Title: A Medicine for Melancholy
Response to Livia's Ray Bradbury title challenge Author: Meret
Category: Drama, Smallville/Spiderman the Movie crossover Rating: R
Disclaimer: These characters are owned by Millar Gough, the WB, DC Comics, Marvel Comics and Columbia Pictures. No profit or infringement is intended.
Website: http://www.geocities.com/meretsv Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
A big thank you to Hope for kindly agreeing to beta. This story was much improved by her wonderful insights.
This takes place pre-Tempest, season one in the SV universe.
A Medicine for Melancholy
Lex had been carefully monitoring the alcohol intake. Enough to dull the pain, not enough to end up in the emergency room. Nothing ever completely dulled the pain of course, and Lex had tried a wide enough array of restricted substances after his mother died to speak authoritatively on the subject. But it seemed to be what Harry wanted at the moment, so Lex simply kept track of the bourbons he consumed without comment for now.
Bourbon had been his father's drink; Harry had always preferred beer. He was listing a bit in his pacing, but he was still able to stay upright as he moved angrily around the living room, faster with each circuit around the room, pausing only to refill his glass. Harry always seemed to need to build up speed first before he could let go.
Personally, Lex was glad Norman Osborn was dead. He hoped the injuries had been just as painful as they sounded too. The man deserved to die for his taste in interior design alone, he thought as he looked around. He wondered if Harry still had nightmares about the grotesque masks attacking him, and if he ever finally understood those nightmares. What was it? Did a free copy of "How to Emotionally Abuse Your Child" come with the first billion? Lex had tried to teach him, but Harry still thought if he could just figure out the right thing to say, the right thing to do, his father would finally approve of him. With Norman Osborn dead, Lex wasn't sure he would ever realize just how impossible that had been.
"Motherfucker!" Harry screamed and threw his glass against the wall. "Why? Why did he kill him? What did my father ever do to that fucking bug?" He exploded and swept his arms across the server, sending crystal and amber liquid flying. He hurled a vase across the room into a gilded mirror, and both shattered spectacularly to the floor. "Why?" His enraged howls of pain made the word sharp and jagged in the air. He grabbed a bronze dragon like a baseball bat and started swinging, battering the furniture and walls with his rage. Finally, he gave way to tears, and Lex grabbed him just in time to prevent him collapsing onto broken shards of glass.
"Come on, Harry." he said softly, supporting him over to the sofa. He sat down, enfolding Harry in his arms. Harry clutched Lex's jacket spasmodically as he shook with the force of his sobbing. Lex rubbed slow circles across his back, trying to soothe him as best he could. He offered what he wished someone had said to him, when his mother died "I'm here, Harry." He rocked slightly, stroking his hair. "You're not alone."
Harry had been crying the first time Lex had seen him. Their paths had crossed at one of the many elite boarding schools each had been sent to; sent away to. Lex had never expected to like Harry; he was too weak for Lex to respect. It had been more a case of "the enemy of my enemy . . ." than any feelings of friendship that had prompted him to intervene. He still had too many memories of being bullied before he learned to take care of himself to tolerate anyone else being treated that way for long. Especially against someone who was unwilling or unable to fight back. A little pot placed under a certain mattress before room inspection, a scholarship kid pocketing money to break select noses in a rugby match, and Harry was left alone. Simple. Until Harry, who was smarter than his test scores suggested, discovered who his knight errant was, and Lex discovered he could like someone without necessarily respecting them.
He was quiet now, and at first Lex thought he'd passed out, until he felt the hand that had been resting against his chest move slightly and begin to slowly circle his nipple. This was why he had decided to get himself kicked out of the school he'd attended with Harry. This was the main reason he normally kept in touch with him with an occasional email rather than an occasional visit. If Lex thought it would be comfort sex and nothing else, he would have no problem with it. But in school, Harry had convinced himself his hero-worship for Lex was really love. It hadn't made sense to save him from the bullies only to turn around and hurt him himself, so Lex had said no. He'd hoped Harry had outgrown his crush, but he wasn't taking any chances. Not now. Sitting up straight, Lex squeezed Harry's hand before putting it back on his own knee. No, but not rejection. "You need to get some sleep," he said, preparing to rise.
"Help me kill him, Lex."
Okay, that wasn't what he'd expected. He leaned back again and played for time. "Kill who?"
"You know who," Harry snapped out. "That freak who murdered my father!"
"You're tired. I doubt you've had any sleep in --"
"Don't patronize me! If it was your mother, would you sleep?"
Lex pushed the pain down and looked at him carefully. Was this what it took to finally make Harry fight back? Perhaps Norman Osborn would end up doing more for his son in death, than he ever had in life. Vengeance was a fine and noble tradition as far as Lex was concerned. A 1929 Chateau Mouton Rothschild of emotions, to be savored accordingly. Besides, from what little he'd read, he wasn't sure this Spiderman had killed Norman Osborn anyway. There was something strange about it all. Stranger than a man crawling on walls and apparently producing spider silk. But then, after a year in Smallville, his definition of the word was probably a bit warped. He made his decision.
"Come here." He pulled a resisting Harry back into his arms.
"No, damn it -- "
"Shhh, listen to me." He stroked Harry's back again, waiting until he was at least marginally more relaxed. "I'll help you find out who killed --"
"I know who did it! That fucking -"
"Harry!" He waited until he had his attention. Lex never could resist a soft-eyed spaniel gaze, no matter what color the eyes were. "If Spiderman did it, then we'll find that out. Whoever did it, I'll find them. But only on one condition. You have to promise me not to do anything without discussing it with me first. If you want vengeance I won't stop you, but you have to discuss any plans with me first. Promise me, Harry." He shook him slightly for emphasis. The last thing Lex wanted was him going off half-cocked and killing the wrong guy. Or maybe even the right guy. He still wasn't sure Harry was strong enough to survive crossing the line that Lex himself still avoided. This would give him some time.
"I promise. Thank you." His face crumpled like a wet Kleenex under his grief. "It's just . . . so unfair. It hurts so much. I'll kill him for this. I'll kill him . . ." He started crying again and buried his face against Lex's chest.
"I know, Harry. I know." Lex held him and let him cry. He'd try to convince him to sleep again at the next lull. Contemplating the Spiderman dilemma, he decided to put Nixon on it. He'd been sniffing around the Kents too much lately anyway, and this would be a good diversion. And if Spiderman hadn't killed Osborn, and he could find some leverage on him, the rights to that spider silk alone would be worth billions. He considered for a moment if Osborn had attempted the same thing and been killed for it. It would be an interesting challenge anyway, he thought as he shifted into a more comfortable position on the sofa.
Besides, Lex still needed to talk to Harry about his business proposition. Those decisions couldn't wait too long; the vultures were already circling. He would do a far better job of running Osborn's company than Harry, and he would make sure Harry kept enough stock to be set for life. After the funeral would be soon enough. "I'm here. I'll help you."
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