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The Return of Lex Luthor 75/?

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 

It all started here 

Go back a step

 

Chapter Seventy-Five

Her pronouncement was greeted with shocked gasps from those assembled. None more so than Lex.

“Are you crazy?” he asked, then immediately realised he’d said the wrong thing to her. She glared at him.

“Lex, has anyone ever told you you’re an ass! God, it’s no wonder I divorced you.”

“Sorry,” he mumbled, looking down, but not before he caught the sympathetic look from Superman.

“What makes you think he’s not human?” J’onn asked, echoing the sentiments of everyone in Watchtower.

“I felt it.”

“You felt it?” Superman said sceptically. “How could you feel it?”

“Do I ask you how you use your abilities? No. I mean, how do you know when you hear someone in trouble that they’re actually in trouble? It’s not like they all cry ‘help, help’ is it?”

Superman shook his head. “All right, fine. I guess we have no right to question your judgement on this. And I suppose we should be looking at Godfrey’s purpose. If he’s not human, then why is he here?”

“I think that would actually be plainly obvious,” Lex spoke up, trying to make up for his earlier error. “He’s trying to turn public opinion against the Justice League. It’s what I tried to do, but on a larger scale. Godfrey’s using the power of the media against you.”

“And these disappearances?”

Julia frowned, glancing at Lex, who looked thoughtful. “Perhaps it’s twofold. Blaming the disappearances on the Justice League make their motivations, uh, your motivations, look suspect. Again reinforcing the public’s current negative opinion.”

“So, we need a plan. A way to expose Godfrey without making the Justice League look like criminals. But it’s not going to be easy,” Julia told them. “We’re already behind on points, due to the fact that none of us have commented to the media.”

Lex touched her shoulder. “Uh, I might have some ideas about that too. I can get my PR people to look into it, put a press kit together.”

Superman nodded. “Do you think you could work with Lex, Lois? If anyone understands how to use the media,” and Lex noticed how he studiously avoided the word ‘manipulate’, “it’s Lex. I think together you could come up with a story which paints the League in a better light. And there’s no one we’d trust more than you.”

“So I’m your press secretary now, Smallville?” Lois joked.

“Lois ...”

“Fine, fine, fine. I’ll work with Chrome Dome. But it doesn’t mean I trust him.”

Lex rolled his eyes. Another nickname.

“You know, if I’m going to be an honorary member of the Justice League, I’d prefer to pick my own codename.”

“You’ll be a member of the Justice League when hell freezes over,” Batman growled.

“Whatever Wayne,” Lex snapped back, leaving the others to gasp in shock.

Julia glared at him. “Lex ...”

“Oh please, I’m a genius too, remember? And it’s not rocket science. Right, Queen?”

Green Arrow choked back a growl. Then he looked at Julia.

“Hey, I didn’t say a word. I can keep a secret you know.” She turned to Lex. “You couldn’t behave yourself for even one night, could you?”

Lex glared at her like a recalcitrant child. But he listened as the League members began discussing a plan.

***

Lois was finishing up in the bathroom, preparing to go back to bed as Clark stripped off his uniform. She came out, dressed in her nightgown, watching as he unlocked the secret panel of the closet and hung up the uniform.

“Are you sure about me working with Lex on this? I don’t trust him. I mean, I know Jules does, but ...”

Clark looked at her. “I know honey, but if Julia’s right, then we need him. I have the feeling that Godfrey’s only the beginning.” He padded over to the bed and pulled back the covers, patting the mattress beside him. Lois grinned and got in, snuggling up with him. Clark kissed her forehead.

“You know, I’ve been thinking a lot about the Kandorians. Where they would have gone. And I think I need to have a long talk with Lex. He was financing Zod. Maybe he would have some idea what happened to them.”

“Have you asked Jor-El?”

“Jor-El scanned the planet for their energy signatures. There’s nothing.”

“I thought Zod killed them?”

“Maybe not.”

“But you think maybe there’s a connection between the Kandorians and what’s happening now.”

“It’s possible honey.”

