Author: Kat Lee
Character/Pairing: Clark/Lex, Jonathan/Martha, Lillian
Challenge/Prompt: fffc Bang 2018: Small Bang
Warning(s): Cannon Character Deaths, Future Fic, AU
Word Count: 6,510
Date Written: 21 August, 11 September, and 13 November 2018
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to DC Comics, not the author, and are used without permission.
She was trying not to shake as she slid the key into the lock. She had been given this key and told by Lex himself to come to him years ago if she’d ever found herself in desperate need. She had been told to come here if anything ever happened to Clark, to Lex himself, to herself, or to her husband. Since the very first moment Lex had learned of Clark’s abilities, he had understood the danger her son stayed in just by living his own life, and he had understood the danger that she and Jonathan had also been placed in by adopting a baby with such wonderful powers as Clark’s. She had never once regretted taking Clark in, or accepting Lex into their lives, but she, as Lex himself had told her he did also, had hoped that she would never need to use this key.
She fumbled with the lock until she finally managed to get the door to swing open. She hurried inside, shut and locked the door behind her, and leaned against its hard, wood frame, her heart pounding in her already aching chest. Sweat covered her. She thought she heard a car on the lane far outside, but she didn’t dare look back. Even if it wasn’t the authorities, it might be somebody else who would know that Lex was away, not that any of their neighbors really cared what happened to the sweet multimillionaire. She, Clark, and Chloe had been the only ones to ever really accept Lex for who he was rather than condemning him for being the son of Lionel Luthor.
She could hear Jonathan in her head already, berating her for having come here when neither of the boys were present -- but, of course, if they had been able to be here, she would have had no need to come, let alone to sneak in. Her heart was racing. She could feel its frantic beat pulsating not only in her chest but in the palms of her shaking hands as she struggled to turn her flashlight back on. It wouldn’t do to turn on lights and be seen. If the cops did come to check it out, she had a letter allowing her full access to the Luthor mansion in her bra, a letter Lex had had the foresight to write at the same time he’d given her the key, but it would delay her in reaching her goal. Every second was crucial, she remembered, and she was wasting time right now being afraid of something that, in the long run, wouldn’t even matter if it happened.
But what would matter is if she failed in what she had come here tonight to procure. Her boys needed her now more than they had ever needed her before. She didn’t know where the other members of the Justice League were -- they must have been completely out of Earth’s orbit fighting another enemy --, but it didn’t matter. She was the only one here who could help her boys, the only family she had left. Martha dashed tears from her eyes and hurried to the basement.
“You’re being foolish,” she could practically hear Jonathan saying in her head. “You’re wasting time. You can’t save them! You don’t even know what you’re doing! You should be trying to contact other heroes, someone who might actually stand a chance of helping them, of saving them, like that Batman character in Gotham City or even the military! You can’t do this, Martha!”
She’d tell him to shut up, but it would do no good. Her husband was long dead, his irate voice only a figment of her imagination, a manifestation of her own fears. It would also do no good to try to reach out to Batman or the army or anybody else. If anybody else had been going to come to help her boys, they already would have. Instead their world wept for a hero who was slowly being tortured to death while the government delayed in granting the villain his requests of total world domination. Their government’s leaders were no doubt trying to buy time until the Justice League returned from wherever they had gone, but Clark didn’t have much time left. She also had no way to know if Lex, who had gone to help him in one of his special suits, was already dead, still suffering beyond the point of being able to move, or just unconscious.
All she knew for a fact was that her son’s agonizing, slow death was being played on every channel on the television as the monster who held him in his grasp taunted their government and kept making demands. She knew, too, that Lex had gone to try to save Clark, but she had watched, her eyes full of tears, as the monster had defeated him with barely a thought. She’d seen Lex laying in his suit since then, but he had not moved again a single time within sight of the camera. He couldn’t save her son, and if she didn’t do something soon, they would lose Clark.
Just yesterday, the monstrous alien had gone into a small town, not unlike Smallville, and slayed the whole town before returning to Clark’s crumpled form and further proving that the hero in which the whole world had placed their trust could no longer help them. She should care about the others who had been killed. She should have made plans to keep the monster out of Kansas, where she was still Governor; instead Martha had worked to slip away from those who were meant to protect her and come here. She should care about her world, but she didn’t, not really, not as much as she should at least. All she cared about right now was reaching her boys, finding them, and somehow getting them away from that brutal beast.
