Category: AU, Drama, Humor
Spoilers: Mmmm, well. You really should be watching the show. It's pretty good.
Description: Five conversations that Lex never had with Lillian, Julian, Duke, Helen and Alistair Finch.
Notes: These stories are independent of each other, and are only linked by their falsehood. Also, I am not familiar with the private-school soccer culture of the UK, so I drew from the high-school football culture of the US. Am I begging for discrepancies? I think so. Do I care? I think not.
Disclaimer: Not mine. Not mine.
Feedback: I fiend for it.
Lex and Lillian were back at the suite, and Lex was lying on his mother's bed, his own shoeless feet propped up on hers. His cap was at the foot of the bed, and his gown was draped on the bed rail. Mercifully, Julian was gone to . . . who knows where, maybe with Pamela.
"Remember when you used to do this? Crawl into my bed and snuggle under blankets while I read you stories, or we would sometimes watch old movies?" she asked. Lex could hear the smile in her voice. He nodded, smiling himself. "Where have those years gone?" she said. She didn't sound sad, just . . . sincerely amazed, and maybe a little sad. Lex sat up, leaning on his own shoulder. He sunk into the plush comforters of the monstrous bed, looking at his mother. He had something to tell her.
"Um, Mom, can I tell you something?" Lex started. It was kind of childish to ask first; he even thought so.
"Do you need to ask?" she said, amused.
"I did something that I didn't tell you about." She looked at him calmly, giving him nothing. "I applied to Metropolis University."
His mother's eased into a hesitant grin, like when your parents were about to allow you to do something that even you yourself knew you had no business doing.
"And?" she said.
"And they accepted me." Lex said. They stared at each other a minute, both awaiting the other's response. He watched his mother's face morph slowly from a silent giggle, to a repressed smile, to sideways glance, to a stoic indifference.
"You do these things to torment me, Alexander," she finally said.
"No, Mom," Lex started earnestly, "It's just..."
"Just what?" she said. Lex anticipated some irritation, but his mother sounded truly miffed.
"If I'm going to major in economics and chemistry, I feel I need to do that from the country I'm going to work from. The United States is the financial empire of the world, the headquarters of international commerce, the hotbed of scientific discovery - "
"Stop right there," Lillian interrupted. Lex slammed on the brakes. His mother leaned forward taking his chin in her fingers and talking directly in his eyes. "Fine. America is the land of the free, home of the brave. But, if this was really about vocational advancement and educational opportunity, you wouldn't have waited until today, with registration less than three months away, to casually mention it, after we're already preparing you to go to Oxford." Lex bit the inside of his jaw - he knew she was right.
"I'm tired of England," he said. "I want to come home. I want real hamburgers, and decent jeans. I want to see you more than every few months, and, and, and . . . Julian needs a big brother. " He finally stopped. He could have kept going on forever, frantically listing reasons, hoping his mother would throw him a bone, make him think he wasn't crazy for wanting to go to a good, but clearly second-tier school when arguably the most reputed institution of higher learning in the world was inches from his fingertips.
"You and I both know you're preaching to the choir. Don't you know I would love to have you back in Metropolis with me? But this isn't about me. You have to want this. You've got to do this for yourself." She placed her hand on his. "You're going to have to explain that you've considered all the options, weighed the good and bad, thoughtfully pondered what would be in the best interest of your short and long-term goals, and that this is the decision that you've made." She looked at him with a confidence and sagacity that would assure even the most timid adolescent on the brink of adulthood. It only gutted Lex more to know that his reality wasn't that simple. He felt himself droop and he dropped his head.
"But I can't tell him," he said. She gently lifted his chin.
"So, you commit emotional tyranny on me hoping that I would do the honors?" she asked. Lex said nothing. In an almost uncanny reflection of each other, they both leaned back against the headboard, heads tilted back and stared at the ceiling. It probably was a sign for something, something that on any other day they might have explored, if their minds weren't so inextricably placed elsewhere. His mother suddenly spoke. "It's so ironic; I remember wanting to live in England as a girl," she said whimsically, sighing with the memory.
"Why did you want to live in England?" Lex asked, brow furrowed with curiosity.
"Mmm," his mother started, a small grin appearing on her face, "I read all those Jane Austen books. Especially 'Pride and Prejudice.' And boy - if I didn't want a Mr. Darcy to drop into my little cottage and sweep me off of my feet." She paused. "Back then I was into the strong silent types. Brooding, misunderstood, complex men. And I wanted to be the Elizabeth Bennett to figure them out." She fell off talking and seemed to be daydreaming.
"Is that why you married Dad?" Lex asked after a moment. Lillian turned her head towards him and drew a deep breath.
"Well," she said, "it's not why I married him. But it definitely had something to do with why I was attracted to him in the first place." she paused, and then patted Lex's hand. "I was so proud of you today. Seeing you in all your regalia with all the other candidates. You're finished with your first big stage in life. It's the day every mother," she swallowed hard, smiling. "every mother lives for." Lex knew his mother was holding back tears. It made him feel a little embarrassed - but very proud. "And," she said, tapping his nose "you got accepted by two great universities. So, you got a bright future ahead of you Alexander." Lex nodded. "I don't want self-doubt, and expectations of others, and intimidation altering who you were meant to be." And now, she really did look sad. "I'm sorry Lex," she said.
Lex sat up, surprised, and concerned. "Why are you saying that, Mom?"
"For all the times I fought too hard . . . and all the times I didn't fight hard enough." She was shaking her head.
"Why are saying that?" Lex repeated, "You've been great."
"Thanks, hon. It's just...sometimes I look at you, then I look at Julian, and I wonder if I should of done things a little differently."
Lex didn't want his mother taking the blame for anything his father did. He understood better than anyone else what it was like to be under the thumb of Lionel Luthor.
"Hey," Julian said bursting through the door. Lionel came in after him.
"The brat's back," Lex mumbled under his breath.
"Dad took me to go look at the atrium," the six-year-old said, running up to Lillian and hugging her.
"Very nice, darling," she said cheerily.
"Hardly nice. He's easily impressed," Lionel said, hanging his coat in the closet, "I've seen more sophisticated architecture in Nashville." He looked at Lex, "Very well done today, Lex. You should be proud of yourself," he said, a typical deflective compliment. "So, you ready to shed Excelsior and don your Oxford apparel?" he said in his most blustering voice. It was more declaration than question. Lex cleared his throat.
"Yeah," he said cheerily, "I was just talking about how ready I am for college with Mom. I can't wait."
"Excellent," Lionel said, before disappearing into the adjoining bathroom.
Lex hesitantly turned to his mother. She was looking at him with a mournful resignation that hit Lex like a punch in the stomach.
She turned to Julian and started to read.