The sounds of the day nudged Lex back to consciousness. He slowly raised his aching body, stiff and sore from the rough forest floor, and reached back to his left shoulder, massaging the sore muscles.
His head ached terribly and for a moment Lex couldn't quite remember what had happened. A soft moan from behind caused Lex to turn and he was startled to see his father propped against a large boulder, one of his legs bloody and bent at a horribly unnatural angle.
Lex stood too quickly and winced as his back muscles spasmed. He hobbled over to his father; Lionel's face was white and his breath was rattling in his chest. Lionel was going into shock. Lex removed his suit jacket and laid it over his father, searching the surrounding area for anything else that he could cover his father with.
That was when he saw it; the BMW he had been driving wrapped around a tree. The site of the wreck brought images of the last few minutes of the car ride flooding back in an assaulting tidal wave. Lex had been driving, too fast as usual, and his father had been in the passenger seat. Charles, Lionel's assistant, was in the back.
They were in Utah on business. Luthorcorp was considering becoming part of the renewable resource movement and wanted to build a hydropower plant. Utah had provided the lowest costs of any other site along with the least amount of resistance to the construction and damming of the river. Lex, ready to be a real part of Luthorcorp, was taking an active interest in the new project and his father was obviously pleased.
When Jonathan Kent won the Senate seat, Lex had been forced to reexamine his life and his plan to separate himself from Luthorcorp. Lex hated to admit defeat, not to mention that his father was right but in this case both were true; so Lex had rejoined the ranks of the family business. This project was going to be his first under his fathers rule. Lex found the familiar position of being under his father's control unsettling, his memories of running Luthorcorp nothing but dust on the wind.
Lex was driving as they headed back to the small town where they were staying. They had been on site, going over preliminary plans and the day had grown long. Lex was the lone car on the road, going at an alarming speed, taking the corners of the canyon highway at breakneck speed. No one was paying attention to the road. Lionel, Lex and Charles were discussing options for plant locations when a deer darted in front of the car. Lex, lifting his head just in time to see the animal pause in the center of his lane, swerved to miss the deer and steered the car directly into a tree.
That moment forward was a chaotic jumble of images. Lex remembered getting out of the smashed and smoking car and stumbling to the passenger side before promptly falling over and passing out. He didn't remember getting his father out, and he hoped he hadn't been dumb enough to move Lionel from the car.
"That idiot Charles took off on foot for help. He'll probably be eaten by a mountain lion or something," Lionel grumbled breathlessly as Lex covered him with his jacket.
"The cell phones don't work up here. So much for all that technology," Lionel tried to laugh but quickly entered into a coughing fit instead.
Lex shook his head in frustration. "Nevermind, who moved you from the car?"
"I moved myself," Lionel replied as his coughing subsided. He winced in pain as Lex pulled apart Lionel's pant leg and examined his bloody leg.
"You probably made this worse by moving," Lex admonished, feeling slightly nauseous at the sight of the compound fracture. There was bone pushing through the skin and there was so much blood…
"When did you graduate medical school?" Lionel asked, his tone obviously trying to be menacing but failing in his weakened and injured state.
"How long ago did Charles take off," Lex questioned, ignoring his father and turning his eyes from the gruesome sight of the twisted, mangled leg.
"I guess maybe an hour or so ago," Lionel slurred, leaning his head back and closing his eyes.
"Dad, stay with me," Lex said loudly as he shook his father's bony shoulder. It was like gripping a skeleton. Lex never realized how thin his father had become the last year.
Lionel rolled his head forward, his eyelids obviously heavy. "Don't pretend you care, Lex. It tires me."
Lex, his head throbbing painfully, was saved by the distant echo of approaching sirens. Ignoring the guilt trip Lionel was trying to lay on him, Lex moved towards the road and waited. Quickly the sounds of the emergency vehicles grew louder until finally Lex could see the approaching blue and red lights through the trees.
Lex, his head aching less since arriving at the small medical center, raised his eyes to the young nurse standing before him. Lex had been treated for a concussion and put back out in the tiny waiting room. The medication for the concussion had dulled the throb in his head, but still it was there, like a scratch that can't quite be reached, or a tickle in the throat that just won't go away.
"How is my father?" Lex asked, rising slowly from the hard plastic chair and steeling himself against the increased blood flow and the sudden amplified pounding within his head. As quickly as it had appeared, the pulsing in his head diminished to an annoying echo once again.
"The doctor will be out in a minute to talk to you, but your father came out of surgery with no complications," the nurse replied, the iris's of her eyes so dark brown they were almost black. Lex paused for a moment, mesmerized by the depth in her eyes.
Heavy, quick footsteps from down the hall caused the nurse to turn away from Lex, breaking the trance of the latter. The nurse silently stepped aside as the doctor came into view, reaching out for Lex's hand.
"Mr. Luthor, I am Dr. Goam. I was able to repair the damage to your father's leg. It was quite extensive. He will require physical therapy and it'll be a few days before I will clear him to be transferred to University Hospital in Metropolis. He's in recovery now, and I'm sure Cassie will be happy to escort you down if you'd like to sit with him," the doctor finished, looking at Lex expectantly.
"Fine, thank you," Lex nodded, accepting the offer because he knew he was expected to. Truthfully, he didn't want to sit with his father. Knowing Lionel would be fine Lex simply wanted to get back to the hotel and lay in the dark room with a cold compress on his head.
The doctor spun on his heels and walked away, no doubt putting Lex and Lionel out of his mind and moving on to the next patient. Lex was left standing with the brown eyed nurse, Cassie, once again.
"This way, Mr. Luthor," Cassie gestured down the hall the doctor had just come from.
The two walked side by side in silence. Lex was dreading his father awakening, knowing how angry and frustrated he would be when he found out he'd have to stay in this rural hospital for several days.
"I'm sure you're father will be fine," Cassie offered, breaking the silence she must have interpreted was due to worry on Lex's part.
Lex turned, facing a bright smile of support and empathy. Lex found himself wanting to laugh out loud. She very obviously had misunderstood Lex's silence.
"Oh, I'm not worried. I know my father will be fine. I'm more afraid of his reaction when he sees where he'll be forced to stay for the next few days," Lex explained, hoping to alleviate any worry the nurse might feel on behalf of Lex, or Lionel for that matter.
She nodded, her expression clearing. Lex fought a fleeting twinge of regret, knowing he had offended her. As he opened his mouth to offer an apology she spoke instead, stopping as they neared the end of the long hallway.
"Here we are. Lionel Luthor, room 132. I hope you find him well; well enough as can be expected," Cassie looked at him and the unabashed honesty in her look caught him slightly off guard. She was amused, and slightly annoyed, by the disregard for her small hospital, and the snobbery that Lex had exhibited like a spoiled little boy.
"I'll be around for another hour if you need anything," Cassie offered a polite smile as she turned to leave, still behaving as professional as the first moment she had approached Lex, despite his expressed disdain.
"Thank you," Lex called after her, surprising himself. She paused halfway down the hall. She smiled again, nodding in acknowledgment. This time Lex thought her smile looked a little more sincere.
Lex watched as she walked away, than turned to the room where his father was recovering, mentally preparing himself for the wrath of Lionel Luthor.