Lois yawned. Normally being awake at this time, she would have taken the opportunity for some fun. But her libido these days was governed by her hormone levels and tonight they were at a lower ebb than they had been. Maybe it was the thought of what was coming. It made her nervous. She was used to Lex and his schemes. Lex she could understand. Lex was predictable in his unpredictability. This was something else.

“Goodnight Smallville,” she said. But Clark was already asleep, his arms curled around her.

Next morning, Lois turned up for her appointment with Lex. She walked in to the lobby and announced her name to the guard, who let her into the private elevator without a fuss. She recalled the first time she’d travelled in the elevator – at least, since Lex had returned from the dead. The day she’d met Julia. She shook the memory away and steeled herself to beard the lion in his den.

Lex greeted her warily, putting out his hand to shake hers.

“My PR executive will be joining us shortly. Can I get you anything? Coffee? Uh, no, I guess you shouldn’t in your condition. Some herbal tea, perhaps?”

Lois shook her head. Lex seemed nervous. He was never nervous. She watched as he sat down behind his desk and he immediately seemed to relax. This was his territory. Anything outside it was obviously too far out of his comfort zone.

He did seem different, she decided. How, exactly, she couldn’t say. In some ways, she felt he was trying too hard. But this was not the same as when he’d been trying to ingratiate himself with Clark in order to manipulate him. It just seemed that this time, Lex had a personal stake in what was happening.

Lois sat down at the desk.

“Lex ...”

Lex leaned forward. “Lois, you and I have our differences and I’ve given you and Clark every reason not to trust me. But there is more at stake here than our egos and I think you are well aware of that. So if it’s all the same to you, I would rather not get into a quarrel over past slights and misdeeds. Julia personally requested my help and I for one have no intention of refusing her request.

“Of course,” he continued, “this does not, in any way, mean that I have changed my personal opinion of Clark’s true purpose here. I still reserve judgement on that.”

“I don’t doubt it.” She studied him. “You really do love her, don’t you? Like there’s nothing you wouldn’t do for her.”

Lex nodded. Clearly, his feelings for her didn’t extend to trusting her opinion on everything. But Lois could understand that. She did not always agree with Clark on everything. In fact, they’d had quite a few arguments in the past over different subjects, and that wasn’t about to change.

“While we have the opportunity, Lois, for the sake of harmony, I suggest we declare a truce. At least until we can resolve this.”

“After that, well, you and Clark can go back to being enemies for all I care. Just make me a deal Lex. You leave my family alone.” She touched a hand to her distended stomach, illustrating her point.

“Lois, I am not a complete bastard. I don’t make war on children. Besides, Julia would kill me.”

“She would, wouldn’t she,” Lois said wryly. And that suddenly struck her as hilarious. She grinned at Lex and he returned it.

I honestly never thought I’d live to see the day, she thought as they chatted casually, when Lex would actually let himself be ordered around by someone. Okay, so he was never going to be perfect. He probably would do a lot worse in his own screwed-up way of what he saw as ‘saving the planet’ from itself. And he would probably eventually go back to see the Justice League as nothing but do-gooders with dubious motives, or trouble makers, but with Julia around, she had a feeling that Lex would learn to temper those feelings. Julia was clearly good for him.

She realised though, that while Lex still harboured romantic feelings for his wife, he knew that they would remain unrequited. As Julia had once said, love wasn’t enough in some cases. That was why she had broken it off with Bruce too. Because while she loved him, and it was mutual, it wasn’t enough for him. Bruce couldn’t see that he didn’t have to make a choice between Batman and Bruce. He couldn’t see that he could be both. For him, it was one or the other.

Lex, on the other hand, had made a choice. But his past misdeeds were something that went against everything Julia believed in. And so far he hadn’t shown any signs of making up for those bad decisions. So he was resigned to always loving Julia, but knowing that she could never see her way past those issues. Lois knew Julia would always support Lex when he needed it, but as a friend.

“Clark needs to talk to you as well,” she said. “About the Kandorians.”

“Tell him when you see him my door is open to Superman.” Lex held up his hands in mock surrender at her look. “Truce, remember? While whatever is happening, uh, happens, I will promise not to do anything that will harm Superman.”

