Summary: Fragments of a relationship.
Feedback: Is always very, very welcome.
Archiving: My site, . If anyone else wants it, you got it, just please ask first!
Notes: Huge thank you to Christie for being an inspiration, and for beta-ing the fic. Couldn't have done it without you!
Disclaimer: Tragically, nothing but my rampant imaginings belong to me.
"What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow
Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man,
You cannot say, or guess, for you know only
A heap of broken images..."
The first crack of thunder wakes her, followed by a flash of lightning that briefly illuminates the room, before everything is plunged into darkness once more. In the split second of brightness, in that moment of sudden wakefulness, an odd feeling of detachment pervades Lana's consciousness, as if she's trapped in a dream, but fully aware of reality. Slowly waking, she feels as if she's floating, looking in from afar, or maybe from above. Her eyes are closed, but her semi-conscious mind paints vivid pictures of what she might see if she opened them. She sometimes does that; it's calming, almost like counting sheep.
So, she counts. The large room, sparsely decorated and, in the most part, white; pale furnishings glowing with an ethereal intensity with each crackle of light.
The crushing power of the storm weighs upon her. She hears the click of her watch, discarded somewhere in the room, most likely on the floor. Time passes slowly, and she can feel a headache setting in. In desperation, she returns to her game. The centerpiece of the room, the bed; which is, given what had gone on in it the previous night, incongruously decked in purest ivory sheets. Two bodies, curled in parallel, barely touching, each perfectly mirroring the position of the other.
After a protracted silence, broken only by the soft sounds of breathing, and the muffled chaos of the outside weather, Lana admits to herself that there's no way she's going to get back to sleep. Her eyes flicker open, adjusting to the strange light. She studies his face. She likes to look at him when he's asleep - she hates herself for the cliché, but he looks so innocent. In this moment, and this moment alone, she feels as if she's the one with the power. Lex Luthor is entirely vulnerable, and her darker side likes the feeling, savours it. She lets her eyes travel over the smooth, pale skin, its pallor unnaturally heightened every now and then by the bolts of electricity that rend the air.
She can nearly feel it crackle with the energy. The headache has all but vanished, and the intensity of the storm is suddenly making her nerves tingle. She feels good. Very good.
She used to be afraid of storms. She still doesn't exactly like them, but there's something about them that intrigues her. And this one's different; this is a tropical storm. Tropical storms are like sex and coffee and anticipation, all mixed into a frenzy of color and lights. Things that should make no sense together suddenly do; it's pretty consistent with the oddity that is her life. Her mind wanders. Sex, and storms. Suddenly she's making associations which she really doesn't want to make, because there's something very strange about admitting to being turned on by the weather.
Lex would laugh if she told him. She ponders that, before deciding that he probably wouldn't. He might smirk, quirk an eyebrow, and then do things to her that would mean that sex and storms would be two thoroughly inseparable things for the rest of her life, but he probably wouldn't laugh. He's very serious about anything to do with their relationship.
Or he might laugh. He might tell her how ridiculous she is, and that's why he loves her, and that he couldn't live without her and all her quirks.
He's so unpredictable. Like Russian roulette. Dangerous, volatile, a real rush of blood to the head.
She wonders if it's so wrong that she's suddenly really quite desperate to wake him up.
But that would require moving, and she's still suffering from post-orgasmic-bliss-induced muscle failure. They'd only drifted off to sleep a few hours ago - her body clock's going to be way off after this. So instead, she ignores the quiet ticking of her watch, and the percussion of the outside world, and enjoys the simplicity of this odd little fragment of calm. Pretends that her life is a movie. She doesn't know where the pause button is. But she's gotten good with rewind.
So she does. Four years. To the very beginning. To that night, in his office.
Four years felt like such a short time. Four years had passed so quickly. Four years ago they had been in Smallville.
"These figures are looking good," he'd said at the beginning of the night. Then, he'd frowned, and he'd been studying them ever since.
