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The Return of Lex Luthor 48/?

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-Eight

Clark began removing the tyres, just as Lois approached them.

“We just want to talk, Corelli.”

“About what, exactly?”

“About what you know of a certain project in Gotham. For one.”

Corelli’s eyes grew wide and fearful, but he shook his head.

“I ... don’t know what you’re talking about.” He started to step out of the last tyre, but Clark stopped him with a hand on his arm.

“Corelli, we know that you know something about the project. We also know that there’s a contract out on you.”

Corelli snorted, but it was already too late for a denial and he knew it.

“I can’t help you,” he said. “Look, they’re already breathing down my neck. If I talk to you I’m a dead man.”

Lois joined in as Clark increased his grip on the man’s arm.

“You’re a dead man if you don’t talk to us,” she said. “We know that there’s a threat against Superman and we don’t take kindly to that.”

Clark glanced at her and shook his head slightly, then turned back to the man.

“Listen, Corelli, we can help you. Get you protection.”

“You don’t get it,” the man said. “You don’t walk away from the Family. Ever.”

Clark looked at Lois and sighed. Lois decided it was time to take matters into her own hands. She leaned her hand against the wall, effectively boxing Corelli in.

“See, I don’t think you’re understanding us, Corelli. Superman happens to be a close, personal friend of mine, and I really don’t like threats against close, personal friends of mine. Capisce?”

“I got no beef with you, lady. But Superman – he’s a menace. He makes life difficult for honest, hard-working guys like myself.”

Lois snorted. “That’ll be the day.”

Clark smiled. “You know, maybe we should call Superman. Do you think you can hold onto this guy while I go see if I can locate him?”

“Don’t worry, Smallville. Mister Corelli and I will get along just fine.”

“It’s not you I worry about Lois.” He looked meaningfully at Corelli. “You really don’t want to make her mad. She’s got a mean right hook.”

Corelli winced. As Clark started to run back toward the car he called out plaintively.

“Wait. Don’t leave me here with her. Kent?”

Lois grinned as Clark was back within moments. As Superman.

“Mister Corelli.”

“Hey, where did the other guy go?”

“Do not concern yourself with Clark Kent. I believe he is calling in the story.”

Corelli looked nervous. “Wait, no, he can’t. If the administration find out where I am ...”

“The administration?” Lois asked.

“Yeah, you know. The bosses. The head honchos.”

“Oh, that administration.” She shrugged as she looked at Superman.

“Corelli, I can help you. But you need to help me. I need everything you have on the weapon they’re developing in Gotham.”

Corelli heaved a sigh, lifting his shoulders in a gesture of defeat.

“Okay, okay, but we gotta go somewhere else. Somewhere that’s not so ... exposed.”

“Fine,” Superman said. “How does the 15th precinct grab you?”

“Cops? No, wait.” Corelli’s protests were quickly drowned out by Superman lifting him into the air.

“Clark and I will meet you there,” Lois told him before he flew off, for the benefit of anyone else watching.

He nodded. “Be careful, Miss Lane. This neighbourhood can be dangerous.”

Lois grinned as he flew away. She knew he’d be flying at less than his normal speed, but high enough to put the fear of god into Corelli. She ran to the car.

Ten minutes later, she parked outside the police precinct and hurried inside, ignoring the cat calls and whistles. Going up to the front desk, she flashed her press pass.

“Lois Lane. I’m meeting Superman here.” The desk sergeant frowned.

“Afraid I can’t let you through. No press allowed.”

“This one you can.” J’onn J’onzz smiled at her as he opened the security door for her. He spoke quietly. “Clark is in the interview room with Corelli. You can watch from outside.”

“Thanks,” she said, walking with him to the observation area. He left her there and entered the interview room.

“Mister Corelli. We’ve been trying to locate you for some time. Thanks to Superman here ...”

“Superman promised I’d get protection. I ain’t talkin’ unless I get a guarantee ...”

“You know as well as I do that there are no guarantees. However, we will do our best to ensure you are protected. Now, I believe you were discussing a little matter in Gotham.”

“Look, I don’t know too much about it. All I know is, they need some kind of diamond and a lot of the meteor rock. They said it can kill Superman but that ain’t what it’s for.”

“What is it for, then? If not to kill me.”

“We were just told they wanted to get you out of the way. Incapacitate you. That’s all I know about that. I swear.”

“So what is it for?”

Corelli just shrugged. It was clear he wasn’t going to give that information up.

“Where are they now?”

“Dunno. That guy, Cobblepot – he keeps moving the guys around so Batman can’t find ‘em. I guess he likes to keep Batman chasing his tail.”

Lois, still watching, saw Superman hide a snicker at that. But he recovered quickly.

“Corelli, there is something else. There are rumours that there is someone else in charge. Someone more powerful than the Family.”

