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by Meret

Date: Friday, October 25, 2002 2:28 AM

     Title: Penance
     Author: Meret
     Fandom: Smallville
     Spoilers: Zero
     Rating: R (See my notes at the end of the story if you want
     to know why it's rated R)
     Category: Angst
     Summary: Lex deals with the events that occurred in Zero.
     Disclaimer: These characters are owned by Millar/Gough and
     the WB. No profit or infringement is intended.
     My Web Site:
     Feedback is even better than chocolate!
     My thanks to Elrond50, DCookKC, Starcat, Scarlett007, and
     Alax for information on the club scene. I also want to thank
     my beta readers Reetchick, Rivka T, and Jenn. Without their
     help and encouragement, the story might not have been
     The timeline in the story shifts back and forth.

Penance by Meret

"Take off your clothes."

He undresses with quick, efficient movements, putting his shirt and trousers on the hangers provided. Removing the rest of his clothing, he stands waiting, head bowed, body tensed. He was never good at this part. He wishes she would drop the theatrics and just get on with it.

"Dominique's. Name and ID number?"

"Alex 4147367." He'd had to look the number up. It had been awhile. He heard the click of a keyboard, and then the voice returned on the line, low and sexy enough to make Jessica Rabbit jealous.

"Alex. How may you serve us?"

"The same scene as before." More keyboard clicks.

"You'll have to submit to a physical before we'll permit that."

The bruises from the beating by Jude's doppleganger were faded enough not to cause concern. "Fine. I want it tonight. I'll be there in two hours." He needed this badly. It had been all he could do to stay at the Talon's Grand Re-opening for as long he had. Though judging from Clark's glances when he left, it hadn't been long enough. Never enough, he thought, leaning his head back against the velvety upholstery.

"I'll check the schedule."

There wouldn't be a problem fitting him in. He'd pay enough to make sure of that and they knew it.

"We'll allow that. Confirm the details of your service for me . . .."

He responded half-heartedly, trying to let the droning noise of the Lear engine soothe him. He didn't have to worry about the instructions; Dominique's was the best. Bruce would have never taken him there years ago if it wasn't. They even had a Supreme Court Justice on their client list if rumors were true. Just one more hour till he was in Gotham. He could hang on that long. One more hour and he wouldn't have to worry anymore. Wouldn't have to think anymore.

When Bruce first said Lex was going to stop killing himself even if the need had to be beaten out of him, Lex had thought he was speaking metaphorically.

Bruce found him in Hong Kong, a place where anything and anyone was for sale. Not that Lex ever had to pay for companionship. There were always people happy enough to share in whatever oblivion Lex was using that day. Bruce had never approved of the way Lex "partied", and he said it just that way too, so you could almost see the quotation marks. That had only engendered grim lectures, though. He'd been positively apoplectic however, for Bruce anyway, when Lex had moved from alcohol, ecstasy and prescription drugs to cocaine, LSD, heroin and finally conquered his fear of needles.

If it had been anyone else he would have told them to go fuck themselves - in several languages. But if anyone could understand seeing someone shot in front of them, it was Bruce. Of course, Bruce hadn't been responsible for that shooting. That, and the blackouts he had started having, made him decide to give Bruce's warped idea a chance. It was fine for Lex to hurt himself, but he wasn't willing to risk hurting another person while his atoms were trying to decide whether they were particles or waves. No one else would pay for his stupidity. Never again.

Bruce usually went to Michelangelo's. He preferred men simply because of their greater upper-body strength, but Lex would never let himself be that vulnerable to another man. His father had trained him far too well for that to have ever been an option for Lex.

Bruce's plan succeeded.

For the most part.

He still drank when he felt like it, but he did stop doing drugs. And when it became too bad: when the nightmares started again, when he couldn't draw a deep breath, when the ache grew more and more frenzied until it became a spinning St. Catherine's Wheel of need so bad he wanted to outrun is own skin, when it took every inch of his control not to resemble Munch's painting -he went to Dominique's. It gave him . . . not absolution, nothing could do that, but an escape, a place to rest, if just for a while. An eye in the whirlwind that was his life.

Lex knew Amanda wouldn't believe him. She'd known Jude for years. Lex was a freshman. If he hadn't tested into the graduate chemistry classes, they would probably have never even met. Unlike the other students, she didn't suck up to him or hate him for his money and name. Amanda was warm, intelligent, and funny; she treated him like a real person, and Jude didn't deserve to even have her speak his name. He'd been shocked but not at all surprised that Jude was cheating on her.

Hence the plan. A simple phone call from Kasitch to let him know when Jude arrived, and she sees Jude for the lying scum he is. Lex knew Amanda would never date an 18 year old, but he could still be her friend and provide a shoulder to cry on. She was much better off without Jude.

The perfect plan. Zero consequences.

For everyone except the guy in the body bag.

