Five Conversations Lex Luthor Never Had

by Marisol


These stories are independent of each other, and are only linked by their falsehood. Also, I am not familiar with the private-school soccer culture of the UK, so I drew from the high-school football culture of the US. Am I begging for discrepancies? I think so. Do I care? I think not.


Rated: G
Category: AU, Drama, Angst, Humor
Spoilers: Mmmm, well. You really should be watching the show. It's pretty good. Description: Five conversations that Lex never had with Lillian, Julian, Duke, Helen and Alistair Finch. Notes: These stories are independent of each other, and are only linked by their falsehood. Also, I am not familiar with the private-school soccer culture of the UK, so I drew from the high-school football culture of the US. Am I begging for discrepancies? I think so. Do I care? I think not. Disclaimer: Not mine. Not mine.
Feedback: I fiend for it.


Lillian.

Lex and Lillian were back at the suite, and Lex was lying on his mother's bed, his own shoeless feet propped up on hers. His cap was at the foot of the bed, and his gown was draped on the bed rail. Mercifully, Julian was gone to . . . who knows where, maybe with Pamela.

"Remember when you used to do this? Crawl into my bed and snuggle under blankets while I read you stories, or we would sometimes watch old movies?" she asked. Lex could hear the smile in her voice. He nodded, smiling himself. "Where have those years gone?" she said. She didn't sound sad, just . . . sincerely amazed, and maybe a little sad. Lex sat up, leaning on his own shoulder. He sunk into the plush comforters of the monstrous bed, looking at his mother. He had something to tell her.

"Um, Mom, can I tell you something?" Lex started. It was kind of childish to ask first; he even thought so.

"Do you need to ask?" she said, amused.

"I did something that I didn't tell you about." She looked at him calmly, giving him nothing. "I applied to Metropolis University."

His mother's eased into a hesitant grin, like when your parents were about to allow you to do something that even you yourself knew you had no business doing.

"And?" she said.

"And they accepted me." Lex said. They stared at each other a minute, both awaiting the other's response. He watched his mother's face morph slowly from a silent giggle, to a repressed smile, to sideways glance, to a stoic indifference.

"You do these things to torment me, Alexander," she finally said.

"No, Mom," Lex started earnestly, "It's just..."

"Just what?" she said. Lex anticipated some irritation, but his mother sounded truly miffed.

"If I'm going to major in economics and chemistry, I feel I need to do that from the country I'm going to work from. The United States is the financial empire of the world, the headquarters of international commerce, the hotbed of scientific discovery - "

"Stop right there," Lillian interrupted. Lex slammed on the brakes. His mother leaned forward taking his chin in her fingers and talking directly in his eyes. "Fine. America is the land of the free, home of the brave. But, if this was really about vocational advancement and educational opportunity, you wouldn't have waited until today, with registration less than three months away, to casually mention it, after we're already preparing you to go to Oxford." Lex bit the inside of his jaw - he knew she was right.

"I'm tired of England," he said. "I want to come home. I want real hamburgers, and decent jeans. I want to see you more than every few months, and, and, and . . . Julian needs a big brother. " He finally stopped. He could have kept going on forever, frantically listing reasons, hoping his mother would throw him a bone, make him think he wasn't crazy for wanting to go to a good, but clearly second-tier school when arguably the most reputed institution of higher learning in the world was inches from his fingertips.

"You and I both know you're preaching to the choir. Don't you know I would love to have you back in Metropolis with me? But this isn't about me. You have to want this. You've got to do this for yourself." She placed her hand on his. "You're going to have to explain that you've considered all the options, weighed the good and bad, thoughtfully pondered what would be in the best interest of your short and long-term goals, and that this is the decision that you've made." She looked at him with a confidence and sagacity that would assure even the most timid adolescent on the brink of adulthood. It only gutted Lex more to know that his reality wasn't that simple. He felt himself droop and he dropped his head.

"But I can't tell him," he said. She gently lifted his chin.

