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The Return of Lex Luthor 72/?

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?

a/n: Banner by the lovely and extremely talented [info]ctbn60 

a/n: Lex takes another step closer to redemption.

It all started here 

Go back a step


Chapter Seventy-Two

Julia was singing again. And badly. Clark could hear it through the door of the apartment. He looked at Lois and grinned.

“Oh leave her alone,” Lois admonished him. “You know she only does it when she’s happy. And after what happened with Bruce, it’s nice that she is happy.”

Clark nodded soberly. “I know what you mean. There are times when I want to kick Bruce’s ass.”

Julia had left Gotham three weeks earlier, having broken it off with Bruce. She’d told them that it was Bruce’s issues with commitment that had split them apart.

“It’s my fault,” she’d told them with a shrug. “I knew what he was like, but I fell for him anyway.”

Clark and Lois disagreed silently with that. Lois hugged her husband’s arm.

“Don’t worry, Smallville. I’ll kick his ass for you. No one treats my friends like that.”

They knocked on the apartment door. The building was fairly modern and each resident owned the apartment they lived in. Julia had bought the place when it became clear that her relationship with Bruce wasn’t going to last. It had been fairly modestly priced. Even Clark and Lois could have afforded it, if they weren’t saving for a house of their own. But that was Julia. She didn’t care much about expensive things. And she had a way of making any place look homey.

The door opened and Julia grinned.

“Let me guess, you heard me singing a mile away,” she said. “I guess I’m lucky I didn’t shatter any windows.”

“It’s not that bad,” Clark grinned. “Just needs a little fine-tuning.” He handed her a potted plant. “House warming gift. Lois’ idea.”

“I love it,” she said, taking it from him, then backed into the living area. “So, take a look around and tell me what you think.”

The living area was decorated in warm tones – typical of Julia’s tastes, but it made it welcoming and homey. She had bought a few small pieces of art and hung them on the walls. Nothing too expensive, of course.

There were two bedrooms. One had a huge four-poster bed which looked a little out of place. Julia grimaced slightly when she saw what Clark and Lois were looking at.

“Present from Bruce. Supposedly an apology. But I’m thinking he still thinks he can come over whenever he pleases and I’ll be available. Well, he can think again,” she said at the concerned looks from her friends. “He had his chance and he blew it.”

Lois looked at Julia. Her friend was covering up well, but the truth was, she was in pain over the break up. They’d heard a watered down version, but she wanted to know what had really happened.

Julia had obviously already sensed that. She led them into the kitchen and began making coffee. Lois glanced at Clark. She’d been dying to tell someone their secret, even though they’d only known a few weeks.

“Uh, no coffee for me,” she said.

Julia looked at her curiously. Everything she was reading from Lois suggested she had some exciting news. And she was dying to blurt it out. But then Lois seemed to be thinking of something which made her hesitate.

“Hmm, a Lane turning down coffee,” Julia said. She looked curiously at Lois. The vibe she was giving off ... Clark was looking at his wife and he gave a small nod. Julia began to tick it over in her mind. “Oh my god,” she said, her eyes widening. “You’re not?”

Lois nodded, but she didn’t look that enthusiastic. Julia moved around the island and hugged her friend.

“Hey, don’t think like that.”

“Like what?”

“Like I’ll be sad because you’re pregnant and I can’t have kids. I’m happy for you guys. I know how much Clark loves kids. And you’ll be great parents. And don’t forget, you’ll have a babysitter close by.”

“Actually,” Clark said, “we were thinking more along the lines of aunt, or godmother.”

Julia looked at him and squealed. “Really?” She hugged him. “That’s so great. Godmother! Wow!”

She went back to making the coffee and leaned on the counter. “So tell me. When did you find out?”

Lois had been feeling under the weather for a few days. She’d just celebrated her twenty-sixth birthday and wondered if it had been something to do with that. She walked back to her desk from the bathroom after yet another bout of vomiting.

Clark looked up at her. “Honey?” he said, peering through the glasses he wore for his disguise. “Are you okay? You’ve been doing that a lot lately.”

“I don’t know what’s wrong with me, Smallville,” she sighed, sinking down into her chair. She still felt nauseous. “It can’t be something I ate, since I’ve hardly been eating.”

