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The Valentine's Day Wars (In 7 Takes)

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Take 1: Chocolate


Lex's eyes narrowed as he glared down at the seemingly innocuous package perched on the end of his desk.

The simple, plain white cardboard box had no identifying markings on it and no mailing label. He had no idea how it had gotten into his office.

He was fairly sure that it hadn't been there before when he'd first arrived this morning, taking the elevator down from the penthouse suite. He knew that his mail staff was too smart and too well-trained to bring anything up without checking it thoroughly and adding at least a note to this effect. In fact, after asking around, it seemed not one of his staff had seen who had left it.

So, of course he did the smart thing -- he picked up the phone and called the Metropolis PD Bomb Squad.


When the members of the bomb squad had finally left, looking a bit annoyed for some reason after having thoroughly investigating the area and declaring it safe (was it really too much to ask them to do their job properly?), Lex looked inside at the contents of the carefully-opened package. The box turned out to have several pieces of dark candy-like substances inside of it, smelling suspiciously of chocolate and wrapped in small cutouts of paper. From the look of them, the chocolate-y contents had obviously not been mass-produced and Lex, being a smart man and knowing his half-sister's penchant for drugging, poisoning, and otherwise mind-wiping people surreptitiously with mind-altering substances and other assorted toxins, sent the whole kit-and-caboodle down to the biohazard detection lab adjunct to the mail room in the basement, where it should have gone in the first place, and gave instructions to do whatever was necessary to identify the entire chemical makeup of the contents and trace the package back to the originating source.

Having washed his hands of the mess, he finally sat down to work, glancing at the clock and sighing because -- due to the unfortunate interruptions of the day -- he was going to be late leaving work tonight.


"Lois said somebody tried to blow you up this morning," was the petulant greeting Lex received upon entering his domicile at 10:42pm that night.

Lex sighed. He shrugged off his jacket, loosened his tie, and tossed back tiredly, "If I called you every time somebody tried to bomb my office, you'd be perpetually spending your time attached to my hip, and neither of us would never get anything done."


"Besides, how could all those poor twelve-foot-long 'kitty-cats' in trees in Tanzania make it through the day without your Super presence around to keep them safe from the poacher of the week? And where would we be without my brilliance being better applied to all those fun scientific problems instead of causing trouble?" Lex smirked a little to himself as he said the last, slipping out of his shoes, and turning to face Clark. "I know, I know, spending the day so close by and getting constantly distracted by each other's sheer physical yummy-ness is all well and good for us, but surely too much hedonism for such as we might be a bit detrimental for the rest of the planet? I mean," he ended tongue-in-cheek at the last, grinning up at Clark, "however would they survive?"


"And it turned out that it was a false alarm, in the end. No bomb." He padded up to Clark and tilted his head up as he slid into his love's personal space.

"Oh. Well, good." Lex could almost hear the tension loosen out of Clark's shoulders at the last, without even having to have felt it through his hands as he slowly trailed them up Clark's sides.

"Mmmm, so..." Lex transitioned smoothly, leaning in a bit more for a 'welcome home' kiss. He was slowly getting addicted to those, Clark hadn't given him his daily dose yet, and he'd been feeling the lack pretty especially badly today.

"...'sheer physical yummy-ness'?" Clark interrupted, tilting his head at Lex.

Lex dropped his head back down and thumped it lightly against Clark's chest, then sighed. "Really? That's what you got out of that, farmboy?" Not the whole hedonism bit where I'd want to peel layers of clothing off you like... oh right, I didn't say that part out loud because Conner might hear and he's at an impressionable age and... wait... "Where's Conner?" Lex asked, snuggling into Clark's arms, and turning his head against his chest to glance around the rest of the room. Their son couldn't be in all that much trouble, or Clark would've been frantic.

"He's staying with Tim and Bruce tonight," Clark said.

"What? Two nights in a row?" Lex asked. Wasn't Conner supposed to be sleeping over tomorrow night?



"Lex, you do know what day it is, right?"

Lex's social aptitude was not that lacking, even after 36 hours without sleep. He heard that tone, and his brain immediately sent up red flags, flares, and big flashing "DANGER! WARNING!" lights.

He paused and did some mental math from the last time he'd been absolutely sure of the date and time -- Japan, business conference, god how he'd missed Clark, because Superman needed to stay the hell out of contact with Luthor to keep the tabloid speculation out of their private lives -- then blinked and refactored in that incredibly annoying layover in California and...

Oh. Shit.

Lex valiantly fought the urge to whimper, but in doing so his masochistic tendencies broke through the breach, instead.

"You know I don't like surprises -- why the hell did you leave me something without a note!" Lex ground out hotly, slapping his hand against Clark's wide chest, while inwardly he groaned at himself. Lex strikes first, film at eleven, what else is new? Good going Luthor, what a great way to start-and-end your first Valentine's day with your sweetheart.

"What the hell, Lex?! -- of course I left you a note--" And Clark, to his credit, was much quicker on the uptake than Lex had been that day. "Oh my god, you thought my present was a bomb?!"

