Title: The Good Wife
URL: http://www.geocities.com/hexshippers Pairing: Helen/Lex
Summary: A `what if' fic. Helen wakes up. Spoilers: Up to `Exodus'
Disclaimer: The concept of Smallville and the characters are in no way whatsoever mine. Author's Notes: 1) A quick fic really, just a few explanations about what could have happened. 2) Deal with the fact I liked the Helen/Lex relationship. Feedback: Please. First attempt at a Helen/Lex piece so feedback would be useful.
Consciousness was abrupt, startling and more than a little horrifying.
It started as a vague feeling something was wrong; a numbness in her limbs that shouldn't have been there and left Helen wondering whether she had slept on her arm or something and made it go to sleep. The problem with that idea of course was that the sensation wasn't only confined to her arm but seemed to be her entire body. Then she placed it, she was cold; shockingly cold.
Helen took a deep breath and immediately her eyes shot open to the sight of her hair before her face, swirling and dancing like dark seaweed, and then she was spluttering as she realised her mouth was filling with water. It was bitter, slightly metallic and definitely salty but right at that moment Helen wasn't particularly concerned about the taste. What was really bothering her though were the bubbles floating by her eyes and she didn't know which way was up.
Panic set in even before she could stop herself. Under the circumstances the rational part of her knew it was precisely the one thing that she shouldn't let happen. Helen's arms began to flail around madly in the water as she twisted and turned to no avail. What seemed like an eternity later but in fact was probably only seconds she became aware of a hand grasping the collar of the shirt she was wearing.
God she hoped it was a hand.
Movement; she was definitely moving and this time in a definite direction. She found herself suddenly glad that the decision had been taken out of her hands. For the last two weeks of her life every single little thing had been a decision pushed on her from the colour of her dress (Was white actually appropriate? She wasn't particularly religious but it felt somewhat... defiant to stand up before all those people and proclaim to the world that she was virginal and pure when the night before she'd found herself on her hands and knees, gripping the headboard of the bed while Lex had fucked her into seven different kinds of heaven all at once) to the choice of wine to go with the meal or the flowers for the church and then the other flowers for the reception and the rehearsal dinner. God, why the hell had they needed so many flowers anyway? By the time she was managed to walk down the aisle then she had been just about ready to sneeze and that was not something that she had wanted to be the one thing that everyone remembered about her wedding. Come to think about it most of the local yokels they had invited to the wedding wouldn't have known the difference between a fine wine and an indifferent one anyway. The wine bill had made her wince when she saw it before Lex had quickly stolen it away and told her not to worry about it.
Why the hell was she thinking about the wine list when she was in the middle of dying?
She felt dizzy, her chest strained as if someone was pressing in on it and trying to stop her from breathing. The ache which had had begun to feel had turned to a burn deep inside her lungs that was so powerful that Helen found herself wincing. Against her will she opened her mouth to draw in breath knowing that it was impossible. Water still surrounded her in every direction and the wave of her hair had now managed to completely cover her eyes so that she could see anything at all anymore. Then, to her surprise, the breath she had been about to take she actually managed.
Air exploded into her lungs, probably accompanied by a little water and a little hair from in front of her face from the amount of spluttering that she ended up doing. Wheeling around in the water Helen grasped onto an arm belonging to the hand that had dragged her to the surface even as a wave came along, bobbing both of them and almost dislodging her somewhat feeble hold. Kicking furiously with legs that were already tired the doctor turned herself around and tightened her grasp on the person by adding a second hand to his arm. This person whoever they were - it felt like a man actually when she considered it - was her lifeline right at that moment and there was no way on earth that she was letting go; at least, not until she knew what the hell was going on and how she was going to get out of it.
"Damn it! Let go, you'll drown us both." The voice was harsh but not completely unfamiliar; something which really wasn't very reassuring to Helen right at that moment. Perhaps somewhat luckily Helen found that even if she had wanted to then there was no way that she could have complied with his wish, her fingers seeming to have frozen in their grip from the cold of the water and her own abrupt fear at being found it in. Even now she was at the surface she was finding it hard to breathe which was not entirely surprising. The cold had permeated into her body, she knew that much, and it was undoubtedly affecting the contraction and relaxation of her muscles. Despite the sun overhead, which she could now feel shinning brightly, Helen knew that it wouldn't be long before hypothermia set in and then it would be a short trip to the bottom of whatever body of water it was she was floating in and a destiny that didn't go beyond becoming fish food.
"Let go!" He sent an elbow careering into her ribs, an area which turned out to be surprisingly sore. The blow had been cushioned by the restrictive forces of the water but it still made Helen let go and she found herself sinking for a moment before successfully remembering how to tread water, spitting out a mouthful of water as she did so.