Lois was satisfied with that. The woman Lex had asked to join the meeting chose that moment to enter and the three of them set to work trying to figure out a way to undo the damage Godfrey had already done.

***

Godfrey entered the apartment, slipping off the blazer and wiping the sweat off his brow. He detested these Earth summers. Where he had come from the temperatures had been much colder than this. But he endured it for the sake of the one.

As he slowly stripped, making himself more comfortable, he heard the sound he had been expecting and immediately bowed.

“Master,” he said with reverence.

“You have succeeded?”

“Yes Master. The people are rejecting the Justice League.”

He hesitated, but his Master picked up on it. “What is it?”

“There is a woman, Master.” He quickly told him about the woman and what she had already done for the Justice League. “She does not easily bend to my will. And I believe she knows the truth about me.”

“She must be eliminated.”

“It will not be easy, Master. She is protected by the one they call Superman.”

His Master barely contained his rage. “The usurper will not succeed. I will have what is mine. This false god will be destroyed.”

Godfrey allowed his master to rage on until all was calm again.

“What is your bidding, Master?”

“Continue with the campaign. I will send the hounds.”

Godfrey lifted his head, smirking as his master closed off the communication. He knew exactly how he was going to solve this little problem. He picked up the cellphone he’d acquired and dialled a number.

“I have an assignment for you, my sweet,” he said, quickly explaining what he wanted done.

“Understood,” was the reply.

***

Superman flew onto the balcony of the penthouse. Lex turned and smiled at him in a gesture of welcome.

“Why did you suggest here?” Superman asked him.

“I thought it was best. It’s more private up here. Lois said you wanted to talk about the Kandorians.”

“Yes,” the blue clad superhero nodded. He strode into the room, red cape flying behind him in the breeze from the open balcony doors. Lex grimaced at the primary colours. They certainly were bright.

Superman caught his gaze and looked down at his suit.

“Something the matter?” he asked.

“It’s, uh ... well, I never really liked the colours. But I have to say that I should have expected it anyway. You did profess a certain fondness for them.”

“I can change, if it bothers you.”

“No, that isn’t necessary,” Lex assured him. “You just take a little getting used to.”

“My mother made this,” Clark told his old friend pointedly and saw Lex cover up a cough as if clearing his throat.

“It’s great. Really,” he said.

“I thought you always felt I looked like a freak in a clown costume?” Clark chuckled as Lex looked mortified. They might not be friends again, but Clark couldn’t resist the gentle teasing.

“I apologise, Clark, if I offended ...”

Clark waved his hand. “I’m not offended,” he assured Lex. “You are supposed to be my arch-nemesis, or so Lois tells it.”

“Lois always did have a way with words.”

“She chose the name too, by the way. She was the first person to call me Superman.”

“Hence my earlier observation,” Lex chuckled. “Can I offer you a drink?”

“Thank you. That would be great. Whatever you’re having is fine.”

Lex raised an eyebrow at him. “I thought you would be a teetotaller,” he said.

“Alcohol doesn’t affect me. Not unless there’s Kryptonite in it.” Clark looked at him sternly, arms folded, almost as if he was daring him.

Lex stared at him, then realised the man was playing with him. It reminded him of the days of their friendship. Only it had usually been Lex playing with Clark’s head. The only time he had ever felt free to be himself was in those early days in Smallville, where he wasn’t expected to be anything else but Lex Luthor, friend of Clark Kent. He missed those days sometimes, he sighed.

He handed Clark a glass of the fine Highland scotch he favoured and sat down.

“So what can I tell you about the Kandorians?”

“What exactly did Zod tell you? I always assumed Zod killed them.”

“Zod was searching for something. I believe he called it the Book of Rao. Care to enlighten me?”

“All I know from what Jor-El told me is that it was a key, similar to that which opened up my lifepod.”

“A key?”

“You actually held the original once. Do you remember just before the tornado hit Smallville? You had it on your desk and you caught me looking at it.”

Lex remembered. Clark had remarked on it, saying it was a cool paperweight. The disk had been octagonal in shape, made of a metal not found on Earth, according to Steven Hamilton. There had been markings on it which he later realised were in the caves. He understood now.

