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The Return of Lex Luthor 16/?


Author: Phoenixnz
Title: The Return of Lex Luthor
Genre: Drama

Characters: Clark, Lois, Lex, OC, Perry White, Justice League
Pairings: Clois, Lex/OC
Rating: Mostly PG but some chapters R
Disclaimer: The characters of Smallville and the DC comic universe belong to the producers, writers etc. The original character is mine but is not, I repeat, not a real person, although they are drawn from real life for the sake of realism. Any resemblance to anyone, living or dead, is coincidence.

Summary: Lex Luthor returns with a few surprises. And he seems to be a changed man. Can Clark trust him? Should he?


It all started here


Go back a step


Chapter Sixteen

Clark sat at the bar of the Ace of Clubs nursing his sixth beer. It had been the week from hell. First, he’d argued with Lois over a story and now she was barely talking to him. She’d reduced conversation to words of one syllable, and it was usually yes or no. Then Superman had been raked over the coals in a letter to the editor for property damage he hadn’t even caused. He’d actually been trying to prevent it when the local gangs had destroyed a heritage building. That letter had led to others. It was almost as if someone was trying to start a hate campaign against him.

Some days it just didn’t pay to get out of bed.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, he felt like he was being set up. Twice that week he’d heard calls for help but when he’d got there he’d seen they were false alarms. The second time, someone had aimed a rocket launcher at him. A rocket launcher! He’d made quick work of it, but of course, there had been a letter the next day in the Daily Planet complaining about the noise from the explosion. It was almost as if he couldn’t do anything right.

As he ordered another beer, the bartender gave him an odd look. He just stared back at him.

“Alcohol doesn’t affect me,” he said.

“Whatever you say buddy.”

He wished he could get drunk. Six, no seven beers and any normal person would be well on the way to being hammered by now. But no, he had to be invulnerable to it. Maybe if he swallowed a tiny chunk of Kryptonite. But that would probably just make him sick, not drunk.

He was tempted to fly up to the penthouse and ask Lex if he had anything to do with what had been going on. But he didn’t want to drag Julia into this. As far as he knew, she had no idea he was really Superman.

He wished he could confide in Lois. But he’d chosen the persona of Superman for a reason. So he could keep his superhero self at a distance from her. Not that it worked, damn it!

You and me, we used to be together, every day together, always, I really feel that I’m losing my best friend, I can’t believe this could be the end

God damn it. Why does every song lately have to be out heart break? Or relationships ending? Does the universe hate me or something? Clark groaned inwardly.

An hour and four more beers later, Clark called it a night. No one had called for help and the city was quiet. He decided to walk home, but instead found himself walking in the direction of Lois’ apartment.

Lois had an apartment in the east end of the city. It was maybe about thirty blocks from the middle of town and while the rent was reasonably, the neighbourhood was not. But Lois was nothing if not capable.

She appeared to have just gotten out of the shower when she opened the door. Clark had stood outside, hesitating, but had rapped softly. Honestly, sometimes it was like Lois had the super-hearing and not him. He heard the four deadbolts turning and the chain rasping in the slot.

“What’s up?” she asked. Obviously she had forgotten that she wasn’t talking to him. She wrinkled her nose. “God, Smallville, you smell like a brewery.”

“I ... um,”

“Spit it out Clark.” She sniffed again and peered at him. “Are you drunk?”

How did he answer that? Hmm. He supposed he could just let her assume. It might make this easier.

“I miss you,” he said softly.

“Okay, now I know you’re drunk. Come on, Smallville. You need coffee. And a lot of it.”

Clark stumbled in, tripping over his big feet. God, what was it with wearing the glasses that made him so clumsy? He slouched in the chair she pulled out for him and watched while she poured coffee. He remained silent, barely aware of her efforts to talk to him.

She snapped her fingers in his ear.

“Come on, Clark. What gives?”

“Why did you let me push you away?”

“What?”

“After Chloe. I pushed you away and you just ...”

Lois sighed sadly. “I don’t know,” she said finally, after running her finger up and down her cup and looking down at the table. “I guess ... maybe I got a little scared. I was afraid that what happened to Chloe might happen to you and that scared me more than I liked. And then Zod. I couldn’t deal.”

Clark sighed miserably. Zod. He was like a huge elephant in the room all the time, even though he had been gone for months. After everything Clark had done for him, Zod had turned around and threatened Lois.

He’d posed as the Blur, trying to con Lois into finding out Tess Mercer’s secrets. He’d used Lois as a pawn in a dangerous game, forcing Clark to go after him. That final day, Zod had called Lois, once again posing as the Blur. But Clark had already warned Lois there was someone out there pretending to be him. She’d gone anyway. It had been one of those days when they were fighting more often than not.