"So, you commit emotional tyranny on me hoping that I would do the honors?" she asked. Lex said nothing. In an almost uncanny reflection of each other, they both leaned back against the headboard, heads tilted back and stared at the ceiling. It probably was a sign for something, something that on any other day they might have explored, if their minds weren't so inextricably placed elsewhere. His mother suddenly spoke. "It's so ironic; I remember wanting to live in England as a girl," she said whimsically, sighing with the memory.

"Why did you want to live in England?" Lex asked, brow furrowed with curiosity.

"Mmm," his mother started, a small grin appearing on her face, "I read all those Jane Austen books. Especially 'Pride and Prejudice.' And boy - if I didn't want a Mr. Darcy to drop into my little cottage and sweep me off of my feet." She paused. "Back then I was into the strong silent types. Brooding, misunderstood, complex men. And I wanted to be the Elizabeth Bennett to figure them out." She fell off talking and seemed to be daydreaming.

"Is that why you married Dad?" Lex asked after a moment. Lillian turned her head towards him and drew a deep breath.

"Well," she said, "it's not why I married him. But it definitely had something to do with why I was attracted to him in the first place." she paused, and then patted Lex's hand. "I was so proud of you today. Seeing you in all your regalia with all the other candidates. You're finished with your first big stage in life. It's the day every mother," she swallowed hard, smiling. "every mother lives for." Lex knew his mother was holding back tears. It made him feel a little embarrassed - but very proud. "And," she said, tapping his nose "you got accepted by two great universities. So, you got a bright future ahead of you Alexander." Lex nodded. "I don't want self-doubt, and expectations of others, and intimidation altering who you were meant to be." And now, she really did look sad. "I'm sorry Lex," she said.

Lex sat up, surprised, and concerned. "Why are you saying that, Mom?"

"For all the times I fought too hard . . . and all the times I didn't fight hard enough." She was shaking her head.

"Why are saying that?" Lex repeated, "You've been great."

"Thanks, hon. It's just...sometimes I look at you, then I look at Julian, and I wonder if I should of done things a little differently."

Lex didn't want his mother taking the blame for anything his father did. He understood better than anyone else what it was like to be under the thumb of Lionel Luthor.

"Hey," Julian said bursting through the door. Lionel came in after him.

"The brat's back," Lex mumbled under his breath.

"Dad took me to go look at the atrium," the six-year-old said, running up to Lillian and hugging her.

"Very nice, darling," she said cheerily.

"Hardly nice. He's easily impressed," Lionel said, hanging his coat in the closet, "I've seen more sophisticated architecture in Nashville." He looked at Lex, "Very well done today, Lex. You should be proud of yourself," he said, a typical deflective compliment. "So, you ready to shed Excelsior and don your Oxford apparel?" he said in his most blustering voice. It was more declaration than question. Lex cleared his throat.

"Yeah," he said cheerily, "I was just talking about how ready I am for college with Mom. I can't wait."

"Excellent," Lionel said, before disappearing into the adjoining bathroom.

Lex hesitantly turned to his mother. She was looking at him with a mournful resignation that hit Lex like a punch in the stomach.

She turned to Julian and started to read.


Julian.

Lex gave Pamela a quick peck on the cheek after entering the door. She rattled off some quick, but loud, statements that he heard but wouldn't listen to until later, when he had the time and energy to process it. Then he headed up the stairs, the long trip only made more laborious by the military regulation knapsack on his back that was holding laundry, books, and a medley of assorted "stuff" that defies the laws of space of time. He collapsed into bed, exhausted, but mostly bored.

He hated to think it, but this place was feeling less and less like home. He had been so tempted to stay the weekend in his dorm. But he knew two weekends in a row was too long a time away.

There was a knock on the door.

"Who is it?" Lex yelled. Without answering, Julian opened the door and came in. "You're supposed to say Lee, Lee," Lex said exasperated.

"Can you read me a story?" Julian asked.

