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I Change The World For No One (But You)

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Chloe flinched as another meteor crashed into the ground near them. Lex barely seemed to notice it. He hauled at her wrist, dragging her into the Kawatche caves. Chloe tried again to wrench her wrist free but Lex glared at her, keeping his grip easily.

"Why do I get the feeling we're not in this cave for cover?" Chloe quipped to have something to say.

"You know as well as I do that it's the epicenter," Lex snapped, pulling her deeper into the caves.

"Of what?" Chloe asked.

She didn't want to know. She didn't. Lex had gotten more and more unstable ever since his disastrous marriage to Helen, though honestly, so had Clark. The two of them had been dancing around each other as if they were unable to choose between tearing each other apart and tearing each other's clothes off. Chloe refused to admit to herself that she might have had something to do with it. Pushing Clark at Lana was the only sane choice. He loved Lana, not Lex, and certainly not her no matter how much that tore at her heart.

"Come on, Chloe!" Lex said, gesturing grandiosely with his gun. "You're the town purveyor of all things unexplained! You know damned well about this cave and the stones."

She could feel his hand shaking on her arm despite the ferocity of his grip. She was going to have bruises once he let go. Lex's eyes were just a bit too wide and his behavior was too wild. He looked like he was right on the edge of losing it.

"Lex," Chloe asked with some real concern for him, "what's wrong with you?"

He glared at her, the wildness replaced by fury at her pity. "If you didn't break into my library then you know who did. Who are you trying to protect?"

Chloe started as if he'd slapped her. She knew her reactions totally gave her away but she didn't care. "No one," Chloe declared.

"Is it Clark?" Lex asked, raising an eyebrow at her.

"Clark?" Chloe said. She could hear the strain in her voice and tried to control it. "Of course not. What does Clark have to do with any of this?"

"You tell me," Lex said. He tugged on Chloe's arm so hard that she nearly fell to her knees. "You've known Clark a lot longer than I have. In fact, you might know him better than anyone."

"You're right Lex, I do," Chloe declared against the fear creeping around her heart. She couldn't let Lex find out about Clark's powers. He was unstable and who knew what he'd do to Clark? "The Clark Kent I know would be the last person to go super thief on your library for some stupid piece of rock."

Lex snorted and dragged her the last few yards into the central chamber of the caves. She tried to dig her heels in but he didn't giving her the chance to get any leverage. They both paused as a golden glow filled the room, illuminating both of them. Chloe could just see a tall figure in the center of the light. She knew instantly that it was Clark.

"What is that?" Lex said.

It didn't sound like a question. It sounded like he was already nearly certain that he knew what it was. He let her wrist go, striding quickly towards the light pouring through the gap. She could see from the way he held the gun down at his side that he knew it was Clark, too. Chloe bit her lip and ran at him.

"Lex, be careful!" Chloe said running into him. "It might be dangerous!"

Lex whirled just before she hit him, bracing himself and keeping her from knocking him into the wall. They stumbled towards the door to the chamber holding Clark, Chloe clawing for the gun and Lex trying to pin her again. Chloe heard Clark scream just before the light flared a thousand times brighter. She shouted something as a warning to Clark at the same time Lex bellowed something that was swallowed in a rush of shimmering noise. The world twisted strangely and she fell to her knees, pressed against Lex's chest.

"What the hell?" Lex breathed. His breath sent a plume of steam past Chloe's nose.

"S-so cold," Chloe said, starting to shake.

She sat up, leaning into Lex's chest because at least he was warm. The air was freezing. He wrapped an arm around her, probably for the same reason. Chloe looked around them, staring in disbelief. They were in the middle of a huge snowfield. There were mountains in the distance, hundreds of miles away by the look of it. They seemed to be the only living things anywhere nearby.

"What happened?" Chloe whispered.

"Clark," Lex said. His teeth were chattering. "W-what else could it be?"

She glared at him until the ground rumbled. It took only a half a second to realize what had happened. In the middle of the snowfield crystals were growing towards the sky. Chloe gaped at the building that formed. It was alien and beautiful and terrifying all at once. She shuddered, wrapping her thin jacket more securely around her chest.

"That's…"

"Shelter," Chloe said, cutting Lex off. "W-we're gonna die if we stay out here, L-Lex. It's shelter."

"Good p-point," Lex agreed.

He tucked his gun away in a pocket and then helped Chloe up. The wind picked up, making both of them shudder. It took forever to walk through the knee-deep snow to the edge of the giant crystalline structure. They helped each other, survival trumping the antagonism between them. It wasn't appreciably warmer inside of the structure but it was a lot less windy. Chloe's fingernails were purple by the time they stumbled towards the center of the building, following a flickering blue and white light.

"Clark," Lex breathed as they found the source of the light.

He was suspended in the center of a maelstrom of light and energy. She could almost see symbols in the swirling light, similar to the one that had marked the Kent's barn a year or so ago. Clark's expression was calm, determined. She'd never seen him look so confident and controlled before. Chloe stared, so cold that her teeth weren't even chattering anymore. She swayed into Lex's side. He caught her, wrapping her up in his arms and tucking her face against his neck.

"W-what is it doing t-to him?" Lex asked. He was shaking so hard that she was surprised that he could hold onto her.

"D-don't know," Chloe muttered. "So cold!"

They collapsed together to the floor. Chloe's breath formed ice crystals on Lex's shirt. She could feel his breath making ice on her hair. The cold slipped away into lassitude as her body stopped shivering. Chloe sighed. She almost felt warm despite the way Lex was shuddering from the cold. Chloe smiled and shut her eyes, leaning into him and relaxing.

"Stop it!" Lex snapped, shaking her. "Damn it, Chloe, you're going into hypothermic shock. Stay with me!"

"What do you care?" Chloe murmured, not resisting as he shook her and then started rubbing the ice off of her hair.

"Not going to let you die this way," Lex muttered fiercely.

He kept rubbing her, forcing her to react and stay awake. His actions got slower and slower as the cold won against his force of will. Her head lolled against his shoulder. He tucked his fingers into her armpit, trembling against her body. She wanted to wince at the chill but she couldn't quite make her body function. There was a rumbling crackle. Chloe didn't pay any attention to it. Nothing mattered besides the false warmth creeping through her. The light disappeared. She ignored it.

"Jor-El," Clark commanded, "raise the temperature in here to a level comfortable for normal humans."

"Understood," a booming male voice said.

Chloe gasped as a wave of warmth swept over her. Lex groaned. The ice that had formed on the two of them melted and then steamed off of their bodies. Amazingly quickly Chloe felt warm, truly warm. She carefully pushed away from Lex, staring at him wide-eyed before turning to Clark.

Clark's eyes were glowing red. The heat seemed to be coming from him. His expression was still calm and determined, very unlike the hesitant Clark that she'd known for the last few years. Lex growled, standing abruptly. Chloe scrambled to her feet, trying to stay between him and Clark. The red disappeared from Clark's eyes at the same time the warmth went away.

"What is this place?" Lex demanded. "What are you, Clark? Why are we here?"

"This is my Fortress of Solitude," Clark answered calmly. "My name is actually Kal-El. I'm the last Kryptonian. You're here because the two of you are my mates."

"What?" Chloe gasped at the exact same moment that Lex squawked the word.

"You're my mates," Clark said, coming over to them and putting a large, exceedingly warm hand on each of their cheeks. "I can't stay to explain right now. There's trouble in Smallville that I have to deal with. You're safe here. You can go anywhere within the Fortress and view anything you want. If you get to the zoo do be careful not to enter the enclosures. Some of the animals are kind of dangerous."

Lex grabbed Clark's arm to keep him from leaving. Chloe clutched at his shirt, unsure what had happened to him. The light must have brainwashed him. This wasn't the sort of thing that Clark would do. He'd never looked at her twice since their brief stint of dating in their sophomore year. Not to mention keeping Lex here. Who knew what Lex would do with whatever stuff was in this place?

"What did it do to you?" Lex asked. He stared into Clark's eyes as if trying to find the farm boy they'd both known for so long.

"Nothing," Clark said, shrugging casually. "I finished my training and it gave me control over all of my abilities. I have to go, Lex. There was a ship hidden in the middle of the meteor shower. I need to deal with the occupants before they murder more people."

"More people?" Chloe asked.

"Lana and the pilot of the helicopter are already dead," Clark said. He looked into the distance as if he was listening to something very far away. "They just started killing the cops and military that showed up to stop them. The longer you two keep me here the more people will die. I promise I will be back. You're safe. I will explain when I return this evening."

Lex dropped his hands abruptly. Clark looked deadly serious. Chloe swallowed hard, slowly releasing her grip on his shirt. She knew that he wouldn't lie about something like that. Clark cared about people. He needed to help them.

Clark smiled at them tenderly, looking at them as if they were the most beautiful people he'd ever seen. He caught Lex and pulled him in for a kiss that made Lex groan, clutching Clark's arms as if he'd been dying to do that for ages. When Clark let him go Lex's eyes were dilated and his lips were kiss-swollen.

Clark turned to Chloe and scooped her up. She gasped, which was apparently exactly what he'd been waiting for. He kissed her, pressing his tongue between her lips to plunder her mouth. Chloe resisted for a moment before surrendering to the want that had ruled her since she'd met him so many years ago. Kissing Clark was nothing like kissing anyone else. By the time he let her go she was lightheaded from lack of air.

"Jor-El," Clark called out once he set Chloe back down. "Give them food, drink, whatever they need. I'll be back by sunset."

"As you will, my son," the booming voice said.

Clark smiled again and then disappeared in a whoosh of air. Chloe swallowed hard, turning to look at Lex. He looked back at her suspiciously, as if he expected her to betray him at any moment. Chloe raised her chin, glaring at him. Even if he had managed to somehow convince Clark he was trustworthy Chloe knew better. She wouldn't let him do anything to hurt Clark!

+++++

"This is… insane," Lex hesitated before coming up with the only world he could find to cover the entire situation. 'Incredible' covered portions of it. 'Terrifying' covered some. 'Bizarre' covered a large portion of it but not in enough detail. 'Awe inspiring' certain did nicely but didn't convey the fear.

They'd nearly been killed by meteors, then been kidnapped from the Kawatche caves, deposited in the Arctic, watched an alien fortress rise from the snow, nearly been frozen to death only to be rescued by Clark Kent who turned out to be an alien from outer space who was intent on turning him and Chloe Sullivan of all people into his mates, all within less than two hours. Lex firmly stomped down the urge to indulge in hysterical laugher. Luthors did not do hysterics. No matter how justified they might be.

"I won't let you hurt Clark," Chloe declared. She glared up at him with her hands clenched into fists as though she might be able to hurt him.

"I think you're forgetting several very important things," Lex said, patting his pocket and the gun inside. "Besides, you've been spectacularly ineffective at stopping me before. Why do you think that you'll be successful now?"

"It's Clark!" Chloe snapped. "I'll find a way to stop you! I know you seduced him before he ran away to Metropolis. I won't let you hurt him like that again, Lex."

Lex burst out laughing. He tried to stop but the situation and the sheer hilarity of her accusation didn't make it easy. She stared at him while taking a single step back. Lex bit his tongue hard enough to taste blood and ran shaking hands over his face until he managed to get the laughter back under control.

"Not exactly," Lex said, his voice shaking. "Quite the opposite, actually. I never… I… Clark was underage, Chloe. I refused to have sex with him until he was older but he didn't exactly give me a choice. You have no idea how determined he can be when he chooses to. I'm still stunned that half the town doesn't know given his antics that second year. It took a marriage to a Black Widow to make him stop pursuing me, though apparently that wasn't terribly successful."

He waved a hand around the crystalline room, clenching it into a fist when he saw how his fingers were shaking. He hadn't wanted to do it at that point in time but despite that he'd enjoyed every second he'd spent with Clark. It was too dangerous, too risky for both of them. Clark had been young and impetuous. Lex had been determined to be the cooler head. It hadn't worked out very well.

"Are you telling me he raped you?" Chloe asked. Her mouth dropped open and her eyes went wide from shock.

"I wouldn't call it rape," Lex admitted with no shame, "but I most certainly would not have chosen to have sex with him before he at minimum reached the age of consent. I wanted to wait until he was eighteen. I was quite reluctant but I freely admit to enjoying what we did."

"That's rape," Chloe said, shuddering. "What happened to him? He never used to be this way."

"I have no idea," Lex sighed. "He seemed quite different after that first year. I thought that he'd returned to normal after the summer he disappeared, during your time in witness protection, but…"

Lex looked around him. Chloe nodded as she wrapped her arms around her chest. She sighed, huddling in on herself for a long moment. Eventually she looked towards a set of smaller crystals that jutted out of the floor, cocking her head at them.

"Do you suppose those are controls?" Chloe asked. "Maybe we can use them to get out of here and stop Clark."

"His name is Kal-El," the AI said in its booming voice. It sounded a little annoyed at their refusal to call Clark by that alien name. "The controls may be used to view him and what he is doing, as well as to view anything on Earth or in the archives. You are not allowed to leave without Kal-El's permission."

"I can't stay here," Lex snarled. He stomped over to the controls to cautiously touch one crystal. It glowed but nothing else happened. "I'll be missed. People will look for me. There's my business and my father to worry about!"

"That is not my concern," the AI said. "Kal-El has said that you will remain thus remain you shall."

"Let me try," Chloe offered when nothing Lex did worked.

She twisted and poked the controls for a while, eventually giving up in disgust. Lex growled, glaring at them.

"How does this work?" Lex complained as he tried again.

"The touch of both mates is required," Jor-El explained in a voice that reminded Lex of some of his most pedantic college professors. "Each of the crystals controls a particular function. Those functions when used in conjunction with each other will produce specific programmed responses. I can instruct you on their use if requested."

"Please!" Chloe said at the same moment Lex snapped it.

It turned out to be quite simple, despite the annoying requirement to work with Chloe to get anything to happen. The display function combined with the tracking function showed them Clark battling two other Kryptonians in Lex's mansion. Chloe gasped as Clark was nearly sucked into some sort of vortex, only to save himself at the last second. The male was disposed of first and then Clark battled and defeated the female, throwing her into the vortex. It closed, turning into a pane of something that couldn't be glass that smashed through one of the windows in his study. Clark breathed a sigh of relief and then sped away.

"That is so bizarre," Chloe breathed.

"Amazing," Lex corrected.

He ignored her glare in favor of watching how the world looked to Clark when he used his powers. The world was frozen in place for Clark as he flew through the air to deal with a huge black crystal that must be the ship that the other aliens had come from. Lex frowned. He had been worried about others with powers like Clark's ever since he'd discovered Clark's powers his first year in Smallville. He truly hoped that this wasn't the beginning of an invasion.

Chloe made a little noise that was somewhere between a growl and a worried murmur. He turned to look at her, wondering how she was dealing with the revelation of Clark's abilities. The look in her eyes as she stared up at him was probably an exact match to the look in his eyes.

"You knew?" Lex asked, astonished.

"So did you?" Chloe gasped.

"I've known all along," Lex said, raising his eyebrow at her. "It was rather obvious and I am a genius for all that no one remembers it. How…?"

He gestured at her and then at the display that showed Clark doing something to the ship that had it shuddering and rippling like Jell-O being shaken. Chloe bit her lip, her eyes locked on Clark until the ship exploded in a shower of black dust that Clark calmly brushed off. She sighed with relief that Clark was okay before turning back to Lex.

"Alicia showed me," Chloe shrugged. "I've been trying to protect him ever since."

Lex murmured, "We both have."

He was more than a little disturbed that he hadn't realized that Chloe had known. He'd thought that there was only Alicia, now fortunately dead, Jonathan and Martha, and Pete. He'd dealt with all the others who had learned about Clark's powers and he'd kept Lionel from learning anything substantive with a fair amount of difficulty.

"What is that?" Chloe asked. She was still watching the display where Clark had picked up a black shape about the size of a cigar box.

"That is the central processing unit for the Brain Interactive Construct," the AI said. "It is inactive now that the Black Ship has been compromised by Kal-El's powers. The Earth will be safe from its interference and humanity will not be doomed as Krypton was."

"Are there others like Clark?" Chloe asked, homing in on Lex's primary concern.

"There is one other El," Jor-El said. "She arrived at the same time as Kal-El but her ship was lost and has not been located. There may be other scattered survivors of Krypton but it is unlikely that they will come to Earth. It is a Proscribed planet due to being at the cusp of galactic citizenship. Kal-El shall guide humanity to become productive members of the wider community of sentient races."

The AI sounded proud to Lex, as though it was the most wonderful thing in the world. Lex frowned, looking into Chloe's eyes. She looked worried about it and quite unsure. Lex put a hand on her shoulder, squeezing it briefly. As little as he liked the situation they were trapped here together for the foreseeable future. It would be better to attempt to work with her instead of against her. He didn't think it would work very well given her attitude towards him but he wasn't going to be the one to start a war between them.

"How will he do that?" Lex asked the AI.

"He shall take over the world and rule as Earth's benevolent dictator," the AI declared.

Lex turned an appalled look at Chloe. Her jaw had dropped open in shock. She looked up at him, horror mixing with determination in her eyes. He nodded, not saying anything. She nodded too, squaring her shoulders. Neither of them was willing to allow the AI to use Clark that way. They used the controls together to watch Clark clean up the mess in Smallville. He didn't appear to be able to do a lot in town as the meteors affected him badly but he did clean up a fair amount of damage before the military moved in. He then flew to the camp where Lois was looking for Chloe, avoiding her to find his parents and hug them.

"I have to go back to Jor-El," Clark told Martha and Jonathan. "I succeeded, raised a fortress in the Arctic. Jor-El's in charge of it. The only way he would let me out to help was if I agreed to go back every night. My days are mine but the nights have to be spent there."

"Clark, what if Jor-El tries to reprogram you again?" Martha asked, looking around to make sure that no one could overhear them.

"I think it'll be okay, Mom," Clark said. "He says that if I do it then it won't be necessary to do my training that way. I do want to learn to do things right. I don't trust Jor-El not to influence my mind if I let him suck me in again. It's slower but a lot safer I think."

"You be careful, Clark," Jonathan murmured as some soldiers walked by. "I don't trust Jor-El at all."

"I know," Clark said. He looked every bit the farm boy that Lex had known all this time, not the confident young man he'd been at the Fortress. The glower on Jonathan's face was worse than any Lex had seen pointed at him or his father. It was somewhat comforting to see that there was someone that Jonathan hated more than Lex.

"There you guys are!" Lois called, striding straight over to include herself in their conversation without being invited. "Have you seen Chloe? We got separated when she went back for Lana."

"Um, I heard the military saying something about finding a crashed helicopter," Clark offered. "I thought Lana was going by helicopter. You might ask them about it. From what I heard there was a woman close to it but they wouldn't tell me anything. You're the general's daughter. Maybe they'll tell you more."

He looked nervous and worried, wringing his hands as he looked after the soldiers that had passed by. Lex laughed incredulously, clapping a hand over his mouth to keep his laughter from spiraling out of control again. He was amazed at Clark's powers of deception. Chloe made a scoffing noise, waving her hand at the display indignantly.

"He knows that Lana's dead and I'm here," Chloe said. "What is he doing?"

"Lying," Lex said. His voice shook despite his efforts to control it. "He's lying brilliantly. I thought he was the worst liar in the history of the world."

"He's been changed," Chloe whispered to Lex with a glance at the fortress around them. "It has to have changed him, Lex. He, before you came back from the island, he had amnesia. He was someone else. He must have been changed again."

"Kal-El never had amnesia," the AI snapped in a highly irritated tone. "He chose to portray an amnesiac in an effort to gain the Elements of Power prior to any humans finding them. Unfortunately Martha Kent attacked him with black kryptonite, necessitating his pretending to have been reprogrammed and then restored. His personality was never rewritten. He simply chose actions that would take him closer to his goal and his destiny."

"And what is his goal?" Lex asked, deeply suspicious of the AI's sanity and veracity.

"Taking you and Chloe Sullivan as his mates," the AI proclaimed.

"What's his destiny?" Chloe asked nervously.

"To rule the world," the AI stated.

"How is ruling the world going to give him us?" Lex demanded.

"The laws of the world do not allow triad marriages," the AI explained. "He agreed to rule the world so that he could change the laws and be with both of you openly. He is changing the world for you."

Lex's mouth dropped open as he tried to find something to say to that. Nothing came to mind and nothing came out of his mouth besides an incoherent noise that was more appropriate for a mouse than a Luthor. Chloe started giggling hysterically. She shook her head at Lex's concerned look, putting her hands over her mouth as if it could stop the emotions bubbling out.

Lex pulled her into a hug. Chloe clung to him desperately. Her giggles turned into tears that his shirt absorbed. Lex looked at the display. Clark was listening to Lois arguing loudly with one of the officers but there was a look on his face as though he was listening to something very far away. Lex realized that he might be listening to them. It was disconcerting, almost frightening.

"Let's go see about some food," Lex said. "I think that we need a break."

"Yeah," Chloe agreed. She let Lex go and wiped her eyes with shaking fingers. "And something to drink. Hot would be good. Is there any coffee in this place?"

"No," the AI said. "If you will follow the glowing green light it will lead you to the eating area. Food and a'chaan have been prepared for you."

"What's achoo?" Chloe asked, making a face at the glowing light.

"A'chaan," the AI repeated in a decidedly snippy tone of voice, "is the Kryptonian version of hot chocolate, coffee and tea. It is far more nutritious, tastes better and does not go bitter if it is served cold or allowed to cool off."

"You've had both?" Lex asked. He followed the light, carefully scanning the areas they passed through for some way of finding their way back. The architecture was so different that he was certain they'd get lost.

"I have," the AI declared. "I am the download of Kal-El's father, Jor-El. When I was his age I came to Earth on a coming of age trip. I have had coffee, tea, hot chocolate and many versions of alcohol. A'chaan is superior to them all."

"If it's intoxicating I'm so there," Chloe said. "I need something to calm me down so bad."

"Understood," the AI said.

The eating area turned out to be something very similar to a formal dining area made of crystal. The chairs were stools made of a solid chunk of crystal. The table was a delicate slab of irregularly edged crystal that was set on arching crystal legs. The table was covered with food, easily recognizable food that looked remarkably like Martha Kent's cooking, as well as two large crystal mugs full of something dark, foamy and steaming.

"Smells good," Chloe said thoughtfully. She took one mug and sipped at it. She groaned, licking her lips before taking a second, much larger sip. "This is liquid sex. Where has this stuff been all my life?"

"What?" Lex asked. He didn't manage to keep the amusement out of his voice and Chloe glared at him.

"Try it, you'll see," Chloe said, passing him the other mug.

Lex shrugged and sniffed at the a'chaan. It did smell good, spicy and rich without the hint of bitterness that marked coffee or the excessive sweetness that marked hot chocolate. He took a tiny sip and started at the taste explosion. It was delicious, full of spices that he'd never tasted before. It was just sweet enough and just bitter enough without edging into discomfort on either side. Lex took a deeper sip, sighing at the way it spread warmth through his body.

"This is very alcoholic," Lex said, sitting on one of the chairs as his body began to feel a lot looser and more relaxed.

"It will produce what humans call 'a buzz'," the AI said, "but it does not produce a hangover or true intoxication. This is the evening preparation. There is a morning preparation that does well for waking up."

"Liquid. Sex," Chloe repeated. She was slowly drinking her mug like it was the only thing staving off complete collapse.

"I think I might agree with you on that," Lex said. "I wish the chairs had backs."

The chair he sat on suddenly shifted, sending Lex back to his feet. A back slowly grew on the chair, set at exactly the right angle for him to lounge. Chloe's chair grew a back too. She stayed in place, watching it form with one eyebrow raised. Once it was done growing she calmly leaned back against it.

"How'd we end up with Mrs. Kent's cooking?" Chloe asked.

"Kal-El requested food that was suitable for human consumption," the AI said. "In his assessment Martha Kent's cooking is the most suitable human food."

Lex chuckled, shaking his head. That made sense. By the time he was done with his mug of a'chaan he was relaxed enough that he was willing to try the food. It was nearly as good as Martha's cooking. It didn't taste exactly the same but it was close enough that Lex was willing to overlook the different presentation and somewhat odd textures on some items. Chloe ate in silence. She appeared to notice the differences as well from the slight frowns when she tried some of the food.

"I feel better," Chloe sighed once she was done eating.

"As do I," Lex agreed. "I think I needed something to eat."

"And some liquid sex," Chloe said. She took a second mug of the stuff and gave Lex a mock salute with it.

"I'm glad," Clark said from the entrance to the room. "I was worried that you two were going to freak out for a while there."

"Clark!" Lex exclaimed. He bolted to his feet, hurrying to Clark's side. He looked the same, just like the boy he'd know for the last four years. There was a mixture of that same confidence that marked him after he'd come from the light and the hesitation that had been part of him all along. "Are you all right? What did that light do to you?"

"Nothing," Clark said, cupping Lex's cheek. "This is who I've been all along, Lex. I haven't changed. I'm just letting you see the real me. I won't hide from you anymore."

"Why?" Chloe demanded. She hadn't moved from her spot at the table. Her fingers were white around the mug of a'chaan. "Why are you doing all of this?" She waved one hand at the crystal palace surrounding them.

"Because I love you," Clark said, smiling tenderly at her. "I love both of you. I wouldn't do this for anyone or anything else. I'm going to change the world for the two of you."

+++++

"I'm going to change the world for the two of you."

Chloe stared at Clark. He looked totally serious. He looked like he actually meant it. Chloe's fingers ached from gripping the mug so tightly. She probably shouldn't have had the second mug of this stuff. It had relaxed her but it had also made her a heck of a lot more emotional. It really was like being buzzed but without the mental fog that came with alcohol. Chloe put the mug down on the weird crystal table. The clunk echoed through the room.

"I don't want the world changed for me," Chloe declared.

She refused to look at either of them. She didn't want them to see the tears hovering in her eyes. This wasn't real. Clark had never been in love with her. It was something that the Fortress had done to him. He'd always loved Lana. From the first moment she'd met him he'd been in love with Lana. Then there'd been Lex and Kyla and Lana again, always, eternally Lana. There wasn't any room in Clark's heart for her. It was full of other people, not her. Whatever that light had done to him it had rewritten his personality. The real Clark had never been in love with Chloe and he never would.

Clark's arms enveloped her from behind and the tears spilled out. He didn't say anything. He just wrapped her up in his arms and held her. Chloe fought the sobs that wanted to break free. This was too weird. It was too much. Chloe huffed at herself, so annoyed that she couldn't control her emotions. Lex's hand rested tentatively on her shoulder as if to comfort her. That was enough to let her start winning back her control. She didn't need his pity. She knew that was what she'd see if she looked at him now.

"I'm fine," Chloe snapped at them both. "I'm fine. Just… fine."

"No, you're not," Clark said. He scooped Chloe up, holding her easily on one arm. "You're both overwrought. I'm not surprised. This is a lot to take in. Come on. Let me give you guys a tour and then we can get some rest."

