DISCLAIMER - Not mine, I couldn't afford the motor and household insurance bills. I promise I'll scrub them down and give them back to DC comics, the WB and anyone else who does own a slice of them when I'm done with them. Story, such as it is, copyright Karen Colohan, June 2003.
Author's notes - Written for the Contre la Montre "White" challenge, but it took me far longer than the allowed time so I'm not posting it there. Spoilers for Exodus. Much love and thanks to Barbara for the superfast beta.
It's strange, the thoughts that drift through his mind now, when he has all the time in the world and nothing to do but think. Maybe he was expecting something more profound, something along the lines of his flight over Smallville the day he crashed off the bridge.
Instead it's the little things, forgotten details, that come back to him.
And while the images seem random, Lex is sure there must be some significance to them, somewhere, if he can only find it. Besides, he doesn't really have anything more pressing to do at the moment, does he?
Belatedly, Lex realises he's given voice to the question, the words falling heavily into the silence. He's not really expecting an answer, so he's not disappointed when one isn't forthcoming. Taking the renewed lack of sound as permission he lies back and closes his eyes against the unremitting brightness. Then he just lets the thoughts flow as they will.
They take him to familiar surroundings and an equally familiar companion. Lex is bending over the pool table, lining up a tricky shot. Just before the cue makes contact he catches sight of Clark out the corner of his eye. The white ball shoots across the red baize, colliding with its target. To his surprise, it spins off in a quite unexpected direction.
With a hoarse chuckle Lex decides that's an apt metaphor for his life right now.
The appearance of Clark in his thoughts calls another image of the boy to mind. This time Lex sees him without the concealing layers of flannel for once. He's wearing faded jeans and a tight white T-shirt that emphasises the strength of his arms and the definition of his chest muscles. And dressed like that he really doesn't look like a boy at all.
Shifting uncomfortably where he sits, Lex finds himself thinking longingly of clean white sheets. He likes the way they feel crisp and cool at first, but body warmed and rumpled, smelling of sex, later in the night.
While he's contemplating filling in the details of his sleeping companion, Lex's mind makes the next leap, shying away from the territory of 'what if'. And he sees Helen in her wedding dress, the smooth white silk breathtaking as she walks down the aisle towards him. He imagines himself the luckiest man alive for just a few, short hours.
But then his thoughts slide away into a white nothingness. Lex knows now that the gap in his memory is the result of drugged champagne... the champagne that Helen poured for him on the plane... the plane that crashed into the ocean with no trace of either his wife or the pilot on board.
Lex anchors himself in the present again, feeling the white sand against his palms and the soles of his feet. The fine grains are soft and warm to the touch. Under other circumstances he can imagine paying a lot of money to experience a deserted island paradise like this. Now, he just wishes he were anywhere else. Left alone, he has too much time to reflect on the consequences of betrayal and on the choices he made... as well as the ones he should have made.
Glancing down, Lex grimaces at the sight of the tattered remains of his once pristine white shirt. It's dirty and crusted with salt from the sea-water he struggled through to reach this place. He'd take it off, but he's afraid his pale skin will burn in the hot sun without it.
Later, when the silvery white light from the moon leaches all the colour out of his world, Lex finally pulls the shirt off. Wadding it up he uses it as a pillow, turning onto his side as he tries to sleep.
The restful oblivion he's looking for proves elusive. To his surprise, Lex's body burns with an unexpected need, craving release. He's imagined himself to be alone in the world before, but it's never been as true as it is now. Perhaps it's only fitting that he should look for comfort and pleasure from his own touch.
When he gives in and slides down the zipper of his torn pants, starting to stroke himself slowly, Lex's thoughts drift again. He loses himself in the shelter of his memories until he comes, spilling white over his fingers, hot and slick. And it seems that isolation forces honesty as Lex realises it's Clark's name, not Helen's, on his lips, the echoes of his cry fading into the waiting silence.
It's less of a surprise than it ought to be. Apparently he's found the significance he was looking for in his thoughts earlier. As lethargy steals through his limbs, finally pulling him down into sleep, Lex concedes that scientific curiosity alone has never been the fuel for his obsession with Clark.
And maybe Helen saw the truth of it before he did.
Whatever the reason for her betrayal, Lex intends to call Helen to account for it and, if she had help, he won't rest until the slate is wiped clean.
But he has other priorities too, now that he understands what he really wants. As he falls asleep, Lex is already dreaming of the flash of a brilliant white smile that will welcome him home.
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