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The Return of Lex Luthor 35/?

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 Thirty-Five

Clark shook his head. “That’s impossible,” he told Vicki. “Tess Mercer’s dead. Zod killed her.”

“Don’t forget – this is Kansas. Where the buffalo definitely don’t roam, but the home on the range is populated by meteor freaks. Someone had the ability to revive her. And heal her, from the sound of it.”

That made sense, Clark thought.

“You mean like the healing power you had, Chloe?”

The dark blonde made an odd sort of grimace as she looked at Lois.

“That’s not my name anymore,” she told her.

“You’re still Chloe to me,” Lois insisted, sounding as if she was fighting back tears.

“Chloe Sullivan is dead,” Bruce said. “And she has to stay dead if she wants to survive.”

Clark and Lois both looked at Bruce, raising their eyebrows.

“Lex put a contract out on her,” he explained simply.

“What?” Three voices chorused in shock.

Vicki sighed.

“Look, I know you’ll probably hate me for doing what I did, but I didn’t have a choice. It was either that or be six feet under.”

“Why would Lex want you dead?”

“Because, Clark, I found out that Lex was the money behind Zod’s schemes. And he helped build RAO Corporation.”

“Why would Lex work with Zod? Especially after Brainiac used him as a vessel for the phantom.”

“Why does Lex do anything?” Vicki responded.

“Power,” Lois answered.

Vicki looked at her. “What do you know?”

Lois made a sign like an ‘S’ on her chest. “Everything,” she told her cousin. “Now what’s this about Lex and Zod working together?”

“Well, it occurred to me that Zod, being a clone, would have had to get the funds from somewhere, not only to search for his fellow soldiers, but also to build the corporation. Remember, Tess didn’t come on board until much later. So when Clark started working with the Kandorians to help them fit in here on Earth, I found a few of them who weren’t as loyal to Zod as the others, and they were prepared to risk their lives to help. They told me that Zod offered his own knowledge of Kryptonian healing to restore Lex to full health. In return, Lex was supposed to help him rise to power.”

“But of course, Lex would have his own agenda,” Clark nodded.

“Then Zod found out about our little alliance and everything went kablooey. Literally.”

Clark looked at Bruce. “How did you fit into all this?”

“Well, like Lois, Chloe, I mean, Vicki, is very astute. She discovered my alter ego and approached me to help in the war. I refused. Frankly, I have enough problems with organised crime in Gotham without adding to them. But then I discovered Lex’s involvement in a scheme with the Penguin and called Vicki, who informed me of what she had learned. She sent one of the Kandorians to me and they agreed to spy for us.”

“Still not happy,” Lois said.

Bruce sighed. “When I learned about the contract, I warned Vicki, told her to go underground. But she refused. The night she confronted Zod and tried to get two of the Kandorians out, I was following her. I saw Zod turn on her and one of the Kandorians moved to shield her. She barely got out with her life.”

“I saw that inferno. No one could have survived that.”

“Except I have made several modifications to the bat suit and I was able to get through the fire to Vicki, and pulled her out, but not before she received second-degree burns. She spent over a month recovering from cosmetic surgery which drastically changed her appearance, as you can see.”

“Bruce decided that I needed a whole new identity and we came up with Vicki Vale.”

“Did you stop to think about what it would do to us?” Lois asked, still accusing, but more gentle.

Vicki looked at her with sorrow. “Lois, of course I did. It hurt every day when I thought about what you both were going through. I never wanted to hurt you like that, and I hoped we could have avoided this. I wanted to tell you I was still alive, but Bruce told me it would be safer for you if you all thought I was dead. Like Lex. Speaking of whom, I ran into him last week at the hospital when we went to see Julia. Lex didn’t even recognise me.” She frowned. “So how did you?”

Clark smiled. “You’ve always been my best friend. How could I not recognise you?”

Vicki looked at Bruce. “I told you,” she said, her lips twitching in a little smile.

Bruce shook his head. “Now that that’s out of the way, we have another problem to address. Tess Mercer.”

“Yeah, what happened? We know her body disappeared from the morgue, but ...”

“From what I can gather from my spy in Luthorcorp, the Smallville plant hasn’t operated as a fertiliser plant for the last two years. Its core business is in the study of meta-humans.”

Clark looked at Oliver. “33.1.” Oliver nodded.

Bruce went on as if Clark hadn’t spoken. Given what they’d just learned about the former Chloe Sullivan, it was a fairly good bet that Vicki had told him everything about Lex’s project to study meta-humans and exploit them for their abilities.

“Tess Mercer was one of Lex’s original test subjects.”

“But Tess isn’t a mutant,” Oliver said. “We’d have known.”

“We don’t know that for sure. You tell me, how does a girl who taught herself to read in a Louisiana swamp house suddenly get to enter Harvard at ... fifteen? There’s something very special about Tess Mercer, and Lex knows it. She may not have been exposed to the meteors like many of your ‘friends’ but she’s different. That’s what Lex has been trying to find out.”

“She is smarter and stronger than most women I know,” Clark admitted.

