The moment Lionel had walked into the study, I was certain I was dead. Whether Lex would will it or not, I didn’t expect to walk out of there. And by the time I heard the gunshots, I was in too much pain, too weak to care.
But I didn’t die. Suddenly Batman was lifting me into his arms and whisking me away from the Kryptonite.
I wasn’t dead. The bullets hadn’t been fired at me. Then who…
Laying there in the snow, alone, I realized that Lex killed his father. He chose his own path, chose a future, chose me, over Lionel. I’m not supposed to allow things like that to happen, allow people to die and yet… Yet, I lay there in the snow and thought about the shots I heard and thought about all of the pain that man has caused… and I smiled.
Ding! Dong! The witch is dead!
And now Lex is here, cold and broken and crying and asking me for help.
He never had to ask.
“Lex.” Stepping forward, I gather him into my arms and hold him close, our tears mingling as I press our cheeks together. “You’re safe,” I whisper, as if reassuring myself. “You’re safe now, baby.”
He’s weak and trembling and most obviously in shock. I continue to whisper soft, soothing words to him as Batman joins us. “Joker’s gone.”
I glance up at him, catching his expression of accusation. Ignoring the implications, I tell him, “I need to get Lex to the hospital.”
Batman nods. “I’ll meet you there.” He stalks away.
Gently, I lift Lex into my arms, trying to hold him as comfortably as possible. “Just relax, love. I’ll take care of you.”
Lex says nothing. He shudders in my arms and I find I’m surprised that he’s even still conscious. His skin is so pale, his eyes slightly glazed over. As I lift into the air, I kiss his cheek and nuzzle my nose against his temple. “I’m here, Lex,” I tell him quietly. “You’re not alone.”
“Hudson, I… thank you,” he whispers against my neck.
My hold on him strengthens. “You’re welcome, Lex.”
Moments later he grows limp in my arms, the pain and wear of the past few days finally taking it’s toll.
Landing at Smallville Medical Center, I hurry inside, demanding immediate medical attention for him. For the longest time, the nurse at the front desk just stares up at me, in awe, until I snap that it’s an emergency, and she quickly pages the on-call staff.
The doctor that enters the corridor, staff trailing behind him with a gurney, is instantly familiar to me. Doctor Davis. He treated me for bruised ribs long ago, back when Lex first asked me the question I should have simply answered.
“What’s the problem, Superwoman?” Doctor Davis asks as he approaches, glancing at Lex, eyes widening with recognition.
“Lex Luthor’s been incarcerated the past few days,” I explain as I very carefully lay Lex’s inert form on top of the gurney. “No food, no water.” My gaze falls to the bandages and I add, “His thumb and index finger were cut off. I don’t think they’ve been treated at all.”
The doctor begins barking out orders and then they’re wheeling Lex away from me. I follow as far as I can until a nurse stops me. “You’re going to have to wait out here, Superwoman. The doctor will notify you of Mr. Luthor’s condition if you care to wait… “
Nodding, my hands ball into fists as I watch the doors close behind her and then I’m left standing there alone, wanting nothing more than to be with Lex… to beg his forgiveness for not being there when he needed me most. Shaking my head with frustration, I turn and wander down the hall toward the waiting area, pacing around the seats as time begins to pass.
“How is he?”
I don’t know how long it’s been, but I’ve been lost in my thoughts enough to jump when Batman appears. I hate it when he does that. “I don’t know. No one has said.”
He nods and I look up as he approaches, feeling the anger emanating from him, even if I can’t see his face. “That was one of the most reckless, foolish, childish stunts I have ever seen you pull,” he snaps, stopping only inches from me. “Not only did you put your own life on the line, but you stupidly endangered Luthor as well! What the hell were you thinking?”
“I wasn’t,” I reply just as angrily. “All right? Is that what you want to hear? Lex was there because of me – all because of me! I wasn’t about to drag anyone else into this. I needed to be the one to face the consequences. Not you, not Louis – “
“The Joker is out there, free, because of your stunt!” Batman rails, pointing a black gloved finger at me. “When are you going to get over this goddamned martyr complex and get it through that thick, alien skull of yours that the world does not revolve around you?!”
I open my mouth to reply, but shut it just as quickly and turn away from him. Lex used to say similar things to me. Would Batman appreciate it much if I compared them? Probably not.
