Regret and False Pretense pt10

CHAPTER 10

Lois frowned as she sat at her desk looking over at Clark’s own. Her stunt with Lana had backfired greatly. And now to make matters worse she had to field calls from the woman every day or so and listen to her complain about her cancer. If it was really treated, or if meteor rock based cancer could be treated.

But what bothered her most had been Clark, the look on Clark’s face. He had not been happy, or relieved to see Lana; he had been shattered. As if Lana had only left the day before. Lois wondered about that. He had always assumed it was puppy love, high school sweethearts gone awry.

But now she had to wonder. Putting aside the fact that Clark was happily shacking up with Lex Luthor of all people, Clark didn’t seem all that different. He knew who both she and Lana were, and while not being over a girl after all these years was a bit pathetic it was Clark.

She looked over at Clark’s desk once more before making her decision. Standing she walked over to his desk and moved the mouse around, not the least bit surprised to find his computer had been on for months despite the fact that he hadn’t been to work.

The only catch was that his desktop was password protected, so was hers, there was no need to ever be out scooped because you had to use the bathroom or make a coffee run. But she had never been able to guess Clark’s password.

Now, though she had a whole new set of information she wanted to try. All revolving around the prestigious Lana Lang; twenty minutes later Lois threw up her hands in exasperation nothing worked. She had no idea what Clark’s password was but this was driving her insane. One little peek into his email and she was sure she would be able to figure out the truth.

The only thing she could guess was that Clark was using the time to infiltrate Lex. That would explain the anonymous manila envelope she had received a few days ago, that had tipped her off to various illegal activities. All of which had faint connections to LuthorCorp, though nothing that could be proven or prosecuted.

But, was Smallville good enough for that? Put on an act that could fool Lex Luthor. She had seen men and women fall for his ‘Aw shucks’ act but that was pretty close to the real Clark. It wasn’t that surprising that he could pull off awed by the big city so well.

Moving back to her desk Lois was surprised to find an email from Clark and realized quickly that she was only receiving it because it was an article. Even when they did not share a byline, people tended to believe that what one knew the other did. It was in their best interests to keep up with each other.


Green Initiative: Working for a greener tomorrow today
By Clark Kent

When Metropolis resident Lex Luthor, CEO LuthorCorp, went to spend a few weeks in New York City it wasn’t the lights of the skyline the caught his attention, but the green. Building after building including his own, had converted their rooftops into gardens. In a city where every inch is a hot commodity, the citizens along with their Mayor Michael Bloomberg, have been working on a plan for a greener New York City, so the city haled as the Greatest in the World can be the Greenest as well.

New York is not the only City to go green, other cities with Green Initiatives include Denver, CO; Austin, TX; and Seattle, WA; and soon Metropolis, KS will be added to that illustrious list. You may have already noticed more plants appearing in key locations, notably above every LuthorCorp owned building. Luthorcorp is also building the first biodiesel fuel pump station to open sometime this summer. But Lex Luthor is not sopping there; this Thursday he is hosting a fund raiser to gain support for making the rest of the city green.

When asked about his commitment to such a project Mr. Luthor said. “Metropolis is my home, and I want to do everything in my power to better my home. I’m just one man, planting a few shrubs but if I can inspire just a few people and they in turn inspire a few of their friends then I will be satisfied.”

The money raised will, be used to expand the windworks plant, introduce hybrid buses, and run those already on the road in biodiesel fuel. One can only hope that others will follow this example, and help turn our home already a great city into an icon for the betterment of our home, Earth.

Lois closed the document in irritation. With press like that it would be doubly hard to remove the crown of Metropolis’ Golden boy from Luthor’s head. So much for thinking Kent had become a spy. Lois laughed. As if Clark could ever be a double agent. He couldn’t lie to save his life, and probably couldn’t keep a secret either.

That still left Lois with the question of who her informant was and what their goal was providing this information. It had all proven to be true, and yet she could not think of anyone except one of Lex’s top people who would have it. And Mercy, Hope, and Charity were all fiercely loyal.

The way that they had switched to keeping Clark at bay to protecting him as if he were Lex himself spoke of their mindless obedience. There was nothing to do, Lois would simply have to hope that she would get another package and the information would be enough to help lead her to her source and answer some of her more pressing questions.

