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The Return of Lex Luthor 12/?

Author: Phoenixnz
Title: The Return of Lex Luthor
Genre: Drama

Characters: Clark, Lois, Lex, OC, Perry White, Justice League
Pairings: Clois, Lex/OC
Warning: Spoiler, season seven
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?


It all started here


Go back a step


 

Chapter Twelve

“So you called him on it and he acted like you’re the one at fault? That prick!” Julia just looked miserably at Lois and said nothing. Lois rubbed her back.

Lois had called Julia to find out how the evening had gone, but as soon as she’d heard her friend’s voice, she knew Julia was upset. She’d driven over to the penthouse to find Julia curled up on the couch, barely holding it together. It was clear she hadn’t slept.

Lois had managed to get out of her what had happened and where Lex was. She was angry that he had treated his wife this way. From what she’d heard from Oliver, no one at that party could find fault with anything Julia had done. In fact, they had all been charmed by the attractive young Mrs Luthor. And there hadn’t been a hint of any thoughts of her being a ‘gold-digger’.

“We have to wonder what she sees in him, though,” Oliver had commented. “She’s too good for him.” Lois had to agree with that.

She didn’t like Lex’s possessiveness. She’d seen it a couple of times now and it worried her. What was Lex so afraid of that he had to control Julia this way?

After a couple of hours talking with her friend, comforting her, Lois drove to Clark’s apartment. Clark had moved from the farm last summer to a loft in the heart of the city, a few blocks from the Daily Planet. He didn’t bother with getting a new car, since he used those owned by the newspaper for interviews.

Their relationship might have been strained for a while after Chloe’s death, but Clark was still the first person Lois would go to if she was troubled, or if she needed to get something straight in her head.

“Everything okay?” he asked as she came in.

“Not really. I’ve just been with Julia. You know, how she and Lex had that charity dinner last night?”

“Yeah, Ollie told me he was going.”

“Hmm, well, Lex was on his best behaviour for most of it, but as soon as he got her alone he accused her of flirting with Bruce Wayne, and he apparently said the most horrible things to her. Anyway, Julia started to tell him off for it and then he acted like she was the one who’d behaved badly. Can you believe him?”

Clark looked surprised.

“Julia stood up to him?”

“Yeah. Pretty brave thing to do in my book. Anyway, she’s really upset.”

He nodded, looking thoughtful. “So where’s Lex? I mean, he obviously wasn’t at the penthouse ...”

“He’s in Smallville. At the mansion I guess.”

“I should go talk to him,” Clark said. “I mean ... uh, call him and talk to him.”

“And what good will that do? Don’t you see the way he acts around her? Like all possessive?”

“I know, Lois. But what can we do? If we warn her what Lex is really like ...”

Clark sighed. He dreaded what could happen if Julia found out the truth about Lex. It would destroy her, he thought. They needed to figure out some way of getting her away from him. Getting her to realise just what kind of monster Lex was. Clark was sure more than ever that the ‘new and improved Lex’ was just an act.

But he had to keep up appearances. He had to know what was behind all this. The intel from Batman had suggested that Lex wanted to learn more about his abilities. But why? Was he wanting that power for himself or trying to figure out Clark’s weaknesses? He already knew about the Kryptonite.

Lois left soon after, still worried about Julia. Clark liked the fact that the women were getting closer. Julia needed someone like Lois. Hell, Lois needed her just as much. He knew she’d been barely coping after Chloe’s death. It hadn’t helped that he’d pulled away. He hadn’t wanted to, but he hadn’t been able to live with the guilt – of not being there when Chloe died. Even though Oliver had told him that he couldn’t have prevented it.

Clark had woken in the night to find Lois was curled in his arms. He loved looking at her this way. In sleep, her face had a softness that wasn’t always present during the day. Lois tried to pretend to the world how tough she was, but only around him she let herself show that deep set vulnerability she had. People were always leaving her behind, she’d once said. Her father, Ollie. Clark didn’t want to do that to her, but he knew that there were always going to be times when his other identity would take him away.

He wanted to tell her the truth about him. And he planned to. After the amazing night they’d just had, he was going to tell her everything. He would sit her down, cook her a nice dinner – not from a restaurant. She hadn’t fooled him one bit, not after he’d x-rayed the trash bag and seen the containers. Of course, she’d caught him at it, thinking he was squinting. He was sorry he’d snapped at her about that, but he really didn’t like keeping up the pretence of wearing glasses. On some people they looked great. On him ... well, it just reminded him of his dorky high school years.

He’d made up his mind. He was going to tell Lois he was the Blur. Tonight.

Lois mumbled in her sleep and he kissed her forehead. She smiled.

“Mm, love you Smallville.”

Clark grinned. Even in her dreams she was calling him by her favourite nickname. He had to admit it had annoyed him at first. But then it had grown on him and he loved it now.

“Love you too,” he whispered.

He held her tighter, closing his eyes, loving the feel of her in his arms. Why hadn’t they done this sooner?