Her hands now free of anything to hold onto she was forced to manage for herself and once the doctor had confidently found that she wouldn't be spiralling into the depths any further then she took to chance to attempt to scrape her hair away from her face, pushing it to the sides and feeling it stick there until another wave came along and moved it back. Ensuring that her hair stayed back away from her face took more effort than it should have and by the time she was done with it she was once again out of breath and the man who had been with her was moving away from her. Helen stared at his retreating back for a moment wondering where on earth he was going until her eyes finally landed on an orange shape in the horizon. A life raft; there was a life raft out here.
Abruptly it dawned on Helen what must have happened; the plane had gone down. That was the only explanation and yet strangely she didn't remember a single moment of the event and added to that she realised she didn't have a lifejacket on either, just the suit that she had worn from the wedding. Her memory having failed her Helen tried logic instead to explain the occurrence. The presence of the life raft suggested to her that there had at least been some time to plan their survival before the plane went down but if that was the case then why on earth hadn't she pulled out one of the inflatable vests that had been pointed out to her before they had even begun their flight?
Amnesia was the simplest explanation, whether it had been brought about by some sort of traumatic event or an injury such as a blow to the head. Apart from what was turning out to be a rather promising case of seasickness though there was nothing like the nausea she might have expected if she had a concussion. Plus, her head didn't ache either though granted when the cold of the water all around her was taken into consideration that wasn't very much to go on either. The idea that she had been through some sort of emotional or psychological trauma though was far more horrifying because the only thing that she could think of, the one dominating thought, was that something must have happened to Lex. That thought in it's self was enough to make Helen feel all the more sick to her stomach.
She swam after the man who had saved her, struggling against the current and the waves as they battered her and yet knowing that the sooner she got to the raft then the sooner she would be able to get out of the water and probably save her life by doing so. It was impossible to actually catch up with the man who had dragged her out of the depths but Helen followed him as closely as she could, pacing herself so that she wouldn't end up with cramp in her legs that might end things once and for all. As a result by the time that she reached the raft he was already inside and after pausing for a few seconds with her hands on the side of the rubber raft to let the pounding in her ears subside then she became aware of voices from inside.
Helen tried to call out to catch their attention but found that her throat and mouth were so dry that she couldn't make the words come out as anything more than a quiet croak. She waited a moment then tried again but to no more effect than the first time. Instead she lifted her right hand and hammered on the side of the raft, the action making a deep pounding noise and alerted the people inside it to her presence. A face peered over the side at her; a different one from the man who had saved her only to abandon her in favour of the raft. This time Helen recognised him instantly as the pilot to the LuthorCorp jet that she and Lex had been travelling even as he reached down to grasp her just under her arm pits and pull her upwards.
For the briefest second the doctor felt a flicker of hope. She imagined herself being pulled over the top of the raft side and slipping into it with a grunt only to find she was immediately embraced in warm loving arms. She wondered whether she would open her eyes and find herself looking up into those precious blue orbs as they devoured her, making sure she was alright and safe. Helen found she could practically feel the brush of her husband's lips on hers, always so eager to please her and yet strangely demanding at the same time as a flood of relief ran through them both.
Hands grasped her arms and dragged her over the side of the raft. Helen found herself touching the rough reinforced bottom of the raft with both cold hands while the person who had pulled her up - the pilot - placed what would have been under other circumstances an inappropriate hand on her bottom and shoved her body the rest of the way in. She slumped to the floor, grateful that the raft was large enough for her to lie completely in it on her side with her legs curled under her only a little way and breathed heavily, drawing in huge draughts of air and coughing a little occasionally to clear her lungs. She struggled to roll over onto her knees as a wave of nausea swept through her but found that the soft base of the raft gave way under her knee and she crashed back down to her side as weak as kitten. The action only served to jar her already tender stomach and Helen found herself groaning. Reluctantly she decided that laying still was the best idea until she was certain that she wouldn't be seeing her breakfast once again.
A rustle of movement to one side of her reminded Helen that she wasn't alone. The brunette doctor blinked out her eyes once again only to find herself squinting into the sun which was partially blocked out by the figure of a man.
"Have you seen Donna?" one of the men asked, his voice resembling that of the man who had dragged her back up to the surface. Helen found herself frowning, who was Donna again?
There was a pause and then a reply from the pilot, "She didn't make it."
Donna... The image of a young blonde woman in her mid-twenties came to her with bright blue eyes. She was serving them another bottle of champagne and while she poured one glass in order to give it to Lex she had bent over and flashed Helen's new husband an impressive amount of cleavage and a sparkling smile. Lex, being Lex and as much the consummate flirt as he had always been, had curled up the corner of his lips in an amused smirk before leaning forwards and handing the glass to Helen to try. Donna, the flight attendant, had stood and turned to walk back down the plane but not before casting a baleful expression at the most recent Mrs Luthor.
Something touched her lip and Helen realised that one of the men was holding a water canteen to her lips. Gingerly pushing herself into a sitting position she took the flask and held it in both hands so that she could minimise the chances of spilling any of the precious water and then sipped very slowly, first wetting her mouth and then her throat and then actually taking a drink which she could swallow.