Clark took Lex's hand and led them away. Chloe squirmed in his arm, blushing that he was carrying her around. She wasn't a child. Clark grinned at her, patting her thigh with his fingertips. Lex rolled his eyes as if it was ridiculous but there was a little smile on his lips as if he thought it was kind of cute. Chloe sighed at both of them. Eventually she allowed herself to wrap her arms around Clark's neck. It was kind of nice to be carried this way, not that she intended to let Clark make a habit of it. She could walk on her own and had since she was two.

The Fortress was a lot bigger than she'd thought. There was a zoo full of alien creatures in specially recreated environments. Some of them looked terrifying while others looked adorable. Clark didn't enter any of the environments, which had strange reddish sunlight pouring down. There was a library full of crystals that Clark explained were Kryptonian books. He showed them how to use them and explained that Jor-El would be willing to teach them to read Kryptonian.

"You'll really let him read all of this?" Chloe asked, horrified. She waved a hand at Lex whose jaw tensed and eyes flashed angrily at Chloe.

"Sure," Clark said, shrugging. "Why not? I'm sure Lex will put it to good use. You too. There are classics of alien literature in here, plus lots of history. I bet you'll enjoy reading those."

"Maybe," Chloe murmured as they headed onwards to the gym, kitchen, and then living quarters.

The gym was incredible. It had equipment that would challenge Clark's strength and speed while automatically adjusting to Chloe or Lex's abilities. The part that made Chloe coo was the whirlpool tub in one corner. That was something she intended to use frequently. The Fortress was cold. The air temperature was reasonable but the crystal that it was made out of made her feel cold no matter what the air temp was. The kitchen was so different that Chloe didn't recognize the stove or fridge. Lex seemed a little better able to puzzle things out but then apparently he could at cook basic things. Chloe hadn't learned to do more than burn toast though she kept threatening to.

"And this is our bedroom," Clark announced as they entered another room. He set Chloe down, letting her walk on her own finally.

"Our?" Lex asked pointedly.

"Of course," Clark nodded. "You're my mates. We're sharing a bed."

"Big bed," Chloe commented while nervously edging slightly away from Lex and Clark.

It looked big enough for six or eight people so maybe it would be all right. The frame was made of more of the ubiquitous crystal but the mattress looked thick and soft and there was a fluffy comforter that appeared to be cream, ice blue and pale scarlet plaid. Chloe blinked and went over to run a hand over the comforter. She started laughing.

"Plaid flannel?" Chloe asked, grinning at Clark.

"I like plaid," Clark said sheepishly. "And flannel is warm."

"It's at least soft," Chloe said, sitting on the bed hesitantly.

The bed was soft enough that it felt like she was going to be swallowed up in it. Chloe fought the urge to crawl in and hide under the covers. Maybe if she went to sleep she'd wake up and this would all have been a dream. Lex's expression made her think that he was pondering doing exactly that.

"Your closet's over here, Lex," Clark said. He went to a wall and touched a raised bit of crystal. "I had the Fortress give you clothes that are similar to what you normally wear, just made of Kryptonian cloth. It stays cleaner and is much more durable. Easier to clean, too. Yours is over here, Chloe. And mine is right here."

All three closets were huge walk-in closets. Lex's closet was full of suits, shirts and, strangely, some jeans and dusky sweaters. Chloe's closet had clothes that she'd have bought in a minute if she'd seen them in the stores. There was a long warm-looking sweater that Chloe immediately pulled out and wrapped around herself. It was warmer than she expected. It felt different from any other fabric she'd touched before, thicker than it looked from the way it draped. It was nearly like being wrapped in silk or water. Clark's closet had his standard jeans, T-shirts and flannels on one side and then what looked like form-fitting body suits on the other side. They were blue, red and gold, so bright that they almost hurt to look at. Chloe couldn't imagine Clark actually wearing the suits so they must be something that the Fortress had provided for him.

"The bathroom is in here," Clark continued, heading through an archway to another room. Chloe didn't follow immediately, too curious about Clark's suits.

"Nice," Lex commented once he'd looked around the room.

Chloe hesitated while running her fingers over one of the suits' sleeves but quickly followed them after Lex made a sound that she could have sworn was a throaty moan of appreciation. The bathroom was nice and much more like what Chloe was used to. There was a toilet and three sinks with large mirrors over them. There was a huge shower that had no curtain or glass around it. There was a little glowing line on the floor and ceiling so maybe there was some alien technology that kept the water in. Lex was leaning over a huge bathtub that put the gym's whirlpool tub to shame, smiling as he tested the water with his fingertips.

Clark came over and wrapped his arms around Chloe as if it was a perfectly natural thing to do. Chloe squirmed, trying to get out of his arms. Clark didn't let go. He looked down at her with his kicked puppy look.

"Why do you always run away from me?" Clark asked Chloe in a mournful tone of voice. "Every time I try and get close to you, you run away."

"I do not," Chloe protested. Her cheeks flamed as her heart started pounding. She knew perfectly well that she did. He just didn't pursue her.

"Do you follow her?" Lex asked quietly from the other side of the room.

"Um, no?" Clark said, blinking at Lex with confusion in his eyes. "Why would I do that? She backs off. I thought it meant she didn't want me. I just decided I wanted her no matter what and that I'd have to convince her to want me back, like I did with you."

"Many women like to be pursued," Lex explained in a didactic tone. He looked at the shower, slowly playing with the controls until he got it to work. Chloe thought he was doing that to avoid looking at the two of them together. "They push you back explicitly to see if you'll pursue them, if you think that they're worth fighting for."

"Oh."

Chloe looked up at Clark and her jaw dropped open. He looked like that was a completely new thought, something that he'd never heard of before. Clark cocked his head to the side as he considered it, a grin slowly blooming on his face.

"So you really do like me!" Clark said, grinning at Chloe.

"Clark!" Chloe huffed, pushing against his chest. Her ears had to be glowing from the force of her blush.

He scooped her up and kissed her as though he didn't need to breathe. Chloe moaned and struggled for a few seconds but Clark's lips on hers brought back buried memories of when she'd been controlled by the alien parasite. Clark had kissed her this way back then, like she was the sexiest girl he'd ever seen. She hadn't remembered it other than in dreams but the touch of his lips brought it back to her. His hands had touched her, explored her body, made her react in ways that she'd never known she could.

"Call me Kal," Clark said huskily once he let Chloe's lips go. "It's my true name. I'd really like to hear you call me by my true name, Chloe."

The way he said her name sounded more like 'beautiful' or 'sexy' or maybe 'mine'. Chloe shuddered, burying her face in the nook of his neck. She could feel his erection pressing against her hip. There was no denying that his body wanted her, though that didn't mean that his heart actually cared. Her heart was pounding so hard that she could barely hear, not that there was much to hear besides the water in the shower pounding down at varying tempos as Lex played with the controls.

"K-Kal," Chloe whispered.

Clark shuddered, nuzzling her hair lovingly. He whispered her name in that incredible way again. Chloe squirmed in his arms, embarrassed at how strongly she was reacting to him. She pulled back, looking at his face. She hadn't seen Clark, Kal, look this happy in a very long time.

"I suppose I could give you some time alone," Lex said. His voice was so cold and distant that Chloe turned to stare at him.

"No, it's bedtime," Clark, no Kal, said. "It's later than you think. The Fortress is way up in the northern parts of Alaska and the sun doesn't set at this time of year. Come on Lex. Let's head to bed. I want to sleep with Chloe in front of me and you behind me."

Lex's eyes visibly dilated at the thought of that, making Chloe revise her thoughts about who had done what to whom. She'd assumed that Clark had been the dominant one when he'd seduced Lex before but maybe she'd been wrong about that. Lex licked his lips, swallowed hard and then shook his head no.

"We shouldn't," Lex said. "Clark, you know we shouldn't."

"It's okay," Kal reassured him. He carried Chloe over and put a hand along Lex's cheek, stroking his thumb over his cheekbone. "Seriously, it's okay, Lex."

"What if she gets pregnant?" Lex asked bluntly enough that Chloe squawked. "I know how persuasive he can be, Chloe. There aren't any condoms and I doubt you have any birth control on you. You could get pregnant and that would ruin your life."

"No it wouldn't," Kal said far too calmly for the panic suddenly beating at Chloe's heart.

"Why not?" Chloe demanded.

"Because you and Lex are married," Kal explained. "I finished that before I came here. You eloped in the middle of the meteor shower and went to get married. Now you're hiding out from the reporters while honeymooning."

"What?" Chloe gasped.

She shoved hard against Kal's chest, startling him into setting her down. He stared at her as if puzzled why she'd be upset about suddenly finding that she'd been married off without her knowledge or consent. Lex looked as outraged as Chloe felt. He was making spluttering noises and his face had gone blazingly red. He was almost purple with outrage.

"Are you out of your blinking little mind?" Chloe bellowed, finding her voice before Lex did. "What is wrong with you?"

"Nothing," Kal said, frowning at them. "And no, I'm not crazy. I'm just me."

"Married," Lex snarled. He gestured dismissively towards Chloe. "To her."

"Yeah," Kal nodded.

"Why?" Lex drawled.

"It's pretty straightforward," Kal said far too calmly. "I can't marry either of you, not yet anyway. I can't provide for Chloe and I can't marry Lex anyway since we're both male. But Lex you can provide for Chloe and keep her safe when I'm not around. And Chloe, you'll be great helping Lex run his business and deal with things. You won't have to worry about a scholarship. You'll have a much better place to live. It's the logical choice. Until triad marriages are approved the only two who can get married are you two. It's not like I expect that you two will start having sex or anything. It's just to make sure that you're safe and properly taken care of until I rule the world."

Chloe stared at Kal with her jaw dropped open. He had always had some weird ideas of how to deal with people. He had always been a little strange. This took the strangeness to an all-new level though. Chloe turned to Lex who had gone from purple with outrage to pale and concerned.

"I think he's being controlled again," Lex said to Chloe.

"I think he's been changed," Chloe said, swallowing hard against the worry and outrage burning in her gut.

"I have not," Kal huffed. He put his hands on his hips and glared at the two of them. "I'm exactly the same as I've always been. I'm just not hiding from you."

"And if I licked your neck what would you do?" Lex asked, his head cocked to the side.

Kal shuddered and stepped close, running his hand over Lex's scalp in a move that was so blatantly sexual that Chloe blushed. It was one thing to see them kiss. It was a totally different thing to see Kal touch Lex that way, as though he was perfect and precious.

Chloe turned away, suddenly understanding exactly why Lex had fiddled with the shower controls and offered to leave when Kal kissed her. It hurt to see Kal touching Lex that way, wanting him. She wanted Kal all to herself, and seeing him with Lex reminded her that she'd never get it.

"I'd have to purr and kiss you," Kal murmured. "Come on. There's a great big bed and I've already asked the Fortress to ensure that Chloe can't get pregnant until we all think it's time."

"You had it change me?" Chloe squawked.

"Of course not, that's tomorrow night," Kal said. He blinked at her in surprise. "No, I had it change me so I can't get you pregnant. I truly don't expect that the two of you will touch each other for quite a while, possibly years."

"Wait, what are we doing tomorrow night?" Chloe demanded, her heart nearly exploding through her chest.

Kal grinned like she'd just given him the opening he'd been waiting for. "Why the same thing we do every night, Chloe. We're taking over the world!"

"I cannot believe you just said that," Lex groaned. He looked like he'd just been stabbed. "This is not Pinky and the Brain."

Kal laughed and reached out, pulling Lex into his right side and Chloe into his left. Chloe huffed and poked him in the ribs. It didn't appear to bother Kal at all. It kind of hurt her finger. He nuzzled Lex's scalp and then turned to lift Chloe up to kiss her tenderly.

"Seriously, let's go to bed, guys," Kal said very softly and gently. "It's late. I'm tired. I would love to have sex with both of you, Chloe underneath me and Lex taking me from behind but I'm not going to push that right now. Tomorrow's another day and there's so much you have to learn yet. Sleep will do both of you some good. I'll even promise to be good and keep my hands mostly to myself."

"Mostly," Lex said. His tone of voice and expression were surprised, as if he'd expected much less.

"Mostly, Kal nodded. "I don't think I'll ever be able to completely keep from touching you but I will try tonight if it makes you two feel better. We have the rest of our lives to love each other. I'm willing to wait a decade or two before you guys realize how perfect you'll be together."

Chloe cocked her head at him, frowning at the phrasing. He looked serious despite the decade comment. Lex sighed and looked at Chloe, asking her nonverbally if she wanted to keep fighting it. Chloe considered it. She was tired. She was still cold, well cold-ish. She obviously wasn't going to get to go home yet and she wasn't sure that the whole marriage thing was real given how strange Kal was acting.

"All right but I didn't see any jammies in the closet," Chloe said hesitantly.

"Why would we need jammies?" Kal asked, obviously puzzled. "We're mates."

"So I don't have to get naked in front of Lex!" Chloe squawked. Her face flamed for what felt like the millionth time.

"Oh. Okay. Jor-El, make them nightclothes please," Kal said, turning to look towards the ceiling.

"Done," Jor-El declared.

Chloe changed out of her clothes and into the nightdress in her closet. It was a walk-in closet so there was plenty of room. Jor-El had provided warm slippers so Chloe didn't freeze her feet on the crystal floor. By the time she managed to nerve herself up to leaving the closet Kal and Lex were already in bed. Kal was in the middle of the bed and Lex was on the far left side, looking like he was keeping his distance deliberately. Chloe winced at the pout on Kal's face.

"Oh, the sheets are warm," Chloe sighed once she climbed into the bed. "Um, Kal?"

"Yeah?" Kal asked. His whole body seemed to light up as she used that name instead of Clark.

"Where are your jammies?"

"I don't feel the cold," Kal explained. "I didn't see the point, especially since I want both of you to see me."

"That explains why Lex is on the far side of the bed," Chloe squeaked. She didn't move any closer. "Um, if it's too soon for sex its too soon to be naked together. So, at least put on boxers or something. Please?"

"Will it make you more comfortable?" Kal asked, looking from her face to Lex's.

"Infinitely," Lex drawled. His eyes glittered with either anger or amusement. Chloe wasn't sure which. Lex's face was too expressionless other than his eyes to be sure.

"Yes, please," Chloe said as firmly as she could.

"Okay," Kal said, shrugging. "I only wore them at home because Mom insisted."

He got up and went to his closet, calmly standing there where they could see him while he slipped into his boxers. Chloe's breath caught. She had never seen him fully naked before. She'd seen him bathing suits and the like but not the full Monty. It was a very nice view that made her wish desperately that Lex wasn't there so she could take full advantage of it. Lex made a little noise. She turned and he had the same rapt expression that Chloe knew had to be on her face. He shrugged, keeping his eyes on Kal as he came back to bed.

"You can change your mind later on if you want," Kal laughed, grinning at them.

"No, that's fine," Lex said in a 'I am so busted' tone of voice.

"No, I'm all right," Chloe agreed. "Sleep, right?"

"Yes."

Kal scooped Chloe close, totally destroying her half-made plan to sleep on the very edge of the bed. He reached out and pulled Lex close too. Lex sighed, grumbling as he spooned with Kal. Chloe blushed, letting herself press back against Kal too. Once the blankets got pulled up over her she was warm enough that she relaxed in spite of everything. The room slowly dimmed until they were in an indigo blue twilight. The roof overhead shimmered like the Northern Lights. Chloe watched the lights and didn't feel it when she fell asleep.

+++++

Lex woke from dreams that combined more love than he'd ever felt with terrifying scenes of the world being destroyed to find himself curled around Clark and Chloe. Clark was between the two of them and Lex thought that his chest made a perfect pillow. Apparently Chloe agreed with Lex because she was tucked up against Clark's side with her face nestled in the nook of neck. It would have been a touching scene if Lex's hand weren't resting on her hip as if it belonged there. Her free hand had somehow come to rest on his arm, holding him there.

"Mmm, morning," Clark whispered. His eyes opened and he smiled that tender smile that had won Lex's heart over despite all logic and common sense. It had overwhelmed even Lex's fears of going to jail for statutory rape.

"Morning," Lex murmured as he pulled back to stretch.

Pulling away turned out to be somewhat more difficult than he had expected. Clark's arm tightened behind him like prison bars for a moment before he let go with a pout. Chloe grumbled something while latching onto his bicep nearly as tightly as Clark. Her face screwed up as she pressed closer into Clark's side. Lex smirked. He hadn't expected her to be this slow of a waker. He tried again but her nails dug into his arm hard enough that he gasped.

"Huh?" Chloe lifted her face and then sat bolt upright as she realized what she'd been doing. "Oh my God, it wasn't a dream."

She let go of his arm so Lex immediately sat up and moved slightly away from the two of them. Chloe fidgeted a little away too. Her eyes were wide but still somewhat sleep blurred, as if she couldn't quite believe that she'd truly been in bed with Clark and Lex.

"Of course not," Clark pouted. Lex wasn't sure if the pout was because they were both sitting up or if it was because of what Chloe had said. "Why would you think it was a dream?"

"This is quite unbelievable, Clark," Lex said. He stretched, somewhat surprised that there weren't more kinks. The bed was a good bit softer than he was used to. He'd expected to wake up sore in any number of places. "You can't blame either of us for having a hard time accepting that we've been transported to the Arctic to live apparently as well-loved prisoners of an alien farm boy who's intent on ruling to world explicitly so he can get a hot threesome with his two best friends."

Chloe started snickering. Clark stared at Lex's abs and then blinked as what Lex had said registered in his mind. He laughed and pulled Lex down into one of those hugs that involved him massaging every tight muscle in Lex's back. Lex predictably melted onto Clark's chest with an appreciative groan.

"Well, I guess you have a point," Clark said, "but you'd both have said no if I asked openly. Or thought that I went crazy, or got controlled again, or was replaced by someone else pretending to be me, or something. It's happened before after all."

"Mmm-hmm," Lex moaned, barely listening to Clark's words as he enjoyed the massage.

"I think he's purring," Chloe commented. There was laughter in her voice but it sounded fond, not derisive.

"He loves back rubs," Clark confided, still doing the massage thing so Lex couldn't be bothered to be upset about them talking over his head.

"Don't stop," Lex mumbled into the same nook of Clark's neck that Chloe had been tucked into.

Clark laughed. The vibrations of it rattled through Lex's body, causing other portions of his anatomy to stir. It was only Chloe's presence by their side the stopped Lex from spreading Clark's legs so that they could have an early morning quickie. As Clark's hands strayed down Lex's back he could tell that Clark was thinking the same way, though of course his growing erection was a better indicator.

"Um, I think I'll just go use the bathroom," Chloe said extremely nervously.

Lex sighed and pulled away from Clark.

"I really hope you two get over your nervousness soon," Clark pouted. "I want that hot threesome sometime in the next century. I mean, we can wait for a century or two if we absolutely have to but I'd rather not."

Lex stared down at Clark who rose up on his elbows to pout at both of them. Chloe laughed, the sound brittle and uncertain. There was no humor in Clark's eyes as he watched them both. All that Lex could see was frustration at being denied his 'hot sex' and pure Clark-ish truth.

"You think we're immortal?" Lex asked.

"Of course," Clark nodded. He sat all the way up, folding his legs so that he could stretch his arms over his head and then stare at them. "I'm pretty much immortal the same way I'm invulnerable. As long as I have a yellow sun I'll keep going. You're immortal too, though a bit more fragile. That poison your father gave you should have improved your ability to survive things, along with the effects of the Element of Water. I know it improved your self-healing. Chloe's immortal too, though her healing abilities haven't fully manifested yet."

"I'm not a meteor freak!" Chloe squawked. She stared at Clark with a horrified expression on her face.

"Actually you are a mutant," Clark corrected her calmly. "I asked Jor-El and he scanned you. You're going to be able to heal other people once your powers wake up. Fortunately for the two of you, your healing abilities appear to be strongly tied to immortality. You're going to live as long as I do, which is part of why we're perfect for each other."

Lex looked at Chloe, seeing the same fear and confusion he felt in her eyes. He couldn't escape the feeling that this wasn't Clark. The Clark he'd known never was this forthright. Getting any sort of admission out of him had always been nearly impossible. Even getting him to admit that he had feelings for Lex had been damned near the Holy Grail, despite the fact that they'd been fucking at the time.

"I'm not a mutant," Chloe declared in what was probably intended to be a decisive tone of voice. It actually came out worried and frightened. "I don't have any powers and I'm not crazy."

"Look, you're not going to go crazy," Clark said in a reassuring tone of voice. He put a hand on Chloe's shoulder. "I won't let that happen, I promise."

"I'm not a mutant!" Chloe snapped, slapping his hand away. She scrambled off of the bed and to her feet.

"There's nothing wrong with being a mutant," Lex huffed. "I'm one and I'm perfectly stable."

Clark and Chloe both looked at him with expressions that mixed dismay with pity. Lex bristled at them. While Chloe's denial was obviously fear based, Lex's was based on fact. He wasn't insane and hadn't been since the electroshock therapy. Despite all of his father's efforts he was quite sane and intended to stay that way.

"Look, why don't we have some breakfast and then I'll head out to work on the farm and you guys can do your thing here?" Clark suggested as if he was trying to avoid a fight.

"Fine," Chloe said. She crossed her arms over her chest and glared at them both.

"Fine by me," Lex said a great deal more mildly. "I am rather looking forward to more a'chaan. It's quite good."

"Oh, I forgot about that stuff!" Chloe said with a sudden grin that was like the sun coming out from behind a cloud. "I was expecting a hangover this morning but I feel fine."

They got dressed, Lex making a mental note to take a shower later when neither Clark nor Chloe were around, and headed out to the dining room. Clark chatted with Chloe about the different varieties of a'chaan as if they were discussing the different sorts of coffee served at the Talon.

"Hey," Lex said, "What's going to happen to the Talon? Lana's dead and I'm here."

"Oh," Clark said, blinking in surprise as he passed a mug of a'chaan to Lex. "I didn't think of that. Well, I guess that's up to you. I'll set up the controls so you can run your business from here. Whatever you want, I suppose. Mom would probably do a good job of it once she gets back to town but if you want to close it for a while I think everyone would understand. It was Lana's thing, after all. Closing it for a bit would seem like respect."

"No it wouldn't," Chloe objected. "It'd seem like disrespecting her memory. She fought so hard to keep that place from being torn down that keeping it open would be better."

"There's probably time," Lex said with a nod of agreement with Chloe. "I severely doubt that they'll let everyone back into Smallville for at least a few days. I'll think about it and decide what to do later."

Clark frowned and sipped his a'chaan. Lex could see him considering their words, working through how they saw things until he finally nodded. He'd seen Clark do this before but for the first time he realized that it wasn't just that Clark was a small town farm boy. The reason he didn't get things like this was because he literally wasn't human and didn't think like them.

"Okay, I suppose that makes sense," Clark said. "That's another reason why I love you two. You always make me see things differently."

Lex refused to allow himself to blush the way Chloe was. His heart beat harder and he could feel a blush staining his cheeks but it wasn't as powerful as it could have been. Clark's propensity for saying things like that in private was something that Lex had gotten used to when they were together before.

"Now," Clark said, interrupting Lex's thoughts before he could start reliving the sex they'd had, "I really do need to get going. Let's head into the control room and I'll set it up so you guys can take care of Lex's business and see the world."

"Clark, it would be simpler for you just to let us go back," Lex said in his most reasonable tone of voice as they headed out.

"Kal," Clark pouted. "Please call me Kal, Lex. It's my name."

"Will you let me leave if I call you Kal?" Lex challenged him.

"Of course not," Clark said with a dramatic roll of his eyes. "You can't leave until you accept that we belong together. You're my consorts. Once you accept that then it'll be okay."

Chloe stopped dead in her tracks before they got to the control console. She glared up at Clark as if he'd just told her she had to go kill puppies or something. Clark cocked his head at her with that same confused expression. Lex eased back a little, pretty sure that Chloe was about to go off. He could see the way that her heart was pounding. The rapid flutter of her pulse made her throat and temple quiver nearly as much as her fingers were, at least until she clenched her hands into fists.

"What if we don't want to be yours?" Chloe demanded. "You keep acting like if you want something then you'll get it without any conflict. We have a say in this too, you know. Stop acting like this is a foregone conclusion!"

Clark stepped over to her and reached out to cup her cheek with one hand. Chloe batted his hand away, still glaring at him. Lex thought that she had a very good point though she was being a little obtuse. He wanted Clark. Chloe wanted him too. That much was quite obvious. The only questions were whether or not this really was Clark and whether or not he'd insist on his threesome idea.

"Chloe, I know you love me," Clark said with bedrock steady certainty. "I know Lex loves me too. And I love you two more than anything and anyone else in the whole world. It is a foregone conclusion that we'll end up together. I'm willing to wait as long as necessary to make sure that you guys are okay with it but I'm not going to let you run away anymore. That's always been your problem. Whenever I get close you run away."

"I have every right to run away!" Chloe shouted at him as she hit him in the chest. "You have no right to make us stay here!"

Clark sighed and shook his head. He grabbed Chloe, picked her up as she struggled wildly and then carried her over to where he'd been enveloped by light. Lex blinked as he realized that it had only been yesterday. It felt like decades ago, not less than twenty-four hours.

"What are you doing?" Lex asked as Chloe screamed and kicked Clark without any effect.

"Helping her," Clark said. He set Chloe down and looked up. "Jor-El, do it."

"Understood," Jor-El said.

Blinding light enveloped Chloe. She screamed, her face contorting in agony. Lex shouted something incoherent as he darted forward to try and save Chloe from whatever Clark and Jor-El were doing to her. Clark caught him and held him back. It wasn't the first time that he'd felt Clark's true strength but it was the first time Clark had done it openly. It was like wrestling with a mountain. Nothing Lex did had any effect on Clark.

"You're hurting her!" Lex bellowed at Clark.

"No, I'm not," Clark said far too calmly for the screams echoing through the Fortress. "Jor-El is stabilizing her mind and activating her abilities safely. After this she'll never have to worry about going crazy and she'll be able to heal anyone who gets injured."

"This is wrong," Lex growled, struggling impotently against Clark's grip on his shoulders. "You can't do this! She's right, Clark. You can't do things like this."

"Don't worry about it, Lex," Clark reassured Lex. "She'll be better than ever once it's done. You'll see."

Lex was about to yell again but the light shut off abruptly and Chloe stumbled free. Clark let Lex go and caught her, holding her close as she panted. Her eyes were huge and she was panting, but she did look like she was okay. She didn't push Clark away or slap Lex's hand off of her shoulder when he tentatively rested it there.

"How do you feel?" Lex asked. He wasn't sure that he'd believe what she said, no matter what words came out of her mouth.

"Different but better," Chloe said. She sounded as bewildered as she looked. "It's… I don't know. I feel better."

"Jor-El stabilized your mind and made it so your gifts are active now," Clark said happily. "I know you used to worry about going crazy like your mom. You don't ever have to worry about that now. It's fixed. You're sane and your powers will never make you go nuts."