She didn’t know where the Justice League was, but she couldn’t wait any longer. For all she knew, the other members might already be dead. At any rate, they certainly were not coming to her son’s rescue in any timely fashion, and by the time they did, if they did, Clark would be dead. She couldn’t stand idly by and let him die.
“So you’d rather get yourself killed?!” Jonathan would have demanded of her if he had been there, if he had still been alive.
“Yes,” she would have retorted, she knew. “Better me than Clark!” She meant that with every fiber of her being, and not just because her son could save so many more lives than she could ever hope to touch. He might be a grown man. He might be the world’s hero. But he was still her baby.
By the time Martha reached Lex’s secret, private study, the one with the walls made of such strong steel that it would take the Man of Steel himself hours to break into them, Martha was moving more solidly, her every step fueled by her determination to save her child. She pursued the books on the bookcase behind his luxurious office chair and quickly discovered that there were two of his favorite title, one placed on the top shelf and one on the bottom. She took out the one on the bottom first, thinking that it would be the least obviously noticed, but nothing happened. She slid it back into place and pulled out the top copy, but again nothing happened.
Maybe it wasn’t that book, Martha thought, but why else would Lex have two volumes of the same title on the same bookcase? Even if it was his favorite book, it wouldn’t explain having two identical copies. Martha grabbed both books and pulled them out simultaneously. The bookcase swung around, taking her with it and peeling a squeal of surprise from her as it spun swiftly.
Lights flicked on as the room settled around her. She was in a laboratory that seemed to be at least twice the length of the manor above. There was no telling what all Lex was working on, but she had neither time or desire to investigate every one of his experiments. She was after only one thing, and she quickly spied it hanging in a corner. She hurried over to the suit and was just finishing dressing in it when a familiar voice made her scream and drop the gauntlet.
She jumped back as a laser went off. She swung and looked in the direction it had fired just in time to see it pass harmlessly through her dead husband’s face. “Jonathan!” she cried, shaking all over again.
“Martha, what the Hell are you doing?! Have you lost your mind?! You can’t save the boys! You’ll only endanger them further!”
She stared at him, her heart and mind both racing. She could barely breathe, let alone think. “Jonathan!” There was so much she wanted to tell him, so much she needed to tell him!
“Martha,” he pleaded with her, reaching out to her with open hands, “think about this please!” He wondered how she could see him again now after all this time and all his efforts to reach her when nothing had worked before, but he wasn’t going to take the time now to question the matter.
She did, however. “I-I don’t know how I’m able to see you,” she said, her voice shaking as she stared at him. “Maybe -- Maybe I am imagining things, imagining you. At any rate, my boys need me.”
“Our boys -- “
“When was Lex ever yours, Jonathan?! You hated that poor child! And you almost hated Clark when he fell in love with him! You may have told me what to do in life, Jonathan Kent, but you won’t tell me what to do now that you’re dead!” She was crying as she stalked determinedly through him, but she walked with even more speed than that with which her tears flowed down her face. Every second was crucial, she reminded herself yet again. She had to reach Clark, and she had to reach him fast before her son took his last breath!
“Martha!” Jonathan shook his head as he felt her storming up the steps and out of the manor. His woman had always been stubborn, and she’d never been able to turn away from doing what was right. Those had been two things that he had always loved about her even while they’d frustrated him to no end. But now her determination and valor might well get her dead. Well, he thought, if she does die tonight, at least we’ll finally be together again. That thought should have brought him comfort, but it didn’t.
He puzzled again over how she’d finally seen and heard him when he’d been haunting her for years, but like his determined, brave, and foolish wife, Jonathan knew every second counted. His son could take his last breath at any moment, and the world wasn’t ready to lose its hero. He wasn't ready to let his son die, although there was nothing he could do about it. His thoughts shattered as he felt Martha take off from the ground in Lex’s suit that was capable of flying and so much more and head straight for the battle. He pouted one more time before taking rapidly off after her.
