Pairing: Lillian/Lionel, Lex
Disclaimer: This fic went unexpected places. My muses scare me sometimes.
A/N: written for the free verse challenge. Thanks to fizzabith, simplisity, swtalmnd and svmadelyn for audiencing when I pounced on them, and giving suggestions which my muses mostly refused to acknowledge. Thanks for trying, anyway. *grin*
We sat so close together on the subway
a policeman walked up to us,
took out his nightstick,
put it under his chin like a violin,
& pretended he was serenading us.
That was the year we loved each other
so much he could have arrested us for it.
From--Serenade (Mother Said) Hal Sirowitz
They had been so in love, in the beginning. She could remember a time when Lionel had looked at her like she was his world. He would play hooky from the office if she called to tell him she was in the mood for an adventure. There were happy memories of a trip to the zoo, of laughing loudly as he lectured about the importance of camels to the Roman Empire; of a weekend of playing dress-up and walking 'amongst the common man'. They'd been just two people in love, just Lionel and Lillian; not The Luthors, reigning over Metropolis' elite.
She'd thought it would be like that forever.
* * * * *
The day Alexander was born was the happiest day of her life. Better than those days of freedom she and Lionel had stolen; each moment with Alexander seemed like an eternity of happy memories. She loved him more than she'd ever thought it was possible to love anyone. He was everything.
Lionel stood behind her, his arms wrapped around her shrinking belly, his chin resting on her shoulder as they stared down on their son's sleeping face. Only a few weeks old, but already it was clear he'd have her hair. Small red wisps curled out from his head at odd angles. She reached out to brush them with her fingers: they were impossibly soft. Lionel talked about their son's great destiny, all the things he'd grow to be, to do. She smiled down at him, brushed her thumb lightly over his cheek, and fell even more in love.
* * * * *
The night they'd woken to hear Alexander crying and coughing over the monitor was the most terrifying of her life. They had rushed him to the hospital, their poor baby, her world threatening to crash around her as he gasped and choked, redfaced and crying in her arms. The asthma had hit her hard; their baby, her perfect child was not so perfect after all. She wept in Lionel's arms after tucking Alexander into his bed, tears of terror and regret and guilt, while Lionel whispered that there wasn't any history of asthma in his family, and hadn't her uncle had to carry an inhaler all his life?
But he was still her baby, her little one, perfect in his imperfection. She checked on him every night before going to sleep, stood over him, protected him; and went to him as soon as she woke in the morning. Some nights she woke before the sun and stood by him, watched over him, until Lionel woke alone and came to bring her, protesting, back to bed.
* * * * *
Lionel complained that having Alexander sleep with them wasn't healthy; that children should be left to cry, that he wanted her to himself in the night. He complained for months after that first attack, until finally she told him that he would sleep with Alexander or he would sleep alone. That she couldn't sleep knowing her baby might be hurting.
Her things were moved into a guest bedroom the next day. She knew that he didn't often sleep alone, but she had Alexander, her Alexander who would love her always, no matter what, and so it didn't matter.
* * * * *
She would sit in the dark, rocking her son to sleep after his asthma attacks. He'd slept in his own room since starting school, but she still spent bad nights with him like this. Lionel continued to argue that their son was too old for a monitor, that he could deal with his attacks on his own, he should be independent; but she was adamant. Her sweet child would not be left alone when he cried out in the night. Not when he needed her, only her.
Pam would find them sleeping in the rocking chair the next morning, wrapped in each other's arms.
* * * * *
After Alexander's accident, she hadn't let him out of her sight for weeks. Her baby had almost died, could have died and left her all alone. She'd blamed Lionel for insisting he come along to Smallville in the first place; Alexander would've been safe at home with her. Lionel was even more disenchanted with Alexander than he had been; he had lost all of his beautiful hair, her beautiful hair, and Alexander was upset and frightened by the change. Lionel said he should be strong, and told him more stories of dead kings, but she just held him close and sang him lullabies and tried to make him believe that everything would be alright. She would make sure of it.
He hadn't had an asthma attack since the meteor shower, hadn't needed her presence in the night, but he was still fragile and came to her for comfort, so she didn't let it bother her.
* * * * *
After the accident, Lionel had invited her back into his bed. He wanted another baby, he said. He'd been remembering how much he'd loved Alexander as a young child, and wouldn't she like to have another baby around the house? The doctors advised them against it, but she thought she might like another baby. Her Alexander was away at school all day, and she only had Pam to keep her company.
When Julian was born, Lionel had been thrilled; another boy. He had recited the stories of his destiny that had been Alexander's as a child, and ignored her startled glance. Alexander wasn't suitable, he'd said when she confronted him. Not what he needed in an heir. She'd coddled him, made him soft, weak; Julian would be strong. Lionel would raise him to be strong.
But he was only a baby. He wasn't strong enough to take her beautiful son's life from him, to steal away everything she'd promised him.
Babies weren't strong at all. She would show Lionel.
Soft baby bones weren't strong at all.