DISCLAIMER: I don't own Smallville or Superman or any of the characters here... i don't even own the "Up to you" joke..
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Written with the prompt, "Suicide Slums" and "Vigilante".
SPOILERS: Spoilers for "Lucy" (season 4) and Vengeance (season 5).
CHALLENGE: Written for the first International Day of Femslash.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

A Big Bad Girl in the Big Bad World
By Hollywood Recycle Bin


"Oh my god!! No please! Please don't hurt me!!" she heard a woman scream. Andrea sighed to herself and wondered when these low lives would ever learn that this was her neighbourhood, her headquarters, and that everything here was under her protection. There hadn't been thieves in this part of Suicide Slum for ages now, she had driven them all away... maybe these guys were new.

Andrea jumped down to where she could see the scene unfold more clearly. It wasn't a woman screaming after all; more like a girl, a teenage girl, around sixteen, maybe seventeen with shiny brown hair, all messed up as the two big guys held her tightly between them. There were no cars around, no worried and beaten up boyfriend or even a drunken friend whom she walked with. The girl didn't look dirty enough to be a runaway either, not from the Gucci pumps or Versace purse she was holding onto for dear life. Just a lost little rich girl, probably a very stupid, spoiled bratty one too... still, a damsel in distress was a damsel in distress; you can't pick and choose who you save.

After checking the mask on her face, Andrea swooped down from where she was perched, taking the two goons by surprise.

Her wrath was swift and deadly. Cries of pain erupted in the alleyway as she took advantage of the element of surprise and unleashed a flurry of lethal strikes, her fists and feet finding their targets with ease as they connected with flesh and bone. The two men were absolutely helpless against the assault as blow after blow rained down upon them. She showed them no mercy.

The fight was over within seconds. It was pathetic really, the speed in which the two thugs went down. They didn't even get a punch in. Andrea almost felt sorry for them... almost.

With the two men beaten, battered and unconscious, the vigilante picked up the Versace purse off the ground and returned it to the girl. "Hasn't your mama ever taught you not to walk down dark alleyways in the middle of the night?" she asked, half scolding, half conversational.

"I was lost," she said, shivering slightly. The hero instincts kicked in and automatically Andrea took off her leather coat and handed it to her.

"Oh no, I couldn't. You already saved my life."

"Suit yourself then." If the girl wasn't taking it, then she wasn't going to push it. It was a stupid impulse anyway, a stupid romantic macho thing that men do to make themselves feel like a gentlemen and freeze their own asses off to impress a girl. Still, it was dark and dangerous, and if the girl was lost she'd need someone to help her get to the safer parts of town or she'd be trying to fight off even more goons in a more dangerous part of the slum. That was the reason Andrea gave herself anyway. It had nothing to do with the pretty blue eyes that were staring at her with heat and admiration, or the soft curve of those pretty pink lips, or the way that tiny dress covered that lithe body, swaying gracefully on those luscious curves. The girl was a teenager after all, had to be, and she was an adult and thinking along that line of thought was wrong wrong WRONG!

"So anyway, there my sister and I were, in the middle of Bangkok and we couldn't find a single person who could tell us how to get back to the military base. Like not even the foreigners we asked spoke English, there was like a Russian guy, and of course it was just my luck that that wasn't one of the languages dad forced me to study; and then this Korean guy who was even worse at English, and of course I only spoke Japanese. And oh my god, we met this Thai guy, it was so funny, I mean we were just a bunch of kids but the guy saw us coming and he was so terrified! Like we were going to eat his liver if he didn't speak perfect English or something. And then when we asked him for directions, you know what he said?"

"What?" Andrea asked with a small smile on her face.

"He said "Up to you. Where you go, up to you!" Do you believe that? The guy doesn't know enough English to give directions but he knows enough to be a smart ass!" the girl laughed. It sounded loud and bright in the dimly lit street and sent something warm sparking inside Andrea. It was rare for Andrea to have this with someone; usually she just does her rescuing and then swoops mysteriously away. She was never one for long walks and conversations. This whole, getting to know another person and having them know her in return was never something she let herself do. Being a vigilante took up too much of her life and having someone in it would just make everything more complicated. Besides, she was never what you would call a social person, or someone who enjoyed the ritual of dating anyway. Still, it was different with this girl somehow; it was strangely comfortable to be walking next to her in full costume as she rattled on about the adventures of her youth.

