Disclaimers: Not mine, dammit.
Spoilers: Vague ones for Leech.
Summary: Lex is. Clark is. They are.
Ratings Note: PG.
Author's Note: I woke up convinced that I'd read this incredibly cool story by Livia. When I discovered that she had not, in fact, written it yet, I decided to write it myself. Here's hoping you think it's cool, too.
Acknowledgments: To my Webrain for audiencing, many helpful suggestions, and a title.
Feedback is connection. email@example.com
He's not the man he used to be. And Lex hasn't gotten remotely close to being tired of that joke yet.
Somewhere between gallows humor and giddiness, he supposes.
The memories of same, the reflexes... The mind is a fascinating place to be. Sometimes he wishes he could write some of this down, even on old-fashioned paper, with a pencil.
But then, he'd have to have arms. Or even feet. A voice...
'I have no mouth, and I must dictate.'
He can feel himself laugh, even if the memory of its sound is getting a little hazy. He didn't laugh enough when he had a body.
He wonders if the Lex walking around on Earth is very different from him now.
He wonders if that Lex is still alive.
Time is... difficult.
It was a surprise to realize just how wonderful that difficulty could be.
When Clark dreams, the sun is always shining.
That's how Lex knows which one of them instigates the odd little connection they have, mind to mind, ghost in the machine to... etcetera.
Well, he thinks, looking around at a field of wheat that could only be Kansas, it's one of the ways.
To be fair, Lex's subconscious (and how many layers down does it have to be now for him to be completely unaware?) often brings them here as well. Without skin to show a blush, without eyes to betray...
There's something almost painfully free about being in this dreamspace between them, and there are times when Clark has to hunt him down in the whispering wheat. Brush chaff from the shimmering shared memory of Lex's scalp with the shimmering shared memory of his hand and hold him until...
Until the enormity of it all is something livable again.
Neither of them are very good at peopling their dreamworlds -- their dream Earths with the mass of humanity they should, by rights, remember very well. Clark's people flicker through sweetly idealized smiles and looks of love and hope gone all too quickly, interspersed with a never-ending parade of those in need of saving. The helpless and the hopeless and the doomed.
Lex's people were too sharp-edged, or too perfectly rounded onto themselves to be real, Clark had said. Or both.
The sky above them had changed to that muley shade of bluish-green that Lex had long-since learned meant "yes, Lex, I know I'm not making sense, but it's true just the same."
They don't make people anymore.
For the most part, it's okay with just the two of them. Obviously, or their little adventure of not-so-much sound, but a lot of mind would never have happened. It's just that sometimes...
Lex needs a little grounding.
When the computer "wakes" him again, Lex dreams himself into the equivalent of comfort food. The second LexCorp tower, in the penthouse apartment so high above Metropolis that all he can see are the few other skyscrapers that high and the clouds below.
A misty grey blanket of chill, enough to shock the breath out of anyone who jumped...
But not out of the man who flies up to the garden and cycles his way through the windbreaks.
"Couldn't you at least wear the black one, Clark?"
Clark grins and tosses himself on a couch that only seems large and decadent until it has a Clark on it. "Well, hey, I'm not the only one going traditional tonight." A gesture at his clothes.
And Lex is... "You have a point."
Lex knows exactly where Clark learned that teasing smirk from. He feels better already.
"What do you want to do..." Looks out the window, "tonight?"
"Hmm... chess? See how much we can increase the range of the crossbows in the war room before The Big Sleep?"
Lex snorts. That's easier. "No more noir for you. How about we take that cape, some couch cushions, and build a fort? We can watch the stars on TV."
"We can do that?"
"We've both watched a lot of science-fiction. We can pretend."
Clark grins hugely, the boy who was. "I'll bring the Oreos."
"I... don't remember how they taste."
A gentle touch on his cheek that Lex can't help but lean into, even though Clark hasn't moved. "I'll show you."
He wakes with the taste of something sweet in his mouth, something sticky and entirely unlike Oreos.
Cotton candy, a voice that isn't his own supplies. Clark.
And he's... Lex.
He's Lex, and everything he is, is scattered throughout a very small, very fast spaceship hurtling towards a star that may or may not be surrounded by livable planets, on which may or not be intelligent species who may or may not be amenable to rebuilding him and his Kryptonian lover -- who is also scattered throughout the very small, very fast ship -- from their component cellular and neuropsychological parts.
A Kryptonian with wanderlust is a dangerous thing.
A Kryptonian with wanderlust who has a lover with an impulse control problem is downright terrifying.
Clark giggles in his mind, and Lex wonders if they're dreaming again. It's so blank...
So why not cut out the middleman?
*Be kind, Clark. You know I'm not a morning person.*
*We could be in Paris, or Metropolis, or on my old farm, or on the Millennium Falcon --*
That was fun.
*We should do that again. But, I was saying, we could also just be... here. Together.*
And there's no need to say more than that, because for all the props their imaginations can produce within their respective and shared dreamscapes, they are only props. Everything is memory and extrapolation and intellect, and just because they could live in their home movies...
Sense memory of the way Clark would wrap his whole self around Lex, skin to skin, feverish warm and healthy beyond the capacity of human understanding.
His memory or Clark's?
Perhaps it doesn't matter. Fear and Clark are anathema, or should be.
Somewhere within himself, he's sure there was a miscalculation. Some terribly important caution ignored in the passion to go further, faster, have more.
Everything they always wanted.
Everything they always deserved.
He doesn't remember who, precisely, those thoughts originated with.
Which would be the problem.
Is it a problem?
They're watching a storm whip a grey-blue ocean into a froth, a window onto a dream from within a different, cozier dream.
A warmer grey.
He flinches at the crack of lightning and can't remember why.
The man beside him seems puzzled.
They hold each other and are soothed.
The world is light, and cold, and hard, and sharp. Not sharp enough to cut, but there are more edges here than he's seen in...
And it snaps him back to something like comprehension, enough to truly look through his stinging eyes. He can't recognize a single instrument, but he knows a medical lab when he sees one. Which means...
He whips his head around and the other man is there, looking just as confused and exhilarated as he feels. His hair is dark, long. Falling over wide eyes that find his own unerringly and with nothing but love.
An extremely tall, narrow-bodied, and blue... person glides through the extremely tall, narrow door and looks at them both with green, pupil-less protuberances that may or may not be the equivalent of eyes.
The flaps at its throat ruffle as it trills something that might be a greeting, and then there's a long, mildly sticky finger pressing on his forehead. Another on the other man's.
"You are Alexander Joseph Luthor?" It says. "You are Clark Jerome Kent?"
Together, they say "yes."
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