Clark had realised what had happened and went chasing after Zod, who by then was more power-hungry than ever. The rest of the Kandorians had abandoned him, resentful that Zod had kept the secret of how he’d gained his powers all to himself. Clark had done his best to help them but Zod had beaten him to it, using his powers to kill them.

How many had actually escaped, Clark didn’t know. They had all disappeared.

Zod was in fine form when Clark saw him from a distance. He didn’t dare get any closer, knowing it would reveal his secret to Lois. He remembered a confrontation between himself and Zod, who had called him a fool for thinking that the people of Earth would welcome him once they realised the ‘Blur’ was an alien. Clark preferred intergalactic traveller, but that was neither here nor there.

Clark had thought that just because Lex had taken it badly, it didn’t mean the same for everyone. After all, Chloe hadn’t freaked out when she’d found out the truth. And Lois hadn’t ... well, not in the alternate reality.

Lois was berating Zod while he stood in the street, looking around for Clark.

“Come out and face me, Kal-El,” he roared. “Or are you too much of a coward?”

“He’s no coward,” Lois told him, eyes flashing in anger.

Clark loved that Lois showed no fear. But it was going to get her killed!

“You’re wasting time, Kal-El. Do not think I would hesitate to kill her. After all, she is only a human. Like Chloe Sullivan.” Zod smirked. “She begged for her life. Pleaded for mercy.”

“As if,” Lois snorted. “Chloe was the bravest person I know, next to the Blur. And she wouldn’t have begged. She would have gone down fighting.”

Clark had a surge of pride, not only for Lois’ courage, but also for what she had just said about him. He remembered her telling him she had seen him in a whole new light. As something ‘starting in H and ending in ...ero.’

But Zod turned on Lois and viciously back-handed her across the face. He might have held back his strength, but Clark heard the crack and saw Lois fall hard. She was going to have a serious concussion at the very least.

“Lois!” he cried out.

Zod turned in his direction. Fuelled by anger, Clark launched himself into the air, barrelling into Zod at full speed. Zod threw him off easily, the momentum causing him to crash into one of the surrounding buildings. The structure shook, dust falling. Clark could hear the terrified yells of the people inside and knew he had to take this fight elsewhere.

He flew. It was an ability he’d only just barely mastered. But Lois had been the key to that as well. Knowing the danger she was in, Clark had been desperate to get himself on an even keel with Zod.

Jor-El had continued to remind him through his training that the thing that kept him grounded was fear. Only when he let go of those fears would he be able to fly. So Clark decided the only way to let them go was to channel them into something, or someone else. So he focused on Lois. And it worked.

Clark flew to the fortress, knowing Zod was following. He hadn’t wanted to leave Lois with her hurt, but as he’d flown away, he’d seen a civilian leave the shelter of one of the buildings and go to her. Lois would be okay.

Once in the fortress, Clark headed to the bank of crystals housing the control console. He turned as Zod breezed in.

“I decided to give you one more opportunity, Kal-El. Kneel before me. Join me and I will spare Lois Lane. She will be yours.”

Clark glared at him. “I would die rather than see you take over this planet.”

“If that is your decision, then so be it,” Zod snarled.

Once again launching into the air, they crashed in mid-flight, sending shards of ice through the fortress, which shook from the impact.

“You cannot win, Kal-El. I will crush you like an insect.”

“Keep talking Zod,” Clark returned, showing himself to be braver than he felt.

As the battle raged, Clark could feel his strength sapping. But he had to win. The battle went on for what seemed like hours, but was probably only minutes. Clark glanced occasionally at the console. It slowly began to glow. Jor-El had been silently working while Zod was unaware.

Growing tired and weary, Clark let his thoughts drift to those he loved. He kept a picture of the woman he loved in the forefront of his mind. He had to keep fighting. For her.

Then, seemingly out of nowhere, a portal began to glow brightly, moving toward them. Zod stopped and stared at it. It was the distraction Clark needed. He swept his foot under Zod’s, using Zod’s own strength against him and sending him sprawling.

This Zod, he realised, had never seen the Phantom Zone, the inter-dimensional prison Jor-El had created. But then, the zone had been created long after the Zod of this age had given his genetic code to create the clone.

Screaming obscenities, Zod was caught in the portal’s gravitational pull. Then he was gone.

Clark collapsed to the floor of the fortress, his strength gone. Then strong arms were helping him to his feet, helping him to a crystal bed where he could rest and regain his strength. Clark looked up at J’onzz.

“Good timing,” he quipped.

“You are welcome Kal-El,” J’onzz smiled.

Lois was still talking.

