Rating: R

Genre: Tess/Oliver Romance, Lex/Lana Romance

Verse: Smallville, Post Finale


[The story doesn't end.]

Chapter 1

Florence, Italy


She handled the paint brush very carefully as she let it touch the paper. The color bled onto the surface, refusing to create the exact image she had in her mind. Frustrated, she tried to force the brush to produce her vision, but she wasn't as talented as she sometimes liked to think she was.

She stopped when she heard the front door to her Italian villa open in a forceful, abrupt manner. Delicately, she set her brush down and stood up.

"Hello?" she called out, less afraid than one without her skill and power might've sounded.

But any courage she might've had disintegrated when she saw the face of her greatest adversary, her ex-husband, and the man with whom she'd experienced more passion than anyone else.

Panic coursed through her insides as she reached for the gun stowed under her desk, aiming it directly at him.

"No, it's me! Lana, it's me, really me!"

"What do you mean, 'really you'?" she questioned, cocking the gun.

"Meaning not the clone my father brought to life to wreak havoc on the planet! I'm not him! I've been in hiding for two and half years and you're the first person I've come to see."

She didn't lower her weapon.

"How do I know you're not him and why should that make me feel any safer?"

"You can know I'm not him by the fact that I know your name and everything we went through together. I don't know all the details but I know he doesn't remember you. And why are you using a gun when you have your own personal super-suit?"

She lowered her weapon reluctantly, his blue eyes piercing her with that wide range of emotions that had always confused her. Lex continued before she answered his question.

"I came to check on you first." He exhaled a ragged breath. "I know what I did to you, but you're still the woman I walked down the aisle with, no matter what else happened."

She wasn't a child anymore. She could read him better than anyone and that's what he was counting on. She could tell he was the man she'd married, the man she'd put her faith in and been destroyed by, but also the man she'd wanted to take over the world with.

He wasn't lying to her.

"I've been fine since I left Smallville five years ago."

She could see the relief in his eyes, but only for a brief moment before he took a step closer to her.

"Where's Tess?"

Lana felt her anger build up instantly and she raised her gun again.

"Don't you go near her!"

"Why?" he demanded back with the same volume as her. "What happened? Did he hurt her?"

Lana stepped back when he inched towards her. He caught her fear and kept his distance.

"Please tell me, Lana. She's my sister."

"Yes, and I have personal experience in seeing how you treated her. You made her think that you cared about her. You practically destroyed her life and if I hadn't been there who knows what would've happened to her."

"I gave her everything I had! You tell me what you would've done! Would you really have burdened her with the Luthor name and legacy? My father would've latched onto her and destroyed her. So I gave her everything I could without burdening her with what destroyed me! Now tell me she's okay!"

He always had an answer for every despicable thing he did. In his twisted mind, everything was always justified. She loosened her grip on the gun again and licked her lips.

"Your clone stabbed her with a twelve inch knife and left her for dead. She survived, though. She's alive."

Lex turned around.

"Oh my God," he muttered as he headed for the door.

Lana super-sped to block him from leaving, successfully barricading him in the room.

"That poor woman has been through enough. Don't you dare go to her, disrupting her life all over again and putting her through anything else."

"She's the only family I have! I have to see her. And where is Clark? You three are all that matter to me."

"If that's how you treat people you care about, I'd like to know how you'd treat people who didn't matter to you. There doesn't seem to be much difference, does there?"

He didn't respond and she felt regret in her choice of words, despite any truth they might've held. She clicked the safety back on and dropped her gun to the floor.

"Where have you been?" she asked in a softer tone.

"Hiding…hiding anywhere I could. And as cliché as it may sound…you, you and Tess and Clark were all that kept me alive. I don't care what I've done or what my clone has done; I just need Tess to know that I'm sorry. You already know me well enough to know that I'm not him. She doesn't. And if she's been spending time with Clark, who knows what he's been telling her about me."

"Clark's disappeared," Lana told him.

He could hear the pain in her voice and he spoke up.

"Why aren't you looking for him?"

"He's married to another woman. I was never meant to be with him."

Lex nodded. "Has Lois disappeared too?"

Lana shook her head. "I have people looking for them."

"Clark's still my best friend, and I want to hear about him later, but right now I need to see Tess. So you can either come with me or you can kill me. What do you want to do?"

To Be Continued