by Aelita

Thank you aelora for quick beta. Special thank you to graysong for a quick read and telling me it didn't suck, and blackfall for giving me the reason to finish this and something to think about.

They don't look at you the same.

The entire fucking town can't even look at you the same. The inquisitive stares on your back are almost palpable with their vulturous curiosity, watching you, always watching, waiting for a sign, for proof.

(You think that Luthor spawn will turn violent again?)

None of them dare to look you in the eyes anymore, and you don't know if it pisses you off or makes it better. Which is not to say that the two are mutually exclusive.

Whispers, breezing through the room, always just a touch away from being audible, but comprehensible nonetheless, biting into your skin, sharp, sharp, almost enough to make you bleed.

(I knew that guy was crazy. It was only a matter of time before he cracked.)


It doesn't matter that you can't hear what they say. (What did you expect from a Luthor?) Doesn't matter because you don't even need to guess, you've heard them all before. Maybe not exact tone of voice, maybe different words, but the meaning is the same.




Pathetic, crazy freak.

You know.

And here you thought you were a pariah before.

Rage -- white streaks on red palette -- and you want to scream, because, fuck, what do they think you're going to do? Take out a gun and start shooting people?

(Wouldn't be the first time I've seen you shoot someone.)

And you can rant and yell and tell them that it wasn't really you, that you made a mistake of trusting someone, that you were drugged, and you never would've broken apart otherwise. Not that easily. You're not made of steel, you're human, only human, but you aren't easily breakable.

But you won't.

Because mostly you're just bitter, or maybe you just taste bitter in your mouth, and you don't know what it is but you know it's not anger. Anger tastes like alcohol, sharp and stinging, with a burn. You're pretty sure it's not madness either, because madness tastes rich and addictive and so syrupy-sweet you can feel it flowing through your body. You think it might be sadness, or disappointment, but it doesn't really matter, and you gulp down hot espresso, burning out bitter with hot bitter until you can't taste anything. You are stronger and you will survive, you will put this behind you, or better yet, learn to use it and it doesn't matter what they think.

You. Don't. Need.


You're Lex Luthor.

You can handle the nosiness and the smugness. You've been dealing with it since forever, since you were a damn child, and those are the lessons for which you want to thank your father, may he rot in hell. You know how to smile at them with contempt. (You're better. Better than then them, smarter, stronger, more powerful.) And show them that crazy or not, you're not to be fucked with. You know people, you can read their fears, but more importantly you know how to use those fears. All it really takes is a few not-too-well-hidden threats. Hell, you even use the crazy guy card, because everyone knows crazy people are unpredictable and dangerous. It works every time and they stammer away like the miserable little imbeciles that they are.

Meet it is I set it down that one may smile, and smile, and be a villain.

Hamlet had it right. Smile. Sometimes all it takes is a smile.

Your father was right; you never should've tried to make them like you. If they hate, they don't sympathize. They just hate and laugh and they point fingers, and you can feel the parody of a smile, splitting your face, almost humorous, because they really don't know whom they're dealing with.

But some of them did learn to like you, and now they pity you. Pity implies weakness and no one respects the weak. Fuck it, fuck it, fuck it. You're not weak, you're strong, a fucking Titan, (it will take a god to break you again) and you will crush them if they dare to challenge you. Let them relearn to hate you, let them remember how to be afraid. If they hate you they don't come close and they can't...

They can't lie and make you believe it.

They can't make you feel for them.

They can't make you feel like you're one of them, (called you son, like he meant it) and turn away when you come to them for help.

As long as they don't come close, they can't look at you with guilt, thick and stifling, reaching from their eyes like a plea, and it almost chokes you whenever you see it.

Some people (they said you were part of the family), who now know it was the drugs that made you crazy. They didn't know it then, and it should make your feelings different, but it doesn't. They don't deserve the blame for giving up on you that easily, but you can't help it. Don't want to. You came to them for reassurance (isn't that what family is for?) and you got doubt and conviction instead. It hurt like hell then, enough to penetrate the haze of the drugged mind, enough for you to remember how much it hurt.

Enough to keep hurting now.

You never considered how long it takes to build trust and how quickly it can be broken. You wasted so much time, months, years, trying to earn their trust (love), working for every scrap, offering anything and everything you had, and it never occurred to you that it would be your trust in them that would be wielded against you. (Different, you thought they were different) That the end would be you looking at them, betrayed and bleeding, and another step closer to breaking, because you realized that you weren't loosing another family. (Called you 'son' like he meant it, and you fell for it) You were never really a part of it in the first place. (Deluded fool)

Your father was convinced that your need to be accepted by a family was a weakness, and you don't know if he was right.

No, your father was wrong. Wanting to have a family isn't a weakness. It's a part of human nature, the need to belong, to be loved unconditionally.

Yearning to be accepted by a family that doesn't want you is sheer stupidity.

You think you're finally free of it.

They try to welcome you back, but you avoid them. Avoid them like the rest of the town avoids you, though you don't do it because it's easier. You do it because you can feel revulsion simmering right there, in your chest, next to where your heart used to be, and there is a tiny part of you that doesn't want you to despise them. Sentimentality is a weakness too, but it's a small one and no one can be perfect.