"Did you see the plane go down?" the man who had saved her asked and Helen found herself searching for his name. When she had climbed onto the jet earlier in the day with Lex the two men in the cockpit, the pilot and the navigator had come through in order to introduce themselves to the recently wedded couple though Helen had been a little too outside herself to fully remember the meeting.
Finding herself actually married after all the troubles, the rockiness of her relationship with Lex over the days leading up to the actual day of the wedding, had been something very startling and more than once she had stopped short in shock. She was married and further more she was married to Lex Luthor of all people, a man who might once have very nearly ruined her career and who all her girlfriends back in Metropolis had warned her away from the moment she had mentioned that she was dating him. It had been all too easy to recall that first meeting between them and Lex's behaviour. It had been all too easy to listen to everyone who had told her that Lex Luthor was Satan Junior and that no good would come of anything between them and when she had first met him and the only thing in her mind had been a little bit of revenge playing around with fire had seemed like it was worth the trouble. Lex however, was not the Lex that she had remembered and more than that he was not the man that everyone seemed to think he was.
How could she not care for a man who was fighting as much with himself as he was with the world around him? He was a man who had clearly needed her; the emotions that wrought in her being almost entirely foreign and yet glorious and strangely satisfying. It was that knowledge, confirmed when he had looked into her eyes and confessed having had someone break into her office which had been so full of regret and hope and pleading that she would forgive him, that had persuaded her that she could do this; that had persuaded her that she could actually marry him.
Looking into his eyes again when they had boarded the plane she had seen the happiness that he had exuded, the knowledge that she cared enough about him to be with him obviously meaning more to Lex than anything else in the world at that moment in time, had made her stop and think again and suddenly she had found herself faced with the responsibility that she had taken on her shoulders by marrying Lex. It wasn't some brief impulse that made him need her, it was something very permanent and that thought had shaken her confidence a little. So much so that it must have shown on her face and she had found herself faced with the query from Lex over whether she was feeling okay.
That little moment had reminded her that Lex, though somewhat needier than the men she was used to, was also a man who would do everything in his power to ensure that she was always happy and satisfied with her life.
Gidman, she thought. The navigator's name was Gidman and the pilot's name was something like... Costello. Their names now firmly planted in her mind Helen felt something like relief filtering through her. If she had been suffering from amnesia of one sort of another then there was every chance that she would have forgotten something like that detail. In fact, now she did think about it, she actually did remember quite a bit about the flight and it was only the crash which seemed to have escaped her memories.
"Lex..." she said softly in an effort to catch the attention of the two men who had continued to speak. "What happened to Lex?"
They stopped, suddenly everything was silent and the only thing that Helen could here was her own deep breathing, the sound of waves lapping around the sides of the raft and a slight squeak of the rubber as Costello shifted uneasily. She stared at them both as they avoided looking at her, first both glancing towards each other and then with Gidman turning to look off into the distance while Costello turned his eyes down to the bottom of the raft
Very slowly she repeated her question and Costello took a deep breath. "He was in the plane."
"Well of course..." she started to say and then stopped as she caught onto the man's actual meaning. Her mouth went abruptly dry again and she drew in a deep shuddering breath. Trying to collect herself together before she did anything so silly such as to actually cry Helen said, "You must be mistaken."
"I'm sorry Dr Bryce."
"Mrs Luthor," she corrected unconsciously. "And I don't think you understand; there is no way on earth that Lex could still have been in that plane. He wouldn't do that. He would have found a way to get off the plane before it crashed. He wouldn't have been as silly as to..."
Looking distinctly uncomfortable he answered, "Mr Luthor was unconscious. I saw him before I managed to jump with the raft. There was no way that he could have got off in time..."
She never heard the final words of the sentence as her mouth suddenly flooded with metallic tasting saliva and Helen turned and vomited over the side of the raft until she felt light-headed. Even when she was finished, when there was no way that she could possibly vomit anymore, Helen stayed leaning over the edge, occasionally dry heaving while her fingers dug into the side of the raft. It isn't a certainty, she reminded herself as she looked down into the water. There is no way to know for certain that he didn't manage to wake up in time and find a way out. A brief laugh escaped her; they would probably end up being rescued and find out that it was Lex who was organising the rescue party.
A hand touched her back in order to rub it and Helen shrugged it away, the idea of someone touching her even if it was nothing more than a sympathetic gesture repulsive. Taking a few moments to collect herself she turned around again and looked at them as both men stared at her with curiosity burning in their eyes. Helen shook her head and indicated that she didn't want to talk anymore, not right at that moment anyway so they shrugged and turned away from her.
She vaguely heard something about an island being near by and then the two men making an effort to paddle them along in the direction where they thought it lay. The next thing that Helen really became aware of was a bump and a shout that made her look up only to find she was staring at a distant tree line. The trees however were nothing like she had expected; palms and ferns swept along the edge of a crisp white sand beach. The tree line was virtually impenetrable to the naked eye; dark and ominous looking to Helen and apparently so to the two men she was with as they glanced at each other. Helen scanned from one end of the beach to the other, half glad that she could see from one end to the other without seeing waves crashing in the distance and half concerned that there didn't appear to be any sort of sign of human habitation.
