Lex's mother used to trace patterns from Better Homes and Gardens magazine.
He remembers watching her while he stood under the arched doorway from the conservatory, holding his contraband Tonka trucks. He was dressed in short pants and wandering all over the house trying to find her because he wanted her to play with him. And then, when he finally found her drawing in the solarium, he couldn't find it in his heart to disturb her because she looked so peaceful, beautiful, like a Greek goddess bathing in sunlight filtered by muslin curtains.
So instead of disturbing her, a five year-old Lex just stood and stared, and marveled at her red hair. Flaming crimson against her waif-like frame and almost holographic skin. Eventually he got restless and wandered over to her desk, and stood at her arm quietly, watching her.
Studying her movements.
Lex thinks no woman has been, or will ever be, as beautiful as his mother.
He remembers her desk overflowing with sheet upon sheet of tracing paper, covered with floral patterns in all sorts of complicated, ornate designs. Designs that he never saw around the house. Drawings that were never framed or hung for display.
Lex doesn't think his father encouraged her in this endeavor, if he even knew about it at all. And yet, it never stopped her, never kept her from doing what she wanted.
Just because she loved Lex's father didn't mean that she let him control her, or that Lionel knew everything about her. Despite her demeanor she wasn't transparent. Despite her fragility she didn't break. She was so much stronger than she looked, and she kept so much under the surface that no one ever saw, even Lex.
The fact that Lex knows that he didn't, couldn't, understand everything about his mother does something to him. Saddens him, angers him, creates a great flux of emotions that are embittered by grief and wistfulness.
Lex feels a profound ache for her and wishes he could have seen her, seen inside her, inside her heart and mind. He wishes he could have known all of her thoughts and hopes and fears. Known everything she felt.
If he ever harbored a secret regret that would be it - that he didn't know everything that there was to know about his mother.
That she had secrets that he couldn't see.
Still, on some level he understands. He can empathize because Lex has secrets too. Lex has a lot of secrets and one of them has to do with Clark Kent. It has to do with Clark and the way Lex looks at him, but this secret is tainted by other secrets, like the ones that Clark is keeping from Lex.
The secrets that Lex can't see when he looks at Clark.
Clark reminds Lex of his mother in a lot of ways. Obviously not the physical ones, but in other ways. The way that Clark is constructed of the invisible steel of his beliefs, his morality and sense of fairness.
The way that Lex doesn't know everything no matter how well he knows Clark.
When Lex first met Clark he thought he was a simple machine. That he just knew how Clark worked, how Clark ran like the inside of a clock. All wheels and cogs and simplicity.
Lex thought that Clark was just a farmboy bred on wholesomeness and innocence. Over time he's learned differently. He's learning differently. Lex is learning that what he gets from Clark isn't always what he expects or what he thinks he's going to get.
What he thinks he deserves.
It's taking him time, but Lex is learning that just because Lex can see Clark, doesn't mean he can see through him.
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