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15 January 2004 @ 06:59 pm
SV Fic: What May Be  
Thanks to Bobba Fett and his squeaky white uniform. And also, Lyra.
Spoilers: through Asylum

No way could he say it out loud, and look at Lex - at the pale lines of his face, his throat, how his shoulders curved like wings, and how his hands sailed through the air like white gulls. He couldn't look at Lex, at the things that made him so rare, fragile. Lex was so thin, so white, so…different; everything about this man set him aside, even before he opened his mouth. Sometimes it looked like he was made of marble, or glass, or sculpted from snow and cream. Clark wanted to just cradle him, and press Lex's face against his chest. He wanted to whisper, "Shh, it's all right," and other loving lies into Lex's ears.

So he couldn't say it in the light. And he couldn't be touching Lex either, because he'd feel the way Lex would tense. Feel the emotions cording through Lex's muscles, making him start like something skittish and wild.

This is how it would go. It would be night, and Lex would be in the dark. Maybe he'd be trying to sleep, but he'd be awake when Clark got there - waiting, without knowing it. Clark would reach over, and run his fingers across Lex's cheek before he said anything, just so Lex would know that it's Clark, and that it was important. Clark would feel the smooth glide of Lex's cheek underneath his fingers, and then he would turn away, and Lex would maybe call his name.

"Clark?" -- just once. Low, and uncertain, but steady - maybe sawed off a little by sleep. Clark would rest his hands against the window ledge, press his forehead against the glass, and look out at the gardens. At the fountain in the courtyard; the arcs of water flowing up, ghostly without light. Then he'd open his mouth, and whisper the whole story – out, into the dark.

He'd tell Lex everything, and start at the damned bridge, because Lex has asked the question often enough. Clark knows he deserves an answer, and Clark would give it to him. All of it -- he'd admit the things he's never said to anyone else.

"I was so scared," he'd say, "I thought I was crazy. I thought maybe I was dead and just didn't know it. I thought we both were. I thought you were the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen, and it made me angry because you weren't Lana."

And he'd keep going. He'd apologize for all the things he's always wanted to; he'd apologize for his dad, and for his town, for doubting Lex, for hurting him - for wanting to, some times. For ignoring Lex, and never touching Lex softly, for never brushing his lips over the arch of Lex's skull.

He'd tell Lex how much he admired him, and how much he sometimes hated him. He'd say that he'd never wanted to be Lex's best man (either time), and that he'd looked for any reason at all to break up the weddings. He'd tell Lex that he'd read every Warrior Angel comic Ryan had given him, and that he thought they were all pretty stupid. He'd admit that sometimes he didn't even bother trying to understand what Lex was saying; instead he just listened to the way the words sounded, all wrapped up in Lex's voice.

Clark would spill his secrets out into a dark and still bedroom like a handful of marbles, and talk until his voice wore thin. He'd see Lex's reflection in the mirror, every poised and stark line of his body, in shades of grey against the polished glass. But he wouldn't look at Lex's eyes - two blue holes that Clark drowns in, every day --- so he'd be able to keep going.

Clark would tell Lex about the barn, and the blanket, and how he'd sung to his brother. Maybe then, he'd cry, because it still hurts to think of, still feels like there's something burning inside him, and smoke is coiling up through his lungs and pricking at his eyes. It could be the memories of those days, of Lex and the way he'd shone, hectic and afraid in the light in the barn, that might make Clark break down. It could be that they wouldn't. But Clark knows that if he was going to cry at all, he'd cry when he told Lex about that one kiss, their only one. Side by side, with the straw prickling at Clark's hands, and Lex's body warm against his, leaning in.

"I don't know what's real. I don't know what's sane and what's not. I don't know what's happening to me," Lex had kept saying, over and over until the words didn't seem to mean anything. Until Clark couldn't understand the idea of sane at all, and all he heard was how vulnerable, terrified, this man beside him was. This man who he loved so much it seemed like the word was too small to hold everything he meant by it. Clark's fingers moved without asking, pushing up Lex's chin until Lex was looking at him. His eyes were wide, and clear like water.

Clark knows he said something then, but he can't remember what it was. It isn’t important. It might have been, "I love you." Then Lex kissed him, deep, sweet scared, and Clark had calmed it. Turned it slow, and just let Lex know he was there, that he would always be.

Or that he'd meant to be, because he had, and Clark would tell him that, too. He'd go all the way in the telling, and admit the way he'd ran, and why. He'd explain how he'd left Lex to the doctors, and the big black cars, and the chain link fences of the sanitarium. Leaving nothing out, he'd admit that a part of him had been relieved that Lex knew, and another part relieved that Lex was *gone*.

He'd tell Lex that during the month before Clark had been able to visit him, Clark had gone to Belle Reve every night. He'd walked the perimeter of the asylum, and he knew the patterns the chain link made in shadow, crossing over and over again on the gleaming asphalt. It was worse than when he'd thought Lex was dead, and had walked the long, proud halls of the castle. Even with his ring on, that had been like drowning slowly, but Belle Reve was worse than that. It was a tearing, a breach. Something that shredded him over and over again until there was almost nothing left, and it felt like the small wind coming in from the south would send the pieces of him flying.