She grinned woozily, tumbler of gin and tonic clutched in her hand, made the way only Lex could make it. No sparing on the gin, and hold the tonic. He'd finally convinced her to have one about two hours ago, by which point she had been ready to do just about anything to distract herself from the mind-numbing dullness that was tax returns. And now, a few hours later, she was feeling pretty good. Sunk into the comfortable chair in the client's position, with nothing to do but pretend to look at columns of numbers that didn't mean a whole lot to her, she let the warm, fuzzy sensation overcome her, and stared at Lex. There'd be no errors on the forms. Not only had she already gone over them about a thousand times, but so had the lawyers. Lana supposed that was why he was so good at what he did - he was nothing if not controlling and meticulous. Good qualities in a businessman.
He reached to pour himself another drink. Maybe not such a great quality. She knew he didn't normally drink that much, but between them, they'd nearly finished the bottle of clear, innocent-looking liquid that had, three hours ago, found a home on the corner of the desk.
"Do you want to tell me why you're staring at me, or shall I just make my own conclusions?" Lana's eyes widened. He hadn't even looked up. But now he had, and he looked vaguely amused.
She wasn't sure she trusted herself to talk.
"I'm really bored, and you look much more interesting than numbers."
He smirked. "I think we should put away the bottle, because you, Ms Lang, are obviously intoxicated."
She giggled. He frowned. "What's funny?"
"You slurred in, intoxicated."
His eyes narrowed. "Did not."
She couldn't help giggling some more, parts of her brain knowing that she was finding things far too funny, but other parts not really caring.
"That was very witty, Lex. I take it back. You're clearly, clearly as sober as-" she struggled for a simile, then gave up. "- Someone who's not drunk."
"I'm not sure you can really lecture me on sobriety, Lana." She hated that he could think of long words. She stood up, eyes flashing, and he grinned, recognising a challenge.
"Oh, really?" She was a little more wobbly on her feet than she'd hoped. She was also pretty sure that her sudden bravado wasn't entirely natural. "I could drink you under the table!"
"Oh, really?" he echoed, a small, annoying smile tugging at his lips. She knew he was mocking her, but wasn't sure exactly how.
"Or on top of it!" To illustrate her point, she leaned over his desk, placing her hands on top of the forms resting on it, in between his own. She balanced herself for a few seconds, before a sudden dizziness overcame her, and she toppled forward. He caught her by the shoulders before she could hit her nose on the table, and she suddenly found herself much closer to him than she was used to. "You are such a bad influence," she muttered, brushing his hands off, having regained her balance. "You're corrupting me."
"I do my best, but I think you'll find -"
The look of astonishment - or was it amusement? - in his eyes as she cut him off by pressing her lips over his quickly faded, and he decided just to enjoy it, no questions asked. Without breaking the kiss, Lana placed her hands on his shoulders, and used them as leverage to crawl up onto the desk. She knelt in the center, and he stood up, letting her swing her legs around until they were wrapped around his hips. Suddenly, they were leaning back over the desk, still in liplock, hands violently shoving the carefully arranged pieces of paper to the floor, leaving them ripped and useless. Lex didn't even flinch as his laptop hit the ground with a metallic crunch, being far too fixated on the hands that were now fumbling with his trousers, while his own pushed up her skirt.
It wasn't romantic. It was awkward, uncomfortable, and drunken. The fact that he'd been sober enough to climb off her and tip the contents of his wallet on the floor to get a condom had made it more awkward still. Undeterred, she threw herself at him again, and when he pushed her a bit too violently back onto the desk, she ruined it even more by having to get him to move so that she could move the stapler from where it was digging into the small of her back. It got too enthusiastic, and she'd cried in pain as her head thumped repeatedly against very hard surface of the desk. Not to mention the fact that it was her first time, and her inebriation contributed to her complete lack of experience, although it helped the nervousness and momentary discomfort. Afterwards, crushed by his body, her head hung off the desk, and she could see just how badly they'd trashed the place, from a very odd perspective, before she'd finally passed out.
