Keywords: challengefic, AU
Characters: The Luthors
Archiving: TT, L3, FF.net. Otherwise, if you want it, please ask Pairing: none
Started: December 2002
Spoilers: All of Season 1 and Season 2--discluding Prodigal and Fever-- are up for grabs
Disclaimers: Smallville and all related elements and characters belong to Tollin-Robbins Productions and Warner Bros. Television. Summary: Lucas Luthor believes he has been forgotten, but Lex knows he's not the only one
Author's Notes: I wrote this for the Batman Title Challenge issued by Medie. You can find it here:
http://triplethreatdjm.crosswinds.net/BatC/BatChallenge.html or in Medie's LJ.
Regarding Lucas: When I started this fanfic, we had yet to meet Lucas, and I wanted to explore the character before the show had a chance to. Sadly, real life got in the way of me finishing it before "Prodigal" aired and the "canon Lucas" arrived on the scene. I still wanted to write this, though, so now it's officially AU. g
My pre-Prodigal logical for Lucas is as follows (it's what I based this fic on, btw): We were first introduced to the concept of him in the episode Lineage. Lionel said he had died, but who really believes Lionel anyway? I estimate Lucas to be somewhere between 13 and 14 years old, based on the picture Lionel had in that locket and based on Rachel having targeted Clark. I figure Lionel must have taken Lucas from her around the same time as the meteor shower or just after, hence why she associated Clark's adoption with her son. In show canon, that was 13 years ago. Hence my logic.
Oh, and Lionel, he's still blind in this fic, and not just faking it. Blame it on being started before I saw Prodigal.
Special thanks to LaCasta for the beta reading, the comments and for making me rewrite it.
His ice cream had melted.
He'd told Mrs. Crispe, the woman who'd taken care of him all his life, that he wouldn't eat it until his father's call. It was tradition--Father would call, and then he would have his birthday cake and ice cream after they said good-bye.
That hadn't happened this year, however--for the first time in all his memory--and the ice cream that had been served against his wishes had melted while he waited for the call.
As had Lucas Luthor's will power. While people around him ate cake and ice cream, laughing and smiling and wishing him a "Happy Birthday," Lucas bit his lower lip to keep back his tears. But when the last guest left, leaving Lucas alone with his gifts and his servants, his eyes fell on the lonely bowl of sugary goop in front of him and he could hold back no longer: he cried.
Hot, salty tears streamed down cheeks that were more child-like now than they had seemed a few hours ago when people were congratulating him for turning fourteen. "Fourteen!" they'd said. "Practically a man!" But he didn't feel much like a man today.
He felt abandoned, forgotten for the first time in his relatively short life by the only family he had.
His father was a busy man, and his business often kept him away from home, but he'd always kept in touch before. There had always been frequent phone calls, letter and cards. And Lucas had fond memories of summer vacations spent together. His father had taught him to catch a baseball, swim, and ride the Arabian horse he'd given as a gift for his tenth birthday. When they were together, Lucas had known his father loved him and he loved his father, and that had always made the length in between visits bearable.
Mrs. Crispe came to clear the table away, smoothing Lucas's sandcolored hair in a comforting, maternal way as she passed him. Her look of sympathy angered him, and sadness forgotten in outrage over her pity, he lashed out. With a wide sweep of his arm and a yell whose anguish came from some deep place inside the sheltered youth, he sent the dessert bowl flying across the room.
"Lucas!" his keeper reprimanded, looking even more sorrowful.
"I don't care!" he shouted back at her before running from the room. More tears blurred his vision and burned his eyes as he scrambled up the staircase and hurried to his bedroom.
He was sitting on the floor in a corner of the room, between the bed and the wall when Mrs. Crisp found him a few minutes later. He turned to face the wall when he saw her, wanting to ignore the sad look on her face.
"I know you're hurting, Lukey," she told him, calling him by the nickname she'd given him when he was a small boy.
He still refused to acknowledge her presence.
"You be that way. Heaven knows you have every right to feel the way you do, but you are fourteen now. There are better ways of expressing yourself than with temper tantrums." He peeked a little, just in time to see her lay a notebook and pen on the bed. "If you want to, write to him and tell him how you feel. I'll see that he gets it."
When she left, Lucas rose to his feet and stared at the paper and pen as if they were demon things--gifts from the devil to lure him into doing something bad. In a way, they were, because telling his father how he felt about being ignored for the better part of a year meant questioning his father's actions and challenging his wisdom.
Father always knew best, though, didn't he?
This was something Lucas had never thought to question. Of course his father knew what was best for him. Or so his brain told him. The thought, however, gnawed at him--the thought that there were answers he did not yet know, nor ever would unless he asked.
