Fic: American Beauty (SV, Lex/Lana)

Author’s Note: A darker look at Lana Lang, inspired by and written shortly after the first season episode, “Nicodemus.” Thanks to Deb and her muses, for encouragement and help in summarizing and rating this.

There’s an art to being the good little girl that everyone adores. Especially when you’re anything but, deep down.

You don’t always wear the perfect little smile. You let it slip just a little bit around the right people, sprinkle just enough of the truth of who you are on the thick slice of deception you’re serving them, and let them believe they’ve seen the real you. A fairy princess who wants nothing so much as to just be ordinary.

But ordinary is the last thing you want to be.

True, you could stand to shed the fairy princess costume, and the cheerleading uniform, and the cheap-but-looks-expensive formal gowns and tiaras. But not for the t-shirts and jeans you affect. No, you’re more partial to the real thing–Paris couture and ropes of diamonds, glitter that is gold and not just the paltry illusion of it.

You may hate the pink-frilled little girl in the photograph on the cover of that magazine, but you’d give anything to grace the page with a different face, the face that no one knows. Not yet.

You may miss your parents desperately and wish for the life they could have given you every day, but you also hate them. Because they just stood there, staring blindly up into the sky as destruction hurtled down towards them. Because if they had just run, they wouldn’t have left you trapped in this broken down shithouse of a town.

And no one knows. Not yet.

The closest they’ve ever gotten to the real Lana Lang was that date you had with a certain psychotropic flower. In fact, no one knows–not even Nell, although you think Lex Luthor might suspect–but you still own that tight leather skirt, scanty top and scarlet satin lingerie set. You lost your control, that day. But contrary to what you told everyone, you remember it with perfect clarity. The “amnesia” is yet another brick in the sparkling wall of lies that conceals the scheming heart of you.

That part of you looks at Clark Kent and Whitney Fordman both with the same disdain–small town boys who can only hold you back in the long run. You’ll string them along now for what they can do for you–an occasional rescue when you need it and the local fame of being the quarterback’s girl–but someday you know you’ll leave them both behind in the meteor-flecked dust.

That part of you, the “real” you, is the same part that looks at Lex Luthor with different eyes. Eyes that see everything you want to be and know he could give it to you. Status. Money. Power. A name no one in the world would ever forget. A face that would be preserved in photographs for generations as a reminder that even small town girls can have it all.

Of course there’s also the fact that when Lex looks at you, sometimes he seems to strip back all those layers and expose your dark, bitter core, buried beneath too much sugar like the center of a horehound candy. But the same eyes that see the blackness, which would horrify anyone else who knows you, still smile. The way he smiled when you played dirty to keep the Talon afloat.

Like Hephaestus, he can hold molten lava in his hands and not be burned, shaping it instead like a mere potter would mold wet, cold clay. Maybe he is Hephaestus, and you are Aphrodite–the one all men desire, but who can never be true. After all, when the gods fell, what choice did they have but to take human form? And would they not retain some knowledge of what they had once been, longing ever after to regain the heights of Olympus?

You would marry him, if he asked you. You would glitter on his arm for the rest of your life, and you would both be wise enough to stay together even if you grew to hate each other. Become the darlings of the media, the dark, volatile mirror of the fairy tale. American royalty, only without the stain of pathos that destroyed Charles and Di or JFK and Jackie in the eyes of their adoring fans.

You would not need to be pitied, then. Pity is for the weak, and you would never be weak. You would leave the damsel in distress behind in Smallville for Clark Kent to champion–after all, an illusion is what he’s been saving all these years. He just doesn’t know it.

No one knows. Not yet.

Or so you think.

(Related work: Power Play)

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