“You mean the Boss? Yeah, but we don’t know who he is. I’ve never met him face to face. He always communicates by phone or by email. If we have a problem we’re supposed to send a message by text.”

“Write down the number,” J’onzz said.

Clark and Lois headed back to the office. Lois looked thoughtful.

“We should tell Bruce.”

“Tell him what? That he’s being sent on wild goose chases?”

“What about that ambush the other night?” Lois pointed out.

“From what Bruce told me about the Penguin, he’ll do anything to get rid of Batman.”

“I guess.” She sighed. “Do you think that phone number will lead to Lex?”

“I doubt it,” Clark said. “Lex is too smart for that. It’ll probably be a relay.”

Clark’s theory was confirmed an hour later by J’onzz. The phone number led to the owner of a local bar, who knew nothing about any messages. Obviously Lex had found a way to divert those messages, making them virtually untraceable.

***

Batman, meanwhile, was waiting. Gordon had let it slip to some of his senior officers that Batman was patrolling a certain area of the Narrows, searching for the Penguin’s men. Julia had compiled a list of all the Penguin’s known hideouts and together they’d eliminated the ones he’d already checked out. Tonight, or so the commissioner had told his officers, Batman was watching one particular area.

Gordon himself was watching his own men. Thanks to Julia’s research into the financial records of the men, they’d narrowed the mole down to two people. One was a career officer. No family to speak of, and seemingly dedicated to his work. But he was deep in debt, close to bankruptcy, thus giving him motive. The second was a gambler – spending much of his off-duty time at the local casinos.

Batman had provided the commissioner with a wireless communicator. One with a frequency that could not be traced. Gordon was tracking each man with the aid of the GPS systems in their phones. Batman had also provided him with micro-transmitters which he’d planted on each man’s clothing.

Shortly before midnight, Gordon called on the communicator.

“It’s Donaldson. I just overheard him talking to one of the Penguin’s known associates.”

“Good. Where are they?”

Gordon named a location about two kilometres north of Batman’s current location. Batman moved quickly, using the skills he’d learned to leap from rooftop to rooftop until he was above the two men, looking down.

He waited until the two men separated, then swooped down, grabbing Donaldson. He pulled him into the darkened alley and shoved him against the wall.

“Where is the Penguin,” he said in his raspy voice.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Donaldson said. “And you just assaulted an officer of the law. So you better let me go before I arrest your ass.”

“I know you’re working for him,” Batman growled. “Now tell me where I can find him.”

“Go to hell, you freak!”

“Where?” he said, shoving the man even harder, hearing a crack as his head hit the brick wall.

“Batman!”

Batman turned and looked at Commissioner Gordon. “He’s all yours,” he said, pushing the man in the commissioner’s direction.

“Wait,” Donaldson said. “This is all a big mistake. I’m not ... It’s a sting operation. I’m undercover.” But he was clearly bluffing out of desperation.

“Unsanctioned by me,” Gordon growled. “And I don’t think you answered the man’s question.”

All the fight seemed to have gone out of the officer.

“You won’t find him. The Penguin finds you. That’s how he operates. He’s leading you on a song and dance so you won’t find the prototype. Getting his people to give you false information. That’s when he hits you. If it wasn’t for Superman the other night, you’d be dead. He’s studied you. He knows your weak spots.”

That was why he’d been shot in the leg. It was supposed to stop him in his tracks. Prevent him from getting away.

“Why not hit Superman as well?”

“Because he’s not ours. Not the Penguin’s I mean.”

“Whose is he, then?” Batman rasped.

“I’m sorry. You’re out of time.” Penguin laughed in that weird way of his. Batman turned and faced his nemesis. He was carrying what appeared to be an umbrella, and was flanked by four men.

Batman backed off, telling Gordon to get clear. He’d been spoiling for a fight, and now he was going to get one. But the commissioner refused. He pulled out his own gun.

“This isn’t the time for stupidity, commissioner,” Batman hissed.

“No, it’s not.” He looked at Batman and cocked an eyebrow. “Once more unto the breach, old man?”

Batman groaned inwardly. Trust Jim Gordon to skew an old Shakespeare quote. But they’d been through this before, with the battle to stop Ra’s al Ghul, and the Joker. And if there was anyone he would trust, it was Gordon.

Penguin laughed, although it sounded more like a quack than a laugh. The four men flanking him cocked their weapons. Donaldson, coward that he was, tried to make a run for it. So much for being a career man, Batman thought cynically. But the man’s attempt to escape gave him the distraction he needed. Pulling out a batarang, he let fly. It hit one of the men in the hand, causing him to drop his weapon. He cried out, holding his bleeding hand.

Batman pulled Gordon into the darkness of the alley as the first volley of shots rang out. He saw Donaldson drop and knew the man was dead before he touched the ground. Batman signalled to Gordon to find a doorway and get inside the building. Together, they entered the warehouse and circled around.