Hesitantly, he picked up the pen and moved the notebook to the desk
bedside his bed.
"Dear Father," he wrote and with each word, emotion welled up inside him--feelings he never knew he had. They were, however, things he thought his father should know, things he should have said years ago, but had never been driven to do so. He even asked if he could live with his father and if they could be a real family someday.
He was tired of being an afterthought.
It was sitting on Lex's desk when he came back from a meeting at the plant--a five-by-seven manila envelope addressed only to "Mr. L. Luthor." It had been forwarded from the penthouse in Metropolis, and Lex couldn't help but wonder if maybe the person who directed it to him had made an error. It could easily be for his father.
However, that thought intrigued him even more, and it had been delivered to him, after all. The ambiguous address in itself was an open invitation to take the risk. Or so he told himself as he was opening it.
It was a letter, written on a student's notebook. The pages had been torn free--over five of them, he noted with growing curiosity-- and pieces of the frayed edges came off in his hands. 'Dear Father,' it read.
Dear Father... dear God. Could it be...? Lex flipped to last page, inhaling sharply when he saw the name scrawled at the bottom, smudged with now-dried tears.
Lex's fingers trembled as he clutched the cheap paper. So many emotions and he didn't know which of them to process first. His brother was alive, and his father had lied. Ever since Julian had died, a brother--a real family--was all Lex had ever dreamed of. He'd thought that dream would never be realized until Rachel Dunleavy had shown him otherwise, given him hope. Now, here he was... Lex's brother. Alive, and Lex wanted to be happy about that.
He wanted to, anyway, but another part of him--the part which recognized every time his father had ever slighted him--seethed with anger. Their father had kept them apart from each other. Denied them both the right to know their family.
He closed his eyes as if to shut out the pain welling up inside him. His brother was alive, and he was finally in the position to do something about it.
Lucas hadn't known what to expect when he stepped out of the gate at the airport. It certainly wasn't the bodyguard who met and escorted him to an awaiting limousine. The man reminded him of the Secret Service agents in the movies, and while Lucas wasn't totally nave, he hadn't quite realized his father was important enough to need such people working for him.
He guessed he should have, now that he thought about it. The fancy presents, the servants looking after him all his life...
Maybe he just hadn't wanted to make the right connections before.
Because doing so, he admitted as a sour taste rose in his throat, would mean he'd have to face the fact that his father--whom he loved so much--had another life that he wasn't apart of.
That sad fact was emphasized by the imposing view of the mansion coming into view as the limousine pulled up into the drive. Lucas's home wasn't like this. It was small and simple, though not lacking in any comforts. Except his family, and that was all Lucas could have wanted.
Once, he'd overheard a delivery guy telling Mrs. Crispe that he thought it was a shame that "the boy's father wouldn't have anything to do with him." Of course, Mrs. Crispe had hushed the man, telling him that it wasn't the case and that her Lukey was well-loved.
Lucas had always believed that. Why should he doubt it? He'd never had a reason to... until his birthday.
His ice cream had melted, and yet his father had not so much as called. It had hurt, and the hurt made him doubt. As he followed the bodyguard into the foyer of the huge home, he tried to figure out what he might have done to make his father shun him now. His lower lip quivered, and he bit it to keep from showing his feelings in front of the stranger.
They were met there by a tall guy who looked too young to be bald and watched Lucas with sharp, strangely familiar eyes.
"Hello, Lucas," he said, motioning for the bodyguard to leave. "I'm Lex."
Lucas ventured a hesitant smile.
His brother seemed so young--younger than Lex could remember being, even at the same age--and Lex had to remind himself of what he'd learned since the letter had been mistakenly delivered to him. His father had the kept the boy a secret, sheltered even from himself. He'd been raised in the care of well-paid servants and left to think-- well, Lex wasn't sure what his brother might know about their father's life. Very little, he suspected.
He must have been frowning as he examined the facts pertaining to his brother, as the teen's greeting smile was given very shyly, as if he wasn't all that sure about Lex.
"Well, we don't have to stand here, I suppose," Lex said, returning the tentative smile with one of his patented half-smiles. He led Lucas down the hall to his office, watching the emotions--fear, curiosity, and doubt--flickering across the young face as he took the castle in. Lex was intrigued most by the doubt and fear. He could only imagine what was going on in his brother's mind right now, because, while finding his brother alive had been a surprise, it was not shocking to Lex that his father had been so duplicitous.
But then, Lex knew his father better, it seemed.
