Title: MEDICINE (Nourishment 2.10)
Author: Janet F. Caires-Lesgold
Feedback to: jfc@freeshell.org
Archive: Mailing list archives only--others please ask permission!
Category: Story, angst, Clark POV
Spoilers: Post-ep for "Insurgence"
Rating: R for adult behavior and implications of m/m sexual interaction
Pairing: Clark/Lex established relationship
Summary: Lex makes a mistake

DISCLAIMER: These characters do not belong to me. Smallville is the property of Alfred Gough, Miles Millar, Tollin-Robbins Productions, and Warner Bros. Television, and based upon characters originally created by Jerome Siegel and Joe Shuster. This story is just for the entertainment of my online friends and myself, not for any profit.

AUTHOR'S NOTES: The rest of "The Nourishment Series" can be found elsewhere on this archive - Enjoy!

DEDICATION: For Tiff and all of the troops, who give me support when needed, and always.

COPYRIGHT: (C) February 21, 2003, Janet F. Caires-Lesgold, jfc@freeshell.org

Please don't redistribute or alter this story in any way without the express permission of the author. Thank you very much.


Lex looks lovely in candlelight.

Unfortunately, he also looks upset, and guilty, and scared. Mostly scared. There's obviously something he's not telling me.

Yesterday everything was normal, or as normal as it gets around here. I spent some quality time making love with Lex, then headed home before he had a business meeting of some sort, after which he had plans with Helen, preventing my sleeping over. Instead, I dropped over early this morning to find his office a shambles and his desk littered with listening devices. Once we were sure we weren't being observed, I gave him some physical comfort, then headed home to take care of some extra chores while Dad planned for his celebration with Mom.

Then came Mom's announcement about working in Metropolis with Lionel Luthor, and slowly, all hell broke loose. Mom ended up being held hostage by some thugs robbing LuthorCorp, and we found that Lionel had a file on me, as well as a stockpile of refined meteor rocks. Eventually, though, the robbers got their due, and Mom was back on the street with us in front of the building. I'm just glad that the little I was able to do actually seemed to help.

When the press and the police left us alone, Lionel offered to buy my parents a nice anniversary dinner in town before escorting them home, but I begged off, preferring to let them celebrate alone. It was then that I noticed that Lex was missing. I had thought he was standing just a few yards beyond us, waiting for me to get away from the joyous family reunion, but I must have lost track of the time, for when I went back to where he'd been, he had disappeared.

Mom and Dad had discreetly said goodbye, assuming I would run on back home, so, aside from the tether of Mom's LuthorCorp-logo cellphone tucked in my pocket "in case of emergencies", I was entirely on my own. However, I didn't want to leave town without finding my boyfriend, who I assumed had gone off for a bite to eat. Perhaps I'd catch him and we could have dinner together.

After a couple of fruitless tries to his cellphone, I repocketed my phone and decided to try later, grabbing a sandwich at a deli across the street. Later, I strolled up and down the busy sidewalk, taking glances upward when I got to the gap between the LuthorCorp offices and the Daily Planet. Had I really jumped between those buildings? I don't know which had left more of an impression on me: the sensation of impact with the shattering window, or the feeling of trying to break free from the traces of gravity while I was in the air.

As traffic died down, stormclouds gathered in the sky above the tall buildings, and it started to rain. Rather than stand around outside, I waited under a canopy for someone to move into or out of LuthorCorp, then zipped into the lobby before the door closed. The dim light in the high-ceilinged atrium reminded me of my last visit to this building, so I took a chance and went to the private car just out of sight of the banks of regular elevators, wondering if Lex might have gone to the penthouse. I remembered noticing that the code numbers that Enrique had punched in to the keypad for access had been one digit different from my legal birthdate, so didn't have any trouble getting upstairs.

Soon, I stood in the small vestibule in front of Lex's doors, dialing his number one more time. Finally, Lex picked up his phone. "I've got it. What else do you want?" he asked abruptly, not even saying hello.

"Uh, Lex?" I answered.

"God--Clark?" he said in startled reply. "What are you doing?"

