Much later Lex will consider the possibility that his little flight over Metropolis had been a mistake. Not because of the flight itself, that had been great. The flight had, in fact, been fan-fucking-tastic. Seeing Superman flustered had also been pretty enjoyable. And then, once Superman had confirmed that Lex really didn’t know where his powers were coming from, he insisted that Lex and his little brother “Conner K-“ (and wasn’t that interesting) all go to Watchtower to figure it out. Watchtower, apparently, being the superhero’s clubhouse, which may have been even cooler than the flying thing. But once they actually got to Watchtower, they walked in on Oliver Queen and his wife making out. Everything else pretty much went downhill from there.
“Geez Clark, knock much?” protested the woman – Chloe was her name.
Wait, Clark? As in Clark Kent, the reporter for the Daily Planet? Lex’s mind was boggled. This, most assuredly, was not something that happened to Luthors, but, but, how had Lex not noticed this? The man’s disguise was a pair of glasses that he hardly wore half the time anyway. How had everyone not noticed?
“Or,” Conner suggested, “you guys could just, you know, not make-out everywhere.”
Chloe rolled her eyes at Conner good-naturedly and Oliver looked as though he was going to do the same, when he spotted Lex. “What the hell are you doing here?” he snapped.
“I was invited,” Lex answered, gesturing toward Conner and… Clark. (Seriously, how had he missed that one?)
Oliver gave Lex a suspicious look, like he wasn’t entirely convinced that Lex hadn’t somehow mind-controlled the other two into bringing him, before turning to Clark. “What the hell? Why would you bring Lex to the Watchtower, Cla- Superman?”
“Lex already knows who Clark is,” Conner piped up, “Chloe said his name when we walked in.”
Chloe paled a little. “That doesn’t necessarily mean-“
“I would have figured it out,” Conner interrupted, and apparently that was that. This, of course, left Lex trying to puzzle out whether or not they were deliberately trying to insult him by implying he was only as an intelligent as a, admittedly fairly bright-seeming, teenager. He compromised by deciding to extract vengeance for the presupposition from Oliver, who was already on his shit list anyway.
“I’m still waiting for an answer to my question,” Oliver pointed out testily.
“Lex, uh… has superpowers now,” Clark said with wince.
“I swear to God Clark, if this is about his healing thing…” said Chloe threateningly. He had a healing thing? Lex supposed that it wasn’t that strange that he wouldn’t have noticed it, given his recently developed invulnerability, but it was good to know he didn’t have much to worry about even if he did ever get hurt.
“No,” Clark corrected her, “he was… flying earlier. Apparently he’s developing the standard set of Kryptonian powers.”
“And so you brought him here?” demanded Oliver incredulously. “In what universe is that a good idea?”
“Maybe the one where Lex hasn’t done anything wrong since he lost his memories?” Clark said, rounding on Oliver. “I was hoping Chloe might be able to figure out where his powers are coming from.”
“Clark, this is Lex. You can’t trust him. He…”
From there Clark and Oliver got into a heated debate over whether or not Lex was the spawn of Satan. Or, to be more accurate, whether or not Lex took after he who spawned him, since the casting of Lionel Luthor as Satan was something that they appeared to be in agreement about. Lex listened to them with half an ear, on the chance that they might mention something about his past that he needed to know, while splitting the rest of his attention between Chloe and Conner. They were both staring at Lex, though Chloe gaze was more considering, with frequent darts over to Conner, while Conner’s was more assessing, with occasional glances at both himself and Clark. By the time Chloe cleared her throat to get everyone’s attention, Lex still had no idea what either of them were thinking.
“I think I might know what’s causing this. But first you,” she said, pointing at Clark, “go change. You’re not on patrol, there’s no one here that doesn’t already know who you are, and you’re blinding everyone.”
“It’s not that bad,” Clark objected, a bit half-heartedly.
There was a chorus from around the room assuring him that, yes it really was that bad, and Chloe smiled. “Told you. And don’t just super-speed back into your clothes right in the middle of the floor, go change in the bathroom like a normal person. No one wants to see you naked. Well,” she amended before anyone could object to that patently ridiculous statement, “Conner doesn’t want to see you naked, and the rest of us will just have to go without.”
Clark sent them all shocked looks before stalking out of the room, muttering about “I have a fiancé” and “You people are all perverts.”
“Good, now that he’s gone,” Chloe said, briskly walking across the room.
Conner took in where she was heading, yelped, and suddenly appeared as far from Chloe was a as possible. “Warn a guy next time,” he complained.
