Set after the last new eppy…
Summary: Lex and Lana face each other after the incident.
Distribution: Hazardous, Envision. Others, ask!
Special thanks to Christie for beta-ing this story for me! You rock!
Lex Luthor was shivering. He was cold, confused and exhausted. He remained huddled in a corner of his padded cell, praying and pleading that this nightmare be over. The doctors had finally cleared the removal of his straightjacket, and Lex had to admit he was relieved to have it off. He was one step closer to being free again.
He remembered Clark telling him that his father had most likely drugged him. Then again, how did Lex know that wasn't just another hallucination? He seemed to have a lot of them; the psychiatrist called them paranoid delusions. Was that what he was? Paranoid? Delusional? Insane? Everyone seemed anxious to label him as something. Why not mentally unstable? It was a genius way for his father to get rid of him: completely discredit everything he had to say by having him committed to Belle Reve Asylum.
Lex could feel everything slipping though his fingers, his entire life crumbling as if it were dry dirt. Lex slammed his eyes closed, his hands covering his ears, trying desperately to block out all of his intruding thoughts. He wanted the thoughts to stop. He wondered briefly if anyone had stopped by the asylum. That room was lonelier than the three months he'd spent on the deserted island, hallucinations or not. At least on the island, there was an excuse for no one to visit him. Maybe he really had lost his mind. It was probably exactly what his father wanted him to think. His faculties were gone. The bald head held nothing but a minorly mad brain.
He tried to control the racing thoughts, but couldn't. He had lost the ability to control the world around him and inside of him and that made him feel more lost than ever. He tried to remember a time he hadn't felt lost. Meeting Clark was confusing, but he'd felt like he'd found someone he could trust. Meeting Lana? No. Lana coming to him, begging him to revive the Talon. That moment was clear in his mind. Her long, silky, raven hair, her hazel eyes looking up at him like he owned the world. He could see everything about her, haunting him. Her warm smile assuring him she would help him. Then, the shocked look that flashed on her face as he pushed her into the stable's stall. He could hear her pained screams as if the very event was occurring at that instant. He curled into fetal position, guilt for hurting Lana Lang crashing over his body like waves. He spoke his first words in several days.
"Lana. I'm so sorry. Lana. Please. Be. Okay."
It was a quiet plea and a prayer combined into that repetitive phrase. He couldn't be sure that Lana had even survived the incident. She could be lying in a cold, suffocating coffin alone forever. He deserved to be in this cell. He deserved something much worse.
Lana Lang was surprised when she'd received the phone call at the Talon. She was in a wheelchair since the accident. She supposed she should be glad that she was in a wheelchair at all: alive, instead of in a grave next to her parents. Still, she couldn't help but be bitter.
She didn't blame Lex. She'd seen the insanity in his eyes, the distrust and betrayal. There was no mistaking it. She found it hard to blame him for her condition, even if she wanted to. Her life had changed dramatically after a few split seconds and now she may never walk again. All the same, she didn't hate Lex. That was what surprised her about the phone call.
Apparently, Lex had taken a turn for the worse at Belle Reve after recollections of what had happened hit him. Dr. Andersen had told her that all Lex had done was mumble a silent mantra about her. They believed that a short visit from Lana might help his recovery.
So, Lana had found a way to travel to the hospital. She wanted to help Lex. She even held onto the possibility that helping Lex would help her.
The hospital scared Lana. It was so dark and so cold. She couldn't imagine anyone staying there. The guard rolled her into a room, sympathy on his face, and she found it difficult to fight the urge to punch him. She hated the pity everyone felt towards her. She'd moved on from being the tragic fairy princess from the cover of the TIME magazine to the wheelchair-bound girl caught in the middle of Lex Luthor's insanity. She would never be able to run from those labels. Especially now. She couldn't even wheel away from them.
