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The Truth About Men and Women 48/74

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Author: Phoenixnz
Fandom: Smallville
Genre: Romcom,Drama, movie knock-off, AU
Rating: R (for innuendo, although there may be smut later)
Pairing: Clark Luthor/Lois Lane
Disclaimer: I don't own the characters, not even the AU ones, or the movie this one is based on. Some situations from the movie The Ugly Truth are borrowed for effect, but with a Smallville spin on them.
Feedback: Yesh pleash
Art: dream_infinity0

Summary: Lois Lane is a dedicated journalist. So dedicated in fact that she has trouble with relationships. She is mortified when cable show host and womaniser Clark Luthor joins the Daily Planet as a columnist and he begins teaching her the truth about male/female relationships. From his angle anyway.

Previously



Chapter Forty-Eight


Clark was still feeling angry about the general’s attitude toward him, but he had been impressed by the apology. He could tell that the man loved his daughter enough to at least accept that this was what she wanted. And for Lois’ sake, he was prepared to tolerate the man as well.

“What now?” Lois asked when the general had gone.

“I think we need to meet with Oliver and Bruce and try and come up with some kind of strategy to deal with Slade.”

“You really think it’s going to matter?” she asked.

“If the tide really is turning against us, then we need to fight back.”

“I still think the best way is for the Blur to come out of the shadows and reveal himself,” Lois answered.

Clark knew she was right. And he had an idea about that. He was going to talk to Lex about staging an argument between them over the whole glasses issue, ensuring it started the gossipers in the office talking.

“You know,” Lois said thoughtfully, “I can’t help thinking there is more to this than just some kind of crusade against vigilantes.”

“What do you mean, Lois?” he asked.

“Well, doesn’t it strike you as odd that in spite of all the people the Blur has saved, public opinion is turning against him?”

“You think there might be something else driving it? Lois, look around you. Terrorist threats, extreme security measures – it’s almost like they’re trying to turn America into ...”

“What?”

Clark snapped his fingers. “I just thought of something.” He grabbed her hand. “Come on.”

“Where are we going?” she asked.

“To see an old friend.”

Two years ago, Clark had met a man who had spent most of the last thirty years in hiding after a government organisation had tried to do the same thing to him that they were now trying to do to Clark and his friends. The oddest thing was that the man hadn’t aged a day in those thirty years.

Clark had been in Egypt, helping on a dig site, when he’d run into Carter Hall. He’d been forced to reveal himself when an accident on the site had nearly killed Carter. The older man had grumbled and complained that Clark wasn’t supposed to interfere in his ‘destiny’.

“You’re welcome,” Clark had returned, his voice dripping with sarcasm.

Carter had come to his tent later, offering him a drink of something which tasted a lot like dirty gym socks, but Clark drank it to be sociable.

“So, Luthor huh? Any relation to Lionel?”

“Son. Adopted.”

“Yeah, figured. ‘Cause I doubt you would have inherited those powers from the old man.”

Clark grimaced. He had hoped Carter hadn’t seen him use his strength or his speed. Or his heat vision, for that matter, when he’d fried a scorpion.

“What do you know about him?” Clark asked warily.

Carter raised his hands. “Don’t get defensive, chucklehead.”

“I’m not getting defensive,” Clark returned. “I hate the old man.”

“Yeah, join the club,” Carter said harshly. “The old man was a real bastard when I knew him. Him and that friend of his he used to hang with back in the day.”

“What do you mean, back in the day?”

“Thirty, forty years ago.”

“When you were a kid?”

Carter drank and coughed, wiping his hand over his stubbled and dirty face. He clearly wasn’t going to explain how he managed to keep from aging and Clark decided not to push it.

“I’ve been asking questions about you, Luthor. You’re not like the others.”

“Others?” Clark asked.

“Don’t play dumb rich boy. You and your little pals,” Carter sneered, “playing at being heroes.”

“We’re not playing,” Clark returned. “This is not a game.”

“You have any idea what they’ll do to you if they find out who and what you are?”

“Can’t be any worse than what my old man tried to do.”

