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The Return of Lex Luthor 80/?

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 Eighty

Julia groaned. Her head was pounding. And she had some kind of strange buzzing in her ears. She sat up, trying to clear her head. The last thing she remembered was being knocked out by one of the Furies.

She looked around her. She had no idea where she was, but it looked like some sort of warehouse. Or almost like one of Lex’s facilities. The source of the buzzing became very clear. There was some kind of shield in front of her. It was only just perceptible to her eyes.

“You are awake.”

Julia stared out at the man standing in the middle of the room. He looked human, tall, with a square jaw, and dark, luminous eyes. On his chest was something that looked like a crest. It reminded Julia of an upside down horseshoe.

“Let me guess, you’re Darkseid.”

“Very astute, Ms Walker. But then I perceive you are not without intelligence.”

Julia fought the urge to roll her eyes. She could feel something in the back of her mind, almost like a pinpricking. She quickly blanked her mind as Jor-El had taught her.

“Your powers, unearthly though they are, will not succeed,” Darkseid said softly. Too soft, considering his size. “They are no match for the powers of a god.”

“You really think you’re a god?” she accused.

“Much more than the usurper!”

“Usurper?” she echoed. “Oh, you mean Superman. Well, he’s never considered himself a god.”

“He is a false god and he will be destroyed,” Darkseid returned, his voice rising as well as his ire.

“What do you want with Earth, anyway?” she asked, hoping to distract Darkseid long enough to figure out how he was holding her inside this cell.

“The people of Earth will submit to my rule.”

“Not if we can help it,” she muttered, knowing it would be fairly pointless keeping her voice down.

“You cannot escape me, my pet,” he said. “Soon, you will be one of us.”

“I’d sooner die,” she hissed.

“And what of the child you carry?” he smiled, and there was something so alien about that smile that she shuddered. “The child will be my servant. As will you.”

“No!” she screamed, as he raised his hand, or whatever it was and pain like a thousand burning needles hit her head. The light became brighter and brighter until all she could see was white light. Julia was aware of someone screaming in her head and she realised too late that it was her.

What seemed like hours later, she woke, looking around her. She felt safe, warm and comfortable. And free. Then she saw him. With confidence, she strode forward and knelt at his feet.

“Master,” she said looking up at him with reverence, as if she desired nothing more than to worship him.

Darkseid turned to his follower. The woman was dressed like an elderly woman, but once she removed her outer clothing, she took on the appearance of someone much younger. Still older than Julia, but less wizened. Granny Goodness.

“Rise, pet,” Darkseid told Julia. “From now on you are to be called Talia. It is your true name.” He looked at Granny Goodness. “Take her. Have her join her new sisters.”

“Yes master,” Granny said in a low, husky voice. “Come child.”

Talia rose without complaint and walked away with Granny.

***

Superman flew in to Lex’s corporate office.

“Has there been any word?” he asked.

It had been a week since Julia’s disappearance. The Justice League was combing the planet for any sign of her. One of their own had now been taken and it was a matter they didn’t treat lightly.

Lex, to his credit, had been working day and night to solve the mystery of Julia’s disappearance. But he and his people had come up with nothing.

Lex shook his head and sighed.

“I don’t know what to do,” he admitted.

“Neither do I,” Clark said, sinking into the armchair. Lex noted that despite his uniform, Clark seemed smaller somehow. He clearly hadn’t been sleeping. Lex suspected Clark was searching day and night, neglecting his duties at the Planet. He hated to think what Lois was going through.

“You really should get home to Lois,” he advised. “You look dead on your feet.”

“I can’t stop thinking that I shouldn’t have let her go home alone that night. Even though she was with Hope.”

“You can’t think like that,” Lex told him. “This is not your fault. Hope nearly died trying to stop the Furies from taking her. You can’t blame yourself. Julia wouldn’t want that.”

Clark sighed. He knew that. But it didn’t stop him from thinking it anyway.

Lex’s assistant – his new one, since his old one had left to have a baby, knocked hesitantly at the doors. She turned, eyes widening as she saw Superman.

“What is it Claire?” Lex asked, a touch of irritation in his voice.

“Uh, sir, Lois Lane is on the phone. She said it was urgent.”

“Then why the hell didn’t you put her through?” Lex snapped. Clark sent him a look which basically said that really wasn’t helping. Claire nodded.

“Uh, yes sir.” She hurried out. Clark listened with his super-hearing. “Putting you through Ms Lane.”