Chloe stared up at Clark with her jaw dropped open. She had been pale when she escaped from the light but now she was starting to get her color back. Her mouth worked for a moment before she cleared her throat and looked away. Lex let his hand fall when she looked at him with a frown, sure that she'd be upset with him for touching her. That was always how it had gone before.

"That's… um, amazing, Kal," Chloe said very hesitantly. "If it works, I'll be really glad about that."

"It will," Clark reassured her with his beautiful beaming smile. "Jor-El has technology far beyond what humans have. You don't need to worry. Your brain chemistry is perfectly stable now."

He turned to Lex with that same beaming smile and put his hand on Lex's elbow as if to guide him. Lex started to go with it until he realized that Clark was guiding him to the same place that Chloe had just been. The moment he figured that out he ripped his arm free and backed off.

"No!" Lex snapped. "You are not doing this to me."

"Lex, you need it too," Clark sighed. "You've already gone crazy. You said yourself that you've had a couple of breaks from reality. Jor-El can fix that and make sure that it won't happen again."

"I don't trust anything to do with this Fortress," Lex declared. "You're not doing this to me too, Clark."

Chloe bit her lip as if she couldn't figure out which side to take. That in and of itself made Lex certain that she'd been compromised by whatever Jor-El had done to her. Lex turned and ran away even though he knew that there was no way he could escape. They were in the middle of the Arctic and he was trapped in an alien fortress with an all-powerful AI that had reprogrammed both Clark and now Chloe. He had no way to escape that but that didn't mean that he had to give in easily.

Before he'd gone more than four steps Clark was there, catching him and carrying him back to the spot as easily as he'd carried Chloe. Lex went for far dirtier blows than Chloe had, attempting to gouge out Clark's eyes and kick him in the balls. Clark's eyelids didn't even flex under his fingers and all the knee to the groin did was give Lex a bruise.

"I'm sorry this upsets you so much," Clark apologized as he set Lex down exactly where he didn't want to be. "I know you don't understand it now but you will soon."

Lex bellowed something incoherent as the light enveloped him. He could see Chloe's terrified expression and Clark's regretful one but he couldn't hear a word of what Clark said to Chloe. The light shifted and suddenly it was inside of him instead of simply penning him in.

It didn't hurt. Despite the way his body was twitching, it didn't hurt at all. It felt warm and comforting. There was a mind behind the power that reminded him of Jonathan Kent's sternness mixed with Martha's warmth and love.

'Jor-El,' Lex thought with stunned awe. 'That's Jor-El.'

Love and acceptance filled Lex. He could feel Jor-El peering into all the corners of his mind and evaluating the things that made him go off kilter. Everything he'd ever done and everything he'd ever felt was examined, pondered and accepted. His tendency towards obsession was accepted along with his fondness for SF movies and comic books. His father's abuse and his mother's neglect were considered alongside of his deep love for Clark and all of it was given Jor-El's stamp of approval. All of the terrible things he'd done as a young man and since he came to Smallville were reviewed and approved of.

He could feel things inside of his mind shifting slightly. Nothing of his life or his personality changed. Everything that was part of him was accepted. Instead of being rewritten, Lex could feel himself being improved. His heart seemed to beat a little more calmly. His mind slowed ever so slightly and then returned to its normal speed but with less of the jagged edge he'd become accustomed to since the meteor shower.

As the light faded, Lex realized that he hadn't felt like this since before the meteors fell. He panted, not surprised to find that Clark was there to catch him just as he'd been there for Chloe. Clark felt solid and reassuring. He was still worried about Clark, worried that Jor-El had done something to him but the worry felt a little absurd having touched Jor-El's mind so directly.

"Are you okay?" Chloe asked. She put her hand on his elbow the same way Lex had touched her shoulder, obviously concerned for him.

"I think so," Lex said. He swallowed hard, looking into Clark's eyes. "I haven't thought this clearly since the meteor shower."

"I know," Clark said very quietly and sadly. "The kryptonite infection causes mental instability long before it gives people powers. Everyone who's been infected is unstable in one way or another. It can be fixed but only here, only by Jor-El. I'm hoping that someday you'll be able to work with Jor-El so that we can cure everyone else but for now I'm happy just to have you two healed. You're the most important people in the world for me. As long as you're okay I'm happy."

Lex shivered, seeing that same all-encompassing love in Clark's expression. He pulled back a little bit, flustered and confused. This wasn't what he'd expected. Jor-El was so abrupt, so snappish, that he'd expected a far different person.

"I think… we need a little time to think this over," Lex said. His voice shook and for the first time in decades he didn't give a damn.

"Of course." Clark nodded. "I'll be back tonight. If you need anything from me just say it out loud. I'll be listening and I'll do my best to get it for you."

Chloe's hand tucked into the corner of Lex's elbow. Her fingers were trembling as badly as his knees were. Clark bent and kissed Chloe gently before giving Lex a gentle, loving kiss as well. He blurred away, leaving Chloe and Lex alone.

+++++

"A'chaan?" Lex asked Chloe.

His eyes were blown out so wide that they looked black instead of blue. Chloe nodded but she leaned into his chest instead of moving towards the kitchen area. He was warm and solid and human and shaking just as badly as she was. Lex wrapped his arms around her, clinging to her as tightly as she clung to him.

"What did he just do to us?" Chloe whispered. "It helped but… I said no. You said no. He still made us… What happened to our Clark?"

She couldn't wrap her mind around what had just happened. The difference in her thought processes was perfectly clear, and she could see that whatever had happened was a huge improvement, but the way that Kal had simply forced it on them made her feel like her entire world had been destroyed. The man she'd known would never have done that to anyone, no matter how good it was for them. Chloe whimpered, pressing her forehead against Lex's chest. His shirt felt weird which just underlined how bizarre the whole situation was.

"Come on," Lex said in a decisive tone of voice that was undercut by the way he shook. "I need to sit down before I fall down."

They stumbled together to the kitchen area. Once there, Lex moved their two chairs together so that they could lean into each other. She sat and pulled Lex down next to her. Two mugs of steaming a'chaan sat in front of them, smelling spicy and wonderful despite the fact that it smelled desperately foreign.

It tasted the same as the version they'd had last night, rich and soothing with spicy overtones that nearly exploded in Chloe's mouth. She sipped her mug slowly while leaning into Lex's side. Lex drank his quickly. When he set the mug down on the crystalline table it was with a clack that made Chloe expect broken chips of crystal to go flying. The shock was already fading away like the tide going out, leaving behind what Chloe recognized after a moment of muddled reflection as rage.

"That was rape," Chloe said as she stared at the bottom of her mug.

"No," Lex sighed. "It wasn't rape. That was certainly not right but it wasn't rape, Chloe."

"It was!" Chloe huffed, turning to glare at him. "We said 'no'. We said no in the clearest way possible, fought against him and he still made us do something we didn't want to. That's rape!"

Lex rolled his eyes at her, which made the rage bubbling inside of Chloe surge up. She slammed her mug down on the table and stood up. Her legs and arms were shaking but it wasn't shock now. It was the sheer fury she felt at being treated this way. No matter how strong Clark was he should have explained what he wanted, not just taken their control away and forced it on them.

"What just happened?" Chloe demanded as she whirled to glare at Lex.

"Clark cured our mental instability," Lex said with a raised eyebrow and smirk that did nothing to hide the fact that he was still far too pale.

"How did he do it?" Chloe continued.

"He put us into some sort of… ray, I suppose you could call it," Lex said, waving one hand absently. "Is there a point to this line of questioning?"

"Yes there is," Chloe said. She started pacing alongside the table. "What did we say to his request to do it?"

Lex narrowed his eyes at her as annoyance swept across his face. She knew that she was being a bitch but he needed to understand this. This was important. Kal wasn't Clark. No matter what Kal said, he wasn't the same person as Clark Kent. Clark Kent didn't act this way. He didn't do these things.

"He didn't ask," Lex snapped.

"That's my point!" Chloe snapped back at him. "He never asked. He never explained. He didn't say anything substantive at all. He just grabbed me and shoved me into that light and yes, I understand that it made me better. It helped. I admit that! But he should have at least tried to explain it! I'm not a moron, Lex. I'm not a genius like you but I'm still perfectly capable of understanding explanations when they're provided. And what he did to you is even worse! You explicitly said no, knowing what was going on and he still made you do it."

Lex's jaw worked as if he was gritting his teeth. "Is there a point to this little hissy fit?"

Chloe glared at him, wanting desperately to lash out at someone. He was there and Kal wasn't. He'd gotten Kal and she never had. He was the one standing between her and Kal and she hated him for it for a blinding second. The anger drained away as she realized that this was exactly why Kal had forced her into the treatment instead of rationally explaining it. She wasn't rational so why bother?

"It's my own fault, isn't it?" Chloe groaned.

She leaned against the table for a second but stopped immediately. It was beautiful, constructed of thousands of smaller crystals, but the edge was covered in pointy edges that made leaning impossible. Lex blinked at her with his head cocked to the side. He seemed to be keeping up with her abrupt mood swings fairly easily. Chloe wished that she was.

"What's your fault?" Lex asked. Something like concern shown in his eyes.

"He did this to us because I was so out of control," Chloe explained much more quietly. She sat down again and rubbed her face with both hands. "I was going wild so he shoved me into the beamy-thing and then when you reacted to what happened to me, he did it to you too. This is my fault, not Kal's."

"Chloe, it's not your fault at all," Lex said. He put a gentle hand on her shoulder, prompting her to meet his eyes. "If anything its Clark and Jor-El's fault. I suspect that, no matter what certain AI's who have to be listening might say, Clark was changed somehow by his contact with the AI. I rather wonder if he's fully in control of his actions."

Chloe shook her head no to that. It was nice to think that 'her' Clark was still in there somewhere but the odd behavior went all the way back to shortly after she'd first met Clark. There was no way that the nice boy she'd met when she'd first moved to Smallville would have dreamed of seducing Lex against his will. She still thought that was rape, no matter what Lex said.

"I don't know," Chloe sighed. "There have been odd things that I've noticed for years, Lex. At the time I wrote them off as Clark having a bad day or a meteor incident or whatever, but I think there's more to it. It started before you came to town, honestly. I think Clark might have been hiding his true self all along. Hiding Kal inside a shell that was named Clark Kent."

"Really?" Lex asked.

He looked concerned. Chloe nodded as she leaned back in her chair. Now that she was thinking clearly she could remember several dozen incidents when Clark had acted oddly, said or done things that seemed out of character for him. Anger when there had been no reason for anger, or fear when everyone else was excited or sad. None of it was completely consistent, but if 'Clark' had been nothing but a highly-detailed mask that Kal wore to keep people from looking too closely then it made sense. The strange bits of behavior were either mistakes when Kal was upset or excited or they were glimpses of the real person hiding behind the mask.

"Yeah," Chloe said slowly. "There's always been something different about Clark."

"True," Lex said with a grave nod of agreement. "That was part of what attracted me to him at first."

"Well, I think that what's been happening is that 'Clark' is a mask," Chloe explained. "It's a disguise that Kal puts on when he interacts with everyone else so that they won't look too closely. He has a lot to hide, after all."

"That he does," Lex said. He looked around them at the Fortress and chuckled ruefully.

Chloe snorted and lightly smacked his knee. She'd been thinking of his powers but the Fortress and Kal's alien heritage were certainly things that should be kept hidden as well. Lex didn't look annoyed at the slap. If anything he looked amused.

"So what Clark's said about showing us his real self is true," Lex said as if he were thinking out loud. "He's been hiding from everyone and now we're the ones who get to see the real him."

"You know, I think he's been hiding from everyone," Chloe said. Her stomach flipped. "Even Martha and Jonathan."

"He lied to them about coming to the Fortress," Lex breathed. He sat up straighter, looking far more intense suddenly. "He lied about Lana and us. He lied to his parents, Chloe."

"So he's not listening to their guidance anymore," Chloe agreed. "The only person he's getting advice from is…"

She raised her eyes and looked at the ceiling of the Fortress above them while wrapping her arms around her stomach. Lex looked up as well, then to either side as if expecting someone or something to attack them. It felt like a completely valid concern to Chloe. As far as she could see Jor-El's version of morality was something approximating "Want? Take!" She didn't think that was how Kal really felt about things. She also wasn't completely comfortable with thinking of Jor-El in those terms after the overwhelmingly intimate touch of his mind against hers during the healing, but it did seem to approximate his actions.

"That is not acceptable," Lex murmured.

He got up and started pacing the full length of the kitchen / dining area. Chloe thought that he moved as though he was afraid to sit still, as if the thoughts driving him were so powerful that his body had to try to match them. She'd seen him do this a few times before since his arrival in Smallville but for the first time it didn't seem threatening.

They had a shared problem--Kal--and Lex was trying to solve it.

"It's a nightmare waiting to happen for all that power to be so uncontrolled," Lex said as he gestured widely. "He has physical control over his abilities and nominative control over the Fortress' technology but what control is there over his behavior?"

"Look what he did to us," Chloe agreed.

"Exactly!" Lex said, stabbing a finger at her. "He sees something he wants and he simply takes it. That's a recipe for disaster if it's any indication of how he's going to approach ruling the world. Clark could be the worst dictator in the history of the world."

"Not Clark," Chloe corrected Lex. She grinned at the way he glared at her. "Seriously, it's not Clark. Clark's the mask, the disguise. Kal's the real person."

"I'm not convinced of that," Lex said, waving off her words. "Not yet. You may be right but I haven't seen enough evidence to convince me of it."

Chloe shrugged, willing to agree to disagree on that point. She didn't have enough proof to be comfortable with it but it was her working theory at the moment. Lex paced for a few moments more, absently waving one hand as he counted things off on his fingers.

"Sixteen days," Lex said finally. He stopped and stared into space with a horrified expression.

"What?"

"It would take him about sixteen days for Clark to completely destroy the entire military force of the world," Lex explained without meeting her eyes, "along with the support staff and eliminate all people who dared to oppose him openly. He'd have to kill approximately one quarter of the population of the planet but with his abilities I have no doubt that he could do it."

"Lex?" Chloe said with her heart in her throat.

"Yes?"

"You're really scary sometimes." Chloe shuddered and hugged herself. "You seriously just planned out how Kal could take over the world in less than three minutes?"

Lex snorted a laugh at her as he came and sat back down next to her. He patted her shoulder and for once it didn't seem patronizing. It seemed more like he was trying to comfort and calm her down. Chloe's head spun for a moment as she reassessed all the little gestures she'd seen from Lex in the last couple of days. Maybe she'd been misinterpreting him?

"The only way to block something is to know what's going to happen," Lex explained. "I need to understand what might happen if I'm going to stop it."

"We."

"Hmm?" Lex murmured with a surprised look at her.

"We," Chloe repeated. "You're not doing it alone. We're in this together, obviously, so we have to work together. Besides, I seriously doubt that Kal will listen to either of us if we disagree on something. If we're united in how we feel then maybe he'll actually pay attention."

Lex nodded thoughtfully as if he thought she made sense. Chloe didn't let the sudden feeling of delight that he'd listen to her become anything other than what it was: relief that she wasn't completely alone in this bizarre situation. There was no way that Lex actually cared about her. They were competitors who'd been trapped together, nothing more.

"The question is where to start when we're stuck here," Lex sighed.

"Well, I think understanding what Kal's likely to do is a good place to start," Chloe said thoughtfully. "You've had more… direct interaction with Kal than I have, what with the love affair thing. How'd you get together? How did he act when you two were an item?"

Lex hesitated. His expression went from open and engaged to the cold and distant mask that had always made her distrust him. This time she knew that it was Lex's way to protect himself from being hurt. After a long moment he sighed and looked away from Chloe. A wry smile that wasn't really a smile twisted his lips when he turned back to her.

"He showed up at the mansion, talked to me for a minute, got down on his knees in front of my chair and held me down while he sucked me off," Lex said in a completely flat tone of voice that matched his expression. "That's how we got together."

+++++

"He showed up at the mansion, talked to me for a minute, got down on his knees in front of my chair and held me down while he sucked me off," Lex said flatly. "That's how we got together."

Chloe's expression slid from curious to horrified, complete with her jaw dropping open and her hand flying up to cover her mouth. Lex sighed, annoyed that she had reacted that way. He supposed it made sense that she'd overreact given how baldly he'd stated it but it hadn't been that bad in reality.

"And you still don't think that was rape?" Chloe gasped as she flailed her hands in Lex's general direction.

"No, I thought I was having a dream come true, actually," Lex said. He snorted as her expression shifted to annoyance at him. "I wanted Clark from the moment I met him, Chloe. At first I thought he wasn't interested and even after I realized that he was I wasn't willing to take it farther than flirting until he was of age. Clark simply did what I wanted sooner than I wanted to do it."

"You didn't want it then," Chloe said, enunciating every syllable as her eyes glittered with anger. "You did say no, didn't you?"

Lex laughed through a snort, shaking his head at Chloe. Of course he'd said no, for all of about two seconds. Once Clark's lips had touched his erection all thoughts of no had disappeared into 'yes, yes, yes!' Chloe turned beet red as she read his expression.

"You do realize that I am male, don't you?" Lex asked with a wry grin. "You're expecting miracles of moral fortitude where none exist."

"Obviously," Chloe drawled while squirming in her seat. "Fine, so you gave in as soon as it got hot and heavy but you still didn't want to do it again, right?"

"No, I didn't." Lex shrugged. "Clark and I argued about it a lot. Most of our public arguments during that time tied into the private disagreements about what was appropriate when. It was quite obvious how much he cared about me and I hope that I was equally clear in how much I cared about him. What we disagreed on was how far was appropriate given his age versus my age. If we'd met now instead of when he was fourteen I wouldn't have made even token resistance."

"Did he ever feel bad about it?" Chloe asked. "Not the sex, but making you do it when you were protesting."

Lex thought about it, giving her the honor of a serious answer. Four years of interaction was hard to boil down into a short answer, especially given how things had changed after Lex had made the stupendous error of marrying Helen. Granted, the marriage had ended his sexual relationship with Clark but it had been a mistake in every other way. He sighed, making a face.

"I think… that in the beginning he did," Lex said very slowly. "He seemed to feel like it was the only way he had any chance with me, which was absurd. Once he realized how much I wanted him he became rather shameless. Clark went out of his way to find situations where he could get a 'quickie' with me. After I broke it off when I met Helen he was… hurt. Confused. And angry, I think."

"Why did you marry her?" Chloe asked. "I always wondered about that."

"It was mostly as a way of getting Clark to back off," Lex admitted. "Helen played the loving girlfriend very well but I knew she wasn't as loving as she seemed. It was convenient and I always intended to divorce her in a couple of years."

"After Clark came of age," Chloe said, pointing at Lex in sudden comprehension.

Lex nodded. Honestly, Helen had been lovely when she was playing the game but he suspected that even if she had been in love with him they wouldn't have lasted. Lex knew how difficult he was and with Lionel constantly causing trouble there was little likelihood of the relationship surviving. Despite that, he felt a bit guilty about stringing Helen on unfortunately Clark's senses had been too accurate for him to be honest with her.

"All right," Chloe said while staring at the ceiling far overhead. "So when in private he was shameless. He did a pretty good job acting like normal when in public. Did he listen to you when you offered advice?"

"Yes," Lex said, wondering where Chloe was going with this though he didn't ask.

"He stopped listening to me around the time you married Helen," Chloe said thoughtfully. "Well, not completely but he listened less and less. Jor-El! When did you first contact Kal?"

There was a long pause before Jor-El responded. Lex thought that he was trying to figure out where she was going too. Chloe's expression transformed from thoughtful to annoyed as the seconds dragged.

"It was shortly before the marriage," Jor-El said.

"How did he respond?" Chloe asked.

"Reluctantly in the extreme," Jor-El sniffed. "He was most difficult to deal with at that time. Once he departed to Metropolis he was much more willing to listen to me when I contacted him. I was able to convince him that he could have what he wanted if he listened to me."

"So that's when he stopped listening to Martha and Jonathan," Chloe said, pointing at the ceiling as if that was where Jor-El's consciousness resided.

"Why does it matter when?" Lex asked Chloe. "The particular moment in time when he decided to follow a different path isn't as important as deciding how to handle him now. He isn't listening to his parents or to us. We need to change that somehow. That's what the key is."

"Yeah," Chloe said grudgingly as her cheeks flushed, "but I want to know what happened."

Lex chuckled, grinning at her as she rolled her eyes at him. She waved a hand at him as if to wave his amusement away so that they could get back to the important things. It took a moment to conquer his amusement. He agreed with her that knowing when and how Clark had chosen his path was important, but something needed to be done about Clark's ambitions first.

"Not that funny," Chloe complained. She didn't look too upset by his laughter since her lips were twitching like she was fighting a grin.

"Quite funny from my point of view," Lex said. "It doesn't really matter right now. We can ask Clark when he gets back tonight to explain what happened and why he made the choices he did. The past can't be changed but we can, hopefully, influence the future."

"True," Chloe sighed.

"So," Lex continued, "I think that the key is providing Clark with some moral compass, outside of Jor-El's influence."

The lights flickered slightly as Jor-El made a little static-grumble. Lex started, surprised that Jor-El would be that upset by their desire to send Clark in a different direction. Chloe's eyes went wide and then narrowed as if she was thinking furiously. She cocked her head and stood up. He studied her for a moment and then stood too.

"Jor-El, I want to know two things," Chloe announced. "First, can I contact my father? And second, is there a history or description or something that explains how Kryptonian relationships and marriage laws work?"

"You may use the control console to contact phones in the outer world," Jor-El said in his most formal (and snark-laden) tone of voice. "You will not be allowed to say things that would lead people to this location or which contradict Kal-El's orders but you can speak to anyone you wish."

Chloe brightened so much that she looked like someone had just put a spotlight on her. She grabbed Lex's sleeve, tugging it excitedly. He grinned at her, unable to keep a calm expression in the face of her delight. He was nearly as happy as she was about that. That meant that he would be able to direct his company even if he was trapped here for the foreseeable future.

"The library contains many record crystals which detail the various laws, traditions and historical patterns of Kryptonian marriage," Jor-El continued. "I am able to provide translations of them as well as to instruct you in reading and speaking Kryptonian."

"Not with the flashy light thing, right?" Chloe asked a little suspiciously.

"The instruction can be done both with the training device and more traditionally," Jor-El replied with a very distinct aggrieved sigh.

"I think I'll take the slow way," Chloe said. "No offense intended, Jor-El but I really don't want to subject myself to that thing again. Scared me silly despite how it felt."

"I agree," Lex said. "What first? Phone call or history?"

Chloe bit her lip as she considered it. Lex could see how much she wanted to talk to her father. He couldn't blame her for that, even though he didn't share the urge. If he never saw or spoke to his father again it would be too soon. After a moment, Chloe sighed and nodded.

"I think we'll go with the history first and then the call," Chloe said. "I don't think… I don't think that I'll want to do anything after talking to my dad. He's got to be worried sick and a little pissed off that I went and 'eloped' without telling him."

"Ah, good point," Lex said, nodding agreement.

The followed one of Jor-El's lights to the library and then did as he instructed to call up histories on Kryptonian society. It was enlightening in the extreme. Threesomes were as common as pairs historically, though Clark's parents had been a pair. Jor-El was more than happy to lecture apparently endlessly about the variations through history in the forms and function of marriage among his people, especially the crucial differences between marriage before and after the Eugenics Wars of centuries ago.

Chloe questioned him about everything, making him explain his terminology, logic, and translation word choices. She asked about the law and how children from threesomes were protected. Every little point seemed to be a bone of contention to her. Lex thought it was because she was annoyed about the situation but after listening to Chloe and Jor-El argue for over an hour and a half about whether Kryptonian law could be transferred without alteration to human society he realized that there was more to it.

She was testing Jor-El's responses.

Lex sat forward, their arguments running through his head as he listened to her battle Jor-El about right and wrong. There was a pattern to Jor-El's responses that didn't seem quite correct. Most of the time his responses were perfectly logical and straightforward but every time they came to something that concerned Clark's fate on Earth, Jor-El's logic went severely circular. It was as though he was caught in a logic loop that wouldn't allow him to see clearly. The pattern mimicked Lionel's driving determination to make Lex his 'perfect heir', which made Lex shudder.

"Fine!" Chloe snapped as their argument circled back to its starting point of Kryptonian superiority to humanity. "So you're superior! That doesn't mean that us inferior types are going to accept your rules. We're humans. We do stupid things."

"Kal-El shall find a way to do it," Jor-El said with serene confidence.

"Chloe," Lex said before Chloe could reply with either 'how?' or a scream of frustration. "It is getting kind of late in the day. Don't you think we should call your dad before Clark comes back? I imagine you don't want him here for that conversation."

"Yes, yes, good idea," Chloe said, glaring at the library console as if she'd like to punt it to the other side of the room. "Let's go. That's… enough of history for now."

They followed the light back to the central control console. Lex thought over the patterns of Jor-El's responses, wondering if there was a way they could check for viruses affecting his software. Given the advanced nature of his programming, Lex wasn't sure that he'd be able to understand even the most basic things but maybe with Clark and Chloe's help they could work out what, if anything, was wrong with Jor-El.

Setting up the phone call was easy enough. They called up Chloe's father on the tracking, which made Chloe's breath catch in her chest. Gabe Sullivan was in a hotel room, flipping through channels with an absently bored expression that didn't hide the worry lingering in his eyes. It took Lex a moment to realize why he was there instead of at work. The meteor shower had only been… two days ago? It seemed like decades to Lex but there was no way that anyone would have been allowed back into Smallville yet.

"Call him," Chloe said, her voice shaking. She wrapped herself up in her sweater while staring at the display.

Gabe jumped as his cell phone started ringing. He flung the remote off of the bed, apparently accidentally, and scrambled for his phone. Lex thought that Jor-El must have made sure that Chloe's number came up on the caller ID because Gabe beamed as he answered the phone.

"Dad," Chloe said, swallowing hard.

"Chloe! It's about time you called your poor worried father," Gabe said in a voice that sounded annoyed and worried. He was grinning ear from ear though. "Where are you? What happened? Why didn't you tell me about Lex?"

"Um, we're kind of hiding out at the moment," Chloe said. Tears started creeping down her cheeks. "It's probably not safe to say exactly where we are over cell phones, Dad."

"Oh yeah, good idea," Gabe said with a serious nod. "Everyone's been gossiping like crazy about you two. I talked to Lois and the General and they both said that it made sense of all the fighting you two did over the last couple of years."

Chloe snorted and laughed, shaking her head in dismay. Lex patted her shoulder. He stayed silent. This was her call. She deserved to have it without interruption from him. The only reason he stayed in earshot was that the controls wouldn't work without both of them present.

"It was kind of a sudden thing," Chloe explained. "Heat of the moment, you know?"

"Are you safe?" Gabe asked. He frowned at how she'd replied.

