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12 December 2004 @ 04:32 pm
tstar78 DAY!!!!  
Okay, you guys, today is the day of days. That's right, it's tstar78's birthday. Now, I know I've been reassigning birthdates left right and center, but this is a lady who has been so amazing to me since I first enter SV-dom that I can't possibly let it pass. Seriously, you guys, I don't even know if I'd be here if she hadn't been so amazingly supportive and kind to me.

Plus, she's pretty and funny and sparkly and talented. I love this woman.

So I said to her, "Tell me, darling, what do you want for your birthday?"

And she said to me, "I want Lex/Lois, JLA post-hereafter!"

Which -- maybe not the happiest of topics. But what she wants, she gets. So, here, you are, my darling:



“Would you like a drink?” Lex asks, standing with his back to her. He’s taken off his jacket, and rolled up his sleeves – Lois can see some thin scars curling around his forearms, raised and white against his skin.

“Yeah.” Her voice sounds startlingly loud, and she realizes she hasn’t talked much since –

She hasn’t talked much in days.

Lex nods, and she hears the clink of glasses, the trickle of scotch out of the decanter, the tumble of ice cubes. She can’t look at him when he turns to her, instead she stares out the window and watches his reflection walking across the living room, pressing the drink into her hand, standing behind her.

She downs it in one gulp, and sets the glass on the window ledge. Her hands still tingle a little from hitting him, at the funeral.

It’s raining out, of course. It’s been raining since he –

She laughs a little, turns the glass in little circles and stares at her fingers. They’re pale – she’s always been pale, ever since she was born. Her skin’s sensitive; she burns instead of tans. His hands are big – were big, she corrects herself viciously – and not tan, that’s not the right word, but never pale. Never as white, colorless, as hers are right now. She can see her veins, blue lines drawn up her forearms, and thinks about how strange it is that there’s blood in there.

She doesn’t feel like there’s anything left in her, except for the burn of liquor in her belly, down her throat.

“Lois,” Lex says softly, and she shakes her head. She doesn’t turn to him. She can’t really look at him.

Lois has hated Lex Luthor for so long, that she knows him pretty goddamned well. Not as well as Clark, of course, but no one does. And that she knows Lex well enough to know that says something – says a lot, really.

No one else understood why she went with him, after everyone had dropped sad carnations into the deep empty hole in the overcrowded Metropolis cemetery. Not many people were there, by the time Lois and Lex left – just Wonder Woman, Perry, Clark’s parents.

She could feel their eyes tracking her back as Lex shepherded her into his hearse. Limousine. Whatever.

Lois knows that Clark and Superman are the same person. She knows they’re both dead, but, God, right now she wants it to be Clark standing behind her. She wants it so much she’s furious, because Clark makes things all right. For all his fuck ups, and absences, and fumbles, he makes things all right.

She’s not sure how. Maybe it’s the way he stood, cocked his head to the side, raised his eyebrow, adjusted his glasses, and let her yell as much as she needed to before putting one of those hands on her shoulder and pulling her toward him.

Her head used to fit right beneath his chin, in the hollow of his chest. It was – safe. No matter what was happening, what terrible thing was following them, she was *safe* with his big arms resting lightly across her back and her cheek pressed against the buttons of his shirts.

“Lois,” Lex says again, and this time she looks back at him over her shoulder.

His eyes, she thinks for a second, are so very, very flat. She’s seen him upset before, but usually his eyes are bright, angry, flashing retribution at her, or Clark, or Superman.

It would be comforting if he were angry. It would be *familiar*. Now, though, he’s just a man standing in his living room, staring at the way rain tracks over windows, shoulders bowed and eyes dull.

He’s just a man, just a person. Lois has never known that about him, before.

She wants another drink. She wants to leave, and go home, and wake up in the morning, and go to work and slap the back of Clark’s head for getting her desk muddy by propping his feet up on it, and she wants to pretend that she hasn’t seen Lex Luthor look like this.

It’s easier to let herself respect him, if he’s not a person. It’s easier to just think of him as this diabolical maniac behind a desk, or in a suit, with charts and plans and minions.

He has done horrible things. He’s responsible for the deaths, and destruction, and the hurt look Clark gets whenever they interview him. Clark tries to hide it, the flinch and cringe whenever Lex looks at him, but Lois sees it.

