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Standing Still

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Standing Still

by Annie

Standing Still

By Annie

Rated: PG-13
Summary: futurefic; warning for character death; Superman reflects in a time of deep grief; Clark/Lex Disclaimer: So not mine.

"How long has he been up there?" Jonathan Kent asked quietly, not turning his gaze away from the sight before him on the television screen.

Lois sighed. "At least four hours. He hasn't moved a muscle, and it's not as if anyone can go up there and talk to him."

The solitary figure standing immobile atop the Daily Planet's famous globe, silhouetted against an almost-full moon, had been featured on every newscast and special report all evening. There had been a lot of newscasts and special reports.

Seconds after Lex Luthor had been pronounced dead, Superman had appeared and simply reached down to the bed and taken his still-warm body.

Stood now, like a monument to grief, statue-still, head bowed, the burden in his arms held protectively close. Memories rolled through Clark's head like the river where they had met for the first time, kissed for the first time, if you could call it that. The darkness surrounded them like cool velvet, silence barely marred by the faint sounds of the streets far, far below them. After heat vision had burned out the first few newscopter spotlights to find them, those intruders had stopped coming, and now played the looped tape endlessly in their reports. Not that anything was any different that it had been four hours ago. Superman - Clark - hadn't moved. Couldn't. Needed to be alone. Needed to talk to Lex. Resisted the intense urge to use x-ray vision, see the tumors inside that had ravaged Lex's body; tumors from the Kryptonite ring he had worn as protection from the one enemy who would never have harmed him physically. The ring that had cost him his hand and now his life.

The air was cold, which didn't bother him. Lex was cold, which did. Deeply. But it was the stillness that bothered Clark the most.

Lex was never still; from the time he barreled into Clark's life in an out-of-control Porsche, until the time he had that damned ring fashioned, guaranteeing that Clark could never touch him again. He was always moving, even when he was deep in thought. Moving around the pool table, moving across the floor, striding across the wooden planks of the loft, impatient to touch Clark, moving in to finish a business deal, moving in for a kiss, moving above Clark exquisitely, sharing himself completely. From that very first day, Lex was a whirlwind in Clark's world, rushing through their shared existence with love freely given, and kisses that promised everything and forever and then went away.

Went away with the accidental revelation of Clark's secret; the secret he had tried to keep from Lex; the secret that made Lex hate him. Hate borne of hurt too deep to crawl out of, accusations of unfair deceptions; Lex had told all, Clark had given nothing in return and Lex would never forgive him. Never went back to Smallville, never spoke to Clark Kent, Reporter, without a sneer in his voice or reproach in his eyes, continued to be the whirlwind in Superman's life, always moving, always a step ahead.

No one was ahead now, Superman thought, throat working around all the words he couldn't say, all the things he would have said, given the chance. Pulled his lifeless burden fractionally closer to the shield on his chest, cursed the destiny that had kept them apart, the pride that had kept them at odds and himself for not pushing, staying still when he should have insisted Lex hear.

Watched another tear drop onto Lex's closed eyelid, slide down the cold cheek to join the others that had gathered where Lex's head rested in the crook of his enemy's arm. Finally managed one sentence that Lex would never hear.

"You didn't need the ring, Lex; all you had to do was forgive me."

Lex didn't hear. Lex Luthor was finally still.