“Speak for yourself, Smallville,” Lois growled, elbowing him in the ribs. He didn’t even bother to pretend that hurt. “I did manage to kick her ass a couple of times.”

Clark chuckled. “Yes you did,” he said fondly, pulling her in for a hug.

Bruce sighed in annoyance. “That’s all very well. But we need to find her. Before she finds Julia.”

“Or before Lex finds her,” Vicki said darkly.

***

Tess Mercer trudged through the streets, conscious of the stares from people passing by. She knew how she looked. Dishevelled. Hair tied back into a mess pony tail, clothes wrinkled and unkempt. Hell, she looked like a reject from a mental hospital.

She stuck to the shadows as much as she could, trying to avoid bumping into people, muttering all the while, just so they would give her a wide berth. She hoped no one would call the police. She had already seen a couple of cops but had turned in another direction, muttering again, putting on the act of a disturbed person.

She didn’t know who to trust. But she didn’t care. She had one thought on her mind and that was to talk to Julia Luthor. She had to save her, before Julia became the same kind of person she had become. Tess needed redemption and she wasn’t going to find it with Superman or anyone else. But she did have a chance to save someone from making a big mistake.

Tess hitched her shoulder, knowing it looked like she had some kind of tic. But she was worried that she might have been lo-jacked. It wouldn’t be the first time, and it certainly wouldn’t be the last. Not if Lex got hold of her again.

Thinking of Lex had her recalling how she had managed to escape from the facility. She had been on her daily exercise routine in the makeshift gym set up for all the inmates (subjects). The guard assigned to watch her and grown bored and picked up a copy of the Daily Planet. Tess had always had extraordinary vision, and she managed to read a little of the front page story. It was an article on the kidnapping of Julia Luthor.

Tess had known then that she had to get out. But she had waited, patiently, until nightfall. Knowing the guard would look through the tiny window into her room, she had waited by the door, out of sight. She held her breath as she heard the jangle of his keys, counting silently in her head as he opened the door, then attacked.

Not expecting it, the guard had no time to get out his nightstick. Tess grabbed his sidearm and his keys and ran for it. She managed to make it as far as the guard’s station.

“On the floor! Now!” she ordered.

The guard saw her with the gun and had no doubt of her proficiency with a weapon. She held it confidently, hand steady. He immediately moved to lie face down on the floor. Tess grabbed some tape and quickly secured him so he couldn’t raise the alarm, and took off running.

That had been two days ago. Now she was on the run in Metropolis, with no idea where to go. She had managed to get onto a computer at the city library and did some quick research, ignoring the stares of other patrons as she surfed, looking for the information she needed.

Now, she was headed for Memorial Park, a small green space about a hundred metres from the apartment building where Julia and Lex lived. She paused in front of the memorial plaques for Lillian and Lionel Luthor and hmphed. It was so typical of Lex that he would even consider doing something so hypocritical.

Tess was hungry. She hadn’t eaten since she’d escaped from the facility in Smallville and hitched her way into the city. But she tried to ignore the hunger pains cramping her stomach.

She had thought about trying to get in the building, but she knew Lex would have hooked into surveillance and there was no way in hell she was going to let him know she was here. She just hoped she would get lucky.

After about two hours of walking around the park, she breathed a sigh of relief. She was in luck after all. Julia Luthor was walking slowly from the building. Tess remembered reading she had been badly bruised in the kidnapping. Knowing Lex, he would have told her to stay put, but if Julia was anything like her, Tess knew she would go stir crazy.

Pulling her hair out of the ponytail, Tess pulled the gun out of the pocket of her tunic. She knew she would look like a mad woman, but it was better this way. There was another woman walking with Julia, holding her arm.

Tess approached them, gun held at the ready.

“Hello, Mrs Luthor.”




Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
eternal_moonie
May. 18th, 2010 09:01 am (UTC)
TOTALLY LOVE IT!!!!

Tess is so totally like Tess on the show! You have her down to a T! AWESOME new chapter!!!
phoenixnz
May. 18th, 2010 09:09 am (UTC)
I'm glad you think I got Tess down pat. She's not a character I've liked very much but I didn't want her to just die. But you notice they don't actually talk about her background on the show - it just seemed an odd thing to me.
ctbn60
May. 18th, 2010 02:29 pm (UTC)
Nice chapter honey!

I adore tess as a character. I can't wait to see who is with Julia and what Tess has to say. Should be interesting. I also like how you have her being responsible for her salvation rather then clark. Nice touch.
phoenixnz
May. 18th, 2010 06:16 pm (UTC)
I felt Tess got a bad deal at the end of the season but I saw some touches there of the good person she wanted to be. Here, she feels her own redemption is in saving someone else, ie, Julia
jlvsclrk
May. 22nd, 2010 09:37 am (UTC)
Wild card Tess, still hoping for redemption!
phoenixnz
May. 22nd, 2010 10:07 am (UTC)
Yep, and I got to explore something they never really explored on the show. Which is how Tess came to be what she was. I mean, I thought it was odd that she came from such a background. She had to have something other than just ambition.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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