[identity profile] lex-zeppelin.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] remix_redux
Title: Tape Measure Blast remix
Author: [livejournal.com profile] miche_connor
Summary: Nicodemus Flower Fun
Fandom: Smallville
Pairing: Lionel Luthor, Lex Luthor, Clark Kent
Rating: G
Disclaimer: Not my characters; owned by DC, CW and Al/Miles.
Original story: Play Ball by Clannadlvr.
Notes: Spoilers for Nicodemus and what came before. Season 1. Huge thank-yous must go to my beta readers, [livejournal.com profile] roxymissrose and, for a very early version, [livejournal.com profile] amcnh. Thank you, loves! I adore you both.



The thud of the helicopter's rotating blades punctuated the air with a sound that was more felt than heard over the thin whine of the engine. It seemed to thrum through him, at once both invigorating and energizing as he stepped out of the vehicle and moved with predatory grace toward the rather ugly concrete structure that had been his and was now his sons'. A crap factory edging slowly toward solvency--a transition from red to black that spoke more of the future than perhaps Lionel cared to see. Still. Things had changed, and he wanted to know more precisely why. Better yet, how. Lex had always been up to something when he was quiet as a child. He was far, far too quiet now, and that meant something needed to be looked at and potentially handled before someone else found out about it and control was lost.

Though it was quite possible that for once, all was simply going quite swimmingly. Not likely, but possible. And though Lex's little experiment in finance was moving forward and edging toward solvency, there were hints that more was going on than was being seen. It was expected, but it tugged at his nagging sense of self-preservation. Lionel had learned to pay attention to that little internal warning sensor, and that made it far past time to check in and see just what was happening, especially since his informant, Beales, had called him and left such an enigmatic and intriguing message. What had been found? He pushed open the doors and stepped into LexCorp with a sharp shark's grin as he approached the secretary at the front.

"Inform my son that I'm here," Lionel said firmly as he breezed past the desk, and toward the staff offices. The door fell closed behind him with a faint click that should have shaken the building, or so the secretary must have thought, if her flinch at the faint sound was any indication.

Pale faced and wide-eyed, the plump plain woman quickly depressed a button. "Mr. Luthor?" Her voice quavered only slightly. "Mr. Luthor is on his way back, sir." As soon as she lifted her finger, Lex responded and she could hear his office door being opened and Lionel greeting his son.

"Of course, Sophia. Thank you--Dad." Lex sat back in his chair for a second after looking away from the intercom as his father unceremoniously entered his office. "Dad." He repeated after he closed the screen on his laptop and stood. "What brings you here?" His face was a smooth mask, professional in its austerity as he moved from behind his desk to stand in front of it.

"An interesting communique, actually." Lionel stepped forward, moving into Lex's personal space, studying that smooth countenance. "Someone left a very enigmatic message with my secretary, and now that someone is quite, quite dead." Ah. Recognition flickered in Lex's eyes, and Lionel pounced. "I wondered if you might know precisely what happened to Mr. Beales."

"Beales?" Practiced confusion marred his son's pale brow. "I think--wait. Let me check." Lex turned toward a stack of manilla folders on his desk. "I know I saw something. . . Ah, yes. Here it is." He offered the pale vanilla folder to Lionel who accepted it without looking at it. "I believe he died in an automobile accident. Tried to pass someone on the left." He shrugged, a slow rolling of his shoulders that spoke eloquently about his lack of concern. "Beales apparently had been drugged; lost control of the vehicle."

"Indeed, Lex." Something not--quite--right. Lionel shifted leaned in. "And that's all it was. A man, out of his mind?"

"There's not much else it could be, is there?" Lex's gaze was blank, but just a little too wide.

"Of course not." Lionel tossed the file back toward the desk and smiled his shark's smile. "Why don't you take me on a tour. Show me precisely how you're managing things here."

"I never thought you'd ask." Lex moved smoothly past his father, toward the door and waited for Lionel to move through first. "After you, Dad."

