Lex had decided to not mask his return to Metropolis from the League. This had the side effect of him being met by the press on the tarmac. Though press may have been too loose a term, these were the vultures, the society pages, the tabloids, he was sure something about lost son returning would be in the presses by the evening edition.
“Ladies first,” Lex said as the stairs to his private jet opened. Mercy scowled as she stomped out, Carla smiling and following next. When Lex glanced at Hope she crossed her arms in irritation.
“Let her do her job Lex,” Clark said his crutches under each arm though Carla had said he was ready for a cane today.
Lex let Clark go first watching as he progressed slowly down the stairs ignoring the cameras, some of which flashed, he stumbled slightly at the bottom but Lex saw he quickly regained his balance and with Mercy’s help slid into the car.
Lex was halfway down the stairs before the cameras seem to realize Clark wasn’t the story.
“Mr. Luthor! Who’s the pretty boy?”
“Mr. Luthor! What have you to say about the change in direction of LuthorCorp?”
“Mr. Luthor! What is the green initiative?”
“I’ll be having a press conference to discuss all relevant business questions soon,” Lex said hiding his frown when he saw one of the reporters, was half leaning into the limo and touching Clark’s hair with a clearly seductive grin.
“Ms. Grant,” Lex said coldly.
“Hey Lexie, I was just telling Clarkie here how much everyone misses him.”
Hope moved between Lex and Cat and smiled dangerously. “Move it or lose it,” she said as she cracked her knuckles. Cat swallowed and stepped back as Lex slid into the limo besides Clark, followed by Hope.
The door to the limo shut before Clark gave up and burst into laughter. “What is so funny Clark?”
“I know Cat can be a bit much but, no making her disappear,” Clark said still smiling.
“I would do no such thing.”
“Let me rephrase that, no making it so she could never work in Metropolis again.”
“He’s got you there boss,” Hope said and Lex looked to Mercy who was smirking.
“You are causing insubordination.”
“Oh, I’m sure Hope was doing just fine without me.”
“Why do I put up with you?” Lex asked with a put out sigh.
“Because I’m you’re bestest friend in the world,” Clark said batting his lashing and leaning against Lex.
“So are we going to my place?” Clark asked looking out the limo window by leaning across Lex who simply inhaled Clark’s scent.
“You, are never going to that cesspool again.”
“Mercy will pick up any remaining suitable clothing, and mementos. I can’t believe you lived in Suicide Slums.”
“It was a nice place after I fixed it up.”
“Clark, a chalk outline being a permanent fixture of your neighborhood does not equate nice.”
“You just want to keep me in your bed,” Clark said blushing when he realized what it sounded like.
“If that is the only way to keep you out of trouble I am willing to make sacrifices,” Lex said and Clark suddenly peered at Lex feeling the weight of those words.
“Lex?” Clark asked sitting up.
“What’s the green initiative?”
“Going to write an article?”
“Maybe, tell me what it is.”
“I’ll tell you when we get inside. I have some files to go along with it.”
“Does this have anything to do with your meeting with the Mayor?”
Clark rolled his eyes and stretched his legs out. “It’s sad that this is the only one of your cars I can fit in.”
“Clark, I’m six feet, and I fit just fine.”
“Whatever,” Clark said with a sigh glancing at the silent women. Mercy was calmly ignoring them, Carla reading a paper, and Hope was playing a video game. Clark took his position on Lex’s shoulder. Feeling eyes on him he looked at Lex.
“Just don’t drool on me.” To this Clark stuck out his tongue, before shutting his eyes. Lex watched him for a few seconds before staring ahead. Clark would love the Green initiative, so he had put together a portfolio for him waiting in the penthouse that could be his return piece to the Daily Planet.
Lex was more curious to why Clark seemed insistent, on spending time with him and touching him. Like this impromptu nap, he knew Clark wasn’t actually tired, it was only noon and they had been in the air less than three hours. He had already accepted that Clark cuddled in his sleep.
Clark was many things, but subtle was not one of them or he might believe he was being covertly courted. He tried to remember if Clark was as physical during their friendship and short of a few hugs each for enormous reasons; returning from the dead and the like. The most Clark had done had been to stand closer to him than others.
Lex wondered vaguely if this was tied to the memory lost when he noticed Mercy smirking at him. He raised his eyebrow and she pointed to the hand that had found its way into Clark’s hair. Lex rolled his eyes but refused to move his hand not about to admit to Mercy he hadn’t known he was doing it.
Carla was giving him a faint smile, and Hope after glancing up returned to her game. Lex realized with a start the only thing that concerned him about Clark’s memory loss was, the concern of the memory returning. If he could find out why this happened, he could make sure it was permanent. As he could not do that he was working on making sure if Clark’s memory returned he would have tapes of this time if nothing else to prove it.
The one thing Lex did know is that he would not be giving up this Clark without a fight. Even if he still could not understand what had caused such a change. He hand complied a list of odd events happening around the now dead alien and Clark Kent in the last year through his usual groups on the premise of finding a new way to identify budding heroes and in turn their identities.
