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Thread: NS Monthly Challenge -#17 March 2011 "Roommates" Entries

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    NS Monthly Challenge -#17 March 2011 "Roommates" Entries

    Alas, two entries for this month, so no voting. If this makes you sad, well, there is something you can do about it: enter next month's challenge.

    Thank you to our authors for entering, and I encourage everyone to give them feedback.

    Story 1
    Story 2
    Last edited by westwingwolf; 30th March 2011 at 04:14.

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    Re: NS Monthly Challenge -#17 March 2011 "Roommates" Entries

    My name is Alexander Joseph Luthor. I am twenty three years old and what people call a "super senior." The term refers to one who has spent longer than is necessary in college but if that's the case then you might have called me a "super senior" the moment Harvard accepted my application. College has never been my priority, but Father seems to believe that a degree is paramount to one's success. I have been taking advantage of the facilities here for five years now without actually majoring in anything particular. My plan is to do this until Father's patience runs out, unless of course Harvard manages to throw me out first. They have tried almost everything short of blackmail.

    I have never been required to live in a dorm but the embarrassment it brings to my family each time they help move me in is enough to make it a necessary part of staying at Harvard. I live in the Gropius Complex. I was allowed a single for my first semester but never again since. Some might call it paranoia to think of my previous room mates as part of a plot to drive me away but I have been privy to numerous bouts of laughter in regards to my room mate assignments thanks to one of several recording devices I installed in the dean's office. The latest gem is a foreign exchange student named Clark Kent.

    The term "foreigner" does not come to mind when you first meet Kent. He is utterly American in appearance, as though he was raised on a farm. His story is that although he was born and raised in Germany his parents were American, which he claims is why he knows so little about his native country. I was puzzled by Clark's story and might have pressed him further but he began to emit a foul stench. I have since learned that he suffers from an anxiety disorder that causes his to break wind when he becomes nervous; in my head I was composing a letter congratulating the dean on a most original find.

    Speaking of original finds, I have a girlfriend. Her name is Chloe and she is a freshmen. I have never before entered a "long term" relationship but Chloe was remarkably persistent. The girl is very generous; whatever I want she tends to give it to me. At the same time she is very sensitive. I can ignore anything at will and it is thus that I have been able to tolerate my room mate but Chloe finds Clark to be entirely offensive.

    For one thing there's the smell, Clark must get very anxious whenever Chloe is around because the air has more weight to it the moment she steps in the door. On top of this Chloe doesn't understand Clark's lifestyle. A buddhist would call Kent a little over the top. He owns two shirts and a pair of pants. There is evidence that would suggest he has more than one pair of briefs but thus far the contents of Kent's gaping underwear drawer remain untouched. The only possession of Kent's is a rapidly growing pile of USA Today newspapers which he chucks under his bed. Kent on top of his bare mattress covered by a single blue blanket. Every night around nine he cocoons himself inside of it and immediately starts snoring. All of this leaves Chloe thoroughly unbalanced. She is so put off by Kent that she insists we sleep in her suite when we get together. It was a fitting arrangement as Chloe's room mate was hardly ever in. If only it had stayed that way.

    Three weeks ago Chloe's roomy was dumped by her boyfriend. Ever since…Lois I think her name is…has been clutching a stuffed bear to her chest and sobbing every time she sees a photo of her beloved. There is of course a polaroid of the boy taped to the only mirror in the room. Chloe made a valiant attempt at being consolatory but lost her patience at week two. It was with great hesitation that she asked if she could sleep in my room.

    The week had gone by without incident in spite of Chloe's feelings toward Kent. It was last Thursday evening when it first happened. Chloe and I were nestled together in my bed. I was treating her to Akira Kurosawa's "Ran" when there came the all too familiar "creak creaking" of a bed frame being jostled by questionable movement. Normally this isn't an issue save for the fact that it was coming from within the room. Both of us immediately looked over the to the lump that was the dozing (presumably) Kent. Nothing. I pressed play on Chloe's laptop and it started up again.

    "…Is he?" whispered Chloe.

    "I wouldn't jump to conclusions, I've never known Clark to be vulgar. He's probably just dreaming." What made this idea plausible was the sporadic nature of the noise. Improbable was our faith. Try as we might to relieve ourselves of the loathsome suggestion of Clark's night-time carousing there came the inevitable conclusion that his mattress would suddenly begin to quiver whenever we began to watch the movie again. This began a feverish dialog of whispers.

    "You have to say something."

    "Like what?"

    "I don't know! He's your room mate!"

    "Suppose you're wrong."

    "Lex."

    "Suppose you assume!"

    "Lex Luthor, I think we're both familiar with beds by now to know the sound one makes when someone is jacking off in one!"

    "He's going to hear you Chloe!"

    "How? We're whispering it's not like he has super human abilities."

    "Well? He's stopped now."

