Notes: For fajrdrako who requested Clark/Lex. Story in which one character believes he has lost the other.

Study Hall



A fine glaze of snow had begun to cover the windows, and half the class had rushed over to look. They loudly debated the possibility of an early dismissal, before Mr. Derleth coughed loudly, and they all headed back to their seats.


Clark suddenly felt a hundred years old. Tired and weighted down, half-slumped in his seat from the guilt. Every day that passed he got further away from a normal life. There were times when he could almost convince himself he was just like everyone else. That had ended nearly a year ago, and now he felt a million miles away from school and college, and everything that mattered here.


But he didn’t have time to reflect on lost innocence or whatever this was. This wasn‘t something he could put off, and he couldn’t waste a single damn minute. That was why he was ignoring some very pressing Spanish homework, along with the prickly feeling in the back of his throat whenever he thought about how badly he was going to fail the next English test.


He had much more important things to do. This entire little operation had to be planned down to the minute, and there would be absolutely no mistakes He wasn’t going to rush into it like he had every other time. This was a serious facility, and the last time he’d just run like that was with Ryan, and he’d got caught. And this time, Lex wouldn’t be around to...


Yes. He had to make sure that this all went perfectly. Any slip up, even the slightest one and the whole thing was shot to hell. Chloe had helped with the organization, and research. She seemed happy that Clark was including her for once, and he wasn’t going to do anything to make her think otherwise. That was one of the reasons he didn’t have any time. Chloe couldn’t know the real plan, since it would definitely involve some kind of superpower. But she had put her foot down, and said that he wasn’t going to do anything without her approval. So, he would need to have a second plan, one for Chloe to see, and one that he would actually do.


It was much easier to come up with a plan that sounded good on paper, but wouldn’t ever work in real life. The hard part was finding one that he would have to do alone, but that made no mention of any superhuman abilities. Although that paled in comparison to how hard it was to figure out a way to get in and out of Belle Reve, with a high-profile patient in tow without being seen, or destroy half the facility.


So, Clark couldn’t lose a single minute here. He hunched over the too small desk, and stared at his notebook. Anyone would think that he was working hard on some particularly challenging assignment. Study hall was the perfect place to make life or death decisions.


There was a time when Clark wrote Lex notes in study hall. It was juvenile and kind of sad and nothing he would ever admit to anyone. Especially not Lex himself. They were never about anything in particular, usually just long rambles about his day, the parts that would amuse Lex, or the parts that made him think about him... In fact, Clark had spent most of his study halls freshman year doing this. Some he’d thrown away immediately after finishing them; others were probably still there, wedged between his notes on Streetcar Named Desire or next to a piece of scratch paper for an Algebra exam. He used to really like that, having these little reminders of Lex everywhere. Something to focus on other than the pointless monotony of school, or the helpless anxiety of his life.


Actually, Clark had stopped writing these notes after the thing with Ryan. It was the day Lex had shown up in his shiny car, with those shiny sunglasses and smiled at him. He’d been so happy, so proud just to know Lex. His heart had jack-hammered against his ribcage that whole morning, and he was desperate to go and see him. To talk to him, tell him how grateful he was...  He’d really thought about showing this note to Lex, not sure if he could express his total wonder with words.


Usually, Clark didn’t read those letters very closely. There was no reason to, since they were only for him, only to make him happy. But he’d planned on actually giving it to Lex, and wanted it to be perfect.


But the note sounded... *bad* when he’d read it closely, and Clark had stood up and threw it right in the trashcan. He hadn’t ever written to Lex ever again.


Clark suddenly realized that he was staring at the walls instead of working. The snow had turned to flurries, and the room was completely silent. Picking up his pencil, he turned back to the folder, full of information on various drugs, their side effects and withdrawal symptoms, along with the layout for Belle Reve. The place where they kept the psychotics was highlighted with green. That‘s where Lex was, trapped behind padded walls and inside a drugged mind. He wondered what he looked like, what he was thinking, if he was even able to think.


He wondered if Lex was thinking about him.


“Ow!” Connie Masterson turned around wildly, glaring at everyone in her line of sight. “Something hit me!”


Glancing down, Clark realized half his pencil was missing. He hadn’t realized he’d been tapping it that hard.


“Mr. Derleth! Somebody *threw* something that me!”


Clark closed his eyes, and tried to concentrate. If he thought about the reality, about the details of where Lex was, of what was happening to him...  The muscles of his face tightened, and his stomach ached. If he thought about Lex being there, he would have to think about *why* he was there. And that was worse than when he’d jumped off the top of the Daily Planet, because then there’d been somewhere to land.


Denial was harder to come by these days, but it was still his friend. Clark inhaled deeply, and turned around to grab a pen out of his backpack.