“I didn’t steal it, by the way. Roger Nixon took it and he activated the ship. It was that that later led me to the caves which downloaded my people’s language into my brain.”

“That was how you managed to decipher the symbols? I did wonder after I picked up that paper you were scribbling on.” Clark frowned at him. “The family tree?”

“Oh.” He continued. “Anyway, Jor-El sent it to Earth the same time as the orb which contained Zod – or rather the genetic elements needed to recreate him. I searched for it when I realised there were only two ways to stop Zod. One was via the Phantom Zone, or the other was the Book of Rao, which would open up a new dimension.”

“Zod believed otherwise,” Lex told him. “He believed it was some kind of bible. A key to helping him take over the Planet, and stop you.”

“You mean kill me?” Clark said.

Lex nodded. He closed his eyes briefly. “I stole it. Or rather, my men did. From the Red Queen. You were, uh, distracted by Chloe’s death.” Lex caught the look of guilt in Clark’s eyes. “Clark, I’m sorry, about that. I never should have ... you have to know that I only did what I did to protect myself. I wasn’t ready to, uh, come out to the world. I never meant for Zod to ...”

“Kill her?” Clark got up. “You’re lying about that. You did mean to kill her. You put a contract out on her. But,” he sighed, pushing a hand through his raven locks, mussing them up. “I don’t want to lie to you about that, either.”

Lex put up a hand. “No, Clark. Whatever it is, I don’t want to know. It’s better that I don’t know anymore. I’ve learned that sometimes secrets are necessary to protect the ones we love. I’m only sorry that it took me so long to realise that.”

He got up and went to the counter, picking up a file. “I gave the disk to one of Zod’s people. What he did with it, I don’t know. But my scientists found something a few months ago. They picked up a dimensional rift.”

Clark took the file and skimmed through it. “This didn’t originate in the Arctic.”

“No, Clark it originated right here in Metropolis.”

“From what I was told about the Book of Rao, it was supposed to take all Kryptonians to another dimension. All Kryptonians.”

“So why didn’t it take you?”

Clark thought back to that last battle with Zod. He remembered a flash of blue. A weapon.

“I forgot,” he whispered.

“Forgot what?”

“Zod was armed with a weapon. The only weapon, apart from green Kryptonite that can kill. It must have been that that stopped us both being sent into the other dimension.”

“Are you saying Zod didn’t go to the Phantom Zone?”

“I don’t know. All I know is, a portal opened up. I thought J’onn ... no that doesn’t make any sense. J’onn had the Phantom Zone crystal. We rebuilt it. And who would have deactivated it?”

“Who else would have known about the Book of Rao?”

“Tess!” Clark said. He turned on Lex. “Where was Tess when your men took her? Was she in the morgue?”

Lex blinked rapidly. “No, Clark. She wasn’t. Yes, I did have her lo-jacked. It’s how I knew she was fatally injured by Zod. But when my men went to retrieve her body, she was already gone.”

“Someone got to her first.”

“And either Tess or that someone must have shut down the other portal. From what my scientists concluded, the rift was open for about five minutes. That was around the same time Tess’ body disappeared from the morgue.”

“Granny Goodness,” Clark said.

“Who?”

Clark shook his head. A feeling of dread was pooling in his stomach. Julia was right. Whatever was going down was big. And the entire planet was in danger. He could just feel it.

***

Julia was working alone in Watchtower, as she did most days. She was secure in the tower, knowing that it would only allow entrance through retinal scan. It was no guarantee, of course, but she was confident enough in all that Bruce had taught her that she could hold her own against any possible intruder.

She heard a sound and looked up, staring open-mouthed at the person standing in front of her.

“How did you get in?” she asked.

“I always had my ways.”

“My god, lady, where the hell have you been?”

Tess Mercer sighed. “Honestly? I’m not exactly sure. It’s been pretty much a blur.”

“You’ve been gone a month.”

The redhead looked puzzled. “Is it really that long?”

Julia nodded. “Come and sit down,” she said, taking the woman’s arm.