    "Yeah, because the movie is paused."

    "Let's just see what happens, alright?"

    Sure enough, the moment I resumed Tsurumaru's woeful account of life after being blinded, Kent's blanket began to undulate and the bed frame began to creak.

    "If you don't say anything, I will."

    "Fine." I sat up in bed. "Clark? Are you awake?" Silence. I looked back to Chloe who was speechless as well. It seemed like several minutes passed in that hushed moment of dreary anticipation. "I honestly think he's asleep," I whispered to Chloe who mouthed the word "bullshit." In a fit of anger I jammed my finger into the space bar. Neither of our eyes were on the screen. Within a minute Kent was at it again. Without pausing I abruptly stood out of bed and exclaimed, "What are you doing?!"


    Kent's blanketed form ceased immediately, resembling a defeated gob of blue chewing gum. I stared down the blue mass with clenched fists. Finally I got into bed and with the movie still running I stated, "I'm glad we have an understanding, Kent."

    Clark never pulled anything like that again and we have never spoken of it. Then again, it was the last time Chloe ever slept over as well.

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    Re: NS Monthly Challenge -#17 March 2011 "Roommates" Entries

    Title: Destiny

    AN: This story follows: Tipping the Board, All of You, Home Movies, and Level the Field


    Erik knew that Arthur was in trouble when he turned on the evening news. He knew that Arthur was seriously and profoundly in trouble when their sister Liza rushed into the room he and Arthur had shared growing up looking the most worried he had ever seen her. She had been in school so her blond hair was still expertly done and she wore her uniform. The worst part was that he knew that her worry was warranted and that he couldn’t even begin to try to alleviate it. Their mother would not be happy. For all their gifts, not even together could they hope to be a match for Chloe Sullivan-Luthor.

    The door to the room opened and Erik and Liza were confronted with the presence of Superman. His face was a mask, but anyone could see that he vibrated with anger. In his arms, was their brother, Arthur, badly injured and insensate to the world around him. Batman followed Superman, and trailing them both was their mother. She looked more amused than angry, but there was anger. Beyond the room, Erik could see figures. There was no doubt in his mind that they were various members of the Justice League. Glancing at Liza, Erik saw that she had come to the same conclusion. He could only guess as to the whereabouts of Conner.

    Liza’s soft voice was like a knife that pierced the foreboding silence, “Damn.”

    ************************************************** ********************

    Arthur had never hurt this much. He knew it was a mistake to give in to his anger, but he couldn’t help himself. Conner Kent, or Kon-El depending on the company, was a smug asshole. If it had been anyone else who had taunted him, Arthur knew he could’ve ignored it; but not Conner Kent, the human/Kryptonian hybrid of Lex Luthor and Clark Kent. Arthur had long since known that Clark Kent was his genetic father but Brainiac was his real father. It was galling to Arthur that he shared so much with Superboy and Superman. They shared the same room as legacy and destiny. Arthur wished he could rip that part of himself out of his chest. It was just another thing that made him different from Erik and Liza and he hated it.

    As he stood over Connor Kent’s prone body, Arthur understood his emotions for what they were. He was jealous and resentful of Conner. Conner had acclaim. He was a hero. No matter that Arthur was smart or that he worked hard or that he earned his place Conner got to be recognized as the good guy.

    ”What do I have? Their anger for past transgressions not even my own.”

    It was because Superman was weak and petty and could not accept that he had been bested by his mother. Superman could never deal with reality. No matter what the other Kryptonian said to himself, Arthur knew it for what it was: fear. Superman feared his mother and he took it out on all of them, but Arthur was done being small and yearning for their acceptance. If Conner Kent wanted to play, then he’d play. “I will show Kon-El and Kal-El their place.”

    And that was all he could think as he launched his first offensive against the tactile telekinesis that powered Conner’s attacks. Something changed inside of Arthur. It became more violent and focused, as if the only thing that existed was the thrill of destruction. The joy of his first flight was dampened by the impenetrable violence that blanketed his mind and propelled him to greater feats against Conner. As they fought, the effects of Conner’s telekinesis gradually faded until he could no longer even feel the force of it. The terror Arthur saw in Conner’s eyes when his attacks became more focused and powerful was enough to drive him harder. He reveled in the feeling.

    Arthur had been about to give the death blow to Conner when he was struck by some kind of gun by Batman. Superman didn’t allow him to recover before he attacked. Arthur recognized he had lost the fight, but surrendering to Superman was not something he was going to do. He would only stop when Superman stopped him, which wasn’t too hard after the hit from Batman. Arthur succumbed to his injuries and let unconsciousness take him. It was only in that moment did he consider what his mother would do.

    “Damn.”

