Even behind closed eyes, he could tell the day had gone into the afternoon. He felt like grad A crap. His head throbbed with a pain that pulsed trough his eyes. Every muscle in his body was sore. Even his teeth hurt.
As he regained consciousness, he realized what had broken his slumber. He could hear the distinct sound of piano playing, and if his hungover mind served him, it was...well, something from Mozart. It took another agonizing moment to realize it was coming form the sitting room. Suites were available at Excelsior, but rarely for a sophomore, and never for a single student. His father fought dearly for it - probably anticipating days like this.
The playing stopped, and he heard footsteps approach him in echo. The harsh sound rattled his aching head. The steps stopped somewhere in his room.
"You missed chapel," the voice said, almost pleasantly. He was facing the wall, and his eyes were closed, but he knew who it was.
"I always do, " he replied. His voice was several registers lower than usual, and was as rough and gravelly as sandpaper. It was a side effect of speed and Jack Daniels.
"And the sound of your voice confirms your claim. As does the Dean." He could hear Lionel approach a little closer. "Where were you at 11:00 last night?"
"Exactly where you see me now"
"Aaaah...So I guess you've been sleeping for," he paused, "fourteen hours." Lex wanted to reply, but he hurt too much. Lionel took on a sterner tone. "Lex, this is your sixth curfew violation - this semester. Your lack of self-discipline and abundance of self-indulgence is becoming problematic. You're perilously close to behind dismissed, and our collective patience is wearing thin."
"Its' good to see you too, Dad." Lex responded.
"Lex, sit up," Lionel spat with irritation.
Lex hoped his father would evaporate so he could sleep through the mutiny his body was staging against him. Instead, in a blinding flash, he felt two hands snatch him up and sit him erect. He hollered in excruciating pain. Every muscle in him seized with agony and a flood of light accosted his eyes. He found himself gazing directly into Lionel's face. Lionel had Lex's shoulders in a death grip, and was poised just beyond the tip of Lex's nose.
"Get...off...of...me," Lex hissed through gritted teeth. The gristle in his voice put an edge on the command. His father, however, showed no signs of complying, and Lex grabbed his arms, wrenching them free and throwing them, almost knocking his father off balance. Lionel recovered, however, in a single bound, clenching Lex's face with one hand, and holding up a booklet in the other.
Lex immediately recognized it as the LuthorCorp Annual Report. His father had always included a picture of his family, and this installment featured a seated Lex, wearing his Excelsior uniform, and his father, who was standing behind him, with a hand on each of Lex's shoulders.
"What do you see here?" Lionel demanded, his grip growing stronger with each passing second.
"An orphan and his captor!" Lex yelled, seething resentment.
"This," Lionel declared "is your future, whether you like it or not. A life of influence, power and wealth; you will one day be urbane, lettered, respected - an institution"
Lex was unmoved, and Lionel seemed to reply to the wrath in his eyes. "Resistance is not an option at your disposal." Lex replied by spitting at the photo. Incensed, Lionel threw the report, and marched over to the other side of the room.
The roughhandling had woken Lex up, and although he was now free, he remained upright, sitting on the edge of the bed, breathing heavy, and furious. He turned to find his father leaning in the corner, staring at him - considerably less irate than he would have imagined.
"What are you looking at," Lex asked, masking his curiosity with animosity. Lionel waited a beat before answering.
"I can't believe how much you've changed in the last few years. You've become virtually incorrigible. What would your mother think?" He walked forward, and his voice dropped to an accusing tone, "What would she say?"
"Thanks a lot Pamela," Lex offered, sardonically. Lionel rushed towards Lex, grabbed him firmly and pulled him up by his biceps onto his feet. Lex recoiled. Lionel laced his next words with an acidic deliberateness.
"You defy me at every turn, you insult me to my face, and you oppose authority with reckless abandon. But, I will not allow you to squander or belittle the opportunities I have provided you." Lex unwittingly looked at a pill that was tucked behind a leg of his wardrobe.
"Then why did you wait until the sixth?"
"Why didn't you come the first time I missed curfew? or got in a fight? or failed a room search?" Lionel let go of Lex's arm. Lex looked at the newly freed limb and smirked, before returning to his father, "You don't <i>pretend</i> to care."
"You wound me," Lionel said, possibly hurt. "But I've never been one to lick my wounds." He moved towards the door, and stopped just short of exiting. "I am currently making arrangements with the dean to secure your standing here." He turned "Lex, please manage not to get expelled in the next four weeks. It would certainly contribute to the quality of your summer. I'll be in London until 6." He left the room, and moments later, Lex heard the main door shut.
Even though Lex spent a lot of time angry, his father was the only one who could truly rattle him, who could almost bring him to tears - almost. He dropped to the floor, and crawled over to his wardrobe. Opening the doors, he felt around under the hanging suits, dress coats and assorted clothes that had been jammed into the bottom. He patted around until he found it.
He stared at his mother, trapped under the glass. "What <i>would</i> you say, Mom?" he asked, just barely above a whisper. He didn't <i>want</i> to be...incorrigible. But it was so much harder now. He rubbed the face tenderly, returning her caring smile. It almost felt warm to the touch. He then hurriedly buried it back under the pile, and shut the wardrobe doors.
He reached for the capsule he spotted earlier, and after a brief examination of it, rushed to the bathroom. With a Dixie Cup full of mouthwash (he hated the taste of the pill), he took it down. In his last sober moments, he saw his mother in the mirror in the way he hadn't in a long time. She was bald, exhausted and looked miserable. He left the bathroom and collapsed into bed.
Sure, it was after 2, but he still wasn't ready to face this day.
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Title: The Sixth
Author: Marisol [email] [website]
Details: Standalone | PG | gen | 6k | 02/19/04
Characters: Lionel, Lex
Summary: Lex is out of control and Lionel's version of tough love only makes Lex more obstinate. But does Lionel even really care?
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