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The Return of Lex Luthor 46/?

Author: Phoenixnz
Title: 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?


It all started here

Go back a step


 

Chapter Forty-Six

Alfred woke Julia at 5.30 Tuesday morning telling her Bruce wanted her up and dressed in a loose t-shirt and sweat pants ready to go for a run.

“He knows bats are nocturnal, right?”

Alfred just smiled in that inimitable way of his. With a sigh, Julia hunted through her clothing for the required pants and shirt and found her running shoes. She met Bruce in the grey light of dawn in the grounds.

“It’s 5.30, Bruce,” she complained. “And what are we doing going for a run when your leg is still injured and I’m ...”

“You’re fine, or so your therapist tells me. Now let’s get moving.”

“I hate you,” she growled.

“Do the crime, you do the time.” She glared at him. He turned and looked at her. “You asked for this. You wanted my help. So stop complaining and get moving.”

Muttering under her breath, Julia followed his lead, doing a warm-up to stretch the muscles before setting off onto the road. She knew what he was doing. It still didn’t make it any easier, getting up at 5.30 in the morning.

She was badly out of shape and she knew it. But for their first morning out, Bruce went reasonably easy on her, keeping it to a jog for the first kilometre, then a fast walk, before picking up the pace.

“I feel like I should be hearing the theme to Rocky about now,” she said. “Or something.”

“Has anyone ever told you you have a strange sense of humour?” Bruce asked.

“Once or twice.” He was frowning, but Julia couldn’t help but notice the way his mouth twitched. Oh yeah, she was getting to him.

They returned to the manor for a breakfast of oatmeal. Julia just glared at it.

“Looks like something my cat ...”

“Don’t say it,” Bruce warned. “You really don’t want to offend Alfred.”

“Sorry. I hate porridge.”

“It’s good for you. Add some fruit to it.”

“Is this payback?” she asked. “You know, for me bossing you around?”

Bruce said nothing, which made it clear it was payback.

After breakfast, he led her into the study.

“I thought we were going to work out some more.”

“I wanted to talk to you first,” he told her. “Tell me why you want this.”

“So I can be strong. Inside. Not outside.”

“Why?”

She shrugged. “I don’t know. I guess I’m tired of feeling like a nobody.”

“Who told you you were a nobody?”

Ooh, he really got down and dirty, didn’t he?

“It’s been that way my whole life,” she told him.

“Who?”

“Kids at school.”

“You’re twenty-nine years old, Julia. Are you telling me that what some snot-nosed little kid said to you when you were what ... ten?”

“Eight,” she said softly.

“Eight? You’re telling me you’re still hung up on what some little brat told you twenty-one years ago? Three words for you, Julia. Get over it!”

“It’s not that simple.”

“Isn’t it? Do you think I let people treat me differently?”

“Yeah, but you’re Batman.”

“Underneath the mask.”

“You still wear the mask. Even when you’re Bruce.”

“But we’re not talking about me, are we? Tell me who you are, Julia.”

“I ...”

“Tell me!”

But Julia didn’t know. She’d never really examined who she was, her own identity being formed by Max Walker, first, then by Lex Luthor. She’d never been sure of her own place in the world.

“You’re afraid,” he told her. “Face your fears. You can’t become who you’re meant to be if you’re afraid of it.”

“I’m not afraid,” she denied.

“Then prove it. Show me who you are. Stop fighting it.”

“You don’t get it,” she shouted at him. “You don’t understand. All my life, they’ve put me down, made me ... I’m no-one special. I’m not. I’m not even good-looking. I’m just ... stupid.”

Bruce watched her with narrowed eyes.

“Why do you do that? Why do you constantly put yourself down?”

“Because they ... because people ... People put you down enough, you start to believe it. That you’re really nothing special.”

Suddenly, Bruce grabbed her arm and dragged her across to the full mirror. “Look in there and tell me what you see.”

Bruce was standing behind her, his hands holding her, bruising her bare arms.

“You’re hurting me,” she protested.

“Tell me.”

“There’s nothing to tell. I told you.”

“Tell me again.”

“I’m nothing.”

“Describe yourself.”

“This is stupid.”

“Do it!”

Sighing, Julia relaxed in his grip, knowing it would hurt less that way. She decided she had to give in or else he would never let go, and eyed herself critically.

“I’m brown-haired, blue-eyed, okay figure. I guess I could use a little toning.” She turned and looked at him. “See, nothing special.”

“Then take another look,” he said, turning her back to the mirror. Holding her much more gently now, he reached up to the braid on her hair, pulling the tie off so her hair fell loose in crimped waves. “Do you know you have different colours in your hair? In the light, it shines with hues of gold and red. It’s no ordinary brown. And behind those glasses are the biggest eyes I’ve ever seen, and the deepest shade of azure blue. They’re almost like sapphires. Have you ever thought of contacts, or lasik?”

“I did,” she whispered. “But Lex never wanted me to. He said he was happy with me the way I am.”

“It’s his way of controlling you.”

