Title: Promises Made and Promises Kept
Disclaimer: I don't own anything that has to do with Smallville; it's characters, DC comics, or the WB. I'm just using their stuff for a little bit of non-profitable fun.
Authors Notes: This is kind of in response to the "A Challenge in a Can" over at "The First Church of Lex" site. The three words I got were, Lionel/Furious/Space. It doesn't really fit the challenge, but those words inspired the story.
Summary: Lex promised he would take care of his brother.
Lex had promised his mother that he would take care of his brother. He had always had somewhat of a protective streak, where Julian was concerned, anyway. So it hadn't seemed like much of a sacrifice at the time. Plus he had thought that Pam would be there to help him.
For the most part, Lex had kept his promise. He watched over Julian like a hawk whenever he was home, which wasn't very often. And he made sure that his brother had a means of reaching him when he was at school. Julian never did get into trouble, though. Then again, not many four-year-olds did. But, Lex was always watchful, just to be sure. He had that feeling that if he turned his back for a second, something would happen to Julian, and he would inadvertently break his promise to his mother.
And that was why Lex was in the Penthouse library at 10:30 at night, pretending to read Nietzsche while Julian played with his action figures. There were a million different things he could be doing at the moment, but instead he was sitting on a couch watching his brother run around the room in his dark blue footy pajamas, doing his best to bring his figurines to life. Only pausing every now and then to take a sip of milk from the glass he had setting on the coffee table. It was quite comical, in Lex's opinion.
"Lex!" Julian called out.
"Yeah, Jules?" He replied, fanning disinterest.
"Do you want to play with me?" Julian asked.
Lex chucked before letting out an exaggerated sigh and looking up from his book. "I think I'm a little to old to be playing with toys, Julian."
"Pleeease, Lex." He begged.
"I'm sorry, but I can't." Lex replied, trying to hide his amusement. "Besides, I need to finish reading this."
"Come on! You know you want to!"
Truthfully, Lex really did want to. Though he would never admit it to anyone, he enjoyed hanging out and playing with Julian. It was a way for him to escape from the burdens of his own life. "Sorry."
"I'll let you be Warrior Angel." Julian replied, not giving up in his attempts to convince his older brother.
"As tempting as that is, Julian, the answer is still no." With that, Lex went back to reading his book.
"Fine!" Julian said making sure his disappointment was apparent. He really wanted Lex to play with him. He barely got to see his older brother, so he spent every minute he could with him when he was home. Which was why he was trying to stay up as late as possible. Julian watched his brother for a minute, waiting until he was certain that Lex was no longer paying any attention to him. He then snuck up and snatched the book out of his hands. "Ha!" He exclaimed triumphantly. "You can't read your stupid old book now!"
Lex reached out to grab him, but Julian dodged out of the way and took off towards the other side of the room. Giving in, Lex jumped up off the couch and took chase after his brother.
Julian laughed as he ran as fast as he could, around the room. He made circles around the coffee table and couch, trying to put as many obstacles as possible between himself and his brother. He was just rounding the couch for a third time when his pajama covered foot caught on the edge of the Oriental rug, and he went tumbling to the ground. He landed with a thud next to the coffee table. He looked back to see Lex coming towards him and went to roll under the table bumping one of the legs as he did so. The force with which he hit the table caused it to shake hard enough to knock over the glass of milk setting on top of it.
It was at that exact moment that the library doors swung open and their father came storming into the room. Lex took one look at him and froze. He wasn't sure how he knew, but he could tell immediately that their father was drunk.
"What the hell is going on in here?" Lionel demanded. His eyes caught sight of Julian hiding underneath the coffee table, and the spilled milk staining his $2,000 rug. "Get out from under there, Julian!" He barked.
Julian jumped and banged his head on the table. He didn't hit it hard enough to cause a lot of pain, but that and Lionel's yelling was enough to bring tears to his eyes. He crawled out from under the table and stood up, hanging his head.
Lionel stormed over to where the two boys were standing apart from each other. "Did you do this Julian? Huh? How often have I told you that the library is not a play pen?"
Julian continued to look at his feet, attempting to hold back his sniffles. Lionel grabbed a hold of his arm and shook it. "I expect an answer when I speak to you!" He bellowed.
"Dad." Lex said, his voice soft. "It was an accident."
"Shut up, Alexander!" Lionel spat, as he swung around to face Lex, spitting in his son's face as he did so. "I wasn't speaking to you! And until I do keep you mouth shut!"
Julian let out another sniffle, causing Lionel to turn back to him. "Stop you're crying, or I'll give you something to cry about!" At the next sniffle, Lionel pulled his hand back and went to slap Julian. However, his palm never made contact with his four-year-old's face. Instead, he found a pale hand clasped around his wrist.
"Dad, stop it!" Lex pleaded. "It's just some spilled milk."
"I told you to stay out of this, Alexander!" Lionel said.
"I'm not going to let you hit him!" Lex told him.
"Are you challenging me, Lex?" Lionel laughed. "If I were you I would reconsider."
"Dad." Julian whispered.
"Leave, Julian." Lex told him, without taking his eyes off his father.
