Keywords: Lex pov, futurefic, darkfic
Spoilers: the pilot, Hourglass, season one,
Disclaimers: None of them are mine.
Summary: They've done this before
Author's Notes: Why is it most my shorter Smallville fanfics always wind up coming from the dark side of the Muse? Not that I mind dark!Lex, but sometimes he scares me. *weg* Oh, and for the record, this fic may not jive with standard Superman/Lex Luthor canon, and will likely be debunked by events in season two of Smallville. I care not. Do you? Special thanks to LaCasta for the 3 (or was it 4?) rounds of beta reading, all the comments, and for pushing me to settle for nothing but the best end results. I OWE YOU.
" Déja Vû"
Clark Kent saved my life. Again.
I'm a little numb from the alcohol and cold river water, but even still I see the irony of it all. He saved my life--here--in the same place as before. Not quite in the same way though.
The press are swarming all over him now, catering to his every whim because instead of the geeky teen who saved me the first time nine years ago or the quiet and unassuming reporter the geeky teen turned into, Clark's sporting his *other* look today. Red cape, blue tights, and muscles he must have always had but usually hid behind layers of flannel. No flannel these days, but he's still hiding his identity, and as always, no one seems to notice.
Except me. And Chloe, I think. I see her watching me... and watching Clark. She looks likes she's afraid I'll make the connection. Too late, Ms. Sullivan; I already have. The first time I saw Superman, I knew who he really was, despite the fact that I hadn't seen Clark Kent since I left Smallville. While I've always counted the former farm boy a friend, we sort of drifted away over the years. He had college and his job at the Daily Planet... and I had my place at my father's side.
But the fact remains, even if I was three sheets to the wind when I took that corner at nearly eighty miles per hour, I still would have known who was saving me.
You might say I was asking for it, seeking it... maybe even desiring it. You would be wrong, though. I wasn't looking to be saved, by Superman or Clark or anyone else. I was, however, looking forward to the familiar sound of metal against the rails, the weightless feeling of the sleek black sports car arcing into the air... the unavoidable pull of gravity drawing me into the murky water below.
It had seemed like the only way... end it all now while I still had time. Time for what, indeed? To beat my father at his own game, of course. To win against him, and save my already lost soul.
I always knew my father was a bad, bad man. I also always knew I hated him, hated what he was and hated the thought of becoming like him. Now I know how unavoidable that is in this lifetime.
He's dying; and in these, his last days, my father has taken it upon himself to impart the extent of his wisdom and deviousness to me. He's laid bare all his dark, evil secrets over the course of this last week. Some of it, I knew about, like the drugs or his dealings with known terrorists. But the rest--a black market slave trade in the Indies, for example--rocked me to the core when I heard it. Never in my wildest, darkest dreams had I even imagined the atrocities my father outlined from his hospital bed.
It hardly seemed possibly that practically every evil there is in this world--drugs, slavery, terrorism, just to name a few--there's a Luthor making a profit. But the evidence proves otherwise. It *is* possible, because it's true.
These revelations changed things for me. I spent my entire life fighting to be different from him, but now I see how futile that was. I can't fight it. The very money I would use to bring about good is tainted by his evil, soiled by the blood of the innocent.
Nothing good can ever come from me.
And my father knew that. He gloated at our last visit, saying it was too late now--too late for me to pull the family business out of the quagmire. LuthorCorp was too deep in, and I'd never get out. The people he counts as "friends" would never let me. I'd owe them, as he did, and they *would* collect on that debt someday. It seems my father not only sold his soul in the name of wealth and power, he sold mine as well. Gave his first born to get the things he desired.
And there's nothing I can do about it. I doubt I have the resources to right all the wrongs we Luthors are guilty of, and even if I did, there are his "friends" to deal with. And in the unlikelihood that I actually break free from them, others would be there--ready to profit from the pain of others as my father had. My efforts to escape would be for naught.
I wonder if this is what Cassandra saw when she held my hand. Did her vision of the life my father's leaving for me cause her heart to stop?
Clark once tried to tell me that it had not. He told me that if anyone could choose their own destiny it was me.
I never really had a choice, though.
Which, of course, my father tried to teach me throughout the years, but I always fought that lesson. Fought it tooth and nail, until I was exhausted from the effort.
This was to have been the last battle. Not one of endless words and continuing vitriol, but a decisive last stand. The plan of attack was simple: kill myself while he yet lived, thereby taking away his victory over me and ending the evil he'd made synonymous with the Luthor name.
All I had to do was drive the car off the bridge and drown, like I should have years ago. But just as I looked up to savor my last view of the world before leaving it, my vision was blocked by the sight of an on-coming car--with Clark Kent at the wheel. I can see the look of horror on his face as he realizes what is about to happen, just before my car goes over the edge. The next thing I know, Clark's alter-ego is there, cape flapping, and I'm being hauled out of the river... just like before.
To make things worse, while the paramedics fussed over me, a call came through on the cellular. Dad died--just as Super-Clark was "saving" me.
I lost.... because Clark Kent saved my life.
Lost my last chance to defy my father and maybe my only chance to change the future. Oh, I suppose I could always try to kill myself again, although I seriously doubt it. The effectiveness of that particular device lay mostly in its ability to screw over Dad one last time--to show him that I *could* make a clean break from the life he chose for me. But he's gone now, having somehow managed to turn my revenge around and use it against me.
What would be the point in it, especially since Clark would just save me?
It all feels so familiar and yet, different at the same time. I should feel grateful to be alive, but instead I feel empty inside, as if my soul has left my body, never to return. An empty seashell, abandoned by the hermit crab that once inhabited it.
The thing about hermit crabs is that sometimes they leave their shells and come back to find some other crab there, having stole it. Already, I feel a change in me... a darkness growing steady in strength, almost as if my father's soul has swapped shells with mine. I feel a rush of hatred surge through me so strong it makes me want to vomit. I'm not sure, however, who I hate most right now... myself for failing or my father winning our last real battle.
Or Clark Kent... because he saved my life.
Except, he hasn't really saved my life. He's robbed me of my flawless victory and, in the process, condemned me to a much worse fate. Because now it truly is too late. My father is dead, and I have been left to take up the Luthor mantle. Like the dutiful son that I have never really been. It feels like a heavy weight of chains holding me down. I would struggle against this weight, but the fight has gone out of me.
I feel nothing, in fact, except the anger that has been growing steadily as I watch the media and the simple folk fawn over my "savior." It has replaced not only my numbness, but also the urge to vomit. I'm left with only the anger and the hatred. For him.
He gave me a new life once, and I praised him for it. He's given me another life today, and I loathe him for it.