“I don’t care!” Carter said.

“Then why are you here?”

“I was curious.” Carter walked out, leaving him with a lot of unanswered questions.

When Clark left Egypt, he decided to do some research on Carter Hall. He had found that Carter, along with several others, had been arrested on what later turned out to be trumped-up charges. What was really interesting was that the incidents had taken place more than thirty years earlier, and Carter had not aged at all.

Eager to learn more, Clark had tracked down some of the men and had found a brownstone house in the middle of the city. To his surprise, Carter had greeted him in the hallway.

“Wondered when you’d find your way here, rich boy.”

“What is this place?” he asked, staring at the artifacts in displays around the huge room. “Some sort of museum?”

“Or something like it,” Carter muttered. “For old men and has-beens.”

“What is the Justice Society?” Clark asked.

“The past,” Carter said, walking away.

“I don’t believe you. You wouldn’t have kept all this if you didn’t still care.”

“And what would you know? You and your so-called super friends?”

“You’ve been studying us?” Clark asked.

“Dr Fate seems to think you’re a big deal. I think you’re nothing but a spoiled rich kid with too much time on your hands.”

“Clark Luthor is not like the others,” another voice said and Clark turned to look at the other figure. He was wearing what looked like a gold helmet, but the eyes glowed red. It seemed almost ... alien. “His path is righteous. He will lead the new generation.”

“Some leader,” Carter snorted. “This generation will make the same mistakes the old one did. People never learn.”

“You’re wrong,” Clark replied.

“Am I?” Carter asked.

“What happened to the Justice Society?” Clark asked.

“It doesn’t matter.”

“It does matter.”

“I lost my wife. Shiera.”

Carter seemed resigned as he explained that his wife had been killed by a man they had been trying to put away. In his rage at his wife’s death, Carter had gone after the man, putting him in a coma which he had never recovered from.

But Carter’s story didn’t end there. According to legend, Carter had been a prince in ancient Egypt, by the name of Khufu, locked in a bitter feud with a priest, Hath-Set. Eventually Khufu and his consort Chay-Ara were captured and killed by the priest, who cursed their souls so they could not move on to the after-life, but instead were doomed to remain in the mortal world, to be reincarnated over and over again.

Lois had listened in rapt silence as Clark related the story.

“So ... how is it that Carter can’t age? I mean, can he die?”

“There was a man who imbued Carter with some kind of energy that retarded his aging.”

“Oh.”

He parked the car on the side of the road and walked toward a three-storey brownstone building. Clark held Lois’ hand as they walked up the steps. He knocked on the door, unsure of what reception he would get.

Once again, Carter opened the door.

“Well, if it isn’t the rich boy.” He looked at Lois. “Who’s this?”

“Lois Lane,” she said. “I’m with the Daily Planet.”

“Lois Lane, huh? Yeah, I read your work. What do you want, Luthor?”

“We wanted to talk to you. About the Blur.”

Carter shook his head. “I don’t know anything about the Blur.”

“Carter, it’s all right. Lois knows everything.”

“Good for her.”

“Carter, we came to talk to you about what’s been happening lately.”

“You’re referring to this morning’s news broadcasts. Yes, I saw it.”

“Then you know what we’re up against,” Clark told him.

Carter raised an eyebrow. “We? Last time I checked, Luthor, there was no ‘we’.”

“Carter ...” Clark said, exasperated. “Don’t pretend you don’t care.”

“I’ve spent the last thirty years of my life in hiding because I cared too much. I lost my wife because I cared too much.”

“Look,” Lois said, stepping forward. “There is something more at work here. It’s no coincidence that Slade steps up just as public opinion is turning against Clark and the others.”

“It’s nothing new,” Carter said. “In every period of history there has been a darkness trying to lead the people away from the light.”

Clark nodded. Nazi Germany, the Crusades.

“You can’t fight the darkness, Clark,” the older man told him. “It’s not something you can fight. Not physically.”

“Then how are we supposed to stop it?”

“By showing them the light.”

Clark sighed. He really hated it when people got cryptic on him. But Lois turned and looked at him.

