Spoilers: General knowledge of first season and a fairly substantial one for
"Vortex". Poor, Lionel. Also, it really has very little to do with season 2
other THAN that big fat (if now disproved) spoiler from "Vortex".

Info: Companion to "Remembrance of One" which is available here at
. It won't make a
helluva lot of sense without reading that first. And if you don't want to read
that, its original purpose was to explain (in very vague terms) how Comic
book Superman canon and Smallville Superman canon were able to be the
same canon. Heh.

Author's Notes: This story is entirely, whole-hog for Paperbkryter. She
dropped me a fb line for my last 'Smallville' story, "Remembrance of One"
that kind of kicked me in the head. She wanted to know who caused the
little snafu in RoO, and my brain immediately went "SO Lionel!" Well, four
months later, my muse decided to cooperate. If you hate it, sorry!

And Kossie, you rock. You don't just rock, you ROCK. She made it better
kids. Go worship at her alter.

And look! No ship! I think the Western Hemisphere just died of shock.


Sum of Zero
by A.j.


You never expected this, did you?

No. A miscalculation. A shift you never planned for.

It all seemed so simple once. Our thoughts shape our worlds, do they not?
The power of the mind. Plan. Prepare. Act. So simple.

Humans are fallible. You knew that. You know you knew that. But you forgot
something, didn't you? As much money as you have - /had/ - you're human

You wanted so little, didn't you? Yes, you think, you did. A wife. A son.
An empire. Strength. So very little. You had it too. So small and
fragile... You didn't know that either, did you?

But that was before. You can remember it sometimes. When She was alive,
and He couldn't breathe. Before that day in the cornfield, when fire rained
from the sky. Things were crumbling before that. Rome fell in a single day.
You knew that too.

You can remember smoke and dirt. The way it smelled and felt, blowing
across your face. And your boy. Your Alexander. He who would be king.
Spread like a broken marionette on a bed of green.

Green. How appropriate.

You thought it was over then... Your dreams, so simple and straightforward,
gone. Lost in a second.

You should have known.

//Don't open your mouth, Lionel... Deals with the devil are papered in

How funny.

But that didn't matter then, or even later. No, because you knew better.
You were stronger. You were right when nothing else in the world was. You
had to be.

You like it in this place. When you woke here that morning, you didn't think
you would. It wasn't where you were supposed to be. Not here. The dark
walls and a single window that opened to the smell of water wasn't right.
Not in an insane asylum. It was supposed to be more.

There was supposed to be light here. This world was to be the better place.

You thought it would be. You thought you knew.

No, it didn't end in that cornfield. Your son rose higher, brighter than
before. Cracked in places, but so much stronger. And not. Not what you
wanted, or what you knew he could be. Because it was there. That tiny
little fire that you'd been trying so desperately to ignite. You saw it.

Yourself. You saw yourself.

But he didn't want it, did he? He fought so hard. You might have admired
him for that, if it hadn't been against you. He was yours, this child, and
he had no right to do that. No right to destroy this.

So you sent him away. To season. To learn. To look on the world and see
just how right you were. To come back and know just what you did. That the
only truth lay in that little fire.

Want. Take. Have. Be. Rule.

You underestimated him though. It was a surprise, although not entirely
unwelcome. You don't know how or why, but things changed. He found
something else, some place else, to be. Another way. But that wasn't right,
was it? He was yours. You gave him life, and he owed you fealty.

So you tried to bring him back. Make him see. He is firstborn. He needed to
be best. But he didn't listen. And when he finally offered you that hand, you
looked into his eyes for what should have been the last time and saw...
nothing. Nothing but him. Not you at all.

That couldn't be, could it? No. Because fires don't die. Not really. They
just cool.

So you tried, the appearance of weakness clung tight around you like a
shield. Whispers of lies and words to push and fan what you could no longer
see. Stoke the embers.

But it wasn't working, was it? Or was it? No matter. Because the board
needed to be reset to something closer to what should be.

And although your world was black and tired, you knew better. You knew
there was something else. Plan. Prepare. Act.

Because there are things in this world, not dreamt of by the minds of mortal
men. Fire from the sky. Reports of mutations and accidents that can only
mostly be blamed on mass hysteria. Tales of a substance, something, that
can change reality. Change the world.

Change everything.

And you knew it had to be done.

It wasn't hard, was it? To find. To seek. As limited as you'd become,
there was always someone or something to buy. And really, didn't the stuff
just grow on trees? And it was all you could do to stem the tide. Who knew
there was so much? Keep it close, keep it safe.

You should have known better.

It was perfect, wasn't it? This thing that brought so much chaos. You
couldn't see it, but you knew it was green. So warm and solid in your hands,
a weight of a world.

You. Knew.

And it knew then. It felt it and pushed up and out. Expanding to your will,
because there was no one - nothing - stronger than you. But you wanted
there to be.

You wanted him to be stronger. To be better than you at being you.

You don't remember falling asleep. You must have, because you remember
waking up in stages. Your arms tingling, and the feel of cotton on your
cheek. That was it. It was over. The darkness.


Hoping, you opened your eyes to take in this new place, and world. And you
saw. For the first time in two years, you saw light and color and the
incomparable vastness of everything.

Be careful of what you wish for.

You knew that too. You just didn't believe it.

Just like you didn't believe when the doctors and orderlies told you your son,
your Alexander was the one who put you here. White walls, white clothes,
and so many drugs.

And when he opened that big iron door, some five days and constant
tantrums later, you saw, first hand, what your knowledge had wrought. You
saw yourself, again, in his pale blue eyes. You saw a fire roaring so hard and
hot, that for the very first time, you couldn't help but look away.

Because there you were. And suddenly, you knew.

There's only room in the world for one Luthor.

Only one of you would ever leave this room. This hospital. Only one could
walk the pathways of power, and grow strong for it. There was only one

And you are Lionel.

Breaking is easy when there's nowhere else to go. You knew that. And
remembering what was, what had been. Remembering your own greatness.
That's easy too, because you're the only one who can.

So you stare out from your little prison at what you think might be the sea,
and laugh. Because there's nothing else for you to do.