Random Walks of Life

by zahra

Thanks to Andy, Wendi, Hope and Sara.

Lex could be anywhere right now. He could be walking corn mazes out in Riley Field or wandering the grounds at Versailles. He could be trampling dirt in from the garage or walking to his car in the parking lot.

He could be anywhere but here, at the hospital, walking the halls forever as far as he can tell. He's camped out in Neurology and stared in Podiatry. He's studiously ignored the Cafeteria and spent an inordinate amount of time in Neonatal.

He's done a mental race past Radiology - despite the evenness of his steps -- and he just keeps walking. Going, moving, trying very hard not to stop and think.

He's trying very hard not to worry.

There are things that Lex will never do, words he will never say. There are actions that Lex considers beneath him and emotions he tells himself he doesn't need to associate with.

Lex has people who worry for him. He doesn't spend his time concerning himself with small things and expense reports. Lex sees the bigger picture; Lex is the bigger picture - except that, today, the bigger picture has been ravaged by falling columns and trapped dictators.

Lex really fucking hates hospitals.

He hates hospitals with the sort of passion he generally reserves for takeovers and Whitman and sitting in new cars with underage boys. Except that those are Lex's favorite things and the hospital is his least favorite thing, and on top of everything else Lex is waiting.

Lex is walking and not thinking, and if he hates hospitals, Lex reserves a very special place in the deepest recesses of the seventh circle of hell for people who make him wait. Especially when there's nothing he can do to speed the process along, to make things happen more quickly.

If he had gotten the column off of his father sooner, if the EMT's had come sooner. If there weren't all those other people being affected by the tornado, god only knows what would have happened. The probability equation could keep him busy for several minutes, except that Lex doesn't have the patience to barter with 'if' today; and he doesn't like the waiting.

He thinks that walking the hallways has to be better than sitting in $9.99 plastic chairs and drinking 99 cent coffee, and watching as his father just lays there. Lex has never seen his father just lay anywhere. Lex has never even seen Lionel sleep. Lex is sure that Lionel sees it as a sign of weakness - the need to sleep.

Lex, however, doesn't need to sleep now; he doesn't need coffee. Lex has plenty of energy and butterfly tape over his eyebrow, and who can sleep under those sorts of conditions? Who could possibly stand still when they can feel the blood throbbing in their jugular and their hands are grabbing at the lining in their pants pockets because they're not allowed to have nervous habits.

Lex has a tendency to speak in rhetorical terms when he loses sight of the big picture. He has a tendency to move, even when he's still in one place. Right now Lex needs to move. He needs to walk and move and stalk and do the things that Luthors do.

Lex needs to be a Luthor right now; he needs to have control.

He does not need to see Clark Kent lurking at the end of the hallway with his messy hair and dirty suit and his enormous eyes trained on Lex like Lex is on stage and Clark is the spotlight.

Lex doesn't always get what he wants; sometimes he just gets what he needs. The problem being that Lex doesn't remember wishing for an abused-looking Clark Kent with wet eyes.

Not that Lex would try and exchange his gift, but still, it seems a bit banged up.

"Lex? Are you - your head. Are you okay? God, what are you doing here?"

"I thought that the bandage spoke pretty clearly for itself. Is it sending mixed messages, Clark?"

"No, I just. I thought you were safe."

Clark thought Lex was safe. Is this implying that Clark was worried? Lex isn't sure how to proceed here. He knows how he would normally proceed with people who flirt with him, head injury be damned, but who knows who else is lurking just around the next corner?

And why is Clark slumping against the wall like he wants to collapse?

"I feel pretty safe, if that's any consolation. You don't look so good yourself, though. Do you need to sit down?"

"No, right here will do just fine." Clark really meant right there. Lex thought he was, well, joking, however the whole sliding down the wall and sitting on the floor put paid to that idea.

"Clark, should I get a doctor?"

Not that Lex thinks that Clark is ill, but he just looks a bit off. Still, it's kind of... interesting how worried Clark is about him. Lex doesn't remember hiring Clark to worry over him.

He does remember the last time he worried over Clark though. Maybe sitting down isn't a bad idea.

"I'm fine. My head is fine, as the clich goes - it's not as bad as it looks. Which I would take to be a good thing considering that you look like you've been rolling in the dirt for the last half an hour. I feel the need to inquire, again, if *you're* all right."

Less of a question, more of a formality. Lex would be very hard pressed indeed to think that anything could happen to Clark, no matter what Lex saw the last time he was in this exact same place.

Seeing is not always believing.

"I'm okay. Just a little dirty."

"So, I see. The question naturally being 'why' because I could've sworn that I sent you off to a dance that was being held indoors. I didn't know they had contracted The Three Little Pigs to build Kansas schools."

Considering the circumstances, Lex's sense of humor is doing quite well. He suspects it might be the only bit that hasn't been injured today.

"They didn't. I'm here because Lana got hurt."

Lana, of course.

"I'm sure she'll be okay." Even with head trauma Lex is still one of the most sincere liars around.

"And my dad got injured, too."

Oh. Well. That's different.

"I'm sorry." And for the first time in a while, Lex truly means it.

"The doctors say he's going to be all right, I just..."

"It's hard. I understand. My father's here as well."

"Your dad? But what's your dad doing here?"

"I've asked myself that question a lot, Clark. I assure you."

"But I - Lex, I'm so sorry."

"Don't worry, it'll take more than a tornado to stop him. I should know, and don't worry about your father. As soon as the weather clears up, I'm having consultants flown in from Metropolis General, I'll have them look at your father too."

"I - thanks, Lex."

"Don't mention it. I'm glad to help." Lex isn't sure what he would do if he couldn't help at least that little bit. It's less about Jonathan Kent and his grudges and more about Clark and the small smiles that he graces Lex with when he's happy.

Lex will do anything to keep Clark happy. In some way he finds their emotions tied together, and through Clark Lex gets vicarious thrills. He gets a filtered-down kind of love, and it's more than he's had for a long time. If he walked the halls for the rest of his life, he doubts he could find anything better.

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