Chain Of Flowers
by HYPERFocused

Pamela remembers the feel of Lillian's skin just before the end. Paper thin and nearly as translucent as the sheer curtains that shielded Lillian's view, but let in the late summer sunlight in her bedroom, Pamela touched it with reverence. Lionel did not touch it at all.

Lillian was as fragile as flower petals by then. Pamela would stroke lotion on her dry skin, fingers light as butterflies, but Lillian would still bruise. Even so, she soaked up the attention like she was starved for it.

Lying in her own hospital bed, all these regretful years later, Pamela dreams of seeing Lillian again. Nothing has been the same since she died, and since Pamela lost Lex. She can't even say it's Lionel's fault. Lionel is always Lionel. She made the choice. There is no one to blame but herself.

Whatever world she's going to next, she hopes Lillian will be there. She hopes even more she'll be forgiven.

Lex appears in her doorway, again. She wasn't sure he'd be back after the last visit.

He'd grown into a tall and slender fiercely strong young man. She could see anger mixed with curiosity coming off him in waves. He wanted to know what happened. She doesn't think any explanation will satisfy, but she tells him the whole truth.

It's a bittersweet reunion. Hard to get past both of their regrets, and the memories Lionel has tainted. Even worse that there's so little time to try and repair things.

He holds a colorful, obviously expensive bouquet in one hand. Handing it to her, he says "The florist's shop didn't have any dandelions and Queen Anne's Lace."

"I would have loved that," she says, laughing at the memory. "But these are lovely. Thank you, sweetheart." Lex looks uncomfortable at the endearment, like he's fighting himself on how to think of her. Is she the heartless bitch who abandoned him for his father's cash, or the woman who was like a second mother to him?

"Do you remember that 4th of July?" Lex asks her.

"Of course I do. You were engrossed in your Warrior Angels. Sitting there on the blanket with your flashlight, didn't look up at the fireworks, except at the loudest explosions. "

"You and Mom were pretty engrossed in each other." Lex reminisces. "You guys kept making me go off and pick wildflowers for you. "

"Who would have thought the youngest billionaire on the Forbes 100 would be an expert on daisy chains? You know, I kept that necklace long after Lillian..." she does not want to say "died".

She remembers the scent of chlorophyll, grown musty as the woven stems turned to dust. The petals were better preserved. She still had a few pressed between the pages of the last book Lillian had given her: The Collected Works of Edna St.Vincent Millay. It was true. She did not last the night.

"You're the one who taught me how to make them. You taught me a lot of things. Some of them I'm still learning. How to love. That it doesn't matter who you love, as long as you do." He smiles, and Pamela wonders if he's thinking about his young man, Clark; introduced to her as a friend, but clearly much more. She's happy for him. Clark obviously adores him. He seems as beautiful on the inside as he is on the outside.

"I saw you, you know. Kissing her, and holding her on that blanket." Lex is smiling. It obviously isn't an unpleasant memory.

Pamela laughed. "I'm sorry. It's just - we had so little time together." She really is sorry. Not for the memory, one of the last happy days she and Lillian had, but for the idea Lex might have been upset by it.

"I'm not," Lex says indulgently. "It was the happiest I had seen my mother in years. How could I begrudge her that?"

"She had so little joy in her life by then, Lex. So much of it came from you."

Concern for her son's welfare had been all that kept Lillian from leaving with Pamela all those years ago. She had loved Lex, too, and been perfectly willing to help raise him, but Lillian didn't want to take him away from Metropolis.

"He deserves all of the fine things he was born into. I can't cheat him out of that, just because of his father." Lillian had been adamant about that.

"His father is a bastard. He shouldn't be near other human beings, much less a child like Lex." Pamela had been outraged at Lionel's latest transgression. She didn't remember what it had been. But it was one of many.

"But you loved her, Pam. I knew that, even then. God knows my father didn't seem to. She was lucky to have you in her life. We both were."

"I loved her more than I can ever say. The thought that I'll finally be able to tell her is all that's keeping me from falling apart."

"You miss her as much as I do, don't you? Lex's voice barely trembles, but Pamela can tell he's near tears. He's such a strong person, but being with Pamela again is like revisiting his thirteen-year-old self. She remembers the night Lillian died. How he'd been allowed into her bedroom to say goodbye. Lillian was unconscious by then, and everyone knew it would be soon.

Lionel didn't believe in sentimentality, but he also wouldn't shield his young son from death. Luthors faced everything head on. Pamela had heard Lex crying. He'd said, "Please wake up I feel so alone, and I feel so scared that you're going away."

"Oh, Honey. Do you know how hard it was for me, watching you go through that? I just wanted to hold you, tell you it would be all right soon."

"I know that, now." Lex says. "But back then I just felt abandoned. My mother was gone, and the one person I thought would be there had just left. My father said all you'd wanted was money. You couldn't wait to get away."

Pamela cringed. Lex's memories had been skewed by Lionel's lies, but it was true. She had left and had never been brave enough to rectify things until it was just about pointless. She has nothing to lose now.

"If I could have, I would have tried to take away your nightmares. Held you when you were trying to sleep." Lionel had not even allowed her to say goodbye. "I wish I could do that now."

Lex approaches her bed tentatively. "You can, Pam. I just don't want to hurt you."

"You won't, Lex," she motions for him to come closer. He peels the covers back from her bed, and gingerly crawls in next to her. Stiff at first in his linen suit, but soon they both relax. She wakes up to feel his arm around her, his breathing light and sure.

Pamela knows he'll wake up soon, and there will be final farewells. She's not sure she wants to put him through her death, as well. But for now, goodnight is better than goodbye.

She's asleep again when he slips out of the room. On her bedside table is a chain of flowers.


The summer after Pamela's death, Lex and Clark spend most of their time together. New to love, and even less used to trust. Lex tells Clark about his childhood, about the two women who cared for him, and loved him above reason.

He takes Clark to the same Metropolis Park for Independence Day. They lie on a flannel blanket that Clark's mother loaned him for the occasion. Lex looks at the fireworks bursting in the sky, and watches as their colors wash over Clark's beloved face like a chain of flowers.


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