"So yeah, after that we somehow ended up in a red light district. I think it was called Soi Cowboy or something. Anyway everything was mostly closed because it wasn't night yet but one bar had its doors opened. I was afraid to go in but Lo didn't want to leave me outside on my own on that street, even if there weren't many people there yet. Thankfully the bartender spoke enough English and she was nice enough to let us use the phone. Lo got in so much trouble with dad when she got back though. After that dad pretty much had his soldiers baby-sit us all the time; I mean he did that before but it just got so much worse."

Andrea smiled at the thought of the soldiers running after a couple of teenage girls.

"So I guess romance would be hard with the soldiers around then?" Andrea asked. She knew she shouldn't be fishing out if this girl had a boyfriend or not but her mouth had moved before she could stop herself.

"Well, actually not really. I got pretty good at sneaking out. Also I'm not where he can supervise me most of the time. I'm spending most of my teen years in a boarding school in Europe." There was a brief flash of pain shown across her young face. Andrea didn't push. Instead she turned the conversation back to the previous topic.

"So does that mean you do have a boyfriend?"

"It's an all-girls boarding school in Europe," Lucy said with a mischievously flirty smile. Andrea tried not to blush.

"I'm Lucy by the way," she said, having just remembered that she hadn't given Andrea her name yet even though they'd been talking for a long time now. "Thank you for everything, you've been amazing... I guess it'd be really stupid to ask for your name huh?" she asked, gesturing to the mask.

Andrea smirked. "You can call me the Angel of Vengeance if you want to."

The girl's smile brightened, like she was trying not to laugh. "Is that what you call yourself?"

"No... It's what they called me in the papers. I don't like it that much... a friend of mine does but I'd prefer something shorter... like Acrata maybe." Andrea always loved that name, she didn't really know where it came from but it always sounded to her like the name of an ancient goddess. It was the name of her mother's old group, created to protect the people on the streets. Though Andrea hadn't been to a meeting since she'd gotten her powers, she is doing just that, albeit in a different way than her mother had probably intended. She thought back to her mother then, her smile as she took her in her arms as a kid. Her group had changed its name some time after her death; Chloe might be able to help her get rid of the paper trail. It'd be an interesting way of honouring her. Acrata the super hero, saving the world from one low life scum bag at a time.

"Acrata." Lucy said it like it was a piece of clothing to try on for size. "Acrata," she repeated, letting it roll off her tongue. "I like that. It suits you."

"Thank you," Andrea smiled. "So what's a girl like you doing here in Suicide Slums in the middle of the night?"

"A girl like me? What's that supposed to mean?" Lucy stopped walking, half way to being insulted already even though Andrea hadn't answered her yet.

Andrea stuttered, feeling like a thirteen year old boy on a first date. Although with the number of dates she's actually been on in her life, she might as well be. Not that she was on a date with this girl... with Lucy. Then of course she realized what Lucy had just said.

"You're offended that I don't take you to be the type of person who usually walks around Suicide Slums in the middle of the night?"

"It's not what you said; it's the way you said it." The question had made Lucy pout, making her look even younger than she already does. Andrea stared at the glossy pink lips that jutted out, like forbidden fruit waiting to be bitten into.

Stop that train of thought right now! Andrea berated herself. Lucy was a teenager and making excuses like that was the type of thing that could lead to all kinds of un-hero-like behaviour. That's how it starts after all. With little things, excuses; age is just a number, it's just one little kiss, I was drunk, she wasn't that young anyway, that guy had it coming... And with that last train of thought, all the sweetness of Lucy melted away and all Andrea could feel was Lionel's pulse quickening against her leather clad fingers as her hands tightened around his neck. She remembered the look in his eyes when he tried to weasel his way out; gravity's fatal embrace waiting for him, thirty floors below. It'd felt good then, the power, the vengeance; everything inside her was screaming at her to do it, that he had it coming, he was a bad man and he deserved to die. She was like a spring that had been coiled and pressed down for too long; a spring that was only a second away from being set free.