    ************************************************** ********************

    He awakened to soft voices and his sister caressing his dark hair. Arthur would’ve relaxed, but his mother chose that moment to enter the room. He didn’t want to face her. Her discipline was to be feared, but Arthur knew he had failed her. His actions would’ve put President Luthor in a compromising position. Relations with the Justice League would be strained because it didn’t take a genius to know that he wouldn’t face their judgment, nor would he face the justice system. Arthur would only face his mother and it scared him more than anything else.

    Chloe was gentle when she addressed them, “Erik, there are reports on your desk. Liza, you have a training session with your father.”

    It wasn’t a request. Liza was about to protest when a simple raised brow preemptively silenced anything she might’ve said. Liza kissed his forehead, swallowed and lowered her head before rushing out of the room. Erik gently squeezed Arthur’s shoulder before looking at his mother. Arthur knew he searched for something, but he wouldn’t find it. Their mother gave nothing away she didn’t want. It was what he loved most about her. She praised and criticized them honestly and loved them better than anyone could have because it was never from a false place. Erik cast a final glance at Arthur and left the room.

    Arthur sat up in his bed. He would face his mother, but he didn’t know what to say. He knew he’d screwed up before his first attack. Chloe walked to his telescope and adjusted it before looking through the lens. She had bought it for his tenth birthday. “Not even the sky is your limit, Artie.” It had been his favorite present because she spent days showing him the stars. As he grew older, she had bought him better telescopes, which culminated in the observatory she built for him. Arthur had auctioned the others for charity, but not his first telescope.

    She straightened and sat next to him. Her smile was genuine and changed her completely. “I was proud that you flew, Artie.”

    Arthur couldn’t look at her, “I’m sorry.”

    He hated it when she was this gentle, when he knew that she should be yelling at him.

    “What drives you, Arthur? You know you can defeat Superboy. Why does he matter so much?”

    Arthur held her gaze. “He’s on the right side of destiny. And where am I? Nothing I do is right.”

    Chloe cradled his face in her hands and moved the hair from his eyes, “My beautiful son. I never told you about Davis, did I?”

    She knew she hadn’t, but he shook his head anyway.

    Her smile was sad, but it was a fond smile. “Davis was a paramedic I knew. He was deeply conflicted about himself and his place in the world. Within him was destruction and death and he felt it, but he chose to be the best he could be. Clark couldn’t understand him and didn’t want to see his mirror image. Only the steady and loving influence of Jonathan and Martha Kent separates Clark from the villains that seek destruction. Davis didn’t have that, but still he tried. Weird circumstances led him to his final fate. He was a good man and he is part of you too,” she paused to make sure that he understood, but the implications were not lost on him, “My son, you are free to cast off the shackles of destiny that bind you if that’s what you want, but realize what that choice means. Be a savior, an ordinary man navigating life a villain. But understand that your actions have consequences and can deeply scar the world around you. Be happy, Artie, but know that neither I nor Brainiac, nor Clark will let you destroy what we’ve built.”

    She kissed his forehead, “I have loved you in the best way I could, and all I ever want from you is to be my beautiful son I share the stars with,” her smile was amused and so was her voice, “Go to sleep. We’ll talk punishment tomorrow.”

    Arthur grabbed her hand before she left, “Mom…I can do this, right?”

    His mother’s eyes hardened with conviction, “That was never in question, Arthur.”

    Arthur looked down at his arm and focused. It gradually became slate gray and spikes formed. Arthur smirked in satisfaction. “You're right, mother, they are inconsequential.” His wrist returned to normal. His eyes became an iridescent red. The coil of violence he had felt when facing Conner purred in satisfaction and lay patiently within his chest.

  4. #4
    NS Full Member Minty Revolution's Avatar
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    Re: NS Monthly Challenge -#17 March 2011 "Roommates" Entries

    Story 2 was very well written, as always. I love the way Chloe treated her son with such great understanding. She's a very wise mother.

    I loved story 1! I thought it was really funny and I loved that Lex was a Super Senior in college, having to deal with exchange student, Clark Kent. That makes perfect sense!

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    NS Full Member Fouzia's Avatar
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    Re: NS Monthly Challenge -#17 March 2011 "Roommates" Entries

    Thank you^^^^^^

  6. #6
    walking with cavemen Senior Member Zannie's Avatar
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    Re: NS Monthly Challenge -#17 March 2011 "Roommates" Entries

    Thanks to the two writers who participated this month! I'm sorry there weren't enough to do the voting, and I'm even sorrier that I didn't get anything written myself. I'll keep trying! I've had a story in mind for three months, and I keep adjusting it to fit the new prompt. Maybe I'll get it written for April!

    The first story was quite funny, and I really liked the Chlex dialogue near the end when they were discussing the situation. It made me laugh.

    And I loved the second one and the continuation of the series. Even though there's not really any Chlex left in the stories, it's a really fascinating and complex exploration of the twisted family dynamics. It's amazing how convincing the character portraits are, given the background the author has created for them. The end of the story was creepy and powerful!

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