When she woke up the next morning, it was in his bed. She sat up slowly, checking to make sure that everything still worked. Strangely, her head didn't hurt as much as she'd thought it would, not nearly as much as the last time she'd gotten almost as drunk. And that had been at a dinner party Nell had hosted when she was fourteen and experimenting with the glasses of champagne she was supposed to be serving.
Lex was staring at her, fully dressed and sitting at the bottom of the bed. Wrapping the sheet around herself, while wondering how she was naked, and how she'd actually made it to the bed, she gazed at him shyly and self-consciously. Which was a bit odd given what they'd been doing the night before.
Typically, he didn't break eye contact with her. That much hadn't changed.
"I'm not going to apologise for taking advantage of you."
She stared back. "Oh. Uh... okay?"
"Because, in point of fact, you took advantage of me."
"Oh." She could've hit herself. She made a mental note to try and sound a little bit more intelligent. "... what?"
Well done, Lana, she thought. Floor him with your intellect.
"I don't like people taking advantage of me, Lana," he said, and she felt a bit frightened, until the fierce expression softened at her reaction. "But I'm willing to make an exception in this case."
She kept staring, not quite sure what to make of this situation.
"Unless, of course -" he continued, "you'd rather forget this ever happened. I'm sure that could be arranged."
"Is that," she cleared her throat, voice suddenly raspy, whether from the hangover that was rapidly setting in, or something else. The something else that also made it feel like she had a gaping hole instead of a stomach. "Is that what you want?"
"It's not about what I want."
Damn cryptic man. His eyes were unreadable, posture even more so, and the way he answered questions wasn't exactly forthcoming. She was suddenly very, very aware she was nearly naked. Which again made her wonder who had undressed her.
"Your clothes are being washed. As I recall, they ended up on the floor somewhere between the desk and the bed." She blushed. Either he could read minds - and she'd sometimes wondered if that was a special Luthor skill - or her frantic glances around the room hadn't been as subtle as she'd hoped.
In this new state of wakefulness, all the details came flooding back to her. Upon regaining the ability to move, they'd picked up where they'd left off, making their way quite slowly from one room to the other. All she could think was how extremely lucky it was that there hadn't been any staff wandering the corridors.
"Thank you," she murmured, comfortably avoiding any kind of confrontation by averting her eyes and feigning fatigue. His steady blue gaze soon put a stop to that tactic. "I don't know what you expect me to say," she said, suddenly annoyed. "That I don't want to forget it? That I enjoyed it? That I want to do it again? Damnit, Lex, it's not just about what I want, because if you don't, I-"
Any kind of tirade she was launching into was broken off by the feeling of his lips against hers. It was an answer. She was sure of that.
It hadn't been perfect. It hadn't even been one of those trashy romance novels she denied ever having read. In romance novels, the lead characters don't get drunk and have sloppy sex that involves falling painfully to the floor when they attempt to stand up and slip on scattered paper. They don't accidentally smash a lightbulb and get a minor electric shock when pushing each other against a wall in their desperate quest for friction. They don't avoid each other for a week afterwards, even though they thought they'd resolved the situation.
It really wasn't like anything Lana had imagined. But it had been amazing. So good that she still gets tingles now, jaded as she is, thinking about it. She always aches when she thinks about him. They're together enough that she can usually make him do something about those aches, but when he's away on business, and for whatever reason she can't be with him, it hurts. It hurts in a good way, but it hurts.
She's still lying on the bed. After a cold draught from the air conditioner brushes her body, she realises that there are no sheets. Gently and carefully, so as not to wake him, she sits up, stares at the tangle of clothes, cast off in passion the night before. Grabbing the sheet from where it rests on top of the clothing, she wraps it around her body, enjoying the feel of the silk against her bare skin, a feeling she's starting to get used to, and enjoys even more because of it.
