Lex entered the penthouse Mercy trailing behind him to find laughter and what could only be a movie in the media room. He had learned that Clark had become more awake, keeping more normal hours and they had gotten him a wheelchair that Carla managed to get him into despite being over a foot shorter and about a hundred pounds lighter.
Entering the media room he saw Clark carefully propped in a seat Hope on one side Carla on the other. Clark’s face had cleared considerably and there was only one place near his jaw that was still a yellow color. He was absently scratching at the cast which implied he was healing if he felt that sensation. His good hand was being used to gesture towards the screen.
“See he’s like Lex,” Clark pointed out to the screen.
“Except that he’s poor, and the servant.”
“But he’s the older one, and look at how he never gives up, and he’s like the best best friend in the world. I mean if Lex is your friend its like,” Clark’s grin was beaming and Lex chose that moment to announce his presence.
“Hello Clark,” Lex said surprised when the grin was magnified.
“Lex! You’re back! Sit!”
“What are you watching Clark?” Lex asked not moving from his spot.
“Hm? Oh Fellowship of the Ring.”
“You’re watching Lord of the Rings? So would I be remiss in saying you were comparing me to Sam?”
“Uh maybe?” Clark questioned.
“Well as long as I’m not Boromir.”
Clark snorted. “Boromir? Falling for the call of the ring? Come on. You would look at that ring and just make a better one.” Clark frowned suddenly. “Lex do you have a ring that glows?”
Lex froze as Hope stood glancing nervously at Mercy, who shook her head imperceptibly. He slid into the chair besides Clark. “A glowing ring?”
“Yeah, green…oh sorry Green Lantern? That’s real right? I’m not imagining it? Seriously how hard did I hit my head?”
“You’re not crazy there is a grown man running around in green spandex with a green ring. More importantly how am I like Samwise Gamgee?”
Clark blushed as Lex watched him before peering up at him through a fringe of hair. “So how was London?”
“Tokyo. And you’re changing the subject, why Sam, not Aragorn…”
“Oh please, like you would hide the fact that you were royalty.”
“He’s got you there boss,” Hope chimed in.
“And Arwen…well I guess she’s sorta your type with the dark hair and being the best out there,” Clark said with a shrug not noticing Carla’s frown. “But she doesn’t try to kill Aragorn, so hmm.”
“It fits, even if you aren’t the hero cause really, even Frodo fell for the ring and Gollum. Gollum? He’s like drawn evil!”
“Like Disney movies, the bad guy always looks it. Scar, Jafar, Mortimer, Cruella de Ville, though with a name like Cruella…” Lex shook his head being drawn back to years ago in Smallville and movie conversations that they would have. He wondered if Clark remembered comparing him to Faramir the first time they saw these movies.
“Clark you have clearly had too much time to think about this. What have you been doing besides watching movies?”
“Uh watching TV?” Clark said sheepishly.
Lex pulled the remote glancing at the scene where Frodo pulls Sam out of the water. “If that was a Porsche we might have something there.”
Clark grinned. “So I’m Frodo?”
“Who else would you be? You even apparently visit the same hairstylist,” Lex said running his fingers through the wild curls. Clark smiled leaning into the touch.
“Well Hope said I was Legolas, stand there, look pretty, and keep the fellowship alive. Sounds kinda like her job description,” Clark added in a mock whisper and a popcorn kernel hit him in the head. “I’m wounded!” Clark exclaimed and Lex was surprised. He hadn’t been sure if the relationship Clark had begun to form with Hope would continue now that he was lucid. He was interested to see how well he would react to Mercy.
“We’ll get you some books lest the TV rot your brain,” Lex said with a sigh. “Maybe a laptop, I suppose you would like to keep your job at the planet.”
“Yeah that would be nice,” Clark smiled and placed a hand on Lex’s shoulder. “I’m glad your back.”
“Me too Clark.”
“So tell me about your trip?”
Lex thought about his trip and the fact that he had been corned in Paris by a very irritating Chloe Sullivan who had been forewarned by her cousin.
“I know you don’t think you can get away with this.”
“How lovely to see you too Ms. Sullivan, its so nice to see a familiar face so far from him,” Lex drawled at his seat a simple hand gesture keeping Mercy at bay. “Espresso?”
“How can you do this? Clark was your friend once.”
“What am I doing exactly? Having a business meeting in Paris?” Lex asked after a tiny sip.
“You’re hurting Clark, and I’m going to stop you.”
“Wouldn’t Clark have to be near me for my causing him pain?”
“You’ve left him with you scientists, or that other automaton that follows you around.”
“Hope is not an automaton though things would be much simpler if she was. As I told Lois, Clark has not requested your presence and until he does I will not subject Clark to your asinine theories.”
