The Alien was acting strange and Lex was not pleased. Not that the unusual behavior bothered him in itself; in some ways it was a refreshing change. The problem was her didn’t know why Superman was behaving this way and Lex innately disliked anything he didn’t understand.
Mercy suggested that Lex just ask Superman about it, an idea which Lex met with the scorn it deserved before settling down to investigate the matter properly. The obvious explanation would be that it was something Lex had said or done, but even after reviewing every interaction that he had had with the Alien or that the Alien might have been privy to prior to this sudden change, he could find nothing that would explain the change. It was possible that one of the other “supervillains” had done something to cause it, but all research in that area turned up dry as well. Nor could Lex find any evidence that Superman was under the influence of magic, mind control, or some kind of foreign substance. He even went as far as to look into Superman’s known human associates, but the only anomaly there was that the two reporters, Kent and Lane, seemed to be having some sort of argument, and that could hardly be what was affecting Superman.
Lex was in the middle of investigating the possibility of a rift in time space replacing his Superman with an almost exact double, when Mercy sauntered into his office, glanced at the computer screen and raised her eyebrows at him. He glared at her, and then in a fit of frustration, got up and stalked over to the window. Mercy, still smirking, opened it for him.
“Superman! A word, if you please.”
Luckily, or perhaps not, since Mercy had undoubtedly timed it, it was early evening, right about the time Superman patrolled the city every day. As such, Lex only had to wait a few seconds before Superman was floating in front of him, somehow looking imposing in bright blue spandex.
“What do you want Alexander?” And there it was.
“What I want,” Lex stated calmly, “is to know precisely why you insist on calling me that.”
Superman frowned and crossed his arms. “Is there something with the name Alexander?” His tone was imperious, as though Lex should be grateful that such an important person deigned to speak to him at all.
Lex clenched his fake hand in his real one and reminded himself that, no matter how much of a nuisance he was, the Alien had information that Lex wanted. “Only that it’s not my preferred appellation,” Lex replied once he was sure he had regained the smooth control over his voice. “Why, is there something wrong with the name Lex Luthor?”
The question was intended to be rhetorical, but Superman’s wince right after Lex said it answered with and resounding yes. And if today was the day that Lex discovered that his name actually put Superman in pain, then today would also officially be the best of Lex’s life. Even better than the day LexCorp had overtaken Wayne Enterprises on the international market, or the day he had officially become the owner of all the world’s kryptonite.
“Why is this so important to you?” Superman demanded, like wanting to be called by one of the names he was accustomed to was proof that he was up to something.
“It’s my name,” Lex pointed out. “It should be far more important to me than it is to you.”
Lex could have sworn he heard Superman mutter, “That’s what you think,” before he let out a gusty sigh. “Fine, Alexander. If you really want to know that bad, I’ll tell you. A little while ago, I got into a fight with someone, and she made some accusations that, at the time, I thought were ridiculous.” Lois Lane, Lex surmised, and then Kent had taken Superman’s side in the argument, neatly explaining their little tiff as well.
“Still,” Superman said, “as impossible as her claims sounded there was some… ah… compelling evidence.” Good Lord, Superman was blushing. And shuffling his feet in the air like some over-grown teenager. That was… forget his name being painful, today was better than his previous two best days combined. “So I did some research into Kryptonian biology and she was right.”
“Right about what?” Lex prompted, the joys of having the Man of Steel looking like an embarrassed teenager making the question come out a good deal more patient than it might have otherwise.
The answer came out so quickly that Lex suspected Superman of using a bit of super-speed to say it as fast as possible. “Apparently on of the major determining factors in Kryptonian male attraction is the initials of the other person’s name, a trait which is passed down from father to son and since my mother’s name was Lara Lor-Van that means I’m also attracted to the initials LL.”
Lex blinked and tried to process this information. The information failed to oblige. “That’s impossible. You can’t be attracted to someone’s name.” Not literally anyway.
“Yeah, well tell that to the guy who is attracted to every LL person he comes across,” Superman snapped, a furious blush exploding across his face.
Oh. That – that would definitely explain Superman’s anomalous behavior.
You know, Alexander did have a nice ring to it.