She didn’t stop flying, despite her husband calling out after her the entire trip, until she flew straight into the monstrous alien who had captured her son and his husband. Her gloved fists hit him in the middle of his massive, green body with one hundred times her own strength. He slid back, took one look at her, and started to laugh.
“MARTHA!” Jonathan yelled behind her. He couldn’t bear to watch her be slaughtered by that thing, but as a ghost, he also couldn’t offer any actual help.
“IF YOU WANT TO HELP,” she yelled back at him, “FIND A WAY TO WAKE LEX UP!”
The alien’s laughter shook his massive body and the mountains surrounding them. It made the land tremble. All animals had already left the area or they would have fled with the first sound of his laughter. Martha wanted to run. She wanted to turn back. It was only human nature to want to flee from this horrid monster before her. But she knew if she turned away, her son would die. She was the only thing standing between him and death now, because the monster wouldn’t delay much longer.
He’d already delayed in killing him twice now while the world’s leaders discussed matters with him. He’d been given a few smaller countries, but they weren’t enough for him. He’d warned them that any other delay would be met with the final blow to Clark’s life. But Lex was right, Martha knew. The government would keep delaying as long as it wasn’t their lives or the lives of their loved ones on the line. They would keep delaying as long as they thought they could save themselves. They wouldn’t give in to this monster’s demands to save her son no matter how many billions of lives, including theirs, her son had risked his own life to save.
That was the very reason why Lex had built these suits. He’d never meant to tell her he had another one, but when she’d seen one of his suits be destroyed only to watch him show up a few hours later in another one in a previous battle, Martha had quickly put two and two together. Lex was the smartest man she had ever known. Like herself, he would stop at nothing to protect Clark, and if that took having two, a hundred, or even a million suits like the ones they now wore, he’d make however many he thought he might need. Martha might have jumped into the very first one she’d found, but she was certain she would have found more if she had taken the time to look.
She’d asked Lex before how the suit worked, marveling over the many things she had seen it do on news clips. Lex had patiently answered all her questions, amazing her at how the suit simply responded to whatever its wearer thought. She knew he had never guessed that she might be asking for more reasons than just to satisfy her natural curiosity. He never would have dreamed she would dare to take one of the suits or else he wouldn’t have given her the key. She had been supposed to go into the safe room of his secret study and wait there for either Clark or himself to show up -- or for one of their friends if they couldn’t come.
But friends couldn’t always be relied upon, she knew, no matter how noble their intentions. Take the Justice League, for instance. Wherever they were right now, they were not where their friends most needed them, and they weren’t going to magically show up in time. This battle was up to her. Saving her son’s life was up to her.
She stared at the creature who made her feel like she was no bigger than an aunt. She didn’t know what world he came from, and in that moment, she didn’t really care if he captured her world or not. All that mattered was that he not succeed in killing her son. I’m going to need more than strength, she thought. She was going to need a lot more than strength, but Lex’s suit was capable of doing much more than simply flying and granting superhuman speed and strength. She had seen him throw all kinds of bolts out of his hands.
She closed her eyes and racked her mind quickly through the things she had seen both Clark and Lex try on this monster. “MARTHA,” Jonathan yelled from somewhere nearby, “DON’T CLOSE YOUR EYES TO IT!”
“JONATHAN,” she retorted without giving it much thought or reopening her eyes, “DO AS YOU’RE TOLD! WAKE UP LEX, AND LET ME THINK FOR A MINUTE!”
The alien continued to laugh. She could feel the earth beginning to quake open underneath them. She took to the air again and concentrated once more on the attempts she’d seen her boys already take. Clark had tried with all his strength to defeat this brute. He’d hit him with his heat vision multiple times, and when Lex had seen that he wouldn’t burn, he’d tried water. Clark had even dropped a mountain on the alien once, but that had only bought them about half a day before he’d come back, this time with kryptonite.
That, of course, was the first step to defeating him and saving her boy: She had to find his kryptonite and get rid of it. She reopened her eyes, her gaze blazing with the fury of a mother determined to save her child, and faced the creep. She brought herself up to her full height, which wasn’t much, especially compared to her boys. Her boys could both be dominating in their own ways, but their six foot plus frames certainly added to their intimidation. She was barely five feet, but height didn’t matter any more in that moment than did her very mortal, very human life. She would gladly give anything and everything to save her son and stop this monster, not so much from destroying or ruling their world than from killing her baby and the man who had insisted on loving him despite everything and everyone that had tried to stand between them.