"Yes, I'm safe, Dad," Chloe groaned. She rolled her eyes even though Gabe couldn't see it. "Come on. Lex hasn't hurt me. He's the one who protected us during the whole trial thing. I meant that it was just sort of sudden that we, you know, ended up married and all."

"But are you happy?" Gabe asked with an even deeper frown.

Chloe's mouth opened but nothing came out. She hesitated, working to get something through the emotions that appeared to be blocking her words. Lex pulled her into a hug, hoping that it would help her calm down a little bit. Chloe shuddered and clung to him.

"Chloe?" Gabe asked. "You there?"

"Sorry Dad," Chloe said from the safety of Lex's arms. "Yeah, I'm here. And… yeah, I'm happy. Happier than I've been since Mom left, actually."

Gabe's expression softened. His shoulders relaxed as he sat back on the bed with a tender smile on his lips. Chloe bit her lip as she watched her father's response. She leaned into Lex as if he was the only thing holding her up. Given the way she was shaking, Lex thought that he might be holding her up.

"I'm so glad to hear that, baby," Gabe said. "That's all that really matters to me. You could have married anyone in the world as long as they made you happy. If Lex makes you happy, then you have my approval. But you better come home after the gossip dies down and let me see both of you. I have to hug my little girl and congratulate my new son."

Chloe laughed and sobbed at the same time, nodding at her father's image. "Sounds good Dad. Um, I better go. Lots to do, you know."

"Sure thing," Gabe said. "Feel free to call me anytime, Chloe. The military says that we might be allowed back into our homes tomorrow or the next day but the General told me to expect it to take all week at best. Love you."

"Love you too, Dad," Chloe said. "Bye!"

Gabe smiled that tender, loving smile before saying "Bye, Mrs. Luthor!"

"Dad!" Chloe squawked.

Gabe laughed and hung up his phone, chuckling. He looked at the TV with a huge grin. Lex doubted that he even saw the picture from the expression on his face. Chloe swallowed another sob and then waved at the control console.

"Shut it off, Jor-El," Lex said for her.

"I am," Chloe cried as she buried her face in Lex's chest. "I am happier than I've been in years but I'm not happy too. I feel better, so much better than before, but I don't want to be stuck here. I don't want to be married to you. I want to go home and for everything to go back to normal. But I want Kal, too."

Lex held her as she cried, gently kissing the top of her head. He didn't offer any words of comfort. There weren't any that he could offer that wouldn't fall flat. They were trapped in the Fortress until they could manage to convince Clark to let them go. Chloe didn't seem the type to want false words of comfort. He did the only thing he could do: hold her until the tears stopped.

+++++

"You okay?" Lex asked eventually.

"Yeah," Chloe sniffled. She sighed and wiped her cheeks, trying not to feel like a little girl who'd just had a tantrum. "Sorry."

"Don't be," Lex reassured her. His expression held a strange mixture of compassion and wistfulness that reminded Chloe of just how bad his relationship with his father was. "I think you had every reason for being upset. Ready to do something else?"

"Very ready," Chloe said, waving a hand at her face while smiling ruefully. "Well, after I wash my face of course. I have to look horrible."

Lex chuckled and smiled at her. It wasn't the smile she was used to seeing from him, the one that held calculation and manipulation. This smile was open and kind, so gentle that Chloe's heart did a little flip. She'd never seen Lex look at anyone other than Clark this way and never openly.

"You look fine," Lex said. "Your eyes and cheeks are little red but that's it."

"Yeah right," Chloe tried to snort but her nose was stuffed up so she ended up just sniffling again.

She managed to find her way back to the bedroom without Jor-El's help. Lex headed off to the library, saying something about wanting to do a little research of his own. Chloe washed her face and then stared into the mirror at herself. Her eyes were red from crying but there was little sign of her upset earlier.

"This is still wrong," Chloe murmured to her reflection. "He shouldn't be keeping us here. He shouldn't have made choices like that for us."

"Kal-El is doing what is necessary to achieve his goals," Jor-El said in his prissiest tone of voice.

"Not talking to you," Chloe sing-songed at him.

"There is no one else present," Jor-El replied. She could hear the confusion in his voice.

"Yeah, so? Don't superior Kryptonians talk to themselves from time to time?" Chloe asked. "And don't say that's illogical. You're not Vulcan."

"…I am not certain what an ancient Roman god has to do with logic or talking to oneself," Jor-El said after a very long pause.

Chloe burst out laughing. She could hear the confusion in Jor-El's voice. It reassured her that he wasn't the logical machine of global domination that he had seemed to be during her research in the library. There was a person inside of the machine, even if he did have some iron-clad prejudices that needed adjustment.

"You need to watch Star Trek," Chloe quipped.

There was another long pause before Jor-El replied. "I see. Despite some superficial resemblances between Kryptonian and Vulcan cultural appreciation for logic and order, I am not and never was Spock."

"That's good to know," Chloe said while heading back towards the library. She got lost and ended up in the kitchen instead, but she looked around and realized that she thought she knew the way from there. "I'd rather have someone I can actually talk to than a computer-for-a-brain like the Vulcans. Though I was comparing you to Sarek, not Spock. Spock's half human and he does have emotions."

"I am unsure why you are comparing me to any fictional character," Jor-El huffed at her. A little blast of air brushed over her as if the Fortress made a physical puff of air for him. "I am real, not a figment of a writer's imagination."

"Without a body you seem like a figment to me," Chloe said as she explored the Fortress. "A loud, argumentative, judgmental, prejudiced against humans figment, but a figment none the less. Drat, this is the Zoo, isn't it?"

"Perhaps you would like directions?" Jor-El asked so archly that Chloe glared at the spot on the wall that seemed to be where his voice was coming from. "Or perhaps not."

She grumbled something obscene and highly uncomplimentary at Jor-El while stomping off in her search for the Library. She found the gym, then a series of rooms that seemed to be art galleries from the colorful designs on the walls, floor and ceiling, and the tasteful music, and then, by dint of listening really hard for the sound of Lex's voice, she located the Library. Lex was at the library controls, saying something quietly to Jor-El. He had removed his jacket and rolled up his sleeves. It made him look less the consummate businessman and far more like a curious investigator.

"Huh, must be nice to be able to have two conversations at once," Chloe commented.

"We were not conversing," Jor-El said. "You were ignoring me while getting lost."

"I was not lost!" Chloe protested loudly enough to make Lex turn and look at her.

"Had some trouble finding your way back?" Lex asked with a little grin that made him look her age instead of grown up.

"Maybe a little bit," Chloe replied while rolling her eyes. "But I wasn't lost. I was exploring. There's a difference."

"I'm sure there is," Lex chuckled. He looked back at the display. The grin faded into an intense frown. "I might have found something here. Jor-El's been telling me about how Krypton died and who his major enemies were. Apparently it all goes back to a man called General Zod. What I find quite fascinating is that Zod preached that because Kryptonians were superior to all other races the Kryptonian race should take over other worlds and rule them as dictators. Interestingly enough, Jor-El fought against him. His twin brother Zor-El supported Zod. Both Jor-El and Zor-El were scientists involved in the creation of Clark's spaceship. Jor-El's personality download was loaded into the spaceship."

Chloe sucked a started breath between her teeth as she hurried over to check out what Lex had found. Lex had somehow figured out a way to create a table for his findings. One side showed the various beliefs that they'd heard so far about Kryptonian society. Next to it were two columns, one for Jor-El and one for Zod. Every place where she'd hit Jor-El's prejudices and circular logic there was a matching tick mark for Zod. Pretty much everywhere else there was no correspondence.

"Virus?" Chloe asked Lex.

"Maybe," Lex said. He made another column appear with Zor-El's name on it. His tick marks almost completely matched Zod's. "Or possibly sabotage."

"I have not been compromised by external agents," Jor-El said. It was an offended snarl.

"Perhaps not," Lex said in a very conciliatory tone of voice, "but given how much we both care for Clark it's appropriate for us to be sure. You'd do the same, wouldn't you?"

Jor-El was silent for a long moment. Chloe looked at the display, then at Lex. Lex was waiting with an intense expression, as if this was a vital question to be answered. It might be. Chloe didn't know what they'd talked about before she showed up. It could be the culmination of a long series of questions, though knowing Lex it could just be something he was curious about.

"I have done precisely that," Jor-El admitted in a much more subdued tone of voice. "My apologies. I was not aware that was where your questions were leading you."

"Quite all right," Lex said breezily though his smile was more predatory than relaxed. "We're all protective of him. We just have to find ways to work together to make sure he doesn't get himself into trouble yet again."

There was a whoosh from the doorway. Chloe turned and then beamed to see Kal standing at the door grinning at them. Lex turned a bit more slowly but he lit up to see Kal's smile as well. Kal came over and pulled them into a group hug that Chloe was surprised to find she didn't want to resist. Lex wasn't as much of an enemy after today's crying jag. Besides, his shuddery little moan mirrored her happy sigh.

"You're warm," Chloe said into Kal's flannel-clad chest. He felt like a furnace.

"I've been flying," Kal laughed. "It seems to warm me up when I go flying. I'm glad to see you two working together today instead of fighting. I was afraid I'd have bloodshed by the time I made it back tonight."

"It's already evening?" Chloe asked, looking at both of them in surprise.

"You did spend several hours arguing with Jor-El and then several more… exploring," Lex said with a wicked little grin that was teasing instead of challenging.

She blew a raspberry at him and rolled her eyes. Kal let them go but Chloe stayed in the crook of his arm. He was very warm. Despite her sweater and the reasonable ambient temperature of the Fortress she felt cold here. Lex stepped away but only one step. A huge grin had split Kal's face as he looked at the two of them. It faded as soon as he spotted Lex's research.

"Are you sure that's accurate?" Kal asked. He let go of Chloe to step to the side of the console.

"It's based purely on our observations and what Jor-El could provide us," Lex said completely calmly. Chloe could see a hint of worry in his eyes though. "We could have observer error in it but I think it's fairly accurate given the data I started with."

"Huh," Kal grunted.

He didn't say anything else. All he did was stare at the table while running one thumb over the edge of the console in a worried gesture that Chloe didn't think he was aware of. Lex stepped to his side to set a hand on his shoulder. Kal started and his cheeks went red as he shrugged sheepishly. It was a purely Clark-ish gesture that made Chloe's heart clench. She missed that side of him.

"We had a few questions for you," Lex said. "Got time to answer them?"

"I've got all the time in the world for you two," Kal said, reverting back to pure Kal. His grin was a mix of delight and innuendo that made Chloe blush brightly.

"How about something to eat while we talk?" Chloe suggested. "We never did have lunch and breakfast was sort of aborted this morning."

"Absolutely," Kal said. "Come on. Let's get some food and then we can talk all you want."

Jor-El's version of human food was really an excellent copy of Martha's cooking, so Chloe didn't go hungry once they had it. She did discover that she could request literally any food that she wanted, prepared as closely as possible to anywhere that Jor-El could scan. She got pretzels and mustard to nibble on while they talked, making a disgusted noise when Kal used neon blue jam that had to be Kryptonian and Lex used cheese spread from a can.

"That is disgusting," Chloe groaned at Lex's enjoyment of the cheese spread.

"It's precise," Lex said with a smirk at her expression. "And my father gets exactly the same expression when I eat pretzels this way. Adds to the pleasure."

"Mustard's better?" Kal asked while looking at her pretzel as if it was contaminated.

"It's traditional," Chloe said, emphasizing the word. "And tasty. So, now that we've had dinner and have snacks to nibble can we ask you questions?"

"Ask away," Kal said, nodding while licking blue jam off of his lips.

Chloe exchanged a look with Lex, asking wordlessly if he wanted to starte. He made a gracious little gesture with his cheese-draped pretzel for her to go ahead. She snorted and made a little bow at him as if to say thanks. Kal watched both of them with laughter in his eyes.

"Okay, first off," Chloe said, "when did you first figure out about being Kryptonian? When did you start thinking of yourself as Kal instead of Clark?"

"Good one," Lex murmured while Kal chewed and swallowed.

"I didn't know I was alien until after Lex hit me with his car," Kal said. He laughed at Lex's triumphant thump on the table. "Yes, I know. I lied but I literally had no idea what had happened at the time. Mom and Dad never told me how they found me, not until I shoved my hand into the wood chipper after the accident and came out all right. So anyway, I didn't learn the name of my people until shortly before you married Helen, Lex. And I didn't think of myself as Kal until I was in Metropolis. That side of my personality was always there but I tried to keep it suppressed because Mom and Dad always got scared and upset when I acted that way."

Chloe frowned. That he'd had to hide part of himself from his parents wasn't something that she'd expected. She had always thought of Martha and Jonathan as the perfect parents, supporting and loving, but apparently she'd been wrong. Lex bit into his pretzel as if he was thinking equally dark thoughts about the Kents.

"While I was there I wore a red kryptonite ring," Kal explained. "It… set that side of me free and made me a lot more wild. I'd already had that side of me come out with Lex but it let me start overcoming my shyness. I didn't wear it that much at first but towards the end of the summer I was wearing it constantly. All through that time Jor-El was contacting me, explaining things to me."

"Such as?" Lex asked as he wiped his fingers clean on a spun-silver napkin.

"Where I came from, what my people were like," Kal said. "What my destiny was supposed to be and how I could accomplish it. I argued with him a lot about that. I never really wanted to change the world, you know. It's going to be a huge amount of work and I'd much rather not do it."

"So why are you doing it?" Chloe asked. She finished the last bite of her pretzel and wiped her fingers clean too.

"The two of you," Kal laughed. "I told you, I'm changing the world for the two of you. I was always interested in you, Chloe, but you ran away every time I expressed any interest, especially once we got to high school. Plus you kept pushing me at Lana. And I was interested in Lex from the moment we met, too."

He finished his pretzel and started cleaning up the mess from dinner. Chloe and Lex helped, though there really wasn't much to do. The Fortress had disposal spots where all you had to do was tuck the plate or cup inside and it was disintegrated to its component parts, thus making the atoms available for reuse in another form later.

"But both of you were skittish and shy," Kal continued while cleaning, "So I was careful about what I said and did with you guys. Then um, well, lust kind of got the better of me with Lex and we became lovers despite his protests. I never did see the point of waiting when I'm not sure how old I really am, even in terms of Earth's records. My age on my birth certificate is listed as "approximately two to four years of age". Everyone goes with the younger age but I could be two years older, legally. Which means that when we first met I could have been sixteen instead of fourteen. No one knows, not even Jor-El. The stasis unit in my spaceship produced limited aging that wasn't really predictable."

"It would have helped if you'd said that at the time," Lex snorted.

"Doubt that," Kal said while rolling his eyes. "You and everyone else are stuck on the younger age. Physically I've always been too big for that age. I think I'm actually closer to the older end. Of course, Kryptonian maturation doesn't work the same as human maturation, so I was actually fully sexually mature when I was about fifteen. Either way, I knew what I wanted. I just couldn't see a way to get the two of you to accept me."

"Until I explained our people's traditions regarding triad marriages," Jor-El interrupted. "His desires for the two of you were perfectly normal and natural."

Chloe bristled at Jor-El's interruption. After arguing with him on the triad marriage 'superiority' issue for hours today she was a little oversensitive on the subject. Kal, on the other hand, just nodded calmly. He headed towards the gym with Chloe and Lex following behind him. Chloe skipped ahead and caught his hand, squeezing it. Kal beamed at her and squeezed back so gently that it almost wasn't a squeeze.

"I am absolutely not holding your elbow as we walk," Lex drawled.

"I could just wrap an arm around you," Kal suggested with a big grin at him.

"That would be more acceptable," Lex said. He chuckled when Kal did precisely that. "So Metropolis was when you started thinking about it."

"No, Metropolis was when I developed my plan," Kal said. He made a face after a second and sighed. "Well, it was when I made my plan to try and get Chloe. I thought you were dead for most of that summer. I think that's part of why I was so willing to do illegal things. One of my triad was gone and it hurt."

He looked so sad and hurt that it surprised Chloe. When she'd seen him that summer he'd been harsh and dangerous, like he'd been high. She thought that perhaps he actually had been high. It was something that she'd have to check on later. Lex looked equally sad, his eyes distant as if he was seeing the island he'd been trapped on for those months.

"Anyway," Kal said as they entered the gym and headed straight for the hot tub, "I made my plans to take over the world that summer. They weren't the greatest plans since I was kind of high on red kryptonite, but the basic plan is pretty sound. I keep working on it from time to time, adding and changing things. Until I get done with college it's fluid. I need time to establish a few things before I can really get to work on it."

Kal kicked off his shoes and started stripping. Chloe blushed so hard that she thought her face was going to explode. Lex licked his lips. His eyes were locked on every bit of golden skin that got exposed as Kal stripped off layers of fabric. The grin that spread across Kal's face as he dropped the red boxers could only be described as wicked.

"I'm soaking in the hot tub," Kal announced as he slid into it. "You two can stay out of it and be cold or you can join me."

"You cheat," Chloe complained as she started stripping off her clothes. "I suppose that Kryptonians never wore swimsuits in hot tubs?"

"Nope," Kal said utterly solemnly despite the way his eyes glittered with amusement.

"It better not be scalding," Lex sighed as he started stripping too.

"It has been set for optimal human comfort," Jor-El said. "I would not allow my son's consorts to be scalded while enjoying his companionship."

"Thank you," Chloe said.

Taking off her panties and underwear was probably the hardest thing she'd ever done. Stripping in front of two men who she not only respected but also wanted (in Kal's case) wasn't something that felt causal. It felt loaded, as though by removing those last two barriers she was opening herself up to a whole new world. Given the way that Kal had behaved with Lex, she might be.

"This isn't saying yes to anything other than warm water," Chloe warned Kal as her fingers lingered on the clasp of her bra. "You try touching and I'm going to have another screaming hissy from sheer fury, got it?"

"I got it," Kal said.

She wasn't completely sure that he did have it because his eyes were locked on her breasts. Chloe sighed and looked at Lex who had just finished stripping and his eyes were locked there too. Just because of that she let her eyes slide down to Lex's groin, starting when she saw that there was no hair there. Lex shrugged, rubbed a hand over his hair in a wordless explanation and slid into the hot tub.

"No fair going first!" Chloe squawked. "Now you're both going to stare at my tits!"

"They're very nice breasts," Lex said in the most diplomatically polite tone of voice she'd ever heard out of anyone with lock-on.

"Yeah," Kal sighed happily. He grinned at her huff.

"You could at least distract him," Chloe grumbled while undoing her bra.

"I think he's sufficiently distracted already," Lex chuckled. "Do carry on. You've seen me. Turn about is fair play."

Chloe grumbled but she dropped the bra and slid out of her panties as quickly as she could so that she could get into the water and hide under the bubbles. The water was hotter than she expected so she couldn't slide straight in but she quickly settled up to her chin in foaming water and sighed happily. Both Kal and Lex seemed disappointed when she wasn't on display anymore.

"So you were working on your plans our junior year, right?" Chloe asked to get their minds back out of the gutter she was sure they'd descended into.

"Yes," Kal said, nodding. "I kept making mistakes though and at the end of the year Jor-El and I agreed that I needed to get proper training for my powers. The whole trial thing was going on for Lionel and you were going into witness protection. Then Lana left and I had a huge fight with Lex. It kind of felt like the end of the world so I agreed to be digitized so that I could be trained fully."

"That's how you disappeared so completely!" Lex said. He snapped his fingers and sprayed water over them all.

"Exactly," Kal agreed. "It was the best way of making sure that I was safe while I trained. I just didn't expect Dad to try and stop me and then get caught in the energy wash. That was a bit of a mess."

He shook his head sadly with obvious regret on his face. Chloe bit her lip and then started as someone's foot brushed over her feet. Neither of the guys looked guilty so she ignored the contact, tucking her feet under her instead.

"And when you came out you had amnesia, right?" Chloe asked.

"No, I never had amnesia at all," Kal said with a snort that was anything but Clark-ish. "I pretended to. It was the first step in ruling the world and getting the two of you as mine."

+++++

"From everything I found you behaved as if you remembered nothing," Lex said with a frown at Clark. "Lois was quite certain about that."

"I was pretending." Clark rolled his eyes at them. "Jor-El helped me. We'd set up a method for him to communicate directly with me. I needed to locate the Elements of Power, you see. They're what allowed me to build the Fortress."

"But Lana and Genevieve were looking for them too," Lex said, staring at Clark. "As were I and Lionel. I didn't realize that you were the one that took them."

"I stole the first one from you when you were flying back from Egypt," Clark admitted with a bashful wince that was very much like his normal self. "I intended to get all of them that day but when I exited the cave Mom was waiting with black kryptonite."

Lex winced, far too familiar with the effects that that variety of kryptonite. His brief stint as twins had taught him exactly what it was capable of. Chloe looked equally horrified. Given that she'd helped Clark figure out what had happened and then fix it, her reaction made sense. Clark sighed, settling a little deeper into the water. His foot brushed against Lex's calf in a move that Lex knew was anything but casual.

"Did it split you in half?" Chloe asked, shuddering despite the hot water surrounding them all.

"No," Clark sighed. "It came close. I think it was a good thing, honestly. Before that my Clark side and my Kal side were sort of at war. The whole 'fight' helped me make my peace with both of my personalities."

"You make it sound like Kal and Clark were two separate people," Lex commented.

"Not quite," Clark said. "Close to it, but not quite. I think that everyone has different sides to their personalities. At least, that's what it's always seemed like to me, but for me my Clark side always feared my Kal side. My Kal side always resented my Clark side. You have to admit that 'Clark' has always been too shy, too much of a goody-two-shoes and well, really uptight. But then again, my Kal side tends to be far too wild, very self-centered and really only cares about partying."

Clark sighed and settled into the water all the way up to his chin. His foot drifted up to rub against Lex's thigh in a gesture that Lex remembered from their short-lived relationship. Lex glared at him and moved Clark's foot away. Chloe growled at them both, apparently realizing that Clark was up to something. She lifted her chin and glared when Clark tried the puppy eyes on her.

"Don't start anything, buster," Chloe snapped at him. "I'm not ready for anything sexual, no matter how horny you get."

"Chloe," Clark whined. It was that particularly heart-broken whine that always made Lex's heart weaken.

"No!" Chloe snarled.

She seemed to be made of sterner stuff than Lex. Lex thought he'd just about let Clark do what he wanted when he looked at them that way. Chloe turned and glared at Lex too, fire in her eyes that made him want to quail. He didn't.

"Stop thinking with your little head," Chloe ordered. "We are not giving in to his, his, his sexual whiles, not yet! I want answers and I'm gonna get them!"

"I have sexual whiles?" Clark asked. A delighted grin bloomed on his face. Lex burst out laughing, unable to resist that grin. "Cool!"

Chloe groaned at Clark's response, apparently realizing instantly that she'd said the exact wrong thing. Lex just chuckled as Clark bounced a little in the water while grinning at her. She shook her head at him making a 'get on with it' gesture. Clark nodded, still grinning.

"So what happened with the black kryptonite?" Lex asked.

"I almost split in half," Clark said, "and the two halves kind of fought against each other. Mom was urging Clark on and Jor-El was urging Kal on. I…we? Not sure how to phrase this. Well, what happened is that I sort of made my peace with both sides of my personality. Clark is just as valid as Kal, though with you two I do prefer the name Kal. It sort of allowed me to fuse the two halves into a much more unified whole."

"Why do you prefer that name if you're whole?" Chloe asked. She looked as confused by it as Lex felt.

"Because I can't be Kal with anyone but the two of you," Clark admitted in a little voice that made Lex's heart lurch for him. "There's Jor-El but he's not physical, not like you guys. I can't be that side of myself with anyone else and, well, it is a part of me. It'd be really nice to be fully accepted."

The puppy eyes this time went straight to Lex's cock. No matter what Chloe wanted, he knew himself well enough to know that there was no way to resist Clark when he looked that sad, lonely and wanting. Lex looked over at Chloe, breathing a tiny laugh that she looked as heart-struck by Clark's words as he was.

"See?" Chloe spluttered to Lex while blushing brightly. "Sexual whiles."

"Very effective ones," Lex agreed. "Do you really think you're going to resist forever?"

"Not forever," Chloe said while crossing her arms over her chest under the water. The movement was just barely visible beneath the bubbles. "I'm not stupid. But I do want my answers. How the heck are you going to rule the world, Kal? Humans are terrible at taking direction, especially from outsiders."

Clark nodded agreement with her words, though he looked far more interested in her bust than talking. Lex couldn't blame him for that. Chloe did have a very nice figure. Lex eased up out of the water. He didn't want to get overheated and the tub was quite hot. That move got both Chloe and Clark's eyes locked on his groin but Lex didn't let himself react to it.

"Um," Clark said, blinking away his lock-on with Lex's groin, "I'm still working out the details of how I'll accomplish it but my plan is basically to leave the general structure of the world's governments intact. Humanity doesn't realize it yet but there is a galactic community of intelligent beings out there. We need to reach certain minimum levels to become part of it. What I want to do is set those minimum standards and then ensure that they're followed. Basically, I'll keep the peace and help out when people need it. The plan's still a work in progress, of course. There's a lot of stuff I haven't decided yet."

Lex nodded slowly, grateful that it wasn't set in stone. They could direct Clark away from more harmful choices if they were determined and lucky. Chloe nodded as well. From the blush on her cheeks she was doing her best not to stare at him. It was hard not to smirk. Clark was well endowed, but then so was Lex. It had been one of the things that Clark had always enjoyed about their liaisons before Lex married Helen and ruined his life.

"Okay," Chloe said while staring off into the distance quite pointedly. Lex didn't budge from his spot on the edge of the tub. He didn't want to get overheated and pass out. Given the way she was sweating he thought she might if she wasn't careful when she stood up. "That still doesn't explain why us. Why pick the two of us as your mates, Kal? I don't understand that."

"Because I love you both," Clark said very gently. "I wasn't able to show it before because I was hiding who I was and what I was. I didn't really know what I was for a long time. But you two both match with me perfectly. You're smart, inquisitive, determined, driven. You're both gorgeous. And frankly? You're both meteor affected."

He held up his hands, looking at them as if they were weapons of mass destruction. Lex frowned at Clark's expression, disturbed at the way he turned his hands over and over. Chloe cocked her head and then sighed, scooting up out of the water enough that she could cool off a bit without exposing herself entirely.

"I'm too strong, Chlo," Clark said without staring at her or Lex. "You don't know how strong I am. I don't know. I've yet to find an upper limit to my strength. Most of the time I focus really hard on being careful with the people around me. You've commented on how gentle I am. It's because I have to be. I'm invulnerable and way too powerful. I can't hit too hard or grab anything with too much strength. I'll squish people, kill them."

He looked into her eyes, deadly serious. "You two are different. You're healers. Lex heals himself automatically and I can use a little more strength with him. I don't have to hold back so much that I can't enjoy myself. You're a healer too, not just for yourself but for others as well. I can touch you. I can kiss you. I don't have to worry as much about breaking you. You're the only two people in the world that I know of that I can do that with."