Lex draws a deep breath as she starts to buckle his wrists into the dark suede restraints above him. He can smell her perfume, something with sandalwood, but ignores it. His cock remains flaccid throughout her actions. This isn't about sex. Lex doesn't care for pain with his sex, at least not this level of pain. And on the few occasions restraints do appear in his sex life he's never the one wearing them, regardless of his partner's gender. He tugs reflexively on the cuffs when she finishes, the sheepskin lining gripping him snugly enough to hold, yet not tightly enough to prevent circulation.

He shifts, allowing her to fasten a wide belt on him to protect his kidneys. Leaning his cheek against the post, he tries not to hyperventilate. A bead of fear sweat crawls down his chest. He craves the result, but hates the process. Her shadow moves on the stone wall in front of him. The first time he'd been in this room, he'd been shocked at how much it resembled the Luthor castle. Then he'd laughed so hard it hurt, kneeling on the Tabriz rug, unable to stand up under the hilarity of it all.

"Repeat your safe word to me," she says firmly, her hand resting on his back.

"Purple." His mother's favorite color. She would be so appalled by this, he thinks.

The woman nods, and walks a precise distance behind him, the slight swish of her silk pants like a hiss in the silence.

He sees the shadow figure on the wall raise it's arm, and squeezes his eyes shut, flinching in anticipation. Fuck! He gasps in pain at the first blow. He's forgotten how badly it hurts. No buildup and as hard as she can without drawing blood, exactly as he'd requested.

Lex loses count as the heavy whip descends againand again. The eruption inside him builds, gathering momentum. Hisbody jerks in reaction to each hit. Every lash mark burns vivid and individual. Lex knows he could diagram where each one lands, from the muscles on his back, to the sensitive area at the top of his thighs. His skin is hit by lightning over and over.

A bolt from Zeus in his shoulder; red, hot, soaking through his shirt. A thunderclap and Jude is, disbelief on his face, is falling, falling forever. Not like this. This wasn't the plan How can it take someone so long to hit the ground?

In the hands of someone less skilled, the floor would be spattered with blood. The leather whip moves with the regularity of a metronome. Each strike sounds like a shot.

*Smoke from the gun, the smell of carbon, and Amanda shatters, shiny pieces smashed at his feet. 'Stay away from her, Lex. It's best for everyone. Haven't you done enough damage?' *

Tears flow down his contorted face; refusing the undeserved comfort of screaming, he twists in torment, struggling instinctively, grunts forced from him with each impact, lightheaded as the pain sizzles through his nerves with stroke after searing stroke. The pressure rises. Not there yet; not yet. He sucks in loud gulps of air, nostrils flaring to get as much oxygen as possible.

Ambien and carbon monoxide on the coroner's report faxed this morning. Lex had done his research. Too late, of course. "Symptoms include weakness, dizziness, vomiting, and convulsions, ending in unconsciousness." Alone. So alone. Her gentle face colored crimson in the police photos. Full circle; he'd failed her again.

Sweat pours off him, his wet skin increasing the sting of each blow. His back and buttocks are a blazing mass of crisscrossing, furious welts. The savage beating goes on and on, stoking the intensity inside him. Arching his spine against the strikes, the frenzied clawing at his core, like some enraged wild beast desperate to escape, stretching for release, reaching, straining every muscle for that switch, the click to quiet the clamor inside him. Almost; almost . . . Head back, eyes clenched tight, wildly pulling on his bonds. His throat swells, the words cutting him as they come out. "Amanda, I'm sorry! Amanda!"

"I promise!" He should have known better. No matter what the cost to himself, he'll never let another friend down, he swears. This is all his fault. He should have never listened to Phelan. Anything. He'll do anything at all to support a friend in the future. Whatever it takes, he vows. His body goes rigid as the fire explodes inside of him, a star burst behind his eyes, flooding him with relief.

Panting unevenly, he sags limply, head lolling forward. Empty, hollow even in his bones, gliding like a bird on updrafts of endorphins, he is released. The woman takes off the belt and guides him to a padded table, helping him to lie on his stomach. The lights are dimmed and candles are lit, their flickering giving the room an eerie, underwater atmosphere that matches the floating sensation Lex feels.

He hears her get the leeches ready as he rests in a half-conscious haze. The idea disgusts him, but between the bloodsuckers to reduce the bruising, anesthetic gel, ice packs, and some Tylenol 3, the pain should be just tolerable enough to return to work in a couple of days. He closes his eyes against those thoughts, wanting to hang on the sense of weightlessness as long as he can, shivering as he feels the first slimy bite on his skin.


Author's Notes:
This story doesn't contain sex, but it does contain S&M. If that bothers you, don't read it. Bruce is, of course, Bruce Wayne. Munch's most famous painting: Ambien is a commonly prescribed sleeping pill. It's powerful and quick acting.

If you enjoyed this story, please send feedback to Meret

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