~ ~ ~

Instructional, but not complete; the tour of the plant, that is, and not his son. Oh, his son was learning by leaps and bounds, from what he could determine. Lionel smiled at Lex as they sat across from one another and sipped at scotch, poking holes in each carefully constructed conversational gambits.

"An interesting hypothesis, Lex. Don't tell me you have nothing to support it."

"It's not an hypothesis. It's quite clear that the meteor rocks that litter this town are poisonous to greater and lesser degree to just about everything living, except in very rare cases."

"Like your own."

Lex's gaze turned dark and something unfathomable swam there for a moment. "As you should know."

"It was to help you, you know." Lionel gentled his voice, watched his son carefully.

"Help. Only you would call that help."

"Your limits had to be tested."

Anger flared, flashed from Lex's brilliant blue-grey eyes and was controlled. "You have no concept of what my limits are."

"Really Lex? I would think that as your father you would understand that I know very well what unplanned and unforseen actions can provoke. Take our absent Mr. Beales, for example."

Lex froze only slightly as he regarded his father; his voice was icy in tone and precise in diction. "Yes. Let's take him for an example. He's quite useful, being dead."

Lionel hid a smile. He is learning. Good."Time for sleeping, I think, Lex." Satisfaction oozed from him as he stood and moved away from the table. "See you in the morning."

"Yes. In the morning." Lex lifted his chin defiantly and Lionel noted the faint tension in his son's limbs; it was confirmed with the very dry voice that was laced with venom. "Pleasant dreams, father."

Lionel felt his face stretch into his shark's smile as he left. Sometimes, being a parent could be so rewarding.

~ ~ ~

Lionel stretched and sat up. Looked about the room that he'd claimed as his own in the castle and blinked almost disbelievingly cascade of brilliant sunlight that flowed across his bed, and dust motes like pale gilt floated aimlessly with every breath. The bright flower in its pot at the side of the bed seemed to tremble.

Light filled him, strengthened him as it never had.

His eyes brightened, flashing with something that surely must be happiness. Yes. That's what he wanted to do, this day of all days, and it might have been memory or hallucination, but he heard laughter, Lillian's bright laughter, felt her arms about his neck and kiss on his cheek.

He needed no further urging, and instead dashed into his closet--the very back, and pulled the old uniform from its box. College was long, long ago, but he'd kept the old things anyway, unable to throw them out or leave them behind; perhaps he was more sentimental than he'd thought. Cleated shoes fell to the floor in syncopated beat like the first beat of a heart broken from its frozen past.

It took but moments to dress, and less than that to dash down the hall and burst into the study where his son--his beautiful, beautiful son--sat staring at a monitor.

"So, Son, ready for that game of catch?”

~ ~ ~
The staff of the castle crowded the windows facing the formal gardens and broad lawn that fronted the driveway and gate. Each was ostensibly washing a window or portion thereof, and each slowly stopped and stared as a leather-covered ball was passed between two men, each grinning hugely at the other.

Light flowed about them, coating them like honey, and time seemed to have gone backward for the two on the lawn even as it pressed onward for everyone else.

It seemed only a matter of moments but it must have been much longer when Lionel fell where he stood, crumpling to the soft sward limply. The ball rolled from his lax hand and slowed to a halt, its creamy roundness turning gold in the afternoon sun.

Lex dropped the worn leather glove, ran to his father's side and fell to his knees; bitter tears falling unheeded from his eyes. He felt twelve again, and the gaping hole that had sucked his mother away was now taking his father. "Dad. No. Dad! Please. God--"

The rough sound of the Kent's farm truck as Clark was making deliveries rumbled through the gate and slowed to a stop. He stared out the window, taking in Lionel on the ground with Lex weeping over him.

"LEX!" Clark's voice was a herald of hope as he dashed from the truck and over to the pair on the ground. "C’mon Lex. Let's get him in the truck. To the hospital!" Clark knelt, lifting Lionel's head and shoulders.

"Right," Lex gasped, looking far younger than his years with his tear-stained face as he lifted his father's legs. "Clark." His voice is strangled. "I never thought. . ."

Clark met his friend's eyes, and nodded. "I know Lex. I know you'd do the same for me."