"So it's practicality," Chloe said as if that reassured her.

"No, not really," Clark laughed a bit sheepishly. "I would have loved you and wanted you as my spouses even if I couldn't touch you. It's you that I love. I'm just glad that I can express that physically. I'd have stayed by your side forever even without sex, just to be able to have the two of you in my life."

Those were apparently the magic words when it came to Chloe's heart, not that they were any less magical for Lex. She made a sound that was a weird mixture of a whimper and a deep, heart-felt groan before flowing across the hot tub to settle into Clark's rather startled lap. He grinned and then kissed her far more tenderly than Lex would have expected given the situation. Naked hot tubbing demanded a bit more force in his opinion but Chloe didn't seem to be objecting to the gentleness.

After a moment Clark stood with Chloe in his arms to set her reverently on the edge of the tub. She spread her legs and let him press close. That put his back to Lex, which was far too much of a temptation for Lex to resist. He slipped back into the hot tub and pressed up against Clark's back. This time Clark was the one to groan. He slid to his knees so that he could nuzzle his way down Chloe's body to her crotch. That pressed his ass quite firmly against Lex's cock in an invitation that was unmistakable.

"Oh wow," Chloe moaned. "Don't stop!"

She seemed to be talking more about Lex's fingers sliding slowly into Clark's ass more than what Clark was doing to her. Lex smirked and did as ordered. One of the things he'd discovered early on when he started having sex with Clark was that Clark didn't need lubrication. While a human male couldn't produce lubrication sufficient for anal sex, Clark most certainly did, especially when he was aroused.

"Good?" Lex asked as he slipped a second finger into Clark's ass.

"Mm-hmm!" Clark whimpered around Chloe's clit.

She bucked and gasped while clutching Clark's hair. The movement seemed to encourage Clark to be bolder. He spread her legs a little more and then moved lower, licking Chloe while groaning appreciatively. Chloe collapsed back against the floor. Her pants echoed through the gym along with Clark's groans.

"You two are going to be the death of me," Lex moaned. Lex positioned himself to take Clark but he hesitated before doing it. The last thing he wanted to do was upset Chloe, especially after all the upset she'd had today.

Chloe met his eyes for a long moment. Doubt mingled with lust before she nodded once. Lex shut his eyes to keep from coming right then. Her little gasp and buck against Clark's face sent Clark back against Lex's cock, breaking Lex's control into a million pieces. He pressed into Clark without asking Jor-El to make a condom. The thought of worrying about something like STDs while fucking in the middle of an alien fortress that had the capacity to fundamentally rewrite known physics seemed absurd. If any of them had been infected it would have been cured when Jor-El adjusted their minds.

"Yes!" Clark gasped, shuddering. He returned to his efforts to make Chloe come.

"Fuck Clark," Lex groaned.

"Do please!" Chloe moaned. "It's… He's… oh my god! Yes!"

She bucked again, responding to how turned on both of them were. Lex did his best to fuck Clark thoroughly but it had been far too long since their last time and seeing Chloe gasp and moan, clutching at Clark's hair as she came hard, was far too much for his self-control. By the time Chloe's cries were echoing through the Fortress, Lex was pounding into Clark and coming harder than he'd come in literally years.

"Oh God," Lex moaned. He nearly collapsed on top of Clark as the world faded around the edges. Chloe's shout as she came one more time sounded like it was coming through a seashell.

"Up," Clark said.

He pulled Lex out of the hot tub and set him next to Chloe. Chloe moaned. She snuggled into Lex's side, panting into his ear. Lex concentrated on breathing until he no longer felt lightheaded. Clark was sitting next to them, smiling so tenderly that it made Lex blush. He had a couple of towels that were as pastel-pale as the rest of the Fortress. They looked large enough to double as helicopter landing fields.

"Towels?" Lex commented. "Could have dried us off."

"Yeah," Clark said with a little shrug and grin. "I was enjoying watching the snuggling."

"Not snuggling," Chloe said sleepily from the nook of Lex's neck. "Sleeping."

"Let's get dried off and sleep somewhere warmer," Lex laughed.

"Mmm…" Chloe sighed.

She pulled back reluctantly. Her face was still rosy. Lex's cock made a valiant effort to respond to the incredibly sexy 'just fucked' look that graced her face. It suited Chloe very well. Clark chuckled and wrapped Chloe up in a towel. By the time they made it back to the bedroom, Lex had his inappropriate response to Chloe under control so it was easier to slide into bed with her and Clark. Clark ended up in the middle again of course. He looked very happy about it.

"Is this how it's always going to be?" Lex asked idly while running his fingers over Clark's stomach.

"Probably," Clark laughed. "I like being in the middle. Of course if you two ever decide to play with each other that'll be great too. I think that would be really hot."

"Dreamer," Chloe murmured. "I'm too tired to get my pajamas."

"Good!" Clark said.

He grinned at Chloe's amused snort. Clark chuckled, kissing Chloe tenderly. Lex shivered when Clark turned to kiss him as well. He didn't think that they'd ever shared a kiss like this. Before, Clark had always been urgent and needy. For the first time ever the kiss was unhurried, gentle and loving. It seemed like having Chloe there had made a huge difference for Clark.

"Good night," Lex murmured.

"Good night, Lex," Clark said.

"Hush," Chloe said. She smiled against Clark's neck. "Sleeping."

Lex and Clark shared amused looks. Jor-El automatically dimmed the lights around them, allowing the aurora's light to illuminate their bedroom like an overgrown nightlight. Lex pulled the blankets up over Chloe's shoulders and settled down next to Clark.

"Good night, Chloe," Lex said. Neither Chloe nor Clark responded, though Chloe's quiet chuckle seemed answer enough.

+++++

When Chloe woke in the morning it was earlier than normal. The sky reflected through the crystals over their heads was still lightening towards dawn, which made Chloe realize that it must actually be the middle of the night. She sighed, looking at Kal and Lex.

Kal looked like Clark while he slept, sweet, innocent and a little shy. The Kal side of his personality showed in the firm grip he had around their waists and the little smile on this lips. Chloe wondered if what he'd said about merging his personalities was true. It made a certain amount of sense but she couldn't help but fret about the possibility that he actually had been altered by Jor-El. Of course, it felt like a pointless worry because she'd been altered for what seemed to be the better. Objecting to one while accepting the other seemed entirely too hypocritical to her, even though she missed her shy farm boy.

Lex was the real surprise as far as Chloe was concerned. She'd spent the last several years convinced that Lex was Up To No Good, in a very big way. Certainly, he had tried to get out from under his father's thumb and yes, he'd tried to do the right thing, but it had always been done in what she considered to be the wrong way. For all that Lex was a genius, his social skills had seemed to be severely lacking.

Until they got to the Fortress.

Chloe bit her lip as she reconsidered her memories of Lex. It wasn't hard for her to see times where she had judged Lex harshly for little or no reason. She'd frequently gone out of her way to be suspicious of him for what now looked like no cause. How successful could anyone be at reforming their character when everyone doubted you? Despite her faith in her ability to overcome whatever life threw at her, Chloe knew that she'd have caved under a fraction of the weight that Lex had been carrying. That he'd gone a little crazy at the end wasn't much of a surprise.

And despite the way she'd doubted him, despite the way everyone had lied to him, despite the adversity, Lex had still protected her from the cold, and made sure that she was comforted when she felt like she was about to fly apart. He'd tried to stop Kal from altering her. When she'd cried after talking to her dad, Lex had held her so very tenderly. A thousand little gestures over the years took on completely different meaning as she studied Lex's face.

'You're not such a bad guy after all, are you?' Chloe thought as she studied his sleeping face.

Lex asleep looked much like Lex awake, but in his case the worry and fear showed much more clearly when he slept. Movement fluttered Lex's eyelids as he dreamed something that made his breath catch. She could see his pulse pick up in the vein on the side of his head. Chloe carefully reached over and put her hand on Lex's cheek.

"Shh," Chloe whispered. "It's okay. You're safe."

Kal mumbled something in his sleep, squeezing both of them gently. Between Chloe's touch and Kal's hug, Lex sighed and relaxed as his dream shifted into something else. Chloe left her hand on Lex's cheek. She drifted back to sleep eventually to dream of the meteor shower and Lex's arms around her like a shield while Clark stood between them and the meteors. It was definitely Clark, not Kal, because Kal was behind them, guarding them against what looked like an army of Lionel's and Lana's approaching on them with arms out like zombies. In her dream, Chloe wasn't afraid. There was no reason to be afraid when she had Lex, Kal and Clark protecting her.

"Morning," Kal murmured against Chloe's hair.

"Mmm?" Chloe mumbled. She moaned, fighting to retain the scraps of her dream as it slipped away like grains of sand falling through her fingers. By the time she opened her eyes all she remembered was feeling safe with someone's arms around her. "It's morning?"

"Yup," Kal said. "Lex is up and showering already. You looked so comfortable that we decided to let you sleep a little longer."

"Mmmm," Chloe sighed. "It is a comfy bed. Thanks."

She shifted position and then blushed as she realized that they were both naked. Kal laughed quietly, hugging her. The expression in his eyes was amused when she met them. Nothing about waking up naked after her first threesome was what she would have expected. Remembering that made her blush twice as hard.

"What set that off?" Lex asked as he came out of the bathroom with a towel around his waist.

"Um, morning after heart attack," Chloe admitted.

Kal and Lex both laughed. Where Kal's laugh was honestly amused, Lex's held a lot of rueful agreement, though that could be Chloe reading things into his wry smile. When Kal released her, Chloe didn't immediately move away from him. That drew a huge smile from Kal.

"You really meant it that I couldn't get pregnant with you, right?" Chloe asked.

"Very much so," Kal said. "You won't have a baby with me until you're ready to, Chloe. It's an easy thing for Jor-El to fix if you ever do want to have my kids."

"Would they have powers?" Lex asked curiously. He crawled back into bed, abandoning his towel at the foot of the bed.

"Yes," Kal said as he offered an arm to Lex. "They won't be quite as strong as me and Jor-El thinks that they might gain some other powers besides what I have, like the Kawatche's shape shifting or maybe telekinisis, but they'll definitely have powers."

"No babies anytime soon," Chloe decided. "I don't want to deal with kids who can run on all fours or steal cookies without climbing up on chairs."

Lex snickered, grinning at her. Kal made one of those belly laughs that made it seem like he was going to fall over from laughing so hard. That set Chloe off, which then made Lex laugh harder. Pretty soon they were all snuggled together in the bed again, panting for breath that wasn't coming through the giggles.

"This is really weird," Chloe said once she was able to say anything without laughing.

"Sorry," Kal said in Clark's most apologetic voice.

"No, not you, not really," Chloe explained. "Me. I feel… good. I haven't felt this good since my mom left. I haven't laughed like that in years. I want to be suspicious but I feel so good, so much better than I have for years, that I can't be."

"Yes," Lex agreed. His expression was pensive, as if he found feeling better to be a terrible trial.

"That's why I didn't let either of you say no," Kal said very gently. "I know it was wrong to force you. I really do. But I also knew that neither of you were thinking clearly. It's like someone with a dangerous mental illness that refuses to take their medicine. The medicine makes them better but they won't take it, which makes them a danger to those around them, so you have to make them take it."

"And then they thank you," Lex sighed.

Kal nodded. He did look sorry. Chloe scooted up and very gently kissed him. She knew it would probably lead to sex but when he looked like that she couldn't resist. Especially when he looked like that. Kal shivered and gently kissed her back. Instead of taking over the kiss, he let her set the pace. Chloe took it slowly, getting used to the idea that she could kiss Kal, could kiss Clark, whenever she wanted to. After so many years wanting but not getting it was a hard thing to wrap her mind around.

"Your turn," Chloe said once she came up for breath.

"I get a turn?" Lex asked with that sad, conflicted look in his eyes again.

"Of course," Chloe said. "I'll have you know I'm very fond of boys kissing. I seem to have developed a taste for it, oh, I think it was last night. Very hot stuff, boys kissing. Yup."

That made Kal start snickering but Lex only raised an eyebrow before pulling Kal in for a kiss that was the exact opposite of Chloe's. Chloe squirmed while watching them all but devour each other. Kal might have thought that she was kidding but it was the literal truth. She'd never seen anything hotter, especially once Lex's hand drifted down under the covers to cup Kal's cock.

"Uhn!" Kal gasped into Lex's mouth. "Mmn!"

The bed started rocking ever so gently as Lex stroked Kal. Chloe panted in time with the movements, so turned on that she felt like she was going to explode. It took a little bit to work up the nerve to push the covers aside so that she could see what Lex was doing. Once she did, Chloe moaned. She never would have thought that seeing another man's hand wrapped around Kal's cock would turn her on that badly but it did.

"Ride him," Lex panted when he came up for air. His eyes had lost all of the conflict. Only lust hung there now.

"Please!" Kal moaned, tugging at Lex.

"No, it's Chloe's turn to take you," Lex said. He grinned at the groan that tore its way out of Kal's chest.

"Stay still," Chloe told Kal.

She was blushing again as she cautiously straddled Kal's hips. It had been a while since she'd done this. That had been with Jimmy who, while nice, had not been terribly endowed. Kal was anything but small. It took a good bit of squirming and work before she was able to ease down on Kal's cock. Chloe moaned, a sound that both Lex and Kal echoed.

"L-let me," Chloe told Kal when he put his hands on her hips. "You're big. Let me do it."

Kal nodded urgently, biting his lip and clutching the sheets so that he wouldn't push her beyond what she could enjoy. Lex moved up on the bed so that his cock was right by Kal's mouth. As Chloe started moving Kal sucked Lex into his mouth. She wasn't sure how he was able to take so much of Lex in his mouth. Given Lex's equally large size it seemed impossible. And hot. Incredibly, overwhelmingly hot.

"Fuck," Lex groaned. He fisted his fingers in Kal's hair, gently thrusting.

"Oh, oh, oh!" Chloe gasped.

She moved in time with Lex's thrusts, surprising herself at how quickly she felt an orgasm coming. The situation seemed to be having the same effect on Kal and Lex because they looked like they were barely holding off. Chloe thrust harder, pushing against Kal's stomach to get a little more force. It was just enough to push her over the edge.

"Mmngh!" Kal gasped around Lex's cock. He jerked and thrust hard into Chloe.

"Oh fuck," Lex breathed. He shut his eyes and pushed deep into Kal's mouth.

Chloe literally felt Kal coming inside of her. She shouted as an aftershock rocked her. The pleasure made her sway and then flop forward to lie on Kal's chest. Lex groaned and collapsed onto the bed next to them, panting.

"I like waking up this way," Kal said after a couple of moments filled with quiet panting.

"And to think I objected," Lex chuckled.

Chloe snickered even though she could still see the doubts in Lex's eyes when she looked at him. They ended up taking a shower together before breakfast. After being so cold yesterday, Chloe made a point of wearing a couple of extra layers in the hope that it would make her feel warmer. Morning a'chaan helped, as did getting to have a hug tender and kiss from Kal before he flew off to Smallville.

"I think I'm really going to hate that," Chloe said once Kal was gone.

"Agreed," Lex sighed. "Are you willing to help me operate the controls? I need to check on my business."

"Sure," Chloe said. "Hopefully everything will be fine."

"With my father insane and me missing in action, I wouldn't bet on it," Lex said. "Hopefully once I check on things and pass out some orders I can do some more research. I want to see what sort of information is available in the library."

"I'll probably do some more exploring," Chloe said. She glared at Lex's amused look. "What? I was totally exploring yesterday. I was not lost."

"Of course not," Lex drawled. He laughed at her growl.

It took about an hour for Lex to figure out what was going on at LuthorCorp and fix the things that had gone wrong in his brief absence. He was harsh, snappish and highly decisive about what he wanted to have done. Chloe thought that Jor-El's supplying him with visuals and copies of all the data that he needed helped. What amused her was the way that the people he talked to jumped and looked spooked by Lex's knowledge of what was going on. Two hours after Kal's departure, Lex was back in the library and Chloe was off exploring.

She was surprised to find that there were multiple levels to the Fortress. She went down first, finding gardens full of strange plants and rooms full of crystalline equipment that she couldn't figure out. Jor-El explained what everything was, though he frequently had to go back and explain the underlying concepts before she understood.

Rumbles from her tummy reminded Chloe to search out the way back upstairs. This time she didn't have any trouble finding Lex. He was growling at Jor-El loudly enough that she heard him halfway across the Fortress.

"I think I'll just bring the food to him," Chloe said as she winced at a particularly loud shout.

"That might be a wise choice of action," Jor-El allowed in his prissiest tone of voice.

By the time she got to the kitchen a tray full of food was already there, waiting for her. Chloe headed back to the library, shaking her head at Lex's too tense posture. She set the food down on a table near Lex, cocking her head at him.

"That…!" Lex snarled at the control panel before snapping his mouth shut.

"Lunch," Chloe announced. "You obviously need a break."

"I'm not hungry," Lex said, glaring at her when his stomach rumbled loudly.

"Sure you're not," Chloe drawled, just to get a reaction from Lex.

He bristled so badly that he looked a good six inches taller but he took the mug of calming a'chaan Chloe offered to him. Lunch was simple, just sandwiches and French fries that were a dead ringer for the ones that Clark loved at the drive through in town. Lex ate so methodically that Chloe wondered if he tasted anything that he put in his mouth.

"There's dessert too," Chloe said the instant Lex put the last bite in his mouth. "Cheesecake."

Lex paused, looking at her suspiciously.

"What?" Chloe asked. "I didn't ask for it. It was there when I went to pick up the tray."

"Did Clark ask for it?" Lex asked Jor-El.

"He did," Jor-El said. "He expressed some worries that you were too tense."

Lex snorted. The cheesecake was extra-thick, with raspberries swirled into it. Chloe thought it looked like the most decadent thing ever. Her first bite confirmed it. She settled back into her chair to nurse her piece for as long as possible. When Lex took his first bite it was kind of like looking at him while he fucked Clark.

"Your version of liquid sex?" Chloe asked. She grinned at Lex's nod of confirmation.

Eating the cheesecake took about half an hour. Chloe finished before Lex did, somewhat to her surprise. By the time Lex was done, he was much calmer. The tension in his shoulders had dissipated and his face was much more open. Rather than comment on the effect and ruin it, Chloe made a mental note to make sure that the cheesecake was available whenever Lex got too uptight about things.

"Back to work for you?" Chloe asked while gathering up their dishes and silverware.

"I think so," Lex sighed. "There's so much that I don't understand. Their science is so far ahead of ours."

"I'm thinking of studying Kryptonian," Chloe said quietly. "I'd rather not have to rely on translations."

"Valid point," Lex agreed. "Nothing seems to be forbidden to study."

"All of Krypton's knowledge, science and culture is available for Kal-El's consorts to study," Jor-El declared as if he was getting tired of repeating himself. "Whatever you wish to learn is acceptable."

Chloe exchanged a long look with Lex. Innate suspicion warred with excitement at the thought of learning whatever she wanted. After a moment she stood up and took the tray. Lex smiled and stood too. They went their separate ways for the afternoon.

Lex came and found her as dinnertime approached. She was busy exploring the much larger lower level while learning the Kryptonian words for 'door', 'floor', 'wall', or whatever came to her eyes. It wasn't the most efficient way to learn a language but it worked for her. Kal was there once they went upstairs. He beamed to see the two of them.

"Sounds like you guys did good today," Kal said as Chloe hugged him tight.

"It's frustrating to realize how little I actually know," Lex admitted when it was his turn to get a hug, "but I suppose it gives me something to do while we're here."

"Speaking of which," Chloe said, "how long are we going to be stuck here?"

"Probably a while longer," Kal said with a grimace. "I don't know if you checked the news but there's kind of a firestorm going on about the two of you getting married and running away together. It's not exactly safe for you to go back yet."

"Great," Lex sighed. "I'll check that out after dinner. I should have LuthorCorp issue a statement on the issue."

Kal nodded. Chloe sighed. She'd been hoping that they could go home soon but it didn't look like that was going to happen. The only bright spot (other than getting to have Kal in bed with her anytime she wanted) was that she did get to learn Kryptonian.

She carefully pushed away the thought that Lex was turning into a surprisingly bright spot in her life. A tiny part of her mind made a note to have Jor-El make sure that she couldn't get pregnant at all. That part of her was quite aware that it might not be decades before she and Lex found ways to be together. Better to be safe rather than sorry given the fact that they were trapped here alone all day. Who knew what might happen if they got bored someday?

+++++

It was strange that even all the knowledge of the universe, or at least all the Kryptonian knowledge, wasn't enough to keep Lex from thinking too hard. He would have thought that having access to information that surpassed human technology by hundreds of thousands of years would have kept the overly busy part of his mind from causing trouble.

It didn't.

In fact, having all that knowledge seemed to have made that part of him even worse. He could see so many ways to accomplish his old goals. If he wanted to become President, there were ways, several of them. Should he choose to rule the world, Lex knew that Clark would be right there with him, helping out. Remaking the laws of science would be child's play with the things he had learned over the weeks they'd been trapped in the Fortress. None of those old goals seemed very satisfying now, no matter how possible they had become.

Of course, half the time all his overly busy brain could think about was how Chloe looked without her clothes.

Having returned to being a teenager's sexual drive was somewhat appalling. Lex was intensely grateful that Chloe continued her explorations of the Fortress on most days. Sometimes it seemed like he got a hard on the instant she showed up. Conditioning during his healing made sense except for the fact that he reacted to Clark just as strongly. And Clark reacted as strongly to them. It would be annoying if it weren't for Chloe's equally strong reaction to both of them.

Despite his reactions to her, Lex was relatively content with the status quo. Chloe quite obviously enjoyed Clark taking her. Lex would never get tired of feeling Clark underneath him. Or on top of him, or sucking him, or any of a dozen other highly athletic positions that had improved Lex's physical condition more than any expensive gym machine ever could. The three of them together were mind-blowingly good in ways that reduced Lex to monosyllable grunts and hums of appreciation.

Still, it would be nice to be able to go more than five consecutive minutes without thinking about Chloe's breasts or the little gasps she made when Clark took her just a little harder than normal. Lex sighed and forced his attention back to the work he had been doing to keep LuthorCorp from sliding back into his father's old, highly illegal, ways. He'd always known that Lionel was completely paranoid but seeing the results of his paranoia in person brought it home in an all-new way.

If it hadn't been for Jor-El's assistance Lex was sure that he would never have found all the tentacles Lionel had insinuated into the company. With Lionel insane and committed to Belle Reve, those tentacles should have died out but Lex had found that they were taking on lives of their own. The various directors of the secret programs had reacted to Lionel's removal from power and Lex's absence as an excuse to go off and do whatever they wanted. In most cases that was to do things even more illegal and immoral than what Lionel had wanted.

"How's it going?" Chloe asked from behind Lex.

"Frustratingly," Lex sighed. His cock responded to her presence with a strong jerk of arousal that Lex sternly tried to repress. It didn't work. "I swear that every singled manager my father hired was at least as immoral and unethical as he was."

"No surprise there," Chloe snorted. "No one honest managed to stay at LuthorCorp for very long."

She stood next to him, watching Lex work. Three days after their arrival Clark had set up the controls so that they could work the system without the other being present. It was a blessing for both of them, allowing Lex to work without Chloe's commentary and Chloe to call Gabe without Lex listening in.

Lex refused to think about the fact that he still stayed for Chloe's calls and that most times Chloe was there helping when he worked.

"Is that correct?" Chloe asked while pointing at one item on the displays he had up.

"Yes," Lex snarled.

He cursed under his breath as he had Jor-El track down the details of a super-soldier program that apparently was designed to create real-life cyborgs. It looked to him like at least one had already been created, possibly without the subject's consent. Chloe helped him ensure that the people responsible were identified and made the call to the authorities for him. Two hours later, Victor Stone had been released from LuthorCorp's laboratory and Dr. Hong had agreed to help ensure that his physical condition was properly stabilized.

"Your dad was a sleaze," Chloe complained.

"Very much so," Lex agreed. "I never realized just how far his particular brand of failure at humanity extended."

"One more project shut down," Chloe sighed. "What's next?"

"Lunch I think," Lex said. "It is about that time."

Chloe nodded, absently taking Lex's hand as they headed back through the Fortress to the kitchen. Seven weeks of captivity at the Fortress had led to Chloe exploring every square inch of it. She knew exactly where everything was. Lex had spent far less time exploring so he got lost with some regularity. Lex tried to convince himself that his mild propensity for getting lost was why she held his hand.

Jor-El had lunch ready and waiting for them. Today it looked like Clark had directed Jor-El to make them grilled ham and cheese sandwiches with tomato soup, accompanied by more of the cheesecake that Lex loved so much.

"He may not be here," Chloe laughed as she started eating her sandwich, "but you can always tell when Clark makes lunch."

"I would have preferred something a bit less greasy," Lex said while nodding agreement, "but this is quite good."

"What do you have planned for the afternoon?" Chloe asked.

Lex shrugged. Normally, before the Fortress, his afternoons would be filled with meetings but the nice thing about being here was that he didn't have to attend them anymore. Being kidnapped was doing a lovely job of teaching him how to properly delegate authority, as well as how to supervise his company so that his father's evils didn't continue.

"Yeah, I'm not sure what to do either," Chloe admitted reluctantly. "I'm so sick of the same place! I swear, I haven't been warm all summer and it's getting tiring."

"There's always the hot tub," Lex suggested despite the way his cock leaped to attention.

"Pruned my fingers already," Chloe said, shaking her head no.

"Exploring?" Lex offered.

"There's nothing left to explore other than outside of the Fortress and that's not allowed," Chloe said.

"Nap?"

"Please," Chloe drawled.

She fixed an arch look on Lex that made him blush out to the tips of his ears and over his entire scalp. It took a moment for her eyes to slide down to his groin. Her cheeks went blazingly red as she saw how tight his pants had gotten. They looked away from each other while eating the cheesecake. For the first time it didn't have the normal relaxing effect on Lex.

"Going to do some more studying?" Chloe asked. Her voice was strained and she squirmed in her seat.

"I could," Lex said in a voice that came out just as strained as Chloe's. "There are a couple of chemistry texts that I wanted to work on."

"I suppose I could read another one of those classics that Jor-El recommended," Chloe said.

"That would be good," Lex agreed just a hair too quickly. "You can tell me if it's worth struggling through."

"Sure," Chloe said brightly.

She conspicuously didn't reach out and take his hand when they walked to the library. Lex didn't reach out to her. They both ignored his very tented pants. Once they got to the library Chloe curled up in one of the chairs to read and Lex went to the controls to work on his chemistry texts.

The words blurred. His eyes jumped lines, mixing formulae up. He couldn't sit still, so he shifted to standing while reading. Jor-El adjusted the display without commenting. That was unusual enough that Lex's mind wandered in the middle of a particularly simple formula as he tried to figure out if even Jor-El was aware of his distraction. Worse than being aware of it would be if he was aware of the source, because if Jor-El knew that Lex was lusting after Chloe then Clark had to know, and heavens knew that Chloe had to know as well. Lex glanced over at her to find her screen stopped. She was staring into space rather than reading.