"Looking for you. I'm at the penthouse."

Just under his breath, he muttered, "Shit!" then spoke more directly into the mouthpiece. "Look, Clark, you should just go home. Didn't my dad offer to take your parents back in the chopper? Why didn't you go with them?"

"He was springing for dinner. They're at La Petite Fleur, if I understood them correctly. Where are you?"

Some weird electronic interference came through on my phone's speaker, and before I could determine what was wrong, the door in front of me opened, and Lex, in shirtsleeves with his cuffs hanging loose, peeked out. "Come in. Wait here--I'll get you a ride back to Smallville," he declared as he ushered me into the front hall of the apartment.

"No, I came here to see you. You took off so fast, I wanted to make sure you were okay.", I objected, shutting off my phone as he disconnected and redialed his own.

"I'm just fine, Clark," he responded in a voice that made me understand that he was not fine at all. "Do you want anything to eat? You can find something in the kitchen while you're waiting. I'm working on something..." He glanced back towards the back of the unit with the phone still pressed to his ear as if he were in a hurry.

Worried by his dismissive attitude, I reached out for his right arm, but he moved out of my grasp suddenly. "I've eaten already. Is everything all right?"

"There's nothing you need to worry about," he assured me, then spoke into the phone. "Yes--a chopper to Smallville for my guest. Twenty minutes? Fine. Thank you." Clicking off, he smiled mechanically and advised, "Be on the helipad upstairs in twenty minutes. Fred will take you home. I'll call you tomorrow night."

Something in his manner continued to bug me. "I don't want to go home yet, Lex. It's been a long day, and I was hoping to spend some time with you now that our folks are safe, okay?"

"I'm sorry, Clark," he said, avoiding my gaze, "I can't. I have to do this. Now, don't be late for the helicopter. Fred hates to turn off the engine once he gets it started. Good night." With that, he spun on his toe and strode off to a back room.

For a minute I just stood there, wondering exactly what had happened. Eventually, I followed Lex's footsteps and opened the door that he had shut behind himself.

The scene before me now isn't anything that I could have expected, but in some ways, it shouldn't surprise me. I am in a small office that is lined with books and anchored by a big desk made of highly polished dark wood. Above the scent of old paper and antique furniture wafts the aroma of artificial vanilla fragrance and some weird chemical smell I cannot identify. The lights are out, but a blocky white candle illuminates the room and its single resident. Lex's pale skin glows from the candle as if the flame is inside him. His right sleeve is rolled up, revealing a length of rubber tubing tied around his biceps. Before him is an assortment of scattered objects the likes of which I only recognize from films in health class. His eyes notice me, stark with terror.

"Lex? What is this?"

"Get out, Clark," he orders coldly.

Stepping further into the room, I answer, "No, Lex. I'm not going anywhere. What do you think you're doing?"

Very quietly, he replies, "I think I'm doing something you shouldn't see. So just get out of here and go home. Your ride will be waiting."

I move up to the desk and note the bent spoon filled with cloudy liquid, and the unwrapped hypodermic needle. "I can't do that. I can't walk away and let you do this to yourself. Where did you get this stuff?"

"I'm rich: I can get anything I want--I thought you knew that. Now just leave me alone. My smack is getting cold," he adds with a sarcastic grin.

A million arguments and questions crowd in my head, and desperate tears sting behind my eyelids, though I cannot let them fall. What can I say to the man I love to keep him from destroying his hard-won drug-free mind? What has driven him to believe that this is an acceptable solution to whatever problems he's facing? I decide to take an oblique route. "Aren't your fingers getting numb?"

He glances up from where he is filling the hypo. "Huh?"

Gesturing with my chin at the rubber tubing, I say, "I'd think that thing would start cutting off your circulation."

In spite of my presence, he depresses the plunger and lets a little liquid emerge from the tip. "It'll be better soon. Now could you just step outside, or do you want to take notes?"

Since he won't listen to me, I try another line of reasoning. "Didja get the needle from Helen, or does she know about this?"

His jump almost upsets the spoon of liquid. Real anger flares in his eyes. "Helen has nothing to do with this."