Lucas followed Lex through dark halls of stone and marble. He couldn't help but look with awe at everything he saw. It wasn't like a real home at all. It was more like the museum his father had taken him to on his last visit. Old, musty, and imposing. Oddly enough, Lex seemed very much at ease in these surroundings.
He led Lucas through some oak doors and into a room dominated by a pool table and told him to make himself comfortable, adding "I'll be back in a moment," before disappearing. Lucas wasn't sure he could make himself comfortable, so he just stood there--fidgeting as he looked around.
When Lex hadn't returned in several minutes, however, he began to grow restless, and the pool table was very tempting. It might make the time pass while he waited, he reasoned as he approached it. He was reaching for a ball when the doors opened again.
Mrs. Kent was reading the newspaper aloud when Lex barged into the room. Lionel could tell by the swift rustle of cotton that his son was in a hurry to do something.
"Excuse me, Mrs. Kent... Dad," he said and his father heard something different in his son's voice. "Something's come up that needs your expertise, " he continued.
"My expertise, Lex?" Lionel countered, unable to read the new emotion he'd detected in Lex's words. "You haven't asked for my help in ages." He couldn't help but be suspicious.
"It will only take a minute of your precious time, and then you can get back to feeling sorry for yourself," snapped Lex.
Lionel hadn't been feeling sorry for himself, and he was about to say so, when he felt Martha Kent's hand on his arm. "I do have those memos to type up for you," she reminded gently, removing any other excuse he might have given to raise Lex's ire.
"Yes, of course." He turned in the direction of Lex's voice. "Very well, Lex."
The walk down the hall was unusually quiet, and Lionel felt as if his son was staring--glaring--at him. Animosity rolled off the young man in waves that threatened to overwhelm both of them.
"You seem perturbed, Lex. Is something the matter?" Lionel asked just as the sound of doors being pushed open told him they were about to enter Lex's own office. A billiard ball fell on the pool table inside the room, and then a voice stammered out, "I--I wasn't doing anything."
The voice cut off, and then returned in the form of a very shocked "F-father?"
Lionel staggered backwards, leaning into Lex and feeling as if he'd been punched in the stomach. "Lucas?" he whispered, more to himself than anything. "Lex? What is the meaning of this?" he inquired angrily.
He could feel the cold smirk on his elder son's face as he said "I'm sure Lucas and I were wondering the same thing... Dad." Lex's words were precise and calculated, and judging from the small gasp of surprise that escaped Lucas, Lex hadn't bothered to reveal their kinship to him yet. Before Lionel could respond to this, however, Lex was stepping back away from him. "I'll leave you two to catch up," he said, his anger evident to Lionel only because he'd had years to recognize it.
"Lex," he started to say, but then heard the door close behind him, leaving him alone with his other son.
"Father?" Lucas said again, and this time, his voice was closer to Lionel. A hand touched his cheek, just below his sunglasses. "What happened to you?"
"I was injured in a tornado," Lionel admitted to the boy--young man, he corrected himself. Lucas was fourteen now, not the child he'd once been. "It took my sight from me."
"I... " the young voice was full of uncertainty. "I thought you'd forgotten me. You didn't visit or call, and I thought..."
His rushed were cut off as Lionel moved to embrace him. Tears stung the inside of his eyes, biting fiercely because they knew they'd never be shed. Forcing them back, he hugged his son to him. "I would never forget you, Lucas," he said, fighting his emotions to get the words out. "And I'm sorry that this has kept me from you."
This... Smallville, the tornado, his blindness... and Lex. Lex, who had somehow found out about his brother and brought him here to hold over Lionel's head. They'd deal with that later, Lionel vowed grimly. Lucas was here, and while he was partially glad to hear his boy's voice and feel him near, it hadn't been what he wanted.
"He thought Dad forgot about him," Lex said, fingering the flowers he'd brought with him to the cemetery. He sat alone on a bench beside his mother's grave. A smaller tombstone was beside it, and Lex paused to finger the forget-me-nots growing near it. His mother had ordered them to be planted just after Julian was interred. "So he'll know that his family will always love him," she'd said, and Lex could remember his father kissing her forehead and promising to see it done. He hadn't said anything about never forgetting Julian. Because he already had another son, his own son apart from their family.
"Can you believe that crap?" Lex asked the tombstones bitterly. He knew better; he'd read Lucas's letter. Lucas hadn't been forgotten at all. On the contrary, it was his mother and poor little Julian who'd been lost to oblivion over the years. And Lex himself, who'd been regulated into only a remote corner of his father's life. Not worthy of the love which had been showered upon Lucas. An heir, but never a son. Offspring, but never truly family.
They'd all been forgotten.
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