The skin on Lex's nose is flaking off. He can't see it, but when he brushes his hand over the bridge of his nose, layers flutter off before his eyes, and he wonders if his immunity to illness extends to cancer.
Lex knows the odds are in the smallest percentile that he'll get skin cancer just from his extended sun exposure on this island, but still. Anything is possible. Lex always believes that. Why else would he be waiting for Clark to come and save him when he doesn't even know where he is? Why else would Lex believe in Clark when he doesn't even believe in God?
But maybe that's why Lex is stuck on this island in the first place.
The more Lex's skin flakes, the more he thinks.
He's watched the sun set six times so far.
The skin on Lex's arms is freckling and peeling. When he brushes his arms, the skin floats away like snow, and Lex thinks of the winter in Smallville. He thinks of blizzards and hot chocolate and the time that Clark tried to teach him how to ice skate.
There are a lot of things that Lex does well, but ice-skating is quite clearly not one of them. He doesn't mind, but the sand on the beach is hot under Lex's feet and the balls of his feet have blistered in the heat. The weather is not conducive to daydreaming, and the reality of the island makes winter seem like a myth.
At least Clark is real.
The skin on Lex's shoulders is tight and dry. It's been a long time since Lex has had sunburn, but he knows that this is what it is. He also knows that he should apply aloe vera, but seeing as the only fruits Lex has come across are mangoes and bananas, and his knowledge of botany could be called sparse at best, he continues to muddle through best he can. Perhaps he shouldn't have laughed off that 'Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook' that Clark tried to give him as a wedding present.
Still, Lex has never been one to complain.
Instead he swims three, four, times a day, and relishes the cool relief from his shedding skin.
At night Lex's skin flakes off, and when he wakes up in the morning, his skin is new and pink. He thinks of molting snakes and his father.
He's seen the sun rise thirteen times.
The longer Lex is stranded on the island the less his skin burns and flakes. Instead it changes and becomes more durable. The rough spots are sanded away, made smooth, and his soft, pale skin becomes something tougher. Harder.
Lex is changing.
His desire for revenge smoulders instead of burning hot. He doesn't want Helen dead; he wants her to suffer. He doesn't want his father destroyed; he wants him humiliated.
Lex is evolving.
During the day Lex tries to stay in the shade, but if he does that then he can't circle the island looking for ships and planes and ways off this godforsaken island. If he's not moving then he can't be found. If he's not moving and walking then Clark might not see him.
Lex doesn't know how Clark is going to save him, but he knows he will, because Lex believes in Clark. His belief is unwavering and strong. It's layered and complex.
Sometimes it flakes, like Lex's skin, but it's always there.
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