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Brothers Unbound

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Brothers Unbound

It was no great surprise, Lex was a horrible patient.

"No," Kon said firmly. "Dad says you should stay here." He then prepared himself for the next onslaught.

"Do you do everything your father says?" Lex sneered for a moment, then apparently reconsidered. "If so, I'm your father too, and you should do as I say as well."

Kon rolled his eyes. "Circular argument, no cookies. Look, DT, you're not going to talk me into it, so how about if we just play pinochle instead?" It was a measure of how bad off Lex was that his arguments were so weak.

Lex thinned his lips. "You can't keep me prisoner here."

Prisoner. Oh, geez. Kon threw up his hands. "You're not a prisoner!"

"Then why can't I leave?!"

"You can't even get out of bed!"

"I don't need to be out of bed! I need to be in Metropolis!" Lex drew in a shaky breath. "Lex Corp needs me. My people need me. I need to be home. This," he waved his right hand at the crystalline structure all around them, "is not home. Just take me to my bed, or a hospital, or something, but in Metropolis, not here."

Kon glanced around. "What's wrong with here?" He shrugged. "One place is pretty much the same as another, and the Fortress is better than any hospital anywhere. Sure, you're healing on your own, but this is better."

Lex growled. "I need to be there!" He half rolled out of bed, then collapsed before he could put any weight down.

Catching Lex within the second of collapse, before he could even start to fall, Kon put him back on the bed. Lex struggled for a moment, then lay back, panting, his eyes closed tightly in pain.

"DT," Kon whispered, "please." He hated seeing his father hurting.

"Please take me home," Lex whispered back, not opening his eyes.

Kon sighed. He waited for the next argument, but there wasn't one and Lex's breathing evened out. Unconscious again.

Smoothing out the sheets, Kon pulled the blankets over Lex again, careful not to touch or jar the depression where Lex's right hip and thigh were still re-growing. Superman had gathered up the parts of Lex's blown-up body that he'd seen, but he'd been concentrating on Lex's main body, not even really sure what the healing mutation could or couldn't do about parts. The hip bone had either been missed in the hurry, or just hadn't been there. The bomb had been about that level, ripping through the people near it, and Lex had been close to it.

Lex's healing had miraculously brought him back to life, and then it seemed to slow. Or at least had appeared that way to anxious family watching closely, though the Fortress assured them there was still activity taking place internally. The first several days while Lex had been unconscious and not waking up at all had been hell as Clark and Kon vacillated between joy at Lex being alive and panic about if the mental functions would come back as well. When Lex finally woke up and was himself, they had both breathed sighs of relief.

Once he was awake, however, things became more frustrating as Lex wanted to go back, yet at the same time, couldn't stay awake for more than a few minutes at a time. Getting better as it went on, but obviously still extremely hurt and still healing. He also looked horrible. Besides the hip, which was the most obvious of the wounds, there were bruises and contusions all over Lex that looked just as bad as a normal person who had been in an accident. Shouldn't those have healed up by now? But at the same time, the broken bones and missing parts were re-growing, which would be impossible in a normal human. The hip was getting better day by day. It was baffling. It was a miracle. Lex was alive, and that was what counted.

Even with the healing that had been done, Kon was impressed that just now Lex had made it off the bed in the first place. He hadn't been able to do that much the day before. Still, Lex was weak and even without doing stupid things, he wouldn't make it too far into a conversation before falling back asleep again. Which made it just baffling to Kon that Lex wanted to go back to Metropolis. What was the point?

"How is he?" Superman flew in and asked before he'd even settled to the ground, his attention completely on Lex.

"The same," Kon replied. "I thought you were going to be on the satellite for another few hours?"

Superman grimaced. "They kept asking questions I couldn't answer. I decided to leave it to Batman and Hawkman before I lost it."