"I don't know," Lex said, some of Pamela's words already reappearing, "Did you behave yourself this week?"

"Yes?" Julian said, sincerely unsure of the truth.

"That's not what Pam said," Lex said, with the best scolding face he could muster. Julian seemed unfazed, and crawled onto the bed.

"Read me this, Alexander," he said, big book in hand. Lex thought he probably should press the issue, but didn't.

"What do we have here?" he asked, taking the book into his hands. "Where is My Mother, by PD Eastman." Julian snuggled in, ready to be read a story. "Mother bird sat on her egg. The egg jumped. 'OH OH!' said the mother bird." Julian erupted into laughter. "What?" Lex asked.

"That was funny," Julian said, still giggling. Lex shook his head and resumed reading.

" 'My baby will be here! He will want to eat. I must get something for my baby bird to eat!' she said. 'I will be back!' So away she went. The egg jumped. It jumped, and jumped, and jumped! Out came the baby bird! 'Where is my mother?' he said. He looked for her. He looked up. He did not see her. He looked down. He did not see her. 'I will go and look for her," he said. So away he went. Down, out of the tree he went."

"Alexander?" Julian suddenly interrupted, pensively.

"Yeah?" Lex replied.

"Can Pamela be my mother?" he asked. Lex sighed, a little uncomfortable. "For play-play?"

"Yeah, Lee, she can be your mother," he answered hesitantly, and kept reading. "Down, down, down! It was a long way down. The baby bird could not fly. He could not fly, but he could walk. `Now I will go and find my mother,' he said."

"Alexander?" Julian said.

"Yes, Lee?" Lex said, terrified of his next words.

"Can you marry Pamela, then she can be my mom, and you can be my dad?"

"Lee!" Lex exclaimed, horrified at the thought. He closed the book and spun around looking Julian in the eyes. "I am your brother, Pamela is - " he paused. He didn't know what to call her. "Pamela is awesome. We both love you very much. That's all that matters." Julian seemed a little shell-shocked but otherwise calm. His big brother, on the other hand, was on the verge of a coronary. "Put this book up and go get another one."

"But I wanna read this one," Julian said, bottom lip hanging down to his chin. Lex handed him the book.

"Go get another book, Julian, or I'm not reading you anything," he said, sterner this time.

"But I wanna read this one," he repeated, on the verge of tantrum.

"Fine then, you don't get anything. Bye," Lex said sternly. Julian grabbed the book and stormed off into the corner crying.

"You never want to play with me," he said, arms crossed and tears gushing.

"Julian, that's not it," Lex pleaded, but by this point, Julian was a puddle of tears. Lex relented. "Uuugghhh! Come here," he said, desperately wishing for the PlayStation back in his dorm. He'd even settle for his Calculus book at this point. "But you have got to stop crying and you have got to stop asking questions."

"OK," Julian whimpered. He got up, wiped his tears on his sleeve and dramatically made his way back to the bed. Reluctantly, Lex opened the book back up, and continued reading for a third time. "He did not know what his mother looked like. He went right by her. He did not see her. He came to a kitten." And then the line Lex dreaded. "`Are you my mother?'"

"Where's Mommy?" Julian asked, right on cue.

Lex had told him before...many times. He somehow thought honesty would have saved him from discussions like this one.

"She passed, remember? Now you said you weren't gonna ask anymore questions." He turned to Julian, who was staring right through him.

"Then where's Daddy?"

Lex was silent for a long time. He had answered this one many times before too. But it always bothered him more. It made him angry that it always got to him. Every. Single. Time. Maybe because the answer wasn't so simple. Or so honest.

"He passed too," Lex said finally. Julian looked up at Lex, a little sad.

"I know," he said. Lex looked off into the distance, his thoughts elsewhere. "Keep reading, Alexander," Julian prodded.

"I can't Lee. I don't feel good, I'm sick, OK?" Lex said.

"Want me to get you some medicine?" Julian offered.

