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The Return of Lex Luthor 70/?

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 Seventy

Julia got up from her desk in the library and went looking on the shelves for the book she wanted. As she returned to her desk, Alfred knocked on the door. She didn’t look up.

“Yes Alfred,” she said, nose deep in the text.

“Master Clark is here to see you. He seems rather perturbed.”

Julia looked up, raising an eyebrow at the older man. He said nothing, merely nodding and going back out. A few moments later Clark came in.

Julia looked him up and down. It had been a couple of months since she had seen him. After the wedding, between studying for her exam and her relationship with Bruce, her life had become rather hectic. She talked with Lois, of course, on the phone practically every week. But it was the first time she’d actually seen Clark in the flesh in weeks.

Julia was now working full-time as legal counsel for the Justice League. Having passed the bar and gaining one of the country’s top honours, she had thrown herself into her work, researching legal means to protect the League, and most especially, Clark. She and Bruce had learned that Checkmate operatives had been busy in the nation’s capital.

“Clark? What’s wrong?”

Clark thrust a document at her. She saw the title at the top. It was a federal subpoena. Superman was being summoned to appear before a senate committee to answer questions.

Clark immediately saw her expression.

“I take it this comes as no surprise to you,” he said.

“Frankly, Clark, we were expecting this to happen months ago. We knew Checkmate, or Amanda Waller was making moves toward something like this.” She smiled up at him. “Relax, Clark, we’re already on this. I’ve been researching this for months.”

“Yeah, but didn’t you say at the Justice League meeting that I would have no legal protection if they chose to pursue the alien angle?”

“No one’s saying they are,” she said gently. “Clark, you have to trust me. Yes, there is no legal precedent for this. But the senate is not a court of law.”

“But they could still censure me,” Clark pointed out. “Stop me from doing my job.”

“I know, honey, but please, just trust me when I say that we have been working on this. At the very least, we can get a debate going in the committee. You just need to let me handle this.”

“I can speak for myself,” he sniffed.

Julia smiled. “Of course you can,” she told him softly. “I’m not doubting that for a second. But what I am saying is that you need someone who knows the law. Especially constitutional law.”

She skimmed over the document.

“I’m surprised they used this action,” she said. “Normally a federal subpoena is used in grand jury indictments. Not orders to appear before a senate hearing.”

Clark’s cheeks reddened. “Well, I guess that’s sort of my fault. They had trouble finding me.”

“How so?” she asked curiously.

It seemed that the courier sent to deliver the message from the senate had tried to talk to him at every Superman-related incident. But Clark, knowing the man was from the government, had flown off before the man could get a word out. Finally, the subpoena had been delivered to Perry White’s office, knowing the Daily Planet had a ‘special relationship’ with Superman. And Perry had delivered the subpoena to Clark, telling him to get it to Superman.

Clark wasn’t sure if Perry knew his secret. Since Perry and his mother had been seeing each other for a couple of years now.

It was a good thing, Julia assured Clark, that she had been forewarned about this possibility, as the hearing was less than a week away. She found it a little odd that the senate committee would meet just before Christmas vacation, but wasn’t too alarmed by that prospect.

She spent some time coaching Clark on his answers. Alfred assisted by sitting in as an ‘impartial judge’ and Bruce offered his own input.

The night before the hearing, Julia was coaching Clark once again.

“Most important of all, you cannot answer questions about your true identity. If they do ask, then let me answer that one.”

“I can’t lie to them,” Clark protested.

“I’m not asking you to. I’m asking you to step aside and let me answer it.”

“What will you tell them?”

“That it’s important for every member of the Justice League to protect their families by hiding their identity. I’m the only one who doesn’t hide, but then again, I’m counsel for the League, so it doesn’t matter so much.”

“Of course, they’ll be expecting that response,” Bruce said. “And they may use it as a reason to try to control you. Or the League. You cannot let that happen under any circumstances.”

Julia looked at Bruce. Clark saw the little flash of anger in her eyes. Or thought he did.

“I’ve already anticipated that,” she told him in a deceptively soft tone. Bruce looked at her.

“I’m sure you have,” he answered. “I’m just trying to make you both aware ...”

“Can I talk to you outside for a moment?” Julia told Bruce.

Clark watched them go, then listened in with his super-hearing.

“What are you doing?” Julia was asking Bruce.

“What do you mean?”

“Bruce, I appreciate the suggestions, but I’m the one coaching Clark here. I’m the legal counsel, or had you forgotten that?”

“No, I haven’t,” he said slowly.

“Then why do you keep butting in with things that we already know? Do you not trust me or something?”

“You know that’s not it. I just wanted to ...”