A short time later, he was woken again by the cellphone quietly beeping. He gently extricated himself from Lois, who was still deeply asleep and found the cellphone in his jeans pocket.

“911. Watchtower.”

Clark dressed quickly, as quietly as he could and ran to the Watchtower. Oliver was sitting on one of the big sofas, his face grief-stricken.

“Ollie? What is it?”

“It’s Chloe. She ...” Ollie was barely holding back tears. “There was an explosion. I couldn’t ... she went alone. She insisted.”

Clark had known, of course, that Chloe and Ollie had been seeing each other. It had seemed like a casual relationship. They weren’t in love but they were close. Closer, in fact, than he had been to Chloe for some time. And Chloe had seemed to be happy at long last, after months of mourning Jimmy’s death. Months of virtual seclusion.

“Ollie, what happened?” he asked softly, kneeling down beside his friend. It somehow seemed important that he be on the lower level, almost as a supplicant.

“She said she needed to get some information about Zod and the Kandorians. She went to check out their warehouse. Alone. I told her not to go, but she insisted. When I suggested calling you, she refused. She told me that Lois had ... that you deserved to have at least one night off and you and Lois ... God, Clark, I should have gone with her.”

Clark’s stomach dropped in dread.

“I followed her anyway. I saw the Kandorians go in. I knew she was caught. I tried to get in there, but Zod ...” Oliver stared at him. “He flew, Clark. He has your powers.”

Clark’s eyes widened. Zod had his powers. God. No. If he had, then how? Did it have something to do with his blood? What had he done?

“What did Zod do?”

“He saw me. There was nothing I could do, Clark. Zod would have come after me except one of the others called him back. I don’t know if she had powers too. All I know is they went back in and a few minutes later there was an explosion.”

He held up a bracelet. It was Chloe’s. One he’d given her. It was blackened with soot and grime from the fire.

“They found human remains,” he said, after telling Clark the fire service had arrived quickly to put out the flames. “They think she was at ground zero when it blew.”

“And they’re sure it was Chloe?” Clark asked.

“It was right there,” Oliver told him, indicating the bracelet. “It was the only thing that survived.”

“What caused the explosion?”

“They’re not sure. They think it was a gas tank that ruptured.”

“Or was heated,” Clark mused aloud.

He stood up, running a hand through his hair. “I should have been there.”

“You couldn’t have known, Clark,” Oliver said behind him. “It’s not your fault.”

“I should have been there,” he repeated.

Lois, when she’d learned about Chloe, had at first denied it.

“It can’t be,” she said. “It might be like that time Lionel blew up the safe house. You know when Dad ... when he got her and her Dad to another location. Or at the dam, when she ... She’s not dead. She can’t be. It’s not real!”

“Lo, I’m so sorry,” Oliver had said, holding her. Clark had stood back, unable to deal with his own grief and guilt.

Lois shook her head. “It’s my fault. If I hadn’t ... she was always calling Clark for some reason or another. I was the one who told her ....”

“Chloe would have gone anyway,” Oliver told her.

Clark shook his head. It’s not fair, he thought. Just when he and Lois had got their relationship on track, that had happened. And he was sorry he’d pulled away. But after Zod had bragged about killing Chloe, threatening to go after every one else he cared about, Clark had had to pull away. Zod knew about Lois. And telling Lois his secret now would just destroy her. And she would blame him for Chloe’s death. He just knew she would.

As he entered the Smallville mansion, it was almost like old times. Those first four years of being friends with Lex had been good years. And part of him wanted to believe this was a return to those years. But he knew it was wishful thinking.

He walked in to the den, knowing that Lex would be there. Lex was sitting at his desk, working on his laptop. He looked up and smiled at Clark.

“Clark. You know I always wondered how you got in without alerting security.”

“Yeah,” Clark said. “Listen, I need to talk to you about Julia. I know you guys had a fight.”

Lex looked away. “I don’t want to talk about it.”

“Why not? Lex, she’s really upset.”

“Well, she shouldn’t have ...”

“What? Stood up for herself? You know you’re wrong about what happened.”

“How do you know?”

“Because I talked to Ollie. And Lois saw Julia this morning. She told Lois you thought she was flirting with Bruce Wayne.”

“She was.”

Lex got up from the desk and went to the bar, pouring himself a glass of scotch. He stood with his back to the bar and sipped the scotch.

“Look, Clark, I appreciate the concern, but Julia ...”

“Lex, Julia wouldn’t flirt with anyone. She doesn’t have it in her.”

“You didn’t see it.”

“It doesn’t matter,” he said. “Julia loves you. But she doesn’t like it when you get possessive. You know she told me what her Dad was like. Don’t do the same thing to her.”

“You’re one to talk. How many relationships have you had?”

“We’re not talking about me.”

“Come on. You and Lana. You had so many dramas between you I’m surprised you even managed to last as long as you did.”

“This isn’t about Lana. Lex, I’m trying to be your friend here. And I know you’re hurting as much as Julia is. Please, just go home and talk to her.”