There was another bump as the raft came to a final rest and they climbed out. The moment that Helen's feet touched the sand she lost her balance and slipped over, her hand sinking into the soft surface and coming up covered in it. She climbed to her feet again after rejecting an offered hand from Costello while Gidman tugged at the raft and pulled it further up the beach. Turning around Helen leaned down for a moment to brush the loose sand from her suit only to realise that it was ruined anyway and decide as a result not to bother. Standing tall again she held her hand up over her eyes and peered out over the sea in search of something... she didn't know quite what. Certainly a large part of her was hoping to see a figure swimming towards her, stepping up onto the beach and walking to her, perhaps stumbling to his knees so that she could just fling her arms around him and hold on for dear life. The water was hopelessly devoid of anything even resembling a man however and there was even less evidence of any craft searching them out.
Taking a deep breath she turned back towards the men as they stood waiting for her, apparently having already made the decision that they should go right up to the tree line, saying to her as reasoning, "It'll be getting dark soon. We should try and find some shelter and something to make a fire with." Helen nodded her agreement and followed after them, vaguely aware of the fact that the sun drenched sand was burning her bare feet and making her hurry up her pace.
They struggled to take the raft with them, eventually dumping it half way up the beach and hoping that when the tide came in that it wouldn't carry it away before they knew it was in danger. From it they retrieved the emergency supplies which consisted of some food and water rations as well as a first aid kit and took it with them to a spot that Gidman had spied from the sands; a place where there was a fallen branch to perch on and a dip in the sand that hid them from view somewhat. Helen didn't know why that was supposedly such a good idea but she went along with it anyway, the idea half in the back of her mind that the two men had probably had some type of training course somewhere along the line that taught them what to do if a situation like the one they were in ever arose. Helen suppressed a chuckle of amusement at the thought that it might happen enough to warrant such action in the first place.
It was impossible to use any of the wood in the near vicinity to where they were setting up camp to start up a fire, most of it seemed to be damp, the natural basin they were settled in apparently being capable of sustaining a supply of water all day long and protecting the wood from the daytime sunshine overhead. As a result Costello and Gidman announced that they would go in search of something more suitable while she stayed where she was and kept an eye on their things and to keep a look out for any sign that they might not be alone on the island. Gidman had assured her that the chances of the latter being the case were few and far between so she probably wouldn't have anything to worry about; apparently the island he thought they were on had been uninhabited for nearly sixty years.
As Helen watched the two men trudge off along the shoreline and then disappear into the woods some way off she felt a sinking feeling begin to wash over her. The sun was setting, total darkness creeping over the land towards her and suddenly the normally rational doctor felt a very irrational urge to jump up and run after the two men. She barely stopped herself from doing so, putting both hands either side of her body and resting them on the log so that she might cling onto it at any moment. Still, the feeling of loneliness was suddenly immense, making Helen realise that this was the first time in weeks that she had truly been along; that she wasn't able to just pick up the telephone and make a quick call back to Smallville to hear Lex's smooth charismatic voice say reassuring things to her and prompt her to hurry home again.
Home, at the moment, was an utterly foreign concept and something she really, really wanted to experience again. She closed her eyes briefly and tried to image that place and to her surprise the first place which came to mind was the house in Smallville. For years she had thought that the apartment she had occupied in Smallville would be the only home that she would ever be completely satisfied with but now when she thought about that concept the only vision which would come to mind was the dark woods and hefty furniture of Lex's ancestral home. Three days before her wedding an old friend who had a less than complimentary view of Luthors had gone so far as to suggest that Helen herself was turning into one. It had been the end of the conversation, not just because her friend had meant it as an insult but because it was an insult that Helen might have used herself not so very long ago and she didn't want to think about it; instead she had kept reminding herself that Lex wasn't the man that everyone thought he was.
Opening her eyes again she found herself looking into dim evening light. Standing Helen looked around, her legs shaking for a moment until she concentrated on them long enough to make them be stable once again. That done she looked around; her eyes skimming over the darkness as she tried to figure out where Costello and Gidman had gone. They were nowhere to be seen. The desire to find them grew stronger and Helen stepped out of the basin and walked along the beach in the direction that they had been heading.
Hidden stones and bits of branches and twigs half buried under the sand bit at her feet and her lower legs as she walked along and Helen found herself wishing that she had worn a pant suit instead of a skirt. The going did not get any easier as she reached the point where they had disappeared. Helen was wincing when she stepped beyond the tree line and meandered through the woods listening carefully for any sounds that would tell her the direction in which they had headed. There was nothing however and after a while Helen began to feel as if she were just traipsing through the woods for the sake of it and worse yet she was beginning to wonder whether she would actually be able to find her way out again.