*****

Clark was dreaming; he knew he was dreaming but he was enjoying it regardless. He was flying, without a plane, and with red wing s if what he saw from the periphery was any indication. But the best part was Lex was flying right beside him pointing out things in the world below.

Lex was smiling and laughing, and it reminded Clark of when they had first met. His heart had never felt lighter, he grinned as they swooped down through the clouds towards what he knew would be Greece. Lex would love it here.

Lex had not joked when he told Clark he slept about half as long as Clark did. He had already had a conversation with the London offices, started his workout for the day, leaving the Tai Chi to do with Clark. He entered his bedroom and was rooted to the spot.

Clark was floating, a good foot off the bed. Clearly asleep with a smile on his face, Lex noted the rapid eye movement indicated that he was dreaming. He wondered if Clark’s memory would return as well when he woke.

Steeling himself for the confrontation, he approached the bed and placed his hand on Clark’s shoulder surprised when Clark settled gently onto the mattress. He watched him dream for a few moments smiling before gently shaking his shoulder.

“Clark.”

“Mmm, Alexander, Lex.”

Lex blinked wondering about the last time a person had called him Alexander, it sounded foreign to his ears. “Clark wake up.”

Clark blinked blearily looking up at Lex and grinning. Lex let out a breath he did not know he was holding and returned the smile.

“Good dream?”

“Yeah,” Clark said sitting up and rubbing his eyes. Yawning he looked over at Lex. “Pretty silly too.”

“What was it?”

“We were flying, with out a plane, I had red wings, but I couldn’t really see them, and you were next to me pointing everything out that we were seeing. Then we went to Greece, and went to Alexander the Great’s house, and you were having an argument with him.”

“Alexander the Great?”

“Yeah, well you were arguing with him, he looked like this kid that works at the diner near the Planet. But he was acting so annoying, so I flew away and you came after me, and we were playing tag almost.”

“I flew after you? I had my own wings?”

“No that was the strange part you just flew, apparently you are too cool for wings.”

“Well it was your subconscious Clark.”

“Yeah,” Clark said with a shrug. “What time is it?”

“Seven forty five.”

Clark groaned and tried to lie back down.

“Oh no Clark, you have Tai Chi to do. Then breakfast. Then a session with Carla.”

“But it’s so early.”

“Shower Clark.”

“Yes mom,” Clark said with a sigh climbing out of the bed and walked into the master bath.

Lex sat down heavily on the bed. Clark was floating, one of his last powers to ever appear, had Clark been lying to him? Had he gotten his powers and memory back and decided to keep up the charade? Playing Lex for a fool, as he planned with the Justice League behind his back, to learn his secrets. He would not have it.

Lex having worked himself into a considerable fury stormed into the bathroom startling a shaving Clark who nicked his chin. Lex watched as the small drop of blood beaded from the cut. Lex blinked realizing he had just done something he had always accused Clark of doing. Jumping to conclusions and barging in without the whole story.

He pulled the door shut without comment, ignoring Clark’s questioning look. He sat down on the bed again and tried to think about this rationally. He was clearly letting emotions lead him away from what he should be doing.

He had always assumed Clark’s last power had been flight, but now thinking back there was no reason for it to be true. It may have just been the last power Clark displayed. Speed and strength were easily if not believably turned into some momentary feat or a trick of the eyes.

There was very little that could dissuade a person if they saw another human being flying. He approached the door again and knocked. He heard a muffled grunt and he pushed the door open to find Clark brushing his teeth.

“Quick question, are you afraid of heights?”

Clark spat and looked over at Lex and shook his head. “Not any more, I think, I went sky diving in college, it helped.”

Lex was about to ask something more when he realized what he was doing to Clark and smiled. “Sorry I’ll let you shower.”

“Is that why you burst in earlier?”

“I…yes.”

“You are so strange sometimes. You’re lucky I wasn’t naked,” Clark said.

“I suppose,” Lex said with a smile and pulled the door shut. Instead of sitting he paced around the bedroom his mind creating and discarding plans just as quickly as he thought them up. There was one thing Lex was certain about. Clark was regaining his powers. He would have to step up his timetable.

He had already dealt with his greatest obstacles, and Clark himself seemed to be unconsciously playing his own role perfectly. Clark was many things, but a good liar had never been one of them, while it had taken time for Lex to learn what the truth

H e was so engrossed in his plan forming he did not notice Clark had finished his shower and entered the bedroom.