It seems like what happened that night, at Belle Reve, is the least part of the things he would say. And maybe it is, because three years can hardly match a minute, or however long it was between when he walked in the door to save Lex and when he got dragged out, moaning Lex's name. No matter how long that minute seemed -- because Lex's eyes were on his face, and his name was on Lex's lips and he was doing *the right thing* and Lex was going to be okay -- it was just a minute and it's gone.

Clark will tell Lex every petty, mean, small thing that he's ever said or done or thought. He'll confess every lie, every misdirection, every betrayal, but he'll also tell Lex the big things, too. Like the way sometimes he looks at Lex and he feels like he's expanding, getting taller, wider, just so he can house this enormous feeling that swells and fizzes through him.

When he thinks of it, Clark never pictures himself finishing before the sun comes up. No, he always falls silent at the same time, as night starts to thin out, and colors begin to streak across the sky. Before the sun's up though, and there's still enough shadow, he turns to Lex, finally, mouth dry and tired from so much speaking, and all he can see is the way the soft light catches on Lex's eyes, skipping across flecks of silver.

He doesn't know what would come next. It could be that Lex would send him away, mouth pressed, a tight line in his face. Or maybe Lex would reach out a hand in the thin light, and draw Clark down beside him, murmuring into Clark's skin, lips warm and smooth and insistent.

Clark knows, though, that isn't important; it's the telling that matters. It's like the words are water - like he's adrift in them, slowly learning how to breathe beneath their weight. He doesn't know if he'll ever push past them, leave them behind; he can see it going either way, easily. What Clark is sure of, though, is that this thing, this secret more than any of the others, and what he decides to do with it -- what he decides to do with *Lex* -- is what will make him. Who he is to *Lex* will form him, birth him anew, lay him bare, and create the man he'll become.

And so if he tells Lex, Clark will tell him in the dark, so that he doesn't have to watch as he leaves behind the shell of who he might have been.
Current Mood: coughing
Current Music: the sound of water running over dishes I have to clean.
celli on January 16th, 2004 12:02 am (UTC)
pure FORESHADOWING: i heart dannifra_idril on January 21st, 2004 06:53 am (UTC)
*gives tissues and hugs to both celli and danny* He's got such a woobie face..
Ut Pictura Poesiswanderlustlover on January 16th, 2004 12:08 am (UTC)
Oh, my. *wipes tears*
pure FORESHADOWING: Bearded Clark (ratcreature)nifra_idril on January 21st, 2004 06:54 am (UTC)
*hugs and breaks out more tissues*
the opposite of batman: lex luthorpearl_o on January 16th, 2004 12:16 am (UTC)
Oh, Jesus fucking Christ, Nifra.

I haven't read hardly anything since Shattered came out; I think this is the one SV story I've read *and* liked *and* believed in since then.

God. Clark is the eternal woobie of woobies. Forever and EVER.
edieedie22 on January 16th, 2004 01:07 am (UTC)
This is awesome!! Wow. Horribly sad, but wonderfully done.
(no subject) - nifra_idril on January 21st, 2004 09:13 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - nifra_idril on January 21st, 2004 06:54 am (UTC) (Expand)
.: a fine piece of asshackthis on January 16th, 2004 01:12 am (UTC)
Whatever feelings I may have for the show aside, this is just gorgeous, Nif. I mean, wow.
pure FORESHADOWING: In chargenifra_idril on January 21st, 2004 06:59 am (UTC)
*hugs you* Thank you, babe! You always make my day with your feedback, you know that? It means a lot to me that you enjoyed this...especially if you're not enjoying SV as much anymore. *hugs you once more for good measure* Gah! I totally adore you, dude.
cinnamon girl: clexhug from signetamalinn on January 16th, 2004 01:18 am (UTC)
beautiful. does this mean you and clark are back on speaking terms?
pure FORESHADOWING: man objectnifra_idril on January 21st, 2004 07:00 am (UTC)
We're taking it slowly. You know, we've both been hurt before, and we've got to ease back into it. Or something. I'm glad you liked this, though!
happyminion on January 16th, 2004 01:53 am (UTC)
I am so glad that you and Clark have reunited. And this is so wistful and--it's sad, Nifra. It's so sad and afraid and lonely and filled with regret and a hope that doesn't ever manage to get snuffed out, I don't think. Maybe that's what makes him Superman. That he never gives up hope. Maybe that's what tortures him forever, as far as Lex is concerned: he never gives up hope that if he just confesses, he can change everything.