Clark came around the desk and crouched down beside her, rubbing her stomach soothingly. She leaned against him, closing her eyes. Even her libido had gone down. They hadn’t had sex in two weeks. But Clark didn’t seem to mind. He would just hold her close in bed, soothing her to sleep.

Lois glanced at the picture she had on her desk. It had been taken of the two of them at the luau in Hawaii. That had been such a beautiful night. And a beautiful wedding. It was hard to believe it was six months ago. Six wonderful, blissful months.

“Honey?” Clark brought her out of her reverie.

“Yeah?”

“I just had a thought. When did you last have your period?”

Lois thought about it. “Uh, I don’t know.”

“It’s been about two months,” he said.

Lois sighed. He would keep track of those things. Mind you, she thought, she could be a real grouch at those times. Usually he would just go out and get her something chocolatey so he could avoid the hormone-driven argument.

“You don’t think I could be ... pregnant?” she said.

“Maybe we should get a test and find out,” he said.

She nodded. The symptoms were beginning to add up in her head. The nausea, the tiredness, the low libido. And the fact that she’d missed her period.

There was no time like the present, so they dropped the story they were working on and went to the drugstore. Lois looked at the array of pregnancy kits.

“God, so many of them? Do they work?”

“I guess so,” Clark shrugged, reading the back of one.

“You know,” she said in a low voice, “you could always, uh, x-ray me.”

“Yeah, but I’m not sure I’d know what to look for. I mean, if you are, the foetus would be about the size of a peanut.”

“What about Jor-El? He could ...”

“We don’t know what it would do,” Clark answered. “And I’d rather not trust him with something like this.”

Lois grinned. Clark had always had trust issues with the avatar of his birth father.

“It was just a suggestion,” she responded.

“Let’s just try this,” Clark said, picking out a pack. “I know it’s not conclusive, but ...”

“Okay,” she said. She walked with him up to the counter and waited as he handed the cash over to the store clerk, who just smirked at them. Lois glared back.

An hour later, she came out of the bathroom of their apartment. Clark was pacing in the living room. He looked up as she came in.

“What did it say?”

Lois felt a little shell-shocked. She held out a trembling hand and Clark took the stick. The stick with the big blue plus sign on it. Lois sank to the sofa, feeling dizzy.

“Honey?” Clark said.

“Give me a minute, Smallville. I ... I don’t know if I can do this.”

“What, honey?”

“This. Have a baby. I mean, first there’s my career. You know how important that is to me. And then there’s the fact that I’d make a terrible mom. I mean, you know what my Dad was like, raising me and Lucy. I just don’t know if ...”

Clark sat on the sofa beside her and took her hands in his.

“Lois, I know this is a big step for us. But you need to know something. I was never sure if I could have kids. Especially with ... well, with a human. And I know it’s a shock. It’s not like we’ve planned for this. But I want this. More than anything. I mean, if this hadn’t happened, I would have gone to Jor-El to ask him if it was possible.”

“You’ve thought about this?”

Clark nodded. “More than you know. Lois, I love you. I would do anything for you. And if this is not something you want, then I’ll accept it.”

Lois shook her head vehemently. “No. Clark, I ... look, I’m just shocked, that’s all. I just need time to get used to it.”

“Well, let me tell you something, Lois Lane-Kent, I know you’re going to be a great mom.”

“Really?” she whispered. “How do you know?”

“I just do.”

“Wow!” Julia said.

She could sense that Lois was fully on board now. She suspected that once the shock had worn off that Lois had realised she was being an idiot and had begun to love the baby growing inside her.

“So how pregnant are you?”

“I think about nine or ten weeks,” Lois said. “That’s what Emil Hamilton guessed, anyway.”

Clark looked at his friend.

“So what happened with Bruce?”

Julia shrugged. “Nothing, really. That’s the whole problem. The heart’s willing but the head is not. It stopped being fun after a while. I mean, the sex was always great. Bruce sure knows how to please a woman. But he just wouldn’t let me in. He wouldn’t let me close.”

“But he loves you,” Lois protested.

“Love isn’t always enough, in some cases. You have to be willing to give all of yourself for a relationship to work. And you know what the biggest thing that bugged me was?”

