Feedback: Would be a wonderful thing ;)

Disclaimer:  Smallville is the property of the WB and DC Comics.  This story is for entertainment purposes only and no copyright infringement is intended.

Author's Notes: This came to me while in the shower of all places.  Much, much thanks to Sarah for the encouragement and rapid fire beta - any and all remaining mistakes are mine.


Disjointed, eerie and shimmering dark blue echo of light and it takes his eyes a long moment to focus to realize what he's seeing is the partially submerged emergency lights inside the jet's cabin.  Beneath him and the... broken off seat that's pinned him to what must be the rear of the cabin with only the lower half of his body drifting limp in the water.  The impact must have thrown him backwards, the chair following afterwards.  Pinning him and keeping him from drowning while unconscious.  He almost laughs at the irony of being saved from drowning by a chair this time but...

It's really not funny.  And he's cold.  So very, very cold.  Some part of his brain that's not currently trying to pound its way out of his skull notes that he should try to move.  Free himself and get his circulation going before he dies of hypothermia.  Or drowning.  Whichever comes first.  So.  Moving.  Right, he can do that.  Moving should be easy.

Except when it's not.  His body won't seem to respond, neurons still firing sluggishly and he has to try to focus.  Finally, he manages to shift his arms, just a fraction. But it's enough.

Enough to send pain, white hot, searing pain shooting through him before everything mercifully goes dark again.


Slow, lazy blinks.  Bitter taste of copper in his mouth and he's not sure if it's because he bit himself or if it's from the wetness trickling down the side of his face.  It really doesn't matter because the first thing his eyes manage to focus on this time is that the lights are getting dimmer.

And the line of water against the rich mahogany paneling of the wall next to his face has gotten higher.

He has to move and he has to move *now*.  There is no other option.

Tries to steady his breathing.  Steels himself against the pain he knows is coming.

And still almost blacks out again when he gets a hand between the chair and his chest and shoves.  Hard.  Hard enough to push it away and draw his first deep breath.

Releasing it on a scream he can't hold in and does it really matter? No one's there to hear him anyway.

Hands, scrabbling at the wall now and oh. Right, those are *his* hands. Fingernails digging into thin, thin notches in wood and he's treading water now.  Barely managing to keep his head above the surface and he has to find a way out of this sinking deathtrap before he succumbs to the pain again.

Deep breaths, deep breaths.  Just like swimming in a pool.

Except colder.  And so very, very dark.

One last breath and then...

Cold, murky all around him.  He keeps one hand against the wall, remembers the water rushing up towards the nose of the plane right before the crash and begins to travel downwards.  There has to be a hole there.  Hopefully one large enough to squeeze through, one that will let him get outside.  Outside into... God knows where.

But at least he won't drown.

Suddenly, his fingers are brushing across jagged edges and he knows he's found a break in the body of the plane.  His oxygen deprived lungs are beginning to burn now and he doesn't think, just pushes his way through.  Feels his shoulder knocking into metal and has to fight to keep his mouth shut around the scream tearing at his throat.  Kicks his feet and then he's free.  Vision dimming, bubbles floating upwards and he's following.

Cool breeze against wet skin and that sound he's hearing is air being sucked in too fast.  Eyes blinking rapidly now and he's staring at moonlight glittering on the calm surface of the water.  It could almost be beautiful.  Poetic.

Except it's not.  Not when there's absolutely nothing out there but himself, the tail end of the plane, some floating debris and the ocean.  The cold, merciless ocean that is steadily sucking the warmth from his body.

Sharp, throbbing pain in his shoulder and the copper taste of blood in his mouth are making it hard to focus.  All he can think of is blood.  And water.  Blood in water.  Random images of himself laughing at 'Jaws' as a youth flicker through his head and suddenly, it's not funny at all.

It's not funny at all when you're the one treading water and bleeding into the ocean and were there sharks in this part of the world?  Marine biology was never an interest of his and he promises that he will remedy that if he ever gets out of this alive.  When he gets out of this alive.

But first, he has to get out of the water.

Head twitching side to side and he has to laugh when a large piece of what must have been one of the wings nearly floats right into him.  He has to laugh because if he doesn't?  There'll be no one there to witness him crying either but he still doesn't want to do it.