“I can’t,” Tess said, shaking her head. “I’m sorry, Julia. I have to do this. You’re my friend and I really don’t ... but I have no choice.”

There was a glint as metal caught the light from overhead. Julia stared at the knife in Tess’ hand. Tess had come here to kill her.

“Don’t do this, Tess. We can get you help.”

“It has to be done,” Tess said, her expression oddly blank. Julia realised she was under some kind of mind control.

She only had one chance. Tess didn’t know about the lessons she’d had with Bruce. And Tess was also a pretty good hand-to-hand fighter. Julia wasn’t going to scream out for help. She quickly adopted the defensive stance and circled Tess, looking for an opening. She considered her options.

Tess slashed the air but Julia quickly avoided it, letting out a grunt as she aimed a punch at Tess’ side. Tess countered with a block and a punch just below her ribs. She slashed again with the knife and Julia lashed out with her foot, kicking Tess’ wrist. Tess cried out but didn’t drop the knife. Julia spun and twisted, feinting. Tess fell for it and Julia managed to grab hold of her bruised wrist. She pushed Tess up against the desk, ignoring the papers going flying and forced Tess’ wrist down, squeezing, then hitting Tess’ wrist hard against the edge of the desk.

Tess again cried out and turned, grabbing Julia’s shoulders and forcing her back toward the huge window. Julia countered the move, twisting out of the other woman’s grip and aiming a punch at her head. Tess blocked and counter punched. Julia managed to get a punch into Tess’ solar plexus. Tess grunted. Julia used her opportunity and hit her with a right hook. Tess went down, panting.

Julia hesitated and it was just the opening Tess needed, sweeping Julia off her feet. She scrambled over Julia, holding her down and trying to reach for the fallen knife. Still not close enough she tried rolling over onto her back, keeping one hand on Julia’s and reaching for the knife. Julia took control, rolling them back over.

A pair of feet kicked the knife away.

“Now all we need is a mud pool, and oh yeah, both of you naked,” Lex quipped.

The fight suddenly went out of Tess, who went limp, but Julia wasn’t fooled. As soon as Lex helped Julia to her feet, Tess was off, trying to grab the knife. But Superman beat her to it, grabbing her and holding her.

“Superman, I can get my men to hold her in my facility until we can determine how much of a threat she is.”

“You’ll do no such thing,” Superman told him.

“I’m the only one with the facilities to be able to hold her. I mean, where else would you send her. The 14th Precinct?”

“She just attacked Julia, Lex. I think that gives us plenty of evidence.”

The two men started arguing. The redhead just stood, hanging limply in Superman’s arms, while Julia stared at them. After five minutes of arguing back and forth she finally had enough.

“Guys enough,” she said. When that didn’t work she put her fingers in her mouth and whistled shrilly. “Boys!”

They turned and stared at her. She sighed and shook her head.

“Superman, Lex has a point. She needs to be held in a secure facility. Because I have a feeling whoever’s controlling her may try to retrieve her.”

Both Lex and Superman gaped at her. “How would you ...”

“Ah, hello, baldy, empath here?”

“Which begs the question ...”

“I didn’t feel anything,” she said. “Nothing at all. It’s like her humanity’s been wiped away. Someone is controlling Tess.”

Superman sighed. “You’re right. But I want to inspect this facility Luthor,” he growled. “And I want to supervise all tests done on her.”

Lex sighed in resignation. “Has anyone ever told you lately that you’re bossy?” he told his old friend.


Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
eternal_moonie
Sep. 6th, 2010 12:38 pm (UTC)
AWESOME New chapter honey!!!!
phoenixnz
Sep. 6th, 2010 06:35 pm (UTC)
Glad you enjoyed this one, hon.
ctbn60
Sep. 6th, 2010 01:45 pm (UTC)
I like the easy banter between clark and lex in this one and the ending is a hoot with them bickering back and forth! lol Poor julia has her hands full. Nice chapter honey it's getting more and more exciting.
phoenixnz
Sep. 6th, 2010 06:37 pm (UTC)
Hee, those two crack me up sometimes. Julia definitely has her hands full. It's going to get worse before it gets better.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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