Title : Sanctuary in Your Smile
Rating: PG-14 (Deals with Death, Life, and ruminations on life in the early morning hours)
Pairings: Hints of Clark/Bruce, Clark/Lex (Batman/Superman Crossover)
Disclaimer: I own nothing. No really. I'm a slave to my muse, and she only lets me play here on every other month. DC, WB and various other really rich people own Superman, Batman and all related concepts. The Dark chocolate belongs to me-Ow! I mean my muse.
Notes : This was originally part of a trilogy of Drabbles with a Sketch of the Newspaper, hands, and Glass, collectively called "One Man's Truth". I found that the first two parts were turning too dark for me, taking the fathers to places so dark it tainted the almost happy/sad feel of Sanctuary. Collectively this was the Darkest thing I'd written and was my first SV fic.
I am changing this to a stand alone, mainly because it does stand better alone.
Beta and Kudos to Lady_Phoenix600. Any mistakes are mine, and she stayed up to help me recapture this after I lost the original.
Summary : When you are a man without end, what do you think of on days that the morning sun doesn't quite penetrate the time to your heart.
"God, your smile." The shaky hand moved to the yellowed paper, preserved from time except on mornings like this. The huge strong hand trembled as it spread the paper, and the voice was pained, choked and thick. With a careful finger he traced the printed picture, and the article that had done more to change his life than anything since he had lived on the farm.
With an almost ritual reverence he folded the paper, then folded it again, and set it on the ancient table. He turned and gave a watery half smile as he pulled a crystal decanter from the center of the table, and a simple crystal glass to the old farm style chair. He poured two fingers, measured by his massive fingers and then gave a half surprised chuckle. "Weathered hands, the hands of a man who worked hard every day, so like my fathers. I only have myself and a few keepsakes to remind me of the farm, and every breath to remind me of you. God, I wonder how you are?"
"It's been... a long time. I know, you'd kick my ass for this, but. I went to visit Bruce again." He chuckles again weakly and turns the glass by it's rim. His hands look older than his arm musculature would indicate, and he cradles the rim so delicately, so carefully as he sits slowly, setting the paper so only the marks "Special Rush Edition" can be seen. Another short chortle as that careful hand lifts the glass by the rim and takes a drink, body relaxing into the cushions as he lets his jean cased legs and white sock covered feet tangle in the legs of the chair across from him.
"You always had to grab attention. Bruce thought you'd lost your mind. *I* thought you'd lost your mind." He said it cheerfully at first then he choked again and twisted, taking another drink and turning the paper again, so the bottom folded edge faced him.
"You always had so many plans." A subdued tone half swallowed to match a soft stroke along the worn and slightly faded edge of the headlines "ast of Line?" and below it in smaller print "izens to support Gay Marriage" both faded from strokes and time, no picture below these words to be marred, at least not THE picture.
A steadier hand now to grab the decanter and pour another two fingers from the still full depths, and take another sip. Each sip seemed to bring more strength, even as the voice seemed, weakened. The hand moves back, steadier and slides the paper open, a little caught breath and dry fingertips tap and flutter along over the headlines as the other hand raises the fingers of scotch to be drained, the ice in the glass tinkling for the first time, as it finally melts enough to crack and move in the liquid. At the sound he starts a bit and then shakes his head before leaning back to stare into the distance and past.
"You knew. You knew, even then. And we had no clue. God, I never really understood I don't think. Not everything. I don't think I do even now." He muses absently before continuing. "Somehow. Somehow you knew. All along, you knew. God, it must have killed you to plan some of those gifts you gave me. Yet all I can see from that day is shock, and all I can associate with it is joy, love, hope. That's what you gave me. Your Legacy, your Line." He says it with a half bemused air, shoulders shaking with a hidden chuckle and the glass set beside the decanter as the old paper rustles slightly from being unfolded and spread to see the full effect.
""Lex Luthor - Last of Line?" You probably did a jig just for that line alone, admit it." Fondness and a small exhale as he smoothed the worn creases and bends out to look on the full cover page. "Jimmy and Lois were having a field day. Cat just about creamed herself with the implications. And you loved every second of it, while Bruce and I scrambled to try and figure out what was going on.”
