Drawn from Memory

by zahra

Lex's favorite dream involves his mother wearing a violet-colored linen dress and taking him to Lords to see a cricket match against the Australians. Except that Lex apparently represents the entire Australian team because no one else is there. And he hates cricket.

His obligatory cricket whites practically glow under the noonday sun, and he carries a bat with the Luthor Corp logo etched into it. When he walks over to bat, his father is bowling, and Dominic is the wicketkeeper. Lex smoothes his hand over the bat and the Luthor Corp image morphs and says LexCorp instead. It's a bit strange that there's no one fielding, but it is Lex's dream. So, if the stadium is empty except for his mother and Clark sitting in the grass and sharing lemonade then there will be no complaints from Lex.

He scores a century in his first at-bat but does no running. The sun shines, but he never burns. At some point Dominic vanishes. When he tires of the game, he throws the bat at Lionel who disintegrates into a pile of cigarette ashes. It makes Lex smile. When he's done, he walks over to where his mother and Clark are discussing Ford F-150's. She stands, and kisses him on the cheek with the cheap Revlon Blackberry frost lipstick that Dominic's sister used to wear. His mother tells him to trust Clark. When he opens his mouth to ask her what she means, she disappears, but when he turns back to Clark, he fades away as well. Always ends up alone, and inevitably he wakes up with the word 'stay' on his lips. He's not quite sure which one he's referring to.

He's had this dream three times since he came to Smallville.

The first time was after the car crash. The second was after the episode with the non-existent Level Three. The third was two nights ago, after the episode with Rickman, Kyle and the Mercedes that the insurance company swears was the victim of arson. Either that, or a giant fireball from the heavens. Not that Lex wouldn't necessarily buy the latter excuse, especially in Smallville. But all the same, it seems...off.

The dream could be a sign, what kind of sign, though, is beyond him. It could be a warning of the apocalypse, or it could just be a sign that he needs to watch more ESPN and less MSNBC. If Lex actually believed in signs he would probably pay more attention to what's happening in the dream. Especially considering its repetitive nature. The cricket grounds. His father's disintegration. His mother's words. Clark's presence in the dream. But Lex would have to be a believer first and foremost, and Lex isn't a believer; Lex is a scientist.

It's difficult. Beyond hard to just. Let. It. Go. To say it's nothing. No such thing as 'nothing' in Lex's world because everything is something. And if his mother says he should trust Clark, he should. Shouldn't he? Shouldn't be investigating the car crash. Shouldn't be wondering what the hell he's keeping from him. Why Lex knows Clark's lying to him, and just lets him do it. But it's bordering on impossible to just trust. To have faith. It goes against everything he's ever learned, been taught. His very nature. Especially when there are plainly things Lex's not being told. Explanations that are being withheld because of who he his. Too much like his dealings with his father.

All of it making Lex a bit crazed and messing with his sleep patterns. And, unfortunately, the second quarter projections just aren't having that somnolent effect that they normally do, which is why he's sitting up in his bed at three o'clock on a Tuesday morning. Bright light from the chrome and glass light on his nightstand, and his eyes are everywhere but on the numbers being generated by the Excel spreadsheets on the laptop.

Closes his eyes and sees blackness being perforated by light. A kaleidoscope of colors. Green and blue. Red. Images shifting and moving and being pushed around as he rubs his eyes. Too tired to sleep. Too tired not to dream. To not think.

His favorite dream has very little basis in reality beyond the trip to Lords with his mother. He did wear cricket whites, but he also turned into a little Luthor lobster under the noonday sun. Beyond that no truth to speak of. Dream of. But. It's only a dream, and his dreams have always been odd. A miasma of disturbing images and thoughts. Things he has tried to avoid recalling in the light of day. Mudslides and physical assaults, buildings without roofs and people invading his space. Navy SEAL attacks on high schools and parents being shot during visits to Disney World. Lex has never even been to Disney World. How it appears so vividly in his dreams speaks volumes about the power of today's mass marketing.

All dreams, not memories, and all things that he can brush off. Chalk up to commercials during CNN and spending far too much time channel surfing between CNBC and Crossfire. But the dreams are changing. Getting worse. Becoming more life-like. Wordless cries and waking in the night in a cold sweat. Wondering if he was actually dreaming of life of living in a dream. Lex hit a wall last night and tonight he doesn't want to take the chance of a repeat performance. Nothing that Lex can't face, except in his dreams, and this is one thing that he can't bear going through again. Would rather wade through a sea of cricket dreams than spend one more night drowning in nightmares of murder and death.

The first time was bad enough. One time too many to dream of killing Clark. Repeatedly.

Dreaming that he shot him over and over again and watched as his body spun in a graceful arc. Watched as swaths of denim and flannel floated away from Clark's body and his face contorted in the most beautiful display of pain Lex has ever seen. Ever dreamed. The only thing that made it worse was that he enjoyed it. That he felt free again. That for once he didn't have to be whatever Clark thinks he is. Wants him to be. Could make him into given time.

Lex killed Clark and he enjoyed it. For all of two seconds. And then the misery hit. And the despair. The knowledge that he had destroyed the one pure, good thing in his life. The one person whom he wanted to give the entire world wrapped in a Tiffany's bag, and who would probably complain that it was too fancy. He had killed the last unicorn and proved everyone right, once and for all. No pity for those who live up to expectation.

So, when he woke screaming Clark's name, he had no choice but to do a midnight run. Never even thought twice about barefoot driving in the Aston Martin and wearing a wool coat over striped pajama bottoms. All worth it to see that light on in the upper left-hand side of the Kent house. Proof that Lex wasn't the only one having problems sleeping. Proof that Lex had only been dreaming.

Only dreaming and not doing.

So, when he rubs his eyes, now, and sees little spots, it's expected because he knows he's awake. Not asleep, and it's all just a figment of his imagination, no matter how lifelike. No matter what he sees. He's still able to differentiate between truth and fiction, right and wrong.

All the same, it makes him miss his mother even more than he normally does. He thinks she would have understood what was wrong. Been able to interpret whatever was bothering him and make it all okay. But she's not there. She's dead, and at three-thirty, Tuesday morning, Lex is all alone in his bedroom in the Castle of Banishment, and all he has are his memories and his dreams.

-finis-


Dedication: To Lar for indulging my obsessions, and to Kassie for being a big, nasty Orc. I feel this sudden need to start singing 'you are my sunshine...'

Notes: I know nothing about cricket. I had to go to a 'Cricket for Dummies' site - my apologies if I got it wrong. As I understand it though it's kinda like a baseball-tennis hybrid.

Feedback: Always appreciated and adored.

Improv #5: violet, frost, pity, stand



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