“That’s exactly what I’ve been saying Clark,” she said. “You have to come out of the shadows. People need someone to believe in. Someone they can trust. Being the Blur isn’t enough. You know why people fear the darkness and the shadows? Because they can’t see anything there.”

“It’s not going to be easy,” Carter warned. “This has been building for a long time. Probably since even the Justice Society.”

“There must be something you can do to help,” Clark asked.

“I don’t have the political connections it would take to stop this. And you’re far better equipped than I am to halt the rising tide.” Clark looked at him blankly and Carter sighed. “Look, do you know how people like Hitler came to power? Because they bombarded people with propaganda. Messages with a bias toward Nazi Germany and against the west. Do you think Saddam Hussein let his people hear about the atrocities his soldiers were committing or did he angle it so it looked like the west was responsible? If you want to beat this, you have to play the game by their rules.”

“He’s right, Clark. We can bombard the media. Use Facebook, blogging sites. We can get people talking about the Blur and all the good he’s done.”

Clark grinned. He loved Lois when she was on one of her crusades. And her enthusiasm, not to mention her energy, was infectious.

But they still had a job to do and a story to investigate. Lois had made an appointment with a Dr Yaeger Scanlan. Clark studied the man as they all sat down in his office. He was about six foot tall with greying brown hair. Clark had done some quick digging before they’d left the office. Dr Scanlan had been the attending surgeon at Smallville Medical Centre until he’d resigned four years before Lionel’s death to go into private practice. His practice had been financed by Lionel.

“Thank you for seeing us on such short notice Dr Scanlan,” Lois said.

“Not a problem, Ms Lane. I understand you want to talk to me about Lionel Luthor.”

“Yes.”

“Well, you know, even though the man has been dead for a year, I’m still reluctant to give you any information on his medical history.”

“We could always get a federal subpoena, Dr Scanlan,” Clark said quietly. Lois nudged him, but Clark ignored her. “Come on, doctor, it’s not like anything you say can hurt him now. Besides you know that we know that Lionel financed you to start this practice. All we want to know is how you managed to cure his liver disease. According to the research notes on CL89, the disease was terminal.”

The doctor sighed. “Mr Luthor, I understand, but I can’t just ...”

Clark leaned forward, trying to look intimidating.

“I’d hate to think what would happen if my brother decided to have this place’s accounts audited, doctor.”

“Clark,” Lois said in a low voice.

Dr Scanlan bristled at the obvious threat.

“What are you afraid of, doctor?”

“Look, all I can tell you is this. Yes, your father’s disease was terminal. As you know, there have been incredible advances in modern medicine and one of those was the discovery that a diseased liver could regenerate when grafted with a healthy donor liver. But your father’s disease was already at end-stage and given his age, and his lifestyle, I recommended against the surgery. But he was insistent. He said he had a suitable donor lined up, but he would not say who the donor was.”

Clark now understood the doctor’s reluctance. What Lionel had done was unethical and most likely illegal.

“How long ago was this?” he asked the doctor.

“The same time I went into private practice.”

So the practice had been a bribe, of sorts. It was a typical Lionel thing to do. Make sure everyone involved kept their mouths shut, either by bribery or blackmail. And Scanlan had more to lose if Lionel had chosen to take away his practice.

“Was there another doctor working with you?”

Scanlan nodded.

“Doctor Donovan Jamison.”

“Do you know where he is now?” Lois asked.

“No, sorry.”

Clark looked at Lois. “I think we’ve learned all we can from Dr Scanlan,” he said. “Thank you for your time.”

He couldn’t help but notice Dr Scanlan’s relief as they left.

They returned to the Daily Planet and Lois immediately began researching Jamison. She gasped.

“Clark, listen to this. Dr Donovan Jamison was the CEO at NuCorp, which is a high-tech energy company, until 2002 when he was asked to resign because he was arrested for selling sensitive technology secrets about detection of minerals.”

“To whom?” Clark asked.

“It doesn’t say, but I wonder if it was Lionel?”

