Spoilers: Crisis
Description: Lex has regrets. Post-Crisis. Written for svdodecals Fanfic Dodecal Challenge #20 "Regret" "A Smallville character has regrets. Describe." Only thing is, this isn't a dodecal. Sorry, couldn't do it.
Notes: I wrote this years ago. I don't even know when. Re-read it today and thought someone might get something out of it. I've made some grammatical and even some style changes, but it remains largely the same as when it was first written several years ago.
Disclaimer: Not mine. Not mine.
Feedback: I fiend for it.

***

Lex had spent his evening navigating potholes and barely paved roads—the plight of a nighttime jogger. He turned onto Kelson Street, slowing as he rounded the corner. He was blinded by yet another country driver with the brights on.

This jog made him remember the old days at Metropolis U when he would run before his AM classes. There were sidewalks in Metropolis, and he would jog in place waiting for the crossing sign to change, while he listened to bands like Everclear on his Discman. The memories seemed fond at this moment.

Tonight Lex jogged with an iPod in tow, but he hadn't bothered to listen to any music; the only rhythm he could hear was the blood pulsing in his ears. That rhythm had been with him for hours. Because of all the acts, plots, deceits and flat out lies he had pulled of his life, today had beasted them all. The reserved calm he exuded was a thin veneer to the frantic, raging desperation he felt inside. Being accused of murdering several people has a way of doing that to a person.

Lex was scared.

And yet, the last few hours had infuriated him; crippling blasts of memory would send him into cataplexy. He had an eerie, almost hallucinatory, recollection of the paperwork that had been shoved in his face, his signature on every page. Being handcuffed was a perpetual memory. He had flashbacks of his father's sneer when Lex had visited his office earlier. How could he have been so cavalier? Now Lex knew.

He fell to the wet ground on all fours, breathing heavily and head held low. Behind closed eyes he could only see Clark demanding to be taken to the lab, then leaving when the FBI arrived. Sometimes he wondered what he and Clark had. Was that a friendship? Was it anything?

He opened his eyes to blurry images swirling in front of him. He felt like he may be going blind. Another set of brights allayed his fears.

He forced himself back up and kept jogging, this time heading back home.

He passed a residential section and saw a father and daughter sitting on the porch. The air carried the scent of barbecued meat, and the pair looked placid and happy. She leaned over and whispered something in her father's ear, and Lex could just make out him saying "I love you too," before embracing the girl. Lex was typically immune to such idyllic scenes—his cynicism by this point was indelible. But this one tugged at him.

One summer, when Lex was 17, Lionel had walked into his room, only to be greeted by a skinny, pale heap of body in a pool of vomit. It wasn't a wholly inconceivable scenario -- Lex had awoken and would awake in such a condition many times, for years to come. Accept that, on this occasion, it wasn't Lex lying there. It was Cheryl, his girlfriend. They had crept into his room in the wee hours of the morning after a night of partying. Lionel, long bored by Lex's antics, usually went to bed well before Lex got in, if Lionel were even in town at all. But, inexplicably, he'd gone to check on Lex, and found her lying there. Lex, hung-over and oblivious, awoke to his father's crushing grip.

"Lex," he yelled, "what have you done!" Lex took a hard breath and blinked several times before noticing the young girl his dad held in his arms. The sight rendered him firmly awake. "You disgust me," Lionel added.

Lex had shuddered at the thought of the money, damage control and weeks of snide comments he would have to endure for this one.

He also thought about Cheryl. He reached out to touch her, but his dad snatched her away.

"She might be dead," Lionel said, looking down. He had a tenderness in his voice that bewildered Lex.

"No she isn't," Lex countered, "you're just saying that to guilt me. You act like you've never seen someone asleep before."

"You're insufferable," Lionel hissed. "Look there." He nodded towards the vomit on the floor. For the first time Lex realized the gravity of the situation. "Go call for the car -- no, for the doctor." Lex raced to Dave, who made the call. Upon his return she was still unconscious and, according to her father, her pulse was faint. By the time the medics had arrived only minutes later, Lex was racked with guilt and fear.

All that night, Lionel behaved with a compassion towards Cheryl that Lex hadn't witnessed in even the darkest moments of their own tragic life. Lex was stunned by the display, but didn't see any signs of pretense in his father. By contrast, it made Lex feel even more horrified at his own carelessness…and endeared him to his father. Lex and Cheryl had had so much fun together that night, only for it to end in disaster. No matter the outcome, this would be their last night together, and the thought of it made Lex sad.

When the doctor finally said that Cheryl would be alright, Lex was so overwhelmed with emotion that his eyes welled up. Eager for an outlet for his gratefulness, he turned to his father, who was equally relieved, and, just above a whisper, said "I love you so much." As the words left his body, he shuddered. He hoped Lionel hadn't heard. But he had. Lionel faced him, and pierced him through with a bloody glare. Then, without a word, he left the room.

The words had never passed between them again.

The story came back to Lex as he made his ragged way home.

Lex...Lex had regrets.