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The Return of Lex Luthor 36/?

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-Six

Julia stared at the woman. She had red hair which looked dull and lank – almost as if it hadn’t been washed in a while. Her eyes were huge, standing out in a face that seemed gaunt. She’d lost a lot of weight recently.

“Who are you?” she asked, her eyes now on the gun pointing right at her.

She caught movement in the corner of her eye. Hope was pulling out her own gun. The woman turned the gun on Hope.

“Don’t even think about it,” she said. “I’m not going to hurt her. I just want to talk.”

Julia frowned.

“You know, that would be a whole lot more believable if there wasn’t a gun in your hand.”

The woman’s eyes darted here and there. She hunched her shoulder.

“Tell the bodyguard to back off.”

Julia nodded. She didn’t want to do anything to upset this woman. Not if she was trigger-happy.

“Hope, please, just back off.”

The woman gestured toward a bench. “Let’s sit. I know you were hurt recently. It can’t be easy, standing around.”

It wasn’t. Even now, Julia was feeling definite twinges in her back. How did this woman know her and why was she being so considerate? But the woman was putting the gun away, casting a wary glance at Hope, who had moved to stand in a bank of trees, still watching, but appearing to be out of earshot.

“Who are you?” Julia asked as she sat with difficulty.

“My name is Tess Mercer.”

Julia gasped. Tess nodded.

“I take it from that reaction you know who I am.”

“All I knew was that you used to run the company while Lex was ... while he ... He said that he never authorised that.”

“He’s lying.”

“I ...”

“Look, I know you won’t believe me, but Lex is a monster. He’s had me locked up in a facility in Smallville for the past year, experimenting on me. And others.”

“Why? Why would he do that?”

“Because he believes he’s at war and he’s trying to build an army.”

“An army of what?”

“People with extraordinary abilities.”

“For what purpose?”

“To fight Superman.”

“No, he wouldn’t do that. He ... respects Superman. He supports him.”

“It’s all a facade. A game.”

Julia shook her head. “I don’t believe you.”

“It’s the truth. You're just going to have to trust me.”

“Why should I trust you? I don’t even know you. Except what Lex has told me.”

“Has Lex ever said anything that you’ve discovered to be a lie? Has he done something that seems a little off to you?”

Julia was silent, but Tess nodded. “You see? You can’t trust him Julia.”

“I ... Lex wouldn’t ...”

“He already has. Are you really that naive that you’ll believe his lies?”

“He loves me. He says he does.”

Tess sighed. “That’s what he told me once. And I was fool enough to believe him.”

“What?”

“Julia, a long time ago, I was his lover. It was only for a few months, but it was just before he started dating Lana. He dumped me for her. What I didn’t know was that he had me lo-jacked.”

“Lo-jacked? What’s that?”

“He had a nano-transmitter implanted in my optic nerve. It meant he could see everything I did.”

Julia frowned. “Why would he do that?”

“Because he could. There’s more. Julia, I don’t have much time. I’m afraid that your bodyguard isn’t going to just sit quietly and wait for me to leave. She’s probably called Lex’s men already. But I’ve hidden some documents. Some proof of what I’ve been telling you. They’re in a safety deposit box. And the key is hidden in a book at the mansion in Smallville.”

Julia nodded understandingly. She didn’t mention finding the book at the mansion with the note Tess had left.

“What will you do now Tess?”

“If I can keep away from Lex’s goons and stay alive, I’ll disappear.”

Julia shook her head. “No. Don’t do that. Look, at least let me help you.”

“You can’t. I’ve done what I can.”

But Julia was adamant, pulling a few bills out of her pants pocket.

“Look, there’s a couple of hundred here. It isn’t much. But it might be enough to get you some clothes and a decent meal. And maybe on a bus out of town.” She thrust the money at Lex’s former lover. “Take it. Please.”

Tess nodded slowly.