“You can’t hold someone against their will.”
“Has someone besides Lois Lane, who has a personal vendetta against me I might add told you that I am holding Clark against his will?”
“Well who am I going to ask Clark?”
“There is this wonderful new device called a cellular phone. You are a reporter why not look into that?” Lex said easily as Chloe’s mouth open and shut a few times before standing and walking off in a huff.
“It was completely boring,” Lex said turning to the television to watch the rest of the movie with Clark even as he knew there wasn’t much left to watch.
“There is something wrong with that kid,” Victor complained as he gathered his lunch after a training session that he had experienced with Robin, who seemed of all irritating things to be about Victor’s age or younger.
Courtney grinned. “I told you. One scary kid, but being bat Jr. I guess it makes sense. But he can be funny too. ”
“You are nothing more than a flower sniffing lily livered pansy.”
“Oh and I guess you are so great, oh let’s hit first, hit again, hit some more and when everyone is out try to ask a question or two.”
“Guys!” Courtney shouted with a shake of her head. “A.I. meet Hawk and Dove. A lovely pair of bickering brothers.”
“A.I. like the movie?”
“Do I look like a creepy kid to you?” Victor snapped wondering how he could make Oliver pay for this.
“Sorry,” Dove said with a roll of his eyes as he sat down.
“He’s integrating well, ” Oliver stated walking in on Batman watching Victor’s interactions.
“He’s has yet to meet a single person on the suspect list,” Batman growled.
“Hey guys,” Flash said entering the room. “I’ve been thinking about this, and there’s a big gap in this.
“And what is that?”
“He knew who we are. None of the kids know who we are.”
“He knows, or at least suspects who I am,” Oliver admitted.
“I’ve interviewed Clark on the other effects of the kryptonite that he knows of.”
“Why you?” Oliver asked. Batman didn’t bother to respond, not about to admit that Lex Luthor wasn’t the only one who had the means to destroy the man of steel.
“You would have to ask him, but he was once submerged in a vat of a solution made of Kryptonite, that pulled memories from his mind against his will, there is no reason to believe that he did not get our names and have his spy provide the rest. Even things that he did not consciously remember which seems to be the case now.”
“A vat of it? How did he survive?”
“Luthor saved him.”
“Lex Luthor?” Flash asked in disbelief. “His arch-nemesis, sworn to destroy him Lex Luthor.”
“He did not explain further,” Batman said remembering that night, when he had instead changed the subject to the other colors of Kryptonite. Red was a color he hoped he never encountered. “If Victor does not gather some useful information soon we may have to pull him.”
“Why? He just started,” Oliver said with as raised brow.
“And if this spy finds his identity out and feeds it to Luthor? Or worse yet if the spy feeds the information to Luthor and he figures out what we are trying and decides it’s a breech of his little blackmail arrangement?”
“Who did you think funded his creation in the first place?” Oliver snapped. “He knows who he is, as well as Bart, and AC, but I doubt he knew about me until later. Sometime around my third reappearance, besides the spy would only be able to find out his fabricated identity.”
“Well if you weren’t so blatant as to disappear and reappear within hours of each other maybe.”
“Well not all of us have the opportunity to be reclusive billionaires, with a camera shy alter ego. You spent years being a whispered thing that only criminals and some victims saw. Thanks to Lois I appeared with a bang and it never slowed down.”
Lois got off the curb and raised her hand to hail a cab with determination, wondering why she had not thought of this sooner. She would have come sooner if Perry hadn’t forced her to drop it. Instead she had spent the last couple weeks pretending to research the disappearance of Superman.
Something that simply led to dead ends, you would have thought he was Elvis with all the false sightings. She had nothing concrete to go on. And it was driving her insane. Why he had not even told her he may be going away he couldn’t understand.
She took a cab to meet Mrs. Kent wondering what hell she would help her rain down on Lex once she found out that the man had the nerve to take her only son. Lois was grinning in the back of the cab in a way that made the driver completely nervous and he had never been more relieved to discharge a passenger.
Entering the café she spotted a couple other senators and wondered what stories she could get while here, keeping her ears open for interesting leads while she scanned the patrons for the redhead. She spotted her to the side in an unassuming grey skirt suit with a pale pink blouse. She wore little makeup and looked very professional to Lois’ eyes.
“Hi Lois, I’m surprised to see you this far from Metropolis. Is there a major scandal I should be worried about?”
“No I’m here about Clark.”
“Clark? What is the problem?”
“The problem? The problem is that Lex Luthor kidnapped him.”