"Lex?" Julian asked, his worry and concern evident in his voice.
"I said go, Julian!" Lex yelled.
The boy nodded his head then quickly fled the room. Lex let out a sigh of relief when he heard the library door behind him close, letting down his guard for a minute.
Lionel watched his older son relax and used the moment to his advantage. He grabbed a hold of the arm that Lex had used to stop him from hitting Julian, spun Lex around, twisting his arm up behind his back as he did so. Lionel smiled at the small gasp of pain and surprise that Lex let out. "I told you that you should reconsider challenging me, Lex." Lionel tsked. "But you never listen, do you? Never listen to my rules, do you son? Well, I guess I'll just have to beat them into you."
Lex could hear his heart pounding in his chest, and feel the sweat streaking down his face. His father wasn't really a violent person, but Lex knew that he was intoxicated. And that scared him. "Dad, you're drunk. You're not thinking properly. You don't want to do this." He said, unable to keep the small quiver out of his voice.
Lionel laughed. "No, I didn't want to do this, Lex. But you didn't give me much of a choice now did you?"
"Dad..." Lex words were cut off when his father spun him around and backhanded him across the face. The force of the blow knocked him off his feet and he went careening to the floor, smacking his cheek on the edge of the coffee table as he went.
"I thought I told you to shut up!" Lionel yelled as he loomed over top of him.
Lex struggled to his feet, grateful that his father didn't kick or hit him while he was down. He swayed a little as he stood there with stars dancing in front of his eyes.
"That's right, Lex. Stand up and take it like a man." He said, his voice dripping with sarcasm. He grabbed Lex's chin and jerked his head up so Lex was looking at him. "I don't know why you try to protect him, Lex. You should hate him. After all he's the true Luthor heir, not you. You're not even fit to have the Luthor name." He sneered, forcing Lex's face to the side before releasing his grasp on his chin.
Lex straightened himself and looked his father in the eye. "I don't care, Dad. You can't make me hate him; I won't let you." His words came out a little distorted, but the anger and determination there still apparent.
Lionel reached back to deliver another blow, but Lex was quicker. He grabbed a hold of his father's arm and yanked him down to his level. Then he did something he had never done before, he decked him. He hit him with as much force as his sixteen-year-old body could muster and then watched with a mixture of horror and pride as he father hit the floor.
Lex just stood there in shock as his dad just lay there on the rug. After a few minutes of watching the still form of his father, Lex whispered, "Dad." He looked around the library then knelt beside him. He laid a hand on Lionel's shoulder and gently shook it. When his father didn't stir, Lex actually thought that he might be dead. He placed his hand on his father's chest and let out a sigh of relief when he felt it rise and fall. Lex hooked his arms underneath his dad's armpits and hoisted his upper body onto the sofa. He then lifted one leg onto the couch as well, giving his father the appearance of being in a careless drunken sprawl.
Lex then removed his shirt and used it to clean up the spilled milk as best as he could. He picked up the glass and the book he was reading then snuck out of the library. He made his way down to Julian's room and slowly opened the door. The boy was lying on his bed, curled up in a ball.
Letting out a sigh, Lex went over to the bed and sat down. "Are you alright?" He asked.
Julian just nodded.
Julian nodded again.
"Do you have a goose egg from where you tried to break the coffee table with your head?" Lex asked jokingly.
Julian smiled. "No."
"Ok. I just wanted to make sure." They sat there in silence for a while, until Lex spoke up. "Come on, get under the covers." He helped his brother burrow underneath his mound of blanket before he leaned down and kissed his head. "Night, Jules." He then got up and left.
Lex made his way down the hall to his bathroom. He flicked on the light and looked at his throbbing face. His cheek and eye were swollen and a greenish-purple bruise was already starting to form. It would be hard to explain in the morning, but he could make something up. He doubted his father would remember what had happened tonight. He downed a couple of Motrin to help the swelling before brushing his teeth and heading into his bedroom.
Lex stripped off shirt and pants and climbed into his bed, pulling the blankets tight around him for comfort. Tonight had shaken him up a little. Confrontations with his father always did. But tonight was different; tonight had involved more than angry words and harsh comments. Tonight had involved fists and physical pain and his brother. And Lex wasn't sure if he was ready to handle that.
He tensed up when he heard his door open, afraid that his father had woken up and was seeking retribution. But Lex relaxed a little when he heard the shuffle of footy covered feet making their way across his bedroom floor.
"Can I sleep with you tonight, Lex?" Julian asked, in barely even a whisper.
"Sure, Jules." Lex replied as he pulled back the covers and made room in the bed.
Julian crawled in, and laid down close beside him. "Did Dad hurt you?" He asked.
"A little. But I'm alright." He assured him.
"I'm sorry I got you in trouble."
"It wasn't your fault, Jules. Don't worry about it."
There was a hesitant pause before Julian added, "Thanks, Lex, for sticking up for me."
Lex smiled at him as he clutched his pillow. "Your welcome. Now go to sleep."
Lex lay there in the dark, and watched as Julian fell asleep. He couldn't help but feel a sense of pride for what he'd done. He had kept his promise, and he would continue to keep it as long as he was able.
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