Lionel Luthor angrily paced the waiting area. Although they had threatened to call the police once already, if a doctor didn't come to talk to him soon, he was going to tear the damn place apart.
"Be okay, Lilli. Please be okay," he whispered, fingernails cutting into his palms as his hands fisted in fear. Lillian Luthor was the only thing "good" in his life. Yes, he had money and power, but it was all tainted with a corruption he would never be free of. But his Lilli was pure and sweet, and every day he thanked whoever was in charge of the universe for allowing Lilli to love him back.
"Yes?" He glared at the man in pale green scrubs.
"Mr. Luthor, your wife had a heart attack."
"Nonsense! Lillian has never been sick." Not until this morning, when she'd collapsed on the way down to breakfast.
The doctor sighed. "This is only a speculation, but I believe she may have a congenital heart defect that has stayed masked until undue pressure was put on the organ."
"The pregnancy." Lilli was six and a half months pregnant. She'd been ecstatic when she found out; he'd been happy for her, but he wasn't all that pleased. Lilli was his and he wasn't too keen on sharing her with some runny-nosed brat.
"She'll have to have a caesarian section, of course."
"But I think we can safely wait until the fetus is slightly older and better--"
"Do it now."
The doctor frowned. "If Mrs. Luthor remains in bed and takes her medication, I don't see why she can't safely maintain the pregnancy for another two weeks or more. In talking with her, I got the impression that the baby was important to her."
"Yeah," Lionel sighed. Already the kid was taking her from him.
"You can go see her if you want."
Lionel nodded and followed the doctor down the hall. He stopped for a moment at the door, gathered himself, then strolled into the room as if the love of his life wasn't hooked up to a plethora of humming, hissing, and beeping machines.
"Lionel." A wan hand lifted from the blanket. A natural redhead, she was already pale, but now she seemed almost translucent.
"Lilli." He leaned over to kiss the hand, but instead ended up crying against her breast.
"Shh, love. It's okay. Alexander and I are okay," she shushed soothingly.
He lifted his tear-stained face and looked at her. "Alexander?"
Her hand smoothed across her slightly extended belly. "Our son."
"I--I thought you didn't want to know the sex."
"You look close to collapsing, sweetheart. Sit." He reached for the chair he'd noticed as he entered the room. "There was a moment today when I--when I wasn't here," she began hesitantly.
He knew what she meant. She'd died in the ambulance, and the paramedics had brought her back. "That's over. You're here with me now."
"Yes, but for a moment, I was--somewhere else, and that's where I met Alexander, our son. Oh, Lionel, he was perfect, except--well, that doesn't matter. His future is going to be so bright, and he's going to make such a difference in the world."
"A good heir to LuthorCorp, huh?" He tried to be enthusiastic for her sake.
"He's going to be so much more than LuthorCorp. He's going to be the best of us, Lionel. Only--"
He reached out and smoothed the frown on her forehead. "Only what, my darling?"
"He's going to need to know he's loved, Lionel. If we fail in that, then his light will fade and darkness will fill him."
Lionel glanced at the IV and wondered what drugs they were giving her. "He'll know you love him," he said, stroking the back of her hand.
"Not just me, Lionel. He needs your love, too. Our boy will be special, intelligent beyond our wildest imaginations, but he's going to be hurt badly. There will be great anger deep within him, and only love will keep the anger from festering and tainting his soul. Give him your love, Lionel, please."
He closed his eyes for a second. "Lilli, you know you are the only person I've ever loved, that I'm capable of loving." He'd been ruthlessly honest with her about his past and his limitations.
"But this child, Alexander, will be a part of me. The best part of me. When I'm--gone for good, he'll be all that's left, Lionel. Look at him and see me. Love him and love me."
Lionel looked at the far side of the room. "There's a chance there's a chance he won't make it, Lilli. You're awfully sick, and if it comes down to saving you or saving him--"
Her hand clutched his. "I won't make you have to make that choice, Lionel."
"It wouldn't be a choice, Lil."
"Still, you don't have to worry. I'm going to have this baby and we're both going to survive. But--" She waited until she had his full attention. "The doctors have hinted that I won't be much of a wife to you after this."
"I didn't marry you for sex," he said defensively.
"But you have your needs, and I respect that. I only ask that you be discreet and that you don't fall in love with anyone else."
"Never," he promised.
She tugged his hand down to cover hers over her stomach. "Alexander, this is your father. He's big and he's hairy and he's loud, but he'll learn to love you. And when Mommy's not around anymore, he'll take care of you and protect you and keep you safe until you reach your destiny. Even when you don't trust him with everything else, trust in that, Lex. He won't let you down. He's never let me down."
Lionel answered her wobbly smile with one of his own. Her eyes slid closed and he leaned back in the chair, preparing himself for the rest of the night. Forget the business meetings, the phone calls he needed to return, the takeover he was engineering. Nothing mattered more than Lilli. And by definition, her child. Lex. What an interesting nickname. Lex Luthor. Poised for world domination according to his mother. But what mother didn't think that about her child?
"Lex Luthor, love your mother, make her happy, and I'll love you for life. I probably won't like you, because you're taking my Lilli from me, but I'll love you and take care of you until you have your date with destiny or whatever. That's my promise to you and to her. Deal?"
He knew it was just the sibilant sounds of the machinery, but it seemed that a faint, "Yes," echoed through the room.
Hmm, he thought as he drifted off. A kid who'd made his first deal before leaving the womb.
Maybe Lilli was onto something after all.