Bruce continued his calm inspection, his finger tracing the contours of her face. “You could have been a model,” he said. “Your bone structure is incredible, and your face is completely symmetrical. Did you know that?”

She shook her head. “No one ever told me that.”

“And you have more than an ‘okay figure’,” he said. “You have the kind of build that makes you look taller than you are, and with the right kind of training, you can easily take care of the toning.” He continued to look her over in a way that didn’t seem at all unwelcome. For a moment, Julia thought she could see lust in his eyes. She wouldn’t have been surprised. The way he was looking at her had her burning with a need she had never really felt before.

Bruce, meanwhile, had moved away slightly.

“People put you down because you let them. Because you believe what they say. And it shouldn’t matter what they think, or what I think. It should only matter what you think. You’ve never thought for yourself, have you? You’ve always gone by the opinions of others. Well, here’s my opinion, Julia. I bet no one ever told you how beautiful you are, did they? Your father. Lex. They never showed you your potential. And you are more than just a pretty face, Julia. You’re intelligent, funny, charming. I noticed those things the first time I saw you and I wanted to rip Lex’s guts out for pushing you further down than you already were.”

Julia couldn’t breathe. Some of the things Bruce was saying had her staring at herself in wonder. And Bruce Wayne was not the type of man who would just say things he thought people wanted to hear. If anything, he was brutally honest.

Bruce stepped back, then looked seriously at her reflection in the mirror.

“Remember this day,” he said softly. “Remember that no-one can make you believe in yourself except you. No-one can love you if you don’t love yourself.” He looked at her kindly. “Let’s go,” he said. “We have work to do.”

***

Clark got up early that day, speeding out of the apartment to get two coffees from Lois’ favourite cafe and the usual croissants from his favourite bakery. When he returned, he waved the cup under Lois’ nose. The aroma stirred her. She reached out blindly and Clark put it on the side table.

“Noo,” she protested.

“Come on sleepyhead. It’s seven am. Time to get up.”

Lois reached for his hand. “Noo,” she said. “Come back to bed and snuggle.”

“Lo-ois.”

“Party pooper,” she said with a frown. Opening her eyes fully, she sat up, blinking in the sunlight pouring through the window. How was it fair that Clark looked so refreshed and wide awake and she felt as if she’d just got to sleep.

“So not fair,” she said.

“What’s not fair?”

“You always look gorgeous in the mornings. I look like ...”

“Lois, you always look gorgeous to me. Even with sleep in your eyes, and your bed hair.”

“I do not have bed hair,” she said, hand reaching up to her head, feeling the frizzy strands. “Oh my god, I do have bed hair.” She pulled up the sheet to cover her face. “Don’t look at me.”

“Lois, come on. Don’t be like that. You could wear a paper bag and I’d still think you were the most gorgeous woman in the world.”

She dropped the sheet and peered at him.

“You really mean that?”

“Would Superman lie?”

“Well,” she said with a thoughtful frown. “Maybe Superman wouldn’t, but Clark Kent, on the other hand ...”

“Drink your coffee before it gets cold. I got your favourite.”

“Ooh,” she said, tasting the coffee and smacking her lips. Bliss!” Do you know how much I love you Smallville?”

“Because I buy you coffee?”

“Not just any coffee. My favourite coffee.”

“Admit it, you just love me for the coffee and croissants I bring you?”

She pounced on the plate of croissant. “You spoil me Clark Kent/Superman/Smallville.”

“You know, a guy could get a complex on all those names alone.”

“Not likely,” she said, her mouth full of fresh croissant. She made noises that, well if anyone had been listening, could have mistaken for something else.

Clark went out to the kitchen to finish the clean up from their dinner the night before. Lois put on the plaid shirt Clark had worn the night before and her bunny slippers, padding out to the kitchen.

“By the way,” he said. “J’onn called. He set up a meeting with the informant. We’re meeting him at nine.”

“Great. Maybe we can get a lead on Corelli.”

“Let’s hope so.” Clark turned and looked at her, then frowned. “Why are you always wearing my shirts?”

“It’s the only thing I could find that was clean,” she said with a grin, reminiscent of the first time she’d stolen one of his shirts. And if she could remember clearly, she’d said the same thing then too.

“Funny, Lois. Really, why?”

She put her arms around his waist. “Guess.”

He bent his head and kissed her, exploring her lips gently with his tongue. Lois made a small moan in the back of her throat.

“Why don’t we just cancel today and stay in bed,” she whispered.

“We’d lose our jobs,” Clark said. “And what with Lex making that threat yesterday.”

Damn, she’d forgotten about that.

“He couldn’t really get us fired, could he?” she asked, with not a little trepidation.

“Nah. I talked to Perry last night while you were warming up the shower. He said, and I quote: ‘It’ll be a cold day in hell before I let someone like Luthor take away my two star reporters’.”

“Star reporters? He really said that?”

“Word for word.”

“Huh!”