“Okay. Thanks.” She glanced behind them at Hope. “I better run. Promise me you’ll get that key and you’ll keep an open mind about what I said. And don’t believe everything Lex says. Promise!”

“I promise. Now go, before they find you.”

Julia watched the woman leave, running toward the street. She sighed, hoping Tess would be okay. She didn’t completely believe Tess, but she saw the desperation in the other woman’s eyes. She believed that Tess believed what she was saying.

Hope returned to her side.

“I hope you know what you’re doing,” she said.

“You didn’t call Lex, did you?”

Hope averted her eyes and Julia knew she had. “Hope,” she sighed.

“I didn’t have a choice. You know that. But she’s still got a head start.”

“I just wish you hadn’t. I mean, I’m not saying I believe her, but she seems deeply troubled.”

“But she’s right about one thing. Don’t believe everything Lex says.”

“I don’t.”

Hope snorted. “Yeah. Right.”

Julia looked at the woman who had hired on as her bodyguard but had quickly become her friend. It was clear where the woman’s loyalty lay, and it wasn’t with the man who signed her paycheck. Hope had become very protective of her. And she knew she wasn’t being naive in trusting the willowy blonde, whose slender form hid strength and power, as well as a sharp mind.

Hope wasn’t afraid to voice her own opinion. Around Julia at least. With Lex, she wisely kept her opinions to herself.

“You really think she believes everything she said?”

Hope nodded. “C’mon. You need to get back inside before Lex calls out the cavalry.”

“Yes ma’am.”

Julia let Hope pull her up off the bench and they walked slowly back to the apartment building.

***

It almost seemed like old times as Clark watched Vicki hook into city surveillance. She was using facial recognition software to see if they could pick up Tess. But either Tess knew where every surveillance camera was or she had got better at avoiding detection.

They had decided to meet in Watchtower that day to see if they could locate the former Luthorcorp CEO. Vicki had immediately powered up the systems and hooked into the city network. They had been searching for over an hour. Lois had called in to the Planet, telling Perry she and Clark were chasing a hot lead. Perry had ranted and raved for a while, but she knew it was mostly bluster.

“Clark, why don’t you fly over the city? Take the com,” Oliver suggested. “We can contact you on that if we find anything.”

Clark nodded. “Good idea.” He took off his glasses and handed them with a grin to Lois, who grinned back and pulled his shirt open, giving him a quick kiss as his uniform was revealed.

“Good luck,” she said. She didn’t need to say anything else. It was all there in her eyes.

He took off, flying above the city, tuning in with his super-hearing.

Bruce, meanwhile, was on the phone. “Great. Thanks. Good work.”

He looked up at the others. “Memorial Park,” he told Vicki. “She’s there now.”

Vicki immediately began calling up the surveillance from Memorial Park, searching the area. It took a few minutes for her to spot Tess, who was sitting on a bench, talking to Julia.

Oliver looked at Bruce.

“Your Luthorcorp spy?” he said.

“One of them,” Bruce answered.

Oliver alerted Clark on the comm link.

“She’s with Julia.” Watching the screen, they all saw Tess get up and run toward the edge of the park and disappear into the shadows. “She’s headed east. Go Clark.”

***

Clark scanned the buildings, flying at speed in the direction he knew Tess was heading. He saw a van speed away from the park and turn in the same direction. Lex. Or one of his goons. It had to be.

Clark continued to scan the area, careful to fly just high enough so he wouldn’t be detected by the driver of the van. It took him mere seconds to locate her. Just as he adjusted his angle, ready to swoop down and pick her up, he heard the sound of a gun being cocked. Putting on a burst of speed, he flew down, grabbing Tess by the waist and sweeping her up.

Tess protested loudly all the way back to Watchtower, until Clark deposited her on the sofa.

“Have you completely lost your mind, Tess?” he said, standing over her.

“I wouldn’t be surprised, given the circumstances.” She sighed. “But no. I’m surprisingly sane.”