“Sorry Conner,” she responded, sending him an apologetic smile as she opened up a secret compartment in the wall and pulled out a hunk of green rock.
“Is that a piece of meteor rock?” Lex asked hesitantly, not sure that he liked where this was going.
“Sure is,” said Oliver with a satisfied gleam in his eye that Lex knew did not like at all.
“We keep some around just in case,” Chloe explained, rummaging through a drawer for something. In case of what, Lex wanted to ask, but he had the sense that the answer to that question wasn’t going to do anything to set his mind at ease.
Then Chloe pulled a hypodermic needle out of the drawer, and Lex seriously considered flying through the window and getting the hell out of there. But Conner, who Lex was reasonably certain would object if it looked like the Queens were going to kill or torture Lex, was giving him an encouraging sort of sympathetic smile. It probably couldn’t hurt to wait a few minutes to see what Chloe was up to.
Lex was wrong. As Chloe approached him, he was suddenly stricken down in horrible, debilitating agony. His world narrowed down to nothing more than the sensation of pain, so much so that he barely even noticed Chloe sticking the needle in his arm and drawing his blood. Everything hurt, and he couldn’t do anything but lay on the ground, panting for breath, wishing, hoping, praying it would
Stop. Blinking rapidly, Lex sat up, feeling almost completely recovered, to see Chloe storing the rock back in its hidey-hole and both her and her husband smirking at him.
“Fuck,” Lex swore. “Didn’t Conner just say something about warning people?”
“Wait, you didn’t know about Kryptonite being a horrible, horrible, pain-filled menace?” Conner asked. “That really wasn’t cool Chloe.”
“Sorry,” Chloe said brightly, not even remotely sounding like she actually was. “But there wasn’t any other way to get some of Lex’s blood for the DNA testing. Besides, I owed you for Black Creek.”
“Black Creek?” Lex asked.
“One of your old facilities,” Chloe told him, fiddling with his blood and one of the computers. “You kidnapped people with powers, including me, and experimented on them there.” She said this without dropping her upbeat tone even a notch, which Lex figured was either a sign that she was in agreement with Clark about things he did pre-memory loss not counting against him, or was slightly insane. Possibly both.
Before Lex could ask any probing question to figure out her relative sanity level, Clark walked back in, wearing a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. “You guys don’t really want to see me naked, do you?” he asked, the thought clearly having wormed its way deep into his head.
There was a long awkward moment when no one said anything. Chloe pretended to be completely focused on whatever she was working on, while Lex and Oliver studiously avoided Clark’s eyes. Finally Conner, in a show of filial loyalty, offered, “I definitely don’t want to see you naked.”
Luckily, the rest of them were saved from having to weigh in on this when Chloe triumphantly declared, “And DNA sequenced! Let’s see what we’ve got here.”
“That’s impossible; you can’t sequence DNA that fast,” Lex objected.
Oliver snorted. “Maybe you can’t.”
“Normally you can’t,” Chloe agreed, shooting a frown at her husband, “but we managed to repurpose some Kryptonian technology for use here at the Watchtower.”
“And you aren’t mass-producing it because…?” No one answered Lex’s question, but Oliver did give Clark a look that quite clearly said “see, he is evil.” Lex very nearly threw his hands up in disgust. There was nothing wrong with wanting to share superior alien technology with the masses. And making a profit doing so was just good business sense.
“So, what did you find, Chloe?” Clark asked.
“Pretty much what I expected,” said Chloe. “There are actually a couple of different sequences present, but the reoccurring motif is… well the same as Conner’s.”
“Conner, Clark’s brother, Conner?” Lex asked. Why the hell would his DNA be a match for an alien’s?
Chloe’s eyes went wide and she let out a strangled noise. “That’s the one,” she agreed, voice at least an octave higher than normal.
“Don’t even think about it,” Clark warned her and Chloe nodded.
“Of course not, Clarkbar,” she said before pressing her lips together tightly and putting her hand over her mouth.
“Wait,” Conner said, “it’s not half and half? His DNA is just like mine?” Chloe nodded. “So does that mean Lex is Clark’s brother now too?”
This comment proved to be Chloe’s undoing. She clutched her stomach, threw her head back, and laughed, loud, long and uproariously.
“What?” Conner asked, sounding just as confused as Lex was. “What did I say?”
At this point Oliver was looking quietly murderous, clearly not finding the joke as amusing as his wife, and Clark was looking almost pained.
“Chloe,” Clark whined, which was a bit unexpected. Lex certainly couldn’t picture Superman whining, and even Kent was more of a bumbler than a whiner, but there it was, Clark whining. “Seriously Chloe, it’s not that funny.”