“If the Joker harms anyone else – “
“I don’t want to hear about this right now, Batman!” I turn on him, ready to knock him out again.
Silence falls between us before he spins away, stalking down the hall, cape flaring out behind him dramatically.
Why do I always get involved with the ones who want to put on a show? Who live their lives for drama and suspense and emotional torture? Why can’t I fall for a nice farmer, quiet and unassuming, who lives in a world of black and white? Why does everything have to be so gray?
Dropping into one of the chairs, I rest my head in my hands and continue to wait.
Hours pass. Batman appears again, saying nothing, sitting beside me, handing over a cup of coffee. I hate my coffee black but I drink it anyway because there is nothing else to do.
“The reporters are milling about,” he comments.
“I know. I saw them.” Hungry for a story. Especially one that features a man risen from the grave, his barely-tolerated, successful freak of a son, and the Joker. Careers could be made or destroyed off of this story.
But the last thing I want is for this to turn into a media circus. Lex doesn’t need that. There’s enough bad publicity circling his name, publicity he doesn’t deserve, a lot of which I put there. The Jilted Lover, out to make a name for herself. To hurt him as much as he hurt her. Dammit.
I’m not going to allow Lex to continue to suffer for my mistakes.
At the doctor’s voice, I quickly, stand. “How is Mr. Luthor?” I hate this farce. I wish I could just shout to the world how much I love him, how much he means to me.
“The wounds went too long without treatment. The infection spread, and we were forced to amputate his right hand at the wrist.”
I feel Batman move up beside me. Silent support.
It doesn’t help.
Lex will never forgive me for this.
How can I forgive myself?
“Is he awake? Does he know?” I ask softly.
Doctor Davis stares at me a moment, and I try not to flinch away from the intensity of his gaze. “No. He’s still under the anesthetic. It will be a while before he awakens.”
I nod, watching silently as the doctor walks away.
“It’s not your fault, you know,” Batman tells me quietly. “You did everything you could. You got to him as fast as possible given the little information we had.”
“I never should have allowed it to happen in the first place.”
“There’s that martyr complex again.”
Casting a quick glare at Batman, I move down the hall, searching for Lex’s room.
I search four floors before I find it. A nice private room, set in the corner of the hospital, with windows all around. There’s a nice sitting area for visitors, a big TV, bathroom. It’s perfectly befitting Lex Luthor. And I know he’ll hate it when he wakes up because it is still too confining, still too institutionalized, still invokes too many memories.
He’s pale against the crisp white sheets, wires, monitoring his vital signs hang from his skin, nourishment being fed intravenously through his arm. My gaze is drawn to the stump at the end of his right arm, and instantly my vision blurs with tears. Though I know there are plenty of advancements in the field of mechanical prosthetics, most thanks to Lexcorp, I know it won’t be a comfort to Lex. It’ll never be the same; it’ll always be a reminder to him of everything his father cost him in his life. Everything I’ve cost him.
Moving up beside him, I reach out and touch his cheek. Unconsciously, his head moves into my touch, as if seeking the warmth of my hand – a hand that will never again hold his. The thought breaks me, and I drop into a chair beside the bed, letting go of the sobs I’ve been trying so hard to keep inside.
How does one knowingly continue to hurt the person they love, and yet still claim to love them? I walked into that mansion tonight knowing I could die, a part of me silently hoping that I might. Lex’s life would be so much easier, if I simply had never been a part of it. Even tonight, when I should have done everything in my power to get to him in time, I only forced his hand. Lex killed his own father because Superwoman failed to protect him.
And how could he ever grant me forgiveness for that?
Lifting my eyes, I stroke his cheek gently, memorizing every feature of his beautiful face. There are the beginnings of lines around his eyes now, a few small ones around his mouth. I know that if his eyes were open, I would see an even wiser, harder gaze looking back at me. He’s far too young to look so worn, so tired. I’d give anything to see the light that I used to on his face again, the glimmer of life in his eyes that existed before Helen, before the island and the asylum and everything his father and his wives and I did to break him, to destroy the man he should have become.
Was it possible for someone to start over? To become reborn? I hoped so. Lex asked for my help tonight, and I can only think of one way to give it to him. One way to set him on the right path. One way to set him free.
