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The Truth About Men and Women 22/74


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 Twenty-Two


Clark stared at his brother. As much as he had hated Lionel, he never would have wanted this for the man.

“Did they say how?” he asked.

Lex shook his head. “Only that someone was smart enough to make it look like a heart attack.”

“But surely someone could have seen something,” Lois suggested.

Lex looked at Tess.

“What do you think?”

“I can try and dig up surveillance footage, but I doubt it’ll show anything.”

“See what you can find,” Lex told her. He looked back at Clark and Lois. “What else did you find out last night?”

“Well, this threat from Lucas ... I doubt it was directly connected to Lois’ earlier visit,” Clark told him.
He nodded at Lois. “Tell him about the memo.”

“What memo?” Lex asked.

Lois smiled briefly at Clark before turning back to Lex. She told him what was in the memo and who had signed it. The name immediately elicited a reaction from Perry, who gasped audibly.

“Perry?”

“We could never prove it, but Morgan Edge was a local crime boss. We believed he was actually behind Intergang.” He looked thoughtful. “You know, there was a rumour, back in the day, that Lionel and Edge grew up together. In Suicide Slums.”

“How does that help us?” Lex asked.

“There’s a guy I knew. He was a top reporter in his day. He would have been at the Planet around the same time as Lionel was building Luthorcorp.”

Something was niggling at the back of his mind. Clark was sure he had met Morgan Edge at one point, but he couldn’t quite remember when. Now with Perry’s revelations he was certain more than ever that Lionel and Edge had known each other.

“Good, Perry. See if you can convince the man to talk to Lois and Clark. What else did you find out?”

“Lucas is definitely bringing in meteor rock,” Clark told him. “He plans on starting up one of Lionel’s old projects.”

Lex cocked an eyebrow at him.

“Do tell?”

Lex hadn’t known about the project, since Helen had only suggested Lionel might experiment on Lena. But it had been the major reason Oliver had come to town. Lionel had been capturing meteor freaks for years, holding them in containment cells, for the purpose of experimenting on them, learning about their abilities.

Clark had learned of Oliver’s true purpose when another friend of his had been caught breaking into one of Lionel’s facilities. Clark had met Bart Allen when he’d caught Bart picking someone’s pocket. He’d returned the man’s wallet to him once he’d found Bart, and the man had been grateful, until he’d learned Clark was Lionel’s son.

He’d had a long talk with Bart and tried to convince him that stealing was no way to live. But it wasn’t until Bart had stolen a valuable artefact from Lionel, then got into trouble with a fence, that the boy had started listening to him. Bart had left Metropolis soon after that and a year or so later had met Oliver in Star City.

When Bart had been caught by Lionel’s people, it was only a matter of time before Clark’s father would have learned of Bart’s own abilities, which hadn’t been caused by the meteors, and try to exploit them, or experiment on Bart. Clark had teamed up with Oliver and, along with the rest of Oliver’s group, had rescued Bart from Lionel’s facility.

Clark had thought with Oliver’s team destroying the facilities around the world that the project had been dead and buried. But clearly this wasn’t the case.

“It’s called 33.1,” Clark told his brother. “Lionel started it using some of the meteor freaks who were wreaking havoc in Smallville. There were suggestions that some of them were taken from Belle Reve so Lionel could experiment on them.”

Lex frowned. “What purpose could this project possibly have had?”

“Lionel claimed it had military applications. I think he was trying to do a deal with the government.”

“So what happened to the project?”

“It was shut down about five years ago,” Clark told him.

“Then what reason would Lucas have in starting it up again?” Lex asked, frowning.

Clark shook his head. “I don’t know. That’s something we’ll have to find out. I did read that he’s talking to someone in the military.”

“Maybe my dad can help,” Lois offered.

“That’s a good idea, Lois,” Lex smiled. “See if you can set up a meeting with him.” Then he sighed. “Now I know we talked about this last night, but I cannot emphasise enough the importance of this. Especially now. Lois, no more solo meets with sources. From now on, when you’re out on interviews, stick close to Clark. Like glue.”

Lois nodded. “I promise, Lex,” she said quietly, glancing at Clark.