One side of the room is made up entirely of windows. She could just open one, and walk out onto the beach. She won't, because she's sure that she'll be hit by lightning as soon as she even tries it, or die of pneumonia afterwards. The rain is falling so heavily it forms a liquid sheet of its own, just transparent enough that she can stand and stare at the the dark clouds swirling in columns over the Caribbean sea. She loves it here. She has a sneaking suspicion that's why Lex bought it. She'd mentioned that she'd always wanted to go to Barbados, and suddenly he had a villa on the beach.
Her left hand grips the sheet to her, and her right combs through her tangled hair, before settling on the cool window. She stares out, and thinks that she could stay here, like this, for a long time. Maybe even forever.
A normal Thursday night became surreal when Lex strode into it. Lana felt her whole body tense up as she saw him walk into the Talon. As nonchalantly as anything, he cast a near predatory eye around the busy room, spotted her, smiled, and moved towards her. She felt almost angry that he could be so casual, while her insides were doing the tango. Nine days since that night, the one she had replayed every night since, and he had made no effort to see her. Not that she'd exactly moved mountains to see him, but she told herself that was different. She was Lana, and he was... Lex. In her head, it made sense.
She scratched at a spot of dried coffee on the counter, trying to look occupied, behave normally, do anything except throw herself on him or demand explanations.
She nearly jumped out of her aching skin as a blue folder landed on the surface just next to her idle hand.
Lana looked up and was met with a calm blue gaze. She looked at the folder, and then looked back at Lex, who had sat on a stool just in front of her. Breaking eye contact again, she used the free hand to flip open the file, and was greeted by a gaping emptiness.
"You left it in my office. It must have had some paperwork in it."
It could be wishful thinking, but that sounded like quite the pretext to her. "Well, thank you for returning it."
"My pleasure," he said, and if that eyebrow rose just a millimeter more, she'd class his expression as suggestive.
There was a silence as Lex grinned at her, leaning slightly over the counter, and Lana felt her insides churn with a mixture of confusion and relief. She wished she could say something witty, ask him if maybe she'd imagined the whole thing, ask him -
"You want to know why I'm really here."
She blinked. "I suppose I'm a little curious. You haven't been here a lot in the last week."
"I've been busy."
Lana couldn't tell from his tone of voice if that was an excuse or an apology. She plastered a false smile across her face and avoided his eyes. "So have we... It's been really good this week." Having run out of other things to look at, she returned to his somewhat disconcerting, constant gaze.
"I have a business proposition for you," he said, ignoring any attempt at small talk.
Lana scanned the fast emptying coffee house; when she was sure that no-one would overhear, she leaned in close enough to whisper. "Lex, we have to talk about what happened, I just don't know-"
"There's a function I'm expected to attend," he said, seeming to enjoy the entire lack of personal space as much as Lana was quickly becoming uncomfortable with it. "Dull, pretentious, a bunch of suits doing their best to score points against each other. I can't go alone, that'd just be too easy for them."
Lana stood back, hands on the counter, keeping her steady.
"It sounds great," she said, sarcasm lacing her tone, hoping he hadn't noticed the traitorous quavering of her voice.
Lex held her gaze. "I'd be honoured if you'd accompany me." Of course he'd noticed it, Lana thought. He noticed everything.
"I'm sorry?" This was all quickly spiralling into the bizarre, and she wasn't sure to make of any of it. "I mean, there must be plenty of other girls just desperate to-"
"I'm asking you," he replied, one hand moving to cover her own. She glanced down in disbelief.
"But... but what if someone-"
He smirked. "Oh, there won't be anyone there who would know you, you don't need to worry about that. It's out of town." His hand moved so that his index finger was stroking a distracting pattern on her wrist. "What do you think?"
Her mind was screaming at her that this was completely insane, but the nerves in her arm said otherwise. Rationally, there was no way she could do it, but what were a few changed shifts and a weekend away? She was never spontaneous, and if this wasn't a chance for recklessness, she didn't know what was.
