Apres le Deluge

by The Spike

vague Tempest spoilers and speculation

He'd been desperately in love for a while, he can admit that now. It had been white hot, a thing so sharp he'd been happy to bleed for it. Thank god it had passed. This was... better. Easier to manage, if not quite so heartstoppingly beautiful.

But, well, he hadn't wanted his heart stopped, really. And he still loves Clark, in an almost brotherly way. Brotherly with a little nostalgic lust thrown in. Clark smells good. He looks good. But he's a straight boy and... yeah. Not to mention fifteen. And who the fuck knows anything about anything when they're fifteen?

Lex hadn't. Oh he thought he had, like all fifteen year olds do, but he knows better. Knows enough now to know he's probably going look back on 21 and think the same thing. Which makes him not so much doubt his current sense of reality as make sure he's able to take one step back from it at all times.

That had been impossible when things had seemed so... bright. Not that the future doesn't look good now. It does, from right here on his couch in Lexcorp's main office.


It still excites him. Even though it's still the same crap factory number 3 underneath. Even though he's also living in said crap factory because, really, he hasn't got a dollar to his name right now that exists outside of cyberspace. Even though he sometimes wakes up in the middle of the night in a shock of cold terror at the knowledge that he's really done it. Gone out on his own limb and cut the tree off at the root... or whatever metaphor he's chosen to pick at. Some nights he can't get back to sleep.

Like tonight.

He throws the sweatsoaked sheets back and sets his feet on the ground. The factory throbs mutedly around him, sharp stink of methane ingrained in every pore of the cement. Hot and humid despite the cinderblock walls and the air is overly familiar as he pads sweaty and half-naked across the workshop floor.

All those pipes and catwalks. A year ago his first thought had been -- what a great place to trash for a party!

Now, here he is, ready to fight to the death to save it. Him. Whoever he is now.

For a while it had been so clear. He'd thought that Clark had been his second chance. That he had come back baby clean, ready to take on some fantasy life where he too was an innocent young man with a future full of love and promise. Well, why wouldn't he? Baptismal rebirth, beautiful angel, reborn into the Kingdom of Kents and all things good and holy -- all of it so perfectly symbolic he might as well have found God.

Maybe he had.

In his bones, though, Lex is an athiest. Now that the numinous shine has faded he can see the rough edges where the miracle's wearing thin.

It's not that he minds the lies but...

He hates them in Clark's mouth. And that's not fair.

The chemical shower is an open yellow box big enough for ten men in the west corner of the shop floor. Lex drops his boxers and steps in. The tiles are warm and rubbery under his feet, under his hand where he leans against the insulated water pipe.

His font is a tank full of recycled water, scentless, tasteless and body warm.

Baptism by his own hand, whenever he feels he needs it.

He pulls the chain and salvation crashes down on his head at 20 liters per minute. It leaves him blind, numb, breathless while it falls. Blinking when it automatically cuts off.

It isn't exactly cleansing but at least it's something his.


A/N -- "After the Flood, me." --attributed to Charles de Gaulle in a political cartoon, riffing on the original quote attributed to either Madame Pompadour: "After us, the Flood." or King Louis XIV of France "After me, the flood."

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