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The Return of Lex Luthor 44/?

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 Forty-Four

Lex was furious. He had enough problems on his plate without this adding to it.

“What the hell were they doing there in the first place?”

“Obviously Batman was told about the prototype. Relax boss, I took care of it.”

Lex hissed angrily at the man called the Penguin, but there wasn’t much he could do about it.

“How long before you can get the prototype completed.”

“We still need the diamond.”

“The one in the museum is a fake.”

Lex was still smarting over that entire episode. Reubens had been forced to reveal what he had done, or tried to do to Superman. He had been planning on using the prototype himself and cutting his bosses out of the deal. Lex’s plan had been to use it on Superman. The caped freak was the only thing standing between him and ultimate power.

He made it clear to the Penguin that he wanted the problem dealt with, with finality. Penguin just chuckled and told him that it was not an issue. One of his guys had pretended to be an informant with the police department. Not only that, but he had a couple of cops on his payroll. Since the police commissioner had such a close working relationship with Batman and having those cops in his pocket, so to speak, made it easier for him to keep abreast of Batman’s activities.

Lex ended the call. He was no further into defeating Superman than he had been six months ago. He knew his pretence at friendship with Clark was in jeopardy. And with Julia – the pawn in what he saw as his eternal chess game with Clark, had gone his only chance to find out all of his old friend’s secrets. But as he poured himself a scotch and settled with the Art of War in his hands, he wondered if there might still be some way to salvage this. If he could maybe manipulate things to make himself look like the injured party in this.

It could work. He’d manipulated Clark before. He could do it again.

***

Julia was going through her wardrobe when Clark knocked on the door.

“Hey,” he said. “Lois and I have to leave soon. Get back to Metropolis.”

She nodded and continued folding her clothes. “I’ll be down in a minute.”

Clark hesitated.

“Is everything okay?” he asked. “I, uh, heard you and Bruce arguing when we came back.”

“Now, Clark, you wouldn’t be using your super-hearing to eavesdrop or anything would you?”

“Who me?” he said, grinning.

“Everything’s fine between Bruce and I. Truth is, I appreciate his honesty.”

“Still, what he said, it sounded a little harsh to me.”

“And maybe I needed to hear it. Clark, I’m not as fragile as you think I am, okay? Yes, what he said hurt, but I think he only said it because he cares.”

Clark looked dubious. Julia smiled as if to reassure him.

“I’ll be downstairs in a minute, okay? I couldn’t let you guys leave without saying goodbye.”

Shortly after, she did go back downstairs where the trio were saying goodbye to Bruce and Alfred. Tess had come in from the gym where she had been doing her own workout.

“You going to be all right?” Clark was asking Tess.

She nodded. “Don’t worry about me, Clark. I trust Bruce, and for once I’m going to do the right thing. Which means doing what I’m told.”

“Hmm, that has to be a miracle in itself,” Lois quipped and Tess shot her a withering look. Lois just grinned unrepentantly. It was obvious they were never going to be friends, but it looked like they had come to a mutual understanding, Julia observed. Sort of like ‘stay out of my way and I’ll stay out of yours’ she thought with a grin.

Lois saw her grin and smiled.

“So it’s back to the salt mines for us,” she said, giving her friend a hug.

“Guess so.”

“What are you going to do?”

“I have a meeting with Bruce’s attorney tomorrow. To discuss divorce proceedings.”

“Ooh, ouch!” Clark winced.

“I’d be careful,” Bruce warned. “I would say Lex will be trying every trick in the book to get her back. Including trying to talk you into persuading her to go back.”

“I won’t let him,” Clark promised. He hugged Julia. “Take care of yourself. And call us if you need anything. And I mean anything.”

“Darn tootin’,” Lois agreed.

Julia finally turned to Oliver. “Thank you,” she said. “It meant a lot that you came.”

“What are friends for?” he smiled.

She watched them go, feeling Tess’ arm go around her shoulders. She turned and looked at the redhead, realising just how much they had in common. They’d both been used by Lex, and hurt by him.

“It’ll be okay,” Tess said.

“Yeah.” They walked through the house into the study. Bruce followed, limping behind them. Julia shot him a look. “Get off that leg, Bruce.”

“Yeah, yeah,” he grumbled, then glanced at Alfred who was pretending he hadn’t heard a thing. “Nag,” he muttered. But he did as he was told, resting his leg on the ottoman Alfred provided.

The three of them spent the rest of the day talking quietly, studiously avoiding the subject of Lex, or Batman or anything to do with the events of the past few days. Or any kind of personal matters at all.

Next day, Julia persuaded Alfred to let her drive one of the less conspicuous vehicles into town. The bruise on her back was almost gone and she felt strong enough to be out on her own. She knew Bruce would object, but she made sure Alfred kept the information to himself. It was a risk she was prepared to take, she decided. She couldn’t hide away in the manor forever.

