Wisely, no one questioned it when Alexandra informed her board of directors she would be taking a short leave of absence. No one dared ask but all of them wondered. The CEO Of LexaCorp was a strong, vibrant and forceful woman who took no prisoners and suffered no fools but that was not the woman who stood before them and informed them of such. The woman who stood there looked the part of Alexandra Luthor but seemed...hollow. Her make up and suit were immaculate but her features were wan and pinched. Ordinarily fit and healthy, she was too thin and almost frail.
But none of them questioned it.
None of them dared.
Lois had plenty to say about it, of course, she held up a picture of the billionaire for her partner and lifted a brow. "So what do you think, Smallville? Is it just me or does the Princess of Darkness look a little under the weather? Maybe she's getting too much sunlight these days. I hear that's not good for her kind."
"Lois!" Clark glared at her over the tips of his glasses. "Knock it off."
"What?" The raven-haired beauty looked surprised. "Just making an observation."
"Keep your observations to yourself." He growled back, uncharacteristically angry, before getting up. "I'm going down to the docks."
"I'll come with you." She was halfway into her coat before he stopped her.
"I'm meeting a source. He doesn't much like company." Without looking back, Clark left the Planet.
"Lois?" Stopping beside the desk, Jimmy frowned in confusion. "What's up with CK? He seems...a little off."
"He seems a lot off." She countered, frowning as well.
"Maybe he's finally had it with all your Lexa comments. They have been...close for a long time." The complex relationship that surrounded Clark Kent and Alexandra Luthor had always been a touchy subject for Lois and Jimmy had long since learned to approach it with care. He couldn't recall ever actually referring to it as what it was. A relationship. He had a feeling Lois would probably teach him the true meaning to cruel and unusual punishment if he did. "That was kind of harsh."
"Maybe." She agreed reluctantly. "But...somehow...I don't think that's it."
Standing in the shadows on the roof of the Luthor building, Superman's cape wafted about his body with the breeze almost silently. Mercy Graves' approach was even more silent. As quiet as death...but still...
"You're late, Mercy."
"I waited for her to fall asleep." Lexa's bodyguard answered, her voice unrepentant. "She needs the rest."
"What's wrong with her?"
"Don't you know? It's your fault." The woman mocked angrily.
"Me?" Superman turned to face her, geniunely confused. "How did I..."
"There was a child." Mercy bit out the words, tight and concise. Allowing as little emotion into them as possible.
"Lexa is..." His words left him when her choice of words sunk in.
"She was. She's not now." Her voice barely a whisper, the young woman continued on stoically. "The chances of it were slim of it surviving, you both know that. The...It just wasn't viable. She tried. She tried everything. But...there was no way..."
Superman's voice was hoarse, agonized, when he finally spoke again. "How...How is she?"
"How do you think she is?"
"I have to see..."
"No. Not yet." Mercy was cold at first but then she relented and reached out to touch his shoulder, as much comfort as she could give. "She isn't ready to face you. I don't know when she will be..." She turned to leave, to go back inside to the penthouse, but stopped in the doorway. "Superman..."
About to step off the roof, he looked back over his shoulder. "Yes?"
He hesitated. "So am I."
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