|Don't Let Go Until We Say Goodbye
Author: nicnac918 PM
Because we don't know what we're going to miss until we're seconds away from losing it.Rated: Fiction T - English - Tragedy/Drama - Clark K. & Lex L. - Words: 1,326 - Reviews: 2 - Favs: 11 - Follows: 1 - Published: 02-21-12 - Status: Complete - id: 7857706
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: The proper formatting for the title is: (Don't Let Go) Until We Say Goodbye, but unfortunately FFN ate my parenthesis. This story was written with a platonic relationship in mind, but you are welcome to bring your own subtext to the party.
The car crash should have been instantaneously fatal, quick and painless. When the EMTs arrived on the scene, however, they found him with his heart still beating. They did all that they could to keep him breathing, fruitless effort that it was. Three days passed to find him still hanging onto the fringes of life. It was, experts claimed, nothing short of a medical miracle; his vitals were declining at an inexplicably low rate considering his condition. There were two things they agreed though: he would never wake up from his coma and, whether it took another day or another month, Lex Luthor was going to die.
Clark stood outside the door to Lex's hospital room, willing himself to go in. There was a part of Clark that didn't want to be here. Or rather, there was a part of him that didn't want to want to be here. The man waiting behind that door was Lex Luthor, his enemy; ruthless, soulless, and unrepentantly evil. There should be no reason for him to be here. He should turn around, leave. Perry probably had a story just waiting for him. Lois had been dropping hints about some new Italian place she wanted them to try out. There were, Clark was sure, a million places he ought to be, things he should rather be doing. He reached forward and opened the door.
The room was in many ways like any other hospital room. It was white and sterile and smelled of antiseptic and sickness. A number of machines were hooked up by the bed, letting out a steady cacophony of hums and beeps. But despite appearances this particular hospital room really wasn't like any other. No other hospital room on Earth was filled with the steady thrumming of Lex's heart, a sound as familiar to Clark his own.
Stalling, Clark walked not over to the bed, but to the table on the other side of the room. There weren't any flowers sitting there, no balloons, or cards with prayers for the soon to be deceased. There was no point, after all, in sucking up to dead man. Clark gently placed the bottle of scotch he had brought on the table. Lois was going to be angry when she saw the bill for it, he knew, but he couldn't bring himself to care. He still remembered Lex's occasional comments on the virtues of the good scotch and this particular bottle was supposed to be well worth the price.
Clark stood staring at the near-empty table for a few minutes longer, incoherent thoughts buzzing around in his head. Finally he turned, facing the bed, and mechanically crossed the room. He stared uncomprehendingly at the chair stationed at the bedside for a minute before he slowly lowered himself into it.
"Hey Lex, it's me, Clark." Logically, Clark knew that Lex wouldn't remember him as anything more than Clark Kent, reporter for the Daily Planet. But then, Lex had always been better with logic.
"It's been a while," he commented. That wasn't exactly true; Superman had thwarted one of Luthor's schemes barely a week ago. But in other ways, ways that mattered, it had been years since Clark had seen Lex, talked to him. "I guess I just came to say," goodbye hung on the tip of his tongue, but he couldn't seem to push it past his lips.
"The guy in the other car is going to be fine," Clark said, abruptly changing the subject. "He's got a bad case of whiplash and a broken arm, but he's supposed to make a full recovery." Luthor, he was sure, would have taken a vindictive pleasure in knowing the man who caused his demise was also dead, but Lex, the guy who knowingly gave himself up to a mad-man to save a room full of school children, would be happy he was alright.
"Your Porsche, on the other hand, is beyond all hope. I saw some pictures and it's totaled. That's what you get when you drive it into a bridge support beam." Clark chuckled softly. Not because it was particularly funny, but because there was a certain sort of irony to the whole thing that he thought Lex would appreciate if he were awake.
Clark looked down and was surprised to see that Lex's hand was held in his own; he had grabbed it at some point without realizing it. At the sight something in him let go, and all at once it was like a completely different person sitting there. Where before he had been sitting upright, stiff and uncomfortable, he now slumped, the weight of the weary years hanging from his shoulders. "How did we even get like this, Lex? We used to be best friends, and now we're practically strangers, when we're not playing at being archenemies, and I just don't understand…"
At a loss for words Clark let the silence stretch and fill the room, save the steady thrumming of Lex's heart.
"You know, I asked my mom once if I gave up on you too soon," Clark said when the words finally stopped skittering around long enough for him to grab hold. "She said no, that my biggest weakness is that I never give up on anyone. But she was wrong, I think, or maybe she was giving me a mom answer, because I did. Looking back now it seems like I woke up one day and just decided you were evil and therefore not worth my time. You had told me once that you needed me to help you, to pull you back when you went too far and I didn't even try. You made a really crappy pick for your only friend Lex." Clark tried to laugh a little at that, but it came out bitter and choked and not like a laugh at all and for a moment it was all Clark could do to breathe. In and out, until it was steady, in time with Lex's heartbeat.
"But it wasn't all my fault Lex." The words were slower now, but more insistent, earnest. "You were broken when you came to Smallville. You were so broken back then and I never realized. I don't think anyone really did; you hid it too well. But you were, you were shattered to pieces and you expected me to put you back together. But I wasn't some paragon of goodness who could make everything right, I was a teenager, stupid and reckless and selfish. And I wish I could have helped, wish I could have fixed you, but I could barely figure myself out back then, and a lot of times not even that."
"But, for all that, I'm still sorry."
Quiet descended on the room again. Lex's heart sounded like a clock now, a timer steadily ticking down the minutes to zero. And whatever the doctors might have thought, Clark knew there wasn't much time left now. He had to say what he came to say now, because he wouldn't get another chance.
"I just really miss you Lex. You were my best friend and the older brother I never had, and I guess I just wanted you to know that I loved you before you left. Always will."
Clark swore that for an instant he could feel a feather-light pressure in his hand and that he saw the corners of Lex's mouth twitch up. Then, with one last thump, the room fell completely silent.