"No, just go play in your room quietly."

Julian took his book, and walked out of the door.

Lex laid back in his bed and stared at the ceiling, just thinking. His father was dead. That much was true. But passed? That was just a euphamism for the ghastly reality. A reality he could never picture himself telling Julian. How could he ever tell Julian the truth? When would that day ever come? When would he be comfortable saying "Julian, the night before your baptism, your mother shot your father. She wasn't a bad person, just postpartum and depressed, and she went to a mental institution, where she died eight months later. Oh, and don't feel too bad for Dad, because Pamela says that Lionel was an evil man, and tormented Lillian, so that's why she did it. OK, go run and play now"?

Lex still remembered the night it happened. Or actually the morning after. At least he assumed he still did, because he never thought about it. Why should he? It's nightmarish and grisly, and he had enough stuff to worry about.

There are two things that sometimes haunted him, though, when he rode the subway, or waited in line, or ate by himself. The first was how his Mom could have done it. Lex remembered her being loving and sweet, and nurturing, and sometimes really sick, but always...just wonderful. He can't reconcile the person he knew with the woman who died - broken, insane and alone - in Belle Reve.

He also couldn't reconcile the father he knew with the person Pamela described. They had even argued about it once. Well, Lex argued, Pamela watched. She had a pitiful expression on her face. The same way you look at someone who speaks of a dead person in the present tense or talks to a headstone. Lex remembered his father being strict, even harsh sometimes. But Pamela talked about him like he was Satan. Lex supposed there are things that he didn't remember, or that he hadn't understood as a child. Still, it bothered him that he couldn''t judge for himself, because he couldn't 't believe Pamela's version, and didn't trust his own. He wished he knew the truth.

And maybe Julian did too. Maybe that's why he kept asking, and asking and asking. Maybe he knew a half-truth when he heard one, even if he was only six years old.

Lex would tell him the truth. One day. Maybe.

He leaned off the bed and started rummaging through his impossibly disorganized knapsack, before reaching for his cell-phone.

"Hey babe," he said into the phone, after a small wait, "It's Lex...I know you recognize my voice, but still...I'm alright...Lee's cool too...I am alright, it's just - " he sighed, "I guess I just needed somebody to talk to."


Alistair Finch.

Lex is consumed, engulfed in emotion as he kneels prostrate on the football pitch. They all might think he is praying, and perhaps he is in his own heathen way. That is, if prayer has anything to do with overwhelming emotion, the humbling sensation of recognizing powers and forces greater than yourself and being on the verge of hysteria and tears. And thinking about dead people who you would will alive if you could for this moment, this astronomically cosmic moment in time.

He stands up to the sound of 1,000 people chanting in his ear, screaming nothing in particular. He tears his shirt off and whirls it in the air, and he is suddenly accosted by his teammates. In an onslaught of bodies, he feels himself up in the air, over the crowds, and now he's hollering. Because in blood and sweat and tears he's waited for this moment, for this day that even he often thought would never come. The day when he's finally earned his mettle at Excelsior. And he's thrilled.

He finds himself terrestrial again, save for leaps in the air, and demonstrations of a joy he can barely contain. And that's when his eyes focus and he see Alistair Finch, local newscaster, there in front of him.

"Alexander," Alistair says, running up to him, beaming and all smiles, "How do you feel right now, in this moment." Lex stares at the man just a fraction of a moment longer than he should. He has imagined this conversation a million times and it is more than a little surreal to actually be living it.

"Awesome!" he yells.

"So, what do you say to people who say that American footballers do not pull their own weight?"

"Absolute rubbish!" he yells again. It was the one question and answer he has dreamt about, made even sweeter by the fact that his father hates it when he sounds British. It was apparently the only pretension that bothered Lionel. Lex figures some assimilation comes with the territory, and even if it doesn't, the fact that it peeves his father is motive enough.