Her gaze was unreadable, but Clark thought that this time she meant it.

“As I said, I’ve increased security. No one gets in or out of this building without a full security check. I’ve placed someone in the lobby who will sign visitors in and I’m having scanners installed.”

“Isn’t that a little extreme?” Clark asked his brother.

“You know what Lucas is capable of,” Lex said. “You tell me, Clark.”

The meeting broke up and Clark walked with Lois down to her office. She immediately got on the phone and placed a call to her father’s office.

“Hi, this is Lois Lane. I need to talk to my father. No, I won’t call back. This is important. Put me through right now. I don’t care if he’s in a meeting, sergeant.” She smiled with satisfaction, looking up at Clark. “He’s putting me through. Daddy? Yes, I know, but this is really important. Yes sir.” Clark watched as Lois doodled on the blotter in front of her. “Dinner? Sure dad. We’ll be there.”

She hung up, grinning. “Dad says he’ll meet with us at six tonight.”

“Great,” Clark smiled.

He leaned back in his chair, watching her. She looked a little tired, but it wasn’t surprising.

“Did you even get any breakfast?” he asked.

Lois shook her head. “I didn’t have time to eat anything.”

“I’ll get you something,” he said. “I could use a bite to eat myself.”

“Clark ...” she began. “I think we need to talk. About last night.”

Clark had known this was coming. He’d practically poured his heart out to her the night before and he’d known she wouldn’t let the matter drop. He wanted to talk to her too, but he could see she needed the energy and there were more important things than the revelations he’d made.

He stood up and leaned over her.

“We will talk,” he said softly. “But I’d rather not do this on an empty stomach. I’ll be back in a few minutes, I promise.” He pressed a soft kiss to her lips. It wasn’t passionate but it said all the things he couldn’t at that moment. Lois closed her eyes briefly, a little whimper escaping her lips. Clark wanted to deepen the kiss. Hell, he wanted to do a lot more than that, but right now, he thought that this was all they were ready for. “I’ll be back,” he whispered against her mouth, and she nodded.

Clark went out at super speed, then took off, flying halfway around the world to Paris.

Clark had been flying since the training with his birth father, although he still preferred to keep both feet firmly on terra firma. He’d always had a problem with heights as a child and it was something he had taken time to get over. Of course, he had never admitted that fear to his father. Lionel would have seen that as a weakness.

He landed in an alley, unseen, and made his way to a little cafe, ordering two croissants to go in fluent French. That was one of the benefits of his abilities. He could absorb languages which would allow him to fit in in any society.

The croissants were ready in a few minutes, along with hot coffee, and he returned to Metropolis.

Lois was studying the documents they’d found the night before, but looked up and smiled at him as he came in. His super-hearing picked up the sound of her stomach rumbling and he handed her the croissant and coffee.

“Oh wow,” she said as she bit into the croissant. “This just melts in the mouth. Where ever did you find these?”

“This little French cafe I know,” he said.

“Thank you, this is amazing!”

He watched Lois eat with gusto. That was one thing he really liked about her. The few times they’d eaten together, Lois had shown that she had a good appetite. Some of the women he’d dated had picked at their food and complained about how many calories were in each dish. He liked women with athletic bodies, not stick insects. It was one thing that bothered him about Lana. She was too thin.

They finished the croissants and Clark moved so he could study Lois’ computer. She blocked him.

“You said we were going to talk,” she reminded him.

“Lois, I ...”

“Clark, I just ... I wanted to say I’m sorry I hit you. How’s your cheek?” she asked, reaching out to touch where she’d slapped him.

Clark had barely felt the slap, but he’d made it look as if it had hurt like hell. He wasn’t ready to reveal all his secrets yet. He knew she’d hurt her hand as well, but there had been nothing he could do to minimise the impact.

“It’s fine,” he said. “I’m sorry I said those things to you. I shouldn’t have called you a bitch. You’re not.”

Lois sighed. “I think we just got a little emotional last night and our tempers got the best of us.”

“It’s just ... after Lionel, I ...”