“Bruce, I may sleep in your bed on occasion, but that doesn’t make you the boss of me.”

Bruce sounded affronted as he responded. Clark turned away, not wanting to eavesdrop any more. He knew Julia and Bruce were seeing each other, but it sounded like things weren’t as rosy as he and Lois had thought.

When she came back in, she was alone.

“Is everything okay between you and Bruce? You two seem a little tense.”

Julia sighed. She clearly knew he’d been eavesdropping.

“It’s fine, Clark. It’s just ... I love him, I do. But he drives me nuts sometimes. I know when I got into this with him I was prepared for the prospect that it wouldn’t be forever, you know? I mean, I know Bruce loves me, but he has difficulty with commitment.”

“I’m sorry,” Clark said. “I know how hard this must be for both of you.”

“It was just so easier when we were not sleeping together, you know?” She smiled tightly. “But hey, we’re not here to talk about my issues, or rather Bruce’s.”

Clark was tense as he appeared, in full Superman uniform, at the hearing the next day. He glanced at the five members of the senate committee. Senator James McKinley was known as a tough, uncompromising man who viewed Superman as nothing more than a vigilante. He was going to be the toughest nut to crack. Aged in his late fifties, he was balding, with steel grey hair.

Next to him was Foster, a woman in her sixties who smiled at him warmly. She reminded him a little of Martha. Which was going to make it a little easier.

Then there was Callaghan, Michaels and Rosen. Julia had told him the division was likely to be three against, and two for. If they could just get one of the three on their side they’d be okay.

Julia came in, carrying a large briefcase. She sat down at the table next to him and patted his hand, smiling reassuringly. Lois had come in on the pretext of covering the hearing. He turned in his seat and looked at her as she sat behind him.

“I love you,” she whispered.

He took a deep breath, trying to down the nervous knot in his stomach.

The hearing began. Senator Foster started proceedings, speaking into the microphone.

“Superman,” she said. “Thank you for coming. We know how busy you are.”

Clark had wanted to say that he hadn’t been given much choice, but Julia had told him that would immediately start things on the wrong footing, so he kept quiet. He watched as Julia leaned forward.

“Senator Foster, my name is Julia Walker. I appear as legal counsel for Superman.”

The senator frowned. “This isn’t a trial, counsellor.”

“No,” Julia said with a smile. “But I’m here to ensure that Superman is allowed the right to a fair hearing and I will speak on his behalf if I feel it necessary. Superman is a citizen of this country and as such deserves that right.”

“A citizen?” McKinley spoke. “He’s an alien.”

Julia turned a frosty glare on the senator, who didn’t look as if he wanted to back down. Foster turned to her colleague and glared. She then turned back to Julia.

“Of course,” she said. “I understand.” She then looked at Clark. “Would you be so kind as to state your full name and your origins?”

Julia nodded at Clark. He spoke into the microphone.

“My name is Kal, of the house of El of Krypton. I am generally known to the people of Metropolis as Superman.”

“Can you tell me where Krypton is?”

“No ma’am, I cannot. Krypton was destroyed many years ago.”

“Destroyed?”

“Yes ma’am. It blew up.”

“I see. Can you tell us more about Krypton? How far was it from Earth?”

“I can only guess that it was about 50 light years from Earth’s solar system. Perhaps more. The artificial intelligence created by my father has never been specific.”

“How is it that you have powers?”

“Krypton orbited a red sun. Plus the gravity was much denser.”

“So it is the yellow sun that gives you your abilities?”

“Yes ma’am.”

McKinley spoke. “You said Krypton blew up? How did it blow up?”

“It is a long story.”

“We have time.”

“There was a civil war that was slowly destroying Krypton’s environment. The war went on for centuries. My father, Jor-El, and a friend of his, Dru-Zod, discovered a weapon that was slowly leaking radiation into the subsoil. Our people were forced to retreat into the cities, creating crystal domes, to protect themselves from the radiation. Both Jor-El and Zod knew that it was only a matter of time before the radiation would kill everything.

“My father begged the Kryptonian council to allow the people to go offworld. To settle on other worlds. To save them. But the council did not believe the planet was nearing destruction. Zod turned on the council and tried to force a military coup. Jor-El stopped him. When Zod realised his friend had turned on him, he used the doomsday device to accelerate the destruction of Krypton. It would force the sun to go supernova.”

“What happened to this Zod?”

“He was exiled as a criminal to an inter-dimensional prison my father created. It is called the Phantom Zone. It harbours criminals from the twenty-eight known galaxies. It is a desolate place and difficult to escape.”

“You have seen this zone for yourself?” Michaels asked.

“Yes sir, I have.”

