Lex Luthor woke up, and then immediately wished he hadn’t. He was tied to a chair in an abandoned warehouse (and how many of those were there in Metropolis anyway?) sitting across from Superman, who was also tied to a chair. Fuck.
“What did you do this time Luthor?” Superman… not growled, Superman didn’t growl really, but he boomed it in a menacing tone.
“Clark, it may have escaped your attention, but I’m tied up here too. I think it’s safe to assume I didn’t do anything this time,” Lex replied.
“You’re always up to something, Lex,” said Clark, sounding decidedly more Clark-like.
“I don’t know,” chimed in a third voice, “I think he has point.” Ah, Superboy was here too. Well, never let it be said Lex missed an opportunity. Lex had never actually seen Superboy, or Conner rather, up close, as the younger hero tended to avoid him. Lex thought that might be because Clark thought he was protecting Conner from – Holy shit!
“Clark, is that’ – people are not things Lex, you’ve been working on this – “is he my clone?”
“Is Conner LX-15, the clone I made with your and my DNA?”
“Yeah, I thought you – wait did you actually believe the story about him being my younger brother from Krypton?” asked Clark, sounding somewhat bemused.
“Considering dumping random shit on Earth seems to be the international Kryptonian pastime, yes I did,” Lex answered.
Conner snickered and Clark glared at him. “What?” he protested. “It’s true.” Clark kept glaring. “You want me to prove it? There’s you, Kara, the Kawatche caves, the Kryptonian Stones of Power, the Kryptonian Crystal of Knowledge, the orb-thing – “
“The meteor rocks,” Lex added.
“ – the meteor rocks,” Conner agreed, “Jor-El’s necklace, Jor-El, Krypto the Wonder Dog –“
“Okay fine, maybe it is,” Clark admitted.
“But that’s not what we were talking about,” said Lex. “We were talking about how you kept the fact that I have a son from me.”
“Jeez, I’m sorry, okay? I really thought you knew.”
“Hey, how come I’m his son,” Conner said to Clark while inclining his head toward Lex, “ but your brother?”
“Because rebellious sixteen year old Lex might have had a kid, but there’s no way I fathered a son at the tender age of ten?” Clark suggested.
That earned an outright laugh from both Conner and Lex. “Good point,” Conner said. “Did you even have sex before you were twenty?”
“Yes,” Clark replied defensively. “… once.”
“With who?” challenged Conner.
“Doesn’t count,” Conner declared. Lex almost laughed, but then he remembered the he had had sex with, and married, Lana too and would look pretty dumb for laughing at Clark for sleeping with her.
“What, why not?” protested Clark.
“Because the two of you had that whole co-dependency thing and… well mostly I just don’t like her.”
“That’s because you’ve never met her,” Clark said with the air of someone explaining something to a very small child.
“Exactly!” Conner exclaimed. “I’ve never met her, so she hasn’t bewitched me with her meteor power.”
“Meteor power?” Lex asked.
“Oh, see now you’ve got Lex going. Nice job, Conner.”
“Stop talking Clark, I want to hear this. What about Lana having a meteor power?”
“Okay, it was just this idea I had, but then I started thinking about it and it made too much sense not to be true,” Conner said excitedly. “It started when I realized that Lana apparently got kidnapped by meteor mutants all the time, like significantly more than a normal person.”
“So did I,” Lex pointed out.
“Yeah, but you’re rich and you were the scapegoat for everything that went wrong in Smallville, so that make sense. But Lana? I’ve seen pictures of her and she’s pretty, but she’s not that pretty. And then there was the way that Clark spent almost twenty years pining after her. And I know that meteor powers don’t usually work on Kryptonians, but sometimes they do, so it totally counts –“
“I just want to point out that any theory that involves the phrase ‘so it totally counts’ probably could use some work,” said Lex.
“Shut up Dad, I’m on a roll.”
Oh. Well, that was unexpected.
“Like I was saying,” Conner continued, giving Lex a Look that was pretty impressive for a seventeen year old. Definitely Lex’s son. “Then there was the fact that Chloe let Lana move in with her, even though they had only been friends for about a year. And she can do whatever she wants and people just let her get away with it. And she supposedly wore a hunk of Kryptonite around her neck every day for over ten years and never got any sort of meteor power? There’s no way. Do you see what I’m getting at?”
Lex frowned in thought. Conner definitely seemed to have something here, but Lex couldn’t seem to wrap his mind around it. Lana was Lana; that’s just how things were for her.
