserable.
But perhaps, every so often, there can be a day like this, a day when Clark saves Lex and Lex, in turn, helps Clark save someone else. When they can talk without sniping, touch without fighting and be at ease with each other. Where Clark can treat himself to…to this.
Clark leans forward and brushes the lightest of kisses across Lex's forehead.
"Mmmmm," says Lex, in his sleep. His hand is warm under Clark's.
Clark should go. But just as in the hospital, he can't seem to shift himself out of the chair. He thinks:
"Just a few minutes longer. A few minutes more can't hurt."
* * * * *
Lana switches off the surveillance feed and closes her laptop. She drums her fingers on the table. When she kills Lex Luthor – and make no mistake, she will kill Lex Luthor – it will not be for the baby fraud, the lies, the cold misery of their relationship.
It will be for what she has just seen take place in his bedroom.