"Good," he said, removing his hand and standing up. "It's the whole weekend, so you'll need to pack enough for that time. The weather will be a little cooler, so sweaters might be a good idea." He half-smiled once more, before spinning round and walking fast, trench-coat trailing behind him. "I'll pick you up at nine, tomorrow night," he threw over his shoulder, before disappearing.
She stood behind the counter, staring. She was vaguely aware of a customer asking her something, but she couldn't seem to move, until she was broken from her reverie by a screech of tires.
"Oh my god," she breathed as she walked into the suite. She spun around to stare incredulously at Lex, before taking another look around the room. "This is incredible!"
He swept the room with a critical gaze. "It's not the normal Luthor suite, but it'll do."
"Lex! It's perfect! It's better than perfect, it's -" she gestured frantically. "I feel like if I touch anything, it'll break. It looks like a doll's house..." She moved to the window, and drew back the heavy curtain just in time to be greeted by the red flash of a bus shining in the early morning sun. "I can't believe I'm staying at the Ritz..."
"Woah, calm down, Lana," he said, grinning.
Reality came crashing back. She slowly turned to look at him. "Lex, what am I doing here? What are we doing here?"
His smile faded a little. "You're here because I want you here, and I'm here because I have to be."
She rolled her eyes, and sat down on an over-stuffed couch. "You know what I meant. Oh, I've totally lost my mind..." Absently, she picked up a cushion and started playing with the trim. "You walk in, ask me to a business thing, and then I'm on a plane to England. I never- you know, in ten hours, we said less than two words to each other."
A ten hour plane journey, and she'd sat silently for the most part; staring out the window, reading a book, sneaking glances at Lex and wondering how to start a conversation. Every time she nearly got up the nerve, he'd start tapping at the keys of his laptop, and she'd decide it would be an unwelcome interruption.
"I feel like... like an escort service, or something." She frowned. "Maybe something worse."
"Lana, I'm sorry." He sat down next to her, and gently took away the cushion before she'd totally destroyed it. "I've been distracted, and I'll make it up to you. If you want to stay. If you don't, I can arrange a return flight for tomorrow morning, and -" he was cut off by the shrill ring of his cellphone. He glanced at the screen and grimaced slightly. "I'm going to have to take this," he said, and jumped up from the couch, pacing the room as he curtly responded to whoever was on the other end of the line.
It gave her some time to think. To sort through the mess in her head, and make it into something that seemed like sense.
Lex stood in front of her, and she stood up to be closer to his eyeline. "Well?"
"Just tonight. Then I've got to go back." She looked down, before glancing up at him apologetically. "I'm sorry. I never should have said I'd come. What happened between us, it was just the once, and I know that it can't happen again, and I want us to just - I suppose what I'm saying is..." but she didn't know what she was saying, so she left it at that.
"Right." If she didn't know him better, she'd swear he looked almost disappointed. He slid a hand into the pocket of the trenchcoat he was still wearing, and brought out his wallet. "It's Saturday. This is London. And you need something to wear tonight." He handed her a card. "And before you start feeling insulted, it's not Pretty Woman. I don't want you to be a courtesan. I thought you looked like you needed a good time. So take the car and go to Harvey Nicholl's." He put his hands in his pockets, a gesture of finality. "I don't expect anything in return. You know that, Lana. I value your friendship."
She smiled, and turned the card over in her hand, then frowned.
"'Pretty Woman'? You've seen that?"
"You'd be surprised."
"I actually don't think I would. You've lost your edge, Lex Luthor," Lana smiled at him, for the first time in a week, a genuine, comfortable smile. "Nothing you do could possibly shock me."
Famous last words. She should have known she'd jinx herself there and then, but on reflection, she knew him so little. He's shocked her plenty since. Four years. Four years is such a very long time, and such a small space, all at once. Long enough for her to discover things about him she isn't sure she wants to know. Long enough for his personality to become warped into someone she doesn't really know, someone very different. With her, he's the same Lex, the Lex she fell in love with all those years ago. But otherwise... she doesn't think she likes him very much.
