The plan is to post them in little fic-groupings that make sense (if nowhere else) in my little Nif-brain, and the first grouping is pretty damned straight forward: SV fics.
So, fic the first:
Summary: Lex is not the same, but he is more himself.
Lex turns on the faucet, and stands in front of the sink, staring out the window at the darkened garden. The flowers are arranged geometrically, all radiating outward from the centerpiece - the fountain, where the water catches moonlight. It's too quiet here, too cold and too comfortable. It makes him nervous, the calm does - it reminds him of the way the birds would silence themselves when there was a high wind, or a storm blowing over the island.
He's been home for a week - found, and safe, is what they said when they took him off the island. But Lex doesn't feel that way. He feels like something very small and very alone in the belly of a larger, crueler beast. This house, this town, this family of his - it's eaten him already, swallowed him whole the minute he stepped back into his old life. And Lex doesn't like it.
On the island - Lex still doesn't know its name, can't think of it as anything other than 'the island', 'his island' - there weren't too many flowers. Those that were there, though, grew wherever they pleased; out of rocks, out of sand, out of the crooks of trees - riotous and bold, and turning toward the sun. His garden is filled with small, meek things that bow their heads beneath the coming Kansas fall. He thinks maybe he'll have it torn up, and replanted, or maybe he'll just leave it alone. Fire the gardeners, see what happens.
Helen used to like to sit out there, beside the fountain. She liked the outdoors, which surprised him when she moved in, because Helen seemed to him too refined and skittish to allow herself to get dirty, or sunburned. He thinks maybe she's sunburned now, wherever she is. Maybe she's on his island, sleeping on the pallet of leaves he put together for himself.
His own bed still smells like her; he hasn't bothered to wash the sheets. The dressers and closets are filled with her clothes - empty jackets that hang hollow like shed skins on their wire hangers. And his skin is red, and ruined - raw and burnt, and tender, still. When his shirt shifts across his shoulders, it hurts.
He can't sleep. He hasn't been able to once since he got home. There are too many things he expects, things he's come to count on from the island that don't exist here, and he'd never known that three months could be so close to a lifetime before. He is not the same, but he is himself in ways he hasn't been before.
Lex knows he is not, perhaps, a good man. He has done murder, theft, and betrayal. He has been left, and been caught leaving, but he never quite deserved the way he has been discarded again and again. He has been lost and he has been found, and he is here, now, in what was once his home. Here again after so long, he stands at his kitchen sink, his head bowed and his ears attuned to the creaks and groans of the old castle settling all around him and the humming of electricity which is so familiar, and yet somehow still new.
He wants to be enveloped in it, this home of his. He wants to feel safe, and warm, but instead he feels nothing, except for the stark, fierce fear of one trapped. He listens to the rushing water, and the gurgle of the drain. He closes his eyes, and tries to hear the ocean, which he had never liked before but now rises up in his memory as something unremitting, uncontrollable, untamed. It is awesome, it is unimaginable, and it is wild as Lex would have himself be. Lex feels it: the relentless pushing of the waves, the way the ocean buoyed him up, and tossed him about and how the currents pulled and shoved like restless hands against his body.
If he strains, if he listens harder, Lex can almost hear the island at night, and smell the thick salt air. There are crickets outside in the garden, which is grotesque and precise and hateful to him now, and those small chirpings are welcome in this meditation, this quiet evocation. Somewhere, somehow, Lex thinks he can almost hear the beating of bare feet against sand. He can almost hear Louis breathing, shallow and hectic as he runs runs runs across the island's shore, his hand gripped tight around his machete and his eyes fixed, bright and feral, on the jungle that hems him in. He will attack it, he will slice, and he will hack, and he will become scratched and bloodied by the thick dense branches but he will be free. He will survive, and he will live only as he wants to, only where he wants to.
Lex feels the constriction in his own chest, the need to break to break free, to break loose, and he hears it, he hears Louis, he hears that throaty, angry whisper that says, "You'll never leave this island," and Lex smiles. He nods, he speaks aloud, and says, "Never."