“What happened? We thought you were dead.”

“Honestly? I have no idea. I thought I was a goner too. But then I woke up locked up in that place in Smallville.”

“Level Three.”

Tess noticed the others standing in the Watchtower for the first time. She stared at the dark blonde woman, narrowing her eyes.

“Who are you?”

“Her name is Vicki Vale,” Bruce said shortly.

Tess stared at him. “Bruce Wayne? I don’t think we’ve had the pleasure.”

“That’s hardly a shock, since I made it a point not to do business with Luthorcorp.”

“Until Lex came back,” Lois pointed out.

“Reasons for which I made very clear, Lois,” he told her. Lois just glared mutely at him.

Tess looked at her. “I take it your presence here means you know everything.”

Lois just nodded.

“What were you telling Julia Luthor,” Clark said.

“Why? What is it to you?”

“She’s our friend. And we’re trying to protect her from Lex.”

“What I told her is between her and I. Someone had to tell her the truth.”

“It was never going to be you, Ms Mercer,” Bruce told her. “Your presence certainly put the cat among the pigeons. Now what did you tell her?”

“She didn’t believe me anyway. So what’s the point?”

“The point is, you may have put her in more danger than she was before. Julia was almost killed last week,” Lois told her.

“That isn’t my fault,” Tess said. “I had nothing to do with it.”

“We know that,” Clark said, trying to soothe her, but she just glared at him. “Tess, we’re trying to help you too. Lex’s people weren’t far behind you.”

“I knew that,” she said tiredly.

Bruce looked at her. “Tess, what do you think it is about you that Lex was interested in?”

“I have no idea. I just remember being strapped down and everything being tested – from blood to DNA.”

“Would you willingly submit to more tests?”

“Great,” Tess sighed. “More tests.”

Clark looked at her. Maybe they had never been friends, but she had been killed by Zod, trying to do the right thing. She had learned, in the end, what it took to really be a hero, and he couldn’t help but admire her for that. It didn’t matter how she was still alive. The fact that she was, was enough for him.

“We don’t have to do this,” he told Bruce. “She’s been through enough.”

“But if we know what is so special about Tess, then maybe we can figure out what Lex wanted with her.”

“I hate to say this, Smallville, but Bruce has a point. I mean, why would Lex go to all that trouble?”

Clark almost smirked. Lois actually agreeing with something Bruce had said was a miracle in itself.

“Tess,” he said, turning back to her. “You don’t have to do this.”

“But he’s right, isn’t he?” she said sadly. “Hell, I don’t even know why Lex was so interested. Fine,” she continued, turning to Bruce.

“Good. You’ll return to Gotham with me. You’ll be safe there.”

“What about Julia?” she asked.

“That depends on what you told her and whether she believes you. But you needn’t worry. I have someone keeping a very close eye on the situation. She’s in safe hands.”




Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
eternal_moonie
May. 20th, 2010 10:47 am (UTC)
great new chapter!!
phoenixnz
May. 20th, 2010 01:50 pm (UTC)
Glad you like hon
ctbn60
May. 20th, 2010 05:30 pm (UTC)
Nice chapter honey. I can't wait to see how Lex handles this news. So B has an insider in H possibly? That would be awesome!!

Can't wait for the next post.
phoenixnz
May. 20th, 2010 05:50 pm (UTC)
I'm confirming nothing at this point in regards to the spy. But espect fireworks when Lex hears the news.
jlvsclrk
May. 22nd, 2010 09:47 am (UTC)
Interesting - I'm glad that Clark was able to save Tess and is worthy of his admiration for trying to help with Zod. Can't wait to see what's up!
phoenixnz
May. 22nd, 2010 10:12 am (UTC)
Tess has certainly earned her stripes. I have to admit, I didn't like her at first in Season 8. But she really turned things around in the last few episodes, which is why I gave her a second chance here.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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