She pretends not to, but she sees it.

“I always wondered,” Lex says, staring over her still, “whether or not he flew during thunderstorms. The lightening – he would have been a natural conductor.”

Lois shrugs. “He wouldn’t have thought about it.”

Lex blinks, shakes his head a little. “No, he wouldn’t have. He didn’t – it wouldn’t have mattered.”

He finishes his drink in a long swallow, and waves a hand at the long white couch across from them. “Please,” he says, “sit.”
She thinks about telling him she prefers to stand – just to be contrary, to piss him off, so that she can storm out, but she’s too tired for that. So she sits, and Lex sits across from her, in a high backed chair that looks like it was stolen from the set of Masterpiece theater and recovered in chintz.

The whole room looks delicate, breakable. White, sterile, and fragile – like a laboratory, despite the thick white carpet, the plush white cushions that Lois leans back against. She wonders if Clark was ever here, and smiles a little. He would have been so big, so out of place. Afraid he’d break something.

Lex sees her smile, and raises a quizzical eyebrow.

“I – one time I had this vase on my desk. It was small, really small, made of blown glass. I bought it in Venice, watched this little old man make it. He had to be about eighty, with a long grey beard. He kept calling me ‘bella’. Anyway, it was beautiful – blue, and green, and it had my initials on the base. Clark,” Lois’s voice breaks a little, but she presses on.

“Clark was helping me organize my files – or, actually, he was organizing it for me, because I was mad at him for something, and he – he picked it up, and Perry called his name, just bellowed it out, you know? He was so startled, he just crushed it. Between his fingers, just like that. Crushed the damn thing.”

Lois gulps in a breath, looks over at Lex. “Everything in here just looks so – he would have been afraid to touch anything.”

“He was,” Lex says, lips twitching up a little. “He – were friends, when he first came to Metropolis. He always said this place was a museum. The only room he liked was the kitchen.”

“Yeah,” Lois says, running her hands over her arms. “Yeah, he liked that kind of thing.”

Lex nods, and they’re quiet for a while. He rubs his hands over the arms of his chair, and Lois stares at the floor until her eyes water. It must be hard to keep this kind of carpet clean, she thinks.

It’s spotless, completely spotless.

Clark’s carpet was thin, brown, one step above astro-turf, and there were stains on it that Lois didn’t even try to identify. Which was probably for the best, considering the kinds of things he had to hose off himself every night when he came home – blood, soot, alien goo.

She realizes she’s crying only when Lex touches her arm. She didn’t even hear him move, or feel the couch lower under his weight. She wonders vaguely how long she’s been crying, but decides it doesn’t matter.

“He was --,” Lois starts, but can’t finish, crying harder. He was her best friend. He was the best man she ever knew.

She loved him.

“Yes,” Lex says, lightly rubbing her back, his own voice thick. “Yes, he was.”
 
 
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Bean: love rulesbarely_bean on December 12th, 2004 09:41 pm (UTC)
I know I asked for it and I knew it would hurt but now I am going to go and curl up in a little corner and cry.

*sniffles*

Man, I suck.

You, on the other hand, you're amazing and I love you my little niflet! *hugs*
r1cepudding on December 12th, 2004 09:44 pm (UTC)
Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaoh my goooood, this is awesome. I'm having to watch Hereafter again so I can prove to myself that he came back, but it's awesome.

I just said to Caro, "You ASKED FOR THIS? What are you Batman or something?" Because oy with the dark and the pain and the heartbreak.

But. Wow.

I see our Lex and Lois. I see them clear as day. And I wanted to pick out a line to quote but it would just be the whole thing, and.

Wow.

I just told Caro I'm glad you're a writer. I'm really, really glad that you're a writer.
Meret: peaceonearthorelsemeret on December 13th, 2004 01:58 am (UTC)
Whaaaaa! So sad!

Loved the ending. *sniff*
Sarahgiddyfangirl on December 13th, 2004 03:35 am (UTC)
ohhhhhhhhhhhh. *sniffles*
Celli: sadcelli on December 13th, 2004 05:40 am (UTC)
awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww! *sniff*
Dolimirdolimir_k on December 18th, 2004 04:11 pm (UTC)
Beautifully written. I love stories that rip my heart out and stomp on them. And this one definitely did! Heartbreaking.