All it took was traitorous fathers, crazy brothers, murderous wives, lying friends and alone is really starting to sound like a fucking heaven. The only people who haven't back-stabbed you in one way or another, have left anyway, and it hurts even more.

Some people are meant to be alone, in more ways than one, and maybe it's time you finally got the damn clue.

Never again.

And you go through the tedious monotony of the days, making it look easy. Oh, no, you don't notice the town in suspenseful watch. Everything is fine in the Luthor castle, no one is insane there, not anymore, no. And you shiver because the air is cold, body's natural reaction to Kansas winter, and not because rage singed out everything inside of you that used to keep you (human) warm.

Loki used fire to burn the humanity out of a child, and you wouldn't be surprised if the story had simply forgotten that the flames fell from the sky in the shape of green rocks.

Lies, all lies, as good as any, you lie well but not to yourself, and you're drowning yourself in work because anything is better than thinking. Day in and out, spending more time in Metropolis, spending all the time in Metropolis, in the office, calls, documents, projects filling your mind until you practically black out, too tired to drive to Smallville. The masseuse is earning her money trying to get the cricks out of your neck from sleeping draped across the desk. Yet you can't escape. Not from the sudden flares of memories that can't be real (but they are, you know they are). Not from your own fears.

Not from Clark's anticipative glances that you feel even in Metropolis.

Clark, who smiles with his pretty (lying) mouth and not-looks at you with guilt-ridden eyes.

You don't know why Clark feels guilty and you don't know what Clark wants from you, but it's Clark and you used to think that from him you would take anything, even pity.

You even take the fear.

The first time you saw it, it was enough to drive you to finish off a bottle of scotch (New bottle, you only drink from new bottles you open yourself).

He tries to hide it, but you can see it, muted and ugly, and it feels worse than the damn straight jacket.

Clark is... Clark is terrified of you.

And you don't even know why.

Your memories of that day are hazy at the best, and you can't remember anything after you left your father's office.

You know you shot a man.

You think Clark was there. (On the floor, cowering from... you? Why? It's Clark. You'd never...)

Something happened. Something that had put that fear in Clark's eyes, and it kills you that you don't remember. (God, what the fuck did you do?)

If you're condemned to be a monster, you deserve to know why.

One morning, you find Clark in your office (looking at you like a puppy who was caught peeing in your favorite shoes and knows the punishment is coming) and you can't take it anymore.

You tell him. Tell him about hours, days, that have been ruthlessly torn out of your mind, used with laser-sharp precision to rewrite your memories into the fevered sufferings of a crazy man, taking the ever-narrowing space between sanity and nightmares and erasing it completely. The words tumble out of your mouth in a hurry, and your face is probably showing more that you would ever admit to feeling. (Can you still feel? Or is it a lie too?) But it's Clark and he has always been your reason for being a poor excuse of a Luthor.

Parts of you missing in a psychedelic bubble made of drugs and lies, all starting on that day, and you will never be whole until you know what truly happened. Fucked up until you couldn't trust your own eyes.

(Don't know if you can now).

You had trusted Clark instead.

And then you ask.

And that is when he smiles at you (almost) without fear (does he think you are tricking him?). But the relief in his eyes rips its razor-sharp claws into your chest.

He smiles at you (pretty, so pretty) and says that he wasn't there. Sweet lie, wrapped in shaky nervousness, not the first one, not the last either, but you think this is the one that has a better chance of driving you insane than that asylum ever did.

Your head suddenly feels blank, scooped clean and rendered cold by lies and expectations never met, and you're not angry. You didn't even realize just how angry you were until this moment, until you're not any more. You're not hurt or betrayed either. You're not... anything. Empty and tired and you inhale deeply and discreetly, averting your eyes and listening.

You think you feel a pulse, soft, inaudible thump underneath your skin, but you're probably wrong. Pulse would imply that you still have a beating heart.

A memory flashes in your mind, a poem read years ago and half-forgotten. Amateur's attempt at telling a sad story of an angel who didn't so much fall, but was told to climb up the mountain of human sin and lost loves to get home as a challenge by those more powerful than he. But the more he climbed, the higher the mountain got (humans will never stop the lies, angel, you should've known that), until he finally gave up one day and stayed in Hades, too exhausted and hurt to care anymore. You're no angel, the notion is laughable, but despite whatever grand delusions your father had, even Luthors have their limits, and you think you finally reached yours. Your hands are covered with invisible wounds from lies and broken trust, and your fingers refuse to hold on anymore.

You force your lips to curve into a smirk (you are a liar too) and say that it's probably a good thing that Clark had missed the show. Adding a soft chuckle (sometimes all it takes is a smile), you tell him that it couldn't have been pleasant and you don't meet Clark's eyes. There was a time when seeing Clark's eyes was important, but you don't want to see what you know is there right now because it doesn't matter anymore.

You look at his mouth instead and think of how much you still want to kiss it, even knowing that it will forever be just another unfulfilled expectation. You think of the time when the reason you couldn't fuck Clark was because you were afraid to lose him, and think that you still can't fuck him, but your reasons changed.

Instead you let go.

And fall.

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