Bells and a Siren

by HYPERFocused



Disclaimer: The Kansas State emergency response system has declared that I don't own Lex, or any other character mentioned in this story. If I did, I'd give him a big gauze bandage, and a reassuring hug. Then I'd slap him for not being honest with his boyfriend. (Don't worry, Clark would get the same treatment.)

This is a Sports Night Title Challenge story. Dan and Casey really ought to visit Smallville. I hear there used to be a pretty good quarterback there.


Frantically searching his office for a small, hexagonal piece of metal, Lex doesn't know how things got so bad, so fast. Everyone he thought he had under control has betrayed him, and he hasn't done Clark any favors. He wonders if the bells are finally tolling for him, and what he can do about it.

When he was a very little boy, Lex liked to play with the silver and enamel bell his mother kept on her bedside table. Bells were a primary means of communication in the Luthor family. They brought servants to call, and gave him a voice when asthma and illness silenced him. Lillian always answered when he called. It made him feel safe. It made him feel cherished.

Later, after the meteor shower took his hair, but gave him back his breath, the bell went back to his mother, full time. No longer a toy, he'd forever associate it with her growing weakness, the closer she got to the end, the more he and Lionel heard that soprano peal. Words were too much, but three rings meant 'I love you.' She did, he knew it. After she died, he never felt that secure again.

There were bells ringing at her funeral-- a regular chorus of them. Lillian had been a woman of real faith, and it was only fitting that her memorial held all the trappings. Neither Lex nor his father felt that connection to the divine, but Lionel had been pleased at the full house turnout his beloved had gotten. Lillian had always engendered real affection.

They'd stopped using the bell after Lillian was gone. "We're Luthors. The servants ought to be able to anticipate our needs," was Lionel's new attitude. He didn't seem to care what Lex needed, by then, preferring to keep the boy at continent's length, as much as possible. He put in an intercom system, and Lex felt the buzzing like an electrified rat maze.

Lex learned quickly how to get along at boarding school. There were fourteen minutes in-between the bells calling everyone to chapel, and the time when they absolutely had to be in their pews. At thirteen, Lex has learned all the things two boys -- or a boy and his professor -- can do in the cloakroom during that time. He's learned it exceptionally well. He can go from 'pants around his ankles' to 'best marks for deportment' while the other boys are still fidgeting into place.

He hears the shots ring out, and Officer Phalen grabs him by the arm, and hustles him out of the club. The sirens scream closer, almost overtaking the music -- but not quite. Lex's shoulder is bright with pain, but the rest of him is fuzzy. He pretends it's just another misspent night, but he knows the scars will stick.

Lex is driving through Shitville on his way home from the Crap Factory. He laughs a little at the analogy. It was his asshole of a father that put him in this cool-forsaken town, and he's counting the seconds until he can leave it.

The speedometer rises and his cellphone starts ringing. Speak of the devil. Lex leans down to pick up the call. There's something in the road, and he can't stop himself from spinning out of control, and over the bridge. Who the fuck is that, standing there, and why doesn't he get out of the way?

The phone's stopped ringing. He thinks. Hard to tell when the steady, bright hum in his ears is getting stronger, and besides, he and the phone are both floating inside the Porsche. An undefinable time passes, and he finds himself lying muddily on the river bank. He can feel the young man's warm lips on his, waking him up for the first time since he arrived in Smallville. Funny it takes dying to get him to feel alive again.

Lex leans over and coughs, as the sirens grow closer. His savior has green eyes, and a red blanket, and hands that feel like home. His name -- Clark -- hits Lex like the pealing of a bell.

There are many emergencies. Clark is more reliable than the Kansas State police, and a hell of a lot more fun with whom to practice mouth to mouth. After time spent in the boy's strong arms, Lex finds out that love is its own kind of rescue.

There are flashing spikes of light, and a muted ringing in his ears. He thinks it's a precursor to one of his headaches, but then Lex hears the sirens, faintly, in the distance. The castle is about as far from the emergency response tower as it can be, and still be in Smallville.

At first it's like the outside world is somehow mirroring his inner turmoil. There should be sirens on a night like tonight, when everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. A regular Murphy's law sort of night.

Lex sees his father throw open the doors, but the anger doesn't register like it normally would. It's just another facet to his horror. He's already scraped raw. The wind is whipping through the castle like it's finally fulfilling its purpose as a gothic novel setting. It helps Lex's arms shove the books off his shelves, but doesn't help him uncover the missing piece of metal. Lex has never felt so lost.

The stained glass shatters, matching his father's voice. Lex wouldn't put it past Lionel bringing in the tornado himself, somehow. God knows he's already ripped the town from its moorings.

He stands over Lionel for what feels like an eternity of split seconds. There's blood and rain running down his face, and he wonders if this is Cassandra's prophesy coming true. Lex doesn't want to be a monster, but fears it's too late. He doesn't think Clark will save him this time. He doesn't think Clark will find him worth saving, any more.

Gathering his strength, Lex reaches down to try and help his father. He thinks his time with angels -- and aliens -- is long past. Monsters and devils deserve each other. He does not wait to be rescued, this time.



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