This was just beautifully done.
pure FORESHADOWING: feel you fallingnifra_idril on January 21st, 2004 07:02 am (UTC)
I think you're right -- I think the hope doesn't get snuffed out. I think if it did, he'd be a very different man than the Clark Kent we all know and love of his Superman years, but here? Right now? On Smallville? We're seeing a boy who's pretty damned close to having that hope snuffed out...gah. Poor, poor, pretty woobie. *pets him* I'm so glad you enjoyed it, darlin'!
Anne: Tom Steering Wheeltobyfan on January 16th, 2004 02:28 am (UTC)
This is quite simply breathtaking. Every time I read something new of yours, I am quite literally amazed at how you can take the same words we all use every day and turn them into art. Beautiful, heart-stopping art. If I didn't adore you so much for sharing your gifts with us, I would be horribly jealous. Okay, I'm a little jealous anyway. *g*

This story made me want to hug Clark and comfort him. It make me want to take Lex aside and say, ``Clark has something really important to say. It's hard so just listen and be kind. Be very kind. Or else.'' And while I always love Clark, I almost never feel protective toward him.

When I got here --

Clark knows, though, that isn't important; it's the telling that matters. It's like the words are water - like he's adrift in them, slowly learning how to breathe beneath their weight. He doesn't know if he'll ever push past them, leave them behind; he can see it going either way, easily. What Clark is sure of, though, is that this thing, this secret more than any of the others, and what he decides to do with it -- what he decides to do with *Lex* -- is what will make him. Who he is to *Lex* will form him, birth him anew, lay him bare, and create the man he'll become.

-- I thought, "I want to *be* Nifra."

You fucking rule. It just has to be said. There are a lot of writers in Smallville that I love to read over and over. There are only a few who just awe me every single fucking time they post a story. You are one of them.

pure FORESHADOWING: feel you fallingnifra_idril on January 21st, 2004 09:05 pm (UTC)
Anne, you always say the most amazing things to me. Seriously, every time I get feedback from you I'm entirely gobsmacked by it. My jaw drops, and I grin like a crazy thing for days. I just...there's really *nothing* I can say to you to let you know how much this (and every comment you've given me) means to me. I teared up -- no *really*. Just..thank you. Honestly, thank you *so very much*. *hugs you tightly*
Alethia: Alethiaalethialia on January 16th, 2004 03:18 am (UTC)
Oh, God, if only. If only it could be this way. Wonderful, lyrical, amazing stories like this just highlight the way we all know it will end and it's so--tragic. That this could happen, but won't.

Beautiful story. Truly.
pure FORESHADOWING: Clark RHPSnifra_idril on January 21st, 2004 09:07 pm (UTC)
That's the thing with Clex -- and the beauty of SV in general. You watch and you see all the *little* things that could avert the HUGE HONKING DOOM, and you know that it won't happen. Gah. *pets the boys*

I'm glad you enjoyed it, babe!
The Spikespike21 on January 16th, 2004 05:00 am (UTC)
very very beautiful. *weep*
pure FORESHADOWING: Diana! (ratcreature)nifra_idril on January 21st, 2004 09:08 pm (UTC)
Aww! *gives tissues* I"m glad you enjoyed it!
sageness on January 16th, 2004 05:37 am (UTC)
You're so stunning because you turn ordinary fanfic into prose poems. Not only is this gorgeously crafted, but you make me believe without a doubt that this is what Clark would do and how he would do it, if only he could allow himself to risk the way.

So lovely.
pure FORESHADOWING: ship!nifra_idril on January 21st, 2004 09:10 pm (UTC)
if only he could allow himself to risk the way.

Gah...isn't that the key to Clex? That phrase 'if only'? I think so. And it's desperately sad.

Thank you so much for your kind words -- quite honestly, you kinda blew me away with that. I'm so glad you enjoyed it.
more squee than substance: deny everythingimaginarytiff on January 16th, 2004 06:02 am (UTC)
*flails* God this is amazing -- the ever hopeful ambiguity just kills me in the sweetest, most wonderful, painful way. So perfect.
pure FORESHADOWING: photonegativenifra_idril on January 21st, 2004 09:11 pm (UTC)
It'd be so nice to believe that Clark does, wouldn't it? *sigh* Oh, Rift.

I'm glad you enjoyed it! Thank you so much for the feedback!
Fleegull: Clark/Lex Comicfleegull on January 16th, 2004 06:47 am (UTC)
This flowed like a poem, and it's perfect.
pure FORESHADOWING: Devil Girlnifra_idril on January 21st, 2004 09:12 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! *hugs*
(Deleted comment)
pure FORESHADOWING: Chloe!nifra_idril on January 21st, 2004 09:14 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I'm glad you enjoyed it...and welcome to Nifra's House of Crazy, by the way. *laughs*
Yavanna: Denialyavannauk on January 16th, 2004 07:09 am (UTC)
*sniff* Simply beautiful.
pure FORESHADOWING: Mmm red duct tapenifra_idril on January 21st, 2004 09:14 pm (UTC)
*hugs* I'm really glad you liked it, love!
Sarah: discogiddyfangirl on January 16th, 2004 12:41 pm (UTC)
I'm a weepy, sobbing mess here. I love Clark. I love your writing. *cries*
pure FORESHADOWING: Deathnifra_idril on January 21st, 2004 09:15 pm (UTC)
Oh, babe! *hugs you and pats your back* Don't sob! I'm so glad that you love my writing, though...and really, what's not to love Clark? *glares at half of fandom* Don't answer that, you all.