Lois shook her head. Julia looked at her sadly.

“I could never read him. Ever. He keeps his emotions so guarded, I just ...”

She was interrupted by the buzzer of the intercom. She picked it up.

“Yes? Oh hi, Jim. Oh, okay, thanks. Let him up.”

Julia turned back to her friends, looking a little guilty.

“Uh, Lex is on his way up.”

Lois and Clark immediately looked concerned.

“Lex? You’re seeing Lex?”

“It’s not what you think. We’re working together on a project.”

“Have you forgotten what he tried to do ...” Clark reminded her.

“I haven’t forgotten anything,” she told him firmly. “But there are extenuating circumstances. And I don’t think I need to justify myself. Lex and I are not getting back together, so you can put that thought out of your head, Lois. You could say we’ve reached a detente, of sorts.”

“A detente?”

“Look, we have to live in the same city. We now work and socialise in similar circles. For the sake of harmony, we called a truce.” She looked up at the gentle tap on the door. “It’s open, Lex.”

Lex came in, smiling. But it quickly dropped when he saw Clark and Lois there.

“Maybe this is a bad time,” he said.

Clark noticed he was carrying a briefcase. He looked at his former friend coolly.

“Lex.”

Lex glared back. But Julia quickly got in between them. “You two can stop that right now. I do not want a war in my living room, do you understand me? So you both behave yourselves, is that clear?”

Lex broke first, which had Clark curiously thinking what had changed.

“I’m sorry,” Lex said, looking at Julia.

“I just made some coffee,” she said. “Help yourself. Clark and Lois just came over to bring me a housewarming gift.”

She turned back to Lois and Clark. “Lex actually put me on to this place.”

“I didn’t know you two were that friendly,” Clark said, flicking his gaze at Lex, who was busy pouring himself a coffee.

“We’re both adults, and we can talk like normal people,” Julia said pointedly.

But the light-hearted banter was gone. Lex was like the huge pink elephant in the room that Clark and Lois tried to ignore, but they both felt uncomfortable. Julia noticed the tension, but said nothing. Half an hour later, Clark and Lois left, promising to come to dinner some time.

Julia sighed as they left, still looking very uncomfortable.

“Sorry about that,” she told Lex. “I had no idea they were coming over.”

Lex shrugged. He opened his briefcase.

“The consent forms,” he said, handing them over. “Are you sure you want to do this?”

“Lex, no one knows more about meteor-related abilities than you. Okay, so I’m not exactly happy with the way you went about studying meteor abilities, but we need to do this. It’s getting worse. You know it is.”

Julia sighed again. She hadn’t wanted to say anything to Clark or Lois. She’d slowly noticed her empathic powers growing. Now it was not only people in close proximity to her. She was picking up emotions from others as well. She couldn’t be in a room of more than a half a dozen people before she began getting a bad headache. The emotions were threatening to overwhelm her.

After the party at New Year’s, when Lex had called her in the middle of the night, they had been talking on a frequent basis. Bruce had known about it and had objected, but Julia had ignored him. With the relationship sliding on the slippery slope to Nowheresville, she had decided that Bruce had no right to tell her what to do, or who she could talk to.

Somehow, she’d managed to convince Lex to get psychological help and he was now seeing a therapist. Of course, he’d come to Julia to help with the issue of confidentiality, asking her to draw up an agreement with the therapist.

Julia, in turn, had asked for his help. Knowing how much he had studied the meteors and their effects, when her powers had begun to grow, she had decided his scientists were the only ones who could help. Given that he’d also asked for some of her test results from Dr Klein, she had decided she needed to trust someone with it.

Lex had insisted they make this a legal agreement. He didn’t want anyone thinking he’d coerced her into doing this. She was going to his labs for testing once a week.

“Discretion, right?” she told Lex as she looked the forms over.

Lex nodded.

Julia sighed. “I know Clark will never understand it, which is why I haven’t told him I’m doing this.”

“I think maybe you should.”

“And you know what he’ll say. Lex, we’ve already talked about this. He won’t like what you’re doing, and considering the trust issues you have between you ...”

