My December


August 2002

Disclaimer: They're the WB's and DC Comics', not mine. The lyrics are from Linkin Park's 'My December'.

*This is my December*
*This is my snow-covered home*
*This is my December*
*This is me alone*

It was winter when Lex Luthor returned to Smallville. Snow covered the fields, rendering each indistinguishable from the next except for the infrequent cornstalks that had managed to survive the harrow's blade. They broke through the thick mantle of white, the solitary skeletons sundried and windburnt reminders of the summer's warmth and bounty.

The castle was dark, its driveway unplowed and covered by wind-shaped drifts of frozen snow that fought the car's progress, making Lex glad that he'd left his sports cars back in Metropolis and brought the heavier Mercedes sedan as he doubted any of his lighter vehicles would have made it up the drive. Dusk was falling, the leaden gray sky blending with the darkening fields, creating the feeling that he was trapped in an enclosed, ever shrinking bubble, one from which he had to escape or die.

Steepling his fingers on the steering wheel, feeling the slide of fine Merino leather on his fingertips as they moved together, Lex looked up at the castle, studying the thick granite walls, noting the snow piled on the window ledges. It was empty, had been empty, in fact, since he'd moved to Metropolis seven years before. Empty, barren, cold and shuttered: that was the same description that some would give his heart, but, as he'd learned, life was much simpler and safer that way.

Seven years ago he'd walked away from Smallville and everything it represented to take his place as the head of LuthorCorp as was his birthright. He'd then done what his destiny demanded and had dismantled the company, feeding bits to his own creation, LexCorp, and selling others off to the scavengers who'd crowded around, searching to profit from the deals. There had been profit, that was for certain, and most of it had ended up in LexCorp's coffers and, by that route, Lex's pockets.

He now had almost unlimited funds with which to support his research as well as unmatched power in the business and political arenas. He'd met and surpassed every goal he had set for himself, and he had just turned twenty-nine.

If at times his achievements rang hollow in his breast, he ignored the feeling by working harder. He'd given into his needs once, and it had almost brought on the ruination of his dreams; he had to be certain it would never happen again.

Buttoning his black, woolen overcoat, Lex wrapped a silk scarf around his neck and exchanged his thin driving gloves for an insulated pair. Bracing himself for the chill wind, he opened the door and stepped outside, the frozen snow crunching under his boots. They were a necessary evil but more welcome then a stay in the hospital because of a fall on the ice.

Hitting the trunk release, he pulled out a hard-sided suitcase and, after closing the trunk, carried it toward the castle's front door. Once inside, he exhaled, watching his breath form a cloud, a visible ghost in this old fortress where so many walked unseen.

It was still bone-chillingly cold inside; the water, gas and electricity had been turned off for years. It was probably only the fact that he was the owner that had kept the local teenagers from turning the castle into their favorite partying place. The fact that they hadn't said much for how the Luthor name had grown in reputation due to his influence.

Silent hallways that echoed his steps back at him with mocking clarity, making it seem as if there was someone else in the castle, another person who was close by but always just out of sight. Perhaps that other person knew why he was here; if so, that would explain the muted wails that were in fact the wind outside but, to a fanciful mind, could have been pleas for mercy and compassion.

Down the main hallway past the echoingly empty rooms deeper into the heart of the castle. The furnishings had been moved out years before and donated to various museums and charity auctions, all in the name of goodwill for LexCorp and its founder. Only two rooms contained any furniture now, and Lex bypassed the first, heading up the wide staircase to the second.

Aside from the fact that the furniture was covered in dust cloths, his bedroom looked much the same as it had when he'd left. Setting the case down, Lex grasped the heavy white cloth and twitched it back off the bed, causing dust motes to rise and dance in the air like old memories brought to life once more.

It would be so easy to sit down and lose himself in them, to indulge in his recollections of what had once been and to give in to his long buried fantasies of what could be - the very things that now fell under the category of what would never happen.

Some decisions didn't have to be made; they were charted out for you long ago, and no matter what you did, you couldn't deviate from their path.

Looking away from the bed and its all too tangible memories, Lex reached into the case and removed a small device. He set it on top of the spread, pressed a raised button, then walked out. He visited several other rooms in the castle, leaving devices in each of them, then finally arrived at his last stop, his office.

The room was in shadows, but Lex didn't need a light to find his way. For a moment, though, he felt a pang of regret that he couldn't see the cool colors of the stained glass window painted over the slate floor one final time. It was for the best though; seeing them would have been an invitation to the past, much as the bed had been. He'd passed that test, though, and he'd pass this one.

Moving around the room, he ran a hand over the pool table, briefly hearing the clack of cues on balls and accompanying laughter. The couch brought back memories of searching under it for his missing watch and looking up to see... Nothing, it meant nothing now.

Grimacing as the cold ate into his bones, he quickly laid out the last of the articles, turning each of them on as he set them in place, each movement neat and precise.

Picking up the case, Lex walked out of the castle, closing and locking the door behind him. After stowing the bag in the trunk once again, he knocked the snow off of his boots and climbed inside, the powerful engine quickly heating the chill air but doing little to ease the frozen ball in his gut.

Putting the car in gear, he pulled down the driveway, doing a precise three-point turn on the deserted county road so that he was facing the Luthor ancestral castle. The wind picked up again, the weirdly pitched howls sounding more and more like human voices to Lex's ears.

Blocking out the disconcerting sound as he had so many things before, he stripped off his winter gloves and took a small remote out of the glove compartment. The past was gone, the future was his; this would prove that once and for all.

Lifting his chin, he flipped open the panel on the remote and pressed the single button inside. Everything was silent for a moment, then the castle imploded, crumbling inward as orange and yellow flames shot into the now dark sky. The fire company would be too late to save anything, not that it mattered. He'd wanted it gone, and now it was and with it the last of the ties that held him here to this small town and everything it had represented.

Luthors did not have weaknesses, and he'd just gotten rid of his last one. Now his path was clear, and heaven help anyone who tried to stop him.

*This is my December*
*These are my snow-covered trees*
*This is me pretending*
*This is all I need*


  since 02-04-07

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