Lex frowned as he turned to face the young alien man who was standing in his library, asking him a very, markedly odd question, under the circumstances.
"Why do I need another weapon to control you, Clark? Isn't the meteor rock enough?" -- if need be?
Clark shuffled his feet.
"It's not that..." he said under his breath.
Then it suddenly became oh-so-clear.
"Lionel's looking for it, too," Lex said grimly, focusing past Clark, and then closing his eyes as the headache started to form.
"...There was a break-in at the bank those keys go to," Clark affirmed.
Son of a bitch.
Three plane rides with two people afraid of heights, two out-of-country trips involving one clockmaker, one alien-god-worshipping cultish-Veritas-member psychopath with nobody getting killed only by the grace of god and Chloe Sullivan, and a return to 'ground zero' at the mansion later...
...Lex was the proud new owner of a big glowing pink rock.
"What is this thing supposed to do, again?" he asked Clark, who was cringing away from it like it was the aptly-named after-its-namesake Kryptonite.
-- the surface of planets littering the surface of other planets; why us? --
"...And I see how very good a job it's doing at that, as it seems to be forcing you out of close proximity to the point which you could easily kill me from a distance," Lex returned sarcastically with a moue of distaste. "How exactly is this supposed to control you?"
There was a pause.
"You have absolutely no idea, do you," Lex said in descending tones, and Clark gave him a pained half-a-smile and shrug for his trouble. He stared at the Big Pink Glowy-Whatsit, which was now a somewhat Less-Glowy-Whatsit and starting to look a little more dark purple with Clark out of its range of effect. He turned it over in his hands.
There was a (longer) pause.
"...Are you sure this isn't supposed to be some sort of trap for us lowly humans who might dare to, mm, physically accost your person in an ill-intentioned attempt to usurp your lofty species-superior place in this world not your own?" Lex asked suspiciously.
There was another pause.
"Sorry, I just-- that actually does kind of sound like something Jor-El might do. The AI, I mean."
Lex blinked at him.
"Jor-el? AI?" Clark had damn well better not mean that Milton-Fine-thing--
"Uh, it's sort-of my dad. Kind of. Not really. More like his downloaded brain. In the Fortress of Solitude. ...Um, the other one .....in the Arctic .......which I guess you don't know about so much."
There was another (longer) pause.
That had damn well better not be the Milton-Fine-thing, or Lex would have words with the thing. Lots and lots of words.
"We're going to have a discussion about this later," Lex said, turning away from the young not-so-very-controlled-at-the-moment Kryptonian and briskly dumping the heavy crystal paperweight-y thing in a lead-lined cloth bag.
"I don't think this is such a good idea..." Clark said uneasily asthey stood above the mostly empty drilled-down mineshaft.
"Don't be ridiculous," said Lex. "If I keep it, Lionel will just steal it. The alternative is for me to use it on you," and while Clark blanched at the thought, Lex didn't much relish the thought of possibly springing an alien trap to come crashing down around his ears, either. "This is the only other way is to make sure no-one can use it. Nobody's going to get to it down there. We'll collapse the mine on top of it, and that will be that. There's too much meteor rock in there for anyone to be able to dig down to it and retrieve it, not that anything alien will be able to get near it, if they react anything like you've been," he added, eyeing him.
"--Wait, meteor rock?!?" Clark said, head whipping around towards him and eyes widening comically large. "No. No! Bad idea, no!" Clark said, shaking his head and gesturing his arms in 'x' motions.
"...Why?" Lex asked him, frowning.
"Because it'll probably explode!" Clark said, throwing his hands up.
Lex blinked at him. "...This is a bad thing?"
"...Why?" Lex asked, mystified. The obvious best outcome would be to be able to destroy it, but Lex hadn't thought it capable of being destroyed, which is why he'd left that 'choice' off of his list of possibilities.
"Because the last time I exploded an alien thing was my spaceship, and that blew a huge hole in the ground where our storm cellar used to be and set off a huge EM pulse that... that hurt people. And the time before that, K-- another spaceship went critical and it would've taken out half the eastern seaboard if... well, it was a lucky thing that it didn't, ok?" Clark said.
"Kara's spaceship?" Lex asked, and what followed sounded suspiciously like Clark cursing under his breath.
"I may regret asking this but... Clark, why did you blow up your spaceship?" he asked, because he was Lex Luthor, and this involved spaceships, and, well, how could he not ask?
"Because the Jor-El AI told me I had to leave town, and I didn't want to, and it said it was going to make me," Clark said petuantly, folding his arms.
"And this was the cause of the EM pulse that occurred on the day of my wedding to Helen?" because Lex really didn't know of any other time that that an EM pulse had been reported as an occurrence in Smallville.
"Yes," Clark said.
"And this was the summer that you left Smallville and ran off to Metropolis?" Lex asked, frowning.
"So you argued with this AI about not wanting to leave, blew the thing up -- I am assuming at great personal risk, because it sounds like it involved some amount of met-- Kryptonite handling on your part -- and then, once you had blown it up so you theoretically would not be forced to leave town, you... left town?"
"I see," Lex said noncommittaly.
He glanced over the edge of the deep cavernous hole.
"Well, then. Let's do this, shall we?" Lex said, pulling the Big Pink Rock out of the lead-lined bag.
Clark staggered back a step or two -- away from the edge, good (alien) man.
"No, Lex!" Clark cautioned frantically. "What if it explodes?!"
"Clark," Lex looked back at his and shook his head in amusement. "This is hardly an interplanetary spacecraft with whatever sort of space-warping engine or fuel might be necessary to send it any great distance. I very much doubt that this thing has energy stores to deplete. It'll be fine."
"But--!" Clark looked a little panicked, wringing his hands.
"Really, Clark," Lex chuckled as he opened his hand and let it drop into the abyss. "What's the worst that could happen?"
Ninety seconds of terror later, Lex and Clark were outside the (now-completely-collapsed) mine -- suppose you don't need any more explosives after that, now do ya, boy? hah! -- dishevelled, dusty, and very very lucky to be alive.
And then they lost their footing again as the ground rattled in a small -- small? this is small?!? -- seismic event, and large patches of land started caving in around them, snaking and forking off to all sides, but (luckily?) what was directly underneath them stayed largely intact.
When it was finally (finally!) done, they slowly, carefully, clambered to their feet again, and surveyed the damage to the area, in perhaps a little bit of (well-meaning) shock.
"It's all right..." Lex said, feeling both slightly uneasy, queasy, and a little punch-drunk -- never again will I tempt Murphy! -- "It doesn't look too bad." He vaguely and belatedly remembered the underground caverns riddled through out the Smallville area. "The caves don't span that far. We probably didn't break the town."
Clark turned slowly and then stared at him for awhile.
"Oh, god," Clark said, sounding horrified. "My mom's gonna kill me."
Lex blinked at him, and it only took him all of two seconds to process the full ramifications of that statement.
"No, no. No. She's not going to say anything, because you are not telling her. We are not telling her. There will be no telling!" Lex said firmly. "We shall never speak of this again. We were never here. This never happened," he declared.
"--Don't make me wish I used that thing on you!" Lex warned him.
Clark shut up.