Her first port of call was the attorney’s office. She was ushered in quickly, realising just how much influence Bruce’s name gave her. She quickly told the attorney what she wanted. He’d already anticipated everything, telling her that he had contacted Lex’s lawyers in Metropolis and obtained a copy of the pre-nuptial agreement she’d signed when she and Lex had married.

“I’d forgotten about that,” she admitted. “I mean, I signed it without even bothering to look at it. I didn’t really care about his money, and, well, I guess I thought the marriage was real.”

“Well, the contract is legitimate and I’m afraid it doesn’t give you a lot of options. There are clauses which categorically state that Lex will not pay any kind of settlement. Should you earn any money during the marriage, it’s yours to do with as you wish. But I understand you did not work.”

“Lex apparently had some offshore funds which took care of everything while I was nursing him and we didn’t have a lot of living expenses. He owned the little flat we had in London and I wasn’t really into the home comforts so we lived fairly cheaply there. As for Cyprus, well, I guess it was the same sort of deal there too. I didn’t really pay too much attention to the financial side of things. I realise now that was a mistake.”

But she had managed to save some money. Lex had given her an allowance for household expenses once they’d started living together as a real couple. Having grown up in a family where money was always tight, she had learned to shop on a budget and hadn’t been able to get out of the habit of buying specials. Part of the allowance had also been for clothing and again, she’d gone out of her way to save money by buying clothes that – while still fairly good quality – were less exclusive designs. At least half of the money Lex had given her was sitting in her account. It had totalled close to one hundred thousand dollars.

The attorney nodded when she gave him that information, promising he would check for any issues with that and make sure there were no problems with her keeping those funds.

“Do you think he’ll fight if I file?”

“That depends on Lex. You know him better than I do.”

“It’s possible,” she decided. “He’s already tried to get me back.”

The attorney nodded, closing the file. “I will do whatever I can, Julia. The pre-nup, of course, complicates matters, but you were with him for three years and that should count for something in court. Unless there’s something else you can tell me. I just wonder, though. Bruce didn’t say very much. Why are you divorcing him?”

“Do I really have to say?” she asked.

“If this goes to court, then it might help your case.”

Julia didn’t really want anything from Lex. But she had to survive somehow. She had no job, and very little experience, other than the work she’d been doing in Nepal for the mission. She had no doubt that Bruce would help her out financially, but she didn’t want to be that kind of burden on him. She was already asking too much of him.

“Let’s just say that I found out a few things about Lex that I couldn’t live with. And leave it at that?”

He nodded. “Of course. But be prepared to testify in court.”

“If it comes to that,” she answered.

She had one other stop to make. As Julia left the attorney’s office, she headed downtown toward the police department.

***

Jim Gordon was trying to decipher some of the chicken scratch in an old file when a note was brought in.

‘I respectfully request a meeting with you to discuss a matter concerning a mutual friend. I will wait at the top of Gotham Tower at eleven am today for five minutes. A friend.’

“Who left this?” he asked of the officer who brought it in.

“Dunno sir. A woman, that’s all I know. She was wearing a hood and dark glasses.”

The commissioner frowned. The tone of the letter was polite, formal and couldn’t have been written by any of the local criminal element. Curiosity got the better of him and he glanced at the clock on the wall. It was ten to eleven. Gotham Tower was two blocks away. He would just make it.

He left the office without telling his staff where he was going, then walked quickly to the tower, taking the elevator to the top.

She was waiting, looking out over the cityscape. Gordon coughed politely and she turned and smiled.

“You have good timing,” she said.

“Do you have a name?” he asked. “Or perhaps you could remove the glasses and the hood so I can at least see your face?”

“Do you ask Batman for his true identity?” she asked. “Or do you trust his word?”

“Batman has never given me any reason to distrust him. But no, I have never asked him to remove his mask.”

“Then I would expect the same courtesy, Commissioner.”

“Very well,” he answered. “But perhaps a name.”

“Just a friend of Batman’s,” she smiled. “I understand you met Superman the other night.”

“Yes.” He remained cautious, waiting for the punchline.

“He and Batman were pursuing a lead. A weapon with great destructive power. But they were ambushed.” Now they were getting to the crux of the matter.

“Are you suggesting someone in my department betrayed them?”

“I would hate to put words in your mouth, Commissioner. Batman assures me that you, personally, would never do such a thing. The same could not be said of your men. From what I understand, you have had your work cut out for you, weeding out corruption among your staff. That kind of commitment is something to be admired.”

Gordon listened to her words. She was being guarded in what she said, careful not to accuse. She spoke in what seemed to be cultured tones, with a slight accent, but he couldn’t place it. She was clearly not from Gotham.

“I agree, it is a difficult process,” he answered. “What happened the other night?”