“You think I should apologise?” Lex almost looked mutinous, as if he thought he had nothing to apologise for.

“I don’t want to tell you what to do. But if you love her as much as you say you do, you’ll realise that she feels the same way. And she’s not Helen. Or Desiree. Or Lana, for that matter. She isn’t in this to use you.”

“I know, Clark. I just ... I don’t like anyone ...” Clark understood.

“You were jealous. It’s understandable. She’s an attractive woman. But picking a fight with her over something that isn’t her fault isn’t going to help your relationship.”

Lex snickered. “Listen to you, lecturing me over my marriage. You’ve grown up Clark.”

“It happens,” Clark grinned, with more amusement than he really felt.

“I like this new mature you. Is it something to do with your training? With you becoming Superman?”

Clark tried to shrug off the question, but he knew he wasn’t going to get away with it.

“I guess the training’s part of it,” he said, hoping Lex would be satisfied with that answer. He wasn’t.

“I’m curious though. As Superman you seem so ... removed from everyone. Like you care about people but you’re not part of them. Is that a Kryptonian thing?”

“I was raised human, Lex. You know that. I barely know about my own people.”

“You didn’t learn anything about your people from the Kandorians?”

He shook his head. “Not really. I mean, I guess I always feared that Kryptonians were kind of cold.” Especially after the way the avatar of Jor-El had ‘reprogrammed’ him into Kal-El.

“But didn’t you give up on your humanity once?” Lex prodded.

Clark glanced at him. Lex’s enquiry seemed natural. Almost as if it was just out of genuine curiosity, rather than him trying to find out what made Clark tick. And Clark couldn’t remember ever telling Lex anything about those three weeks when Lois had disappeared, having travelled a year into the future.

Lex might not have known about that episode, but Tess Mercer did. Which made him wonder whether Lex had been spying on Tess, using the surveillance at the mansion and at the Planet, or if he Tess had still been working for him. Given what he now knew about Tess Mercer, he thought the latter was highly unlikely.

Pushing away those thoughts, he focused on Lex. He might be suspicious of Lex’s motives, but he wasn’t about to let Julia get hurt because of it.

“Lex, I’m not here to talk about me. I’m here for Julia. At least talk to her. Tell her why you were so upset instead of getting angry at her.”

He left a short time later, hoping that Lex had at least listened.

***

Julia was surprised when she heard the elevator later that afternoon. She’d been sitting on the couch, watching some old film she was barely paying attention to, and looked up when the door opened. Lex came in carrying a huge bouquet of flowers.

“I’m a jerk,” he said softly.

She uncurled, going to stand until he gently made her sit down again. He put the flowers on the coffee table and knelt beside her.

“Clark came to see me. He told me I should get my sorry ass back here and apologise. I’m sorry, sweetheart. I just ... sometimes I get so insecure.”

“Insecure?”

“When you grow up a spoiled brat like I did, you think that all people care about is your money and what you can do for them. I keep forgetting that that’s not you. And when I saw you with Bruce, I ... well, I guess I got jealous.”

“We were just talking.”

“I know,” he said, stroking her thigh. “I know. I just didn’t like it. And I’m a jerk for ever thinking those things or saying what I did to you. Forgive me?”

Julia bit her lip. “Well ...”

“What you said last night ... you were right. I did take my anger and frustration out on you when I was recuperating That was wrong of me, and you were an angel to put up with me for so long.”

“I put up with you because I love you,” she returned softly.

“I know, baby. I know.”

Julia’s face softened, her eyes searching as she looked at him, then she shifted forward in her seat, putting her arms around him.

“I’ll try to be better,” he whispered. “I promise.”

He slowly stood, holding her in his arms, lifting her as she hid her face in his neck, carrying her to the bedroom.


Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
ctbn60
Apr. 6th, 2010 04:25 pm (UTC)
I'm getting dizzy with the speed that lex flip flops around!! you have me on the edge of my seat wanting to know exactly what the heck he is up too!! Enjoyed this chapter and seeing him and clark interact. As well as finding out about chloe :( Well done!
phoenixnz
Apr. 6th, 2010 05:25 pm (UTC)
Lex's plans will soon make themselves known.

I will say this - there are a few more surprises in store.
eternal_moonie
Apr. 7th, 2010 08:07 am (UTC)
GREAT chapter honey! I wanted to R&R earlier, but my computer at my parents house isn't letting me online so here's my belated reply to your entry. :(
phoenixnz
Apr. 7th, 2010 10:02 am (UTC)
Don't you hate it when computers do that to you? It's okay, hon. I'm glad you liked the chapter.
jlvsclrk
Apr. 11th, 2010 08:33 am (UTC)
Nice! It would be so wonderful if Lex really had changed. I miss those early Smallville days so much. It was great to have him and Clark have a civil conversation for the first time in years, and I really admired Clark for sticking to the point of the visit.
phoenixnz
Apr. 11th, 2010 09:05 am (UTC)
Oh Lex knows how to be the epitome of civility. But Clark isn't going to fall for it that easy.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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