It wasn’t the first time Martha was reminded of the similarities between the love Clark and Lex shared and that shared by the tragic lovers, Romeo and Juliet in Shakespeare’s most famous play. Her boys could have easily died long ago, and she knew Lex had tried to take his own life on more than one occasion. She wasn’t going to let them down this time. She wasn’t going to let them die, and she most certainly wasn’t going to allow their future to be destroyed by a gigantic bully who was as ugly and, she was sure, unloved as he was green.
If he’d known love after all, true love, he wouldn’t have needed to come to their world to try to conquer it. She knew how love could make a person feel like a Queen or a King. Jonathan had done that for her once, way back when she’d first married him and before then when he had courted her despite all her father’s objections. Clark and Lex’s romance also paralleled their own in so many ways, so many ways that her husband, blinded by his hatred for Lex’s father, had never seen. Now she screamed at him again as she quickly prepared her plan. “GET LEX!” she thundered and then thrust her arms out ahead of her and joined her fists together.
The alien was too busy laughing at her to take her as a real threat. Martha had never had to fight much in her life, but on the rare occasions she had, she had quickly learned that not being taken as a serious threat could actually help her. This was yet again one of those cases. He thought she was nothing more than a flea at best, but she was going to prove him wrong! He’d messed with her son, almost killed her baby, and there was no wrath not just like a woman scorned but like a scorned mother protecting her child! She would use her anger, her desire for vengeance, and his disregard of her all to her advantage.
She didn’t waste words on the giant bully. She didn’t try to come up with quippy one liners like they always said the heroes did. She wasn’t a hero after all; she was just a mother here to save her son. Wind blasted out of her gauntlets with all the power and speed of a hurricane. It sent the alien flying backwards into the nearest mountain. “AND GET CLARK TOO WHILE YOU’RE AT IT!” Martha screamed at Jonathan, realizing that she had perhaps knocked her child’s enemy far enough away that the slab of kryptonite in the center of the alien’s suit would no longer affect him.
Jonathan was busy eyeballing Lex and wondering how on Earth he was going to wake the young man up when he felt, rather than saw, Martha take off after the alien she’d just blasted away. “MARTHA, NO!” he screamed, but his stubborn, redheaded, beautiful wife just continued to ignore his smart, caring protests and carried on after the monster who had beaten their son almost to death and was keeping him alive only as bait to make the government give in to his demands.
Jonathan swung his head back to look down at Lex again, thinking that if he could perhaps wake him up, he might be able to more successfully argue with Martha, but he stopped in surprise, his mouth already open in a silent gape, as he saw another redhead kneeling beside Lex. When she looked up, he recognized her lovely, unmarred face instantly. He gasped in surprise; then, slowly, he smiled. “It’s a wonder our paths haven’t crossed before now.”
She nodded her agreement, her eyes intent on Lex’s unconscious face. “Go to your son. Leave Lex to me.”
For once, Jonathan didn’t argue. He just scrambled across the rocky terrain to his boy. He’d spoken to Clark several times in his child’s dreams since the day he’d died. He’d tried to help him come to peace with his death, but right now, there was a much more important reason for him to connect with him. “SON, WAKE UP!” he bellowed. “YOU’VE GOT TO WAKE UP! YOUR MOTHER NEEDS YOU!”
As the parents worked on trying to awaken the true heroes, Martha continued her attempts on the alien. Every time he tried to lift himself up out of the mountain’s side, she blasted him back down with howling winds, but the wind was only a deterrent. It was only buying her time, and she didn’t know how long she had before he recovered enough to come at her full speed. If he connected with her, he’d swat her away like a fly. One strike would kill her, she was certain, even despite Lex’s suit.
Living in Kansas all her life, Martha had seen the damage wind could do on more than one occasion. It was why she’d thought of using that element when she’d known that both fire and water wouldn’t work. But, now, suddenly she thought of a different kind of fire and of the water with which Lex had blasted the villain earlier that day. She understood suddenly why heroes felt the need to speak as a cry of rage spilt from her lips.
