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The Return of Lex Luthor 82/?

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 2: This is the penultimate chapter of the Darkseid arc (well the battle part anyway). Up to you guys if you want me to post the next chapter as well.

It all started here 

Go back a step


 

Chapter Eighty-Two

Darkseid paced the room angrily. He hated being confined to this human body. The first one he’d inhabited had quickly begun to mummify. Human beings were such soft creatures. A pity, he thought, that he hadn’t been able to inhabit the one known as Superman. Now there would have been a body that would have withstood his energy.

But Superman and his eternal optimism. While he believed there was still good in the world, Darkseid could not have possessed him.

Turpin, on the other hand, was proving to be just as tough to possess. At least in spirit. His mind was still strong, despite the fact that he had lost his wife and child, thanks to Intergang. Darkseid had had his men lure Turpin, who had once been a dedicated and decorated police officer, to his club, where he’d then taken the man’s body.

It was a constant battle within Turpin’s mind. Turpin was fighting him. But Darkseid knew he would win. Just as he knew that eventually the universe would be his.

Having the powers of a god were useful, he decided. He could not only manipulate the minds of people so they would follow him blindly, he could also manipulate space and time. He had already travelled to the future, firing the bullet that would kill his son, Orion, once again manipulating time so the bullet could not be tracked.

He’d always preferred to work behind the scenes. Taking what was his through manipulation. It was what he and Luthor shared in common. Which was why, when he’d been forced to take the first host, over two years ago, he had chosen Luthor to work with him in controlling Intergang. And eventually destroying Superman. But Luthor had sold out, choosing the other side, and Darkseid had decided to continue on alone.

A battle was coming. He could smell it. And this time, he would beat Superman.

***

The being watched the ‘human’ and tsked to itself. Arrogant, it thought. Humans were an arrogant lot, but none more so than this one. Of course, it understood that this was no ordinary human. This one was possessed, forced to host the essence of the one.

Shaking its head, the being moved on at speed before it could be detected. Within seconds, it stood beneath the shining globe of the Daily Planet. Ignoring all security procedures, it made its way to the fourth floor office, where a heavily pregnant woman sat, nursing swollen ankles.

“You really should elevate your feet,” it advised.

Lois Lane blinked and stared at the man in the doorway. He wasn’t that tall for a man. Close to one point eight metres, but still, he appeared shorter because of his build. And he would have been dwarfed by Clark.

“Excuse me?” she said.

“You should elevate your feet. It helps with the swelling.”

Lois bristled. She hated anyone mentioning her swollen ankles, which she could barely see anyway, beyond the swollen belly.

“I don’t think I need advice from a perfect stranger,” she said.

“Oh, but I’m no stranger, Ms Lane. I know you very well. Your family, at least.”

He smirked, making Lois bristle. She had an odd feeling, like hackles rising. There was something very off-putting about this man.

“Who are you?” she said.

“I think the real question is, what am I?” he said with a smile.

Hands came around to grip his upper arms, but he didn’t seem at all concerned about the tightness of that grip.

“No, the real question is what are you doing here?” Clark growled, picking up the man as if he was a child and moving him.

Lois had a feeling of deja vu. It was almost the exact way Clark had moved her the night they’d met when he’d been trying to get out of the hospital room. She looked at her husband. He seemed angry and she had never seen him that angry unless it had something to do with protecting what was his.

“No need for violence, Kal-El,” the man said, talking smoothly. “I merely came to offer my assistance. And I’m sure your lovely wife would not appreciate it if you tried taking me apart in the middle of your office.”

“You are not supposed to be here,” Clark growled.

What the hell was going on? Lois wondered. She had a feeling she should know this person, but she didn’t. She kept racking her brains, trying to think if she’d met him. But she couldn’t remember anything. Maybe it had something to do with the pregnancy, she decided. Her brains had turned to mush lately.

The man held up a hand, showing a very familiar looking ring. Lois remembered where she had seen that before. It was very like the ring she had used to go forward in time with. Clark had explained what it was a long time ago.

“How did you get hold of the Legion ring?” Clark asked, still glaring at the man. And the way Clark was so defensive had Lois very worried.

“It was given to me. By Rokk. Kal-El, you may not believe me but I am here to help.”

“After what you did to Chloe ...”

Chloe? What did her cousin have to do with this?

“That was version four, Kal-El, as you well know. I was re-programmed.”

“Oh my god!” Lois said. She now realised what was going on. “You’re Brainiac!”

The two men looked at her as if they had almost forgotten she was there. Then Brainiac smirked.

“Very astute, my dear.” Then he turned back to Clark. “Kal-El, time is of the essence here. I came here to warn you. If you continue on the path you are taking, the universe will be destroyed.”

“Wait? What?” Lois said.