And then there were are questions, of which Lex only has a vague awareness of. Because he is too busy absorbing the moment. He remembers words like "football," "goals," "defense," "kits." He remembers saying snips of phrases, "I just thank...," "...such a day...," "final moments...," "Ian Callum." They flow in and out in a sparse coherency that he hopes someone else will remember, when he has time to actually think.

He's aware that he hasn't saved any lives, or changed the world, or even made any money. But he was a hero in his own little microcosm, and man, does he feel great.

He's going to treat everyone to a pint tonight. Today's his day, and he's gonna savor every minute of it.


Duke.

This is the part of Lex's life that he hates the most.

"Really, you can't keep doing this to me," Duke said, half-joking and half-exasperated.

"What?" Lex replied, already defensive.

"I see you..what?...every three months in a good year. You leave my chair revitalized, hair full of body, conditioned, ends blunt, delectably highlighted. Then you disappear. When you return, you bring me split ends, deplorable roots, dry, frizzy, fried, flat hair. Have you applied for government funding? Except for you couture threads, you're an absolute federal disaster."

"Duke?" Lex replied.

"Yeah?"

"Um, I would love to indulge your little tirades but, um, two things: they bore me, and I'm on the clock, so could you do that thing you do and let me go?"

"Sure Lex," Duke said laughing, "What do you want?" He spun the chair around so that Lex could look at himself in the mirrors.

"And I have to know what I want!" Lex exclaimed. "This is why I hire experts. You are my cosmetological expert, and probably receive a higher percentage of my personal income than anyone else."

"Wow," Duke said flatly, "you're that cheap with your staff?"

"You, however, are not my expert in humor."

"OK, you're in rare form today, and by the looks of your roots, it probably has something to do with those untamed red locks, so let's get to work." He rubbed his hands together. "OK, so current fashion trendsetters for men are Ryan Seacrest, David Beckham, Sean Combs, Ashton Kutcher and the omnipresent Tom Cruise."

"And you memorize this stuff." Lex bit his bottom lip. "Well, Tom Cruise is the only name on that list ringing any bells, so I'm scared. 'Cause, um, last I saw, his hair was Samurai chic: long, botched and grimy."

"If that's what you want, my work is done. That'll be $315.00, thank you."

"Duke, you know what I love about you...your ability to be a hemorrhoid. Tell me about the other guys."

"They're all metrosexual." Lex didn't know what that was either, but he liked the sound of it.

"In that case, the Waterchestnut guy."

"Who?" Duke said, snorting a laugh through his nose. "If you're referring to Ryan Seacrest, he alternates between a short highlighted shag, and a faux hawk."

"As in mo-hawk?"

"Yeah, but they aren't just for punks anymore. The style is tapered on the sides, and then you just gel it up when you want a hawk, and pomade it down when you want a more...LuthorCorp look to match those Armani suits. Dress it up, dress it down. It's all in the cut." Lex looked at him in the mirror like he had grown a third head. "What? It can't be anymore dated than that ponytail I saw you pulling out as you were coming up the walkway." Lex just shook his head.

"On days like this I wish I were bald," he said, dismissively. Duke erupted into laughter. "You laugh, but I'm serious. It would make my life a whole lot easier." He sighed. "OK, do your thing," he said, and Duke began to cut.


Helen.

"Twenty-three-years-old and divorced twice," he thought out loud, which means he thought it in a way that anyway watching would have known exactly what he was thinking. Annulled twice, he thought as a footnote, but not out loud. Of course, he didn't have to get this one annulled. In a short while, Helen could be legally presumed dead, and the break would be equally as absolute. But an annulment meant that that the whole affair had been a cataclysmic mistake that was so soon realized that it should never even be acknowledged. And if there was ever a marriage that should be annulled, this was it.

Besides, Helen's father was, understandably, at once catatonic and manic from her disappearance, and incessantly harassing Lex for all types of assistance. Lex would be more than glad to divest himself of the responsibility of being her next-of-kin.