She blasted the piece of kryptonite the alien wore, which was as big as a small hill, with wind while she moved her hands apart. She kept the wind coming steadily with one hand, but she balled her other hand and concentrated on conjuring something new out of the suit. She thought of the power that fueled so much of the world. It was responsible for nearly all of mankind’s greatest advances and kept millions hydrated and being healed and alive through machines hooked up to it. It enabled so many of the things that billions of mankind took for granted, and it could, if harnessed just right, she knew, prove stronger and more forceful than wind or fire. Added to water, it was a truly deadly combination for anything living.
With a new scream spilling from her lips that startled both her boys back to consciousness, Martha let the force she’d called upon leap out of the suit. She didn’t know how it worked, and she might well ask more questions of Lex when they were both conscious and together again, after this current threat had passed and been resolved, after both her boys were again safe and sound, but all that mattered in that moment was that it worked. Thank God! the thought reverberated through her soul as she blasted the alien with electricity and a torrent of water at the same time. With her other hand, she used the wind to rip the kryptonite from his suit and hurl it as far away as she could.
The alien screamed, but he wasn’t the only one screaming. “MOM!” Clark thundered behind her, his shocked voice echoed by Lex’s also calling her the same thing. “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!”
“WHAT’S IT LOOK LIKE?!” she called back to them, spreading her feet further apart and keeping up the steady flow of electricity and water mixed together now from both gauntlets. “I’M SAVING YOU!”
Lex caught on quickly. As far as he knew, the alien was still wearing the kryptonite, and Clark was still too weak to fight. He added to Martha’s statement, “YOU ALWAYS SAVE EVERYBODY ELSE! NOW LET US SAVE YOU!” He tried to boot up his suit. It beeped as it came back to life, but it had barely lifted him off of the hole in the ground into which the alien had stomped him before he crashed back down in it. It beeped again, then fizzled and crackled loudly, and finally died.
Clark, meanwhile, was feeling his strength swiftly coming back. It surged inside of him, adding to his anger. He saw his mother stumble and knew her suit was running out of energy too. He pushed himself up off of the ground, and for some reason he couldn’t understand, he thought of his father. His dad would be proud of his mother if he could see her now, but he knew his father was already proud of them both. He was also proud of his parents. Pride and love surged inside of him along with anger, anger at this beast who had almost killed him and his husband and who even now was beginning to push himself away from the mountain. He knew the alien’s next move would be to kill his mom.
His mother couldn’t keep him down for much longer, but she didn’t have to. She’d done enough. She’d done more than enough. She’d done more, he believed, than any other mother could have, and it wasn’t just because of Lex’s suit. If she hadn’t loved him so much and been so brave, she never would have gone after it, let alone came to save them.
“LET ME TAKE OVER!” he bellowed. Leaping from the ground, Clark zipped toward the alien. Martha stopped her beams just before they would have hit her son and watched as he picked the alien up off the ground and hurtled with him through the sky. She felt suddenly weak as the realization of all she’d just done hit her, but when her knees threatened to give way beneath her, Lex was there, holding her, supporting her as he’d done at every chance he’d been given through the years they’d known each other.
She had so much to tell him, so much to tell both her boys, but it was going to have to wait until Clark returned. She sagged against Lex but then pulled back when she looked up at him and saw him looking at her through eyes narrowed with accusations. “I told you to go to the safe room!” he told her. “I said nothing about coming after us!”
“No,” she admitted, too tired to keep from allowing herself to lean against him even though he was mad at her, “but did you really think I wouldn’t figure it out? I wouldn’t put two and two together?” She spoke even more softly, her eyes searching his, as she asked, “Lex, don’t you know, after all this time, there’s nothing I wouldn’t do to save you both?”
“You’d stop at nothing to save Clark,” Lex agreed quickly, unshed tears shining in his eyes. “We both would sacrifice anything for him, including our lives, but how do you think he would have taken it if you had died trying to save him?”
“But I didn’t die, did I?” she asked even as Jonathan exclaimed, throwing his hands up into the air but unseen and unheard by Lex, “I told her the exact same thing!” He stopped and looked at the boy, really looked at him for the first time in years. What he saw was not a boy at all but a man whose legend would far surpass all the evil his father had done and who would stop at nothing to save not only Jonathan’s son but his wife as well.