“If you’ve seen the place then you must have been imprisoned there. How did you get out?”

Clark quickly explained about the escape portal designed by Jor-El and using the El bloodline.

“Hasn’t this Zod been on this planet? I thought you said he was exiled to the Phantom Zone.”

“Another long story, Senator Rosen. And there are two parts. One is that an artificial intelligence, known as the Brain Interactive Construct, or Brainiac, found a way to release Zod from the Phantom Zone and had the phantom possess the body of ...” Clark glanced at Julia and she nodded. “... of Lex Luthor.”

“Impossible,” McKinley said. “What utter nonsense.”

“If it helps the credibility of this story,” Julia spoke up, “there is evidence to prove that Lex, or rather Zod, broke into the Pentagon over five years ago. We have satellite imagery.”

McKinley was placated by that, but he still didn’t look happy.

“Please continue, Superman,” Foster told him.

“Zod tried to take over, using Lex, but I managed to stop him.”

“So that’s the first part? What’s the second?”

“I cannot explain the exact science. But there was an experiment on Krypton where the genetic material of several Kandorians, uh citizens of Kandor, including Zod, was placed in an orb. Somehow that genetic material was released and Zod, or at least, a younger version of the man who was exiled to the Phantom Zone, was reborn.”

“You expect us to believe that?”

“Zod was a clone, Senator. Our people perfected the science hundreds of years ago.” Clark took a breath. “I tried to help some of the Kandorians start a new life here on Earth.”

“Did these Kandorians have powers like yourself?” Callaghan asked.

Clark looked at the senator from Texas. “No ma’am. They did not.”

“What happened to them?” she asked.

“I don’t know. I thought I’d banished Zod to the Phantom Zone once more, using a crystal from my father. But now I’m not so sure.”

“Why?”

“Call it instinct.”

McKinley sighed. “Well, that’s great, isn’t it? How many more of your people are there, Kal-El?” he said, fairly spitting out the name.

“I cannot answer that, senator, because I do not know myself. My cousin attempted to find survivors but they are light years away.”

“And any one of them could be like this Zod,” the senator said, scowling.

Julia finally had to interject. “Senator, may I ask why you are pursuing this line of questioning?”

“We have reason to believe that Superman is a threat to our well-being. That he is not as benevolent as he claims.”

“And just how did you come to this conclusion?”

“Counselor?”

“How did you suddenly perceive that the man seated beside me, who spends his days making the city of Metropolis safe for the average citizen, had become a threat?”

Even McKinley looked uncomfortable at that.

“Tell me,” Julia continued. “What constitutes a threat?”

“How about a man who hides his true identity behind a cloak of secrecy.” McKinley looked at Clark. “When did Krypton blow up? From what I’ve read that was over twenty years ago. Do you expect us to believe that you have been here all this time, with these abilities, and no one had learned of your existence until you became this Blur?”

Julia put a restraining hand on Clark’s arm, but he knew from her coaching that he didn’t have to answer that.

“I thought you said, Senator, that Superman is not on trial here.”

“He isn’t,” Foster assured her.

“Then why are you interrogating him? Superman’s identity should not be in question. He is here, to answer your questions. But he also has a right to protect himself.”

“What right?” McKinley snapped. “He’s an alien,” he repeated, obviously wanting to emphasise that fact.

“Are you suggesting, Senator, that because Superman was not born in this country that he has no constitutional rights?”

“Uh, well, I ...” The senator began to turn red as he tried to think of a way to backpedal.

Julia looked at the assembled politicians evenly.

“’Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door.’”

“I fail to see what relevance a nineteenth century poem ...”

“Those words are on a plaque on the Statue of Liberty. Which became a symbol for immigrants.”

“Superman is not an immigrant.”

“Isn’t he?” she argued. “Just because he wasn’t born on this planet, it does not take away his right to be recognised as an adopted citizen of this country. Or of this planet. This country was founded on those principles. If it were not for immigrants, this country, would not exist.”

“I concede your point,” Foster said.

“Well, I don’t,” McKinley argued. “How can we trust someone who can crush a man with his bare hands, or burn down a building with his eyes?”

“And that’s the whole point of this debate, isn’t it?” Julia said. “You think Superman is dangerous.”

“I think he should be classified as a lethal weapon.”

A small smile played on Julia’s lips. Clark watched her as she searched through some documents, wondering what she was doing. But he said nothing, knowing that when it came to this debate, Julia was the expert here.

“Do you own a gun, Senator?” she asked McKinley.

“What does that have to do with anything?”

“Please. Just answer the question.”

“Yes, I own a gun. Several, in fact.”

“And not just for hunting. In fact, you own at least two handguns, specifically for your own protection.”