“You’re not your father,” she told him. “What Lionel did to your mom was horrifying and a lot for anyone to deal with, let alone a five year old boy. But you don’t have to be afraid that you’ll turn out like him. You don’t have to push me away, Clark. I’m not going anywhere.”

“Why, Lois? Do you even know what I’m capable of?”

“It doesn’t matter,” she said, shaking her head. “Because I know your heart. It’s like I said, when you’re with Lena, you’re more yourself, I think.”

“I guess it’s easier with her. Kids can see right through you.”

Lois reached out and caressed his cheek.

“Clark, I have to admit, I really didn’t like you at first. All those games you kept playing. And your attitude really grated on my nerves sometimes. But after what you told me last night, and when I saw the way you were with Lena, I realised that a lot of that is just a smokescreen. You keep people at a distance because you’re afraid.”

“Afraid of what?” he asked softly, although he knew the answer.

“You’re afraid of letting anyone but your family get close to you because of what your father did. Clark, if you were going to turn out like him, you would have done so by now. You are not Lionel. You chose to walk away. You turned your back on him. When you could have stayed.”

She was right. If he had been a complete bastard, like his father, then he never would have walked away. He knew that.

He studied her, taking her hand in his.

“What is it?” she asked.

“Lois, I ... I know I don’t deserve this, after all the things I’ve pulled. I ... I’ve been acting like a total jerk, especially where you and Oliver are concerned. The truth is, I got jealous when I realised he might be interested in you.”

She smiled. “I knew you were jealous.”

“Yeah, rub it in,” he answered, wincing.

“I’m not going to see Oliver,” she told him. “Not like that. And yes, you have been a jerk. You’ve tried to manipulate me, and you’ve manipulated him, but none of that matters.”

“I have feelings for you,” he blurted.

“I know. I have feelings for you too.”

Neither one of them, he realised, were ready to admit that their feelings ran deep. He sighed and shrugged.

“Where do we go from here?”

“Well, there’s this thing called a date,” she said. “And we still have that bet.”

He shook his head. “Null and void. It’s not that I don’t want to win, because you know I do, but if we’re going to do this right, then we take it slowly. No jumping into bed with each other until we’re both ready to take that step.”

Lois grinned. “Wow! That’s a huge step for you, Clark Luthor.”

He chuckled. “Okay, you got me. See? A leopard can change his spots.”

“Well, good. I’d hate to think this heart to heart was wasted. So, a date. Dinner. Tomorrow night, as you planned. Oh, and Clark?”

“Mmm?”

“You will take me to monster truck rally.”

“Fine,” he said. “But you have to come to a football game. Even trade.”

Lois looked as if she wanted to argue, but heaved a sigh.

“Okay. One football game for a monster truck rally.”

Clark grinned and leaned forward to kiss her before she could stop him. When he moved away again, her hazel eyes were sparkling with mischief.

“You get one freebie, Luthor,” she said. “But let’s keep the PDA’s down to a minimum, ‘K?”

“PDA’s?”

“Public displays of affection. Geez, where have you been?”

He rolled his eyes at her and chuckled.

“There’s one more thing you need to do, Clark,” Lois continued. Clark looked at her, wondering what she was up to. “You need to talk to Lex. He needs to know what Lionel did to your mom.”

“I can’t. I don’t want to hurt him.”

“He hated your father as much as you did, Clark. And you need to stop burying it. He needs to know. You’ll never forgive yourself otherwise.”

Clark frowned at her, raising an eyebrow.

“Forgive myself?”

She nodded. “You’ve never forgiven yourself for not being able to protect your mother. Even though you know deep down there was nothing you could have done. You need to find peace with it.”

“And how is Lex knowing going to help with that?” he asked.

“Because you need each other. And I think you need him to forgive you. That’s why you haven’t been able to tell him before now. You’ve been afraid that he’ll blame you.”

“I don’t know if I can,” he said hoarsely.

“You can, Clark. I believe in you. And I know you’re stronger than this.”

Clark realised she was right. He had been afraid. Thinking Lex might turn on him. He pressed his lips together, resolved, then picked up the phone.

“Lex? Can you come down to Lois’ office?”

