by Jayne Leitch
Rating: NC-17, I guess
Spoilers: through 'Delete'
Disclaimer: oh, they're never mine. I'm just goofin' around!
Notes: big big thanks to MaryKate and Clannadlvr for being charming and lovely beta-types.
ANOTHER DIVINE IMAGE by Jayne Leitch
The door falls shut behind him, and Lex stands in the absolute dark for a moment before reaching out and hitting the power switch. At his touch, lights flare and monitors flicker; within seconds, the cavernous space housing his chosen obsession is alive and waiting.
Lex has spent a great deal of time here since he was released from Belle Reve, pacing between the displays and hoping one of them will trigger something in his mind to explain why they no longer seem so compelling. Since he came home there's been no tremor of urgency when he unlocks the door, no thrum of desire when he stands at the top of the stairs and surveys his collection. He still feels the allure of the mystery that is Clark Kent, the certainty that there is something to be discovered, but its pull is...less, somehow. No less important, just...less.
Lex isn't stupid. He's read about ECT, its effects and side-effects; in theory, his newfound relaxed attitude could easily be chalked up to the treatments. But between his own refusal to believe he could have been changed so drastically and Doctor Garner's confidence that the treatments weren't as successful as they appeared on the surface--there must be another explanation.
And it must be hidden somewhere in the newly-disorganized synapses of his mind. Something his father didn't care about--or more likely didn't know about--when he decided that everyone's best interests would be served by Lex's forgetting.
Mostly, Lex has been too busy wondering what his father meant to erase to spend much time thinking about what he didn't. But the more he paces through the room, the more he looks, again, at the data he's collected, the more it bothers him that he doesn't feel...more.
Lex remembers, in the half-formed way he remembers the events directly preceding his institutionalization, being livid about this room and its contents while he was trapped on the island. Mostly, he'd thought his father would discover it while he wasn't around to lead him down other paths. But the few times he couldn't maintain the delusion that Helen had nothing to do with the crash, he'd remember the look on her face when he first showed her his collection, the way she would casually mention it during their evenings alone, and he'd be convinced that she planned the crash so she could take all the information for herself and use it to further her own career, Clark's life be damned.
After he'd returned from the island and dealt with Helen, Lex had made a thorough inventory; nothing had been missing from the room, or even so much as moved, as far as he could tell. He...doesn't remember if he was relieved, or suspicious. He hopes for the latter, and wonders why he hasn't inventoried since getting out of Belle Reve. It's been months.
He remembers having sex here with Helen. Only once; she'd followed him out of bed one night when he couldn't sleep, found him sitting in front of the screen displaying photographs of the Kawatche cave paintings. He'd apologized and moved to go back upstairs, but she'd pressed in close and whispered and stroked and pulled him with her until her back hit the wall with Clark's picture on it; then she'd kissed him hard and said against his mouth, "Fuck me here, Lex."
He looks at that picture now with half-closed eyes, and runs his tongue over his teeth. Clark stares back at him, guileless as ever, and that's familiar and that's...more of a reaction than he's had to anything in this room for months.
Lex reaches out and picks up his glass of scotch without looking away from the picture. He drinks it all in one burning swallow, then leaves the glass on a computer station and snags the station's chair--a lightweight metal thing without wheels--as he walks slowly closer to the wall. He stops when he's close enough that Clark's face is the only thing in his field of vision, and sits down.
*"Fuck me here, Lex."*
Helen had placed them against the wall at the side of the picture, much too close for Lex to actually see Clark, and it had been as if they were fucking on the floor by the Porsche or under one of the monitors: in proximity to an item that meant something, but not the way Helen probably thought it did. That close, Lex could wrap his hands under Helen's thighs and thrust deep inside her and only see the sketchiest shape of Clark's face, at the wrong angle, out of the corner of his eye.
Sitting here, a few feet away and straight on, he can see everything, and Lex lets his hand slide over his thigh to the front of his slacks. He runs his knuckles over himself through the fabric; then, his gaze still fixed on the picture, he undoes his fly and slips his hand under the waistband of his briefs.
Clark's eyes are wide in the picture, mouth set in a firm line, and as Lex wraps his hand around himself he imagines, before he can stop himself, Clark with his mouth open, full lips swollen and red. Images from life skate through his mind--Clark at the farm, Clark at the Talon, Clark playing pool--and Lex forces his hand still, and breathes, and tries to make himself look at the picture in front of him instead of the ones in his head. He stares at the black and white line of Clark's mouth for a long minute; then, licking his own lips, he starts jacking himself again, slow and hard.
He wonders, in a brief flicker of concentration, if Helen did this while he was gone. Probably not over the picture of Clark, but he can see her poring over the files of raw data and hard facts, being in the middle of all this new, pure science--no, more likely being somewhere she could see it all at once, and suddenly Lex has a whole new perspective on why she wanted him to fuck her there--and fingering herself to orgasm again and again.
He's panting now, his gaze roving over the lines and shades of Clark's face, his cock leaking pre-come into his fist, and he strokes himself faster. The cool air hits the sweat sheening on his face and neck and Lex shivers, working to keep his eyes open, to keep his attention on the picture in front of him and the presence of the objects in the room behind him. He wants to feel this; wants to remember what it was like to be fascinated to obsession by the fact of his existence and Clark's and all the questions the two of them raised simply by being alive.
He wants to know that hasn't been stolen from him, too.
His eyes meet Clark's in the picture again and Lex makes a low sound, thick and wordless, in the base of his throat. Wide-eyed Clark...
And Lex pictures Clark staring at him, wide-eyed, hair mussed, lips parted--bloodied. A thin trickle of blood from the corner of his mouth, and Clark looks...Clark looks terrified, and Lex realizes this is a memory, something he'd lost at Belle Reve, something he'd lost, and it is a memory because he's never fantasized about Clark being afraid of him--and the shock makes him shout, makes him come hard all over his hand and the floor. Makes him shake afterwards, and he has to close his eyes and count his own harsh breaths in the quiet of the room until he can force himself back under control.
He remembers...something. Lex holds the image in his mind, studies every detail he can recall--there's blood under Clark's nose, too, and his face is flushed--and it's amazing. Doctor Garner had said, early on, that Lex might start recovering memories on his own, but so much time had passed with nothing, and Lex had been skeptical. He hadn't expected this, he hadn't...he'd almost stopped hoping for it.
Lex opens his eyes, and for a second the image of Clark in his head is overlaid on the picture of Clark on the wall, and he shudders. He remembers something, and it's amazing and thrilling and frustrating, because Lex can't remember the context, and it doesn't make sense...
But he remembers.
Lex stares thoughtfully at the picture on the wall. He remembers how Helen felt, the scent of her hair, the salt of her sweat on his tongue; he looks at Clark's picture and feels a sudden rush of possession. Half-turning in his chair, he lets his gaze wander over each item in his collection.
He lingers over the wrecked Porsche, and wants to know why.
Cruelty has a Human heart
And Jealousy a Human Face,
Terror, the Human Form Divine,
And Secrecy, the Human Dress.
The Human Dress is forged Iron,
The Human Form, a fiery Forge,
The Human Face, a Furnace seal'd,
The Human Heart, its hungry Gorge.
--William Blake, "A Divine Image"
Also, why not join
Level Three, the Smallville all-fic list?