He manages to get his good arm up over the flat metal and drags himself on top of it, biting through his lip to keep from passing out.  The piece of wing rocks dangerously beneath him for a moment and he holds his breath until it steadies again.  And remains afloat.  Curls himself in as tightly as he can, hands and feet and body safely out of the water and finally gives in to the sickening dizziness washing through him.



Light against his closed eyelids.  Eyelids that open and immediately slam shut against the glare of the sun overhead.  Carefully slitted now, and he can see.

Wide open, rippling, never ending ocean.  No sign of the plane now.  The only evidence it ever existed is the flat piece of metal beneath him.

Has to laugh now, out loud.  Because he's alive, not dead.  He's survived.

So far.

At least the pounding in his head has gone, but he doesn't doubt that a day spent exposed to the blinding sun will remedy that.  His shoulder still hurts, not as badly though.  Tentative exploration through the ragged remains of his shirt and jacket reveal a small, jagged wound right beneath his collarbone.  Puncture.  Probably from some part of the chair.  Doesn't matter though, his hands come away with only dried blood on them and he knows it won't kill him.

Now he just has to wait for someone to find him.  And try to suppress the fear that they might not even be looking.

Someone will find out what happened, someone will be looking for him.

Someone will save him.


He has to hold on to that belief.  *Has* to.  Because he's not ready to die yet.


By midday, he can feel the skin on his scalp growing taut, stretched.  Dry.  Burning beneath the unrelenting sun.  Manages to twist enough on the heated metal surface beneath him to pull the edges of his jacket over his head without any part of him coming into contact with the ocean.

Sighs quietly as the shift of his clothing now exposes parts of his back and abdomen.  All he can do is alternate which parts of him are revealed at any given time and try to minimize how badly he's going to sunburn.

And think.  He's going to have plenty of time to think.

About Helen.  Helen, who'd pulled him in with her talk of love and trust.  Of love and honesty and truth.  Helen, who'd made him believe in the possibility of finding someone who didn't have an agenda.

Helen, who'd kept things from him.  Lied to him.  Played him.

Helen, who he'd half suspected was in league with his father but whom he'd never thought capable of cold blooded murder.

Yes, he'd have plenty of time to think about what he was going to do with Helen when he finally found her again.  And his father...

His father had obviously escalated things to a point where the game was no longer just a match of wits, but a literal matter of life and death.  His father, transfigured from a devious adversary to an outright threat.

And if there was one thing he had learned from his father it was that, once a threat is identified, it must be neutralized.

Swiftly and absolutely.  Without mercy.

He had the feeling that when he returned, mercy wasn't going to be an issue any more.


Darkness again.

Hunger.  Thirst like he's never known before.  And the *itching*.

The itching crawling across the surface of his skin as the burnt layers flake away.  As his body heals itself.  The itching is driving him crazy, but he has to resist it for fear of overturning his safe haven from the murky waters.

Driving him crazy the way Clark drives him crazy.

Clark, with his brilliant smiles and easy laughter.  Clark, with his chiseled good lucks and tawny, golden skin.

Clark, with his focus on Lex and not *Luthor*.

Clark, with his transparent lies.  And his *secrets*.

Secrets that Lex wanted to know, to own.  Possess.

Keep safe.

Secrets that Lex already half knew, had already mostly figured out.  But he wanted confirmation.  Needed confirmation.

From Clark.

Needed Clark's trust as he'd never needed anything before as long as he could remember.

Not his mother's health.  Not his father's love.  Not seeing his own legend grow to eclipse all others.

None of these compared to how much he needed Clark to trust him enough to let him in.  And let him show he was worthy of that trust.  That he *could* be Lex, and not Luthor.

Staring now, unblinking, at the shimmering water.

He'd gone about it all wrong.  He could see that now.

He'd tried to collect all of the clues, piece together the puzzle, push Clark to tell him.

He'd approached it as a Luthor would any challenge.

He'd forgotten about being Lex.

Lex, who when he returned, would show Clark.  Would dismantle the room, destroy everything he'd spent painstaking hours pouring over, examining, dissecting.

Lex, who would continue to be Clark's friend.

Lex, who would remain enough of a Luthor to remove the only other two people who presented a threat to Clark's safety.

He drifted back into unconsciousness again, but he was still smiling when the fishing boat found him...

...and brought him home.

The End



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