The system had been in place for years now and would always keep him one step ahead of the Justice League and despite the number of people working on it keep them all none the wiser. The mythological group simply believed he was interested in the heroic aspect of history and heroic figures that were said to come again.
While Arthur Pendragon hadn’t come to save England, there were a few other figures he was sure to keep an eye out for. Nothing like Captain Marvel would be happening again without his noticing.
They pulled up to LuthorCorp and Lex almost groaned at the sight of Lois Lane on the steps. Thankfully there were no other reporters present so he would not have to deal with them as well as her insanity.
“Oh look boss it’s Lane, can I go talk to her?” Mercy asked with some glee.
“Not pick a fight with my partner, I’ll see what she wants,” Clark said attempting to climb over Lex.
“Clark,” Lex said as the driver opened the doors, he stepped out and into a barrage of questions from Lois.
“What have you done to Clark? You think you’re off on this don’t you. Just because you have Chloe and Mrs. Kent fooled…”
“Geez Lois I didn’t know you cared,” Clark said taking Lex’s offered hand to get out of the limo as his crutches were passed to him from the inside. “Thanks,” Clark whispered before turning to face Lois.
“Smallville come on, we have to get you away from this guy before his brainwashing goes any further.”
“I have not been brainwashed, Lex helped me, and I helped him that’s what friends do.”
“Oh come on you and Lex have never been friends.”
“I think I know what happened in my own life.”
“Clearly you don’t but I know some one who does; a real blast from your past Smallville.”
Clark looked at Lois strangely as Lex tensed at his side. The door to the LuthorCorp tower opened and Lex watched as Clark staggered as his ex wife and the love of Clark’s young life emerged looking the part of the su ff ering heroine. A white scarf wrapped around her head like a hijab, despite the fact that Lex knew she had started growing hair again,
“Hi Clark,” Lana said with a weak smile and Lex forced his expression to remain neutral. He glanced over at Clark and could see the many conflicting emotions on his face. Lana had walked out of Clark’s life without a backwards glance. He wondered if it was the secret or learning the secret that had caused the separation but he couldn’t really ask either.
The clattering of Clark’s crutches to the floor shook Lex out of his thoughts and braced himself to watch Clark hug Lana. He was stunned when he saw that Clark’s expression had settled on pain, and he was gripping Lex’s arm tightly.
“Mercy, Hope,” Lex said coldly and he was amazed at the anger he could see on their faces. He knew Mercy hated Lois but that had been more of a fun loving hate. Hope hadn’t had much interaction with the woman; they were reacting to Clark and that surprised him even as he thought he should know better.
The two guards created a two woman blockade that was surprisingly joined by a grim faced, crutch brandishing Carla. Lois and Lana both stepped away from them and Lex gently led a slowly shuffling Clark inside the building, hiding any reaction as he watched Clark ignore Lois’ harping and Lana’s confused calling of his name.
Clark spent the ride up to the penthouse, in silence his head down, his hand in Lex’s squeezing every so often. He could tell the women were confused as to who Lana was to Clark but he had a feeling Carla knew.
“Clark?” Lex started softly when the doors opened and he did not move.
“She had no right,” Clark whispered. The anger clear in his voice. Together still holding hands which Lex thought would end once Clark became aware of what he was doing they exited the elevator and into the open Penthouse doors followed by Hope and Carla.
“She was important once, wasn’t she Clark?” Carla asked.
“You have it backwards,” Mercy explained. “She’s Lex’s ex-wife.”
Carla looked at Lex and shook her head. He could see the questions and condemnation in her eyes. The woman saw too much at times. Deciding it was something he could deal with later he turned to Clark instead.
“Who had no right Clark? Lana?”
“Lois, she was there. She knew how much it hurt to just find a tape waiting for you. To just know she was gone, and I wasn’t good enough to get a goodbye. She kept in touch with Chloe, and even Lois. I sent letter’s cards, emails; all my answers were always second hand. She even asked Lois to tell me to stop writing her emails.
“She didn’t ask Lana to talk to me out of the goodness of her heart. She did it because she wants me to turn to her way of thinking and she will use any means necessary. She doesn’t like you and that is the only reason Lana has decided to talk to me after four years. She lost the chance to be an influence on my life when she walked out of it.”
“Wait, you dated Lex’s ex-wife?” Hope asked shocked.
“It’s not important Hope.”
“But…” Mercy jabbed her fellow guard indicating Clark who after his initial declaration of anger had returned to an expression of misery and pain. Regardless of what he said seeing Lana again stirred up feelings that he most likely had never truly dealt with. Lex had lived the infamy of Lana and Clark. And it was clear that Lana had not changed much if she thought that this was in any way appropriate.
“Clark on the desk in my office is a folder containing information about the Green initiative. It should be informative enough for an article for Perry. And I see no reason why you have to leave the penthouse again today,”
“I’m not going into hiding Lex.”
“But you need time Clark, and even with Lex’s help you will be in pain from the aidless walking you did,” Carla said softly.
“Oh,” Clark said taking the crutches and retreating to the office.
“Is that true?” Lex asked once he was out of listening range.