Clark shrugged. It certainly sounded plausible. He moved his chair around to read from Lois’ screen. Jamison had maintained his innocence in the trial. According to the article from the Smallville Ledger, he eventually pleaded guilty to a lesser charge to avoid jail time, then disappeared.

Lois’ phone rang. Chloe. She put it on speaker.

“Hey cuz,” Lois said.

“Hey. Bruce saw the broadcast and he’s steaming mad. He’s calling a meeting.”

“Yeah, Lois and I have some ideas,” Clark said. He kept reading through the article, then a name jumped out at him. “Chloe, did you happen to investigate a Donovan Jamison a few years ago?”

“Yes I did, why?”

“His name has come up in something we’re investigating about Lionel. What do you know?”

“Well, do you remember a researcher by the name of Steven Hamilton? He was considered some kind of kook in Smallville.”

Clark remembered. The man had an impressive collection of meteor rock and had been trying to convince everyone in town that the meteor rock gave people powers. Lex had hired the man to try and rein him in, knowing the risk of exposure to Clark, and had installed him at Cadmus Labs.

“What about him?”

“Well, Jamison was working with Dr Hamilton around the same time you lived with Lex in Smallville. Pete and I broke in to one of his labs and he caught us and showed us one of his experiments. Clark, he was studying dead meteor freaks. He claimed he was trying to cure meteor infections but it looked like he wanted to try and harness the powers for himself. Or for someone else.”

Sounded like something Lionel would do, Clark snorted to himself. Chloe went on.

“He was working for Lionel at a facility in Corto Maltese as late as 2007, until the facility was blown. I’m guessing that was Oliver’s doing?”

“How’d you know?” he asked, since he hadn’t actually told her of Oliver’s raids on Lionel’s 33.1 facilities.

“Please! Did you forget who you were talking to?”

“God forbid,” Lois snorted. “Thanks cuz. When does Bruce want this meeting?”

“ASAP. He’s going to be in Metropolis tomorrow. Is that soon enough to gather the troops?” she asked Clark.

“Oliver’s still in town,” Clark told her. “I’m not sure where the others are but I think he knows.”

“Good. Bruce will let you know when he gets in.”

“You’re not coming?” Lois asked.

“I can’t. The proverbial shit has hit the fan here in Gotham and I’ve got meetings to attend all over tomorrow. Check out the evening edition of the Tribune. It should be online now.”

“Why?”

“Just read it,” Chloe said. “I’ve gotta go. Take care of yourselves.”

Clark watched as Lois hung up the phone and quickly accessed the Tribune’s web page. The lead story was an interview with the Joker in Arkham, claiming that the new backlash against superheroes was ‘justice’.

“They’re all freaks. Every one of them. And Batman’s the biggest one of all. I could tell you stories about him. And that guy calling himself the Blur in Metropolis. Delicious!”

There were other interviews with people who had come out on the side of Slade, saying the ‘vigilantes’ were a menace and should be locked up.

Clark had the feeling that the timing was no coincidence. It seemed like people like Slade had been planning this for some time and the earlier press conference was just the tip of the iceberg.

He remembered the photographs in Slade’s office and knew he and the other members of their league had been the subject of study for some time. The bigger question was, how much did Slade know about their real identities? And what was he going to do with that information?

Lex knocked on the office door.

“How goes the war?” he asked.

“Which one?” Lois returned.

Lex smirked. “I’m heading out to pick up Lena. She’s been staying with Oliver for the day.”

“Let’s hope he hasn’t corrupted her,” Clark smiled.

Lex raised an eyebrow. “Hmm, I think maybe that should be the other way around. You two coming over for dinner? You can bring Maddie. I’d like to meet her.”

“Sure. We can update you on what we have so far,” Lois nodded, glancing at Clark, who smiled at her.

“I’ll see you in about an hour or so then. I think Mrs H is roasting a leg of mutton.”

Clark licked his lips. He loved roast mutton. Not to mention the roast vegetables.

“With roast vegetables?” he asked.

“And peas too, I think.”

Clark’s face fell. He hated peas. Lex grinned, knowing how Clark felt about the little green vegetables. He left the office, still grinning.