The curve of her breast was just visible over the neckline of her shirt.

Lex snapped his head back around to stare at the screen. This was impossible. He couldn't concentrate anymore. While he would have loved to blame it on their captivity and the onset of Stockholm Syndrome Lex knew that it was nothing of the sort.

"I can't focus," Lex admitted.

"Neither can I," Chloe said. Her voice was barely loud enough for Lex to hear her.

"Perhaps some exercise might be in order," Jor-El suggested with that snide tone that said he was quite aware that Lex was too horny to see straight.

"A walk?" Lex suggested.

"Sure," Chloe agreed.

He turned off the console. Chloe turned off her book. They both headed for the door. Lex let Chloe take the lead as she knew exactly where everything was. It was easier to focus on the way her hips swayed as she walked. The long sweater she wore over her outfit was slinky enough that it clung and released from her ass with every step, outlining first one cheek and then the next. She'd done something with her hair to put it up today so he could see the nape of her neck.

'I will not lick her,' Lex told himself sternly.

Resisting the urge to grab her and pull her close took much more effort than Lex would have expected a couple of months ago. He wanted to believe that this overwhelming attraction had more to do with the fact that she was the only woman he'd seen in nearly two months. He wanted to, but he knew it was a lie.

Chloe saw him. Him, not Alexander Luthor, heir to LuthorCorp. She saw Lex, the genius, the messed up kid whose father had turned every holiday into a nightmare. She saw Lex, the egregiously bi male who was just as happy sucking a cock as a clit. No matter what aspect of him had been revealed, Chloe had accepted it. Always with her snark and commentary but Lex enjoyed her wit.

They walked into the garden on the lower level together. The smell of the alien flowers was enough to make Lex's rampaging thoughts slow down. He smiled, closing his eyes to breathe deeply. Every time he'd been down here the smell had enchanted him.

"Does smell good, doesn't it?" Chloe said. "I think I figured out which one gives off that scent."

"Really?" Lex asked, opening his eyes to look at her.

"Yeah, come on," Chloe said. She was blushing slightly, probably from embarrassment that Lex's erection still hadn't gone down.

The shrub that Chloe took him to was smallish but it was covered in blossoms that were pale lavender that approached blue. In that corner of the garden the scent was overwhelming. Lex felt like he was bathing in the scent of the flowers it was so strong.

"God that smells good," Lex murmured.

"Yeah," Chloe agreed.

She bit her lip and then stepped close to wrap her arms around Lex's waist. His head swam with sensory overload. The rosy light that filled the garden made her hair look red. Her eyes seemed to be violet as she looked up at him. For a long moment they stood there like statuary placed for a viewer's esthetic approval, and then their control broke.

Chloe's hands latched around the back of Lex's neck. He bent willingly, pulling her so close that it felt like he was trying to subsume her into his body. Moans filled the air. He didn't bother trying to figure out who was moaning. It was more important to get his and Chloe's clothes off. They scrambled at each other, leaving red marks from nails that dug just a hair too deep.

By the time they were both naked and Lex had laid Chloe down on the soft purple grass his mind had cleared just barely enough to worry about contraception. Chloe appeared to read his mind because she grabbed his cock, tugging him closer.

"Took care of it," Chloe panted. "Now, now, now, now!"

"Sure?" Lex asked.

He hovered at her opening for just long enough to register her desperate nod and then he pushed into her hard and fast. Chloe shouted and dug her nails into his shoulders. As soon as he was in she wrapped her legs around his thighs and kicked him like she was trying to urge him into a gallop. Lex laughed and obliged, fucking her hard and fast. There was nothing intimate or tender about their desperate coupling. It was over far too fast for that.

"Oh God, I needed that," Chloe moaned once Lex moved off to her side and collapsed.

"You did actually take care of contraception?" Lex asked because his stomach was doing intensely uncomfortable things from worry.

"Um, actually," Chloe said while blushing right down to her nipples. It was very distracting but not quite distracting enough that Lex didn't rear up and glare at her. "I um, did that about three days after we got here. Or four. I'm not sure. I can't remember now."

He blinked at her, which normally would have made her start laughing at him. This time she winced and shrugged against the grass while waving one of her hands as if she was searching for words. Oddly, she seemed quite uncomfortable.

"I knew there would be issues with self-control," Chloe said while hunching in on herself defensively. "I mean, come on, trapped here with two gorgeous guys and only allowed to touch one? I knew it would get to me eventually so I made sure that I wouldn't get pregnant when it did. So um, thank you for indulging me. I know you're not really that into me and this wasn't really what you wanted but it was a lot of fun… are… you all right?"

Lex felt his jaw drop open as she explained. Her first words had sent a flare of anger through him. He'd assumed that she'd meant his self-control and thinking that he was that obvious that early was painful. By the time she tentatively poked his chest at the end all he felt was appalled that her self-esteem was that low.

"Indulging you?" Lex asked. "Chloe!"

"What?" she snapped at him.

"Indulging you?" Lex repeated. "What part of my being hard for you all damned day did you miss?"

She squeaked and then laughed, relaxing a tiny bit. He shook his head at her before rolling on top of her so that she couldn't escape. There was no way that he'd allow her to leave before he'd said his piece. Obviously, she needed to hear it.

"I've spent most of the summer trying to ignore you," Lex said. Her start and glare made it clear she didn't understand. "The way your clothes draped on your body, the swell of your breasts. Every single time your legs crossed and uncrossed was a challenge to my ability to keep my hands off of you. You're gorgeous. You're smart. You're funny. Indulging you?"

"You never said anything," Chloe complained uncomfortably.

"Neither did you," Lex pointed out in what he hoped was a sensible tone of voice. "I would have appreciated it greatly if you had. The last few weeks have been rather difficult. We could have spent the days in bed."

She laughed out loud at that and pulled Lex down into another kiss. This time he took it much slower, exploring her lips and mouth. Her mouth tasted of cheesecake and a'chaan with a faint hint of tomato soup that had him chuckling. He liked to think that the tightness of her nipples was a response to his biting and nibbling his way down her body but given that she was all over gooseflesh he doubted it.

"You're cold," Lex commented while nuzzling around her bellybutton.

"Always," Chloe sighed. "You're not going to stop there, are you?"

"It's a very nice belly," Lex said. He grinned at the firm shove downwards. "This is very nice too."

The second time was slower, mostly because Chloe pushed him onto his back and rode him the way she had Clark the first time. It was nice to have real reactions as he fucked her. Clark was so invulnerable that Lex could literally do almost anything to him without worry but Chloe gasped and smacked him when he went too deep, too fast. She got bruises from his squeezing her breasts too hard. She left distinct scratches on Lex's chest, laughing when that triggered him to come so hard that he nearly passed out.

"I'm definitely storing that trick away for the future," Chloe chuckled. She shivered against his chest.

"Hot tub," Lex said.

"Good idea."

They were still in the hot tub, kissing each other, when Clark returned that evening. He whooped and splashed into the water with them like an overgrown puppy. Lex laughed, wiping the water off of his face. Chloe spluttered and splashed Clark though she grinned as she did it.

"It's about time!" Clark said, scooping them both up. "I thought you two were going to explode before you gave in and had sex."

Lex looked at Chloe who smirked through her blush. "It just took us some time to work through the ego issues. What's for dinner?"

"You can't expect me to think about food when I had to listen to the two of you having sex all afternoon, can you?" Clark asked. He put on his best tragic expression, the sort that would have made Lex cave easily before.

"Absolutely I can," Lex said with a wry grin that made Chloe snicker. "You've been listening. We've been doing. I'm hungry."

"Oh man, that is so unfair," Clark complained. "I have to wait until after dinner?"

"Hey, if we were back in Smallville you could have run over and joined us," Chloe said, completely unrepentantly. "Let us go and you can get a lot more sex. In a lot more places, too."

Clark looked at them both for a long moment. His face was so blank that he didn't look like either nervous Clark or over-confident Kal. He barely looked like he was there at all. After long enough that Lex was getting concerned about him, Clark nodded slowly.

"I was holding out for Lex calling me Kal," Clark said, "but this is better. If you two are happy together as well as with me and willing to work with me to make the world a better place then I think that's close enough to my goal. Give me a week or so to set things up and you guys can go back. I think Paris would be a good choice. Honeymooning in Europe would be an appropriately Luthor thing to do, wouldn't it?"

+++++

"Honeymooning in Europe would be an appropriately Luthor thing to do, wouldn't it?"

Chloe stared at Kal for a long moment. She wasn't sure that she'd heard him correctly until Lex abruptly pushed Chloe off of his lap so that he could grab Kal and kiss him so hard that she heard their teeth clack together. Kal moaned and let Lex push him back against the rim of the hot tub. Rather than objecting, Chloe settled back to watch. There was no way she'd ever get tired of seeing them that way.

"I guess you like that idea?" Kal panted once Lex came up for air. He was grinning and a little wide-eyed.

"Very much so," Lex panted. From the way he was rocking in Kal's lap their cocks had to be rubbing together.

Kal groaned and cupped Lex's back in his big hands. Chloe's hand slid down between her legs as she watched them kiss and drive each other towards an orgasm. If she'd been asked six months ago if she thought that she'd enjoy watching two guys make out in front of her, Chloe would have laughed. She wasn't laughing anymore. Lex and Clark were her private porno and she loved them both for it.

"Love watching you two," Chloe moaned. "So hot seeing you guys together."

They groaned. Lex apparently took it as permission to intensify his attentions to Kal. In very short order Kal was sitting on the edge of the hot tub and Lex was doing his best to swallow him whole. Chloe joined them and pushed Kal back so that she could sit on his face. He grinned up at her before using his tongue to make her come her brains out for what had to be the millionth time today. Kal caught her so that she didn't fall over despite the way he was whimpering from Lex's attentions. By the time Chloe had eased herself off to the side, legs trembling violently, Lex and Kal shouted and came one after the other.

"Now I'm really hungry," Lex panted. He flopped on the floor next to Kal.

"Me too," Chloe said. She poked Kal's side, grinning at his groan. "See? This is the sort of thing you've been missing."

"Definitely have to get you two back home," Kal moaned as he levered himself up on his elbows. "I think I need that at least four or five times a day."

Lex opened one eye and leveled a glare on Kal that was less than effective because of his smirk. "Three times maybe. Four or five times is no. More than five times and I'll just stay here. I'd rather not die from over-sexing."

Chloe's snickers made Kal start laughing. Kal's laughter set of Lex. It took quite a while for the three of them to stop laughing, get dried off and then head into the kitchen for dinner. Jor-El kept dinner warm for them so they got to eat normally. Well, almost normally. Chloe ended up sitting in Kal's lap feeding both Kal and Lex bites of food between bouts of kissing them. Bedtime was put off for several hours of lovemaking that left Chloe feeling like she'd discovered some that she'd never known existed before.

"Sore," Chloe moaned once they were cuddled up in bed together.

"Same here," Lex sighed very happily. "I might even feel it in the morning."

Kal chuckled. He pulled them both close, kissing their foreheads. "We should talk about how to get you guys home in a convincing way but I think that's something for the morning."

"Too tired now," Lex agreed. His eyes were shut already.

Chloe wanted to say something about the need to generate appropriate records of their passage through Europe but it was too much effort to open her mouth. Sleep caught her and dragged her under as soon as she shut her eyes.

The next week and a half was about as exciting and nerve wracking as the meteor shower that had landed them in the Fortress. Kal spent more time in the mornings at the Fortress helping Jor-El and Lex create records of where they had been. Chloe was the one who brought up the necessity for wedding pictures and pictures of the places they'd been. Given how hard it would be to create everything they needed and have Chloe remember all the places, Lex and Kal scaled back their 'honeymoon' locations to just two private lodges in quiet rural locations. Jor-El made simulations of the locations so that they had basic familiarity with them.

In the end, they packed up their newly-created luggage with the clothes that Jor-El had generated for them and Kal flew it back to the lodge where they were supposed to have spent the last month. Chloe was surprised to find that she was nervous about leaving. After two months trapped in the Fortress, she'd thought that she would be delighted to leave. Instead, she realized that she'd miss the place and Jor-El's snarky commentary on their lives.

"So this is it," Chloe said to Lex as they waited for Kal to return from Germany.

"Yes," Lex said.

He didn't say anything else but he didn't need to. The expression on his face matched the odd fear and worry that was plaguing Chloe. She cuddled up to his side and smiled when Lex hugged her tightly. The Fortress had become something very like home during her stay. It would be very odd to wake up in the middle of the night and not have the aurora ghosting through the roof overhead. While she wouldn't miss the cold, Chloe would miss getting to read the Kryptonian classics in the library. They still hadn't discussed how they were going to handle Chloe's schooling or what they were going to do about Kal's plans to rule the world.

"Okay, everything's ready," Kal said as he reappeared in front of them with a quiet whoosh. "The inn keeper's memory has been appropriately adjusted so he thinks you two have been there all along."

"And how did you accomplish that?" Lex asked with more alarm than Chloe had heard in a long while.

"Memory crystal that Jor-El gave me," Kal said. He fished it out of his pocket and held it up. "Basically, it modified his memories so that the two of you were there, mixed in with the other guests. You were quiet, spent most of your time in your rooms and didn't cause any problems."

Chloe stiffened up. Lex did too, glaring at the little crystal as if it was a monstrosity. It kind of seemed like one to Chloe. She'd had no idea that Kal could adjust people's memories. Knowing that he could threw pretty much the entire summer into question.

"Will you guys quit that?" Kal groaned. "Whatever you're thinking, please stop. It's not like that."

"What is it like then?" Chloe demanded before Lex could get his mouth open.

"It just…" Kal paused, considering his words. "Okay. What it does is take the memories of the other guests and sort of mix you two into it. So, instead of having clear, distinct memories of talking to you two, he'll sort of remember that 'oh yeah, those two. Yeah, they were here. Quiet kids. Spent all their time in their rooms. Ordered a lot of room service. Seemed to be really in love with each other. No, no problems, just honeymooners.' It basically takes advantage of the mind's natural tendency to fill in the details of partial memories. All I inserted was your images and that you arrived on a specific date, plus that you stayed in your rooms for the most part."

"And if you wanted to create more detailed memories?" Lex challenged Kal.

"Wouldn't work," Kal said with a shrug. "I could take memories away somewhat more effectively, but I can't create them out of nothing, not even with Kryptonian technology. The mind doesn't work that way."

Chloe thought that Kal was being honest with them. She plucked the little crystal out of his hands, turning it over to study it. It sounded like a device to do what unethical researchers and hypnotists did when they guided people's recollections.

"So we're just blanks in his mind and he won't remember much of us?" Chloe asked.

"I'm sure that when the reporters eventually track the place down and start questioning him he'll conflate your created memories with other guests and build all sorts of stories for himself," Kal said. "But that's all in his mind. I just created the basics so that you guys wouldn't startle him by appearing out of nowhere."

"Hmm," Lex murmured.

He looked like he didn't like the device at all but it would make their lives much easier. Chloe passed it back for Kal to tuck back into his pocket. The flight to the inn was much faster than Chloe expected. They went through a gate that Chloe hadn't realized was there to the caves in Smallville and then Kal flew them to the inn, whisking them into their suite so fast that no one saw them.

"This is actually quite nice," Lex commented once Kal set him down.

"Still a little cold," Chloe said with a sigh.

"Wait until you get back to Smallville," Kal laughed. "It's been 105 degrees there all week. Everyone's dying from the heat."

"Oh! Does that mean I can wander around in short-shorts, flip-flops and a tank top with no bra?" Chloe asked. She laughed out loud at the glazed looks that swept over Lex and Kal's faces, as well as the way their pants tented out.

"I think we need to get home right away," Lex said. He pulled Chloe into his arms, grinning at her.

"Heck yeah!" Kal moaned. "The sooner the better! I gotta go, guys. All you have to do is call down to order a car to take you to the airport. Your personal jet should be waiting by the time you get there."

Chloe grabbed Kal and hugged him before he could speed away. She was a little frightened to go back home after everything that had happened. So much had changed; she had changed. It was going to be very strange to see everyone now that she knew so much. Kal hugged her gently as if he could tell what was bothering her. Lex set his hand in the middle of her back so maybe both of them understood.

"It'll be okay, Chlo," Kal said in Clark's voice. "Really, you two will be fine."

"You won't be there every night," Chloe whispered.

"I will," Kal said. He kissed the top of her head. "I'll tell Mom and Dad that I'm going to the Fortress but I'll be with you two."

"We know more than they do," Lex murmured in an awestruck voice that made Chloe look at him. All of his normal masks had been stripped off, leaving the abused little boy whose father had bullied him his whole life open for them to see. "We still know more than them."

"I trust you two more than Mom and Dad," Kal said. He pulled Lex into the hug, nuzzling his forehead. "They're so afraid of my being found out that they keep making stupid mistakes. I trust you two to guide me and help me take over the world properly. You won't let me be impulsive. You guys actually think, not just react."

Chloe squirmed at his words. She still didn't think taking over the world was a good idea, and from Lex's expression he agreed, but they hadn't managed to talk some sense into Kal's head yet. They'd just have to keep trying.

"You should go," Lex said after a long moment. "You'll be there when we get to Smallville?"

"You bet!" Kal said with all of Clark's enthusiasm. He grinned brightly. "Of course, so will everyone else but I'll be there tonight."

They got one last kiss from Kal before he sped away. The drive from the inn to the airport was a quiet one. Chloe cuddled in the back seat with Lex, watching the scenery go by. He ran his fingers through her hair in a gesture that made her want to purr like a cat being petted.

"We should come back someday," Lex commented as they drove into the airport.

"Yeah," Chloe agreed.

The instant they stepped out of the car all chances for talk ended. First one tourist and then another and another turned to stare at them. A reporter appeared out of nowhere, snapping questions at them in excited German. Lex transformed from the man she'd gotten to know over the summer back to the fierce, cold, arrogant Luthor instantly. He snapped something that must be 'no comment' in German as LuthorCorp guards materialized out of nowhere to escort them.

"Didn't expect that," Chloe quipped as they were hurried to Lex's private jet.

"I should have," Lex grumbled.

"Hey, I want some newspapers to read for the flight," Chloe said as they passed a bookstore in the airport. "Pick up whatever English ones they have for me."

"Yes Mrs. Luthor," one of the guards said. He broke off of the pack and went to get them while Chloe stared at his back.

"I'm definitely not used to that yet," Chloe said to Lex.

He laughed, the real Lex peeking out from behind the mask he'd put on. "It will take a bit to get used to, won't it?"

They shared an amused look that had a faintly overwhelmed edge to it but strode onwards. Chloe took Lex's hand, squeezing his fingers tightly. He squeezed back. It shouldn't have been reassuring but oddly it did more to calm Chloe down than almost anything besides a good cup of a'chaan could have.

"Coffee?" Lex asked once they'd made it to the jet and taken off.

"Rather have a'chaan," Chloe muttered to him just to see him grin.

"They do have cheesecake," Lex counted, grinning exactly as she'd intended.

"Coffee, cheesecake and news sounds lovely to me," Chloe said. "We've been so cut off from the rest of the world. I want to know what we missed."

They read the newspapers, argued about the political articles and carefully didn't discuss the myriad of stories on a new superhero called the Blur. She'd recognized Kal instantly just from the one blurry picture that had been captured of him. His powers were far too familiar as well. Chloe really wanted to discuss how the Kents were handling it with Lex but she didn't feel safe enough to do so. The jet had flight attendants and every so often one of the guards would come and check on the two of them.

"I do wonder how everyone is doing back in Smallville," Lex murmured several hours into their flight. His fingers were resting on the picture of the Blur in a mock-casual gesture.

"So do I," Chloe agreed. "I think we should visit everyone, maybe throw a party and invite all our friends."

"Your friends, you mean," Lex snarked. "I only have business associates."

"You have Clark," Chloe said, poking him in the chest. "So Clark, Martha and Jonathan have to come. And Dad. Pete, we should invite Pete even though he's going to explode in outrage that I married you. Lois will show up whether we invite her or not so we might as well invite her in the first place."

"A small party then?" Lex said. He grinned at the poke.

"Definitely," Chloe said. "We can do some big formal thing later. I want a small one with just the people we care about. Maybe the General, too. He is my uncle."

"We can invite anyone you want," Lex agreed. His eyes were locked on the picture of the Blur. "It will be good to get home."

Chloe nodded against Lex's shoulder. She tucked her feet up and yawned. There were hours more to go on their flight. Lex held her for a long moment, shifting position to get more comfortable. Sleep caught Chloe by surprise, dragging her under to dream of Kal appearing and disappearing out of crystal blocks set in the cornfields outside of Smallville.

+++++

Returning to Smallville after so long away was a shock to the system in more ways than one. The temperature was every bit as hot as Clark had said. Stepping out of their plane in Metropolis and transferring over to the helicopter felt like stepping into an oven. Chloe swayed for a moment and fanned her self with one hand despite the fact that she looked delighted by the heat. Lex thought someone had just put a spike through his skull. They carefully ignored the reporters calling to them and snapping pictures from behind the line held by LuthorCorp's security staff.

Setting down at the Mansion felt almost literally like stepping back in time. It was a place that belonged to someone else, not to Lex. Some part of Lex's brain had come to associate crystal and snow with 'home'. The brick and glass of the mansion felt foreign and strange to him, even though Clark was there, beaming up at them with such joy that Lex couldn't believe no one else knew about them.

Chloe tugged his sleeve as they landed, pointing to the small crowd around Clark. Everyone she'd mentioned while in flight was there, from Chloe's father Gabe to the Kents to Pete who glowered at them as though they were his greatest enemies. How Clark had convinced Pete to come back to Smallville when he'd left for good was a mystery that Lex intended to solve that night in bed. Or maybe tomorrow. Lex nodded, patting her leg and getting a grin in return. As soon as the rotors were slowing down, Chloe was out the door and running over to hug her father.

"Dad!" Chloe shouted.

"Hey!" Gabe laughed and twirled Chloe before hugging her so tightly that she nearly disappeared into his arms. "Glad you're home, baby."

"Missed you, Dad," Chloe said, her grin just barely visible.

Lex smiled at her. He couldn't help it. Seeing Chloe happy made him happy too. Lois strode over and slugged him in the arm, making Lex wince. She looked like she was trying not to cry but her punch certainly hadn't been pulled. Martha had tears in her eyes, but she was hiding a smile behind an upraised hand. Jonathan just grinned at them.

"That's for eloping," Lois declared. "I can't believe you didn't let Chloe have her little white dress fantasy."

"She chose to do it this way, not me," Lex said. He rubbed his arm, more than a little annoyed with her. "I'm still quite prepared to put on a big society wedding."

"Yuck!" Chloe groaned from her father's arms. "No way. I don't want some huge thing with tons of people I don't know. All the people I care about are right here. Though I do think we should go inside. It's hot! I've gotten used to much cooler weather."

She grabbed Lois's hand and her father's hand, tugging them towards the mansion while chattering about Germany and France, the two places that they were supposed to have been hiding out. General Lane followed them silently. A smile lurked around his lips which Lex thought might be as close to a grin as he'd ever seen on the man's face before. Clark chuckled, a wide grin splitting his face. He patted Lex's shoulder and went to grab their bags.

"Congratulations. I still can't believe Chloe married you," Pete said so grudgingly that it was anything but congratulatory.

"I consider myself to be a very fortunate man," Lex said. "I certainly never thought that Chloe would be interested in me. It's a blessing every day that she is."

It was the literal truth though Pete seemed to take it as nothing more than the normal 'Luthor lies' he so loathed. He grunted and stomped into the mansion, accompanied by Clark and their bags. Martha stepped to his side and pulled him into a surprising hug.

"Congratulations, Lex," Martha said. Her words seemed completely sincere. "I think the two of you will be good for each other. You look better than you have for years."

"I'm happy for you," Jonathan said with a twinkle in his eyes that Lex thought meant that he was delighted that Lex wouldn't be sniffing after Clark anymore.

"Thank you, both of you," Lex said. "I do feel better than I have in years. This summer has done me a world of good. Hopefully we'll be able to keep what we've found, even though we've returned to reality."

Martha chuckled and nodded. "The honeymoon will probably last a while longer, Lex. As long as you're open with each other and remember that you love each other, it will work out."

She looked at Jonathan with an expression that would have done a dime-store romance novel proud. He smiled back at her just as lovingly. Lex's cheeks flushed. He hoped that they could manage to keep their romance going, but he knew well enough that it would only work if Clark were in the mix. For a moment he had the wild urge to confess everything to the Kents but Clark poked his head out of the door to see if they were okay and the urge passed.

"Let's head inside," Lex said. "I'd like to hear everything that's happened while we were gone. Clark told us that Lana's funeral was beautiful. I'm sorry that we weren't able to get back here in time."

"The flowers that you and Chloe sent were beautiful," Martha sighed. "It's a pity that she's gone but hopefully she's gone to a better place."

They walked inside, heading to the office where everyone had gathered. Lois was telling Chloe all about her adventures while she was gone. Gabe and the General were off on one side sampling Lex's brandy. Pete had apparently decided to try everything on the small buffet table that Lex's staff had set up. Lex did his best to listen while Martha and Jonathan corrected Lois' dramatic stories but his attention was split evenly between Chloe and Clark. Clark looked delighted to have them back. Chloe looked like she was just as distracted as he was.

"Dude, you shouldn't have married her if you were still Jonesing for Clark," Pete muttered as dinner approached.

Lex looked at him and raised an eyebrow. "He's my best and only friend, Pete. It matters a great deal to me that he's happy with this. It matters just as much to Chloe."

"Still a little weird," Pete grumbled. "Both of you have been after him for ages. Why suddenly get together with each other?"

"Because I love her," Lex said. "She loves me. It was a surprise for both of us but neither of us are willing to put off love simply because it doesn't make sense to other people. I wish that I could explain it but I can't. We belong together."

Pete's cheeks flushed at Lex's calm, direct words. He mumbled an apology and hurried off to talk to Jonathan and Gabe about cars. The dinner went well. Gabe made a toast to them, wishing them all the happiness in the world for the rest of their lives. Jonathan stood up and toasted them as well, which very nearly destroyed Lex's self control. Lionel had never been half the father to Lex that Jonathan was in the moments where he forgot that Lex's last name was Luthor. Eventually, everyone either went home or drifted off to their rooms to leave Chloe and Lex alone. They went up to the master bedroom together, hand in hand.

"I think we need to redecorate," Lex sighed once he'd closed the door. "Lavender with wood paneling doesn't work for me anymore."

"No, I think there needs to be more creamy colors," Chloe agreed with a wry smile that was more sad than amused. "Maybe some flannel."

"Plaid."

Chloe's breath caught in her chest. She turned to him and he pulled her into his arms, holding her tight. To his surprise she was shaking far less than he was. It all felt wrong, strange. This wasn't where he wanted to sleep. It wasn't where he wanted to live. The Fortress, while it had been a trap, had become home.