Althougth they hadn’t exactly talked. More like had a blazing row. She’d told him that whether he liked it or not, Clark was her friend and she trusted him.

“You have no idea what he’s capable of.”

“I’ve known him for over a year, Lex and he’s never done anything to hurt me. And he would never do anything to hurt Lois. You’re letting your own fears and your prejudices colour your judgement.”

“My prejudices? My fears?”

“Let’s face it, Lex. When you found out the truth about Clark, you decided he was a threat. All because he never told you the truth about himself.”

“I thought we were friends. Friends don’t keep secrets from each other.”

“Friends also don’t seduce their friends’ significant others.”

“He lost Lana a long time before she came to me.”

“Really? That’s not how Lana tells it. She and Clark were going through some problems and you confused her.”

“I was trying to help her,” Lex insisted.

“You keep telling that tale, Lex. Maybe some day you’ll believe it. And what about me? What you did to me?”

“Is this about the meteor thing?”

“No, Lex. It’s the way you used me to try to get to Clark’s secrets. To try to convince him to open up about himself. Well, Clark was onto you.”

“You’re right. I’m sorry. That was a horrible thing to do and I ...”

“What about working with Zod?”

“I was going to find a way to stop Zod.”

“Yeah, after he’d killed Clark.”

“I ...”

“No answer, Lex?” she said, glaring at him. “You know that was the whole reason why you supported Zod in the first place. That and the fact that he would have given you the opportunity for ultimate power.”

“All right, fine. Yes, it’s true. Is that what you wanted to hear? It was a mistake and I know that now.”

“And whose responsibility is it?”

“Mine,” he said with gritted teeth.

Julia smiled then. “Well, that’s the first honest thing I’ve heard you say in a long time. Maybe ever.”

Lex sighed heavily. “I keep thinking back to my friendship with Clark. I mean, were we ever friends?” He sat down on the leather sofa in his office. She’d actually come by to talk to him about the apartment she was buying, which he’d helped her find, but somehow the conversation had turned into an argument.

“I think,” she said, sitting beside him, “you told yourself it was all about friendship. But you wanted his secret. Lex, tell me something. Why do you think your friendship went south?”

He shrugged. “I don’t know. Maybe we both had too many secrets. Stopped trusting each other.”

“Clark told me once you said to him that, let’s see if I can remember this right. ‘There’s a darkness in me that I can’t always control. Your friendship helps keep it at bay’. Lex, what kind of person puts that kind of burden on a seventeen year old boy?”

Lex looked at her. “Are you saying I’m making Clark responsible for my failings? That I blame him for all of this?”

“I’m no psychologist, Lex, but yes, I think you blame the loss of your friendship for your turn to the dark side. The fact is, I just don’t think you want to admit that the real reason is that you weren’t strong enough to fight it. Clark might have given you a reason, but the real strength needed to come from inside.”

“Are you saying I’m weak?”

“Now don’t get defensive. I’m just calling it like I see it.”

Lex sighed. “Sometimes I think you’re right. I’ve been talking about that with the therapist. She sort of agrees with you.” He looked her over. “You’re stronger than I am. I don’t know if I would have been strong enough to do what you did.”

“You do have that strength, Lex. It’s inside you. You just need to let it out. People can change Lex. You can change. You just need to start believing in yourself. You don’t have to be Lionel.”

“It’s not that simple. All the things I’ve done ... the things I’m doing at Luthorcorp, I can’t just stop ...”

“You’re using that as an excuse to hide the fact that you’re scared.”

“I’m not afraid,” Lex protested.

“Lex, it’s okay to be scared. I get scared. So does Clark. It’s the one thing that reminds us that we’re human.”

“Clark isn’t human.”

“I’m talking about humanity, Lex.”

Lex sighed again. She really knew how to hit home. He wondered, sometimes, if he could go back in time, whether he could change things. And he said that to her.

“I think Clark feels the same way sometimes. But the truth is, I don’t think he’d change a thing even if he did.”

“Why? Don’t you think if he’d told me everything from the beginning that I wouldn’t have protected him?”

“I don’t doubt that. But Clark had a lot of reasons why he couldn’t tell anyone. For one thing, his parents had always told him that he’d be put in a lab and studied. That he would never be free. If you had been fed that your entire life, of course you’d be afraid. And then there’s the fact that people who did know tended to get hurt.”