“No, but he needs time to prepare his heart if that woman shows up again. You both loved the same woman?”
“Clark loved Lana; I’m not sure any more; she was so many things, to me that had little to do with her. Sometimes I believe I loved her, others I think I was bespelled by her. And there is no doubting that I wanted anything of Clark’s that I could get my hands on at the time.
“It was foolish and Lana was caught in the crossfire. Could I have loved her? Possibly, but without Clark I doubt she would have ever entered my life. For the first few years I knew him, I devised ways for Clark to get Lana.”
“How long have you known Clark?” Carla suddenly asked.
“Ten years now, he was fifteen and a farm boy and I was twenty one and the evil billionaire.”
“Not much has changed then huh boss,” Hope said. “Though you guys are sounding like a soap opera or maybe a bad romance novel. All we need is someone coming back from the dead or the damsel in distress.” At Lex’s look Hope frowned. “You’re kidding.”
“Whose death and return would you like to cover, since I do not feel the need to discuss my exwife any further.” Lex asked.
“The day I met Clark I drove off a bridge. The next thing I knew I was receiving CPR from our resident hero.”
“Are you telling that story again?” Clark asked entering with the file. Clearly still unread he was sure Clark had used the time to compose himself.
“Well dear it was our first kiss,” Lex said with a teasing grin.
“I was fifteen and your heart had stopped, not very romantic.”
“Well, you could have told them about the damsel. You were quite often in distress Lex. Kidnapped, murdering wives, my dad, your dad, the list goes on you needed Hope and Mercy then much more than now,”
“Write your article farm boy,” Lex said.
“This farm boy is hungry. Take out?” Clark asked.
“Since no one is leaving, yes.”
“Pasta?” Clark asks hopefully.
“I know a place. Let me make a few calls, Charity can bring it up,” Lex mused aloud.
Lex climbed into bed beside Clark, wondering if Clark even remembered the reason they shared a bed in a place with multiple bedrooms, including a second master suite. Clark looked over from the screen of his laptop where he was searching for more information on other cities that were attempting to be green for a more rounded article.
“You know my leg isn’t exceptionally sore,” Clark said conversationally.
Lex looked at Clark and wondered at yet another fundamental difference. The Clark of old would have been accusatory, this Clark seemed mildly amused.
“Carla has taken a liking to you. She thought you would be better off not having to deal with Lois again today.”
“Not that it made much difference,” Clark said gesturing the files he had been working on. “When is your press-conference?”
“So I have a couple of days,” Clark said saving his work and shutting down. He stacked everything neatly and placed them on the bedside table before releasing a jaw popping yawn.
“It is after midnight, unlike some people I need more than three minutes of sleep.” Lex raised a brow. “You will be reading something until I fall asleep and are awake hours before I am.
“I sleep about four to five hours; you seem to enjoy eight to ten. You are recovering, it’s expected.”
“Why does it feel like you are calling me lazy?”
“You are reading too much into my words,” Lex said simply lying down on his side of the bed, one arm over his head.
Clark glanced over at him then with a sigh placed his head on Lex’s chest. Lex glanced down at Clark who met his eye and grinned.
“It’s not as if we don’t end up this way every morning anyway,” Clark pointed out.
“No surprise that Clark Kent likes to snuggle.”
“Oh you do too, I have to go to the bathroom and I’m trapped by octa-Lex.”
Lex smirked reaching to turn off the lights. “Goodnight Clark.”
Clark as was his way fell asleep moments later. Lex stayed awake, feeling that Lana as always was a bad sign. He felt that his carefully constructed life with Clark was about to shatter and he would be unable to stop it.
He wasn’t sure what he should call his relationship with Clark at the moment though he was sure he knew what others would call it. There was that final intimate barrier that they had not crossed; though Clark had long ago crossed barriers that lovers and even wives never knew existed.
Carla was sure there were discreet lovers and he was sure he had bets being placed between Hope and Mercy on the status of their relationship. They were more than friends, and it was all built on the fact that Clark had no memory. Besides Chloe, Lana was the only person he knew that could ruin this. He knew Lois would never give up but he thought he had dealt with her already but going to New York.
And now that he was back in Metropolis, the Justice League was sure to come out of the shadows, even with the information he had, he could not see them letting up for long. The fact that they had been silent his entire time in New York was a wonder enough.
“You’re thinking too much,” Clark mumbled and Lex froze. He was sure Clark had been asleep. “You’re all tense, relax,” Clark said propping up on one arm to look down at Lex.
“You were asleep.”
“I was, all that thinking woke me.”
“Very amusing,” Lex said dryly.
“No really, you are really tense all of a sudden. Whatever you are thinking about it’s not good for you. It can wait until morning when you can tell me all about it.”
“Why not now?”
“I’ll fall asleep,” Clark said with a yawn. He looked down at Lex shifting slightly before shaking his head and kissing Lex’s cheek. “Sleep Lex.” He said as he lay back down atop of Lex.
Lex smiled as a whole new set of plans crossed his mind, and the tension left his body, causing Clark to drift off as he finally felt Lex relax.