Of Blood and Bad Craziness

by zahra

For Hope. Thanks to Kassie and Jayne.

Lex paused before he opened the door from the garden and thought about how he must look: thunderstorm at his back, dripping-wet coat, eyes a bit too bright, small gash in his temple - a spectacle to be seen. Fortunately for him, however, no one was there to see him and say as much. He turned the knob, pushed the door open and prepared to walk back in the castle, only to pause mid-action. He wasn't sure why. There was something about hovering in the doorway that was supposed to make him seem menacing or feel menacing or just feel something, but he didn't.

Lex didn't feel anything except disassociation wafting around him as he stood in the doorway. When he crossed the entryway the battle would recommence, and it was one thing when the battle was three hours away, it was something else when it once again set up camp three doors down from where he slept.

Even when Lionel wasn't there he was still there. Lionel's presence loomed as though he were the one in the doorway, larger than life even when he couldn't actually see what was before him. Lionel was always there; Lex could feel him when the wind whipped past him and raised the non-existent hairs on the back of his neck.

In the distance he could hear leaves cracking and branches snapping, and to escape it, all he had to do was close the door behind him. So simple, only not. There was no reason for Lex to be loitering in the doorway of his own house. It was his house, but that didn't change the lay of the playing field - it was Lex's house with Lionel's omnipresence, and Desiree's perfume, and Victoria's neon graffiti. It hadn't ever really been Lex's house, and he just wanted things to go back to the way were before it all went wrong, but wishes were for believers and it was all fruitless.

Still, doorways were a chance for reinvention and redefining and starting over, and there was every chance that when Lex crossed back over this one that things would be different. There was a chance that when Lex shut the door behind him, and officially ended his afternoon walk, that Lionel would have decided to move back to Metropolis. There was a chance that Nixon would still be alive. There was a chance that Clark would appear out of nowhere, take his coat, clean up his wound and make everything better.

They were slim to non-existent, purely hallucinatory chances, but they were chances all the same. And this was Smallville. It was all the more reason for him to wait. Random chance was Lex's only reason to wait in the doorway that lead from the pool and the garden, and by extension, the grounds and the rest of the world.

The door kept in less and kept out more.

Lex had every reason to linger in this particular doorway, catching cold even though his toes were a bit numb and his forehead ached. It wasn't just a doorway that he was closing, and he could see all the papers on his desk fluttering precariously. It wouldn't really matter if they swept onto the floor. He really didn't care. It might have had something to do with the weather. It might've had to do with the gash on his forehead. Traditionally his afternoon walk around the grounds didn't involve hazardous situations, and soon Lex might have Springer spaniels on a leash and a big cigar in his mouth, or perhaps not.

Autumn tended to make him a bit crazed; his father tended to make him a bit crazed, and there was something about the change of seasons and the falling of the leaves that made him feel a bit desperate. A new year was on the horizon and he still wasn't king. Winter was bleak and stark and this would be his second year in Smallville. It would be his second winter of gray and white and slush and being the crazy man in the castle, now with his even crazier father.

Lex would be walking a lot more once the weather turned a bit more brittle, he could feel it, or that could've just been the warmish trickle that indicted loss of rational thought. He was going to have to be a bit more careful with this walking lark, but by the time it counted he would be able to do the rounds in his sleep. He would know to duck and dodge instead of bob and weave, and then he wouldn't be assaulted by any more trees.

It was a small price to pay when it came down to it.

The grounds in autumn were nice, even in the middle of a storm, even if it hadn't been raining when Lex had left. Correction: when Lex had fled. He had never been in the habit of fleeing the scene of anything unless there were cops to avoid or a drunken Toby to find, but his father was different. Lex actively fled from his father without pause, and felt no shame in it. Lionel was his own force of nature, and the beating of the rain matched the blood pounding in Lex's ears. It was a random thought as he mopped at the gash absently with his fingers, random but pretty. The thought was a bit too poetic for him though, and perhaps it was the sight of his own blood that made him act that way.

He always seemed to get maudlin when he was bleeding. Not that he was bleeding that much these days, but when he did, it always seemed to remind him of his mortality and that was just depressing.

Alexander died young -- Lex was almost twenty-two. Time was wasting and there was blood on his fingers that happened to be his own. The blood looked very dark in his unlit office and reminded him of tar when there was a flash of lightening to illuminate the scene. If he had walked in upon himself standing in the doorway from the backyard he might have taken pause. The crazy man in the castle, standing in the doorway, bleeding.

Lex wasn't actually 'crazy', people just seemed to think he was based on his father and his lack of hair and the way he drove. Of course the booming voice that told him nothing he did would ever change that really didn't help matters. The voice sounded a lot like his father's, his father who was equally deranged in his own way that maybe someday Lex could convince a judge of. Locking Lionel away for his own good, a danger to himself and all around him, just like the storm that was raging on outside.

