Author: DebC
Rating: G
Keywords: Challenge
Pairing: none
Series: none
Spoilers: Season One all, Vortex
Disclaimers: All traditional Smallville characters belong to... well, not me, that's for sure.
Summary: Lex has trouble sleeping

Author's Notes: This is for the Stephen King Title Challenge at


Another late night. The dark sky outside my window is filled with stars nestled in inky black and a part of me wonders if this is what my father sees now: an infinitely dark night sky or just a sad void? I hope he sees something, anything would be better than nothingness and I suppose if that something were akin to the sight out my window, he would be better off.

Better off... it's a bitter consolation, isn't it? He used to be able to see the world, even if he never truly saw it. Mom used to say he'd die never having lived, so that was why I had be open to everything. So I wouldn't be doomed to making his mistakes. She died before I could fully understand what that meant, and I fear it left me vulnerable to all his follies.

Or so I tell myself in the last seconds before today ends and tomorrow begins. Those seem to be the longest seconds in the entire universe, as if the old day were reluctant to relinquish its hold over the clock or else the new day hesitant to take control. And in those moments of struggle, I see us both--Dad and I--as we are now. He lingers on, unable to truly let go, while I am equally unable to replace him.

Not that I haven't made the effort, but I am as-of-yet untried in the cut-throat world he's been grooming me for all my life. I know the rules, yes, and had my own pre-season scrimmages, but I've never been asked to lead the team. I'm young and green around the gills, and it shows. And he was right, I realize too late. He had to be tough with me, because my opponents aren't going to cut me the slack I need to get my footing.

Everyday from here on out is going to be a battle, each bigger than the last. Everyone is going to try to test me, and I cannot be found lacking, or I will ultimately fail. I know this now, and as much as I hate to admit it, I need him. I need his advice and his wisdom... his guidance.

Mom and Pamela should both be rolling over in their graves by now. I *need* him.
And he needs me, now, too. He is helpless now, in so many ways, but mostly because of his own stubbornness than for any real reason. He's too self-conscious, and refuses to let anyone except me and the doctors see him. Not even the staff. They are sent away from whatever room he's chosen to be in, and are not permitted to enter until he's ready to leave. I dress and bath him each day, as I am the only one he seems to trust with his disability. We even serve ourselves at dinner--or, I serve us both, rather--because he is too proud to let anyone see him struggling to eat on his own. He always misses his mouth, and each bit of food falls in his lap or dribbles down the side of his face. In the last month--despite getting slowly better at eating--he's stained and otherwise ruined an entire wardrobe of clothing, and yet refuses to throw them out in favor of new, because he says it doesn't matter anymore, as he can't see them.

It's really because he doesn't want anyone to see him this way and therefore refuses to let his tailor of the last ten years into the castle.

What a couple of recluses we are becoming.

Eventually, I will need make a decision--whether to leave him here and let him fade away into the shadows or take him back to the city and force him to live with what he is. It's something I've contemplated before, but every time I decide on an action, it feels like the wrong one. Of course, my lack of action is one in and of itself. One that Dad would have called me on long ago if he was more like himself these days.

The hands of my Alexander the Great watch finally line up... midnight. A new day, and I haven't yet been to sleep. I never am anymore, with everything weighing on my mind. I suddenly feel stifled in the confines of my bedroom, and pulling on a heavy robe, leave. The halls are almost deafening in their silence, and in that quiet void, I can almost hear echoes the last great confrontation between my father and myself. We'd been fighting over the fertilizer plant, and I'd just declared war on him before the tornado hit.

Since then, we haven't really spoken, and when we have, Dad hasn't been himself. He seems to have lost his will along with his eyesight. I wonder if he blames me for that, like he blamed me for his eyes.

His bedroom door is open, and I pause to look in as I pass by. The door creaks as I lean against it. He's sitting up in the bed, and his head turns in the direction of the sound.

"Lex? Son, is that you?" he calls out. I almost answer him, but cannot. "Son?" he asks the darkness again, fear sounding in his now. I've never heard that tone from him, not even when Mom died. It's very disconcerting, and I force myself away from the sound of his voice and wander off down the hall.

Tomorrow, I know he'll ask me if it was me at his door. I'm not sure if I'll admit to it. I should be sleeping like a baby, safe in the knowledge that my place on the throne of the Luthor Empire is secure. Not up every night over-analyzing things I can't change.

That would be admitting to weakness, something Dad's drilled into me that a Luthor never does. And somehow, even though he's often accused me of being weak before, I can't bring myself to show him how weak I truly am. He needs me to be strong for him. I've let him down so many times in the past, usually very intentionally, but I can't afford to now. Because he needs me...

That's the thought that really keeps me at night.