by Insomnikat

Spoilers: The end of Exodus and scattered quotes from seasons 1 and 2. Summary: After the plane crash, Lex is set adrift in the sea of his own mind. Author's Note: Short and ambiguous, just the way I like it. ;) Disclaimer: Until the day I own DC comics and the WB, I am but a poor fanatic drunk on too much time.

A violent crash. Water. Blackness and the accompanying sense of peace.

Lex knew this feeling well. He floated in the clear night sky, muscles relaxed and a grin tugging at his lips, the stars sparkling bright above him. He was just...drifting. Here, among the clouds. Occasionally, random memories protruded from his idling thoughts.

*{ Have you ever been in love before? } *

He could faintly make out the sound of ocean waves, but they were far away. Almost a lifetime away, really. He let his arms swing lazily at his sides. A kind of drowsiness spread over him and Lex allowed his suddenly heavy eyelids to fall over his eyes.

"Lex," a voice whispered in his ear. He parted his lips ever so slightly and sighed.

"Lex..."* {Do you ever wonder what you'd be like, you know, if you hadn't come that day?} *

"Lex." The voice no longer whispered, but held a tone of urgency to it. He recognized it now and willed one sleepy eye open.

*{ That's the thing. I still love you. } *

"Helen?" his mouth moved, but the sound that came out was hoarse and raspy. He ran a dry tongue over chapped lips. A warm hand pressed lightly on his chest and slowly, he opened both eyes. Despite cutting his lips at the effort, Lex smiled at the woman floating over him with an ethereal glow. She returned the smile wanly. "You're dreaming, Lex," she spoke softly. "You have to open your eyes."

"But I have," he chuckled lightly, hurting his dry throat as he reached up to touch her face. To his dismay, her face rippled into a hundred tiny waves. She was shaking her head when the waves subsided and her image returned to normal.

"You look but you don't see," Helen explained, her eyes filled with anguish. "Open your eyes, Lex. Really open them. Then you'll see."

Lex tried to touch her again, but again her image rippled. "See what?" he asked, flustered.

"Only you know," Helen said sadly as her image dissolved completely.

"Helen!" he cried and grasped vainly at the air above him. Lex felt something give way under him and he was suddenly falling backwards.

*{ You have a destiny, Lex. You're never going to get anywhere with your eyes closed. } *

"Down, down the rabbit hole you go." Another familiar voice teased in his ear, and a moment later Lionel appeared crouched beside his falling figure. Lex glared up at his father from his absurd, head-first diving position with a mixture of anger and surprise. The old man merely shook his head and chuckled, completely unaffected by the same laws of gravity being applied to his son. "Alice had much better form than you, Lex." He nodded thoughtfully and stood up. "Well, turn over and have another go at it. Remember: keep your back straight and glide!"

Lex glared up at him from his awkward position with a look that screamed `are you mad?!'

"This is no time to be snooty, boy!" Lionel said impatiently. "It's not every day a person gets a third chance at life."

Lex blinked -- and his father was gone. He hesitated for another second before turning over. His heart seized as he faced raging, dark water a hundred feet below him and closing fast. He closed his eyes instinctively, stiffened his back, and spread his arms out to his sides.* Glide,* he said mentally. *Just glide. *

He willed himself forward - any direction but down - and all of a sudden, Lex felt the falling stop. He was moving forward through the sky now. Lex opened his eyes and couldn't help but laugh.

*{ Do you believe a man can fly? } *

A weight was pulling down in his vest pocket and he reached down to retrieve it. It was the antique compass Jonathan Kent gave him. The needle spun wildly for a few seconds, then froze abruptly facing north.

*{ ...a Kent family tradition. Just in case you get lost down the aisle. } *

Lex tucked it back into his vest. A small island soon came to view and he touched down on the sandy beach. He looked back instinctively at the moon and several wisps of silvery-white smoke swirled down from it, curling their way to a spot a few yards away from him. The wisps began to form into a figure in a white dress. Lex began to walk towards it just as a head of long black hair with loose curls flowing in a light ocean breeze materialized. The last of the smoke blended into the ripples of her white flowing dress, and her back was to him. He was within a few feet of her when, slowly, she turned to face him.

"Lana," Lex blinked in surprise. "I thought - "

She locked her eyes onto his, the bright orbs seemingly larger under the moonlit sky, and smiled.

But it was not the usual Lana Lang-smile that graced her face but that of another familiar, pouty-lipped female. The alien expression spread its affect quickly to the rest of her figure, which seemed to grow sharper curves and a few inches. They were subtle changes one might see of any growing young woman over time. A sudden ghust of wind blew from behind and momentarily covered her face with her hair. Lana reached up to tuck her hair back behind her ear, but the face that looked out at Lex was no longer hers.

*{ Relationships aren't always about love, Clark. Not every girl is Lana Lang. } *

"Do you see now?" Helen asked, resting her arms over her chest as if she was feeling vulnerable to the wind. Lex frowned at how very Lana Lang her posture was. The moment he thought the girl's name, Helen began to change again. A second later, Lana was standing before him once more.

*{ When you have it you trust it, and you believe in it. Take a chance on it. } *

Her small frame shivered and she looked up at Lex with a frown on her brow. "Open your eyes," she said, her voice quivering, but once again it was not her own voice but that of someone much older. He didn't recognize it at all. Lana walked over quickly and grabbed the lapels of his jacket with surprising strength. She pulled herself up and glared determinedly into Lex's perplexed eyes. "Come on, Luthor." The strange, almost manly voice purred through Lana's gritted teeth. "Wake up!"

*{ Unless you're willing to put yourself out there, you'll never know. } *

Lex pushed Lana off him, stumbling backwards in the process. He gasped in surprise and fell to his knees as a sharp pain pierced his chest and exploded with a burst of air. He swooned....

*{ Don't tell anyone, Clark. I want to hold onto my romantic notions for one more day. } *

And his eyes flew open.


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