Lex leaned forward as the phone rang, putting it on speaker. “Lois?”

“Is Superman with you?” she asked, her voice breathless. She never referred to Clark as Superman unless it was Justice League business.

“I’m here, Lois,” Clark said, putting on his best ‘all business’ voice.

“You guys need to turn on the tv, right now. There’s been another attack by the Furies. Someone managed to get a video of it.”

“Who did they attack?”

“You’re not going to believe this. The Pope.”

Lex looked at Clark, then opened his desk drawer, pulling out a remote which would uncover the screen in his office.

“Which channel?” he asked.

“LNN,” she said, indicating his own network. It was a fairly recent acquisition.

Images flashed on the screen and they watched the footage. Somehow the Furies had got inside the Vatican and had got to the Pope, taking out his security. They were shouting in the street of the Vatican as they took the old man with them.

“There is only one God. You will bow down before Darkseid. He is your God now.”

Clark peered at the screen. “I thought there were only three Furies,” he said. “There’s a fourth.”

The colour drained from Lex’s face as he saw who the fourth was. “Oh no!”

Clark’s mouth opened in shock. “Oh my god. No!”

As they watched, Julia aimed a kick at one of the security guards. Somehow, she had been given strength and speed. She was fast as she took out the guards while the other Furies pulled the old priest with them.

“Talia,” one called. “We must go.”

Lex turned to Clark. “Talia?”

“He must have renamed her. God, this isn’t happening!”

“You better call the League,” Lex said.

Clark nodded. He took off, flying out the door, past the beleaguered Claire and to Watchtower. Since many of the members were scattered, he decided the best course of action was to use the communicators, activating the monitors.

“Julia’s now one of the Furies by the look of it,” he told the others. “We have to get her back somehow. Before she does any more damage than she has already done.”

“You have a plan?” Green Arrow asked.

Clark shook his head. “Not really. We have to find her, and quickly.”

“Perhaps we could lay a trap for her,” J’onn suggested. “It is clear that Darkseid wanted her so she could give him information about the League. And she knows everything.”

“Use that knowledge against her?” Clark nodded. “How, though?”

“What about Tess Mercer? Isn’t she still in Lex’s facility?” Batman asked.

“What are you suggesting, Batman?”

“If Tess Mercer is still programmed, there may be a way for her to communicate with her controller.”

“So we plant an idea in her head, perhaps – use it to try to force Darkseid to send the Furies after us?”

Batman nodded. Clark thought it over for a second. It was a long shot. And there was the problem of the Furies themselves. They were stronger than normal humans. And Julia, in this guise, was equally strong. Clark hadn’t been up against them yet, and he had no idea if they were as strong as him. Or even stronger.

“Whatever happens,” Batman added, “don’t hurt her.”

Clark heard the tiny plea in Bruce’s voice. She was pregnant with his child. Bruce may have been acting like an asshole the last few weeks, but he did care about the child she was carrying.

But as Clark talked it over with Lois, she made a good point.

“Why would Tess still be in Lex’s lab if she had a way of contacting them? And even if she did, she’s in a catatonic state. So she wouldn’t have been sitting there all these weeks.”

“Yeah, you’re right.”

“What would you do without me, Smallville?”

Well, he could think of a few things, but he just nodded his head and agreed.

“The question now is, how do we get to her?”

“The old fashioned way, I guess,” Lois said, shrugging. “We try and work out what everyone who’s been taken by the Furies has in common. We have enough information.”

Lois opened up the laptop and started looking through the files they’d gathered on all the disappearances.

“So, they started with Bette Sans Souci, otherwise known as Plastique. She’s now one of the Furies, right?”

“Right.”

“And let’s see ...” Lois typed some more on the laptop. “They took the Pope. Why?”

Clark picked up the chair and turned it around so he could sit facing the back of it.

“Well, maybe it’s like Diana said. Darkseid thinks of himself as a god. And he sees Superman as a false god.”

“But you’ve never claimed to be a god,” Lois pointed out.

“He obviously doesn’t see it that way.”

“And didn’t he try to invade Themyscira to destroy their gods?”

“That’s the thing about gods. Their egos,” Clark told her. “They prefer people to worship them, and only them. Historically speaking.”

“So it stands to reason that Darkseid would want to destroy any symbols of other gods.”

“Or anyone that claims to represent those gods.”

“Like the Pope,” she said. Lois typed some more. She began cross-checking the data. “Clark, they’re targeting all religious leaders. Those who have some influence in their communities.”