It was funny - as long as he was old enough to have an opinion about such a thing, Lex never thought that he would get married. He imagined himself spending his youth playing the field, sowing his wild oats, and fulfilling other clichs about being a rogue. He'd maybe even make a couple of appearances on People's list of eligible bachelors. Sometime in his late 20's - maybe 27, 28...29? - he would meet a pistol of a woman, an intellectual equal, who would inspire him to do something like settling down. They would come to a progressive, tacit understanding, and then he would devote himself to her, deciding everyday to love his lady, and she would be his.

That was the plan.

Until he fell in love. Real love. And then he found himself accosted by a compulsion stronger than the lust that had defined his relationships for years. It made him have an almost biological desire to seal the union. He craved ceremony, and documentation, and vows and other sublime things that gave sanctity to human endeavors.

He wanted marriage.

But wedded bliss was not to be. The only lists he was making included people like Jennifer Lopez and Nicholas Cage. His nuptials to Desire had been a spectacular disaster and a cosmic lesson in deception. But then again, who could resist a potent pheromone someone exhaled during passionate kissing? If Lex Luthor couldn't, no one could. Not even those pristine Kent boys down the road. They both had been...ahem...seduced by her charms, no matter how much Clark protested to the contrary. Still, he figured that the reality of the matter was that Clark deserved forgiveness, and, after managing to dig his own way up from the rubble of the emotional maelstrom of that time, Lex managed to forgive himself. He even found a way to date again, love again, marry again.

Die again.

And finally rise again. But this time, he came back changed. He found himself accosted by a compulsion stronger than the optimism that had defined the relationship. The incident had given him an almost biological desire to decimate the union. He had near-rabid impulses to exact revenge, to retaliate, to humiliate and other vile things that desecrated traitorous connections. He wanted blood.

He would manage to settle for much less.

"Would you like me to return tomorrow, Mr. Luthor?" the attorney asked. Lex looked up from his somewhat embarrassing trance, and struggled to find his bearings.

"Um, yes, Mr. Pramuk. Um, I have the custom of scouring paperwork before I sign. If you don't mind, I'll have my assistant drop it by your office tomorrow."

"One thing," Mr. Pramuk added, "your signature must be notarized." He turned to the notary republic at his side.

"Of course," Lex replied. "I have one I'm accustomed to using."

"Tomorrow, then?" Mr. Pramuk said, rising from his chair.

"Yes, thank you." He rose as well, shaking Mr. Pramuk's hand and then calling Todd to escort him and the notary to the door.

After his guests were definitely gone, Lex tossed the papers to the side and left the room. He slowly walked down the halls, going nowhere in particular. One of his maids, Anahid, was in the hall as well, approaching from the opposite direction. She slowed as she drew closer, dropping her eyes.

"Was there something you wanted, Mr. Luthor?" she asked as they met. And then Lex realized that he had been staring too intently. He just shook his head no, slowly. She continued, a little shaken.

All of his life Lex had struggled with intense feelings of absolute isolation - like maybe he was the sole person of his kind on the planet. He viewed himself as invisible, and others as remote. Truthfully, he hadn't even struggled with the feelings - he had just believed that he was simply too different, and had accepted it so long ago that he couldn't remember ever feeling differently. He actually took comfort in the word alien; it was ironically familiar.

But when he came to Smallville, he became aware of people in a different way. People like Anahid. He started to wonder about what they thought and how they felt. He wondered if they sometimes talked about things like his tirades, his friends, they way he ran up the stairs two at a time when he didn't have company...or if they talked about his marriages. Those huge fiascoes that would have had a lesser person, a person less accustomed to abuse, in cold sweats for months.

He wondered why the closest thing he had ever had to a best friend was still light years away from the type of intimacy that he knew could be. He wondered why Clark hid from him. Maybe Clark didn't understand. Maybe understanding was too much to ask from the paragon-of-normal, slice-of-American-pie boy who was born and bred in the Heartland. Maybe Lex was too different, too alien, after all.