Kon winced. Superman's rescue of Lex Luthor, out of all the people in Metropolis, had not gone unnoticed. Despite his rescue of literally hundreds of other people, the final swoop for Lex had been remarked on. Metropolis didn't care – or rather they did, but to them, Lex Luthor was almost as big a figure in their city as Superman was, and they glossed over the super-villain part, so Lex's rescue made sense to them. The reporters who might have made an issue of it (Lois, for one), instead concentrated on Superboy's dramatic wounding and Superman's rescue of him. But to the other super heroes, Lex's rescue was more of an eye-raising event. Hawkman had finally stepped in and bluntly announced that Luthor had been helping them with the investigation into the Lion's Teeth.

Several minor heroes had also been revealed to be working with Lionel, for different reasons. Mostly, it was protecting family and friends with not-very-important information. Some it seemed to be just bragging to the wrong people. There were a few seductions, which Kon shuddered just thinking about.

They hadn't told anybody about Watchtower, still on the Amazon island of Themyscira. Things were bad enough without that too. Not everything was about pure honesty, as much as the innocents wanted it to be. Kon knew that his dad agonized about that as well, hating everything about not being able to tell all of the truth, and yet reluctantly accepting that it had to be. His dad kept muttering about grey chasms shading everything.

Kon took it all in, as much as he could. He wondered what he was supposed to think or feel. He supposed if he'd had a normal life, he might care more, but as it was, what he cared most about was Dad and DT, and his friends after that.

He hadn't rescued anybody since he'd been hurt.

He would have to soon, he knew. But right now... right now they didn't want to tell everybody just how unhurt he was, when cameras had seen how bad Kon had been, and also he wanted to stay by Lex until his DT was better. There hadn't been any press cameras recording Lex when the first bomb had gone off, thank all the goodness. The security cameras might have gotten something, but if so, Lex’s security chief, Mayik, had wiped them. However, by the time Kon confronted the Lionel, people were gathered, cell phones had been out, and recordings had gotten most of the confrontation, if not all the actual words. It was all over the internet. The only sort-of okay part was that the way Kon had nearly lost control was totally overshadowed by the part where the bad guy had laughed in his face then blew himself up. Still, though...

At Kon's heavy sigh, Superman looked up from his intense perusal of Lex. After a moment where Kon got the same intense study, Clark reached out his arms and put them around Conner.

No words. Words didn’t accompany the comfort. They’d had a lot of words before. Some Conner believed, some he didn’t, and it was good having them if only because they were words he’d never had before. But the words had all been said, and the need for the hugs probably wouldn’t go away for a long time yet. His dad was as good with the hugs as he was with the rescues.

---

Lex was propped up on the pillows as much as he could be. He hated to do the video calls flat on his back, and even though that position obviously hurt like the blazes, Kon and Clark did all they could to help and make him comfortable. Lex still glared at them and hated them. But he was alive. Currently, he was ignoring them, his attention completely on the video screen.

"Hi Prudence," Lex's voice was soft and caring, love and worry tied together in a way he didn't usually express. Kon missed it. He missed it so much, and even moreso when it wasn't directed at him. Not that he begrudged any of it for Pru. He just... wanted some for him too.

"Hey Uncle Lex." Her brown eyes studied him before she gave a thumbs up. "You're looking a bit better today. Just a little bit. You still look like shit overall."

"Thanks," Lex said dryly. Like yesterday, he didn't say anything about the promotion to 'uncle'. Prudence had started that up the day before, and Lex had just paused and then nodded, accepting. "Are you doing okay?"

"I'm good." She shrugged slightly. "But I'm having problems putting together the memorial book. Aren't there any pictures of the two of you that weren't publicity stills?"

"Pictures..." Lex looked blank. "I..."

The world obsessed with taking photos and selfies and family albums, and Kon's DT couldn't even remember if he had a non-work photo with his best friend, near brother. Kon glanced over at Clark across the room, and saw his father swallowing. Come to think of it, all the photos that Grandmother had were ones she had taken, or Clark. There weren't any photos of... well, of anybody at Lex's, and he couldn't ever remember him taking any from his phone.

Pru chuckled. "I swear, you and Dad. He never thought of anything like that either. I can't even find any baby pictures of me until I was big enough to take the pictures myself with us!"

