DISCLAIMER - Not mine, I couldn't afford the motor and household insurance bills. I promise I'll scrub them down and give them back to DC comics, the WB and anyone else who does own a slice of them when I'm done with them. Story, such as it is, copyright Karen Colohan, August 2003.
Author's notes - This is futurefic, written for the Contre la Montre poetry challenge in 30 minutes. The poem that inspired this is The Stranger by Walter de la Mare, specifically these lines:
Is a tomb, lichened and crooked - Its faded legend gone - With but one rain-worn cherub's head Of mouldering stone.
The stuff of legend, that was what Lex had promised him their friendship would be. He could still recall that conversation so vividly - the scents in the barn, the colours of the sunset as they'd traded warm smiles - those had never faded from his memory, even though so many years had passed.
In the end, though, it had proved to be a lie. How could there be a legend when there was no one to remember that their friendship had ever existed? At least, no one except for Superman, alien and, apparently, immortal who was left alone to reflect on the fact that it wasn't supposed to have been like this.
Long, long years ago when Cassandra had shown a boy called Clark Kent a vision of his future he'd seen an endless graveyard, populated by everyone that he knew... all but one. There had been no grave for Lex Luthor.
As the boy grew up he'd held onto that knowledge, storing it up together with Lex's words. Clark didn't know how, but they were going to have forever. And he'd continued to believe in that future, had clutched the promise of it close as he took Lex into his heart completely, building a life with him.
The president and his husband, the renowned reporter for the Daily Planet, had certainly been legendary in those days. Meanwhile, Superman had built his own myth - the benevolent alien who helped keep the world safe, remote and untouchable in his Fortress of Solitude.
The passing years had slowly begun to fill the graveyard of Clark's vision, his family and friends passing one by one. He mourned them and then went on with his life, Lex remaining strong and constant by his side. Despite his losses, Clark had been happy then. It seemed that something good had come of the meteor mutations at last and the future seemed bright.
But forever wasn't to be. Lex's meteor enhanced metabolism could only endure for so long, it turned out. He aged slowly but inexorably. He fought the inevitable with all the strength of his will and the best technology that Luthor money could buy, but eventually Lex had been forced to admit defeat.
Superman could remember that day so clearly that, even now, it still ached deep inside him, the memory of Lex's final, weak breath. It was the moment that Clark had also accepted the end of his existence, leaving only Superman behind.
He had made Cassandra's vision the truth in the days that followed, though not in the way that he'd always hoped for. His family and friends had all been buried in the graveyard in Smallville, but Lex had another resting place. In his last act, Clark Kent had buried Lex Luthor in Metropolis, close to his mother, finally reuniting them in death. His memorial had been much simpler than Lillian's, but Clark had been certain that Lex wouldn't mind.
That had been many years ago. The cemetery was old and overgrown now, the yew trees casting an almost impenetrable shade. The place was seldom visited, except perhaps by the ghosts of people long dead. After all, who was left alive now who remembered those buried within its walls?
Reverent fingers touched the crumbling headstone. He sought the faint traces of the faded inscription, knowing the words by heart.
Lex Luthor, beloved husband and son.
Head bowed, Superman vowed silently that, while he still lived, he would keep the legend alive.
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