“Someone told the Penguin they were coming,” she stated flatly. “His men were prepared for them. Commissioner, I don’t think I need remind you what kind of chaos could ensue if the prototype of this weapon is completed.”

“What do you want from me?”

“Your help. If one of your men is working for the Penguin, then he may be our only chance of stopping him.”

Gordon nodded. “I’ll see what I can do,” he said.

Julia watched him leave. She’d borrowed from Oliver’s idea of using a hood and dark glasses to hide her identity. She wasn’t able to do anything about her voice, or her accent, but she’d spoken in carefully measured tones, hoping to keep the Commissioner from learning who she was.

She had been thinking about this all night. Unable to sleep, she had come up with the plan to warn the man. Ever since she’d learned about her burgeoning meteor ability, she had been able to think of nothing else. She needed to help – she wanted to help.

But when she returned to the manor, Bruce was waiting for her.

“What the hell did you think you were doing?” he snapped.

“I don’t know what you mean,” she said quickly.

Bruce growled. “First, you go out, on your own, to meet with my attorney, when I told you I would go with you. And second, you arrange a meeting with Commissioner Gordon. Without my consent.”

“Look, Bruce, we both know that at least one cop has to be working with the Penguin. And I had to test him.”

“Test who?”

“Gordon. I had to know if what you said about him was true.”

I trust him. Isn’t that enough?”

“Not when it could get you killed.”

“That’s a risk I’m prepared to take. What I’m not prepared to risk is your neck.”

“It’s my neck, Bruce. And I told you, I want to help.”

Bruce grabbed her arm and pulled her into the library, where he played several keys on the piano. Julia didn’t struggle as he pushed her down the secret corridor that opened up in the bookcase, then stared as the cage made its way down into the cave.

Julia shivered as they descended into darkness.

 “What is this place?”

“My sanctuary,” Bruce said shortly. He turned, snapping on the lights.

She looked at him in wonder.She heard water running and realised there was a waterfall of some sort. Some squeaking noises attracted her attention and she looked around for the source.

“What’s that noise?”

He lifted her hand and pointed in the direction of the ceiling of the cave. Julia followed his gaze and shuddered.

“Bats?”

“They won’t hurt you,” he said. “They’re more afraid of you than you are of them.”

“Tell that to them.” She looked him over. “Is that why you chose Batman? Because people instinctively fear bats?”

He nodded. “When I was a child I fell down a well in the grounds. I was surrounded by them. The night my parents were murdered, my father took us to the theatre. One of the dancers was dressed as a bat. I became frightened and asked if we could go. Naturally, my father wanted to please me, so he and my mother left. As we came out the back door of the theatre, we were approached by a man with a gun. There was a scuffle and my father was shot, then my mother. And all I could do was stand by and watch in horror.”

“Bruce, I’m sorry.”

“I blamed myself for a long time.”

“You were a little boy,” she told him. “You would have been killed too.”

“I lost myself for a very long time,” he said. “I was so angry.”

“At yourself or the man who killed them?”

“Both,” he said with a small smile.

“So what happened then?”

“I met a man named Ra’s al Ghul. He taught me to fight. Not only physically, but emotionally. To fight my fears. To use my anger. But he wanted me to become a killer – a murderer. And I wouldn’t do it.”

“Why? I mean, why did he want you to do that?”

“He was part of a group called the League of Shadows.”

“I’ve heard of them. Haven’t they claimed to be around for thousands of years, destroying civilisations when they become too decadent?”

“That’s them. They wanted to destroy Gotham.”

“So you became its protector. And you used the instrument of your own fear to do it. It’s a noble ambition, Bruce. But what about a life? I mean, there’s Batman. Where does Bruce Wayne fit into all of this?”

Bruce thinned his lips at that.

“I wanted you to see, to know what I am. To know what you’re getting yourself into.”

“I do know, Bruce. And I understand.”

“Do you?” he said harshly. He turned away then, going back to the cage and ushering her inside. They returned to the library in silence.




Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
eternal_moonie
Jun. 2nd, 2010 11:15 am (UTC)
WOW!!! Great chapter!
phoenixnz
Jun. 2nd, 2010 06:36 pm (UTC)
Thanks Jan. Glad you liked it.
ctbn60
Jun. 2nd, 2010 03:24 pm (UTC)
god your lex is insane! I LOVE IT!!

I can't wait to see his acting with clark...Hurt party indeed!


Loved this chapter.
phoenixnz
Jun. 2nd, 2010 06:37 pm (UTC)
That's our Lex - poor Woobie. Don't you feel sorry for him? NOT!!
I still have a few surprises left - one of them is for Lex as well.
jlvsclrk
Jun. 5th, 2010 11:26 am (UTC)
Woot, you go, Julia!
phoenixnz
Jun. 5th, 2010 11:29 am (UTC)
She's starting to find her feet and figure out her place in all of this.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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