A flicker of movement caught the corner of Helen's eye and she spun around peering into the darkness. Whatever it had been had gone however, either that or it had simply stopped moving and therefore become invisible to her. She shook herself, reasoning that it had probably just been the wind catching a branch and moving it.
She moved on again, the sound of voices in the distance eventually catching her attention and drawing her towards them. For a moment she wondered whether she had managed to stumble across someone else on the island, the voices being both hushed and sounding different from the ones that she knew belonged to Costello and Gidman. As she got closer though Helen realised that she had actually managed to find the two men she was sharing the island with against the odds. She quashed her initial impulse to rush forwards and approach them, taking in the way they were speaking in hushed tones and the tenseness in their respective stances.
Standing back a little way Helen watched through the trees as they stood facing each other in a small clearing, a bundle of wood cradled in Costello's arms while Gidman leaned down and to pick up another piece. Standing straight again he tossed it in the air once, twice and then another time before saying to the pilot with a small shake of his head, "This wasn't part of the plan."
"Which? Going down so far away from the original crash point, loosing Donna or getting stuck with the good doctor over there?"
"All of them but mostly the last."
Costello shook his head, "You're the one who saved her."
"Only because we couldn't risk anyone finding her if she remembered something."
"I told you she wouldn't. When the plane went down she was out like a light - it's a miracle she got out at all."
Gidman snorted something under his breath and then said, "Well obviously you were wrong. She must have woken up while the plane was going down and managed to get out."
"Then why doesn't she remember anything?"
The navigator shrugged. "Maybe she got hit over the head or something or maybe she really does remember what happened and she's playing us for fools."
That thought seemed to make Costello stop. "So what are we going to do about it?"
Gidman looked him in the eye. "I think you know what we have to do."
The pilot went quiet, standing shockingly still until something seemed to roll over him and he dropped the stack of wood he had been carrying and flung his arms up into the air. "And how," he said, "Do you propose that we do that exactly? We're on a fucking island Gidman! If we kill her and they find the body here then they're going to know we did it."
The other hand waved the stick he was holding as if to dismiss the comment. "Then we make it look like an accident. We could take her to another part of the island, kill her there, make sure we don't leave any trace we were there and then come back around here and wait for Luthor's people to pick us up."
"If Luthor is even sending anyone to get us," the pilot responded.
Gidman shot a glare in his direction. "What do you mean?"
"The guy was willing to kill his own son - do you honestly think he'll have a problem leave the two of us out here to rot?"
"Why didn't you mention this little theory of yours before?"
"Because I had contingency plans in place," Costello answered. "There was meant to be a boat waiting for us but seeing as we went down in the wrong place then I doubt they'll be coming for us."
"You still should have mentioned this. We could have..."
"Could have what? Backed out? This is Lionel Luthor we're talking about. He would have tracked us down and killed us just because we knew he was even looking for special pilots for this little trip."
Gidman sighed and rubbed his brow. "We still have to kill her - just in case his people do turn up."
"I don't like it... She doesn't remember anything so there's no reason to kill her."
"Do you actually want to fear the wrath of Luthor?"
"I'm not doing it," Costello countered.
"You were willing to do it before."
"That was different," the pilot said. "It wasn't murder... not cold blooded murder like this would be."
Gidman sniggered bitterly. "Do you think that he'll worry about it being cold blooded murder?"
Costello lowered his eyes, looking at the floor. "Fine."
Helen backed away, eyes wide as she stared at the two men. They were still talking but she could no longer hear what it was they were saying. For a moment she wondered whether she was going to start to hyperventilate and she forced herself to take control of her breathing once again knowing that she couldn't let them know that she had heard them speaking. Her hands were trembling wildly as she began to back away from the clearing. She found himself stumbling even more than she had been as she refused to take her eyes off where the two men were in case they should spot her and she would be forced to move more quickly.
There was no way she could possibly go back to the campsite and sit with them, not now that she knew that they would be looking at her wondering just how much she knew and whether it would be easy to kill her or not. She was having enough trouble believing that they had actually bothered to rescue her in the first place and furthermore that they had sat around with her for hours in the life raft while the sun burned them and they floated around on the ocean without one of them cracking and doing something to them then. There was no doubt in Helen's mind that if they had decided to throw her overboard at that point them she would never had resurfaced. She supposed that she should be grateful that it had never occurred to them; her previous experience with nearly drowning terrifying her enough to put her off that method of dying entirely.
Abruptly she realised that she could no longer see the two men. Either she had moved out of sight of them or they had moved on and out of her line of sight. Helen was both relieved and worried by the discovery. On the one hand she was suddenly filled with a spreading sensation of tension as she realised that they might be sneaking up on her but at the same time she realised that she may no longer be in danger of being discovered immediately. Helen paused, taking a deep breath and then turned and ran in what direction she thought the beach they had set up camp on was. Before she set out on her own - something which she now realised was a necessity - then she would take her share of the things in little survival kit they had got together from the life raft.