Judging from the way Chloe was having a hard time even breathing, she didn’t agree with him on that one.
Tired of being left out of the loop, Lex turned to Clark, the only person in the room who seemed willing to and capable of explaining the matter, and raised an eyebrow in silent question.
“Oh, uh…” Clark said looking sheepish. “Well, some years ago we, that is you and I, used to be best friends.” Clark ducked his head and somehow, despite being a good couple of inches taller, managed to look up at Lex through his bangs, his whole posture screaming “oops, did I forget to tell you that?”
Fuck yes he had forgotten to tell Lex that. What the hell was wrong with people that they had this complete inability to volunteer information about Lex’s past? Granted, Lex hadn’t been putting as much effort into it as he could have, focusing more on getting his company and life as it was now together first, but it seemed like someone could have mentioned he had a super-powered homicidal ex-wife before Superman was saving Lex from an untimely demise at Lana’s hands. (And after being subjected to the utter agony that was Kryptonite exposure, suddenly Superman’s “talk her down from a safe distance” plan was making a lot more sense.)
“We were best friends,” repeated Lex dryly, not because he didn’t believe it, so much as because it didn’t explain why Oliver was gripping his wife by the shoulders and telling her to breathe because she was still laughing.
“Yeah, and there were a couple of occasions when you said I was like a little brother to you,” Clark explained.
“A couple?” Chloe interjected, somehow forcing the words out between fits of giggles. “All the time… and the thing with Rachel… and Lucas… and Pete. Oh my god, I have to call Pete!” It even appeared she might be able to make the phone call sometime this year, since she was finally calming down.
“Rachel, Lucas, and Pete?” Lex echoed, looking at Clark.
“Pete’s an old friend of mine. Lucas is your younger half-brother... or was, I think he might be dead.” Clark thought Lucas might be dead? Well, that was helpful. “Rachel was Lucas’s mom. She came to town at one point convinced that I was Lucas because we were handled by the same adoption agency.”
“I see,” Lex said, processing that information. “And now the important question. How the hell did I wind up with alien DNA?”
“And also, if we have the same DNA then why can he fly when I can’t?” Conner added.
Clark sighed. “I keep telling you Conner, you just aren’t old enough yet. Give it a few years and it’ll kick in.” Conner crossed his arms and generally looked like the world might come to an end if he couldn’t start flying right this instant. It was ridiculously petulant, but Lex did kind of understand where he was coming from on that one. Flying was amazing.
“Hey, don’t be disappointed. How about I teach you how to zip line with a bow and arrow instead?” Oliver offered. Conner brightened up a bit and Clark sent Oliver a grateful look, while Chloe, had stopped laughing, though her face was still a bit red, gave her husband a small smile. Apparently Lex was the only person in the room able to see what a bad idea teaching archery to a super-strong teenager was.
Whatever. It’s not like it was Lex’s problem, and his brother? twin? seemed happy about it.
“But in answer to Lex’s question,” Chloe said, “you remember the whole clone thing Lex had going on?”
“Yeah,” said Oliver.
“Yes,” said Clark.
“Duh,” said Conner.
“No,” said Lex. Seriously, what about total amnesia was it that these people were having a hard time grasping?
There was a pause after that, so whatever “the whole clone thing” was, it couldn’t have been good. Luckily, Oliver’s complete disdain of Lex and total lack of regard for his feelings finally came in handy for once as he said, quite bluntly. “You died, or were mostly dead at least, and so you made a bunch of clones and chopped the best body parts off of them to build yourself a new body. All the clones are dead now, except for Conner.”
Lex blinked a couple of times. There… really wasn’t anyway to respond to that. “So is Conner my clone or Clark’s brother?” he asked finally.
“Both,” responded Chloe. “Or neither, really. It turns out when you were making the clones none of them were actually straight clones, which is probably why it took so many tries. You added Kryptonian DNA to the mix for some reason.”
“So I could have superpowers,” Lex told her. Obviously.
“No duh,” Conner agreed and Clark and even Oliver were giving Chloe looks too. Maybe it was a guy thing.
“If I’m understanding you correctly, then Conner’s not so much my clone as my son. And I’m also, in a way, my own son. And Clark is our brother because we both have DNA from his home planet,” Lex said, wondering if this would have possibly seemed less complicated if he actually remembered living through it.
“No,” Chloe corrected. “Clark’s your brother because the Kryptonian DNA is his. Where else would you have gotten Kryptonian DNA?”
“There were the Kandorians,” Clark suggested.
“Or Davis was technically from Krypton, wasn’t he?” Oliver said.