“Lois honey are you feeling alright? I talked to Clark about an hour ago. He’s at Lex’s penthouse. Lex hired a lovely nurse to take care of him. He even emailed me her references. She’s helped a couple of colleagues, I couldn’t ask for better.”
“Lex hates Clark!”
“Lois dear, Lex is a passionate man, he’s angry at Clark yes but he will not let something like that keep him from helping Clark at a time like this. He has done nothing outrageous. Why haven’t you talked to Clark?” Martha asked placing a hand on Lois’.
“How would I do that?”
“Well he said Lex was lending him a laptop, and he called me from his cell phone.”
“His phone went straight to voicemail! For days!”
“They had forgotten about it. You have to admit a cell phone wasn’t their major concern, and Clark has just recently become lucid for longer then an hour or two. Lois are you sure this is about Clark?”
“Of course this is about Clark, Lex Luthor is a mad man, the things he’s done. The things he’s tried to do. And now there is no one here to stop him.”
“Lois have you learned anything about Superman’s disappearance?”
“No! Everything is a dead end or some bored idiot making up a sighting to get their ten minutes of fame.”
“Lois do you think maybe you are pressing this issue about Clark so hard because you can’t do anything about Superman? I know you had feelings for him, but Lois he was never yours; we never really knew where he came from. He was a good thing, but nothing lasts forever.”
“But he’s just gone! No one vanishes like that. Why didn’t he say something. Why didn’t he tell me?!”
“Lois, you have to remember he wasn’t human. I know you didn’t spend as long in Smallville as the rest of us but you must have noticed this as well, people who has such great abilities didn’t act like the rest of us.”
“He wasn’t a psycho murder, or obsessed with Lana Lang of all things,” Lois snapped.
“Which was better for us, I don’t know what we would have done if he was more dangerously inclined. But because he was a hero does not mean that he thought the same way we did. Come on Lois how many people do you know who had that kind of power wouldn’t abuse it? Its even more proof that he wasn’t like us.
“Its possible he never understood how you felt.”
“But he was so kind…”
“Lois he visited children hospitals and spent hours with the children, they loved him. He declined meeting with world leaders refusing to show any cultural favoritism and was seen building sand castles with the children living in a dictatorship. He refused to answer to a government but made it clear that Metropolis was his home.”
“Are you calling me some kin d of child?”
“I don’t know but you did need an inordinate amount of rescuing, maybe he was fond of you, but just not the way you wanted him to be. He despite his appearance was not a man, and who knows what your relationship to him meant to him.”
“So you think I should stop looking for him?”
“No I think Lois the woman needs to step aside for the reporter and make like a reporter and find out where the most powerful being on earth got off to. I also think you need to talk to Clark and let go of these ideas of him being attacked. It could hurt your career if you keep throwing out outlandish accusations.”
Lois sighed and looked at her nails, not willing to admit Perry had been telling her the same things.
Clark stared at his cell phone and sighed. He had turned it on to find out he had over 40 messages and even more missed calls. All of them were from either Chloe or Lois, he decided to call Chloe first, she was farther away and her voice wasn’t half as irritating.
“What is with the face?” Lex asked coming into the room a laptop under his arm.
“I listened to my messages.”
“No I talked to mom already; these are much scarier than mom.”
“You have to face them sometime, and do you really want to do it in person?”
“Good point,” Clark said reaching for the phone as it rang. His eyes widened upon seeing the caller id but with a sigh answered. “Hello Lois.”
“Smallville! What the hell is going on?!”
Wincing Clark pulled the phone slightly away from his ear. “What do you mean?”
“Luthor kidnapped you!”
Clark grinned, “Lois Lex didn’t kidnap me. I mean really, would I be on the phone with you if he did? He’s just helping me until I get back on my feet.”
“Then where the hell are you? Why all the secrecy? Why haven’t you contacted me?”
“Lois, I had problems staying awake. Sorry if you weren’t the first thought that crossed my mind. You knew I was with Lex, why didn’t you ever call him? No you call Chloe who’s on the other side of the ocean for what? I’ve been on pain killers and had a concussion. Sorry if you weren’t my number one priority, Lex is not Satan,” Clark snapped using his cheek to shut the flip phone with one hand and setting it in his lap.
“She makes me so angry sometimes.”
Lex nodded and considered his words for a moment. “Will you call Miss Sullivan?”
“In a while I don’t want to take this out on Chloe,” Clark said looking at Lex.
“Well you can write Miss Sullivan an email if you wish. It happens to be an ungodly hour in Paris at the moment,” Lex said holding out a laptop.
“Don’t you need this for work?”
“It’s a spare,” Lex said with a wave of his hand.
“For when you throw the other one across the room?” Clark asked with a grin.
