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Changing Your Mind 4

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Changing Your Mind 4

by Annie


Changing Your Mind
4

by Annie

Rated: PG
Summary: Lex makes a deal.
Disclaimer: So not mine, not making any money, just having fun. Feedback: crehnert@ptd.net

Lex was late. Deliberately, of course, and he sauntered easily into his office as if his timing was perfectly in conjunction with the arrangements he had made with Agent Mulder.

Lex was still exhilarated from the work-out he had subjected himself to down the hall, knew the sight of such a relaxed Luthor would catch Mulder off guard, and Lex covered a small smile of triumph by wiping his face and neck with a towel and then heading for the bar, towel slung over his shoulder carelessly, white against the tight black tank he was wearing with the black sweatpants and sneakers.

Mulder had been walking around the room slowly, looking at the artwork and weaponry on the walls, the first edition books on the shelf, and Lex had timed it just exactly to the moment when Mulder had almost decided to leave. He could see it in the barely disguised glint of annoyance in the hazel eyes, and the slightly startled look on the agent's face when he saw a Luthor who was not dressed for a business meeting.

"Agent Mulder," Lex greeted him openly, reaching into the small fridge and taking out two bottles of water, motioning to the chair in front of his desk, then walking over to offer the water to Mulder.

"Join me, sit," Lex said, going behind the desk casually and sitting down, leaning back to take a drink and moving his laptop to make room on the desk.

Mulder remained standing, not opening his bottle, regarding Lex with tacit irritation.

"You did say today at two?" Mulder asked calmly, wondering how someone with the FBI breathing down his throat could be so calm about it, especially when there were probably dozens of tax laws being broken and millions of dollars being hidden away from the government. "You finally returned my calls. How was California?"

Lex ran a hand over his head ruefully. "Hot, bit too sunny. Please, sit," Lex offered again, sounding more like a command this time. Master of all he surveys, Mulder thought.

He sat. No sense antagonizing the man any further. One more call to the Director, and Mulder's ass would be in the sling to end all slings.

"How was your flight, Agent Mulder?" Lex asked disinterestedly, as he opened a drawer in the desk and pulled out a stack of blue folders.

"Coach," Mulder replied. "Expense account, you know. Or maybe you wouldn't."

Lex smiled. With his mouth but not with his eyes, Mulder noted uncomfortably. He considered a pre-emptive strike.

Mulder eyed the stack of folders. "You called me, Mr. Luthor. You have information for me after all?"

Lex made him wait for it. "You weren't worried about coming back to Smallville? Even after all the weird stories you and your partner heard? How is Agent Scully, by the way? You should have brought her along. Make this a bit more entertaining for me."

"I doubt Agent Scully's presence would have accomplished that," Mulder said baitingly. "She's working on something else today. Something legitimate."

Touche, Lex thought.

"Well, I'm sure you have nothing to worry about," Lex replied smoothly. "It's not as if there's anyone around who can wish you away into a cornfield or anything."

"Are you sure?" Mulder asked. "Why are we having this meeting, Luthor? Have you decided to turn over the scientists after all?"

Lex smiled again, as if Mulder had said something vaguely funny.

"You're barking up the wrong wooden stake, Fox," Lex informed him, deliberately enunciating the Agent's given name, watching his quiet discomfiture. Lex laid a hand on top of the folders. "Your visit here intrigued me. I'm not blind to the possibilities of future technology, but neither LuthorCorp nor LexCorp has any interest in any mind-control devices. That doesn't mean there aren't factions instituted for that exact purpose, so I decided to find out for myself."

Mulder raised an eyebrow, but remained silent, wondering just where Luthor was heading with this.

"I have had some in-depth research done, Agent Mulder, and I can tell you unequivocally that the Initiative does not exist. There are no missing scientists. No uncontrollable monsters on the loose."

"There is still the question of young Mr. Kent, who seems to be present at mostly every single unexplainable incident, as I said before. And yourself. You have a record almost as impressive as his for being in the wrong place at the wrong time." Mulder remarked, seeing the coldness go into Lex's eyes when he mentioned Clark.

"It's a small town. Odds are, lots of other people were present at these events as well. Clark is an extraordinary human being, but nothing more than that." Lex said firmly.

"And the folders?" Mulder inquired, unwilling to dig any further into the relationship Lex had with his pool partner. Lex's feelings about the boy were patently obvious to someone with Mulder's profiling expertise. He felt appropriately warned away from the subject of Clark Kent.

"I wouldn't want you to leave Smallville for good empty-handed, Agent Mulder. Everything we've been discussing here doesn't exist, but these do, and I know where to find them. You can have them all," Lex started reeling them off, tossing the folders to the edge of the desk for Mulder one at a time.

"A telekinetic; a boy who can turn anything he touches, even flames, into ice. He currently resides in a frozen pond on the estate, by the way. I can have him blocked out and shipped to the laboratory of your choice. I suggest somewhere cold. A woman who can control mens' minds with pheromones, and a young girl who can do the same with swarms of killer bees; a man who goes into uncontrolled jitters because of some kind of meteor-induced influence in his body; a boy who turns into a monster if he is exposed to sunlight; another boy who can make himself invisible; and a man who can make a person do anything simply by shaking hands."

Lex leaned back in his chair and waited silently until Mulder reached over to get one of the files, then he came up out of the chair swiftly and slammed his hand on the stack of folders.

"You can have them all, Agent," Lex repeated meaningfully. "Consider it your going away present."

Mulder smiled himself now. "I see. The X-Files stays out of Smallville and I get to keep your files. Are we playing the Luthor version of Poker? I'll see your telekinetic and raise you one boy in an ice cube. You'd give up all these files for one measly farmboy?"

"I don't play games, Mulder, and I never let go of anything I might eventually need. You can have the files. Leave Smallville to me."

Mulder saw nothing but determination in Lex's eyes, and figured the best thing would be to back off. Take the mysterious files and head back to D.C. Luthor was probably handing him years of work, and was asking a very small price for it. What could there possibly be about Clark Kent that would be better than the information in the stack of folders?

Mulder put his hand out to shake Lex's. "This will be our last meeting then, Mr. Luthor. If you're ever in Washington, give me a call."

Lex smiled, almost a real smile this time, and handed the files to Mulder, declining the handshake.

"I'm sure I won't," Lex replied, as Mulder took the files and turned to leave the room. "But, please," Lex stopped him when he had almost reached the door.

Mulder turned back questioningly.

"Mr. Luthor?"

"Please give my regards to Agent Scully and the Director."

"I'll do that," Mulder promised, pausing in the hall just outside the door, giving Lex one more silent gaze before he disappeared from sight.

Lex went back to the bar and treated himself to something a little stiffer than water, then headed for the shower.

Spike taken care of. Check.

Mulder taken care of. Check.

That left Clark's little batch of secrets. When Lex got out of the shower, he called Clark and invited him over for a game.