It'd felt too good then.

"Hey," Andrea felt the soft small hands on her shoulder; Lucy's nails were painted pink with little white flowers on them, perfectly manicured. The vigilante turned to stare at the girl, ready to shrug everything off, rebuild the walls and forts and bring back the distance she seemed to have lost the moment she started talking to her, only, that girl wasn't there anymore. She was no longer looking at the innocent and naive little rich girl who had been her companion for the past fifteen minutes. All of that icing had melted away and there, clad in a short white dress and pink designer jacket too thin for the night, was a woman, a woman who had seen the world for what it is, seen too much of it. There wasn't an ounce of youth left in the depths of those bright blue eyes. This was someone who understood, someone who had seen the edge, maybe even fell over it a few times and maybe she had been a victim once but those days were long gone, she was closer to being the monster now whether she wanted to be or not.

"Lucy?" the nervousness in Andrea's voice was clear and she wondered if she'd imagined it all, that one brief moment of perfect understanding between them, so completely out of place on a face that looked like that. But no, that look was still there in Lucy's eyes, the hard set of her jaw as she looked at her, looked right through her in a way nobody else had ever done before.

Lucy's hand touched her wrist; it was one of the few parts of her body, not covered up by the black leather. The moment the cold fingers touched her skin, she felt a jolt of electricity go through her, it made her shiver. Andrea was suddenly reminded of all those romance movies she rents on the rare occasions when she has free time. She remembered the scenes where the hero meets the heroine, and when they share their first touch. It was usually the smallest of contacts, a brush of the fingertips; an accidental bump against each other. The touches were small, but you could almost see the sparks it sends through them as they turn to stare into each other's eyes right before one of them pulls away. She didn't get a chance to pull away though, because instead Lucy pulled her closer, and Andrea let her.

Lucy's lips tasted sweet, like the flavour of her lip gloss; cherry mixed with the coolness of breathe mints. A warning bell sounded distantly in Andrea's head but she ignored it as her tongue slid against Lucy's, feeling the edges of her small fangs, the wetness of her mouth. There was nothing innocent about Lucy's kiss; nothing like the half shy flirtation that was there before. The kiss was hot and rough and fast, like Lucy was desperate for that closeness, like she was dying from the cold and grasping at every bit of heat she could find and Andrea was helpless against it. She could do nothing but move closer to the other woman and make noises that no superhero should ever be making in public.

But like Lucy herself, the kiss changed after a minute. It changed completely. Lucy was still the one behind the wheel but the fun and reckless driving was gone, there was a strange planned-ness to the kiss, like each swipe, each suck, each lick had been practiced. It was still a good kiss but it drove Andrea insane, she wanted the fire back.

And with that Andrea pulled away, intent on the task of bringing the fire back to Lucy, she started kissing her below her ear, moving down to her neck to suck on a sensitive spot that made Lucy lose control for just a few seconds.

Lucy was breathless when Andrea's hand touched her stocking clad thigh. Her face was still buried in the girl's neck when she heard it. The sound was soft and broken but hard; the pain laced in the voice was so obvious it was almost visible in the air around them.

"I'm sorry," she said as her hand stroked Andrea's hair.

Andrea froze, her body turning to ice as she looked into Lucy's young face. It showed her nothing at first. But then, a split second later she saw it, two thin streams of tears running down her cheeks, not even tainted by the black of Lucy's eyeliner. It was the only warning Lucy gave her.

It wasn't enough.

Before Andrea could react, the girl pushed away from her and she was struck by needle-like pain in her neck and back... darts. Tranquilizer darts. Damn that bitch! Andrea thought as the grogginess began to take over. She fell to her knees, then flat on the concrete floor. She hardly felt it, hardly felt anything except the burning sense of betrayal and anger. Anger at Lucy for being what she is and anger at herself for not being more careful once she saw it; for not listening to the warning bells in her head that told her this really wasn't a damsel in distress that needed saving.

