At the Wire

by Jayne Leitch

Rating: R

Spoilers: 'Duplicity'

Disclaimers: Not mine. Alas and alack.

Notes: Since the show didn't give us much backstory on Dr Hamilton, I created some for him in 'Ignotum per Ignotius'. I refer to that backstory in this piece; it's a small reference, but it's there, so you might want to read that other fic first. Don't worry, it's very short. :) Also, extreme thanks to MaryKate for the beta--you look nothing like a fool, m'dear, 'cause you were completely right.

This is in response to Slodwick's "A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words" Challenge.

AT THE WIRE by Jayne Leitch

The cement floor of his barn was cold, solid in a way that spoke of the building's foundation, and gritty with dirt.

And slick, in places, with radiant green meteor distillate. Hamilton put his bare hands in as many pools of the stuff as he could find, and watched in fascination as it seeped into his skin, already tinted flourescent. He wondered why it didn't make him shake anymore, and made a mental note to test bodily saturation on someone once he got back to the lab.

"There is no lab. I cancelled the project, remember?"

Hamilton kept his eyes downcast as he pushed himself to his feet. "I can continue the research with other funding, Lex. I don't need you, or your charity."

He didn't have to look to see Lex nodding, staring at him from his easy lean against the post where he'd tied up the Ross kid. "But you'll take it from my father. Is that to spite me?"

Hamilton laughed, the sound reverberating through his chest like a cough. "I couldn't care less about you, or your father. He has the vision you don't. It's business." His steps echoed in odd, stuttering taps as he strode to the door, and his hand hit the aging wood hard enough to vibrate it as he left.

The outside air made his lungs tingle; the breath he pushed out into the Indian Summer warmth had a green look to it. Everything had a green look to it, as if he were seeing through meteor-slides--

"What about the business of your saturation experiments, Doctor Hamilton?" Lex arched an eyebrow, walking towards him across the yard with his hands in his pockets. "Who would your subject have been? Yourself? A random, unfortunate lab tech?"

Hamilton sneered and kept walking, past Lex, gravel crunching under his feet. "I'm already dying. Any data taken from further experimentation on myself would be contaminated by the levels of toxin already present. I would use Hobson." Gravel gave way to grass, long and dry, the ends prickly against his palms. "She's healthy. A good specimen."

"Listen to yourself." Lex's hand on his shoulder brought him up short; he could feel Lex's mouth less than an inch from his ear, but no wash of breath as he spoke. "You're calling people specimens, Doctor. You're casually considering human experimentation involving a substance that's killing you. And you're shaking like a junkie." The hand disappeared, and Lex stepped in front of him, all disapproval. "You're no good to me like this."

"I could've been." What did he mean, shaking like a junkie? Hamilton held up his hand; it was perfectly steady. He used it to push Lex's shoulder, push him back so he could keep walking in a straight line through the field. "I *would've* been. I'm a scientist, Lex. I've always been a scientist. And my methods get results."

"Then why haven't I seen any?"

Snarling, Hamilton looked over his shoulder, calling back to Lex as he stalked through the long grass. "Because you cancelled my funding just as I was about to--" He fell against a fence, barbed wire, and shouted in surprise--his path had been clear before he turned around. His feet went out from under him; as he fell, his clothes and hands tore on the twists of pointed metal. He hit his knees, and fell forward until only the wires of the fence held him upright.

His forehead was damp, clammy, and throbbing with pain where a rusted point carved into his skin. Suddenly exhausted, he let his bloody hands fall limp at his sides, and could only stare through the wires as Lex approached from the other side. "We found aliens, Lex," he croaked, and Lex came to a halt a few steps away, gazing impassively down at him. "We found proof. I had--"

"But that wasn't what I wanted, Doctor Hamilton." In that voice, that cool, emotionless voice that always said 'Doctor', 'Doctor Hamilton', but never 'Steven'.

Andy had taken so long to call him Steven...

Hamilton shuddered, and felt his blood seep from the wound on his head and trail down toward his eye. He could see the alien--the one who had rescued the Ross kid--making his way through the field behind Lex, staring at him as he walked. He made no noise; Lex didn't seem to notice his approach. Or...

With an effort, Hamilton looked back at Lex. "You knew it was him, didn't you?" The alien drew up behind Lex, and now Hamilton remembered: he'd seen them together. At the mansion, in town, playing pool, drinking coffee, looking at each other like... "You cancelled my work because you knew it was him." The weight of it crushed him against the wires, and he felt the barb in his forehead scrape against bone. He knew without having to look that his blood was green.

Lex gave him a tight smile as the alien wrapped its arms around him, across his stomach and over his shoulders, holding him possessively as he leaned into the embrace. "Of course," he said, before closing his eyes and turning his head and meeting the alien's mouth in a hungry kiss.

Hamilton watched as their clothes fell, as they wrapped around each other, as Lex moaned and shuddered and came in the alien's mouth. He hated the fence for holding him back; he knew, if it hadn't been there, he could've gotten close enough for his green blood and sweat and come to weaken the alien, hurt him, drive him away--but the wires cut into his skin, and all he could do was fall backwards and let it all seep wastefully into the ground.

Exhaustion wouldn't let him move--not even when Lex leaned over him, a sad triumph in his eyes. "I already knew, Doctor Hamilton. I didn't want what I already had."

When he was gone, Hamilton lay still and watched the sky change like stop-motion photography between the bloody green wires of the fence.


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