She stopped in the center of the room, putting her brakes on. She could almost feel butterflies rising up in her stomach. She didn't want to see Lex anymore. She was afraid to. Not afraid of him, but afraid to see him in the condition he was in. She wasn't sure how this visit would help. After he saw the damage he'd caused, Lana couldn't help but wonder if the only thing it would do was set him back.
Finally, Lex arrived. He didn't look like the man she'd always admired. He was still clean-shaven and for a second, she wondered if the meteor rock had also stunted his ability to grow a beard. His face was utterly broken, his eyes vacant and haunted. She wanted to reach out and hold him, but she wasn't sure if that would be the best course of action. So, she sat, unmoving, waiting for Lex to make the first move. Lex's gaze settled on her and he began to shake his head.
That was the only word he spoke.
"You can't be real." The anguish was evident in his voice.
"No! I killed you! I went completely nuts and sent you into the stable and left you there to die. You came back to haunt me."
"No, Lex, I'm alive. I was hurt, but I survived."
She saw something even more uncharacteristic of Alexander Luthor. His blue eyes welled up with unshed tears. She could see the regret coming off of him in waves. He didn't seem to believe her, believe in her presence. He turned away from her, ashamed. Ashamed of crying, ashamed of what he'd done, or a combination of both, Lana couldn't distinguish.
Lex refused to look at Lana and she could hardly hear his quiet mutterings.
"Not real. Not real. It's just a trick. Not real. Not real."
Lana could feel her heart breaking into a zillion pieces. He seemed so lost. Confident, cocky, self-assured Lex Luthor was gone and he didn't know how to save himself. Hope had vanished the day he lost his mind.
Lana wished she could stand up and hug him. Let him know she was real. The shattered leg prevented her from doing so. She tried to wheel towards him, but she couldn't. She didn't want to see Lex broken beyond repair. She couldn't handle it. If Lex was broken, so was she. Lana considered her words carefully.
"I brought you some food that night, Lex. You were on the run, so to speak, from your father. He was drugging you. Somehow, another bit of paranoia struck you and you ran. I followed. You pushed me and I landed into one of the stalls in the stables. The horse freaked out and stamped all over me. It shattered my leg and my arm, and caused me to fall unconscious. I woke up in the hospital, Lex. I lived. I am all right. I have to undergo physical therapy, but I'm all right. It hurts me that you're hurting. You have to believe me. Touch me."
Lex turned to her; the room so quiet a pin drop could have been heard. She bit her lip, trying to hold back the strong urge to cry. Lex knelt down in front of Lana's wheelchair reverently. He stared at her like she was a goddess, someone he shouldn't be allowed to be near. He waited before reaching out and touching her cheek. Lana closed her eyes, as did Lex, the moment settling in over each other. She heard his breathing hitch as the realization that Lana was real hit him.
"I'm so sorry."
Lana's face softened as she took her good hand to intertwine her fingers with Lex's.
"I don't blame you. You didn't know what you were doing. You didn't intentionally have me hurt."
"You should blame me."
She could almost touch the pain he was feeling, it was so strong.
"Well, even if I should, I don't."
"I'll do anything to make this up to you, Lana. If there's anything I can do. I'll pay the doctor bills and have the best physical therapists sent here…"
Lana cupped Lex's jaw tenderly.
"You want to make this up to me? Get well. I hate seeing you like this, Lex. Focus on your recuperation and I'll be perfectly ecstatic."
Lex nodded before letting his head drop into her lap. She stroked his scalp, her fingers tracing the contours of his skull.
"I'm sorry you had to go through this."
"I'm sorry it affected you, Lana."
"No more apologies."
Lex smiled slightly and for a second, he looked liked the old Lex. Lana sighed when she heard the door open. Her time with Lex was up. Lana bent down and kissed Lex's forehead.
"You'll be out of here soon and I'll be out of this wheelchair and we can go back to running the Talon together."
Lex slid away from Lana as the security guard rolled Lana away. Lana waved briefly at him as she disappeared into the dark corridor. Lex felt better to a degree. Lana was okay. Given time, they would all be okay.