Clark pulled her close, caressing her backside. Lois was seriously thinking of pulling him back to bed. Even after they’d made love in the shower last night. And in bed. And in the kitchen while on the hunt for a midnight snack. There was something to be said for super stamina, she thought with a grin.

Clark smacked her lightly on her butt cheek. “Better get a move on, honey. We have approximately an hour and a half to meet this guy. And knowing you with your marathon showers ...”

“Hey!” she growled.

An hour later, she was ready and dressed to kill. Clark whistled when he saw her.

“Wow! I’m guessing we’re not going to have a problem getting this guy to talk as soon as he takes a look at you.”

“Better believe it, Farmboy. Let’s go.”

When they arrived at the cafe where J’onn had told them to meet their contact, it was obvious who they were meeting. The guy was nervous, fidgeting in his seat, his eyes darting left and right.

“You must be Buster,” Clark said.

“Yeah, who wants to know?” The man, who was thin and wiry, was balding on top, his greying dark hair curly tufts covering his ears. “Oh, Lane and Kent.”

“Detective Jones vouched for you.”

“Yeah, well I don’t know how much good I’ll be. All I know is this. After everything went down with that guy who calls himself Morgan Edge’s son, Corelli got real nervous. And the Family, well, they don’t like failure, you know? They don’t like it when their boys go rogue. You stick with the Family or ...” He lifted his hand, making a cutting motion across his throat.

“Where’s Corelli now?” Lois asked.

“I don’t know exactly. All I can tell you is where he’s been. How you find him from there is your business.”

“What’s your part in all this?”

“I used to work for Edge in the old days.”

“Doing what?” Lois asked.

“Odd jobs mostly. The occasional scam – especially at the casinos. See, with Edge’s casinos, the house always wins. I mean always.”

“What happened when Edge died?” Clark asked.

“Well, then the Family took over. Corelli was second in command until the old man snuffed it.”

“Was he killed?” Lois asked curiously.

“Naw, old age. Corelli was brought in from the home country and trained up to take over.”

“What about Intergang? Where do they fit in to all of this?”

“Nowhere.” Buster shook his head. “Intergang – well, that was something to do with Edge, or so the Family heard. But once Edge was gone, Intergang lost its power.”

“Until Bruno Mannheim.”

“Yeah, but he’s in jail, and that’s where the Family wants him. They have their own way of dealing with problems.”

“So there’s some sort of rivalry between the Family and Intergang?”

“Yeah, but there’s this new guy. The Boss. He’s got some kind of hold over the Family. And for some reason, they can’t touch him.”

Hmm. Clark glanced at Lois and she was thinking the same thing. Lionel Luthor had been known to have connections in the criminal world. It stood to reason that he would have something on the mafia Family in order for them to fear the Luthor name. And Lex was powerful enough to have taken advantage of that connection.

Clark looked at Buster. “Tell us where you last saw Corelli.”

Buster looked back at both of them, then borrowed Lois’ notebook and pen, writing down an address. Then he handed the book back.

“You didn’t get this from me, capisce?”

“Capisce,” they returned.




Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
ctbn60
Jun. 6th, 2010 09:20 pm (UTC)
Wonderful chapter honey.

I wish I had someone like bruce.

((HUGS))
phoenixnz
Jun. 6th, 2010 09:25 pm (UTC)
Me too, of course, now if he wants to deny any feelings he has for her, he can't.
ctbn60
Jun. 6th, 2010 09:48 pm (UTC)
You do know this is going to make things a LOT more complicated for them all once Lex gets wind of this. He isn't one to just loose like that. Can't wait to see what you cook up.
phoenixnz
Jun. 6th, 2010 09:52 pm (UTC)
Oh that chapter is already written - but it's a while down the track. But things will heat up between Bruce and Julia, only the final outcome might not be what you expect.
eternal_moonie
Jun. 7th, 2010 10:32 am (UTC)
wow, I can't believe I missed this part and only finish this one now. My computer at my parents is down so that's why I didn't get the apparently 2 chapters.

Really great chapter honey!
phoenixnz
Jun. 7th, 2010 10:41 am (UTC)
That happens. Hope your computer issues get sorted soon, hon.
Glad you enjoyed the chapter.
jlvsclrk
Jun. 9th, 2010 04:32 pm (UTC)
Woohoo - 3 chapters to read through this time - you're writing so fast I keep falling behind!

Especially liked the wakeup scene between Lois and Clark - it was light and intimate and just felt RIGHT. I guess I can empathise with Lois really just wanting to snuggle for the rest of the day!
jlvsclrk
Jun. 9th, 2010 04:34 pm (UTC)
PS - this is missing the tag for the fic. I noticed because that's usually what I click on to find the next chapter.
phoenixnz
Jun. 9th, 2010 06:05 pm (UTC)
All fixed. Not sure what happened there, but I've added it now.
phoenixnz
Jun. 9th, 2010 06:04 pm (UTC)
Well, if your partner was Clark, wouldn't you? LOL

You know me with my writing - once I start I can't stop. I'm addicted, sigh!
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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