“Can you get me a list of all the religious leaders in Metropolis?”

Lois nodded. She began working quickly, going through the ‘net to find more information. One name began popping up in news articles on a fairly regular basis.

“Hey, this is new. There’s some reports about a new religious group that’s started in the last few months.”

“Yeah? What’s it called?”

“The Church of Evil.”

Clark raised an eyebrow, looking at Lois. “That doesn’t sound good.”

“Well, duh!” she said, rolling her eyes. She rubbed her stomach and moaned a little.

“What’s wrong honey?”

“I think Mara’s just feeling my stress. We’re okay.”

Clark reached under the table and rubbed her belly gently. The baby seemed to sense her father’s attempts to comfort her and settled. Lois went back to the computer and Clark watched.

“Now here’s a familiar name,” Lois said. “Remember Corelli?”

“How could I forget?” Clark murmured.

“Seems he’s now the chief spokesman for this new church.”

“Hmm, I wonder if there’s a connection. I’m going to go see him.”

“I want to come,” Lois said.

“Lois, you know I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

“Party pooper.” But she said it with a smile.

Clark flew off, having got the location of the new church. He landed a block away and changed into his Clark Kent persona. He then walked to the building which housed the offices of the new church. He was stopped by a guard.

“My name’s Clark Kent,” he said. “I’m doing a story on the new church.”

The guard looked like he wasn’t going to let Clark in, but then the man’s radio squawked. He spoke into it, then looked up at Clark.

“You can go up. Thirteenth floor.”

Clark nodded his thanks and went up. Corelli grinned at him as he entered the office.

“Mr Kent. I wondered when I’d be seeing you.”

“Last I heard Mr Corelli, you were about to get witness protection.”

“Yeah. But you know, I got offered this position and I took it.”

Clark sat down in the seat indicated. “The Church of Evil?”

“Everyone has to believe in something, Mr Kent,” Corelli shrugged. “Why not evil? And you know, there is a place for it. We have over a hundred thousand followers now.”

“Really?” Clark said, nodding his head as if he was extremely interested in what Corelli was saying. “And who exactly do you worship?”

“Well, god, of course. Our god, mind you.”

“And that is ...” Clark prompted.

Corelli smiled as if Clark was dense. “The God of Evil, of course.”

“Ahh,” he said.

“So, where’s your partner?” Corelli asked casually.

“My wife is at home.”

Corelli nodded. “Congratulations. I did hear somewhere that the great team of Lane and Kent were tying the knot. Must be over a year ago now.”

“Matter of fact we just celebrated our first anniversary not so long ago.”

“Well, that’s great. She’s a hell of a woman. Lois Lane.”

“That she is,” Clark agreed, wondering how he was going to steer the conversation back to the real reason he’d come here. “So, Mr Corelli, have you heard about the recent disappearances?”

Corelli nodded. “Yes, as a matter of fact I did. Kind of odd, don’t you think?”

“I was speaking to Superman the other day,” Clark said casually. “He thinks these disappearances have something to do with someone who is claiming to be a god.”

“That so? And yet here I was thinking that Superman was almost like a god himself.”

That really rankled. It was becoming a common theme lately. Even his worst critics had started accusing him of the same thing.

“Superman’s never made any such claim,” Clark told Corelli.

“Oh no, of course not. But still, a man with those powers ... you’d think he’d be more interested in ruling us mere humans than in helping. But hey, you know, whatever works for him at any rate.”

Clark left, but not before making a subtle reference to Superman and the fact that he would be watching the church closely.

The trap was set. It was just a matter of when they decided to take the bait. In the meantime, Clark continued to keep an eye on the situation with various religious leaders. He’d hoped to be able to convince the most vocal of them to go into hiding. But they wouldn’t hear of it, leaving their fates in ‘God’s hands’.

***

Clark and Lois couldn’t do much else but wait. More people were disappearing, but Clark, as Superman, had already warned them what might happen and yet they still refused to go into hiding.

The Justice League patrolled the streets of Metropolis, trying to put a stop to the escalating activities of members of Intergang. But it seemed that the new church had made them bolder. They cared little about their personal safety and were reaching new heights in evil.

Clark and Lois were out walking early one evening, discussing a story they were working on, when they were stopped by a man in a wheelchair.

“Help out a poor homeless man?” he said with a crooked grin.

Clark sighed and dug into his pocket. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to help the homeless. He just felt resources were better placed in long-term solutions. Many of the homeless would just spend their money on alcohol.