He stopped and marvelled at the difference he finally saw in front of him, words his wife had told him decades ago resounding in his mind. “You don’t get to choose your family, Jonathan. We got lucky,” she had told him. “We got to choose ours. We chose each other, and we got to choose Clark. But God doesn’t smile on His people in that way that often. You don’t get to choose your blood family at all, but you can choose to be different from them, to set yourself apart from them. That’s what Lex is trying to do.” And that, Jonathan finally accepted, was what the young man had succeeded in doing.
As it turned out, they didn’t have long to wait until Clark rejoined them. He set back down, panting, in front of his mother and husband. Neither asked any questions at first as they both threw their arms around him and hugged him tight. They might have had to worry about their metallic suits crushing anybody else, but the suits barely protected them from being crushed by Clark’s strong and eager muscles.
He grinned at them both, then narrowed his gaze at his mother. “Don’t ever do that again!” he warned her.
“I -- “
“What did you do with him?” Lex pondered aloud.
“He might pick himself up in GN-z11,” Clark replied, his grin widening to reveal his teeth.
“You are learning something after all from those documentaries we’ve been watching,” Lex replied with a grin. Then, to Martha, he explained, “That’s about thirty-two billion light years away.”
She clearly sensed the pride that surged through him with the explanation, but before she could respond, Clark again zeroed in on her. “Mom? I want your word -- “
“Don’t ask me for something I can’t give, Clark,” she said quickly. “If you’re in trouble and I can help, I always will. That’s what a mother does.”
“A good mother, any way,” Lex muttered as Martha hugged Clark tightly again.
She stepped away from her son and turned to Lex. “This suit of yours could earn a fortune in more than one way, Lex, and it’s a miraculous device. I have a lot of questions, but I imagine so do you.”
“About -- ?” he asked, frowning.
“About a myriad of things, I’m sure, but from a person with whom you haven’t been able to speak since you were young.”
“Mom, what are you talking about?”
“Lex,” Martha stepped close to him and took his gauntleted hands in hers, “I remembered what you told me about this suit, about how it works, and about how it can do just about anything you can imagine. It can even see different planes of existence.”
Lex’s frown deepened. “Mother -- “
“Hush. Just trust me and concentrate. Concentrate on your mother, Lex, on your real mother.”
Still unseen by the boys, Jonathan frowned at her. “How did you know?” he asked. “Can you see her too?”
“Yes,” she answered with a nod. “Evidently there’s a lot more this suit can do -- “
“There is,” Lillian Luthor said, stepping up to them.
Lex gasped suddenly, and tears filled his eyes.
“Lex!” Clark cried. “What’s wrong?”
But for once, Lex wasn’t paying attention to his love. He was looking straight ahead at the phantom who stood beside Martha Kent, her long, red hair transparent in the afternoon sunlight. “M-Mom?” he asked, his voice coming out almost strangled. He trembled as he reached out to her with a gauntleted hand.
His fingers passed right through his mother’s cheek, but there was no denying that she was there. Martha turned to Lillian and Clark with tears in her eyes. Stepping over to him, she assured him while wrapping her arms around him, “It’s all right, Clark. He’s just seeing his mom. Finally,” she added, wiping away a tear as she looked back to them, “after all these years.”
Silent tears streaked down Lex’s face as Lillian leaned her cheek into her son’s attempt to touch her. Even the suits did not hold enough power to enable him to touch the dead, but he could see her. He could see his mother still cared about him after all these years, still loved him. “Mom,” he breathed shakily. There was so much he’d always wanted to ask her, but right then, caught in that moment of finally being reunited with him after having had to grow up mostly alone with his cold-hearted father’s abuse, he could think of none of them. He could form no other words.
“It’s all right, Lex,” she said, smiling at him. “I understand, and because of these suits of yours, we have all the time in the world to get . . . reacquainted.” She frowned, suddenly puzzled. “I don’t know if that’s the right word for it, though,” she admitted. “I’ve never left you for long, and I’ve never once stopped loving you, my boy.”
“I -- “ Lex’s voice shook. “I’ve always loved you too, Mom.”