“He thinks Lana has the power to make people love her,” Clark dead-panned. “See Conner I told you –“
“No, wait,” Lex said. Lana had the power to make people love her. “Lana… Lana stole ten million dollars from me. And then she made it look like I murdered her and I, I let her. I even helped her cover for faking her own death. And I faked her pregnancy to make her marry me. And I covered for her killing Genevieve Teague. And… Oh my god, I gave a coffee shop to a fourteen year old.”
“Clark,” Lex said, looking the other man straight in the eyes. “Lana is evil and we have to stop her.”
“I’m not going to help you take out Lana!” Clark exclaimed. “She’s not evil and she doesn’t have some crazy ability to make people love her.”
Clearly Clark was still under her control and therefore completely unable to help. On to Plan B then. “Conner, Lana is evil and we have to stop her.”
“Yes!” Conner shouted and Lex got the distinct impression that he’d be pumping his fist in the air if his hands hadn’t been tied behind his back. “Finally, someone believes me. So what do we do first?”
“First is getting out of this warehouse,” Lex answered sensibly.
“That would be a lot easier if we had any idea why we had been kidnapped in the first place,” Clark commented. “Do you have any ideas, Lex? Not that I’m blaming you, I just thought you might have figured something out.”
“Not a clue,” Lex replied. “The last thing I remember…” He had been drinking some scotch, but it was drugged and then- “Shit. It was Elizabeth.”
“Really, Lex?” Clark said, incredulous. “Your wife? Again?”
“How many times does that make this?” Conner asked.
“Five,” answered Lex.
“Six,” Clark corrected. “I don’t care if you did stop Carol while she was in the planning stages, she was still you wife who wanted to kill you. Screw enhanced healing; I’m starting to think your meteor power is making your wives homicidal.”
“To be fair, Desiree and Veronica were already homicidal when I met them,” Lex pointed out. “And Lana made me marry her with her crazy meteor power.” Clark rolled his eyes at the second statement, but Conner winked at him.
“Okay fine. So any idea how she managed to secure me and Conner? Or why she bothered?”
“Why is easy,” Lex said. “She wanted to make sure the two of you don’t interfere in her plans by rescuing me. As for how… she’s not using Kryptonite?”
“Do I look like I’m in excruciating pain?” Clark replied, and Conner threw in a “duh” for good measure.
“Fine, not Kryptonite then,” said Lex. “And I have yet to find the restraint that can hold up against your full strength… Elizabeth must have found the Blue Kryptonite handcuffs. That’s clever of her; I’ll have to double her settlement.”
“Does she even get a settlement if she tried to kill you?” Conner questioned.
Lex shrugged, or at least the best approximation he could manage while tied up. “She does now.”
Clark eyed Lex, and Lex could see the moment when he decided that, no, he really didn’t want to get into Lex’s latest neurosis.
“Why do you have Blue Kryptonite handcuffs?” he asked instead.
“In case I needed to restrain you or Superboy,” Lex answered simply, not really understanding the question.
“And what’s wrong with normal Kryptonite?”
“You just said it leaves you in excruciating pain.” Lex said.
“You try to kill me on a regular basis!” Clark protested, giving Lex a weird look.
“That doesn’t mean I want to see you in pain.” Now Conner and Clark were both giving him funny looks. “I’m not a sadist,” Lex grumbled.
Now Clark was giving him that other look, the one that said “there’s still good in you after all.” Lex hated that look; it meant that Clark was going to inject bits about “living up to your potential,” and “you’re better than this,” into his speeches for the next month or so and that’s not how this game was played. Lex was evil and Clark knew that dammit. Lex had given him a whole speech about it, and the fact that world had been ending at the time was no excuse to pretend like it hadn’t happened.
“Any bright ideas yet?” Lex asked, changing the topic.
“That depends, is Elizabeth going to try to keep your disappearance a secret or make a big fuss about it?”
“Big fuss,” responded Lex. “Right now I’m ‘missing’ then about half a day after that there will be a ransom notice. Luthors, however, don’t bargain with kidnappers and so she’ll stand firm because ‘that’s what Lex would want.’ After a day or two the kidnappers will get tired of waiting and I’ll turn up dead. I’m not sure what she’s planning on doing with you two though.”
“That’s… oddly specific,” Conner supplied.
“I know my wife,” Lex said.
“And yet you didn’t see the whole ‘she wants to kill you’ thing coming,” said Conner.