“What’s wrong? Is it Lois?”

“No, this is something personal. Something between us.”

“Can it wait?”

Clark shook his head, forgetting his brother couldn’t see him. “No. It can’t. Please?”

He heard the disbelief in Lex’s voice as he murmured something unintelligible, even for Clark’s superhearing. Clark was not normally so soft-spoken with his brother, and he never had to plead for anything in his life.

“I’ll be right down,” Lex said.

Lois put a supporting hand on his shoulder as they waited. Two minutes after Clark had hung up, Lex came in. He took one look at Clark’s expression and shut the door.

“What’s going on?”

“Lex, there’s something you need to know. Something I ... something I haven’t told you for twenty years.”

Lex frowned. His mouth quirked in a half-smile, but there was no humour in it. He seemed genuinely perplexed.

“Clark ...”

Clark sat him down and told him everything. Everything Lionel had done, the threats, the violence, and finally what had really killed their mother. The colour drained from Lex’s face as he listened, growing paler still.

“My god, Clark,” he whispered. “Why didn’t you say something? We could have ... I could have protected you both.”

Clark shook his head. “I was afraid of him, Lex. For a long time. And you were only twelve when it happened. There was no way you could have protected her or me.”

“You could have told me later,” Lex said hoarsely.

“I was afraid you’d blame me, for not protecting her.”

Lex stared at him. “Blame you? Clark, how could you possibly think I would blame you? You were just a kid.”

“I could have ...”

“No, Clark,” Lex said, leaning forward and putting a hand on his brother’s shoulder. “You were right. Neither of us could have protected her. And you were too little to understand what it meant. What he was doing to her. You couldn’t have stopped it.”

“I’m sorry, Lex,” he said. “I’m so sorry.”

Lex pulled him into a hug. “It’s okay, Clark. As horrible as it sounds, the old bastard finally got what he deserved.”

“No. What he deserved was prison. Killing is still wrong, no matter how justified you think it is,” Clark told him as the brothers separated.

Lex grinned. “Now that’s the Clark I know and love. Feel better?” he asked.

Clark did. It was as if a huge weight had lifted from his heart. He glanced at Lois, who was smiling happily.

“Told ya,” she said, punching him in the shoulder.

Clark chuckled and rolled his eyes. He was likely never going to hear the end of it.

“Don’t get used to it, Lane,” he told her.

“Oh whatever, Luthor.”

Clark noticed Lex watching them as they began to bicker back and forth. His brother was shaking his head and grinning at them.

“You two are welcome to each other,” he laughed.

The phone rang and Lois picked it up. “Lois Lane.” She frowned. “Yeah, she’s my cousin. Let her up.”

Clark frowned at her. “What does Chloe want?” he asked.

“Dunno,” she shrugged.

Lex’s cellphone beeped and he looked at it. “Tess,” he said. “I’ll see you later, Clark.”

Lex walked out, bumping into Chloe in the corridor. Clark looked at the blonde as she came in.

“Hey guys, I thought you’d want to know I talked to a source in Gotham and he says the Joker’s definitely involved in Marionette Ventures.”

“Why though?” Lois asked. “The Joker’s not a team player.”

Chloe shrugged. “Strength in numbers? Let’s face it, the last time he went up against Batman he got his ass soundly kicked.”

“What gets me is, why is Lucas involved? And the Toyman?” Clark asked.

It was starting to annoy him. The Toyman, from what Oliver had told him, was well-known for making explosive toys, and he had a fondness for marionettes. Which explained the name. But the Toyman was just a crazy inventor. And Lucas was no businessman. So someone else had to be pulling the strings.

Could it be Morgan Edge?

The phone rang again and Lois picked it up.

“Lex? Oh, okay. Tell her thanks for trying.” She hung up and looked at them. “Tess said the drive they used to store the surveillance footage from last year has been wiped clean. And they can’t get anything off the server either.”

Chloe shook her head. “Then they’re not looking in the right place.”

“You have an idea?” Clark asked.

“I’ve had a little practice at this,” she said.

Clark remembered Chloe had been a fairly decent hacker at school. She had clearly picked up a few more things in the years since then.

