Appellations

by LaT



Notes: These were written in response to Livia's X-Files Title Challenge, in part just to see if I could do it, and in part because I was feeling some vague guilt at the fact that I probably won't be able to write full-length SV fiction until I have the semi-closed canon the season finale will give me to work with. The second one, Gethsemane, should be considered AU, and all I'll say about it is just remember that it's fiction.

Disclaimers, et al.: Sadly, they still seem to be not-mine. If they were, I would probably be more religious.

Feedback: If it's good for you, say my name at LaT96@att.net

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Appellations : A Challenge Response in Two Parts April, 2002

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Lazarus (XF Season 1, Episode 15)

It had never occurred to him that flying could make you feel light, but Lex supposed it made a kind of sense. Moving through wind and sunlight with nothing but skin and bones to support him, he'd never been so aware of his body yet so detached from it at the same time.

From the air Smallville looked incredibly ... green. Verdant and lush and it made him think of the emerald in his mother's favorite brooch, the one her mother had given her the day Lex was born. Strange, to be thinking of his Elba as a jewel, but then, Lex was flying, so it wasn't as if the ordinary was in the mix today.

The sun on his skin was like kisses, a soft and murmuring heat that made him feel nothing so much as ... welcomed. Navigation was much easier than he expected, a simple turn of the head or twist to his shoulders and he really could go wherever he wanted, in whatever direction he wanted, and there was a freedom in that Lex already cherished. Maybe even loved.

Smallville seemed to stretch out for, well, for forever, really. Miles and miles and miles of green and gold and houses that inappropriately called to mind thoughts of Monopoly, and Lex laughed into the wind. Possibility had never looked and felt so much like play before, or maybe he simply hadn't been paying attention until now, when it was laid out in front of him in a way he couldn't deny. He could reach for anything here and glide toward it if he wanted to, get close enough to seize it in his hands, and was it possible this was what Lionel was trying to teach him?

Lex turned his head to the right, shifting himself in the direction of the fertilizer plant, and he couldn't help but wonder if it, too, would look different and ripe from the vantage point of the sky. There was a sudden sensation of being ... pulled, as if his trajectory had been thrown out of whack and before Lex could blink, could try to right himself by twisting back the other way he was in free-fall, rushing through the air so quickly it was difficult to breathe, the ground getting closer with each passing second and Lex wondered just how much it would hurt in those moments right before he died, if he'd even have time to hurt at all. He opened his mouth to scream at the unfairness of it - just because he could see his death coming didn't mean he had to be quiet about it - but the air racing into his lungs went through him with a painful sharpness he hadn't felt since before he'd gotten over his asthma, and the sound came out choked, strangled and fuck this. He couldn't even die right.

He braced himself as best he could given the fact that he was falling from the sky and closed his eyes, but in the instant right before he should have hit the ground something... caught him. Warmer than the sun and wrapping itself around him in such a way Lex couldn't turn or move or do anything except hold on. Still coughing in short, painful bursts, he opened his eyes to see where he was going.

Nowhere soon if it meant he could keep looking at what he was seeing. Large hazel eyes under wet, dark bangs. Wide, generous mouth that made Lex think, incongruously, of candy, and the look of concern on the boy's face was so open and honest it was almost painful to see. A flicker of deja vu, and Lex remembered what he'd been doing in the moments before he'd inexplicably taken flight.

"I could have sworn I hit you."

He wasn't flying any more, but he still understood the power of possibility.

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Gethsemane (XF Season 4, Episode 24)

The sun had gone down by the time Clark reached his destination. It had been two months, enough time for the earth to settle and the headstone to be set in, but that didn't matter. It still ached like a fresh wound, sharper and more precise, more unforgiving than the pain of cracked ribs, the only pain he'd known to compare it to, and like that injury, it hurt every time he tried to breathe.

Beneath his feet, the ground was damp. The rain had let up right before he left Smallville, a small favor he didn't deserve, but it would make this a little bit easier to do. In the dark, he found his way to where he needed to be in less time than he thought it would take him. He hadn't realized how thoroughly he must have memorized this place the last time he was here.

Two months, but the memory was still so vivid it could have been yesterday. They'd been standing under a sun so bright and hot it seemed to be mocking all of them, showering them in radiance in the middle of their grief, and it was the only time in his life Clark could ever remember hating the sky. His mother had stood beside him, holding his hand the whole time and he couldn't, wouldn't find any shame in that even when it was impossible to meet Mr. Luthor's eyes long enough to say "I'm sorry."

Clark shook the thought off when he reached his goal. Even in nighttime, the marble - black shot through with threads of silvered grey - seemed to gleam, and the tightness in his chest was back, his eyes stinging like they did every time he let himself think about it, which was all the time now. He could feel leftover rain water soaking into the knees of his jeans as he flattened his hands on the surface of the headstone, made a useless attempt to clear the moisture away. The letters beneath his fingertips so new and sharp they were as traceable as Braille, and he'd never known Lex's middle name was "Joseph." There were a lot of things he'd never know now, and there weren't enough ways to say he was sorry, but he said it over and over again anyway.

He thought he knew was what he was doing, thought that it was just enough pressure, just enough force and Lex had been knocked unconscious before and come out of it all right. Clark hadn't meant ... he never intended... oh God, he just hadn't wanted Lex to see. And there was the pain again, coming up and out of him in great, wracking sobs, the sound harsh in his own ears, all the more so because of the silence in the rest of the graveyard. He leaned down, tears mixing with the rain on the marble, and said "I'm sorry" once more before pressing his lips to the hard, cool stone.



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