Andrea vaguely heard the sound of slow claps coming from behind her.

"Bravo!" The male voice had said, it sounded familiar but Andrea couldn't quite clear the fog enough to pin it down. "Another excellent performance Miss Lane; it's always a pleasure watching a true artist at work."

"I'd say the pleasure's all mine but conning you wasn't part of our agreement." Lucy's voice was cold but not harsh; there was a sharp smile on her lips that somehow appeared both aloof and polite at the same time. Her body betrayed nothing, not even the pretty colours of her dress hid who she was now; a professional.

The man she was talking to stepped into Andrea's line of sight then. "Luthor," Andrea growled with as much venom as she could muster. Lex ignored her; instead moving closer to the woman, whose name Andrea started to think might not be Lucy after all. He held a metal brief case in his hand.

"No, it wasn't," Lex returned the cold smile and handed her the brief case. "This is everything. All the charges against you both here and in Europe, police descriptions, finger prints, parking tickets. Everything about you has been deleted from all the police databases."

Lucy took the briefcase and checked it for bugs; when she found none she turned back to Lex. "And your own files?" she asked knowingly.

Lex snapped his fingers and three men came out of a van that was parked nearby. Two went over to Andrea's slumped form. They picked her up like she was luggage and threw her inside the van. The other man held a laptop to Lex who continued to smile as he pressed the delete button.

"Enjoy your new life... Lucy." Lex's smile turned into a smirk.

"Oh, I will." The woman's own smile didn't falter. "And if you're lying, Lex, you might find that you're not the only one who knows how to make people disappear," the threat was thrown at him casually, by her tone of voice it could have been the most friendly thing she said to him that night. Lex had no doubt that the younger Lane meant every word she said; she already had quite the reputation despite her age. A real virtuoso in her field, not someone Lex wanted as an enemy unless it was necessary to. Too bad she seemed to be retiring already.

Once Lucy was gone Lex focused his attention on his captive, his latest addition to level 33.1. She was the last one that Lucy caught for him, he usually didn't need her help in capturing the meteor freaks, however, a few of them had required some extra effort and the elusive vigilante was one of them. Who would have thought that after sending in team after team and using millions of dollars worth of high tech equipment that all it took to actually catch the Angel of Vengeance was a pretty girl with an innocent smile?

Andrea still hadn't blacked out yet, although she seemed to have lost her ability to hold an angry gaze at Lex; she was losing the battle to keep her eyes open as it was. Through a haze she saw Lex sit down next to her.

"You know, you really should be more careful Angel." Lex teased. "Hasn't your mother ever taught you not to talk to strangers? Especially one that's offering you something sweet?"

And with a smirk Lex got up and shut the door behind him. Then, everything went black.

The light clicked on in the hotel room the moment the key card entered the slot on the wall. The suite was painted white, the paintings and furniture revealing elegance with no trace of personality. It suited her perfectly now.

Lucy moved numbly through the usual routine. She turned on the water. Took off her clothes. Not really thinking about anything. Strange, you'd think she'd be celebrating. After all, she got what she wanted; a blank slate, no police records, no big scary guys coming after her. Early retirement with enough money to buy herself a small island. She should be happy, she thought as her body slid into the tub, instead all she felt was a deep ache that had burrowed itself inside her soul.

She let go then, closed her eyes and let the memory of the kiss that still lingered on her lips haunt her; the betrayal in pretty dark eyes framed by a black mask. She felt tears run down her face again for the second time that night. She usually never gets this affected by a job, hasn't for a very long time, not since she conned her own sister for Lex Luthor's money. That seemed like a decade ago now. She'd grown up since then. She didn't need anyone to protect her anymore.

So why was it, that all she wanted to do right now was run back to her big sister's warm arms and beg her to make everything all right again?

The End

End note: Lucy Lane is not actually sixteen years old. She's a con woman and knows how to make herself seem younger than she actually is. This takes place a few years after the episode Lucy so she's about nineteen in this fic.

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