“And don’t forget about cousin Kara!” Conner added
Why the hell were that many aliens on Earth? Was Earth becoming a refugee camp one of the things Lex had forgotten? “How many of you are there exactly?” Lex asked.
“Don’t worry,” Clark told him with a roll of his eyes, “all that’s left is just me and Conner and uh… you, I guess. Davis is dead, oh and so is Dax-Ur, the Kandorians are in another dimension, and Kara moved to the future to be with her boyfriend, Brainiac 5.”
“The dude with the cheekbones?” Oliver asked. “They’re dating?”
“For like four months now, Ollie. Geez,” Chloe said, lightly hitting Oliver on the arm.
And this was Lex’s life. He wondered if it was too late to go back for a refund.
“But if it’s Clark’s DNA that I used,” said Lex, trying to bring the conversation back on topic, “wouldn’t that make Conner his son, not his brother?”
“That’s what I said!” agreed Conner.
Then, making the grave error of not think about what he was saying before it came out of his mouth (these people were rubbing off on him), Lex said, “Actually, wouldn’t that make Clark my father too?”
Dead silence descended. Then, without saying a word, they all came to a mutual accord to never to speak of or even think about that moment ever again.
“Hey,” Conner said, just a bit too desperately. “If Lex is my dad now,” he looked at Lex, who gave a nod of agreement, “and also not evil anymore,” a glance at Clark, who shrugged, “then can I move into the penthouse with him?”
It was a very good thing that none of them were eating or drinking anything at that moment, as it was entirely possible they all would have choked to death otherwise.
“What?” Conner protested. “I hate living all the way in D.C. with Grandma Martha, and I would move in with you,” he said, addressing Clark, “but Lois won’t let me!”
“To be fair, you did kidnap her,” Clark answered.
“I was high!” objected Conner. Lex glared at Clark.
“Being affected by Red Kryptonite isn’t the same thing as being high,” said Clark.
“Actually Clark, it kind of is,” injected Chloe.
“Basically,” agreed Oliver.
“Lex thinks so too, he just doesn’t remember,” Chloe added. Lex broke off glaring at Clark for a second to shoot one Chloe’s way. He didn’t appreciate being told what he thought. But then he wass right back at Clark, who apparently let their son go out and get high.
“It’s not my fault,” said Clark, and when Conner let out a yelp of protest he added, “or Conner’s. I hadn’t had a chance to warn him about Red K before Lionel tricked him into taking some. You know, his father?”
“Grandfather,” Lex corrected.
“Interdimensional duplicate of his grandfather,” Chloe corrected further. Lex considered that for a moment before deciding, no, he really didn’t want to go into that one.
“None of this answers my question,” Conner pointed out.
“I’m just not sure it’s a good idea Conner,” Clark hedged.
“Why not?” pouted Conner.
Oliver piped in, offering, “Because Lex has a habit of killing family members?”
“I’m not sure two people counts as a habit…” replied Clark.
“Three people,” Oliver said.
No seriously, what the fuck? Lex knew he had killed his half-sister, Tess’s bloody and still-warm corpse hadn’t been a clue so much as a fucking neon sign, but he hadn’t realized that it was part of a larger trend.
“Look, I don’t care how suspicious you think the SIDS story is Oliver, there’s no way that Lex killed Julian,” Clark disagreed.
“I was talking about Gabriel.”
“Oh. Yeah, that was probably Lex.”
Conner caught Lex’s eye and, with a sympathetic grin, rolled his eyes at Clark and Oliver. “You guys are doing that thing again,” he informed them.
“That thing?” Clark echoed, confused.
“Where you talk about stuff around an amnesiac without explaining anything. They used to do it to me all the time,” Conner confided to Lex. Conner had amnesia too? Did that run families, or was it just another coincidence in the insanity that was Lex’s life?
“Ah, sorry Lex,” Clark apologized. “Um… Julian was your baby brother who died of SIDS,” he said with a pointed look at Oliver, who put his hands up in surrender, “when you were about twelve, I think. And Gabriel was a clone that you made of Julian a couple of years ago.”
“That doesn’t make sense,” argued Lex. “Why would I make a clone of my little brother and then turn around and kill him?”
“He was killed right after having dinner with Lionel,” Chloe chimed in. “You and your father… didn’t get along would be one way to massively understate it. You probably thought your father was going to turn him against you and decided to ‘nip it in the bud,’ so to speak.”
“Seems like it would have been easier just to kill Lionel,” Lex replied, half-jokingly.
“It would have saved some time at least,” Chloe agreed, “since you ended up doing that a couple of months later anyway.” Which would bring his kill count right up to three. Fucking Oliver.