It was almost completely dark now in the woods and before long Helen was feeling her way along more than she was looking where she was going. Overhead she could see stars straining to shine down light, the moon was large and brilliant helping them along so there was at least some light which she could guide her course by. It was not sufficient to see solely by however and as time went on and it felt increasingly like she had been walking for far longer than she should have been Helen began to feel yet another vein of panic; apparently she had managed to get herself lost.
"It's still better than being with those men," Helen muttered to herself under her breath as she brought slender arms up to hug herself and fend off some of the cool night air.
She eventually emerged from the tree line what felt like hours later and to Helen's horror she realised that she couldn't see the camp. She walked up and down the beach for a few moments until she assured herself that she wasn't on the same beach as she had suspected. This beach was blocked off at one end by what looked to be a solid cliff face and on the other end there was the mouth of what looked like a river flowing from inland. In the daylight she had no doubt that it would probably resemble a utterly contained perfect paradise but at the moment Helen could feel yet another wave of tears beginning to form as she realised that this was where she was going to have to spend the night. She tried to recover some of the ice maiden qualities that had haunted her throughout much of her life but found it impossible. Her feet were aching, her back too and her legs felt as if someone had been whipping them for the whole day long. There was nothing she wanted more at that moment than to sink into a warm bath and let the day's problems just be washed away.
She found a suitable spot and sank down into the sand, letting her body move the grains aside so as to make herself a small cocoon-like indentation. The ground was still warm from the day's light upon it and Helen accepted it gratefully, letting it lull her slightly after her day's exertions. Sleep was a long time coming however, her throat was dry, her lips cracked and she could feel the beginnings of a headache to add to all her other aches and pains and they all fought in tandem to see which was the worst and prevent her from slipping into rest. Eventually it came however and Helen disappeared within herself to dreams which were far from comforting for the main part.
It was impossible to remember precisely what the dreams were about; they were filled with flashing imagery that occurred out of sequence, haltingly and rapidly and made no sense to her once she woke. Any secret hope she had been harbouring that her night time thoughts would reveal any or some of what had happened the day before were dashed ruthlessly and when Helen woke the next day she found himself wondering whether the day before hadn't actually been a dream and she was fallen asleep on the island paradise that Lionel had sent her and Lex to. She found herself believing that she would roll over, open her eyes and find herself staring at Lex's profile as he slept in the sun by her side so much so that she hurriedly did just that only to find herself disappointed. The scene was the same one she remembered from the night before only brighter and was utterly devoid of life except for herself.
Sitting up she crossed her legs, rubbed her eyes and stretched while staring out at the impossibly blue ocean before her. There was nothing, absolutely nothing out there now that the tide had gone out exposing a new expanse of beach, or at least she thought until the sun caught something which was being shifted in the lapping water. Helen stood and wandered forwards towards the water's edge to take a closer look. Her legs were stiff and she walked with a slight gait that was easily explained by her exertions the day before but she was still quick to move down the beach where the promise of cool water on her limbs in the heat of the early morning sunlight could easily been fulfilled. Added to her instant curiously in what the object was that she could see in the distance it was an important incentive for her to make it down to the water's edge without getting distracted.
The sensation of the water sliding so easily over her feet was the perfect healing balm after the day before. The action made a wave of relaxation rush before her, ridding her of the tension that she hadn't even realised she had been feeling. It felt almost as if she could breath again, almost as if she could walk and talk and function like a regular human being whether that meant being able to take a piss without glancing over her shoulder every five seconds for fear that someone was creeping up on her or whether it meant that higher brain function were once again restored and she could start to wonder about how the hell she was going to be able to get off the stupid island she found herself stuck on. She abruptly decided that the first order of business after she discovered what it was that she had spotted in the distance was to find something to eat and to investigate to see whether the river she had seen opening up to the sea was fresh water or not. That done she would attempt to clean herself up as best as she could; reasoning that while there probably wasn't a photographer lurking behind the nearest tree then it would at least make her feel better within herself. No one had ever accused Helen Bryce of being slovenly after all and just because she had exchanged her surname for Luthor and was stuck on an island in the middle of nowhere it didn't mean that things should change in that respect.
That was something to think about for the future however.
Vaguely Helen realised that perhaps she was obsessing a little too much about the object she had seen winking at her from the distance. It was probably nothing. It was probably just the sun catching on the water like it was catching on the dulled white of her outfit. But still she found herself peering at it and carefully negotiating her way across the sands of the occasionally exposed sections of rock towards it. The thought of reaching it gave her actions purpose and for once since the day before Helen found herself moving towards something as opposed to running away from it; at first from the fact she had nearly drown, then from hearing Lex's fate and then from the men who had saved her when she had overheard what might possibly become of her if she stayed with them.
Having purpose was a relief. It was almost like having her life again.
Purpose was shuffling through a forty-eight hour long shift at light speed at the hospital where three kids with food poisoning have already vomited over you, a guy pissed himself while you were treating him, some loony-tune managed to get loose of his restraints to wrap an arm around your neck and you're just praying that the next person you treat doesn't die on you because you can barely keep your eyes open.