"Your father should have died from a heart attack, but I think you knew it wouldn't be that easy. I know Bruce said he'd suspect that was just a side benefit. We all agreed on that. Lionel was too much of an asshole to die from a newspaper, no matter how it seemed to spell joint ruin." Another chuckle and he runs the back of his hand down the edge of the publicity shot, then uses his thumb to brush the short photo blurb.
"Senator Lex Luthor, Known for his opposition of Meta Human task forces, ‘Superheroes’, and vigilantism spoke out with heart and fire." Another inelegant snort and a short bark of laughter as that massive and worn hand goes to card through a long loose mane. “What a crock of shit.” The timber changes, again, to a half wistful statement and half almost reprimand.
"You always had plans." He sighs and slumps down in the chair, feet kicking out enough to hook the back legs of the chair across from him and start balancing it with the tops of his sock clad feet, the front two legs rearing up like some war horse in a statue.
"You knew, before Bruce did, and long before I did." More scotch, and as the glass is drained and filled again the thick layer of ice in the cup breaks up and starts to melt. As he fills it again and lifts the glass, the light slowly filtering in and illuminating the room with a soft glow the 'Chink!' of ice is met with a smile and a laugh.
"God, my protectors. You'd both kick my ass for this, definitely not the breakfast of Champions." Another chuffed laugh and then a slight cough and loose hair curling over the edges of the chair as the head resting against the backing shakes in denial. "No, it was the breakfast of champions. you both would take liquid breakfast, as often as not." Small tip of lifted glass again to his right. "Though yes, Bruce hated your penchant for proofed liquid diet and you loathed his green pulp monsters."
He laughs again at that and his own chair tilts back a bit as he thinks, legs making a bridge to the tilted back chair across the way, stability on two sets of two legs. "Irony not lost, is it." He murmurs looking at, perhaps through the table before shaking his head again. "Maudlin, you both said it wasn't a good shade on me. I believe you both agreed on that one, profusely and with enthusiasm. Brooding and Maudlin. You had corner markets and I wasn't to infringe." He trailed off and stared at the paper, lost in himself.
"Balanced, two sets of legs, to hold the legs that connect them together. Any legs break, and we all fall down. Joker had an oddly poetic way of looking at things. Perhaps if he got drunk more often he may have reached lucidity, while the lucid can only begin to think as he does when well on the way to inebriation." He chuckles again. "I'm not sure who to blame that entire thought tree on more. Inebriation... that's Excelsior all over. Maybe it's both of your faults." He chokes lightly on that and his head drops forward as he gathers more scotch in the glass. No longer a few fingers, it now is however much flows from the tip in a solid decisive turn. Down, slide to the side and up, the soft thunk of heavy crystal on ancient wood. “The sounds of time passing.” He murmurs again.
The right hand, looking a bit greyer as the brightening morning light strokes over the paper, firm and steady, not as delicate but still reverent. The gentle control, assurance, as he traces the front page articles and gives a small snort. "Time passes, without someone to capture it, mark it, give it meaning, it's passage is unnoticed, sudden and swift. It is only noticed by the changes it brings."
"You always brought change, always understood it. You made me experience time. Made my counters, made my moments seem important." He traces Cat's line, and gives a small watery chuckle as he traces the little single eye catching line. "Could Luthor Love interest be behind Out Stated Support?". "You never... let on. You let me hurt myself and planned to make the edges just a bit less sharp. You let me play with knives, but made sure they could only cut so deep..." He trails off topping off his drink again.
"They cited everyone from Bruce to Jude Law, and you just laughed at them. For a while I wondered why you did it. I was almost sure it was for Bruce, especially after that fight in Smallville." He takes a shakey breath. "God. How did you manage to smile Lex. And how was I ever so blind." He traces the other line, referring to A6. "Lois Lane and Clark Kent. I wrote none of this article but she put my name on it. I, of course was too busy figuring out what it all meant. I was so involved in trying to figure it out I think I missed you even responding to the interview. Even giving *us* an interview." Another chuckle as he traces the line.
"You planned it. I was right, in that the evil genius was at work, but, not for evil. I was so off balance and you used it, delighted in it. You always insisted on playing matchmaker. And... you always had to get your way." He laughs and taps the page before flipping it open with a single flick, to A6.