"Whew," Clark gasped as he whooshed into the room and shut the door behind him. "I had a horrible time getting away from Mom and Dad tonight. They were so determined to talk at me forever! Are you two okay?"

"Hugs," Chloe demanded, laughing through the tears in her eyes. "I need hugs and kisses and some serious threesome sex. The two of you haven't taken me at once yet and I want to try that tonight."

"Well, I was going to say that I could use some comfort as well," Lex laughed, "but I think my brain was just shut down by my cock."

"Oh yeah, me too," Clark said, licking his lips. His eyes had glazed over and his pants had tented out at the suggestion. "All thought processes have ceased. Bed time now."

Chloe laughed and dashed her tears away. She grabbed their hands and pulled both Clark and Lex to the bed where she stripped her clothes off. Lex watched for a moment and then stripped his clothes off as quickly as he could. Clark beat both of them but he cheated by using super speed to strip down.

"I hope there's lube," Chloe said. She squeaked in surprise when Clark blurred and appeared a moment later with their favorite lube from the Fortress.

"You did not just fly back to the Fortress naked," Lex said.

"Um, maybe?" Clark said and then grinned Kal's wicked, wild grin.

Chloe laughed and grabbed their cocks, pulling both of them onto the bed with her. Lex wasn't sure what exactly she wanted but she made it clear very quickly by making herself the filling of a Chloe sandwich. Clark groaned, pressing up against her backside while Lex pressed against her front.

"Are you sure about this?" Lex murmured into a desperate kiss that had Chloe clinging to his ears and whimpering into his mouth.

"Yes," Chloe declared. "I want both of you at once. I've done you both separately and now I want you both. No doubt or worry. Kal gets behind because he's gentle and you get in front because you're not."

She pushed Lex back onto the bed and straddled his hips. Clark was already lubing up her ass and Lex's cock, stroking both of them while moaning quietly with arousal. Lex knew he should probably say something more but Chloe was kissing him and rubbing her clit against his stomach while Clark was stroking his cock.

Chloe groaned as she settled down onto him a few moments later. She was wetter than he'd expected given the lack of foreplay, far wetter than the lube would explain. Instead of giving herself, and Lex, a chance to get used to it, Chloe tugged at Clark's arm, trying to get him to mount up as well.

"Wow," Clark whimpered. "Really?"

"Yes, really!" Chloe snapped. "Come on! I want you, Kal. I want to feel both of you at once. Please? We can take it slow but I really want this. I've thought about it for ages and I want this so badly."

She cast a pleading look over her shoulder at Clark. That seemed to break down any lingering worries that he might have had. He shifted position and slowly, carefully pushed into Chloe's ass. Lex hissed as he felt Clark's cock slide into Chloe. He could feel every inch of it. Chloe gasped and shuddered. She shut her eyes, panting as her body tightened down on their cocks. Every tremor was transmitted straight to Lex's cock. From the look on Clark's face he felt it too.

"Oh God," Chloe panted once Clark bottomed out. "Oh fuck yes!"

"Can we…?" Clark moaned.

"N-not yet," Chloe shook her head hard. "Just, just give me a second. Oh wow, oh God, so tight!"

She whined and clamped down so hard on Lex that he gasped and clutched her hips in protest. Chloe's groan seemed to have been torn from her chest but she was grinning at the same time. She nodded and then tugged at Clark's arm to get him to move. Lex couldn't do much given his position on the bottom but he barely needed to twitch to get a reaction from Chloe. Clark's slow, gentle fucking of her ass seemed to be enough at the moment. Instead, Lex kissed her and caressed her breasts.

"Beautiful," Lex murmured.

"So beautiful," Clark agreed.

"Oh God!" Chloe cried. "More!"

A few more thrusts had Chloe coming so hard that it hurt. Lex shifted his legs to get a bit of leverage so that he could fuck her too. That had an immediate effect. Chloe collapsed against his chest, panting and leaving red marks along his shoulders with her nails. They took their time, or as much time as they could when given this much stimulation. It felt like far too soon when Clark gasped an apology and came. Lex shouted because he could feel Clark's cock twitching through Chloe's body. Chloe came with them, milking their cocks as she orgasmed.

"Out?" Chloe asked once they were done.

"Sorry," Clark panted.

He pulled out, blurred into the bathroom to get towels and then flopped on the bed next to them as Chloe pulled off of Lex and collapsed between them. It only took a moment to get cleaned up but it felt like forever given the way Lex's arms and legs were shaking.

"We gotta do that again," Chloe murmured once they were snuggled together.

"Yes please," Clark said in his best meek-Clark voice.

"Absolutely," Lex agreed. "Possibly with other variations on double penetration. I have had this fantasy of Chloe fucking me while I suck Clark, you see."

Both Chloe and Clark opened their eyes to stare at him. Clark's eyes were glazed with lust. Chloe's were full of tired amusement. She rubbed a finger over the scar on his lip, licking her lips in a move that was too sexy to be anything other than unconscious.

"I could go for that," Chloe said. "Do I get a cock as big as you guys? How about cocks of many sizes and shapes? Do I get to use it on you, Kal?"

"I hope so," Clark said, blushing brightly. "I have some fantasies I'd like to live too."

"Do tell," Lex laughed. He pulled up the sheet over the three of them. It was too hot for blankets even with the mansion's air conditioning. "Though it might slow down the world conquering if we starting living out our fantasies."

"Sex first," Chloe said firmly enough to get snickers from Clark and Lex. "The world can wait a bit. You can't be taken seriously when you're only a high school graduate. Getting a college degree would help a lot, I'm sure."

Clark nodded thoughtfully at that, as if the suggestion had more merit than just being a reason for having hot sex on a more frequent basis. Lex noted that and had to control a grin. If they could consistently distract Clark from his world ambitions with more sex, then that would be a simple way to save the world.

"So what are those fantasies you were talking about?" Lex asked.

"Well, I was kind of thinking it'd be fun to be where Chloe was tonight," Clark said so shyly that he was completely the old Clark. "I'm invulnerable so it probably wouldn't hurt me. I mean, if you guys wouldn't mind doing it."

"Clark, you healed us," Lex said as he laid a gentle hand against his cheek. "You saved us from ourselves. You brought us together. You gave us the secrets of the universe. You've been nothing but kind and caring, in your own peculiar way. Helping you live out a few fantasies is nothing."

"Besides, that'd be a blast," Chloe agreed. "Just… not right now. I'm not sure I could coordinate my legs. God, but that was good sex!"

Clark smiled and pulled Chloe close so that he could cuddle her. Lex smiled and pressed up against her backside. Given the long flight he wasn't sure that they'd manage another round tonight, though with Clark and Chloe you never knew. It hardly mattered. They were together. They were home. The three of them might not be able to be open about their relationship yet but it looked like things might work out over the long term.

"Not sure what we're going to do about school," Chloe murmured a little while later.

"I'll pay for you to go," Lex said to Chloe. "Wherever you want."

"Met U," Chloe declared. "And we gotta find a way to get Clark a scholarship, too, so that he can go."

"I do have a penthouse in Metropolis that's not too far from the university," Lex said. "And there are apartments in the building. I'm sure that we could… arrange for you to have a room there too, Clark."

"Mom and Dad would probably object if it came from you," Clark said thoughtfully, "but if it came from Chloe they might let me do it. I can always fly back to help on the farm as needed, no matter where I end up."

"We can talk about it in the morning," Chloe said. "I have more cuddling and fucking I need to do."

Lex exchanged a grin with Clark, who looked delighted by the idea. He looked perfectly happy to table all thoughts of the future in favor of making Chloe happy and having sex. Of course, Lex was more than happy to do it, too, so that was fine. A small part of his mind stayed busy plotting out how Clark responded to various distractions and how that knowledge could be used to keep him from implementing his plans to take over the world. Maybe there was a way that they could redirect him into something less harmful and more productive for everyone involved…

+++++

Chloe hummed as she sauntered up the hallway to Lex's office, carrying bags of clothes and followed by her bodyguard. She still thought that the mansion was too old fashioned and impersonal but it was growing on her since their return to Smallville. A lot of things were growing on her, like having power and money at her disposal, but the whole instant attention when she stepped outside the door was getting really old.

Of course there were other things that were getting old. Even at the far end of the hallway Chloe could hear Lex arguing with his managers over one of Lionel's secret projects. From the tenor of their voices, Chloe thought that they were arguing keeping the secret super soldier project going instead of shutting it down. How anyone could think it was a good idea, Chloe didn't know, but apparently they did. She snorted.

"Here," Chloe said, passing the bags of clothes she'd bought to her current body guard, "take these up to our rooms. I'm going to pry Lex away from his meeting."

"Are you sure that's wise, ma'am?" the burly man asked. She still hadn't figured out all of their names. He might be Bob, but she thought he was Andrew. "It sounds like he's busy."

"Of course he's busy," Chloe said, flipping a hand at him. "I have to pull him away from work every day. He'd work straight through to midnight if given a chance. It's just one of those things that you deal with when you marry Lex Luthor."

Bob-Andrew stared at Chloe as if she'd just grown a second head. Chloe ignored his expression and headed straight into the office. Lex's face went from covertly frustrated to delighted as soon as she entered the room. The others looked at her with variations of patronizing annoyance, especially when Chloe sauntered over and perched on the end of Lex's desk and swung her feet like a little girl.

"They're still arguing about this?" Chloe asked Lex.

"Yes," Lex sighed.

"Seriously, just fire them and hire people who will actually follow your directions and the law," Chloe said. She turned and raised an eyebrow at one of the guys in suits who made a scoffing noise at her. "I'd suggest that you watch your tone, Mr. Jason Havers."

Lex crossed his arms on his chest and grinned at Chloe as if she was the most incredible thing ever. Between his blatant approval and the way Havers cringed, Chloe had to stomp on the urge to be a great deal more obnoxious. They knew so much about the people in the company that it would be easy to run roughshod over everyone and Chloe was determined not to do that.

"I've been there for the last two months while Lex called you guys with his orders," Chloe continued. "I know exactly what's going on, how much money you're costing the company and how much trouble you'll be in if you don't do as you're told. You're the manager of procurement. You have two mortgages and insufficient income to pay them off, much less put your three kids through college. Somehow, you're managing not only to do that but also to pay for a mistress and a very nice yacht. You'd best be a good bit more careful about how you manage your illegal funds. If I could find it, there's no doubt that the police could find a great bit more."

Havers went white. The others edged away from him as if he was contaminated. Chloe looked them all over, using her best 'reporter who knows more than she should' smirk. It worked way better now that she was Mrs. Lex Luthor than it ever had as Miss Chloe Sullivan. She really shouldn't enjoy the way they shriveled under her gaze, but it was far too much fun not to get a kick out of it.

"None of the rest of you are on any better footing," Chloe said to them. "Every single one of you was compromised by Lionel before his unfortunate… health issues. Lex knows about you. I know about you. Several other people with packages of information that you do not want seen by the police know about you, just in case you decide to follow Lionel's game plan rather than our game plan. You will change how you run this company or we'll deal with you. Is that clear?"

She got urgent nods of agreement and shaking knees from all of them. Havers collapsed back into one of the chairs in the office, so white that Chloe wondered how good his heart was. Next to her Lex was all but vibrating with joy and delight.

"And people wonder why I married you," Lex laughed.

"I thought that it was the hot sex and cleavage," Chloe said. He was grinning at her with delight that made Chloe laugh too.

"That's nice too," Lex said. "Lunch?"

"It's all ready and waiting for us," Chloe said.

"Take a break," Lex said, waving at the others casually. He came over and plucked Chloe off of the table and bent for a kiss. The switch between tenderness and the cold, merciless expression he leveled on them had the others backing off a step in fear. "We'll pick this up after lunch, after you've had some time to think about things."

Chloe managed not to snicker until after they were out of the room and down the hallway but it was a hard job. Lex chuckled with her, wrapping an arm around her back. Neither of them had expected that Lex's company had really straightened up. Everything that Jor-El had shown them while they were in the Fortress said that they were simply trying to hide their special projects and illegal activities until the current situation changed.

It wasn't how they wanted things to work. Chloe sort of hoped that by playing the surprise bitch she'd manage to get them to realize that this wasn't Lex in love and trying to change himself into someone new. This was status quo, taken in a completely different direction from what they were used to. At least Kal would still be able to go to the Fortress to check on all the stuff they couldn't see from Smallville.

"So what did you buy?" Lex asked as he helped Chloe into her chair.

"Clothes, some shoes, a lot of books," Chloe said with a bored shrug. "There really wasn't that much that I wanted or needed but I did need to get some clothes for that party thing you have to throw and I will need something for school. So I grabbed some of that."

"We can always have things made if you don't find what you're looking for," Lex offered. "There's no need for you to go to stores if you don't want to."

"I know, I know," Chloe said while rolling her eyes. "But that's just not me. I'm thinking I'll hit some second hand stores and see what I can scrounge up. That's way more fun."

Lex laughed and shook his head at her. They ate and chatted about all the problems Lex was having with the various managers of his company, plus some carefully curious and confused discussions of the new superhero, the Blur, that were purely for the benefit of the staff serving them. It had only been a few days since they got back but the Blur had become more and more open about himself.

It bothered Chloe but she supposed that there was some reasoning behind Kal's actions. They hadn't had a chance to question him on it yet. Chloe was determined to do so tonight, if only she could resist having sex with Lex and Kal. She didn't see why Kal would become a super hero only to later take over the world. There had to be a reason for it, though it was probably one of those weird Kryptonian reasoning things that only made sense after hours of discussion and explanation. Once they finished eating, Lex grinned and hauled Chloe off to the bedroom in full view of the security, staff and the managers from LuthorCorp.

"Should I be extra noisy?" Chloe asked as Lex stripped her shorts off.

"Absolutely," Lex said. "The noisier the better!"

It took less than twenty seconds for Kal to zip into the room, grinning at the two of them as if they were his personal porno. Chloe grinned and gestured for him to come over. His clothes went flying and then Clark was kissing her breasts while Lex was licking between her legs. Chloe gasped and moaned as loudly as she could, getting off on the fact that she knew that someone had to be listening in. They wouldn't be watching the three of them, not with Lex's paranoia about the bedroom being un-bugged, but the door wasn't that thick and the window was open.

"Fuck yes!" Chloe shouted as she came so hard that she saw spots. "Oh god, I needed that."

"Completely agreed," Lex chuckled.

He pushed Kal down between Chloe's legs, going for their tried and true combination with Kal in the middle of the two of them. Chloe opened up for him gladly, petting and caressing him as he moaned quietly. She wasn't sure if it was her wetness or Lex's hardness that caused the moans but honestly, she didn't care. Kal was there with them, loving and being loved. That was what counted.

It took very little time before the bed was rocking and banging against the wall. Chloe had a hard time not laughing even though she was enjoying herself enormously. Lex's grin and Kal's teeth clamped onto his bottom lip as he tried not to be too noisy didn't help. It was too hot to go for very long. Chloe giggled once Lex and Kal flopped on the bed on either side of her.

"Now that, I really needed," Chloe sighed.

"No kidding," Kal whispered into her ear. "I gotta go. Don't want to."

"We'll be here," Lex reassured him. "We'll always be here."

"Though you could do us a favor and set up some sort of secure communication link with Jor-El," Chloe said. "I swear, I think the biggest challenge to your eventual domination of the galaxy is from the jerks that Lionel hired. I don't want you to do anything like revealing yourself until we shut down all these idiotic weapons programs. I swear, somewhere, someone created killer wabbits with kryptonite teeth and I don't want you getting bitten on the butt. That butt belongs to us!"

Lex and Kal both started snickering. Chloe huffed at them. She was quite serious, though they obviously didn't believe her. Kal nodded and hugged them both before disappearing with his clothes. Chloe sighed and snuggled up to Lex instead.

"I was serious," Chloe murmured.

"I know," Lex said. "It's just how you said it. They are a threat. We may yet have to take them all down. I'm hopeful that we can make it work but…"

"Yeah, they're being really stupid," Chloe agreed. "So. Quick shower, quickie in the shower or just go down hot, sticky and really well fucked?"

Lex burst out laughing. Chloe grinned and then laughed with him when he rolled on top of her to kiss her breathless. How she could have lasted months without touching Lex, Chloe would never know. He didn't let her up for air for what felt like forever and which might have been at least a minute or two. Once he did his expression was grateful and awed.

"How did I get this lucky?" Lex asked.

"Oh, just took a meteor shower ending the world, plus several impossible occurrences and the biggest little cupid on the planet," Chloe said with a smirk that was probably ruined by her pleased blush.

"He is one heck of a cupid, isn't he?" Lex murmured. "I vote quickie in the shower and then going down really well fucked."

"The motion is approved and accepted by unanimous vote!" Chloe declared. "Let's hit that shower and make even more noise to shock the staff."

+++++

"Be quiet!"

Lex pushed Chloe a little further behind him, trying to guard her against Cooper-Smith's gun. It was one of the new ones, the incredibly dangerous ones that were prone to exploding unpredictably when fired more than three times in a row. He should have anticipated the Cooper-Smith would have one of the weapons in his office, given that the program was his pet project, but Lex hadn't.

Thus an infuriated maniac who had already fired an unstable weapon four times was holding him and Chloe at gunpoint and there was little chance that anyone would be able to save them. All of their bodyguards had already been killed.

"You're just jealous of my genius," Cooper-Smith snarled with his finger on the trigger. The manic look in his eyes intensified. "This project will make the company billions, billions! Your father understood the potential. You should too!"

"Perhaps you're right," Lex said, hoping without much hope that the cameras were still rolling so that the police would know what happened to them. "Why don't we sit down and you can tell me all about the project? I must not have gotten the full technical details."

"Not until that bitch is dead," Cooper-Smith snarled. "Everything changed when she married you. She's the one that's ruining the company. She's the one who's destroying us all. She'll run this company into the ground, destroy all our lives and then take you for everything you have left. She has to die. Once I kill her, things can go back to what they used to be."

Lex stiffened. He was willing to play along with Cooper-Smith as long as it protected Chloe but there was absolutely no chance that he'd let Chloe be hurt in the process. Chloe whimpered and clutched his jacket as if to keep him from charging at Cooper-Smith. Unfortunately, Cooper-Smith seemed to be just sane enough to realize that Lex wasn't going to cooperate.

"Damn you!" Cooper-Smith bellowed. "You can't really love that bitch! She's destroying the company and she's cut your fucking balls off!"

His finger tightened on the trigger one more time despite the way it glowed with an evil green light. Before his finger could close all the way a bright red and blue blur whooshed into the room, smacking the gun out of his hand. It flew into the wall and exploded, showering them all with debris and tiny flakes of kryptonite.

Clark collapsed, his speed eliminated by the kryptonite dust covering him. Lex shouted and charged at Cooper-Smith, hitting him as hard as he could in the jaw. He heard something snap and prayed that it wasn't the bones in his hand. Cooper-Smith grunted and went over backwards with his eyes rolling back in his head. His jaw was at a strange angle so hopefully that was what had broken instead of Lex's hand.

"Lex, he's hurt!" Chloe called.

She was desperately trying to brush the kryptonite off of Clark who panted and shuddered. Lex joined her as the police and his security team ran in. The police stared at Clark and his bright suit. It was obvious that his team wanted to do the same thing but they focused on locking down the room and securing Cooper-Smith instead.

"I'll be okay," Clark said in a deeper than normal tone of voice. His face was subtly different with different hair and different eyes. His jaw was much more square than normal. He looked like a completely different person but Lex knew exactly who he was. "Sorry. That was a bit more than I expected."

"Not at all," Lex said. He helped Clark stand and winced as the pressure on his hand made pain spike through him.

"You'll want to get that checked out," Clark said. "It's broken but they're only greenstick fractures. You should be all right fairly soon."

"Who are you?" the policeman in charge asked. His expression was a mix between wonder and suspicion.

"Just someone who wants to help," Clark said with that apple-pie and Mom smile that always won people over. "I'll get out of your way now. There's a fire in New York that I think I can help with."

There was a whoosh and as suddenly as he'd appeared Clark was gone. Lex fully intended to question him in detail about the costume that night but at the moment there were far more important matters to deal with. Chloe moved closer to Lex, gently cupping his elbow as if to support his arm.

"Do you know who that was?" the policeman asked.

"Never saw him before," Lex said, turning to Chloe.

"Was that the Blur?" Chloe asked. "I didn't think he was real."

The policeman nodded. He started working with Lex's security personnel while Chloe made sure that Lex's hand was bandaged up. By the time that had happened the news crews were eight deep outside so Lex caught Chloe's shoulder.

"We need to go public on what we're doing," Lex murmured to her out of the sight of the cameras. "This is getting too dangerous. We can't keep it all a secret anymore. I won't allow you to get hurt."

"I agree," Chloe said.

Her eyes held the same determination that Lex felt, added to their shared worries about Clark's safety. Clark was in more danger from the projects that Lionel had implemented than from anything outside of LuthorCorp. Lex wasn't going to allow his father's failed projects to destroy Clark. Obviously neither was Chloe.

"What are you going to do?" Harris, Lex's head of security asked.

"Tell the truth," Lex sighed. "This has gotten out of control. I had no issues dealing with this in-house but the instant I have people trying to blow my wife's head of with an unstable gun that my father designed, that's it. The rot is too deep. We need help to shut this insanity down. I will not allow this company to become a threat to public safety."

Harris opened his mouth to protest but Chloe matched Lex's glare and the man wilted. Lex noticed his obvious reluctance to do what was right and mentally made a note to demote the man and find someone from outside the company to do the job. He wasn't going to let anyone block them from dismantling his father's projects.

Lex held Chloe's hand as they went out to speak to the press. He was nearly blinded by all the flashes going off. Chloe's hand tightened around his as she stumbled ever so slightly. They made it to the podium without any embarrassing mistakes. Lex held up his broken hand for silence. He had to wait a minute or so before the shouted questions and flurry of pictures stopped.

"I know that everyone has questions," Lex said into the forest of microphones on the podium. "We're not going to take more than a few questions at this time. I still have to get my hand seen to properly and the Blur has assured me that it's broken. You'll pardon my unwillingness to extend my pain for your questions."

The reporters laughed but all of them looked ferociously curious as Lex wrapped his good arm around Chloe.

"Today was only the most recent in a series of problems my wife and I have had," Lex said. The crowd stilled. "Since our marriage and my father's unfortunate illness, it's come to my awareness that there are quite a few illegal and inappropriate programs in LuthorCorp. We haven't publicly confirmed this previously, but my father has suffered a mental breakdown. Prior to his collapse, he was obviously not functioning properly as LuthorCorp went in a direction that no sane man would allow. The incident today involved an illegally developed, highly unstable weapons program that killed over a dozen people during the testing phase."

The crowd gasped and people started shouting questions. Lex held up his broken hand again, asking them silently to calm and let him continue. It took another couple of minutes but eventually they did. Chloe rubbed his back while they waited.

"Thank you," Lex said once it was quiet enough to talk. "I ordered the program shut down the day after we returned from our honeymoon. It was one of three hundred and eleven such programs so far. I thought that we were approaching the end of our work to decommission all of my father's deranged projects but shortly before we came here to personally demand the program cease work, I received word that there were another hundred or more secret programs that are still on-going. This is more than my wife and I can handle alone."

"What are you going to do?" one reporter shouted.

"I fully intend to call in the government to get their assistance," Lex said. "We've already contacted them about what we found but rather than handling this in-house, I feel it's necessary to get outside assistance. I will not risk my wife's safety or the public's safety. I have no problems with being injured but I draw the line at other people being injured in this process."

"I object to you being hurt," Chloe huffed at him. "You've been hurt way too many times already."

Lex grinned at her while mentally sighing at the number of pictures that were snapped of their moment together. Sometimes he really hated living in the public eye. Chloe sighed and nodded slightly for Lex to continue.

"Today we were lucky," Lex said a great deal more gently. "The Blur was there to save us. Tomorrow we might not be so lucky, thus the decision to request assistance. My father's motivations aren't something that I understand but his notes indicated that he was trying to protect the world against some sort of supermen from another world. I know, I know. It's yet another sign of his mental collapse. There is no threat from outer space. We already have a superman and he's on our side. Now, we'll take four questions and then I think it's time for me to allow the doctors to poke and prod me."

Lex sighed once they got home. Chloe was studying the newspapers while curled up on the couch. The headline screamed "Luthors Saved By Superman". He chuckled a little ruefully. That wasn't what he'd expected the reporters to key in on but it wasn't really that bad of a name.

"Superman?" Clark groaned as he appeared in the room with them. "Come on, Lex. Couldn't you have chosen a better name than that?"

"I said that we have a superman," Lex said while grinning at Clark's dismay. "I never suggested it as your name."

"I think it works," Chloe said over Clark's dramatic groan. "You do have that big 'S' on your chest."

"That's not an 'S'," Clark protested. "It's the El family symbol."

"Looks like an 'S' to me," Chloe said.

She opened her arms and laughed as both Clark and Lex snuggled into her arms. They discussed the situation at LuthorCorp between making out and then having sex on the couch. Clark was a little worried about their safety if they brought the government in but in the end even he agreed that it was getting out of control.

The next month and a half was completely insane. The school year started, which meant that Lex and Chloe moved to Metropolis to live in the penthouse there. Clark moved as well, having gotten a scholarship at the last minute that Lex had covertly arranged for him. Chloe managed to convince Martha and Jonathan to let Clark have a low rent apartment in the same building as the penthouse. Lex still wasn't sure how she did it. All Chloe would say was that she'd told them it was a thank you for all of Clark's support over the years, and especially after the eloped. Somehow Lex suspected that tears must have been involved for Jonathan's resistance to have been eliminated.

Clark became widely known as Superman. He started staying around just long enough to exchange a few words with the people he helped. Once he did that he began making friends with other heroes simply because there was a chance for them to interact. Lex was fairly certain that in a couple of years the loose accumulation of superheroes was going to firm up into a real league that Clark could rely on to help him. He could only hope that by then they would have convinced Clark that his goals to rule the world weren't a good idea.

Lex was ferociously busy dealing with the FBI, National Security Agency, and his own people. The work to dismantle the secret projects moved much faster once Lex and Chloe went public. Apparently it took going public for people in the company to realize that Lex truly was serious about abandoning the old ways of doing thing. After Clark suggested setting up a reward system for people turning in projects that were out of control, it progressed even faster. There was still a huge amount of work to do but Lex felt like he was finally getting a handle on it all.

Chloe had to add three more people to her security team because of the media frenzy surrounding her. She set up her school schedule so that she had classes half the day and worked with Lex to dismantle the illegal projects the other half of the day. Most of the other students could care less about her being Mrs. Luthor after about a week, but the news media were a persistent problem for her. That decreased dramatically after she hired a fiercely intimidating woman named Mercy Graves as her head of security. Mercy was so terrifying that Chloe very rapidly had relative freedom of movement again.