A memory came to him. A beaten and bloodied Pete Ross. He’d known then that Pete had known Clark’s secret.

“So he was protecting me?”

“Well, Lex, you did have a way of attracting trouble. There’s something else. For a long time, Clark blamed himself for all the meteor freaks. He used to tell his parents that if he hadn’t come here, none of it would have happened.”

“That’s ridiculous,” Lex said. Another thought occurred to him. “Are you saying that he blamed himself for this?” He touched his bald head.

Julia didn’t have to answer. It was written on her face.

Lex looked at his ex-wife now. Of all the women he’d known, she was the only one who truly understood him. Who seemed to see who he really was. He felt a prickling behind his eyes and knew it was his love for her.

She lifted her head from the page she was reading.

“Don’t,” she said. “Lex, don’t. We can’t go back.”

“I’m sorry,” he said.

“Lex, what did I say about not using me as a crutch? I can’t always be there to hold your hand when things get rough. If you want to change, you have to do it for yourself. Not for me, or anyone else.” She looked at him. “Please, you have to learn to control those emotions. Especially now.”

“Now that it’s making you sick, you mean.”

“I don’t mean ...”

“I know what you mean,” he said. He put a hand on hers. “We’ll figure this out. Somehow.”


Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
ctbn60
Aug. 20th, 2010 02:08 pm (UTC)
OH MY GOD THIS WAS AN EXCELLENT CHAPTER HONEY!!

Wow so much packed into it. I loved the pregnancy revelation. Julia telling Lex like it is and making him face the real reason behind his hating Clark. I think I'm actually happy Julia and Lex have become friends.

You do have me worried though about Julia and her abilities. I hope something can be done to help her. I also hope Lex and Clark can actually rebuild their friendship in some small way. Wonderful!!
phoenixnz
Aug. 20th, 2010 05:29 pm (UTC)
Remember Julia talking about a price for every meteor ability? That while it gives something it also takes something away? This is her price. But yes, there is help for her and it will come in an unexpected way in the next chapter.
As for what she tells Lex, well, the truth hurt, but he would never have listened to anyone else.
I'm posting the next chapter shortly. It's a long one.
jlvsclrk
Aug. 21st, 2010 03:36 am (UTC)
Fabulous chapter. I'm thrilled that Julia is friends again with Lex - she's obviously very good for him. And her analysis of what happened between Clark and Lex just happens to coincide almost perfectly with my own!

And SQUEEEE! There's a little Clois on the way! Or perhaps a Lark? Lork? Whatever, I have to agree that Lois will make an excellent mom - nurturing but never smothering.
phoenixnz
Aug. 21st, 2010 04:03 am (UTC)
I think Julia and Lex are good together. There's no chance for romance with them, but Lex needs someone like her to make him think about what he's doing. And as for what happened between Clark and Lex, that's my theory too. I always hated that line from Bound. It is a huge burden to place on a kid.
You're right. Lois will make a great mom.
eternal_moonie
Sep. 3rd, 2010 06:22 pm (UTC)
What an AWESOME chapter honey! I absolutely LOVE it! And the 'gaps' that you now filled it with the flashbacks! Another GREAT chapter!
phoenixnz
Sep. 3rd, 2010 07:17 pm (UTC)
Hey, welcome back babe! I missed you.
I'm so glad you like the chapter. There is a huge reason why all this had to happen now, at this point in the story. It will start to become clear with the next few chapters.
eternal_moonie
Sep. 3rd, 2010 07:19 pm (UTC)
Likewise honey! ;) I was going through some of my LiveJournal messages and it seems I've been defriended once again... some entries I am not authorized to view. How've you been hon?
phoenixnz
Sep. 3rd, 2010 07:31 pm (UTC)
I've been better, I have to say. I've got this awful flu bug that's going around - sigh, it's a times like this I wish I had someone to take care of me. But did I tell you I've moved into a new place? Been here a month and I love it. My mother's not exactly thrilled with it - she's already told me to start saviing for a better place, but *shrugs* this place will do me for now.
I'll see if I can get onto Yahoo IM - it's playing up.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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