“Homicidal urges are my blind spot.”
Clark snorted. “I’ll say. Now, you’re sure that’s what she’s going to do?”
“Positive,” Lex answered.
“Then we don’t have anything to worry about. Someone from the League will be here soon.”
“What makes you say that?” asked Lex.
“If you’re publicly missing then whoever is manning Watchtower will try to contact me to make sure you aren’t up to anything. When they can’t reach me or Conner they’ll assume that either you’ve captured us, or we ran into trouble trying to save you; either way they’ll need to send some back-up. Then all they have to do is follow the tracer Batman put on Conner.”
“Batman LoJacked me!?” Conner shouted.
“Batman LoJacks everyone,” Clark responded, noticeably calmer. “In fact, it’s been over a week since I removed my last tracker, he might have put another one on me by now.”
“Wait a second,” Lex interrupted. “I make one room that wasn’t even about you –“
“It was so about me!”
“I was just trying to figure out what was going on in Smallville; it’s not my fault you were at the epicenter of all the craziness,” protested Lex.
“There were pictures of me all over the place!”
“So I hung up a few pictures of my friend.”
“A few giant pictures, Lex,” said Clark. “And I don’t even know when you took that one picture, which is just creepy.”
“But that’s not the point,” Lex stated. “The point is I had one room that may have been tangentially about you and that meant we couldn’t be friends anymore, but your new best buddy Bruce –“
Clark choked. “How did you know Batman’s identity?”
“I’m not stupid, Clark,” Lex said.
“Well can you just pretend you don’t know?” Clark asked “Batman will throw a fit if he finds out.”
“Fine,” Lex spat. “Your new best buddy Batman can put trackers on you on a regular basis and that’s okay?”
Conner, who had been watching their back and forth interestedly up to this point, interjected. “So that’s why you two aren’t friends anymore, because Lex made one little stalker shrine?”
“No,” Clark answered, “that was just the first time.”
“First time? How many times did you guys stop being friends?” Conner asked.
“I don’t really remember,” Clark replied. “Do you know Lex?”
“No Clark I don’t, since I was never really sure when I was your friend and when you were just using me for my money or connections.”
“Ouch,” said Conner. “Dick move, Clark, dick move.”
“Lex is the one that decided that if we weren’t going to be friends then he was going to be evil!” Clark objected.
Conner considered this with all the gravity that one would expect from a seventeen year old. “Good point. Asshole move, Dad.”
“That’s the second time you’ve called him that. Since when is he your Dad?” Clark queried. Lex had been wondering much the same thing, but didn’t want to ask, just in case he jinxed it.
“Hey, you guys started the ‘I’m Lex’s son’ thing.” Which, come to think of it, they had. “I just decided to go with it. I learned a long time ago not to question the insanity that is your life Clark,” concluded Conner.
“Well I don’t think –“
But they were never to find out what Clark did or did not think because at that moment the door to the warehouse banged open and in walked… Oliver Queen and Bart Allen. In leather hoodies. Great.
“Superman, Superboy and Lex Luthor all get kidnapped and the League sends an ex-con and the guy with a penchant for medieval weaponry,” Lex said, a little disbelievingly.
“Shining Knight isn’t here,” Conner protested.
“Shining Knight is just ‘the medieval guy.’ It’s completely different,” Lex explained.
“Just be glad we’re saving you at all Luthor,” Queen cut in.
“Yeah Lex,” agreed Clark, rubbing at his wrists where Queen had removed the shackles. “Do you really want to be that guy?”
“Not cool, Dad,” Conner added. Queen looked positively murderous at that, which almost made this whole interlude worth it. At least, it did until Lex caught Allen, who was untying him, sniggering. That’s it; this kid was so going back in the super-speedy electricity trap.
“Look, do you need a lift somewhere?” Clark asked, a little awkwardly.
“No,” Lex replied, pulling his cell phone out of his pocket. “But if a certain homicidal soon-to-be-ex-wife was in police custody by the time I got back, I wouldn’t complain.”
“Got it,” said Clark, and then, when Queen gave him a look, “What? She kidnapped me and Conner too.”
“Whatever, Clark,” Queen said with an eye-roll before walking out the door. The other heroes filed out behind him and Lex flipped open his phone.
“Hey Dad.” Lex looked up to see Conner poking his head back in the doorway. “I’ll call you later about the Lana thing.”
Lex smiled. “It’s a date.”