“Yes.”

“Isn’t a gun a lethal weapon?”

“Your point?”

“My point is, any weapon in the wrong hands can be used to harm others.”

“But Superman ...”

“Is a sentient being. He is fully self-aware. He has thoughts and feelings. And he knows the difference between right and wrong. Maybe his abilities are his weapons. But his choice in how he uses those abilities is the same as your choosing to carry and use a gun.”

She dug in her files for another document, then turned to Michaels.

“Didn’t your daughter die in a car accident a couple of years ago?”

“Yes.”

“Tell me something, senator, how did the accident happen?”

“Her car was hit by a drunk behind the wheel of another vehicle.”

“He survived?”

“He did.”

“And didn’t you argue in court that the man should be charged with murder because, as you put it, once he got behind that wheel he was a ‘lethal weapon’.”

“I did argue that. But he was never charged with murder.”

Even Clark could now see that the argument was losing its power. Julia had slammed home another point. But she wasn’t done. She pulled yet another document out of her briefcase.

“I have here transcripts of a conversation between Senator McKinley and a woman named Amanda Waller. Would you care to hear what was in this conversation?”

Foster shook her head. “I think we’d rather hear the summary.”

“Amanda Waller is a government agent, for an organisation known as Checkmate. Over twenty years ago, this organisation planted false evidence accusing certain members of what was once known as the Justice Society of various crimes. I have written testimony from a former agency member, who is now under the protection of the Justice League, who told me that Waller falsified this evidence, because the Justice Society would not become her puppets.

“Two years ago, Checkmate tried to do it again with members of what is now known as the Justice League. It was purportedly a recruiting mission. Threats were made that if the League didn’t fight for the government, then they would suffer the same fate as those of the Justice Society. To quote Ms Waller, it’s a case of whether you’re with us, or against us. And that’s the true reason why you called Superman here today.

“You’ve been manipulated by an extremely clever woman, senator. She knew how to appeal to your prejudices. The fact is, she knew exactly which buttons to push to get you to this point, playing on your own fears about Superman.

“Allow me to close with this, ladies and gentlemen. The Justice League will do whatever it takes to protect the people of this country. Everyone. Not just a chosen few. Your agents can take the information and use it however they choose, but as legal counsel for Superman and every member of the League I will continue to fight for their constitutional rights, whether they are or are not citizens of this country, or even this planet.”

Silence greeted Julia as she finished. Clark stared at her in amazement. This was not the same Julia he had met a year ago. This was a woman who had finally come into her own.

It was obvious the committee agreed with him. After a very brief discussion, they informed Clark that he was free to leave. Senator Foster approached Julia and Clark listened with interest.

“Ms Walker, that was an incredible speech. I only wish you had been my counsel when I was arguing for the Workers Rights Bill a few years ago.”

The friends celebrated their victory for two days. Clark was still amazed, but not surprised at the work Julia had obviously put in. Clearly, she’d been born for this.

Lex got the news the day of the hearing. He ranted and raged for two days, knowing his ‘perfect plan B’ had failed spectacularly. He was even more angry when he opened up an email the same day from counsellor@justiceleague.com. It was one word. ‘Check’

.


Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
eternal_moonie
Aug. 7th, 2010 12:25 pm (UTC)
HAHA!!! I LOVED the end of that chapter!

Another great new chapter honey! *hugs*
phoenixnz
Aug. 7th, 2010 06:57 pm (UTC)
Yep, the ending is my favourite part, like she's thumbing her nose at Lex.
ctbn60
Aug. 7th, 2010 05:36 pm (UTC)
BRILLIANT!!!

The ending was totally perfect!!

Wow julia really came into her own. I loved this chapter. it was perfect. All of her reasoning was spot on. This chapter was wonderful Great job honey!
phoenixnz
Aug. 7th, 2010 06:59 pm (UTC)
That's why I loved the debate. I had been thinking about it for ages and remembered the poem inscribed at the Statue of Liberty - it was perfect for what I wanted to say.
jlvsclrk
Aug. 8th, 2010 01:43 am (UTC)
Woot! You go girl!

And may I add that i'm kinda glad that things don't seem to be working out with Julia and Bruce. He's an amazing man but too wrapped up in his avocation. Julia needs to find someone who can have a bit more fun at times - she deserves it!
phoenixnz
Aug. 8th, 2010 01:53 am (UTC)
Yeah, this is what I like about Julia. At this point, she is really sure of herself and doing what she was meant to do all along. As for her relationship with Bruce, well, she can't help who she falls for, but you're right. She needs someone who is willing to commit. And Bruce is nowhere near willing.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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