It rained a lot in the autumn in Kansas; Lex had forgotten that. He seemed to forget that every year. It wasn't the sideways, sneak into your ears and sting your eyes winter rain of Princeton or the incessantly depressing gray down pouring of San Francisco. It was just rain. A lot of it, and it was cold. Not cold enough to bother Lex, but cold enough for him to turn up the collar on his coat and actually consider going all the way into the house instead of loitering in his doorway. It had been a long time since Lex had loitered anywhere - the Talon was exempt because he owned it, and when he rubbed his fingers together the blood transferred onto other fingers and he looked down at it. Not because he expected anything other than what he saw, but because something told him to. Lex had always felt a strange affinity with Lady MacBeth, but this was a bit off, even for him.

It would be for the best if he shut the door, went and cleaned himself up and washed his hands, and at some point in his life he would have to learn to listen to his inner voice.


His inner voice generally didn't sound like sixteen year-old boy, though, and even if Lex had wished that it would, he would have chosen someone different.

He didn't even have to look up to know that he wasn't the only one lurking in doorways. "Clark," he said blankly, as less of a welcome and more of an identification. Clark, who tended to fill the entire doorway as though he were apologizing for entering the room at all. Clark, who he had hoped would come and take his coat and fix his wound and maybe fix his craziness that wasn't really craziness at all.

It was probably down to the pain. Yes, it was definitely down to the pain, even if his head didn't actually hurt.

Out the corner of his eye he watched the tall figure approach, and he did not move back when Clark finally stepped into what could generously be referred to as his line of sight. This was only Clark and there was no reason to cringe, there were no bogeymen in the castle apart from the blind man with a cane who was currently at physical therapy.

Despite keeping his head down, Lex was still more perceptive than most. He could feel Clark's eyes moving over him, and not in the way he had been looking forward to for a long time. "You're bleeding," Clark said, always more astute than he was given credit for.

"You're very perceptive," he replied with a patience he was loathe to feel but rather hoping to receive. That always seemed to be the way with Clark: Lex would give one thing and hope for something else in return. He found it tiresome. Or perhaps he was just tired period and that was a perfectly good reason for him to take a seat in the still wide-open doorway. The ground was cold, and he sat in the puddle he had tracked in with him. By now he was numb enough to not really care. "If it's any consolation, I expect the bleeding to stop at any moment."

"What was it this time, Lex? Rabid cat? distressed teenager? a domestic car?" Clark's voice carried over the rain as he came closer and crouched down next to Lex. And although Clark's proximity was nice, it did nothing to protect Lex from the elements. The wind continued to blow through them both and into the house. There was a faint thud somewhere that told Lex that his third quarter projections were no longer on the desk.

Lex felt his mouth twitch, but since Clark couldn't actually see him in the dark it didn't matter. He blinked and thought for a moment before answering. "Nothing quite so dramatic, Warrior Angel," he replied. "I assure you there's no danger of your best customer being put out of commission permanently."

There was a moment where Clark looked as though he was going to say something about a doctor before he thought better of it. Instead he reached out and hooked his fingers under Lex's chin and turned his head from side to side gazing rather intently at the cut, almost as though he were scanning him for possible fractures. Clark never seemed to care about Lex's personal space issues, they were going to have to talk about that at some point, but that would be later, after Lex cleaned himself up and stopped feeling crazy when he wasn't.

"As I said before, it's nothing, Clark," he reiterated, pulling his head away from Clark's very dry and non-blood covered fingers. "Just an errant branch blowing across the lawn - unless Mother Nature has it in for me as well." His voice felt a bit scratchy in his throat, and he wondered if that was from the dust of the leaves, it made sense, except it didn't. It was raining, that would have washed all the dust away.

"You know your mother has the day off, Clark," he offered, glancing back outside at the tempestuous weather. It really was beautiful when it stormed.

"I know, I just wanted to come by and see you. I don't get to do that much these days, you know, with my mom here and your dad here -" Clark's voice broke off as he moved from a crouch into a sprawl against the wall. He shifted for several seconds before finally settling next to Lex on the floor of the entryway.

"I know what you mean," Lex replied, glancing back at the obviously uncomfortable position that Clark was in. It meant a lot to Lex that he would trek out there, especially in that sort of weather. Obviously that was what friends did, obviously they knew when they were needed.

Clark was silent while Lex studied him for a moment before turning away again. "Do you want to talk about it?" Clark inquired.

"No, not really," Lex said. His tailbone was starting to hurt, and he was planning to move. Eventually. However, his fingers were independently drawing tracing patterns in the water on the floor, turning it pink, and he couldn't be bothered just yet. The maid would probably be displeased with the effects of blood and water on the polished wood; Lex didn't really care.

"Do you want to do anything?" Clark inquired, his voice surprisingly soft in Lex's ear especially with the wind and the rain still competing for his attention.

"No, not really," Lex said.

"You just want to sit here and watch the storm?" Clark asked at last, reaching out and stopping Lex's hand with his own.

"Yes," a pause. "Please."

Clark was quiet for a moment before answering. His hand squeezed Lex's before he answered. "Okay, we can do that."

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