Helen's room. That's where he was standing now. They had their room. But this had been Helen's room, for all the reason's that someone needs a space of their own. He looked through the doors into the room that hadn't been hers a year, and yet, so embodied her, from the exotic decorations to the hidden storage.

It oddly reminded him of those accursed days on that island.

And then Helen is before him - in the flesh. He is desiccated with burns, and savage, while she is radiant and refined. And they are sitting here in this room. No, she is sitting, and he is entering. She doesn't see him - not at first. Her eyes are turned down, and she is tucked in the corner like a neglected puppy. Then, all of a sudden, she turns to him. Her eyes light up like a thousand moons, and in an instant, she is in front of him, on him, her arms around him. She is crying. And...maybe he is too. He drinks the pained and welcoming expression on her face with a thirst he's never had for any brandy. Her hands caress his chapped face gingerly, tenderly. She rises where she is and her supple, crimson lips brush against his pallid and parched mouth. She is tentative - a mixture of shock and overwhelming joy.

"I can't believe it," she says finally, her lips still dancing around his. "I can't believe my eyes. I dreamed this dream a thousand times a day and here it is, in real life." She is laughing, just barely. Laughing and crying.

Lex closes his eyes, and leans his head against hers. "I missed you," he just barely whispers into her fragrant hair. The simplicity of the statement belies the almost maddening longing he has had for her - for home.

"Does your father know?" she whispers from below. He feels her warm breath against his neck.

"Shhh," he replies, the gun, tucked into the back of his pants, still hot against his flesh. "This moment is all that matters." He envelops her in his arms in an ardent embrace. She presses her palms against his chest, snuggling her head under his. And then she pulls away. Her eyes meet his, sadly.

"Precious," she says, her eyes weeping without tears. She leads him over to the couch and motions for him to sit. She begins to unbutton his shirt, removing it, peeling it, from his blistering skin. She's a doctor; she's seen much worse. Yet, she grimaces at the sight. She brushes his face again. She leaves the room and returns with a jar of ointment. She gently rubs the balm over his skin, soothing his hurt, calming his spirit, nourishing his soul. Lex watches her silently with a compliant trust, turning this way or that way when prodded to. She rubs a little balm over his eye. He takes her out stretched hand into his own and kisses it.

"Why did you do it?" he asked suddenly. She shakes her head, not understanding.

"What made you forgive me, take me back?" He asks so earnestly, so plaintively that he almost pities himself.

"I love you Lex Luthor. I always will. Once I realized that," she stoops before him, eye-level, "my decision was easy." It is what Lex has longed to hear all of his life - that he is forgiven, that he is loved. She smiles, and then, shaking her head, begins to cry again, a cry of regret. "Oh, Lex. I'm sorry I ever doubted."

It's Lex's turn to comfort. He takes her chin and lifts it up, leaning in for a kiss. In it, there is warmth, there is heat, and there is fire. And there is absolutely nothing tentative about it. He pours himself into it, unrelenting, with every bit of his vulnerable, aching, longing, broken self. This is a kiss that may never end. It's the kiss that is bringing him back to life.

And then Lex heard a crashing sound. He turned to find Anahid in the hall again, walking in the opposite direction. She had dropped a box she was carrying, and is scrambling to collect the gathered goods. She looked quickly up at him again - the same face from earlier.

Lex turned his attention back to the room. It was empty. Empty of humans anyway. There was no Helen, no fire, no discarded shirt, and no balm. And Lex sank.

The best conversation of his life was a conversation that Lex Luthor never had.

And he wanted blood.

But he'd have to settle for much less.

He pulled himself away from the room and walked towards his study - his sanctuary and lair. He phoned his assistant.

"Felicia," he says after a brief pause, "please have Trisha Hinners come over as soon as possible....Yes, her...I need to have something notarized...Thank you." With that he hung up the phone, sat back in his chair, and waited.



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