"I need to headhunt her," Lex complained one evening after they'd returned home to the penthouse.

"Mine," Chloe huffed at him. She was grinning so he laughed at her huff. "Seriously, I understand the urge. Wait until things calm down a little bit and I'll be happy to have her be promoted up the chain. She'd probably shake things up enough that we'd be safe again if she was LuthorCorp's head of security."

"I am right here," Mercy growled at her.

"I thought you were pretending to be invisible," Lex said with an arch smile at her.

"Invisible, yes," Mercy said with one of her scary but amused smiles. "Deaf, no."

Lex was fairly certain that Mercy did everything scarily, no matter what it was. Chloe grinned and cuddled up next to Lex. Once in the penthouse, they settled down in the kitchen, Lex cooking and Chloe helping by staying out of the way. Mercy hesitated by the door and then sighed, turning to face them squarely. Her expression was serious enough that Lex paused and focused on her instead of his cooking.

"Ma'am, I have hesitated to say anything but if you are serious about promoting me within the organization I think that it is mandatory for me to speak up," Mercy said. Chloe studied her, head cocked to one side. "I would prefer if Mr. Kent had his own security badge to enter the penthouse. I find it quite annoying that he continually sidesteps the security system and 'borrows' other people's badges."

Lex's heart nearly stopped in his chest. Chloe squeaked and went so white that she looked like she might pass out. Rather than back down, Mercy's glare became fiercer. He wasn't sure how she did it but somehow even though she was the most terrifying person he'd ever seen, including his father in a rage, it was somewhat reassuring because she was worried about Chloe's safety.

"I do not care what he does while he's here during the night," Mercy declared. "I only care that the security measures are not effective against him. That is not acceptable. If he can bypass them, others can bypass them using similar methods. Give the boy a badge and ask him to enter like a normal person. I will ensure that there are no recordings of his time in the penthouse."

"Are you sure I can't headhunt her now?" Lex asked Chloe.

"If you can find a replacement for her on my team," Chloe said with a slightly dazed expression, "sure. You can. Wow. I thought Clark was doing a good job of hiding his visits."

"Adequate," Mercy sniffed, "but not sufficient given the threats facing you."

"We'll make it happen," Lex said to Mercy. He had to save the stir fry from burning so he didn't see the chilly smile that Mercy had to have leveled on them but he didn't need to see it to feel it.

"Thank you, sir," Mercy said.

She left them alone. Clark showed up a few minutes later, escorted quite firmly by Mercy. He had a sheepish but totally intimidated expression on his face. Mercy had a firm grip on his elbow. The look she leveled on them made it perfectly clear that she wanted the discussion about the security system to happen immediately.

"Pull up a chair, Clark," Lex sighed as he served out their dinners. "I believe we need to have a talk."

"Um, yeah," Clark said, sitting next to Chloe.

"Very good sirs, ma'am," Mercy said. "Mr. Kent's security badge will be ready before morning. I expect you to pick it up before you depart, Mr. Kent."

"Yes ma'am," Clark said meekly. For once the meekness appeared to be completely genuine, not acting.

Lex settled at the table and then breathed a huge sigh of relief once Mercy left. Clark looked at him with wide eyes before picking up his fork. All Chloe did was chuckle and shake her head. She didn't start eating yet.

"She does have a point," Chloe said. "I think it would be better if we claimed that you're coming up to visit because I'm homesick or something. Better to make sure that the security system is really complete than risk someone else exploiting the ways that you get in, Kal."

"I suppose I can see that," Clark said around a bite of food. "Might slow things down a bit. I was just about to move to the next phase of my plans."

"You really do need to slow down if an ordinary human can figure out what's going on," Lex said. "Think about it. If Mercy can figure it out, other people will figure it out. How soon before people start coming after Chloe and me to stop you? As amazing as your powers are, you can't be in two places at once."

Clark stiffed at the thought of the two of them being in danger. He obviously hadn't considered that, which wasn't too surprising. Lex would have considered it a foolish worry until recently. Dismantling his father's programs had shown him far more clearly than anything else could how easy it was to threaten him and Chloe.

"I don't want that," Clark said, disturbed enough that he set down his fork. "The last thing that I want is for you guys to be in danger because of me."

"So spend a lot more time on generating good will towards Superman," Chloe suggested. "Make him, I don't know, the best hero the world has ever known. If you become some sort of unimpeachable person that everyone trusts then when you do begin making 'suggestions' on how the world should run it'll be listened to. Right now you'd have to force people to obey. Isn't it better to simply convince them?"

Clark nodded slowly. "Yeah, that would be much more efficient. I was expecting that I'd have to spend at least 75% of my time enforcing my edicts. If I didn't have to do that then I'd have a lot more freedom to do other things."

"So take your time," Lex said. "There's no rush, after all. You've said many times that all three of us are immortal. You have as much time as you need to make sure things work. Don't fall into the trap of trying to do it all at once. Go slow and you'll succeed in the end."

Clark nodded, smiling at both of them before picking up his fork again. Lex exchanged a look with Chloe that mixed hope with worry. They had to keep trying. The more time they had, the more likely it was that they'd win and Clark would give up his ambitions to rule the world.

"So, um, are we still going to fuck after dinner?" Clark asked with a nervous look at the door. "She's not like, watching is she?"

Chloe looked towards the door too, with just as disturbed an expression as Clark. Lex chuckled and then grinned at the way they looked at him. He shrugged and finished his last bite before wiping his mouth and then grinning wickedly.

"Personally, I fail to see a problem with that," Lex drawled. "I rather like being watched but then I've always been a bit of an exhibitionist."

"Hmm, I say that we have him jack off while we watch and fuck each other then," Chloe said with a wicked grin of her own.

"Rao, I love you two so much!" Clark groaned. "Let's!"

+++++

"I can't believe that it's done," Chloe sighed as she flopped back onto the couch.

"I know," Lex said with the little relieved smile that Chloe never got to see unless they were totally alone or with Kal. "All of the projects are shut down. Every single one of them."

"We need a party," Chloe pronounced. "No, two parties. A big party with everyone and their dog, all those assholes who said that we couldn't do it, that we were liars and cheats and all that. And then a nice little party with just the people we care about who actually supported us in this disaster clean up."

Lex nodded at the idea, sliding down to pull her into a cuddle. "I approve of that concept. We'll have Mercy plan the big party."

Chloe cackled at that idea. She really hoped that Mercy would go for it. A party planned by Mercy Graves would be a terrifyingly efficient thing that would intimidate everyone who attended. Images of heavily armed guards serving little pastries and finger foods made Chloe laugh until there were tears in her eyes and she could barely breathe.

"You guys are home?" Kal asked sleepily from the bedroom. "When are you coming to bed?"

"Sorry," Lex said while cuddling Chloe. "We just got final confirmation that it's all done. LuthorCorp is no longer a threat to the world."

"That's great!" Kal said with a huge yawn. "So when are you coming to bed? It's past 1:00 a.m."

Chloe finally managed to push the laughter that sounded suspiciously like exhausted giggles down. She held her arms out to Kal, wordlessly demanding to be carried. He grinned and scooped her up in his arms. No matter how many times he did it, Chloe always had a moment of her little girl furious insistence that she could walk herself. This time, she was so tired that she really didn't care for more than one tenth of a second.

"Tired," Chloe murmured into Kal's neck.

"I know," Kal said so gently that she knew she had to sound like the little girl she probably looked like in his arms. "Bedtime for all billionaires."

He helped Lex stand and took them to the bedroom. Chloe had had plans for a wild night of sex around 5:00 p.m. but the paperwork and meetings that had followed the final approval from the government had slowly worn away her libido to the point that all she wanted was to be naked and in bed with her boys.

Kal stripped her and Lex at super speed, which always seemed like being buffeted by a very fast wind to Chloe. The buffeting was well worth it because she was in bed within seconds instead a whole minute or two. Chloe claimed the middle of the bed. Kal snuggled up to her front and then Lex draped himself over her back. It felt like home.

"Ma'am. It's time to get up. Ma'am! Chloe!"

"I'm up!" Chloe gasped as Mercy's voice finally penetrated her brain. "Is it morning already?"

"It's lunchtime," Mercy said with that smirky look on her face that said she loved getting Chloe to snap to attention that way.

"Seriously?" Chloe asked with her mouth gaping open at Mercy.

She stared at the windows with the blankets clutched to her chest. The world outside the window was winter gray but it was obviously daytime. Chloe checked the clock and it agreed with Mercy. No wonder she felt so good; she hadn't expected to get a full night's sleep.

"Why didn't they wake me up?" Chloe demanded while scrambling for her robe and fuzzy slippers.

"Lex has chosen to take a day off," Mercy explained. She stayed out of the way of Chloe's fumbling and scrambling. "Mr. Kent finished his chores early and returned here. I believe that they are planning a party."

Chloe laughed and relaxed. She took the time to brush her hair out and pull on some snuggly flannel pajamas before heading out into the rest of the penthouse. Apparently Lex and Kal had decided that her exhausted idea last night had some worth. They were cuddled together on the couch with Lex's laptop, quietly murmuring to each other.

"You could have woken me up," Chloe said.

She draped herself over the back of the couch to peer at the computer screen. Various caterers were on the screen. Lex grinned and kissed one cheek. Kal laughed and kissed the other one before scooping her over the back of the couch and into his lap.

"I can walk around the couch," Chloe said in her best arch tone of voice.

"I know," Kal said with a completely unrepentant grin. "That just takes too long. I wanted to hug you right now."

"So where's my hug?" Chloe demanded.

She got a hug and sloppy kiss from Kal, a proper kiss from Lex and then a big mug of coffee from Mercy. They spent the rest of the day planning when to have the big party and who to invite. Chloe refused to let either Kal or Lex help plan the private party. That one was hers.

They ended up having both parties about a week before Christmas. It was after school was out for Chloe and Kal, plus it gave everyone time to reply to the invites for the big party. No matter how Chloe begged Mercy she absolutely refused to have anything to do with planning the big party. Chloe thought it was a pity—a Mercy Graves party would have been incredible, specifically because it was terrifying.

The actual party they ended up with was one of those boring high-society things that Chloe had decided she loathed by the time she was half an hour into the first one. Her distaste for them had only grown since then. What really bugged her was that Kal got to skip the party entirely. He got to go play Superman while she and Lex had to circulate and make small talk. It was massively unfair and Chloe fully intended to have Kal make it up to her later.

"Can we leave fashionably early like royalty?" Chloe murmured to Lex about two hours into the party.

"They'll gossip about what we go to do," Lex murmured back. From the way he was smirking he was perfectly happy with the other attendees of the party assuming that they were going off to have sex.

"Oh, I can handle that," Chloe laughed. "How about a compromise? We go off for a little bit and then come back looking appropriately rumpled."

"Deal," Lex said instantly.

They 'snuck' out of the party together amid a wash of whispers that made Chloe want to laugh out loud. The quickie in the boardroom was well worth it, even if Kal wasn't there. Somehow having sex just with Lex or just with Kal had an illicit feeling to Chloe after the last few months. The law might say that it was the threesome that was wrong but to Chloe it felt perfectly right. Being with just one or the other felt wrong.

"I wonder if Mercy's wiping the security camera footage," Chloe sighed once they were done.

She stretched against the boardroom table, enjoying the cool feel of the heavy wood top against her back. Her silk wrap was flung somewhere off to the side so she was a little chilly. It reminded her of the Fortress, which made Chloe smile nostalgically.

"I hope so," Lex said. "I don't think we need the publicity right now."

"Oh my God," Chloe said in a mock-horrified voice, "A man actually having passionate, loving sex with his wife! What is the world coming to?"

Lex laughed and kissed her chuckles away. He helped her sit back up and they put themselves back together again. Chloe deliberately left her hair a little rumpled and made sure that Lex's cummerbund was just slightly askew. She could tell that everyone noticed the little details when they got back to the party just from the smirks and knowing looks that they got. Some of the other high society people that Lex had introduced Chloe to (that she'd instantly decided she hated) did look as though they thought it was scandalous for Lex and Chloe to actually care about each other. Throwing everyone out at the end of the night was a positive relief.

The private party a few days later was much nicer. They flew back to Smallville and held it in the mansion. It still didn't feel like home, but it was closer to home than anywhere outside of the Fortress. Chloe had Mel Brooks movies playing in the background and made sure that there was plenty of pizza, drinks and snack food available. People played pool or talked or just sat on the couch and enjoyed the fire.

Lois brought her newest boyfriend who she immediately abandoned for Oliver Queen, one of Kal's new superhero friends. The newest boyfriend promptly hit it off with Pete and they went off to talk about cars and lament about girls having no taste when it came to good-looking guys. Martha and Jonathan made a point of thanking Chloe for Kal's apartment. She hugged them and insisted they stop thanking her for it because Kal's cooking was better than Lex's and seriously, how many stir-fries was one girl supposed to eat?

They all had a sad toast to Lana's loss and then later in the evening Kal started singing Christmas carols for them. Martha and surprisingly Oliver joined him. Towards the end of the night Oliver got a call and he slipped out, giving Kal a significant look that sent Kal heading in the opposite direction. Once Chloe heard the whoosh she realized they must have gotten called to work in their other identities.

By midnight, everyone was headed to bed with smiles on their faces. Chloe got hugs from pretty much everyone. Even Pete grudgingly admitted that Lex was doing right by Chloe. It was everything she'd wanted that first party to be, but more given that LuthorCorp wasn't a danger to the world anymore.

"That was nice," Lex said as they curled up in bed together. "Would have been better if Clark and Oliver hadn't had to leave but still, much better than the society party."

"That was what a real party should be," Chloe said.

She snuggled up and smiled at the warmth of the flannel sheets around them. Despite how well things had gone lately, Chloe felt a little at loose ends. There was her schooling but somehow becoming a journalist wasn't anywhere near as interesting as it used to be. Chloe was making the news now, not just reporting it. Honestly, she'd almost rather be helping Clark and his superhero friends than running around reporting problems. It seemed a lot more exciting, especially given the way newspapers were dying around the country.

"What's wrong?" Lex murmured a few minutes later.

"Just… sort of at a loss," Chloe admitted. "I'm not sure what I want to do with my life anymore. I mean, I still love journalism but it's… lost its grip on me."

"We are making the news now," Lex agreed.

"Exactly!" Chloe said. "And frankly, now that LuthorCorp's been cleaned up there really isn't that much for me to do there."

"Other than scare all of the executives on a regular basis," Lex chuckled. "You're very good at that."

"Thank you," Chloe said and kissed him. "Quit distracting me. I'm sorting my feelings out verbally."

"Ah, I'll be quiet then," Lex said.

He grinned at her as he said it, obviously amused by Chloe's need to talk it out. That led to a deeper kiss, which lead to Chloe riding Lex, which to her amusement apparently led to Kal coming straight home to join them for a round of sex. She did love it when she got to be in the middle. Being that full of her guys' cocks always made her come her brains out.

"Thank you," Chloe sighed, smiling at both Lex and Kal. "I think I needed that. Though I still have no idea what to do with myself once I finish school. Not sure I even want to stay on the journalism track."

"Seriously?" Lex asked. The way he raised his eyebrow seemed to imply that he really hadn't thought she'd been meant it earlier.

"Yeah," Chloe admitted. She pressed back into Kal's arms, smiling when he cuddled her.

"You two could help me," Kal suggested so hesitantly that he sounded exactly like the old Clark that they'd known before the meteor shower had shattered Chloe's understanding of the world.

"You need help?" Lex asked.

He settled in and cuddled up to Chloe's front, idly stroking her and Kal's sides as if he couldn't stop touching them. Kal nodded and let Chloe shift position so that she could see both of their faces without craning her neck. She thought that Kal looked like Clark right now. The old hesitation and self-doubt was there far more obviously than she was used to. Seeing these little glimpses of that side of Kal always made her heart hurt a little, though she did love Kal too.

"I kind of do," Kal admitted. "See, there are all these things that I want to implement, improvements for the world, but making it work looks like it's going to be a lot harder than I thought. And this superhero thing takes so much time. I'm always late and I have to duck out of things on a regular basis. I like being a superhero though. I don't want to give it up."

"You're rushing again," Lex sighed.

"I guess I must be," Kal said reluctantly.

"So what do you need to do?" Chloe asked.

"I don't understand the law well enough," Kal admitted. "And I really don't understand human psychology very well. You two have shown me that. Jor-El understands humans even less. It's kind of sad at times."

Chloe nodded slowly. She'd certainly seen that over the last nine months or so. Kal was able to pretend fairly well but it seemed to her like he was thinking in another language or something. He literally didn't get certain very basic things and they continually tripped him up when he was dealing with people.

"So you need advice?" Chloe asked.

"Um, actually?" Kal said in his Clark-iest tone of voice in a long, long, long time. "I wanted you guys to be my concubines when I was ruler of the world but um, I think it might work much better if I made you my co-rulers."

"That would offer a very different line of attack on the problem," Lex said in his most analytical voice, the one that said his brain had just kicked into high gear. "If we went that way, then I could run for political office and work my way up. If I was President of the United States then it would be much easier for you because you'd have my support."

"Good point," Chloe said. "It will take more time, a couple of decades, but heck, we do have time. Might even get to have a family in the middle of this. I'd honestly rather have kids before you do the 'conquer the world' thing. It'll probably be too dangerous for a while afterwards."

Chloe blinked at the looks on Kal and Lex's faces. They looked almost like she'd just hit them both up back of the head. Lex's mouth worked for a moment and then he hugged her as if she'd just given him the biggest, best present he'd ever gotten. She looked at Kal and he had the same look on his face, augmented by the faint sheen of tears in his eyes.

"What?" Chloe demanded. "What? What'd I say?"

"You really want to have our kids?" Kal asked.

"Yeah," Chloe said. "Not right now, not while I'm still in school but I always wanted a big family, you know. Being an only child was lonely. I didn't think I'd get a family with a journalism career but it is something I really want. I want your kids and Lex's kids, maybe three or four of them. Heck, if we're really immortal I wouldn't object to raising one set of kids, waiting until they're adults and then having another set or two. That should be long enough for me to get over the trauma of the terrible twos."

"I…" Kal's throat seemed seal up on him.

He hugged both Chloe and Lex, trembling slightly. By the time he let go Lex had calmed down and was petting Kal's hair lovingly. Chloe held Kal, rubbing his back. It took a good half hour before Kal finally pulled back enough to meet their eyes.

"I want a family more than I want to rule the world," Kal admitted. "It's so lonely being the only Kryptonian. I… we'll go with the political plan, your plan, Lex. And in a few years Chloe and I can go back to the Fortress and get the contraception thing fixed."

"Good," Chloe said, pulling him down into a tender kiss. "There are better ways to accomplish what you want than doing something violent and stupid. I think Superman can guide the world to a better life much better than Kal-El the conqueror ever could. In the meantime, we can have what we need without the law supporting us. I don't think anyone will object too much."

"Billionaires get away with a lot of stuff that's much worse than having a boy-toy," Lex agreed.

"If I'm the boy-toy then why is Chloe in the middle?" Kal asked with his wickedest grin.

Chloe exchanged a look with Lex, a grin blooming on her face. A similar grin stretched Lex's mouth. He laughed and pulled Kal into the middle of the bed. Once they were arranged so that Lex was prepping Kal and Kal was pushing into Chloe, Lex nuzzled the small of Kal's back, eliciting a needy gasp.

"A very good question," Lex said.

"I think our boy-toy definitely needs more attention," Chloe agreed.

"Oh God yes," Kal moaned in Clark's voice. "Love you guys so much!"

+++++

Kal flew over Metropolis, scanning and listening for any problems. It was a quiet night, which was a relief after the entirely too busy afternoon he'd had. Sometimes he wondered how he managed to keep his job at the Daily Planet. Even if he did always turn in good stories, most of the courtesy of super speed typing, employers did expect their employees to actually be at work on a regular basis. Of course, Chloe's purchase of the Daily Planet probably helped on that. It was hard to fire the best friend and widely gossiped about lover of the owner.

Chloe hummed back in the penthouse, soothing Kon to sleep. It still amazed him that she'd given him a son. Three years after his birth, Kal still spent part of each night staring down into Kon's tiny face with love pounding through his heart. Kon was a blessing beyond all blessings, just as Chloe and Lex were.

Rather than spend the rest of the evening patrolling when nothing seemed to be happening, Kal went home. The penthouse had become his true home a long while back, during college if he was honest and he did try to be honest with himself. He often thought that the day he truly felt like he belonged on Earth was the one when Chloe said that she wanted to have his and Lex's kids. The day that he felt like the penthouse was his true home, instead of the Fortress, was the day that Kon was born. Every day since then had bound him closer and closer to his odd little family.

"You're home early," Lex said as Kal flew in. "Quiet night?"

"Very," Kal said.

He grinned as Lex came over to claim a deep kiss. Lex usually started out gentle and then got more urgent as Kal silently egged him on, but this time Lex was the one who took it hot and heavy. Kal groaned into Lex's mouth as he was pushed back against the couch and Lex's leg slid between his thighs. The feel of Lex's body pressed against Kal's and his fingers in Kal's hair had Kal trembling with need.

"Wow," Kal gasped once Lex backed off enough to let Kal breathe again. "What brought that on?"

"Mmm, several things," Lex said as he grinned at the way Kal had responded. He rubbed his hand over Kal's crotch, tugging at the neck of his suit. "I think you should get changed. Chloe and I have plans for you tonight."

"Oh fuck yes," Kal groaned.

He sped to the bedroom and got cleaned up as quickly as possible. Despite his efforts to hurry Chloe and Lex were waiting for him in the bedroom when he got out of the bathroom. Chloe had stripped down to a sexy little teddy that just showed the new swell of her belly where she carried Lex's first child. Lex was stark naked and lying on the bed with his cock in his hand.

"I hope that your plans for me include both of you," Kal said as he climbed onto the bed with them.

"Oh yeah," Chloe said.

She pushed him back towards Lex and then started kissing him just as urgently as Lex had out in the living room. Lex growled and started working his fingers into Kal's ass, lubing him up immediately. It was hot and urgent and fast and Kal thought he might come just from the excitement rolling off of the two of them.

The first round was incredibly short, barely fifteen minutes from start to end. Kal laughed at Chloe's disappointed moan when he and Lex came. He didn't know what she was expecting from him. No matter what his reputation said, Kal didn't have super human endurance when Chloe and Lex did that to him.

It hardy seemed like the first round had ended before Lex and Chloe began kissing and caressing Kal to get him ready for the second round. Surprisingly enough, Lex was ready before Kal was, which said a lot about how aroused the two of them were. The second round turned into one of those long, slow, endless fucks that seemed to last forever as Kal and Lex worked to hold off while they drove Chloe into as many orgasms as they could.

"You two are incredible," Kal groaned once they'd collapsed together in the middle of the bed.

"I think there's some incredible going on all over the place," Chloe laughed breathlessly.

"I can't feel my toes," Lex groaned. "God, you two are going to be the death of me someday."

"Not today," Chloe declared fiercely enough that Lex laughed and Kal grinned at her.

"No, definitely not today," Lex agreed.

"You're making me really curious," Kal said. "What's got into the two of you?"

Lex blinked at Kal, raising an eyebrow at him. Chloe snickered as if she'd expected his response and Lex hadn't. She squirmed out of their arms and pulled a newspaper up off of the floor. At the same time she grabbed a little box off of the bedside table that he hadn't noticed with their urgent demands for sex.

"Read this," Chloe said. "I told you that he'd been too busy to see it today."

"Obviously you were right and I was wrong," Lex said in one of his rare admissions.

"Okay," Kal drawled. "Now I'm really curious."

He read the article, which had been buried way back on the fifth page of the Lifestyles section. It only took a few instants for him to realize exactly why they'd been so excited. The news did the same thing for him, though he felt more like breaking into tears or flying to the sun and back from sheer joy.

'Gay marriage approved in Kansas,' was all the title said but the actual details of the article made it clear that it wasn't just gay marriage that was now legal. Triads had been approved as well. Kal looked at Chloe who bounced a little while clutching the little box to her chest. Lex laughed and hugged Kal from behind.

"So," Lex murmured in Kal's ear, setting off shivers of pure joy, "Would you marry us, Clark Jerome Kent?"

"After all, we can't ask Superman to marry us," Chloe said as she offered the box with it's golden ring to Kal. "He's Superman and he belongs to the whole world. We can ask you to marry us, Kal. If you want to."

"Are you kidding?" Kal laughed because it was either laugh or cry from joy.

He pulled Chloe into his arms and kissed her just as urgently as Lex had kissed him when he got home. Lex got his kiss next and then they had sex yet again. Their lovemaking was full of laughter and tears and a lot more cuddling than normal. It was perfect, especially when Chloe and Lex slipped the ring onto Kal's finger together.

"Rao, I love you two," Kal whispered.

"We love you too," Lex murmured.

"So much," Chloe agreed.

By the time they were done touching and kissing it was close to 2:00 a.m. Kal smiled into Chloe's hair, holding her in one arm and Lex in the other arm. Chloe yawned while running her fingers idly over the muscles of Kal's stomach. Lex seemed more than three quarters asleep.

"Hey," Chloe said and yawned again.

"Mmm?" Kal asked.

"Now that you can be married to us legally and you're leading the world without being its ruler," Chloe asked, "are you still going to go for that rule the world thing?"

"Hmm, good question," Lex murmured in a tone of voice that told Kal that he wasn't quite as close to sleep as he seemed.

Kal laughed quietly and hugged them both. They never had given up on stopping his and Jor-El's plans for the world. It was part of why he loved them. They always made him think things through. Every single plan he'd ever made had been improved dramatically because of their input. He was pretty sure that they thought that the endless sex and distractions were keeping him from noticing how they blocked his goals. No matter what act he put on, Kal wasn't a dummy.

He knew what they were doing. He'd always known.

Of course he'd never managed to make clear to them exactly why he wanted to rule the world but it made him happy that they cared so much about him that they would make him work for what he wanted. The different paths that they'd found to his goals were truthfully much better than the ones that he'd originally laid out. Over the last eight years or so it had become something of a game for him to keep pushing while they pushed back. Kal was pretty sure that Lex thought of it as a game too. He wasn't as sure about Chloe but she never seemed too upset by his refusal to give up.

The great part was that they seemed to have accepted their immortality a lot more easily than Kal had when he'd first learned of it. They had hundreds of years to work on his goals together. Which path they took to get there didn't matter all that much to him, as long as they did it in the end.

He would never let humanity die out, trapped on Earth, when there was a universe for them to explore. Getting humanity out there was the goal. The method was always open to debate. He could have directly ordered the creation of space stations and colonies if he was the ruler of the world. Doing indirectly through inspiration seemed a lot harder but it seemed to be working fairly well. The world had made huge advances since the three of them got together.

"I suppose that I can think about that," Kal said with a grin that they responded to even if they couldn't see it in the darkness of the bedroom. "After all, we've got plenty of time to decide, don't we?"

The End