“And now he paces,” Clark said with a grin leaning against the door in his towel. He walked into the closet where his clothes were sharing space with Lex’s own, at least in the theoretical sense; there was so much space in the closet his clothes seemed miles from Lex’s.

Entering his area, he was surprised to see his entire wardrobe; it seems Mercy had been busy. He grabbed a worn Smallville Crows shirt, and after a futile search for sweat pants emerged with the shirt over one arm and the other making sure the towel stayed where it belonged.

“Uh Lex, where’s my underwear?” Clark asked sure he should have asked this question before he was towel clad. “Oh and some sweat pants?”

Lex led him into the closet and pulled out some white linen pants, and opened a drawer to reveal underwear in Clark’s size. Complete with his choice between boxers or briefs.

“Thanks Lex,” Clark said as Lex left the closet.

“If you wear that shirt I’m burning it,” Lex called in response.

*****

“What can we do? You saw that scene Lane initiated, Luthor has clearly scrambled his mind,” Oliver snapped.

“Are we sure we can’t get Watchtower in on this? You said she holds a lot of sway over Superman even in this state,” Batman pointed out.

“She’s called but, it’s almost as if her memories of Lex have been dulled. While she does find it strange, she did not see it as completely Impossible. She likened it to a reconciliation that Clark and Lex had when she and Clark were seniors in High School.”

“Is that possible?” Diana asked.

“I suppose, but she also has many a reason to hate Lex on her own, including her dismissal from the Daily Planet. Even if they do occasionally run her articles now that they are under new management.” Oliver added. “A lot of this does not make sense, Senator Kent is also unconcerned, and Clark continues to speak to them regularly.”

“There is a tie there; there are too many memories that seem to have been altered, and no way to detect this alteration without probing. The question is why not alter everyone’s memories?”

“Maybe whoever did the altering could not get a hold of everyone. I mean guys it was Luthor, even he would have trouble making off with all of us at once and doing a memory wipe. And we would all notice such a thing anyway. “

“It could be tied to how he learned out identities,” Wonder Woman added.

“That would make Luthor even more dangerous. There would be nothing we could do to stop him as long as he held this information over our heads.”

“You think that’s a concern? The last time Watchtower hacked him, she found the plans, for what looked like a sleeper program. Trigger words known only to Luthor himself that would send his plant on who knows what kind of attack of rage,” Oliver pointed out.

“We need to get to Supes,” Flash said. “There has to be a way around his ban.”

“There is one,” Batman said dropping a copy of the morning’s Planet on the table. “Some of us can make an appearance, without capes, nor cowls, it does not break his so called rules, and we can get close enough to Clark to see if an extraction is possible.”

“What if he doesn’t want to go?” Oliver asked in concern as he read the article.

“Why wouldn’t he want to go? He’s trapped with Lex Luthor. Sure maybe he didn’t want to go with his Ex and Lois, but maybe he was just trying to protect them. As big as what Luthor is holding over us all, don’t you think he could have something bigger to hold over Clark,” Wally asked pushing his cowl back and rubbing his face, before leaving a stunned Justice League.

“West! Where are you going?” Batman snapped, first to come out of his momentary shock; the idea that Luthor could have more to hold over Clark than his dual identity was wholly disturbing, mostly because it was possible, underestimating Luthor was a great risk. Clark could be playing amnesia in some twisted desire to protect them.

“To see Linda,” he said before speeding off to teleport back to earth. Sometimes Wally wondered if the League even knew how isolated they were. He landed in his living room and quickly changed and dashed into Linda’s apartment. None of her papers, on the article she was working on moved, she had long ago learned the pros of investing on paperweights.

“You’re early; give me a few minutes to wrap this up…Wally what’s wrong?”

“I don’t know if I can do this, it’s all coming from these people who just aren’t a part of this world no matter how much they pretend to be.”

“This is about that hero again? The one that powered down, and is with his enemy?” Linda asked. She knew she couldn’t get names out of Wally but even for him that had been vague. Not even the name of the hero before he powered down. She even knew that the enemy had not only Wally’s name but her own.

“Yeah,” Wally said moving some documents to the floor to sit besides her.

“He knows who we are right? And when other people approach, it seems like the former hero, god, I’m going to call the hero Tom and villain Mike okay? Good. So Tom, doesn’t seem to want to leave Mike, but Mike seems to be allowing him to talk to anyone right?”

“Yes?”

“So, talk to him, with or without Mike, you knew this guy pretty well?”