Silently, Batman indicated to Gordon to find a place to get shelter. The men were entering the building. Batman found stairs to the mezzanine level and climbed quickly, watching from above. Gordon had found some pallets to hide behind and he waited, gun ready.

As the men began looking around, reaching the area just below where he waited, Batman jumped, using all his martial arts techniques. Gordon entered the fight, grabbing one of the men’s guns and wrenching it out of his hands, cold-cocking him with the butt.

“Where’s the Penguin?” Batman asked. His momentary distraction was enough for one of the men to hit him on the side of the head. Shaking his head to clear it, he turned and knocked the man to the ground, then ran out. Penguin was laughing gleefully as he rose into the sky, using the umbrella. He’d somehow motorised it, turning it into something almost akin to a miniature helicopter.

“Son of a bitch,” Gordon swore behind him.

“You take care of the others. I’ll contact you tomorrow. We can’t do anymore tonight.”

Gordon looked at him.

“You’re hurt.”

“It’s nothing. A scratch.”

Gordon nodded. “Thanks Batman. Thanks to you, this city is a much safer place.”

“Not yet, Commissioner. But it’s getting there.”

Bruce was pressing a cloth to the cut on his head, hoping to get to his room and treat the cut himself before Julia saw him. No such luck. He groaned as she came out.

She sighed. “Not again.” Alfred, following behind, also sighed.

“Master Bruce. How many is that this year?”

The cowl had broken in the fight.

“Lucky we ordered several thousand then, isn’t it?” Bruce remarked. He tried to shake Julia off as she reached up to touch the cut. “It’s fine. It’s just a scratch.”

“Well it needs tending. Alfred, the kit?”

“Yes, Miss Julia.” Alfred sent Bruce a look which told him he’d better let her tend to it or else.

Julia sat down on his bed, taking the cloth Alfred handed her and dunked it in the bowl of warm water and antiseptic. Bruce tried to pull away.

“Why do you have to be so goddamn prickly?” she complained.

“Why do you have to have such a sixth sense about my injuries? Especially when they’re not that serious.”

“Just lucky I guess. Now hold still. This might sting a little.” He hissed as the warm liquid seeped into the cut and stung.

Julia quickly finished up, putting a small gauze pad over the cut.

“There. That’s not so bad. It beats a bullet wound.” She stepped back and looked at him. “Did you find the guy?”

Bruce nodded. “Donaldson.”

“I knew it,” she said. “What happened?”

“He’s dead. Penguin’s men killed him.”

She winced. “Ouch.”

“But Gordon has arrested four of the Penguin’s men.”

“Well, that’s good. Oh, Clark called. They tracked down Corelli. Still no confirmation on the Lex front. The only contact is a phone number and it leads to a false relay. They couldn’t track it.”

“Figures.”

“Yeah. The question is, why would Lex get involved with organised crime? He usually works alone.”

“Didn’t he work with one of the Kandorians?”

“Zod. Yes. I don’t know. I guess I’ll have to rethink that.”

She picked up the bowl and the first aid kit and started to leave so he could get some sleep. Bruce caught her wrist.

“Thanks,” he said gruffly.

She paused, looking into his eyes, reading the unspoken message there. She didn’t have to be an empath to know what he was feeling.

“Bruce ...”

“Julia, I ...”

“I know,” she sighed. “But I can’t just turn off my feelings for Lex.”

He frowned. “Lex?”

“I still love him, Bruce. And I know – he’s not capable of the same emotion. And he’s hurt me badly. Yes, there’s something happening between us, but I’m not ready for this. You know, just because I’m not crying myself to sleep every night, it doesn’t mean I don’t hurt. Besides, I’d be mad to fall for someone who chooses to be alone.”

“I’m not ...” He had no idea what he was going to say, but it didn’t seem like it mattered to her.

She shook her head. “I understand, Bruce. It’s hard for you to open your heart to anyone. Especially after losing your parents. And Rachel.” She leaned forward and kissed him on the cheek. “Good night, Bruce. I’ll see you in the morning.”




Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
eternal_moonie
Jun. 9th, 2010 10:47 am (UTC)
Absolutely AWESOME!!
phoenixnz
Jun. 9th, 2010 05:55 pm (UTC)
Thanks hon, glad you liked the mix of action.
ctbn60
Jun. 9th, 2010 02:54 pm (UTC)
NICE CHAPTER HONEY!

I really enjoyed this one. I loved the action and adventure with Lois and Clark. The comish and batman fighting together!

I was rather surprised at the turn of events with Julia and her revelations about her feeling for Lex. Well i can understand but she has to get over him even if she does not go for Bruce.
phoenixnz
Jun. 9th, 2010 05:57 pm (UTC)
I do like mixing up the action sometimes.

As for Julia, well, it hasn't even been two weeks since she left Lex so of course she'll still have feelings for him, but her attraction to Bruce is confusing the issue.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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