“I don’t see why that means I can’t live with him,” Conner said, somehow sounding perfectly reasonably despite what he was actually saying. “I mean, you let me live with Tess after she tried to kill me.”
“What,” said Lex, his voice perfectly flat.
“Yeah, we found this huge syringe in her stuff, like this big,” Conner said, using his hands to demonstrate that it was, in fact, an excessively large syringe, “full of cyanide, but the needle was bent, so she must have tried to use it on either me or Clark. But she thought Clark was Alien Jesus, so…”
“I see,” Lex said to Conner, still sounding completely calm. Then he turned on Clark, eyes snapping with anger. “What the hell is wrong with you? Why would you let our son” – Oliver made a choked noise in the background – “stay with someone who tried to kill him?”
“I didn’t know! Not until after Tess died,” Clark answered defensively. “Conner, can you stop making me sound abusive please?”
“He really didn’t know,” Conner agreed.
“So you’re not abusive, just incompetent,” said Lex. “That’s actually worse, Clark. You’d be better off just letting people think you were abusive.”
Clark groaned. “Of course you would think that.”
“It would explain a lot,” Chloe said thoughtfully.
“Like how he went from a meek little nobody to Satan incarnate?” Oliver suggested.
Chloe slapped him on the arm again. “Hush Ollie, no one wants to hear about how you used to bully Lex in high school.”
Oliver had been on this since high school? Bastard.
“It wasn’t bullying,” Oliver objected. “We were just guys messing around.”
“And THAT,” Chloe said definitively, “is why no one believes me when I say you’ve grown as a person.” Oliver frowned, but still he shut up.
Lex was seriously considering forgiving Chloe for that stunt she had pulled with the Kryptonite earlier.
“God, you guys seriously lack focus, you know that? Can I move into the penthouse? Please Dad?” Conner said directing the last statement and a pair of big blue puppy dog eyes at Lex.
Puppy dog eyes, Lex discovered, were his weakness. Really, would it be so bad if someone moved in with him? The penthouse was too big for just one person, and Conner did seem like a likable kid. Not to mention he was Lex’s son-brother-clone-relativeofsomesort.
Sensing that his ability to make a rational decision was being compromised, Lex did the only reasonable thing he could have done in that moment. He deflected. “Ask Clark.”
Conner turned his baby blues on Clark, and Lex could see the man folding like a house of cards. Then Clark did something that finally answered question as to whether Superman was just really bad at coming up with plans, or actually unable to tell a good plan from a bad one. Clark deflected too. “If Mom says you can.”
“Sweet,” Conner said, pumping his fist in victory. “That gives you about a month before I can move in then.”
“You have Mom on a timetable?” Clark asked, aghast.
“Yeah, don’t you?”
“No.” Clark turned a disgruntled look on Lex. “He gets that from your side of the family.” Lex smirked. Oliver made that choking noise again. It was quite possible he was dying. Lex smirked more.
“Well, this has been great, but if we’re done here I’m going to go back home and get really, really – never mind,” Lex said, cutting himself off when he remembered his teenaged son was in the room. Not quickly enough, though, going off the knowing look Conner was giving him.
“Lex, it’s eleven o’clock in the morning,” Clark protested. “You can’t have even been up for more than three or four hours.”
“A very long three or four hours,” said Lex. Clark didn’t bother trying to argue with that. No, instead he responded with the worst thing he could have said, ever:
“Besides, alcohol doesn’t even affect Kryptonians.”
“What the fuck? Are you fucking kidding me? FUCK.” And that was far too many f-bombs in front of Conner, but Lex really didn’t give a fuck right now. “I change my mind, I don’t want the superpowers anymore.” Chloe looked like she was holding back a laugh and Oliver was positively giddy, the smug bastard. Well fuck them too.
“That’s not how it works,” Clark told him. Fuck how it works, Lex wanted to be able to get drunk dammit.
Lex’s life sucked.
“Besides, you can’t leave yet anyway,” said Conner.
“Why not?” asked Lex, resigning himself to the fact that things were only going to get worse.
“Yeah, why the hell not?” agreed Oliver. It was quite possible that this was the only time that Lex and Oliver Queen were ever going to agree on anything ever.
It was also quite possible that the prospect of never getting drunk ever again was making Lex just a tad melodramatic.
“If I have to sit through Clark’s boring lectures about my Kryptonian heritage, then Lex-dad” – apparently Lex wasn’t the only one having a problem with figuring out exactly how they were all related – “has to too,” Conner said. “Now, let me tell you about Jor-El…”