“I’m sorry I didn’t find you sooner,” I whisper softly, my own voice sounding ugly and intruding in the silence. “I’m sorry I… God, Lex. I’m sorry for everything. I never meant for any of this to happen, for any of the pain and the lies and the betrayals and… “
Sighing, I look away from him to the windows. The sun is beginning to peer over the horizon, glittering on the icy snow. Already, I can feel it strengthening me, undoing the effects of the Kryptonite.
“All I’ve ever wanted to do is love you, Lex. Love you and hold you and keep you safe from everything and everyone that wanted to harm you. But I’ve failed. Time and again, when I thought I was doing something right… “ I shrug. “I just wasn’t. You once told me that love isn’t enough and maybe you were right. Maybe there was something else that I need to give you that I just don’t have within me to give. Maybe I’m defective… A defective Kryptonian. I don’t know anymore... “
Bringing my gaze back to him, I smile a little. “The best moments of my life have been because of you. I wish I could make you understand how happy you’ve made me in the past. You’re the only person I’ve ever truly felt loved by. You used to make me feel so… human. But I understand. You just can’t look at me that way anymore.”
Leaning in, I kiss the corner of his mouth, close my eyes, breathe in his scent, lay my forehead against his. “I exist because of you. And now, that has to end. You’ll never be free to grow as long as I’m in your way.”
Opening my eyes, I stare down at him, willing him to wake up, to ask me to stay. But he doesn’t.
“I’ve always loved you, Alexander Luthor. And I will love you until the day I die.”
Kissing him gently, I finally force myself to step away and leave the room.
I head for the back entrance of the hospital, knowing that I need to avoid Batman. Unfortunately, the first person I run into is Louis.
“Superwoman!” He calls out, hurrying over to me. “I’ve been looking everywhere for you.”
I stop, impatient. I need to leave. I need to be alone.
He stares at me a moment, and a frown appears. “What is it?” he asks softly.
Louis has always known me too well. “I’m… I’m going away.”
The frown deepens. “For how long? And where?”
“I don’t know,” I reply guardedly. “Just… away.”
“But Superwoman can’t go away,” Louis tells me. “The world needs you. The world depends on you.”
“The world got along fine without me before, Mr. Lane. It can do so again.” I brush past him.
“No.” Louis hurries after me. “Things have changed. The world has changed. You know that. And, you know why.”
I stop in my tracks. The implication is in his tone. Something that has never been spoken aloud but that I’ve always feared. I turn to him, glaring. “Yes, Mr. Lane. I do know. I’m well-aware of the fact that my coming to this planet is more than likely the cause for these… changes, as you refer to them. Go ahead and say it. I’ve laid more than enough blame on my shoulders the past few days. I can certainly take some more.”
Louis shakes his head, the look of disappointment in his eyes one that I’m growing accustomed to. “So, you’re just going to run away from it?”
“It has to end somewhere.”
“I thought you were better than that. I thought you stood for something!”
I stare at him blankly for a long moment, before replying, “Everyone has their breaking point, Louis.” Watching him a moment longer, I turn to leave.
“Is this what Luthor wants?” he calls out.
I hesitate. Lex wanted help. I’m giving it to him. That’s all there is to it.
“Superwoman. Please, don’t leave us.”
I smile a little at his plaintive plea. “Everyone has to know when it’s time to bow out of the performance, Louis.”
“Life isn’t a play.”
My smile broadens. “I’ll bet Lex would tell you differently.”
I turn and stare hard at him. There’s something else, that I just can’t stand to allow Lex to face. The media, in all their gory need for headlines, will only continue to seek to destroy what he has built.
“Mr. Lane, do me a favor?”
He grunts and glares at me and waits.
“When you write your story about tonight, make certain everyone knows that I pulled the trigger on Lionel Luthor. That Superwoman shot him, at point blank range, until he was dead.”
Louis stares at me, open-mouthed for a moment. “But Superwoman doesn’t – “
He nods, and reaches out a hand to me. “I don’t see how you can walk away.”
I shake my head. “You don’t have to, Louis.”
Flashing him a parting smile, I turn and walk away. Once outside of the hospital, I lift off into the air, and head north.
It’s time to send my parents home.
Feedback... probably isn't going to end this thing anytime soon. But it is nice! ;)