“Clark, I don’t think ...”

Lois was looking at the homeless man. He’d been joined by another. But as Clark started to pull away, the man in the wheelchair grabbed his wrist. His pull was strong. Too strong.

“We know who you are, Superman. We want to help you bring down Darkseid.”

Clark tried in earnest to pull away, using all of his strength. But the man was stronger than him, which was saying something.

“You’re crazy,” Lois said.

“Careful, Mrs Kent,” said the second homeless man. “I would hate for harm to come to you or the child you carry. We know how to bring your friend back.”

“Who are you talking about?”

“The one now called Talia. We can stop her and her sisters. If you’ll let us.”

“Who are you?” Clark asked.

The man quickly told him who he was and how he came to Earth. Clark decided this was something that the Justice League needed to hear.

Orion. The son of the being known as Darkseid. Born to the creature’s second wife, he and his mother were banished from Apokolips. Orion was given to the Highfather of New Genesis in order to broker a peace between the two warring planets.

But Orion learned from the Highfather – learned to channel his anger and his negative emotions into something peaceful. He desired nothing but a peaceful existence. Creating a utopia for all creatures.

Realising that Darkseid had already tried, and failed, to destroy the Olympian gods on Earth, in order to force the humans to worship him, Orion went into battle. It literally became the cataclysmic battle between good and evil. And as the battle raged, the two planets became unlivable. Their environments poisoned by the weapons each side had used in their efforts to win.

“I believed I had not only defeated my father, but had also killed him. However, his essence remained and he came to Earth, brining his minions, like Glorious Godfrey and Granny Goodness, with him. He is determined to use the Anti-Life Equation to force all sentient beings to worship him. You, Superman, are the only one with the power to stop him.”

“What’s this Anti-Life Equation?” Batman asked curiously.

“It is difficult to explain,” Orion told him.

“Perhaps I can help,” J’onn said. “There is a belief among my people, Martians, that is, that for beings to live, they must have free will.”

“So, this equation is the opposite of that?” Superman said.

“The equation contains a number of elements: despair, loneliness, alienation, guilt, fear. All these negative emotions against positive ones like hope and love. The thing that separates humans from others is their ability to love. You take away hope and love, you are left with all these negative emotions. This is why your friend was chosen. Her past difficulties, and her ability to sense those emotions from others.”

“Darkseid tried to have her killed,” Lois pointed out.

Orion nodded. “Yes. But then he learned of her past and decided she could be useful to him. Darkseid believes that if a human is left with these negative emotions, they lose free will, thus they can be controlled.”

“So she’s now under his control. Can it be reversed?”

“Oh yes,” Orion said. “I can give you the solution for that. But first you must separate her from her sisters.”

“We have a plan,” Clark said.

“Then let us hope you will succeed, Superman,” Orion said. “I know there was an attempt in the past to stop Darkseid,” he added, with a nod at Wonder Woman.

He told the others that the Amazon had defeated Darkseid by placing a part of her soul in the creature. It had weakend him. But it hadn’t stopped him for long.

“If Darkseid’s on Earth, how is it that we have not been able to catch him?” J’onn asked.

“My father believes in controlling things from behind the scenes. He has taken control of a human body, placing his essence within them. And he now controls Intergang.”

“That’s why crime has been escalating?” Lois asked.

“Yes,” Orion said simply.

“Who is the human he’s taken over?”

“A man named Dan Turpin.”

Clark gasped. He knew Dan. When he’d gone undercover as a cop to try and find out why J’onn, who hadn’t had his powers then, had been shot by a cop, the man he’d been partnered with was Dan. Dan was a good guy. He wouldn’t take over Intergang. Would he?


Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
ctbn60
Sep. 15th, 2010 05:55 pm (UTC)
Fantastic chapter honey! Your attention to detail and the little things make this so amazing!! It just gets more and more exciting!!
phoenixnz
Sep. 15th, 2010 06:53 pm (UTC)
I'm glad that you're picking up on the little things that I put in. I have to admit, the whole Darkseid plot is the hardest one I've ever done, and I've had to do a lot of research, but it's paying off.
eternal_moonie
Sep. 15th, 2010 05:59 pm (UTC)
AWESOME change for Julia!

GREAT new chapter honey!!
phoenixnz
Sep. 15th, 2010 06:54 pm (UTC)
Even Julia, it seems, is not immune to evil. Glad you like the chapter hon.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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