Die Hand Die Verletzt

by Jayne Leitch

Response to Livia's X-Files Title Challenge.

Rating: PG for language.

Spoilers: um...well, it's a future fic, but episodic stuff? Nah.

Disclaimer: not mine. Sadly.

Notes: Die Hand Die Verletzt: "the hand that wounds". In response to Livia's Smallville Fic/X-Files Title Challenge. It's proving to be so dang inspirational...

DIE HAND DIE VERLETZT by Jayne Leitch Copyright 2002

His hand is gone.

Lex stares at the stump of his wrist, willpower working hard against the wooziness from the post-op drugs, and cracks his lips into what passes for a smile these days. His hand is gone, his arm just ends, and there is something essential about the situation that the damn drugs are keeping him from seeing clearly.

Something he thinks he should know without having to try like this.

His ring is in the top drawer of his desk back at the penthouse apartment, and Lex has a very strong desire to tell someone to go and get it, bring it here to the hospital so he can slide it onto his lone remaining pinky finger and start working towards making himself a double amputee. Or worse, since kryptonite's effect on human tissue is unpredictable at best. He clamps down on the urge with a facility that upsets him--why should this be so easy to manage when the drug haze refuses to go away?--and closes his eyes so he can't look anymore, can't see the stark white bandage that's the only really solid thing in the beige blur of his hospital room.

He opens them again when he realizes that he can still feel his hand. The hand that isn't there. For a moment, he contemplates the idea that the medication might not be the only thing fucking him up, and huffs out a breath of a laugh that catches his bodyguard's attention.

His hand is gone.

And how many years had he lived surrounded by land that was almost completely empty except for pieces of meteors?

Lex approves of irony, when it happens to other people. He might be slightly loopy from the drugs--newer drugs, stronger painkillers, better than the ones his recreational tolerance rendered ineffectual in his incautious youth--but he can still think clearly enough to be able to appreciate the massive joke behind his situation, so he does.

His hand is gone because of Clark, and Clark is gone because of his hand--in a purple, flowery, metaphorical kind of way that Lex thinks is easier to appreciate while the drugs are affecting his thought processes. It's not a direct chain of cause and effect, not by any means--there's all that sex and lying and business and moral outrage and cynicism and innocence and biology and, what the hell, destiny in between every step--but it's straightforward enough for the purposes of irony, and that's good enough for Lex.

Clark had asked him not to wear the ring. Within the first day Lex had it, Superman had swooped down through every single security precaution Lex's genius had devised and implemented, straight into his office, just to the far side of the desk.

"You know that amount of kryptonite hardly affects me at all these days."

"I know."

And suddenly Superman had left and Clark was there, looking ridiculous in the suit, as if he'd put it on for a Halloween party. He'd fidgeted a little, and Lex had known that the ring was working at least enough to make him itch. "Lex," he'd said, but then he'd stopped and just looked. Right into Lex's eyes. Right at Lex's hand, and the green glow around his finger. "It does things to people. You know that, too."

Lex had nodded, slowly, and given a solemn answer. "Yes I do, Clark." He'd paused for a moment, his mouth twisting into his pass-for-a-smile, before adding, "But everything has its risks and rewards. It's just a matter of knowing which one means more."

Clark had stiffened, and disappeared, and Superman had stood on the other side of his desk again for all of a second before rushing out in a gust of wind and a blur of colour. And Lex had worn the ring.

And now his hand is gone.

It's an acceptable loss. Lex has enough money to buy himself a prosthetic better than state of the art. Hell, if he really wants to, he can spring for a transplant; a few of his more favoured private physicians and scientists have made very interesting advances in certain labs that only he and they know about, and procurement...wouldn't be an issue. Somehow, though, Lex thinks he'd like a prosthetic.

Again, it seems fitting in a way he shouldn't have to think about to be able to pin down.

The new and improved drugs are starting to wear off, and Lex grimaces. His arm will hurt like hell in about ten minutes, but on the other--ha--hand, his mind will be clear. The fact that his hand is gone will no longer be the blackly funny, abstracted, far too apt metaphor he can refuse to take seriously in light of the fact that he can still feel the hand on the end of his arm.

From what he's read, he thinks he'll still be able to feel it even without the drugs screwing with his perceptions.

His hand is gone. Lex stares at the stump of his wrist, and knows.

He wants his ring.


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