Purpose was somehow finding the time after work on the drive home to call in at the store and find a video of the film you thought of while kid number three had just finishing throwing up and was clinging onto your leg to stop you from going and finding a fresh set of scrubs just because you had always loved it and figured that Lex, being Lex and having been prevented from having any sort of normal life at all when he was still a child, probably hadn't seen it before and you found that the idea of introducing it to him was a particularly pleasant idea.
Purpose was something that involved looking forwards and luckily for Helen it avoided thinking about the past and the fact that the one man that she had ever really loved enough to get over her innate trust issues was dead and that she probably wouldn't even ever see the body because it was undoubtedly lying at the bottom of the ocean fulfilling her earlier visions of being fish food. She had seen before that when there was no body then there was always a lack of closure for the person who was left behind that generally led to a need for a good few years worth of shrink's bills.
When she reached the object Helen sank to her knees in the sand next to it. All in all it was bigger than she was. A curved piece of metal that had clearly been ripped away from a larger piece that was instantly recognisable with its hints of stylised writing in large lettering - something which undoubtedly had been part of the plane she had been travelling in. As she looked around her now Helen found herself confronted with what turned out to be even more scattered remains of even more of the plane; now clearly revealed for what it truly was. Pushing herself to her feet she walked around, minding her bare feet against any potential sharp pieces of debris that might be half hidden in the sand, turning over pieces of the material as she did so. More lumps of twisted metal, a leather covered seat completely intact except for a rip in the leather and then the thing she had been really looking for - a suitcase. Even better it was her own suitcase and after opening and finding herself confronted with dry clean clothing Helen dragged it back up the beach.
She felt exhausted by the time she had finished and was more than a little light-headed; it was a reminder that she had yet to eat anything that day. Sitting back on the sand Helen sorted through the contents of the suitcase until she came across the items she wanted. Stripping quickly she pulled on everything from fresh underwear to a pair of loose shorts and a shirt. She even found a brush in the suitcase and ran it through her hair. The clean clothes made her feel a little better, less as if her circumstances were as out of control as they actually seemed to be. It led to something which was almost reclaiming that control which she had always valued through the process of clear thoughts coming together once again.
Suddenly she was the clear thinking, composed young doctor who might one day stun the world but who more than anything wanted to help people and fulfil the rather large footsteps left by her father even if that meant reshaping them into a more suitable purpose. Purpose: that all important thing.
She was a daughter, a student, a healer, a lover, a girlfriend, a wife, a survivor.
Getting to her feet again was difficult; even more so when she suddenly found something flying at her, seemingly from all directions at once, and knocking her down again into the cushion of the sand. Her arms were flung over her head and held there, clutching at delicate little wrists painfully while a weight landed heavily on her lower body pinning it to the ground and making all movement par the smallest wriggle impossible. She kept her eyes closed knowing that it had to be one of her supposed saviours who had found her and not wanting to see the look on their faces the moment before they made the simple matter of being hungry a matter no more.
It wasn't giving up; it was far from that. It was the vague instinctive hope - no doubt the result of her ancestors - that perhaps being docile and submissive for once (her other options having certainly failed) would be enough to get her out of the predicament she was in. Maybe if she kept still enough and didn't fight them then they would decide that she wasn't a threat after all and let her go on either with them or without them.
After a moment, or perhaps a few moments, when nothing happened Helen found herself taking a deep breath and realising that it felt like she had been drowning all over again; there had been the same degree of suffocation, this time under hopes rather than water and her first subsequent breath of air was the knowledge that hopes were all well and good but it was actions that really mattered in the end. The action of making her eyes open had rarely been as difficult or as well rewarded.
The eyes that stared down at her were gloriously familiar; perfect blue points of light that for once were far from stormy in colour. For a moment she lingered in misunderstanding, taking the clarity of his eye's to be positive and then something flickered through them - something far from comforting and Lex's fingers closed around her throat, choking her and stealing the air from her body. It took a second for Helen to make the connection that something wasn't right even as she tried to draw in a ragged breath. Her own arms came flying up abruptly and she curled fingers over his, scratching at him when she realised that brute force wasn't going to be the answer. Her fingertips came away bloody; far more than they should have if she had merely clawed him and to her horror Helen became aware that Lex's hands were slick with the stuff, sliding against her neck, pushing the red stuff into her flesh without any sign of mercy.
He was covered in the stuff Helen realised. There were splatters of blood all over him, some of it heavy, some of it light but all the same it was all over him. His chest was bare and sunburnt; muscle definition more startlingly perfect that she had ever noticed it before and that somehow seemed to mirror the taunt line of his jaw as he ground teeth together. There was nothing of Lex in the face but the barest of memories. The pure joy she had felt on beholding him splintered sharply and tore into her like a shower of glass.
She hit out as darkness threatened to bleach her vision and felt her small fist connect solidly with his jaw.