They managed to get Lionel into the truck just as people started to spill from the castle, Clark all but tossing Lex in after his father as he clambered in behind the wheel and all three sped off. Lex held his father upright, cradling him as he was once cradled in this same truck.

~ ~ ~

Clark watched Lex pace the small area outside the examination room. "So, wait--Somehow a Nicodemus flower got your dad?"

Lex looked at his taller, younger friend and nodded. "I didn't think he'd go in there. And I thought the flower was dead. I didn't think it would do that."

Clark looked grim. "You kept one of those flowers."

"I kept it, but only to study it! It was dead. It shouldn't have affected him--"much. Not that much. Lex shook his head and started to pace again.

"Lex, I can't believe you kept one. Especially after what almost happened to my friends, and my dad! How could you think--"

"How could I not? Clark." Lex moved to stand just before the flannel-clad dark-haired teen, his voice intense. "What if there are more out there? What if they are not just local to this area? We have to know more about how they work, how they affect people. What causes them to throw spores--and they do throw them, but only at people, Clark. That means something."

"Lex, it's too dangerous. Can't you see that?" Clark stared at him, clearly aghast.

"If we can learn from it, learn to control it--USE it, Clark--"

Clark shook his head, a slow coil of fear tightening his stomach. "Lex, no."

"Clark, you are not listening!"

Clark put his hands on Lex's shoulders and leaned into him, his face barely a breath away. "Lex. It's too dangerous."

Lex turned rebellious blue eyes toward Clark. "No, I can--"

"Lex! Some things--some things are meant to be beyond your control. It's just the way life is." Clark stared at his friend earnestly, shaking him slightly with each word. "Please. You have to understand that. Please, Lex!"

Lex held onto his stubbornness for a moment longer and then nodded. "You're right. I know that." He sighed, felt himself lean into Clark for just a moment before pushing himself away. "It's just that so much could be learned from this one plant."

"It's the right thing to do, Lex."

Clark watched Lex walk and stand in front of the window of his father's room in the hospital. "If you say so, Clark."

"I know it is."

Lex looked over his shoulder and nodded once at Clark, then turned to look at the man in the bed beyond the glass. "It's not what my father would do."

"Lex. You are not your father. You don't have to be him." Clark's voice was soft, and right beside him. "Trust me on this, you don't."

Lex let himself lean against Clark as he tried to absorb his words. "It's hard, Clark."

"Yeah. I know."

"You know? But Jonathan Kent's--" a paragon of moral integrity.

"He's my father. I don't know if I want to be a carbon copy of him. Or of my biological father, either."

"Make your own choices."

"Exactly, Lex. That's right."

Each smiled at the other for a brief moment before turning to look through the window once more. A medical team had appeared through another door and some sort of injection was given to the incapacitated man. One of the nurses looked up and gave the pair of young men a thumb's up sign.

Lex took a deep breath and felt a certain tension leak away. "Hey, Clark. Let's go get something to eat?"

"Sure."

"Clark?"

"Yeah?"

"Thank you."

"Yeah, Lex. Anytime."

The pair turned for the door as one, their steps equal in stride and step, and the nurse that had given them the thumb's up sign smiled to herself and looked back down at the now sleeping Lionel.

~ ~ ~

The castle was quiet when Lionel decided to take his leave. Beales' sudden death and what looked like a hasty cover-up operation all panned out to nothingness. Just an accident. It could have been one, but more likely, it was not. He re-wound the security tape a last time and removed it from the player, the surreal images of himself in baseball gear and tossing a ball to Lex fading from the monitor even as they flared into brilliance in his mind.

"Find anything interesting on that, Dad?" Lex, coolly arrogant, stood by the doorway.

Lionel turned and paused for a long moment to take in this apparition in Armani. "Possibly, Lex, possibly." He touched the tape again, adjusting it slightly.

He waited a long moment, fingers almost curled to take the tape that Lex was clearly wanting to keep him from. "Perhaps, Lex--it's time we started to play ball."

Lex flinched, and Lionel nodded. A veritable hit.