“Your mother’s here,” Clark breathed in understanding. He’d seen some strange things as both Clark and Superman, and he’d seen more than enough magic to be able to believe that the dead were still with them. He looked eagerly to his mother. “Does that mean -- “ he started to ask.
Martha cut him off with a smile as she stroked his hair. “Yes,” she assured him through her tears, “your father’s here too.”
“I finally did it!” Lex exclaimed to which Clark, Martha, and Jonathan all looked at him questioningly. Only his mother understood automatically. “The more I knew of what my father was really doing with LuthorCorp, the more wickedness I saw him put into this world, the more I wanted to change it. I wanted to save it. In my own way,” he added, glancing at Clark. “But I understand now that a part of me always wanted to change it, because I wanted my mother back.”
“I never left you, Lex,” Lillian whispered on the rising wind. She stepped up to him and did her best to wrap her arms around him in a hug. She couldn’t quite touch him, but it was clear what she was trying to give him.
His eyes sparkled with tears. “Maybe with a little more work,” he thought aloud, “I can make suits where we can actually touch. Where I can touch you,” he said to his mother before turning to Clark and Martha, “and you can both touch Mister Kent.”
“It sounds to me like we need to hurry up and get home,” Clark commented, dashing tears from his eyes.
Martha smiled wistfully at her boys. A part of her felt like she was already home despite the fact that this place was where her son had come the closest to dying and she’d never been here before. She finally had Jonathan, Clark, and Lex all together in one place. She finally had her family together, and that had always been and would always remain home to her, no matter what plane they happened to be on.
Lex nodded, looking again at his mother through tears. “Let’s go,” he said. “Then we can put you in a suit,” he told Clark, “and you can visit with your father while I figure out the last details of these suits.”
“Lex,” Clark asked uncertainly, “what are you going to do with these suits when you’re done?”
“What do you mean?” his husband asked, frowning.
“Well, Mom’s right. You could make a fortune off of them. There are others who want and deserve to see their dead loved ones too.”
“One scheme at a time, love,” Lex replied with a grin. “These suits would give anybody too much power. We can’t release them on the market the way they are, but maybe if I strip the powers out of them . . . and that would possibly give them more power to be able to focus on the ability to not only see but touch our dead . . . “ His brow furrowed as he fell deep into thought. “That would certainly be a worthy sacrifice.”
Martha smiled. She stepped up to the genius, wrapped her arms around him, and hugged him tightly. “Lex, you’re going to do it. You’re already doing it.”
“What?” he asked, frowning again.
Martha beamed down at him; she was as proud of him as his own mother was. “You’re changing the world,” she told him. “You’re improving it.”
“Do you really think so, Missus Kent?”
Martha frowned at the formal name. “I know so, but . . . Why the change?”
“I -- “ Lex glanced questioningly at his true mother.
“It’s all right, Lex. Martha’s been here for you when I couldn’t be. I understand. I’m not going to go grieving phantom on you.”
Lex grinned. “Sorry, Mom,” he said.
Martha understood in an instant and nodded and smiled her comprehension. “It’s all right, Lex. I’m not your real mother.” She hugged him again. “But I couldn’t love you any less.”
“Nor I you. Now let’s get home so I can work on this thing, shall we?”
Martha’s warm, loving smile encompassed both her children. “Let’s do it,” she agreed eagerly.
“But, Mom -- “
“Promise me you’ll never wear this suit again, not to fight in it any way. It’s okay to use it to see and talk with Dad, but I don’t want you endangering yourself again.”
“Clark, I already told you: don’t ask me for things I can not give you. You’re my son, no matter what you are to the rest of the world, and that means I will always come to you when you need me. I will always do whatever it takes to help you in any way I can, but especially when you need me the most, as you did today.”
“I am glad you came,” he confessed with a small grin. “We wouldn’t have won if you hadn’t.”
“I know, and now you’re alive and Lex is alive and our family is together again, even if we are on different planes.”
“Different planes, one heart, one family.” Clark grinned.
“Something like that,” Martha said, clasping her son’s cheek and rubbing it. “Now let’s go home.”
“Yes, Mom,” her boys said in unison, and together, along with the ghosts of the two other people who had always mattered the most to them, the Luthor-Kent family headed home.