“What do you need?”

“Some sophisticated equipment,” she said, rattling off a list.

The labs at Luthorcorp were out, Clark thought. He glanced at Lois. The equipment Chloe was talking about was at Watchtower, but he couldn’t take Lois there.

In the end, Lex provided the solution. Lena was being driven from school straight to the Daily Planet where Lex could assure himself that she was safe. But he was stuck in a meeting and knew Lena would be bored, so he asked Lois to look after Lena for the time being. Lois was only too happy to help.

With Lois safe at the Planet, Clark went with Chloe to Watchtower. Tess had the drive sent over and Chloe got to work.

“Are you sure this will work?” Clark asked.

Chloe nodded, watching the screens as her fingers flew over the keyboard.

“When data’s written on a hard drive, it’s triggered electronically and magnetically onto a hard drive plate.”

“In English?”

“The data might have been erased, but a record of it is still in there, it’s just a matter of finding it and piecing it together. Sort of like when you put confidential documents in a shredder. The information is still there, you just have to find all the bits of paper.” She kept working, her eyes never leaving the screen. “This might take a while,” she said.

“How long, exactly?”

“How long’s a piece of string?”

“Touche. So, um, Chloe, you and Bruce ...”

“Working here,” she said. “Sorry, I just need to concentrate.”

Clark grimaced. The double doors opened and Oliver came in, led by Bruce. Clark frowned at them.

“What’s up?”

“Lex told us about Lionel. Sorry, Clark.”

Which part, Clark wondered. But he knew Lex wouldn’t have told them about Lionel and Lillian, so he guessed Oliver was talking about the murder.

“We’re just trying to piece together some evidence. See if we can find out what happened.”

“From what Lex told me his friend discovered, the poison could have come via any method. Lionel was a heavy scotch drinker.”

Clark nodded at Bruce. “Yeah, he was. Could it have been drugged?”

“Well, if I was going to poison someone, that would be the way to do it. Especially if I wanted it to look like a natural death.”

Clark studied the older man. There seemed to be no emotion in Bruce’s expression. He could have been discussing the mechanics of a motor vehicle, for all the animation in his face.

“So you’ve considered this?” he asked.

“I consider it my duty to know various methods of homicide. Especially in our line of work.”

“So you would condone killing someone?” Clark asked.

“If the situation called for it, yes.”

Clark was really beginning to dislike Bruce intensely. Oliver must have sensed that and quickly moved between them.

“Bruce, you’ll have to excuse Clark. He comes from an entirely different school of thought.”

“Meaning?” Bruce said coolly.

“Meaning I don’t believe in killing someone,” Clark returned, just as coolly.

“Strange,” Bruce said, scratching at his upper lip. “I would have thought, given the fact you were raised by a man like Lionel, that you would have thought the opposite.”

“I’m not my father!”

“Apparently not,” Bruce answered. “Of course, as the Blur, you clearly believe yourself above such human frailties like judgment based on emotions.”

“What would you know about humanity?” Clark retorted. “You flit about Gotham dressed as a bat.”

“I was merely commenting,” Bruce answered, waving his hand. “And you, a creature not even born on this planet, can make digs at me about my humanity? I choose to channel my emotions to give me power.”

He was a creature now? Clark had never felt more insulted.

“So that’s why you don’t like me?” he said.

“You must admit, Clark, that someone with your abilities ...”

“What?”

“Could conquer the world.”

“I don’t want to conquer the world,” Clark said, crossing his arms over his chest. “And you obviously watch way too many alien invasion movies.”

He glared at Bruce, who glowered back.

“I find that hard to believe,” Bruce retorted. “Considering who you were raised by.”

And they were back to that again. Just because Lionel was greedy for power, it didn’t mean Clark was the same.

“Considering my own father wanted to experiment on me,” Clark shot back. “Just like he was doing to countless others. And just like Lucas apparently plans on doing.”

“What?” Oliver seemed startled. “When did you hear this?”

“Lois and I went back there late last night, after we left Lex’s place. I found documents – plans for a new facility like 33.1.” Oliver gasped.

“Care to elaborate?” Bruce asked.