“I think so,” Wally said. He had always felt that Superman despite all his powers was the most genuine of the heroes, someone he would just want to watch a game with. He had even gotten tickets once, but then there had been that attack on Metropolis. “But, T-no Mike, right Mike said any capes and he would out everyone not just the one that showed up.”

Linda frowned. “I have an idea, but first one question; do you think he could fake it?”

“I’m surprised he could do the secret identity thing.”

“Okay but this plan has to kept from everyone, I doubt the League would go for it.”

Wally blinked then lifted Linda into his arms and was two hundred miles from Keystone City in seconds. “Here’s good.”

“You think the League listens to your private life?”

“The League no, Bats, probably,” Wally admitted and seeing Linda’s frown shrugged. “He’s like that, it’s not personal he would be suspicious of Gandhi.”

“Great guy you work with,” Linda said with a sigh.

*****

Mercy and Hope exchanged glances, looked at the files in their hand and exchanged glances again before returning their attention to Lex. Mercy’s lip twitched, and Hope’s shoulder’s shook.

“Boss, you are something else,” Hope said finally getting herself under control.

“I like to keep them guessing and that should have the benefit of keeping the harpy busy as well. The first set worked so well.”

“What about Clark?” Mercy asked.

“I have plans for Clark,” Lex said simply.

“Plans? Why do you have plans for me?” Clark asked walking in files in hand.

“You’ll find out in a couple hours,” Lex said and Clark rolled his eyes.

“I sent the article to Perry, he loves it. Lex the green initiative is great.”

“Of course if New York can do such a thing why not Metropolis. We are a great city.”

“And you just started making it better for everyone,” Clark said with a smile.

“I’m planting a few trees, I’m not saving Metropolis.”

“You are taking a step to save the whole planet Lex.”

“Clark I really think you are over estimating my contribution.”

“Lex, how long before we had our own smog cloud?”

“Well we already have an extensive public transportation system. While not as extensive as that of New York, this is the next logical step.”

“People are going to see you doing this and the rich will have to follow to keep up. The average citizen will want to help,” Clark said sitting on the side of Lex’s desk. Not noticing when Hope and Mercy left their grins much wider.

Clark glanced up when the door shut, and shrugged returning his attention to Lex. “And how many people have turned out for tomorrow night?”

“The most expensive seats have been filled, by some who don’t even reside in Metropolis.”

“Like who?” Clark asked trying to see Lex’s screen and nearly falling off the desk.

“Clark please don’t break another leg,” Lex said eyeing him carefully. “Like Bruce Wayne and Oliver Queen.”

“Well Queen used to live here, and doesn’t Wayne Enterprises have a few buildings here,” Clark said easily. There are likely a few more out of towners. When The Lex Luthor throws a party everyone wants to show up. “

“When did I become The Lex Luthor?”

“When this older gentlemen told you to ‘Drive slower’.” Clark said and Lex let out a laugh.

“I’ve missed you Clark.”

“We spend everyday together Lex.”

Lex simply smiled and returned to his laptop. Clark watched him for a few minutes more before making his way out of the room and into the waiting arms of Mercy and Hope who flanked him on either side.

A vaguely familiar blond was standing a few steps away and Clark searched his mind for a name. Clark frowned as he tried to remember and a petite hand was thrust out at him.

“Charity Standish,” she said simply.

“Clark Kent.”

“I know, we’ve met, usually with your harpy of a partner,” Charity smiled darkly and with a flash of red in her eyes that startled Clark who took a step back.

She smiled innocently at Clark who rubbed his eyes in confusion. “Did you just-“

“Just what?” Charity asked curls bouncing.

“Never mind,” Clark said looking at the woman who had to be less than a hundred pounds. Maybe he needed glasses. He remembered Charity a little better now; she was the gate keeper to Lex and pretty much hated Lois.

“You like ice cream,” Clark said suddenly.

Charity graced him with a rare true smile. “It’s my secret love, couldn’t get it where I was from. Well you could, but, it’s not just snowballs that have no chance in hell.”

“Mr. Luthor is ready for you anytime; we can’t be late for Mr. Kent’s appointment,” Mercy said and Clark glanced at her. “Clark’s appointment,” she corrected and was rewarded with a smile. He looked over at Charity and smiled before he was pushed into the elevator.

“Where are we going?” Clark asked.

“Tailor.”

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