Lois grinned at him. “I saw that,” she said.

“Saw what?” he said, trying for an innocent look.

“I saw you screw your face up.”

“Well, I hate peas.”

“Why is that exactly?”

He shrugged. “I don’t know. I’ve always hated them. When I was about four we were eating at the formal dining table and my mom served me up some peas. As soon as I took a mouthful I spat them out.” He shuddered. Lionel had been so pissed at Clark’s lack of manners he’d whacked his butt until Clark had been screaming with pain, then sent him to his room. Clark hadn’t been invulnerable in those days although he had still been fairly strong.

“Well, I’m not surprised you hate peas after that,” Lois said sympathetically. “I mean, I got a couple of good whacks on my behind if I misbehaved when I was little, but they were more shocking than painful. My dad was big on discipline but it was more the making me do chores kind of discipline rather than the physical kind.”

“Yeah, Lena misbehaves from time to time but I’ve never seen Lex hit her. I think he just doesn’t want to repeat the same mistakes Lionel made.”

“Those weren’t mistakes, Clark. That was abuse.”

Clark realised she was right. She’d been right about a lot of things where his relationship with his father was concerned. He had spent most of his childhood afraid of his father, while being taught that fear was something to be exploited in others.

Lois shook him gently, then leaned over and kissed him.

“What was that for?” he asked.

“Nothing. I just felt like it.” She stood up and held out her hand. “Come on, we should go pick up Maddie.”

“Yeah,” he said, getting up to follow her.

Just as they were leaving the office, there was a bright flash. A boy about seventeen or eighteen grinned at them.

“Caught ya,” he said.

Lois frowned at him. “What?”

“Oh sorry, my name’s Jimmy. Jimmy Olsen. I just started here today.” He tapped the camera at his side. “Photographer. Well, I’m going to be.”

Clark looked the boy over. He was about five ten with reddish brown hair and a freckled face. His blue eyes sparkled with mischief.

“So what were you doing?” he asked the boy.

“Mr White told me to get some practice taking candid shots,” Jimmy said, but there was a slight inflection in his tone which made Clark think the boy wasn’t quite telling the truth. But he decided to let it go for now.

They picked up Maddie at the apartment. She had told Clark that morning she wanted to do some studying. She wasn’t sure she wanted to go back to high school and be two years behind others her age so she had been looking into the GED and what she would need to get entry into college.

Clark had told her about the trust and everything else Lex’s attorney had said. Maddie was quiet in the car on the way to Lex’s house and Clark had the impression that Maddie was feeling a little anxious about meeting his brother. Lois glanced at him and he knew she was thinking the same thing. He wanted to say something to the girl but she just kept staring out the window.

Lena pounced on them as soon as they got in, still carrying the kitten around as if it was her new best friend. It was a good thing the kitten was so placid as it didn’t seem to mind the treatment.

Lena stared at Maddie, retreating behind Clark.

“Lena, this is Maddie,” he told his niece.

Maddie waved a hand, looking shyly back at the young girl.

“Hi. Is that your kitten?”

Lena nodded mutely.

“What’s her name?” Maddie asked.

“Minnie.”

“Cool name,” the teen said.

Lena stepped forward a little. “Wanna play with her?” she said.

“Okay.”

The two girls went off together. Lois sent Clark an amused look as they stepped into the house. Lex and Oliver were talking in the living room while the housekeeper was finishing up the dinner preparations in the kitchen.

Oliver looked at them.

“So, what do you think of the new witch hunt?” he asked.

“Remains to be seen,” Clark answered.

“Was your father any help?” Lex asked Lois.

She nodded. “He said he’d do what he could to try and stall things at least, but he didn’t make any promises. He clearly doesn’t like Slade though.”

“Not a lot of people do, from what I hear,” Oliver said. He looked at Clark. “I called Bart and the others. They’ll be here tomorrow. What about Kara?”

“I don’t even know where she is,” Clark told him. “Kara and I don’t talk much.”

