A/N: Just an idea of what could have happened after the season finale and how Lex would deal with it. Please let me know what you think.

Hearing footsteps Clark looked up to see Lex climbing the stairs to the loft. He quickly stood and moved to greet his friend. "Welcome home. It's good to have you back."

"Thanks Clark. It's . . .good to be back." Replied Lex as they shared a quick hug.

"You don't sound real convinced of that. What's wrong? I thought you'd be happy to be home. I'm sorry I couldn't come see you in Metropolis."

"It's OK, Clark. I understand. And to answer your question about what's wrong. . . I'm "home" but this was supposed to be the home I was going to share with Helen. And now. . . "

"Now you aren't. I'm sorry. I heard the rumors. What's the truth?"

"Let's sit down. It's a long story," suggested Lex.

Once they were comfortably seated he began the story. "You remember Victoria Hardwick. She tried to betray me, but I beat her to it. She and her father lost the family company because of that. Her father, Sir Harry, wanted revenge on me. He knew that I'd never let Victoria close again so he got someone else, namely Helen. He and Victoria fed her information on me. What I'd like, what would make me turn away from her, what would make me trust her, what would make me suspect her. Her reward was to be the large fortune she would get upon my death."

Lex looked up to meet his young friends eyes. Clark was startled at what he saw. Lex eyes were usually like a one-way mirror. Looking out one could see everything. Looking in one could see nothing. But now it was like watching that mirror shatter in slow motion.

"All along I'd been looking in the wrong place. Early in the relationship my father paid her to leave me. She said no but my father sent the money to her account anyway, knowing I would find out about it and think she was spying on me. I did find out about the money and accuse her of spying for my father. She ended things. I eventually found out she was telling the truth and asked her to take me back. She did. I thought she had proven she could be trusted. That she wasn't after the money. That she genuinely cared about me. I thought I'd found heaven, or t least as close to it as I'd ever get, and that she was my angel. I never considered that she could be after me for someone other than my father. I thought that Sir Harry was no longer a threat since he no longer had power or money. I was wrong."

"You were human, Lex. You fell in love and it blinded you. You're hardly the first person that's happened to."

"No. But I am someone who should know that there are no happy endings, just endings. I had such dreams for our life together, and now all my dreams seem to have turned into nightmares. I can't seem to quit thinking about all the things that should have been but never were, and now never will be. The honey moon, coming home together, having a family and spending our lives together. And you know what my father would say? That it served me right because I should have known better than to dream. That he taught me to be a realist not a dreamer."

Clark was very worried about his friend. Lex was a survivor and one of the strongest people he knew. But, like everyone, Lex had a weakness, even though he tried not to show it. And if he was subjected to a very specific kind of emotional pressure he might brake beyond repair. Clark's concern was that this just might be that pressure. He knew Lex walked close to the dark side of things and hoped this wouldn't push him over that edge into darkness. "Lex, you know better than to listen to your dad. You've told me that yourself. He doesn't want, or care about, what's best for you. You know that. "

"Yes, Clark, I do," agreed Lex. "But it doesn't mean he's always wrong."

"Well, he is this time. We all need our dreams. They're what give us hope. And wanting a wife and a family isn't unrealistic. It's normal."

The conversation stopped as Martha walked into the barn and Clark went to greet her at the top of the steps. Lex also stood but remained slightly behind Clark. "Mom, look who's back."

"Lex! It's good to see you. Join us for dinner."

Since he had no desire to return to the mansion Lex nodded in agreement. "Thank you. I'd like that. As long as I'm not imposing?"

"Not at all. It'll be nice to have some company. As usual I made more than enough food."

The two boys quickly headed down the stairs. Lex realized that he had an appetite for the first time since the plane crash.

Martha gave Lex a quick, but heart felt, hug as he got to her which he gratefully accepted and returned.

"I, uh, heard about your loss. I'm sorry. How are you doing?" Lex regretted the question as he saw sadness and pain in Martha's eyes.

"I'm. . . doing better. Thank you. Let's go in." Martha replied, forcing a smile to her face.

Jonathon greeted them as they walked in the door. Lex was pleased when Jonathon held out his hand and took it. "It's good to see you safe, Lex."

"Thank you."

As they sat down at the table Lex had the strange feeling that he was finally home. He then felt a stab of regret at the knowledge that it wouldn't last. He pushed the regret away, determined to enjoy it while he could. Accepting, reluctantly, that he needed it at the moment. Needed a sense of being welcomed and even wanted. Needed the feeling of security and peace.

As they ate he felt a surge of gratitude that his relationship with the Kent's was now on a very good footing, unlike the first year of his time in Smallville. He grew even more determined to keep his secret room in the mansion just that, secret. Knowing that if it was ever discovered he'd be cast out of the family forever; something he did not want to happen. For a moment he even considered getting rid of the room and stopping his investigations. Then the moment past.

A few hours later he found himself alone in his study in the mansion. He poured himself a second glass of brandy then returned to his chair in front of the fire. Had he remembered how, he would have cried. Cried for lost dreams and lost love. Cried from sheer loneliness. But he was a Luthor, and Luthors' did not cry. That fact had been so relentlessly drilled into him from so early an age that it had eventually become the truth.

As he watched the fire his gaze was intense, but remote, focused on the images in his mind, not the fire in front of him.

He almost smiled at the irony. The man who was supposed to be a machine; unfeeling, cold and ruthless was almost killed by his emotions. By his love for a woman.

He remembered when he realized what had happened. He'd survived the crash and been floating on the surface. Looking around he'd seen a large yacht in the distance. He watched as the pulled someone on board. From the dress and long dark dark hair he'd guessed it was Helen. She'd turned and looked over in his direction, toward the crash. He'd felt a surge of hope. They'd rescued her and now would come for him. Two other figures had joined her. A man and a woman he thought. She'd turned and followed them towards the cabins as the yacht turned directions and left. That's when the light bulb had clicked on. The truths it illuminated were pretty damned ugly, but Lex thought that seeing them was better than stumbling around in the dark. But with that light hope had bled slowly away like blood dripping from an open wound into the ocean.

He'd later been rescued by fishermen and then in the hospital found out that the figures he'd seen on the boat had been Sir Harry and Victoria. Further investigation had revealed the entire story. No previous experience with devastation or betrayal had prepared him for the effect of knowing the woman he had loved, trusted and married had betrayed him. Had never really cared for him at all and left him to drown in the ocean.

Finishing his drink he stood and walked over to his computer. As had become his habit he spent most of the night working to avoid sleeping. He did not want the nightmares he knew would come. Or the dreams, they were even more painful, since when he awoke he'd have to admit they were just dreams, and that they would never again be reality.

THE END