He's not the only one who's different. Being with Lex Luthor came with more small print than she'd realised. She doesn't regret a second, but she sometimes mourns for the parts of her she's lost. Her friends mostly. Her family. That naïve, trusting part of herself. But as she stands here, she knows she wouldn't change anything, and that everything she wants is here. In this room.
As she watches the storm swirl outside, she realises how much like their relationship it is. She knows then that she's been reading far too much poetry. But it's true - in the safety of the room, nothing can touch her. She's safe, they're safe, the outside world doesn't matter, however crazy and electric it can get. But as soon as you step outside...
Most likely, you'll be hit by lightning, and die by the crackle of electricity running through your veins, frying you from the inside out.
She knows what she risks, by being with him. By staying with him. Staying by his side when the whole world hates him, for good reason. He's a bad man. The truth, in its simplest form. But she can't stop loving him, because with her, he's not. He's wonderful to her, he's given her everything she ever dreamed of and more, and she knows he loves her; genuinely, devotedly, profoundly loves her.
A small part of her is very afraid of what he might do if she were ever to leave him.
That's another truth of her world. She can't agree with the things he does, the people he crushes, the lives he ruins. She can't be supportive of that part of his life. And sometimes, she wants to pack a bag and go. It would break her heart into a thousand pieces, but there are times when it seems like there's no alternative. But she's the little bit of good in his life, she balances him, and if she goes away, she knows that the spark of humanity left in him would leave with her. She knows that he might do something terrible, and all that would be left is a monster, wearing his skin.
That's real power. It frightens her.
"Can we do this?" she whispered, giggling.
"I doubt it," he threw all his weight against the rusty doors of the fire escape, finally managing to get them open, then turning to offer her his hand. "If they notice I've gone... there's nothing they can do about it."
She laughed again, and gripped his fingers between her own. The alleyway was dark and sinister, and they moved fast until they reached the road. "So, where are we going?"
"It's up to you." He smiled winningly, which only made her giggle more. "Dinner?"
"We just ran out of dinner."
"That was a business dinner. I mean a real dinner. Restaurant, candles, food that we can actually eat..."
He hailed a taxi, and opened the door for her, bowing sarcastically as she climbed in. "My lady."
"Kind sir," she replied in an equally bad accent, playing along. He raised an eyebrow. "Real food sounds great."
"When in London..." he jumped into the cab, and slammed the door behind him. "Piccadilly, please," he shouted through to the driver, and settled next to her. Somehow it just felt right when his hand moved to rest over hers. She made no effort to move.
"How did you find this place?"
"I have contacts," he said, ever mysterious, the light of the candle glinting in his eye. "You know, this was the Beatles' favourite restaurant."
She could see why. It was warm, friendly and intimate without being stifling. There were flowers on every table, and none of the waiters could speak English properly - despite the fact that one had proudly announced to them that he'd been in England for the last forty years.
"Nell loves them. I never really got it," she murmured as the waiter poured two glasses of champagne.
"I've always preferred the Stones, myself." He picked up his glass, and she mirrored the action. "Here's to... having a mind of your own," he said with a smile that meant something else, and all she could manage was to stare at him over the sparkling of the soft light reflected in the pale, swirling liquid.
It had nearly gone to plan. She had been absolutely certain of her decision - she would spend one night, and one night only in London, and go home, without doing else to damage her friendship with Lex.
For it to have gone entirely to plan, she probably should have said no to the dancing after the restaurant, and avoided the adrenaline high it induced. But she hadn't, so they arrived back at the hotel at three in the morning in a whirl of color, Lana feeling lighter than air and happier than she could remember in a very long time. She hung off his arm, crippling high heels dangling from the other hand, ignoring the knowing glances of the maître d'.
Standing outside her room, Lex presented her with the single red rose that he had bought for two pounds from the flower girl standing outside the Dominion Theatre.