Clark had found his cousin a few years ago. She had been sent to Earth at the same time as him but her ship had been damaged after being hit by an asteroid and she had drifted a little off course, landing, of all places, in a river in Smallville. It was only after a severe flood that Kara’s ship became dislodged and she was woken from stasis to find that twenty years had passed.

Kara had been searching preschools, thinking she had only been asleep for as long as it had taken for the ship to fly to Earth. Clark had heard about it through the grapevine and went looking for her. She had been surprised to learn she had been asleep for so long and hadn’t acclimated well to Earth. It hadn’t helped that Clark had practically muzzled her from the moment she had appeared on the scene.

After months of arguing, Kara had taken off and Clark hadn’t heard a word from her for three years, until Supergirl had come on the scene, rescuing a truck driver who had fallen asleep at the wheel and had drifted off course, about to go over a steep bank on a windy road in San Francisco.

Clark had seen the news headlines about the girl while on his travels and had gone to see her. But Kara had been hostile even then. He supposed he couldn’t blame her, really. He’d never been that discreet about using his powers and for him to tell her the opposite was a little hypocritical.

“Maybe you should try tracking her down,” Oliver suggested.

“Yeah, maybe.”

The conversation turned to Lionel and his activities. Clark listened as Lois told Lex about the visit to Dr Scanlan.

“And you two think this Dr Jamison was doing what, exactly?”

“Well, that’s just it, we don’t know. But there has to be a connection to what he was doing for Lionel and the experiments with CL89.”

“I thought the tests were unsuccessful?” Lex asked.

“They were. So maybe Lionel found another way?” Lois suggested.

Maddie and Lena came in. Maddie looked shyly at Lex, who smiled gently at her. Clark knew Lex had had his own experience with shyness. Years of being taunted for his baldness had made him a little insecure.

“Hi Maddie,” he said. “It’s nice to meet you. Clark’s told me all about you.”

Maddie nodded. She looked up at Oliver, who smiled back and shook her hand.

“I think we might have met briefly a few years ago,” he said. “When your foster mom was working for Lionel.”

“Naomi,” she said. “I remember.”

Mrs Hendricks came in and announced dinner was ready.

“Girls, go wash up for dinner,” Lex instructed. “Lena, you can show Maddie where to go.”

“Okay Daddy.”

Clark watched the two girls wander down the hallway. Lena seemed to be handling things better. She certainly seemed a lot brighter than she had been. He supposed the fact that her father had spent the whole weekend with her had had a lot to do with that as well.

“Let’s eat,” he said. “I’m starved.”

Lex just sent him a withering look and shook his head, sighing.

Next

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
eternal_moonie
May. 17th, 2012 07:15 pm (UTC)
Absolutely AWESOME new chapter honey!!!
phoenixnz
May. 17th, 2012 07:18 pm (UTC)
Thanks honey
ctbn60
May. 18th, 2012 12:31 am (UTC)
wow wonderful chapter full of a LOT of stuff happening! I like carter bruce and the others being in the mix. Nice chapter honey!
phoenixnz
May. 18th, 2012 06:24 am (UTC)
Thanks Carol, they're all in the mix now :)
crazy4ew
Jun. 16th, 2012 02:25 am (UTC)
*pant pant* I've just finished reading ALL forty eight chapters of your story and WOW!! No wonder you won best fic. It is so good, so captivating (I couldn't leave it...) and so well done. Bravo. I absolutely love Clark Luthor for his uninhibited self. His confidence is so darn sexy and I love how he fell head over heels for Lois.

Tell me there is more coming or that the rest is somewhere? I need closure!! I don't do well with WIPs and this was so so good. Thanks for pointing me to your master fic list. *heading back there now* ;)
phoenixnz
Jun. 16th, 2012 02:35 am (UTC)
wow, that is quite an achievement. I have two other stories to update before this one (due to popular demand - yes, it's a burden being so popular *dramatic sigh* LOL) but I promise I will update this baby soon. I cannot leave my fans hanging, now can I? I love writing Clark Luthor (well, a good Clark Luthor anyway)
crazy4ew
Jun. 16th, 2012 02:40 am (UTC)
oh that's a relief... it's nice to know there will be closure at some point. :)
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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