On A Roll

by Signe

Set at the beginning of season 3 - spoilers for Shimmer and Exile.

Characters: Amy, Lex
Spoilers: Shimmer and Exile.
Beta: Many thanks to Alison.
A/N: For Antonia.

I'm on a roll,
I'm on a roll this time
I feel my luck could change.
...It's gonna be a glorious day!
I feel my luck could change.
Lucky ~ Radiohead

Amy woke step by step, body stretching lithe under her summer quilt, mind lagging behind. Daylight registered slowly, and sound, delayed. A soft plop - must have been the mailman who woke her.

Remnants of a dream lingered, details blurred into colorful abstracts, but a sense of contentment stayed strong and clear.

She felt good. Such a rare event, these days.

She missed waking up to hope; her days had always been bolstered by hope, however weak it had faded at times. Hope that he would smile at her the way he smiled at Clark, or say her name as fondly as a caress, or brush against her so the tingle of touch would linger. Even since Smallville, after the raw shame of discovery, she still clung to hope. He phoned her once after they'd all left, and the brief call had left her dancing around her bedroom, so sunny and giggly that Jeff had asked her what she'd taken and her mom had felt her forehead in concern. Twice she'd seen him in Metropolis, claimed the smile on his face for herself.

It had been days now, though, with no possible pretense that today would be the day he'd phone her, visit her, see her differently, realize they were meant to be. Days since she'd learned that everyone had given up on ever seeing Lex alive again, that she had to give up hope too.

Seeing the newspaper headline, R.I.P. Lex, screaming at her as she'd passed a news stand, had crushed something inside her. It didn't feel like she'd ever thought heartbreak would be, a sharp and bitter pain, a twisted knife wound. It felt more like her insides had been pumped full of local anesthetic, everything numbed, yet raw around the edges. Her mom, the evening they'd driven away from Smallville for good, had said the hurt would ease, and she'd meet someone else soon, someone suitable, and she should have taught Amy her place better and nipped her crush in the bud. All the things moms had said for centuries, that never helped at all, and weren't even true. But even her mom didn't know what to say when Amy had silently shoved the newspaper into her hand, standing hunch-shouldered and bewildered, unable to see the words anymore, just the image of Lex looking up at her, blurred through the tears that rose but wouldn't fall.

So this morning's pleasant dream and sense of contentment was unexpected. Amy wriggled her toes under the comforter, yawned, then pinched herself. No harm in checking to see if she was really awake. She was.

She thought she might as well shock her mom by getting up without being called. The thought amused her as she swung her legs out of bed and slipped on her over-size Minnie Mouse slippers.

Her mirror told her a strange tale as she went by. The story of a bright-eyed girl with lips curved up, wearing her pajamas and running fingers through tousled hair that was exactly the same shade of dark blonde as Amy's. Amy smiled at the girl in the mirror and watched in amusement as she got a beaming grin in return.

She padded downstairs for some juice, collecting the mail and The Inquisitor as she went.

The jug in the fridge was empty, but she didn't even think of cursing Jeff. She found a juice box in the cupboard, added ice cubes to the glass, then sifted through the mail as she sipped. All bills for her dad as usual. She picked up the paper with them to put on the table ready for him.

She dropped the paper, dropped her glass, too, from fingers made slack with shock. She watched them fall, watched a sticky orange trail spread across unbelievable words.

Luthor Heir Alive.

She wasn't sure how long she stood there, how long it was until she fell on her knees and wiped away the juice with her sleeve. She didn't want it to mar the most beautiful picture she had ever seen. Lex, sunburned, swollen scabby lips and raw-looking skin, stared gruffly up at her. Alive.

Her head sank to the page, kissing paper lips and paper cheeks. She caressed the image of sore skin and smiled through the tears that were finally falling.

Her dad had always said that the Luthors had all the luck in the world. Amy knew that was true, and then some. And Lex had shared his luck with her, given her back hope.

Maybe he'd call today.

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