Conner could remember times with DT coming into the labs and Justice had turned to him... the two would have their heads together over all sorts of projects – the ones they would talk about with Conner there, and they also talked about random human things like food and weather and kids. Justice could make Lex laugh. Justice was one of the few people that Lex had ever trusted unconditionally. Conner hadn't seen a lot of them, but he'd seen enough to know that. He stirred.

Lex's gaze went to him and he raised an eyebrow. Then he winced as the movement pulled a healing cut on his forehead. It was the weirdest thing how the littlest wounds like the cuts and the bruises weren't healing like the bones and internal damage.

"Security footage?" Kon tentatively came out with his thought. "From you two just... talking? Still shots from that."

Lex's face lit up and he turned that brilliant smile of his on Conner for the first time in a week. "Brilliant!" He looked back at the screen, "Would that work, Prudence?"

Conner forced himself not to step back or move, though he really wanted to retreat to his other dad's arms. He blinked rapidly. He'd missed that smile so much...

"Oh, it totally should! I've seen you guys together, there should be some adorable ones in there." Pru's delight changed to annoyance. "If Mayik will let me go through them. He's already blocked me multiple times!"

"Did you ask him, or were you just hacking in?" Lex chuckled.

"Well..."

They talked for a couple more minutes before Lex's eyes closed.

"Lex? Um, Conner??" Prudence's breath hitched a bit.

Conner moved up to the bed, his hearing assuring him of heartbeats and breathing even before his eyes verified the same with the readouts the Fortress provided. "He's okay," he reassured Pru. "Just out again."

Prudence let out a sigh. "That is so damn scary when he does that."

"You're telling me," Conner said, heartfelt and meaning it. He hadn't gotten over his guilt for his Dad Two being alive where her own father had died... but it helped that Prudence so obviously also wanted Lex to live. She was a whirlwind of efficiency in taking care of all the practical things that needed to be done after somebody died – most of them already having been taken care of before Clark or Conner were even aware of it – but the tears leaked out enough for him to know she was mourning in her own way too. She was holding off on any final dates for the memorial until Lex was well enough to attend.

"How is he? Really?" Pru's voice was wistful.

"Getting better, really." Conner adjusted the pillows, lowering Lex back down to a more comfortable position.

Across the room, Clark stirred, but stayed where he was, out of view of the vid screen. This was Conner and Pru's time – she was still a little wary of Clark.

"He wants to come home," Conner whispered, looking at his DT.

"Don't blame him," Pru sighed. "Lots of people here want him home too. Everything is so haywire without... without any of them. Charity does what she can, but it's still crazy."

"I'll come by tomorrow," Conner offered. While Superboy had yet to make a reappearance, he'd made one tentative appearance as Conner. He could do it again. He didn't think Pru was quite the hugging type, but, well, he'd give it a try.

Pru chuckled. "Not quite the same. But yeah, that'd be great, thanks. I'll drop by the tower around noon?"

"Sure." They firmed up plans and then signed off.

There was a moment, then the Fortress let the hologram of the room go, so it no longer looked like they were in a regular hospital. Conner chased after it with his memories and belatedly wondered if Lex would be more comfortable with the hologram. But no, it was the whole situation, not just the location.

Clark came forward and sat down on the other side of the bed, reaching out to hold Lex's hand. "I missed so much of his life by being his enemy."

Lex snorted. "Like it was your choice alone."

Both Clark and Conner jumped. They hadn't noticed him waking up.

Glancing down at the clasped hands, they also noticed that Lex hadn't pulled away yet. That... was something.

"I think... it was," Clark said softly. "I'm sorry."

"Just don't do it again," Lex said with a certain amount of sarcasm, yet with undertones of something real there too. Before Clark could respond with something sentimental, Lex added, "And take me home."

Clark shook his head. "I'm afraid to let you go. There were so many of them. And you.... You're safe, here." Clark folded himself over Lex and rested his head against his chest, not letting go of his hand.

Lex sighed, but didn't ask again. Instead, he lifted his other hand and buried it in Clark's hair.

Conner slipped away.

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