Getting there was easy.
All my mom had to do was give me a little hope, a little hint that maybe, just maybe, the only man I’ve ever loved might love me in return and here I am, flying off toward Metropolis like the big Superdope that I am. I didn’t even think. Mom has always liked to meddle where Lex and I are concerned – she gives me an inch and wonders later why I go for the mile.
The truth is, I’ve never had much sense when it comes to Lex. I can admit that. Maybe his Porsche knocked it out of me years ago, and it’s floating around in that damn river still, waiting for me to scoop it up. I never will, though. Because that would take sense, too.
So it’s not until I land on the balcony of his penthouse, just as I have so many times before, that I realize I’m not certain what I’m expecting. Or what’s expected of me. Or anything. But Lex is sitting there, like he’s waiting for me, and I don’t know if I should be relieved or terrified by this fact. My biggest problem has always been my ability to allow my hopes to soar… And Lex has always been the one person able to bring them crashing down around me.
So the small talk and the hedging and the furtive glances at one another, I don't know where they're leading. I like to believe that they're leading somewhere until he replies to me:
Again, I don’t know what I was expecting… But I know what I wanted to hear and it wasn’t that. I can't bear to think that it was because I was too late because, dammit, I’m always too late and I just can't bear it happening again. But it has, and I have only myself to blame.
“I should go.”
Because there is no sense in staying.
Forcing myself to climb to my feet is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, but maybe I just need to get it through my thick skull that Lex and I… We’re just not meant to be. I keep fighting the inevitable. Fighting that moment where we both just need to have the fucking guts to say ‘It’s over’. And then maybe I can get started with my life, and he can get started with his, and this constant dance that we’ve been participating in for more than a decade can finally come to an end.
But I don’t want it to end. I don’t know what my life should be like without Lex in it, good or bad, and I don’t think I want to face it. And it hurts so bad to know that I’m the one who made the mistake, the one who took too long to decide –
I suck in a sharp breath at the soft word uttered behind me. My better sense – that chose now of all times to make an appearance – argues that it’s better to just go. Pretend you didn’t hear that. End it. Now. But the other 99% of me is clinging to that slippery critter called ‘hope’ again, and god but I have to be the most pathetic being that ever lived.
Composing my features – I can’t look too eager – I slowly turn around to face Lex. He isn’t looking at me, of course. He’s staring out at the city, pretending that he hasn’t just spoken, even though I can see the tense set of his shoulders. It’s as if he’s afraid I won’t do as he’s commanded, as if he believes that I actually have a will of my own or something. Make no mistake, his word wasn’t a request. It never has been.
I take a tentative step toward him. “Were… were you waiting for me?” And those were the five most difficult words I’ve ever spoken.
Lex glances at me sharply, a flash of panic in his gaze before a mask of strength falls over his expression. I’ve seen that action a thousand times, and love him for it as much now as in the beginning.
“The whole world’s been waiting for Superwoman,” he snaps, looking back out at the city.
“That’s not what I asked,” I counter, taking another step. I’m not letting you off so easy this time, Luthor.
He frowns, as if hearing the thoughts in my head. “Dammit, Hudson,” he mutters. “This isn’t easy for me.”
There’s that damn glimmer of hope again. Inside my heart is singing that he wants to give this a try! And all the while my head is still warning me – maybe he’s the one with the guts to call it off. I need to decide which path to follow.
And this time, I can’t look back.
“I know,” I reply softly. “It never has been.”
“It always has been for you.” Lex looks over at me, eyes glittering in the darkness. “There was a time when I though your penchant for emotional outpouring would consume me.”
I smile a little. “It frightened you.”
Lex seems to force himself to nod in affirmation.
Folding my hands together for lack of something better to do, I turn and look at the city. “I learned how to control that.”
“That’s my fault.”
I glance back at Lex.
He shrugs. “One of many transgressions I’ve committed against you – changing your view of life and love and – “
“No,” I hastily interrupt. “You forced me to grow up, Lex, to view the world a little more realistically. There’s nothing wrong with that. I needed it.”
Lex shakes his head, once more unable to meet my gaze.
I can’t let this be about recriminations and guilt. That path is always doomed to fail when it comes to us. The moment Lex begins pointing the finger at himself, it’s hard to make him see anything else. It’s a habit his father, and so many others, engrained into him long ago. Sometimes I think the man truly believes that every evil in the world is due to him.
Taking a deep breath, I walk the few paces separating us and kneel at his feet. Lex seems a little shocked by my action, tensing slightly as I touch his knee before finally relaxing. I stare up at him for a long moment, marveling at the way his pale skin glows in the moonlight – how fragile and delicate he’s always seemed to me, yet he’s still the strongest person I’ve ever met.
“Before you begin berating yourself for all of you imagined past acts of evil against me, Lex,” I begin, smiling slightly when I see his mouth twitch in amusement. “I’m going to say what I came to say.”
Wow. And here I had no idea what I wanted to say to him.
Actually, I still don’t.
Lex gives me a slight nod, gaze wary.
“I… “ Great beginning. “I’m the one who has made the mistakes, Lex, from the moment we met. I should have been honest with you, I should have told you the truth. I was young and afraid, but that’s no excuse. I should have… “ I pause, gazing up at him. “The truth is, I should have trusted you. Should have trusted us. But I didn’t, and I’ve spent every moment regretting that.”
Lex just stares at me and I know, I can feel it deep inside, that I’m saying all of the wrong things. Another failing of mine when it comes to him.
Lowering my head, my eyes fall to his right hand, now a prosthetic hand, very realistic in appearance and use, from what I understand. Lexcorp developed it, along with many other advancements in modern medicine that helped paved the way to the empire Lex now oversees. The skin color is slightly off from his own, and there is a deep scar around his wrist where the hand was attached to his arm. I can’t help but reach out and lay my fingers over it, hesitating when Lex flinches beneath my touch. Waiting a moment longer, I trace the scar, trailing my finger down over the top of his hand, noting the difference in how it feels beneath my skin. There’s a machine under there, not flesh and blood.
“It’s not your fault.”
I feel tears spring forward with his words, my eyes burning as I fight to keep them in check. “Isn’t it?” I whisper, before turning his hand over and leaning in to kiss his palm. “I think it is.”
Swallowing, I lay my head against his wool clad thigh and close my eyes. “Why can’t I ever get anything right when it comes to you?”
I feel his left hand touch my hair gently, his fingers gliding through it, caressing my scalp just as he used to do when I was a teenager in Smallville. He’s silent, and I’m not certain I know what that means. My fingers curl over his knee a little and I’m so close to just screaming my frustration. What do I do? What should I say? What do I –
Lifting my head, I gaze up at him in desperation. I can’t let him go. Not now. Not ever. No matter what it takes.
“Tell me what to do, Lex,” I beg him, tears finally spilling over onto my cheeks. “Tell me how I can make this better, make this right. Whatever you ask of me – it’s yours. I’ll be whatever and whoever you want me to be.
“If… if you want Superwoman to go away, and never be heard from again, she will.” I grasp at the cloth of his slacks. “The uniform, all of it – it was just because of you. I just… I wanted to make up for every wrong I’ve ever committed against you and I couldn’t think of another way to do it.”
I wipe at my eyes before burying my face back against his thigh, sobs growing stronger. “I just want you back, Lex. I can’t do this anymore! I can’t… tell me what you want me to do. Please?”
If Lex ever had a desire to destroy me completely, he now has that chance.
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