“33.1 was a project initiated by Lionel studying people with meteor-related abilities,” Oliver told him.
“Some of them were patients at Belle Reve. From the intel my team gathered, Lionel was studying some of the meteor mutations to see if he could duplicate them.”

“You’re suggesting he was trying to create some kind of army.”

“There’s a possibility Lucas could be trying to sell the idea to the US government, for military applications.”

“Of course,” Bruce said, musing. “Send people with these abilities into combat. If there’s plenty more where they came from, that makes them expendable. And that probably explains the Joker’s interest in it. He’s recruiting.”

“Why?”

“A team of people with these unique abilities? No law enforcement would be able to stop them.”

“But what does all this have to do with Lionel being murdered?”

“I think I can answer that,” Chloe said finally. “I’ve finally put the jigsaw pieces together.”

The three men turned and watched the monitor. Lionel was with a man who had greying blonde hair. As they watched, Lionel handed the man a drink. The man looked at it, frowning. His face turned in the direction of the camera and Clark gasped. Morgan Edge!

He remembered now. It had been years earlier, but he had met Edge when he was sixteen. Edge had owned the cathouse Lionel had sent him to.

“I prefer scotch. What’s this?”

“Surely your tastes haven’t changed that much, Morgan,” Lionel snickered. “It’s a suicide. Our old special.”

“Nothing ever changes, Lionel. Not even when you dress it up in a designer suit or a penthouse office.”

“Pity the same thing couldn’t be said about friendship. I suspected you had an inside contact, Morgan. But I have to hand it to you. Using my own son against me. That’s low even for you.”

“From what Lucas tells me, Lionel, you barely acknowledge him as your flesh and blood.”

“Grooming him to take your place, Morgan?”

Edge shrugged. “And why not? It was Milton who put it so aptly. Tis better to rule in hell, than serve in heaven.”

“Spare me the abstract religious philosophy, Morgan. Lucas was never going to be a suitable heir to the throne.”

“Perhaps you are still waiting for the prodigal son?” Edge chuckled. “Even your firstborn turned his back on you.” His mouth formed an ‘o’. “Or perhaps you are considering leaving it in the hands of your daughter?”

Lionel looked surprised that the other man knew about Tess. Then he recovered himself and snickered.

“You’re wasting your energy on Lucas,” he said. “The boy is a hood, and is severely lacking in anything resembling intelligence.”

“Oh I think you are not giving the boy enough credit.”

There seemed to be a gap in the recording where the data was incomplete. About a minute later, the same scene came up, but now the two men were glowering at each other. It was clear from their expressions that the conversation had taken a nastier turn.

“We had an agreement,” Lionel was saying. “You stay out of my business, and I stay out of yours.”

“Times change, Lionel.”

“I’ll bury you and everyone who works for you.”

“I’d be careful, Lionel. You have a lot further to fall.”

Lionel’s face relaxed as he looked coolly at Edge.

“But I’m the one who has the evidence. And remember, the statute of limitations on murder never runs out.”

Clark looked at Oliver. “Murder?”

“I wonder if Edge had Lionel murdered because of this evidence.”

“Question is,” Bruce mused. “Where is that evidence now? And what murder would Lionel be talking about?”
Next

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
eternal_moonie
Nov. 9th, 2011 07:11 pm (UTC)
AWESOME new chapter!! A++!
phoenixnz
Nov. 10th, 2011 05:36 am (UTC)
An A++ huh? Hmm, looks like I'll have to grade on the curve on yours, haha.
ctbn60
Nov. 9th, 2011 11:48 pm (UTC)
Great twists and turns honey! I love how you adapt what happen into this universe! Wonderful work.
phoenixnz
Nov. 10th, 2011 05:37 am (UTC)
You know I can never resist twisting canon to suit my own evil mind. Glad you loved this one.
dream_infinity0
Nov. 10th, 2011 02:23 am (UTC)
excellent chapter
phoenixnz
Nov. 10th, 2011 05:37 am (UTC)
Thanks hon.
(Deleted comment)
phoenixnz
May. 15th, 2012 06:04 am (UTC)
LOL
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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