“Brat,” Lex returned.
“Lex want to be my secretary?” Clark asked batting his eyes innocently while holding up his enclosed hand.
“Sure Clark,” Lex said with a sigh taking a seat on his bed sitting besides Clark and taking the laptop back. “You have to log in.”
“C.kent at daily planet dot org. My password is still generic, planet.”
“You’ve been there two years Clark.”
“I don’t really use my work email much and it’s usually up at the office anyway. And Lois can’t figure out my password since she’s sure I changed it.”
“Well aren’t you the devious one,” Lex grinned logging onto the remote email. Clark looked over at the screen and saw a few he might read later.
“Chloe is in my contacts.”
“Only you Clark.” Clark glanced down at what Lex typed and grinned.
“I’ve seen your emails,” Lex said with a wry smile.
“Fine. Hmm ok, uh…Hi Chloe. How’s Paris? Everything is fine here except your cousin is insane. I mean really Lex isn’t evil incarnate. Its not his fault I was too slow when I pushed him out of the way of a car. What did :Lois want him to do? Dump me at Metropolis General? Lex is helping and I wish you could get her off my case.
“Don’t worry about me, I have DVD’s and Carla to keep me company, she’s a nurse Lex hired for me and also trained in physical therapy. It will be better to send me emails since I doubt I will turn my phone back on except to call my mom. Lois gave me a headache.
“Uh I think that’s it. Don’t type that Lex!” Lex hit delete typed in Clark’s name and hit send. “Thanks Lex.”
“Sure Clark, you may want to compose an email to Mr. White, if you want to keep your job. Now that Lois knows you are lucid I’m sure she will be raging about you going back to work in no time.”
“Well the planet is wheelchair accessible.”
“And you can barely type, I’ve also seen the things you run around doing, you are in no state to work, especially with that partner of yours who finds risking her life such an amusing pastime.”
“We’ll she lasted this long.”
“Yes one would think she had a guardian angel,” Lex said carefully watching Clark for a reaction.
“They would have to be an angel to put up with her regularly,” Clark muttered.
“How did you two ever become partners?”
“We…we were working on the same story? Wow, it feels like ages ago. I can’t remember,” Clark said. “Ugh, I’m the only one who can deal with her for an extended period of time.”
“Maybe you are an angel then Clark.”
Clark snorted and leaned back on the bed looking up at Lex. “Sure, Lex aren’t I in your bed?”
“Why is it that you never sleep in it then?”
“I sleep Clark, just not as much as you,” Lex replied calmly.
“Ok, um Lex are you seeing anyone?”
“Not at the moment,” Lex said wondering where Clark was going with this train of thought.
“Um, maybe I should move to a guest room.”
“Why? I like you where I can keep an eye on you.”
Clark grinned. “Don’t fire her but Carla thinks we’re dating.”
“Oh is that all?”
“How’d you figure it out, you weren’t even around.”
“Clark, you were asleep for a lot of the time. She told me, you were such a sweet boy and I was lucky to be in a relationship with you. How did you figure it out?”
“The giggling between her and Hope was a big hint, and all the questions about what you liked. Carla was way too happy about what I knew.”
“Lex are you laughing at me? You’re laughing!” Clark exclaimed. Lex smiled simply and said nothing. “Fine, why are you okay with being my boyfriend?”
“Carla bases her reputation on being discreet, this is one rumor that would come from no where else,” Lex said simply.
“Except half of Smallville,” Clark muttered.
“What was that?” Lex asked and Clark groaned.
Lex smiled and ruffled Clark’s hair. “I’ll send in Carla sweetheart.”
“You’re enjoying this aren’t you?”
“Why wouldn’t I enjoy spending my free time with the man that I love?”
Clark groaned and pulled the blanket over his head hoping Lex would get the hint. Sighing when Lex pulled it away. “Don’t I get a kiss?” He asked sweetly.
“Bite me Lex.”
“None of that until you’re better Clark,” Lex said delighting in his blush.
Heading to his office he pretended to not notice Hope and Carla slip into the room. Instead he shut the door and looked over at Mercy.
“False alarm, he doesn’t remember the ring. Or much hero related. Though he has figured out Carla and Hope think we are dating.”
“I suppose he’s not a complete moron.”
“He does have a Pulitzer.”
“For an interview he wrote about himself, with an interview with himself,” Mercy sneered.
“Quite devious of him actually,” Lex remarked and Mercy shook her head.
“Have you figured out what happened to him?”
“His memory is full of holes, all centered around that sanctimonious alien. I want to wait a little longer but I’m tempted to show him some images of himself. But I would rather start with something less startling.”
“Do you actually think the Justice League will back down for long Mercy?”