“Darkseid must not be allowed to succeed. There must be a balance between good and evil. Batman’s plan will succeed, to a point, but only in killing the human form Darkseid possesses.”

“Killing ... I won’t allow it.”

“It has already been set in motion, Kal-El. There is a machine. You can build it to recreate the universe.”

“But it will reverse everything ...”

“It will be as if Darkseid never existed. You can choose how things should be. But be careful. What you choose will have consequences for all. Some things should not be unmade.”

With that cryptic message, Brainiac was gone in a flash of light that was also oddly familiar to Lois. She looked at Clark.

“So that was Brainiac,” she said.

“What did he mean, some things should not be unmade?” he asked. “And why him?”

Brainiac’s cryptic message created an uproar within the Justice League.

“You cannot trust him, Kal-El,” J’onn warned. “The Brain Interactive Construct ...”

“What possible reason could Brainiac have had in coming here to warn Clark?” Julia asked. “Since his motivations have always been about creating a new Krypton on Earth. If he’s right, if Darkseid is about to destroy the universe, then why would Brainiac want it destroyed by stopping Clark?”

“As usual, your logic ...”

Julia ignored Bruce. Since she’d told him to stay out of her life, he had been cold toward her. Even in Justice League business. She had been equally cold, pretending his harsh words hadn’t got to her. But Clark knew it was. She was still hurting from the failure of her relationship. She had just got better at hiding it.

“This is not the Brainiac that took over Chloe,” Clark told the assembled members. “When the Legion took Brainiac back with them, he was reprogrammed.”

“That still doesn’t mean ...” Bruce tried to argue.

“No, but Julia has a point. What possible reason would Brainiac have to stop me from going up against Darkseid? But he did leave me with something. He claimed there was a machine that could be used to remake the universe.”

“But he said that some things shouldn’t be unmade. Isn’t that what you said?” Oliver asked.

“For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction,” Julia quoted. “He’s just saying there are consequences. We need to think this through.”

“I still think we should kill Darkseid. Or his human host, rather. I’ve completed the analysis of the bullet. Its composition shows it can be used again. And it’s strong enough to kill Darkseid – or the body he’s inhabiting at least.”

“And I’ve always maintained that killing is wrong,” Clark answered, with a look at Oliver, who looked away. They’d had their own issues with that.

“We’re not just talking about a common criminal, Clark,” Bruce snapped. “We’re talking about a creature that is bent on destroying the universe.”

Clark remained steadfast. “It doesn’t matter. Besides, you can’t kill a god.”

“You’d allow him to exist?” Bruce asked. “You are supposed to be leading us, Clark. But I didn’t expect you to lead us to our doom.”

“You don’t get it, do you?” Clark shouted, finally letting his emotions get the best of him. “You choose the easy path, even if it means killing someone. If we are to guide people along the right path, then we need to be better than that.”

“So you’re still taking the moral high ground, aren’t you, Clark?” Oliver accused. “That was always your problem. You stick to your principles and never mind the rest of us. Let me tell you something about leaders, okay? Good leaders know when to admit that they might just be wrong about something.”

“So you think I’m wrong?”

“I think we need to destroy Darkseid. Kill his human host.”

“He’s a human being!”

“He’s already dead, can’t you see that?”

Julia, who had been sitting quietly observing the argument, suddenly stood up.

“Clark, as much as I hate to admit it, they all have a point. You can’t afford to take the moral high ground on this. Maybe I don’t remember much of what I was doing for Darkseid all those weeks, but there are times when I can feel the darkness creeping on the edges of my mind. I still want to be the good person I was brought up to be. But if Darkseid wins, then I will become the creature that he made me. I will be consumed by the darkness in me. As will we all. That’s what the Anti-Life Equation is all about. It’s darkness. You, or rather, Superman, are the one bright light we have to fight that darkness.”

“Julia, I get that. I do. But we have to draw the line somewhere.”

“If you do what Brainiac is suggesting, by using this machine to recreate the universe, you are doing exactly that anyway,” she pointed out.

“Then we find another way.”

“Darkseid’s strength is in the host he inhabits,” Wonder Woman spoke for the first time. “Without that ...”

“It doesn’t matter,” Clark said. “The fact is, he’s still in a human. And I can’t kill a human.”

“And I feel that this is exactly to what Brainiac was referring,” Oliver told him. “Never mind that you can’t trust him. I agree with Julia. What possible motivation could he have for wanting to destroy the universe when he’s always been about remaking Earth in Krypton’s mould. If you continue being so stubborn, then Darkseid wins.”

“He’s already winning,” Julia said sadly. “He’s pitting us against each other. It’s just like Lex.”

“What do you mean?”

“Lex always thought that the way to win was through fracturing the League.”

“You’re talking about the ‘divide and conquer’ idea. I believe that was Casear,” Bruce told her.

“And you think this is splitting us apart?” Clark said, looking incredulously at Julia.

