The Calm Before (The Modern Prometheus Remix)
by Rana Eros

My (as usual) late entry for the "We Invented the Remix...Redux" Challenge. Definitely check out the other entries, this was just an awesome challenge. Betaed by 'tilla, Eliza, and MHC. Encouraged and partially audienced by Livia. It's not quite "James Joyced," but I hope it works anyway. For Vic, for issuing such an awesome challenge, for JacynRebekah, for the original story, and for Vyola, for doing such a kickass remix of "That Good Night," which can be found here.

It begins with a storm, your life and the weather. There's rain pounding the Kansas dust into submission outside. There's your father manipulating you and your best friend lying to you and your employees watching you with cold eyes on the street, no matter what you've done for them and their families. There's your newest car in the garage and Metropolis three hours away. You can't lose the entire weekend in a haze of drugs and sex anymore, not with your father breathing down your neck, but you can still have a few drinks. Dance. Talk to someone who's pleased to see you and honest about what they want from you.

It might not even be raining in Metropolis.

You can't say what puts you on the road to the Kent farm instead of the highway out of town. Hope, maybe. Habit. A connection in the back of your brain, rain to river water and lightning to life. To Clark.

You're a mutant, and you're pretty certain he's one, too, even if you still don't have a handle on his abilities and he doesn't like you pushing. You're the scientist playing with fire, and he's the one who looks to be made from all the most beautiful and perfect parts. Yet he's the one who brought you to life and there's something in the storm that makes you want that again. His mouth on yours. His attention focused on you alone. Like lightning finding its mark.

You want to be struck. And even if it kills you again, you know he'll bring you back.

The rain is hard and heavy as you pull into the barnyard, and your tires slip a little in the mud. This is not the proper treatment for such a car, you know, but you can't really find it in you to care when a flash of lightning leaves an afterimage in your eyes of a dark figure up in the loft. You've learned to be prepared, and you pull a flashlight out of the car as you step outside. You're drenched almost instantly. You raise your face to the sky, lick the rain off your lips, and smile.

You're so familiar with the Kents' barn now that you don't really need the flashlight. Yet, you don't want to approach Clark in darkness. You expect him to call out to you, but he must not have seen you in the yard and the rain probably hid the sound of your arrival. You top the stairs just as lightning strikes again. By its light, you catch a glimpse of him looking out into the storm. You wonder what he sees, what he feels. You wonder if storms make him think of you.

You wonder if anything does.

He turns toward you as the beam from the flashlight hits him, his eyes wide and all pupil. He blinks and speaks your name in a tone that really shouldn't carry over the sound of rain hitting the roof, yet you hear it. You move toward him, speaking, throwing words in the air without paying attention to them. You're usually not this careless, but there's something in his face that's wild like the storm, fragile like the rain, and you want to taste it.

He rises at your approach and moves to the couch. He watches as you follow, speaking to you, asking you something. You have always listened so closely to him, something you know he likes, something you know he's not used to because he hasn't learned to compensate for people listening when he lies. Tonight, though, you're not listening. Not really. There's a rhythm to his voice that feeds your wanting, and that's enough. The deceptions between you can wait.

You sit close to him, and he stops talking. He watches you for a moment, his focus like a storm charge in the air, then he leans in. He says your name again, and it's all the permission you need. You drop the flashlight and kiss him as lightning strobes the loft once more.

It's just like the first time. You're wet and he's warm and his lips are softer than river water, sweeter than rain. More electrifying than lightning or meteor showers or your first night at Club Zero. He still tastes like life. You wonder if he tastes like that all over.

He makes a sound into your mouth. You swallow it, raising your hands to his hair and coaxing his mouth open. The world tilts suddenly, and he's pushing you down onto the couch, untucking your shirt, pulling away to breathe words into the skin of your neck. You turn to find his ear with your tongue as he pulls your shirt open. You're certain he popped at least one button, but his hands are so warm and his lips are so earnest and uncovering his secrets isn't as important as uncovering him in this moment.

You release his hair to pull his shirt free of his jeans. He sits up enough to let you pull the shirt over his head, then falls back a little as you go up on your knees and reach for the button at his waistband. He pushes your shirt off your shoulders and you shrug free of it, but keep your attention on what your hands are doing. You hear his shoes hitting the floor just as you pull the zipper down, hook your fingers over both jeans and boxers, and pull. His breath catches as you undress him completely, sliding to your knees on the floor to take off his socks. You can feel him watching you; you can feel the tension in him as you place your hands on his thighs. You look up at him as lightning strikes again, then slide your hands up as you lean in. You take him in your mouth and he makes a sound like he's being revived. You smile around his cock.

Maybe you're not the only one coming to life in this storm.

You wish you could see him better for this, but there's something to be said for making use of your other senses. Under the sound of the rain, you hear him swearing and praying and saying your name like you're both a god and a curse. His hands are so careful on your head, like he's afraid he'll break you or he's not sure if he has the right to touch you, even when you have his cock in your mouth. He tastes rich, smells rich, more ocean than storm down here. Salt instead of ozone.

But still life. Still full of things that spark.

You take him deeper, and he moves into you, still trying to be careful. You don't want careful, so you give him a bare touch of teeth. He jerks under your hands, then all sound, all movement, stops. For a moment, he doesn't even seem to breathe. You glance up the length of his belly and chest as lightning strikes again. And then he comes.

It's like watching a young god rising, the sound of your name a benediction from his lips.

He breathes like the wind now, gasps and moans and he tries to pull you up, but his grip is curiously...weak. One hand leaves your head and you hear him rummaging for something. There's an extended flare of light it takes you a moment to realize is not more lightning, and you look up to see him watching you. He holds the flashlight so the beam is not directly on either of you, so you see his flushed cheeks and hazy eyes but you can't quite interpret his expression. Even now he holds back from you, and it only makes you hungrier for what you can have of him.

He sets the flashlight aside and takes your hand. You allow him to draw you up this time, placing your knees between his thighs and leaning down to kiss him like you want to take back the life you just gave him. He seems willing enough to let you take it, so open and easy beneath you, but then he pushes you back enough to meet your eyes, and he looks....

Like lightning striking.

His voice, when it comes, echoes like thunder, whispers like rain.

"There's something I want to tell you."

"I hit you."


"And you lived."

"I'm not...exactly human." He winces as he says it, and you know in that moment it's a truth he doesn't want to tell himself. The knowledge eases something inside you; it hasn't all been a lack of trust then.

"Neither am I, Clark."

"Yeah, but I'm not even, umm...."

He's still watching you with wide, anxious eyes. You give him a smile, the one he alone calls forth, and lean down to whisper in his ear.

"There's something I want to tell you."

You pull back enough to see if he gets it. He stares at you for a long, dark moment while the rain strikes the roof like pebbles. And finally, finally he answers.

"I hit you."

"Every day, Clark."

His smile is brighter than lightning, brighter than sunlight after being submerged in murky water. "And you--"

"I live. Every day."


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