"Maybe we should, Dad." Lex's expression was shuttered as he sauntered over to the file cabinet and opened it slowly, looking into the drawer for a moment. With calculated intent, he threw one of the items toward Lionel that he had hastily taken from its dark depths. The scent of worn leather filled his nostrils and Lionel nodded and tugged the glove onto his hand.

"After you, Lex. After you."

"Age before beauty."

Lionel laughed quietly at that and moved easily through the door. Whatever had happened hadn't been purely intentional, but it hadn't been what Lex had expected either. Maybe there could be something more than just competition between them, or maybe this tenuous feeling of cooperation would die. For now, for the present moment, however, he was content to let it lie between them, all silent and somehow more, as he followed this (brilliant and bitter) young man into the dazzling yellow light of Smallville's afternoon sun to simply see just how far he could throw a ball. He could leave Smallville a little later.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-04-23 12:11 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ladydey.livejournal.com
Wow, I like how you ran with this story idea from the original drabble - making it bittersweet as opposed to just weird. Good job!

(no subject)

Date: 2007-04-24 01:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ladydreamer.livejournal.com
Lex should keep those flowers around more often :)

Very cute!

(no subject)

Date: 2007-04-24 09:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lastscorpion.livejournal.com
What a terrific expanded version of the original drabble! I loved the way you did all the interactions between the Luthors.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-05-01 02:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] clannadlvr.livejournal.com
Oh my god...this is awesome!! As many of the reviewers have mentioned, my drabble was just weird. Honestly, it was something that I did as a joke for the wednesday 100 community back when I was involved in SV fandom- I almost didn't post it and never thought it would be something that would be remixed.

But I'm so glad it was!! I absolutely adore how you took the scene and tied it into the events of "Nicodemus." That made it plausible, and beyond that it gave us a brief insight into the small part of Lex and Lionel's relationship that, at that point, might have retained its purity.

And the ending?

Maybe there could be something more than just competition between them, or maybe this tenuous feeling of cooperation would die.

I really respect how realistic you were with the implications of this moment they've shared. While it might not make any permanent changes, maybe, just maybe it would affect their relationship for the better.

Thank you for doing such a fabulous remix! I haven't been involved in this fandom in quite a while (as you could probably tell from the, um, lack of maturity in my writing during my sv fandom days), but reading your treatment of my silly little drabble has reminded me of the talent of many SV writers, as well how intricate the relationships between the main characters could be.

Kudos!! (And I'll be reccing this to my flist!)

(no subject)

Date: 2007-05-01 02:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] clannadlvr.livejournal.com
p.s.

psssssssst! Who are you? I'm waiting for the big reveal!

(no subject)

Date: 2007-05-02 10:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] miche-connor.livejournal.com
Sorry for revealing right away, I totally misread the date! DOH!

(no subject)

Date: 2007-05-02 10:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] miche-connor.livejournal.com
I am really glad you enjoyed reading this; I know I had fun writing it! (And, a note: Maturity, wayyy overrated. :)

The chance for change is always possible, I believe. In our lives, and in this realm, too. I believe that they perhaps they do change, imperceptibly perhaps, but at least they have this memory to share.

Thank you for reading, for commenting, and especially, for pricking my imagination with something I thought lovely.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-05-02 11:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] herohunter.livejournal.com
Great job, Mich!!!

(no subject)

Date: 2007-05-02 11:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] miche-connor.livejournal.com
Have I said I adore that Icon? Gosh, I do. Thank you Ash for reading and liking. I just love the idea of Lionel and Lex tossing a ball at one another, loving and hating and for just a little while being a real father and son.

*HUGS*

(no subject)

Date: 2007-05-02 11:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] herohunter.livejournal.com
Thanks, love!
Yeah, if only Lionel had been more of a father and less of a tutor...and if Lillian had not been a spineless murderer (she gets no love for me anymore)...
*sigh*

(no subject)

Date: 2007-05-07 01:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] amberporce.livejournal.com
This is so smooth. I like Lionel and Lex's father and son relationship in this. :D

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