“Isn’t it? Clark, you seem to think that there is only one answer to this, and no matter what we say, you will stick to that. You’ve never read Sun Tzu, have you?”

“Sun Tzu? That was Lex’s thing.”

“And I thought it bored the hell out of you,” Bruce reminded her. Julia ignored him and went on.

“Sun Tzu wrote that a man could lead people to their death only if the leader first earned their trust and got the follower to share the leader’s vision. We look to you to be our guide, Clark. To inspire us. Lead us into battle. But if we can’t trust your decisions, if we don’t agree with your vision, then how are we supposed to follow you?”

“I can’t kill,” he said stubbornly.

“But sometimes it is the only answer, even if it isn’t one we like,” Julia said.

“Perhaps not,” J’onn J’onzz said quietly.

“You have something else in mind?”

“If we could separate Darkseid from Turpin, force his essence from the human body, we may have a chance of saving him.”

“And how are we to do that?” Bruce asked. “And then contain the essence?”

“What about the Phantom Zone crystal?” Kara asked. The others looked at her. For a long time, the blonde cousin of their leader had said little. “If Jor-El was able to create something that drew the spirit from the body, then couldn’t we recreate it here?”

“It may work. But how do we bind Darkseid long enough to draw the essence from the body?” Julia asked.

“My lasso,” Diana suggested.

“Then how do we stop Darkseid?”

“I think Kal-El must use this machine that Brainiac Five spoke of,” J’onn suggested. “But you must learn more about it.”

“I still think there must be another way,” Clark told them. “Destroying another being ...”

“If we don’t, the universe is doomed. We all die, Clark.”

“I hate to sound like a geek and quote one of Lex’s favourite movies, but the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one,” Julia said. “And it is the only choice, Clark. I’m sorry. I know how you feel. I’ve never believed in an eye for an eye, but where Darkseid is concerned, it’s kill or be killed. It’s the way it has to be.”

Clark didn’t want to believe that, but he knew Julia was right. If Darkseid won, the universe would be destroyed. As he lay in bed with Lois that night, his hand on her belly, feeling his unborn child moving in her mother’s womb, he knew there were no other options.

He got up and went to the closet where he kept all his Superman gear. Dressing quickly, he took out the Legion ring, which Chloe had somehow retrieved and given to him. He put it in an inner pocket of his uniform. Leaving a note for Lois, he flew into the night.

Landing a few minutes later at the fortress, he stood in the snow, looking around at the crystal structure. He sighed.

“You seem troubled, my son,” Jor-El’s voice boomed out.

“The League is saying I should kill Darkseid.”

“Darkseid is a god, but he is not infallible, my son. He believes he can rule the planet. If he is allowed to continue with this quest, he will cause the implosion of the universe.”

“I don’t understand.”

“My son, in order for the universe to continue to exist, there must be a balance between good and evil. Light and darkness.”

“That’s the whole problem. They’re relying on me to beat back the darkness.”

“You misunderstand, Kal-El. The darkness I refer to is the one within you. Until you accept that, then you can never be balanced. And you can never be the leader you are destined to be.”

“I don’t understand.”

“All creatures have light and darkness within them. Even Kryptonians. It is when we allow the darkness to win, to overshadow us, that we become creatures of evil. That is what happened with Lex Luth-or. And that is what happened with your friend when she became one of Darkseid’s minions. She has it within her. He merely brought it out of her.”

“But accepting that darkness means having to choose between life and death for Darkseid. I can’t do that.”

“The creature that is Darkseid is already dead. You will merely release his essence. Yet he is still powerful, even without his human host. Be cautious, Kal-El. Darkseid will never understand the nature of light and dark as you do. He believes there is only one way. Deep inside yourself, you know that it is not the way. That is what stopped you from seeking retribution from the one you call Oliver when he killed the clone. That is what allowed you to forgive Luth-or.”

“What must I do?”

“Only in the future will you find the answer to the present.”


Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
eternal_moonie
Sep. 19th, 2010 12:02 am (UTC)
WOOHOO!!!! Updated Brainiac in this chapter! Really LOVE this new chapter honey!
phoenixnz
Sep. 19th, 2010 01:24 am (UTC)
Yep, and this time Brainiac's one of the good guys. Well, sort of.
So what do you think? Should I post the next chapter?
ctbn60
Sep. 19th, 2010 02:13 am (UTC)
Whoa. Action packed and brainiac too. I just don't get why everyone is against Clark for feeling the way he does. It's what makes him who he is. I can't wait to see what happens next.
phoenixnz
Sep. 19th, 2010 02:25 am (UTC)
What I was trying to say with the others is while they understand Clark's reluctance, the cost of letting Darkseid live is too high. Hopefully the next chapter will bring a satisfactory conclusion that they can all live with.
I'll post that in a couple of minutes.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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