"You deserve much better than this. It's half dead," he stated, voice low and apologetic.
He was right - it was well past its prime, held together by flimsy cellophane. But to her, it was perfect.
"Don't be ridiculous. I love it - it's so romantic."
He smiled, and she was enthralled by the way the smile actually reached his eyes. That was rare. She took the moment, locked it up, and treasured it. "I'm not one to settle for second best," he said. She had a feeling he wasn't talking about the rose.
"Never? Not even if there was no way you could ever get the thing you wanted the most?" The corridor seemed to be getting warmer, and the air thicker as she got lost in his eyes.
"Lana, if you truly want something, it's not always easy, and you might have to fight to get it, but there's always a way."
She held her rose and her keycard, and leaned against the door to smile at him. "I had a wonderful time tonight."
He smiled back. "So did I." She nearly melted on the spot, but with incredible willpower, she opened her door, and walked in. She turned again to look at him.
"Well, good night."
"Good night." He leaned in and kissed her on the cheek. Against all her better instincts, she let him.
For a moment, they seemed frozen in time. His face hovered above hers, hand resting on her waist, and she could feel his breath quickening against her cheekbone. She closed her eyes. He moved in and kissed her cheek again, and she moved her head a little. He kissed the corner of her mouth, and, with a slight motion, they were kissing with a passion both had been repressing for over a week. She could feel all of the tension pouring into the moment, and everything made sense, just for an instant. Dropping the flower, her arms wrapped around his neck, and his tightened on her waist, propelling her backwards into the room.
Breaking away, she looked at his face, his dazed expression matching her own. "Coffee?" she murmured, both smiling, before he kissed her again, pushing her into the room and kicking the door closed behind them.
A spot of crimson on the cream carpet, the rose lay abandoned, forgotten.
The weekend in London became a week. When they finally returned, they'd decided to give the relationship a chance. And had been together ever since. She enjoys the contrast of their early days to the relationship of now. It was so simple then. She had been so young, only eighteen years old, fresh out of high school, managing The Talon and wondering what she was going to do with her life. Now, she's twenty two, and still isn't all that sure.
She's also not exactly sure how long she's been standing in front of the window, but it must have been for some time indeed, as the storm has faded, and the sun is tentatively climbing the horizon, distant waves shimmering in its mellow glow.
She smiles as she feels a slight disturbance in the air behind her. An arm wraps around her waist, and she leans back into the pale, muscular body, her head resting on his shoulder as he kisses her neck. The second arm joins the first, enveloping her in an embrace, and she rests her hands over his.
"You should have woken me," Lex drawls, voice still tinged by sleep and muffled by her neck.
She turns her head a little. "I'm fine. You looked so tired..."
The sunlight swims placidly through the windows, caressing their bodies with a bright light. Lana glances down; the sheet is shedding an ethereal light, and the diamond on her finger is glinting happily.
He raises her hand with his own, rings momentarily touching as he turns the palm to kiss it. She swivels around in his arms until they're face to face.
The room looks so different in daylight. What looked so bare at night suddenly becomes warm and welcoming. Everything changes in the light of the sun.
"I've missed you," he murmurs. "Next trip I take, you're coming with me."
"I missed you, too," she says, freeing her palm from his grip and placing it on the side of his face. He leans into it.
She's gained a lot. She's given up a lot. Chloe, Pete, Clark. Nell. They'd made their peace with it, happy in their new lives. They'd even come to the wedding. But they weren't her friends any more. She had no friends. But she had Lex. And that was enough.
Her life is multicolored. He's taken her places she never thought she would see, and she's felt things she never thought she'd feel. A whole spectrum of emotion. A prism of color and light.
On the darker days, during the storms, she thinks of leaving. Thinks how much easier it would be. And then there are moments like these, comfortable silences, awash with color, and there's nothing further from her mind.
He needs her. Her colors tint his grey.
It's not enough. But it's a start.