Disclaimer: I do not own Smallville, DC/Warner Brothers Entertainment does, dangit.
Summary: Tess and Oliver see things differently now.
Author's Notes: Tess is alive. That's all you really need to know. Sending out huge thanks to my dear friend, fellow author and Tollie expert, Paradisekendra, for helping me with this story, for her beta work and for the amazing story banner! You are awesome, lady! Thank you, hon! Please read and review. Thanks, everyone! :D
Tess stared at the shocking document in her hand, her birth certificate, not believing her eyes, but it was true … she was a Luthor. She shook her head, still not quite believing it was true, but there it was in black and white, which meant that her entire life had been a lie. She did have a family, a fractured, scandalous family, but a family nonetheless. Then an unfamiliar warmth spread throughout her chest, a feeling so strong as she put her hand over her heart hoping to stem the flow of emotions, but the feeling continued until her eyes filled with tears.
These unfamiliar feelings were happening more and more and she didn't know what to do with them. Shaking off the feeling, she wiped the tears away with the back of her hand, frustrated with herself. Then she turned and walked around the huge room at Luthor mansion staring at everything as if her eyes were open for the first time. Nothing here had changed, yet she was different somehow, but inside she was still Tess Mercer, she was still the same no matter what that piece of paper said.
Metropolis General Hospital, early morning:
Tess slowly awakened not knowing where she was, but the dream stayed with her. I am Tess Mercer.
"You're awake," Lois said as she came over to her and took her hand. "I'm so happy you're alright. How are you feeling?"
Tess tried to ignore the pain in her gut. "Like I've been stabbed," she replied joking a little.
Lois shook her head at her friend. "Still the same Tess."
Tess looked around but even that movement caused more pain. "I may need some meds. Where's the call button?"
Lois moved the call button closer so she could summon the nurse. "Someone will be here in a minute."
"Thanks, Lois," she said and looked around some more ignoring the pain. "Is that …?"
Lois turned knowing who she was asking about. "Yes, it's Oliver; he's been here all night refusing to go home and rest."
Tess closed her eyes but she couldn't ignore the warm feeling in her chest that those words caused. Lois caught her reaction but didn't say anything. Tess would have to work out those feelings on her own, but she needed to know what happened. "Oliver was the one who found you."
Tess opened her eyes and they were brimming with tears.
Lois gave her a tissue then continued. "When no one could find you, I called him and the next thing I knew, he was calling me back and telling me to meet him at the hospital, and that you were barely breathing."
Before Tess could respond to that stunning statement, the nurse came into the room. "If you're in pain, Ms. Mercer, it's only about a half hour before your next shot, but I can give you something now. Is that alright?"
"Yes, please and thank you," Tess replied and then she closed her eyes for a moment when the nurse administered the shot forcing the pain away.
Oliver woke up when he heard the nurse come into the room. He didn't know why he felt awkward now, not knowing what to say. Maybe it was because I'm now a part of Tess in more ways than one. He closed his eyes again and pretended that he was still asleep and decided to listen.
The nurse left then Lois took her hand again. "You should get some rest, I'll come back later today, but before I do, I wanted to show you something."
"What is it?" Tess asked as she opened her eyes trying to stay awake.
"Take a look and be happy with the knowledge that if you hadn't done what you did, none of us would be here." Lois turned on the television and right there for all the world to see was Clark in his new 'super' suit flying around the world saving and helping people.
Tess was thrilled. "Oh, my, will you look at that? He really did it?"
"Yes, he did," Lois said with so much pride that Tess squeezed her hand.
"He looks wonderful, doesn't he, Lois?" Tess teased her a little.
Lois was finding it hard to speak. "Yeah, he does," she sighed then pulled herself together. "I'll go now. Do you want me to wake Oliver to keep you company?"
"No, let him rest, he deserves it."
"Ok, if you say so," Lois said then she impulsively leaned down and kissed her cheek. "Bye, Tess."
Tess smiled. "Bye, Lois, and thank you."
Lois smiled, squeezed her hand and left.
After about an hour, once Oliver realized that Tess had fallen back asleep, he tried to sneak out of the room.
"Going somewhere?" Tess asked, surprising him.
Oliver stiffened at the door. "Just getting some coffee, I'll be back in a few minutes."
"You don't have to come back if you don't want to," Tess said, giving him an out.
He turned and looked at her face, wondering if she really meant that statement. It was clear to him that she didn't mean it. "Coffee can wait. Are you still in pain?"
Bells went off in her head. "You weren't asleep?"
"Well, I did hear the nurse come in."
"Why didn't you say anything?"
"You needed your rest and I didn't want to interrupt."
"Yes, really, besides you do need your rest and I'm just in the way here."
Tess frowned and wondered what he meant by that. "You saved my life, Oliver; there's no way you could ever be in the way and you know it."
The nurse came back in again. "Oh, I see you're awake, Mr. Queen." The nurse rambled on without waiting for a response as she checked Tess's bandages and her meds. "Ms. Mercer is lucky to have you. Your blood type was a perfect match. Your types are rare Mr. Queen." She stopped suddenly as the air in the room stilled. "Oh, I'm sorry, he didn't tell you?"
Tess stared at Oliver as he hung his head. "No, he didn't."
The nurse continued. "You're healing nicely, Ms. Mercer. If the doctors are in agreement, you may be able to leave the hospital in a few days, but you will have to have someone with you. Movement will be difficult for you for a few weeks," the nurse informed them.
"Don't worry, she's in good hands," Oliver blurted out surprising himself.
Tess didn't know what to make of that comment as she stared at him trying to see what he was thinking to say something like that.
"Excellent, well I'll let you two talk," the nurse said and smiled as she left the room.
Tess waited for him to say something. "Oliver?"
He looked into her eyes then. "I couldn't let you die, Tess."
Moved beyond measure, she held out her hand. He hesitated for a moment then he came over to her and took it.
"Thank you, Oliver. I don't know what else to say."
He stared at her hand then he brought it his lips and kissed it, then the words just poured out. "When I saw you there on the floor all alone, blood all around you, I … I think I died a little too. Then, I listened and I thought you were dead and then … I heard a pulse. I know I should have waited for the paramedics but … I brought you here and … you're alive." His eyes filled with tears with that last part.
She squeezed his hand. "All because of you, Oliver, thank you."
"Stop thanking me, Tess," he uttered a little angry and he didn't know why. He left her side and went to stand at the window deep in thought. "I've had dreams of this happening before, of going through this before, how is that possible?"
Tess closed her eyes and thought about his words. Yes it has happened before. "Oliver, I don't know if I should tell you this."
He wondered what it could be. Oliver wasn't sure if he was ready for any revelations and Tess looked like she could use some rest. When did I become such an 'avoidance phobe'? "You should rest, we can talk later."
Tess wondered why Oliver wanted to avoid this discussion, but they needed to talk about it. She'd had a feeling for a long time now that Oliver knew what had happened in the future and wondered if that was the reason he had pulled away from her and turned to someone else. She really couldn't blame him because she had been a traitor to herself and her friends. "No, Oliver, we should talk about this. Clark told you what happened to me, didn't he ... you know, in the future?" She watched him closely.
He frowned and wondered what she was referring to. "No, Clark never mentioned you. What happened to you Tess?"
"I thought Clark knew." She paused. "I died."
A/N: Sorry to leave you hanging there! And yes, they will be talking about Tess's memories of Pandora. Stay tuned for the next chapter in a few days! Thanks for reading. Reviews are love! :D