It must have surprised him for there was no other really explanation for why Lex suddenly pulled back and looked at her accusingly. The man who he was at that moment was far removed from the sweet man who she had married only the day before; a day that now seemed like a million years ago. The clarity she had spied was not one of reason but rather something that went to places of Lex's mind that she had hoped that she would never see again. The man before her now was the same one who had walked into the hospital where she had first met him all those years before. This Lex was crazed, granted this time not on drugs as he had been then but on something far more dangerous simply because it was not something he had consumed but created within himself. What she plainly saw in his eyes now, the driving force behind his actions, was hate.
Evidently Lex was ready to blame her for something; either that or he was so far gone that he no longer recognised the fact that it was his wife that he had just been trying to kill. Part of Helen hoped it was the latter of the two solutions which was the truth. Then at least she knew that he did not intentionally mean her harm... if it were actually the first of the two then that left the question of exactly what she had done to anger him so? Or rather, perhaps, what he had thought she had done.
He reached for her again and Helen backed away from him quickly, scurrying in such a fashion that she stumbled more than once. When it seemed that there was a fairly safe distance between them she stopped, breathing hard and said, "Lex - what ever has come over you?"
It might have been the wrong thing to ask. The moment that the words filtered past Helen's lips she wished that she could take them back as she saw his lip twitch, his shoulders grow tight and a somewhat involuntary seeming series of movements flow through his hands. "What's the matter with me?" he laughed and as he did so he rubbed his hands together, moving the drying blood around until his entire hands were covered in it like the very incarnation of `caught red handed'. The most frightening part for Helen though at that moment was the fact that it was almost as if he was honestly asking himself the question as much as he was asking her it.
He looked around as if he expected to see someone approaching them, placing his hands on his thighs as he did so, remaining in the kneeling position he had held over her. "What came over me? Well, you see, my wife tried to kill me."
It made all thoughts stop. Her mind went blank but for that one phrase and the next thing that Helen knew she was going up on her knees and reaching out towards him. As her hand closed on his cheek and she fought the wave of revulsion that washed through her at the sight of blood on her hands Helen said, "I didn't. I had no idea what was happening. I woke up and the plane had already gone down."
"Why weren't you on it then?"
The words were cold, harsh and astonishingly stark in a way that tore at her. "I don't know. I don't remember."
"How wonderfully convenient for you; tell me, does this little bout of amnesia have anything to do with the fact that I was trying to kill you a few moments ago?"
She shook her head, the first stirrings of anger beginning to form. "Something happened to me Lex," she said shortly. "I woke up floating in the ocean and ended up being dragged here only to discover that I was going to be killed anyway so you can forget the idea that this was some plot against you and you alone."
Her hand was still on his face, the contact between them something which Helen found delicious even in spite of the circumstances. She moved her fingers a little, stroking him, feeling the eternally smooth skin which was such an oddity. "We promised to be honest with each other Lex; I still intend to keep to that promise. I did not try to have you killed. Don't let any trust issues get in the way now, not when we're both stuck in this mess."
Lex kept from looking at her directly, staring down at the sand and then at his hands which he turned so they were palms up. "You mentioned that you were brought here."
"By two men."
"The pilot and navigator," Helen confirmed quietly. "I over heard them talking; I think they were working for your father."
Lex nodded slowly, apparently deep in thought. "They aren't a problem anymore," he said finally and Helen felt her stomach turn. She quickly suppressed the urge to pull away from him, not wanting to upset the man before her who still seemed less than stable to her and who had just confessed to something that she didn't even want to think about. She supposed that she shouldn't really be surprised, when his hands had been closed around her throat then there had been no doubt in her mind that what she saw before her was a man capable of murder but a part of her had been in denial about it.
Shuffling forwards she pushed away any sense of revulsion that might have been lingering at the idea of being so close to all that blood and curled arms around his shoulders before pulling Lex towards her. He sank forwards, falling into her until he was nestled against her and reminding Helen more of the man she had known before than the one she had been confronted with minutes before. This Lex was gentle. This Lex was constantly worrying even if he didn't happen to show it whether those worries were about what people thought about him, whether he had upset her or whether he had managed to somehow turn into his father when he wasn't looking.
Her fingers brushed over his brow. He had once called her his saviour; he had once managed to convince her that when all was said and done it was her and her alone who was keeping him from doing just that and turning into his father. At the time Helen had wondered whether he hadn't been behaving overly dramatically and had dismissed it as him trying too hard to get back into her good books even as she had forgiven him and accepted it. The frightening thought was that perhaps he had managed to do what he least wanted to and that maybe there would be no way to go back now. The thought now stood prominently in her mind and Helen embraced it even as she clung onto Lex as she realised that she didn't want to be stuck on the island with such a man as Lex might have become. The prospect was frightening but it brought with it a startling realisation and once which she held onto; if she could have been his saviour once then she could certainly be so again. Leaning close, putting her lips close to his ear Helen said quietly, "Don't worry. It doesn't matter anymore. You're here with me, so it doesn't matter anymore."
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