Disclaimer: Yes, I do own the movie! No, I do not own the rights…
I don't usually write AU, but I've always wished that the end of the movie had been more like this. I may be the only one who thinks so, but I just had to write it!
"You're finished, Khan."
The Shadow drew his guns, meaning to end this battle of wills quickly, but Khan was prepared. He reached forward, pushing a button on his throne. The world tilted crazily around The Shadow as the floor shifted, and Lamont fell, his guns flying from his hands as he hit the ground and rolled. He could hear Khan laughing maniacally, but refused to give in to fear. He was not beaten yet.
"But you will be," Khan replied, confidently. "You have no idea the weapons I have at my disposal." As Lamont slid to a stop, he looked at Khan, ready to fight, but the man's attention was drawn to the right. Lamont followed his gaze and saw –
"Margo!" She was coming toward him, the same dream-like blankness on her face as the night she had tried to kill him. He focused all his powers on her mind, trying to free her. Nothing happened. He turned to Khan. "Let her go." The villain merely laughed.
Lamont stood and looked at Margo as she advanced. She was unarmed. He brought his hands up as she reached him, ready to defend himself, but determined not to hurt her. Margo's right hand shot out to grab his, locking it around her waist, even as the other gripped the back of his neck, forcing his head down to hers.
Their lips met, and for a moment, the world disappeared. Lamont savored the kiss he had been afraid of for so long, letting go of his fears, and the illusion he had cast on his features. But the bliss was not to last. Amid laughter from Khan, the floor dropped again – but Margo continued to hold tight, falling to the hard ground. She brought him down with her, their lips never breaking contact. Lamont tried to push himself off of her with his free hand, but her grip didn't release. Khan, it seemed, was lending her strength.
"How does it feel, Ying Ko, to die at the hands of one you love?"
Margo's left thumb began to dig into his carotid artery, as her fingers maintained their hold on the back of his neck. Lamont soon became dizzy from the reduced blood flow, and saw stars as he felt the ground tilt once more.
They both slid to the edge of the circle, and Lamont tried to control their descent, but could not stop Margo's head from hitting the low lip of the sunken floor. Her eyes opened in surprise, and she released him – his breath coming in ragged gasps as he shook his head to clear it. Margo winced in pain, and then sank into unconsciousness.
"Or to have them die at yours?"
Lamont felt her neck for a pulse, and – once finding it – turned to his enemy with murder in his gaze. But once again, Khan was not looking at him. Instead, he was gesturing to the Phurba, which flew across the room to sink into Lamont's shoulder, throwing him back and away from Margo. With a grunt of pain, Lamont pulled it out, and struggled to maintain a grip on it as it dragged him across the floor.
The knife continued its cat-and-mouse game, slamming him alternately into walls and the floor until he involuntarily released it.
"You are losing your concentration," Khan taunted from his safe position across the room. "Your mind is too weak. You are beginning to lose your power." Lamont shut out the voice as he stared at the weapon, and wiped blood from his chin. He was shocked to see the Phurba mimic his movements. For a moment, he felt control over it, but it was not to last. The knife lunged at his throat, stopped only by the fierceness of Lamont's grip in his fight to survive.
Khan gloated as he moved closer. "Look at you. You can't even control yourself. How can you hope to control the Phurba?"
The blade slowly scraped across his neck, and Lamont felt his blood begin to flow. It was warm and thick, and brought with it a sense of calm – of finality. He could finally rest, if he just let go of the knife. But that calm left him as he thought of Margo, lying somewhere nearby, helpless. And in that moment of concern for her, for something outside of himself, everything fell into place.
For every man that he had killed, he would avenge those who wrongfully died. For the women he had used and cast aside, he would be forever faithful to Margo – the one woman who knew what he was and loved him anyway. And for every villain that tried to cover the world in darkness, he would be The Shadow cast by vanquishing light. Lamont Cranston, Ying Ko, and The Shadow came together, each making room for the other, as he became the man that fate had always meant him to be.
He released the knife, and felt it hover just above him. Lamont sensed Khan's desperate attempts to regain control, but his mental grip was slippery with sudden fear. Lamont opened his eyes, and easily commanded the knife to sail into the belly of its former master. Khan's red eyes widened in surprise and pain as the weapon tore into him. He screamed in agony and betrayal – glass shattering all around him. Khan slowly pulled the knife from him, gazing at the blood that dripped from it to the floor. It was his blood, mingled with that of his enemy – but he was unwilling to admit defeat. He slowly stumbled behind a curtain, seeking escape.
Lamont ran after him, but stopped when he heard Margo moan softly. Grabbing a cushion from the dais, he went to her, dropping down on one knee. He gently lifted the back of her head, and placed the pillow underneath it. She groaned again, struggling against something unseen, as he called her name.