"I'm sure she'd be real proud of you if she found out about it. After all, it's obvious you don't care what I think."

He slams the needle--carefully--down on the surface of the desk, but cannot look me in the face. "Of course I care what you think, Clark. You are the most important person in the world to me. This just isn't about you."

Using the desk as a shield between us, I lean down closer to his level. "Then what is it about? I love you. I'm scared of what might happen to you if you do this. Why are you doing it? Is it because of what happened today? Were you that scared that those guys might kill your dad? I didn't think you gave that much of a shit about the man."

His lips purse in a strained expression as he turns his head even farther away from me. "It's complicated. Look--I screwed up, and I just need to forget about it, okay?"

"I can't imagine how you could have screwed up anything so much that it would warrant this kind of punishment. It's okay if you can't tell me what it was. Just don't, okay. Don't do this." My words have become a horrified whisper.

Slowly, he moves to look at me again. His eyes show more pain and fear than I've ever seen in one place before, and my heart breaks to see it. "I'm sorry, Clark, but I have to. Fuck it."

In a fluid motion, he hefts the hypo in his left hand and aims to jab it in the vein that bulges from the inside of his taut right elbow. With a burst of speed, I lunge across the desk and insinuate my left hand between the thin metal tube and his flesh, which still bears the ghosts of ancient injections. I position my grip so it looks like I take the hit against my watch, but I can feel the point of the needle just bounce off of my impervious skin and bend back with the force of his blow. Harmlessly, it breaks free from the graduated glass cylinder and clatters to the desktop with a tiny 'ping'. Droplets of fluid spatter the desk, my hand, and his arm.

Lex looks disgusted, possibly at the waste of his expenditure, or at what he'd almost done to himself, or maybe at what thinks he could have done to me. His mouth moves with words he cannot quite say.

"I said 'Don't'," I admonish, sounding far too much like my own father for comfort.

Something tells me he is as loath to ask me how I accomplished my feat as he is to explain his motivation for shooting up after all this time. The only syllable that he produces is, "Why?"

As I reach up and untie the rubber hose, I give him the only reason I can. "It looks like I have to protect you, Lex. If I'm going to keep you safe so I can have you in my life, I'll do whatever I have to do. Now, do you promise me you won't try that ever again?"

He swallows hard and shuts his eyes, but nods just enough that I can see it. "I'm sorry you had to see me like that." Just then, the phone in his pocket rings. Pulling it out, he looks at the display. "That's Fred. Your ride's here."

"I'd better go," I respond. "Long day, school night, that sort of thing. You gonna be okay?"

Pushing back his chair, he stands and comes around to me. "If I promise not to drive, is it all right with you if I get really drunk?" he asks, looking me square in the eye.

Nonplussed, I consider his suggestion. "If you think it will help, I guess so."

He gives me a crooked, self-deprecating grin. "Then yes--I'll be fine. I'll call you tomorrow night."

"I'll be waiting by the phone." Without warning, I scoop him up in a firm, no-nonsense hug. "I love you, Lex, and whatever you think you did wrong, I forgive you."

Hesitating just a bit, he melts into my arms, hugging me back a little distraughtly. "Thank you, baby," he says at last, "for everything. I love you, too." He releases me, and we stand there awkwardly for a moment until he moves to hold the study door open for me. "I've got a question for you. How did you get up here?"

Sheepishly, I admit, "I snuck in and remembered the code Enrique keyed in to the elevator downstairs. How come it's one more than my birthdate?"

That earns me a warm, shy smile. "We got to bed pretty late after your party that night. It's the date of the first time I told you I loved you."

I bite my lip to keep it from quivering. "I was right: you are a big ol' romantic goop, aren't ya?" Leaning in, I kiss him softly. "Good night, Lex. Call me."

He kisses me back sweetly. "I will. Good night, beautiful."

I make it back out to the front hall, but glance back once to see Lex blowing out the white candle, then shutting the study door and heading off to the kitchen.

Lex looks simply gorgeous in candlelight.

I just hope I never have to see him look exactly like that ever again.


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