His breath catches and when he pulls the once again empty glass away his top knuckles are a bit wet and the ice is mere slivers, his shoulders trembling minutely as he lets the paper spread out to show the picture and it's article. The picture is small, Caught on a camera phone by an intern. Used because it was unlike any other photo the Planet had of Lex Luthor.
A small sob escapes him as he upturns the decanter, the glass almost full to brimming, his hand pale and gray as he holds the thick crystal glass. The empty decanter left laying on it's side, the deep dark auburn sparkling and glowing in the morning light as that steady, careless hand brings the glass back to be cradled near a hitching chest, as the smiling photograph seems to hold all the promises of the universe.
"God, I didn't see it... for so long. You both knew.” He says it as if it both hurt, and warmed him. "I think, I know, Bruce respected you for that. He hated it, but respected it as well. You knew I would stay with him. And when he left, you knew I would need to come to you on my own."
His voice is weak and thready as he speaks in a voice thick with things said too often or left unsaid. "We never had long enough. Never. You had the gift and curse of Kryptonite mutations and poisoning. And still, you started to leave me far too soon."
"All I can see when I think of you, is this smile." His voice cracks and his shoulders hunch as he traces the bow of those lips and slides the paper closer. "Not your eyes, not your voice, not even your hands or the feel of you beside me. It's your smile. THIS smile. It's, it's like the entirety of my sight when I think of love, of life, of time."
"When I confessed to you my terror, you just smiled and patted my cheek and, then told me to follow you. I was so angry, I could have cheerfully skinned you, Experimenting, making a copy of me, cloning, super soldiers. Old habits die hard, but you just waited. Then you smiled at me and told me he was going to be our *son*."
"You knew, had known, so long. And you never complained, just planned."
"We raised each son and daughter till they were in College, and had another. Till, you told me to visit the Pluto colonies. You knew... knew I didn't see the truths I couldn't bear. You knew, and when I came back, you just smiled and held out your scotch and cried for me." His breath catches again as he pulls the picture up, gathering his control in large shaky breaths before he takes another sip, and begins to read aloud.
"LeXCorp R&D to release statement on single sex paternal reproduction possibilities" He stops and just sits, holding the paper and nursing the scotch. After a time he continues. "When questioned about the ethics of the research, and the coinciding sudden support for the revived Homosexual Rights movement, Senator Luthor smiled and stated "What is wrong in Love? For love, the greatest arts are created, and the cruelest atrocities committed. Despite all, Love, and the pursuit of it, is as human as laughter and tears. It is what makes us who and what we are. The research is still just theories and just that, research, development isn't slated till a later date, when it's time and need has come." He stops reading and closes his eyes.
"You knew, a century before it was needed, you started making it for me. For us. You made our family, You made your Line, our line." Another pause, as he says what he had held as shield and sword for his heart for so long.
"You gave me time, and you gave me life. A few centuries with you was not enough, so you gave me your smile.” He gives a half smile that falls away, as he tells himself and his memories again. "Conner, he finally passed away, Maggie is gone too, and your smile, is missing from her children. I know you wanted to give me time, to give me life, and you did." His voice is thready and his tears seem to have dried.
"Now, I found the other gift. More, Maggie's son did. How did you know the Kryptonite resistance would go away by the time I needed your last gift? Ahh, I don't know. But I found your gift, Lex, and I know it must have been the hardest of all." His voice is softer, and he raises the mostly empty glass and traces the crinkles near the eyes in the photograph. "your eyes didn't smile when you told me to keep hope, that you were always watching out for my foolish alien head, but your mouth did. Your eyes should smile. You were right, you did take care of me, my protector, my hero, my salvation... My Lex."
He raises the glass and drains the last drops, his hand moving to brace on his thigh and the edge of the table, the position highlighting that smiling face, as he relaxes in the chair, and smiles, a sweet, happy and content smile "Be right there my love." He whispers on an exhale as the light finally hits the glass refractors, illuminating the glass and steel of the penthouse, preserved in the Superman tower for almost a thousand years.
And as the lights make the room glow bright and warm, dust motes seem to dance, and the soft splash of gold and green kryptonite laced scotch on the table seem to laugh, as all the memories, the feel of warm love, glow in the light, and the signal goes out to the old JLA space station above, to turn off the lights. And as the sun rises fully from the ground a small crater rests, dust motes dancing, twirling as they rise to the sky, where once the Superman Towers, named the LeXCorp Towers before that, stood.