"Margo Lane." His voice broke what was left of Khan's hold over her mind, and Margo gasped as her eyes flew open, awakened from the nightmare. She immediately closed them again in pain. Lamont stroked her hair lovingly. "It's alright. I'm here…" Margo looked carefully into his eyes, one hand reaching up to touch her head.
"Where… How… What happened?" Her fingers grazed her own lips, then his, as she remembered.
"It's okay," Lamont replied. "I'm here to take care of you. I won't let anything happen to you." She smiled softly in gratitude, but her expression turned to one of concern.
"He's still alive. I can see it in your eyes." He nodded, but made no move to leave. He was different now: she could feel it. His heart and mind were complete, like a puzzle that had finally been finished. And he loved her. Margo could feel that love washing over her like the cool ocean waves of her dream. She never wanted him to leave her, and knew that if she asked, he would stay by her side forever, even as the world fell apart around them. The thought both terrified and thrilled her.
But the moment of selfishness passed. "You need to go. Stop him before he hurts someone else." Lamont nodded again, and kissed her hand. "I'll be fine," she reassured him, running her fingers through his dark hair. "Go."
With one last look, Lamont stood and ran after Khan, following the trail left by his blood. Margo turned her head to watch him leave, and her eyes fell on the bomb meant to destroy all of New York. She struggled to sit up, her mind occupied by one thought: I have to find my father…
Glass crunched under her feet as Margo walked through the hotel basement. After helping her father disable the bomb, she had followed the sounds of battle, but could hear nothing now. A dark shape on the floor caught her eye, and she ran to it, dropping on her knees beside Lamont. She was oblivious to the glass that cut her as she checked his pulse: it was there, but weak. Her hands fluttered over him, noticing injuries her hazy mind had missed before. His left cheek was bruised, and blood flowed freely from his mouth, neck, and shoulder.
Margo pressed her hand to his shoulder to staunch the bleeding, and looked around helplessly for anything that might serve as a bandage. Another shape caught her eye, but she looked quickly away from the sight of the glass embedded in Khan's skull.
"Help!" she cried to the ceiling, "Someone, help!" The sound of frantic footsteps turned into Moe, who glanced at the scene and took a step back. "Moe, you have to get help," Margo called, snapping him out of his shock.
"There you are!" he said in relief. "One minute you were standing next to me outside, and the next you were saying something about how he was calling you, and you had to go! I just assumed the boss needed your help."
"It was Khan who was calling me, but I don't remember very much." She shook her head against the continued throbbing and looked down at Lamont. "Never mind that now – he needs help. Please go call an ambulance."
Moe joined Margo by Lamont's body, wincing at what he saw. "The cops are already on their way, but I think we're going to need Dr. Hazzar for this." A rasping breath from Khan provoked a scream from Margo, and Moe clutched his chest. "Yeah, we definitely need Dr. Hazzar." With that, he rushed to his feet and from the room, leaving Margo to cradle Lamont's head in her lap as she continued to put pressure on the worst of his wounds.
"It's okay," Margo said, echoing his earlier sentiments. "I'm here to take care of you. I won't let anything happen to you."
She thought she saw him smile. "I know," he breathed, and went limp in her arms.
It was a week before Lamont was strong enough to venture from his home again. He called Margo, asking her to meet him outside the Cobalt Club at exactly 8:00. But even as Moe drove, Lamont sensed that he could not stay for long. He could feel the desperate and murderous intent of a man only a few blocks away, lying in wait for a rich victim.
Lamont got out of the car and saw Margo, her back turned to him as she scanned the crowd around the club's entrance. He walked up quietly behind her.
"Margo Lane." She turned at the sound of his voice, a wry smile on her face.
"Don't think I didn't know you were there." She lifted a hand to his chest, drawing into his embrace. A touch of his finger to her lips froze her as he reached in his pocket. She looked quizzically into his eyes. "Margo Cranston… Yes, I do like the sound of that."
Lamont smiled as he placed the ring on her finger. "Marry me," he whispered. Their lips met and they drank each other in, unhesitating, unyielding. The kiss seemed to span days, years, and lifetimes as they stood, the world rushing by them. When they parted Margo looked into his eyes, knowing what he had to do.
"I'll see you later," he said, reluctantly breaking away. He turned and began walking before he could change his mind.
"Hey," came her voice from behind him, "how will you know where I am?"
He smiled and looked at her once more. "I'll know."
Lamont walked down the alley, his face already beginning to change as Margo sent him a silent parting message.
I love you.
Probably my one and only story about The Shadow! I hope you liked it!