“You know, for weeks I had nightmares about Zod, thinking he might come back, even though the Blur, I mean Superman, told me he was gone. I still can’t believe Zod deceived me like that.”

She looked at him. “Are you listening to me?”

“Yes, Lois. I ... I’m sorry. It’s just been a really rough week.”

“Yeah, talk about rough weeks. Can you believe Superman stopped an armed robbery right in front of me and he acted like I wasn’t alive?”

Clark sighed. He had seen her, he’d just had other things on his mind.

“I forgot,” he said. “Superman wanted to know if you’d heard whether there was any crime group in town trying to test him.”

“Why would he ask you and not ask me directly?”

“Do I look like a mind reader?”

Lois sighed. “Come on,” she said. “I think you need to get home and sleep it off.”

He nodded. “You’re right.” He stood up, swaying a little, almost as if he was drunk, which wasn’t possible.

He left, having resolved nothing, and still feeling depressed. He knew it was a human trait, but hell, he had been raised as a human, even if he was different.

Launching into the night sky, Clark found himself flying north. He landed a short while later in the Arctic.

“Greetings my son.”

“Father.”

“You appear troubled, my son. Your human emotions cloud your senses.”

Jor-El’s disembodied voice sounded disapproving.

“My emotions are what make me Superman,” he returned, without bite. He should have known better than to come here to what was nothing more than a cold, impersonal computer program. Maybe he should have stayed at Lois’, or gone to Lex’s penthouse. Even if Lex was pretending, he could at least have had a warmer welcome.

“Kal-El, you seem torn by this dual identity. Perhaps it would be better if you gave up your human side. Clearly, it is of no benefit to you.”

“And if I did that, I would be no better than Zod. God, it’s no wonder you destroyed yourselves. You’re so rigid. God forbid someone should ever have an original idea.”

“Admonishing me is pointless, Kal-El. What’s done is done.”

“Yet you expect me to conquer these people. Who are supposedly inferior to Kryptonians.”

“They are primitive.”

“Then why did you send me here?”

“To save them,” Jor-El said simply.

“Human beings are a lot smarter than you give them credit for.”

“One human being is intelligent, and capable of great things. Collectively ...”

“They’re what? Stupid? Like, I don’t know, ants in a colony?”

“I am merely trying to assist you in fulfilling your destiny.”

“You told me my destiny was to rule this planet. Well, I refused.”

“Yet there were consequences for your actions.”

“I know that,” Clark said angrily.

“Your anger is a human emotion which is unnecessary. You cannot change what has come to pass. You can only learn from your mistakes.”

“And I’m sure you never made a mistake in your life.”

“I made a great many mistakes, my son. I hope to relieve you of that same error.”

“And what error is that?”

“Emotions make you weak. It is your emotions, your need for companionship that led you to make the grievous error in befriending Lex Luthor.”

“Now, or before?” But Jor-El didn’t answer. “And what about Lois? Is she a mistake too? Tell me Jor-El. Is she a mistake like Louise McCallum was for you?”

“My emotional attachment to Louise McCallum was the very thing that saw her life ended.”

“Damn it, talk like a human being rather than a computer!”

“But I am not a human being,” Jor-El reminded him. “But if it is any consolation, I believe that the man who once told you that Lois Lane was the key to your existence, was correct.”

Clark hated when Jor-El was being cryptic. He had no idea whether he was supposed to be with Lois or whether he was supposed to give up. Jor-El thought emotions made him weak, but it was Lois and his love for her that gave him the strength to keep fighting. The faith to keep trying, even when humanity failed him.

He tried telling Jor-El this, but his birth father was silent. Clark sighed. Jor-El was no help at all.

Clark finally gave in to his instincts and called Julia. She seemed to be the only one who understood. Without giving her details, he told her how confused he was, torn between his feelings for Lois and his sense of duty.

“Go with your heart, Clark,” she told him. “Stop fighting it. Let your heart win the war.”


Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
eternal_moonie
Apr. 14th, 2010 12:08 pm (UTC)
totally AWESOME new chapter!!!
phoenixnz
Apr. 14th, 2010 05:24 pm (UTC)
Thanks hon. Glad you enjoyed it.
ctbn60
Apr. 14th, 2010 04:51 pm (UTC)
Leave it to lex to get into the underworld and start having them "test" clark. by hook or by crook he would do that wouldn't he.

great chapter you really gave amazing insight into Clark and what he is going through. Nice bit about zod and the fortress too. Well done.
phoenixnz
Apr. 14th, 2010 05:29 pm (UTC)
Clark is having a tough time of it and Lex and his games aren't helping.
ctbn60
Apr. 14th, 2010 05:37 pm (UTC)
You know I could always offer to give him a nice back rub! *grin*
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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