"...You left me a note?" Lex asked weakly, looking up at Clark. He hadn't seen one. No, he knew he hadn't seen one. There hadn't been a note, he was sure of it--


Oh, that bitch!!!

Lex put his head down again, hunching his shoulders, baring his teeth, and growling into Clark's chest. "Tess."

She hadn't left the box in his office after the executive meeting of the day. Oh no, that would have been too easy.

No, she had just removed Clark's identifying note and tricked Lex into disposing of his homemade, handmade, loving gift, instead.

A gift of food. From Clark. Gone. --Oh, hell no. This time she'd crossed a line.

This means war.


Take 2: Watercolors


Lex was a bit annoyed with Clark.

Not that he had any right to be -- he had been the one to thoroughly screw up their first Valentine's Day together, after all, what with letting Tess trick him into destroying Clark's homemade chocolate in a death-by-chemical-testing-via-slightly-shadowy-basement-lab and then being incredibly late getting home that night because he'd gotten confused as to what day it was.

And it didn't matter what anyone said -- Lex wasn't entirely unconvinced that that layover hadn't been concocted by Tess, as well.

He'd had to halt the ongoing investigation by his sublevel security staff on the identity of the sender when he realized that 'Superman' must have been the one to sneak in and leave it. Sure, 'Superman' and 'Reporter Clark' were on good terms, but enough of a friend for Luthor's nemesis to leave Luthor a present from said lover? No, too much speculation there. He made a general excuse of Clark managing to get someone unnamed in the secretarial pool to leave it for him who had fessed up later, and the mix-up with notes, and luckily, because he was the boss, that was that.

So no -- Lex had no right to be annoyed on those counts. No, the annoyance factored in to what Clark said afterwards:

"No, Lex! No getting even with Tess! Just leave her alone, ok? I don't want you two trying to gun each other down in the street!"

Ah, his love knew him so well.

He'd even extracted a promise from Lex:

"Fine, fine, no physical violence, payback, or comeuppance. --On this," he had ended swiftly, reserving the right for future retribution on other counts.

And Clark had fallen for it.

Right. Nothing physical. Lex mentally grinned a shark's grin to himself. But Luthors are all about the mental games. I think it's time my dear, dear little sis learned this. The hard way.

Then Lex blinked as he got a terrible, horrible, wonderful idea. (--And now he knew where Conner must get it from. He probably had a passable Grinch-grin himself, if he wasn't eminently capable of keeping it off of his face and leaving the rest of the population totally unsuspecting and generally none-the-wiser.)

...Ah, but he'd have to get to that later. He wouldn't want Clark picking up on his meet, right, and good vengeance.

So, instead, Lex glanced down at his palette of watercolors and mused a bit more about the light and shadows playing across his canvas. Hm. Clark's skin really was a lovely shade of sun-bronze, wasn't it?

"Uh, Lex?"

"Yes, Clark?" he asked quite calmly. He was feeling rather zen at the moment, now having resolved exactly what steps he would take to neutralize Tess in the future. He selected a nice robin's egg blue and dipped his brush in it.

"Ummm, you know, we don't have to do stuff like this, right?"

"Oh, but I insist," Lex smiled. "After all, one day is not just like another," Lex purred as he carefully removed excess liquid from the soft brush bristles, "and I really do want to make it up to you."

"But, um, really, a whole wee-eEK?" Clark ended on a squeak as Lex lightly brushed the color on.

"Ah, sorry, did that tickle?" Lex asked innocently.

Clark, lying supine, stretched out across the fainting couch in the solarium, shirtless, bit his lip and tried very hard to indicate otherwise by not twitching and squirming from the contact, and a quick shake of his head.

Lex fought down a smirk. You aren't fooling anyone, you know.

So, Clark continued to make soft 'meep!'ing sounds as Lex continued to lightly paint on his skin, down the sides of his chest. He had a lovely sunset blush going on, and it spread into the blues and light purples across his arms and lower torso nicely.

Mmm, and he hadn't even gotten to convincing his lover-boy to remove his pants, yet.

This was going to be a fun afternoon.

Lex grinned.

...And to think, if Tess had known that Lex was going to get a whole week of Valentine's Days out of Clark out of all this -- well!

Ah, revenge was sweet. And apparently sometimes tickled, too.

Clark 'meep!'ed again. Lex chuckled evilly.


Take 3: Kiss


Lex loved Clark's kisses.

Lex also loved Clark.The two concepts might be related.

They were taking it slow, and Lex was not pushing (much) despite the fact that this tended to leave him needing other forms of self-supplied 'relief'. After all, Lex might have incredibly self-control, but Clark had the sculpted body of a Greek god and Lex was only human.

It was okay, really -- Lex knew he was a masochist, and was man enough to admit it. He realized that he probably shouldn't be indulging himself in torturing himself quite this much, though.

...Of course, this had nothing to do with any possible worries on Lex's part as to his own reactions, oh no! This was purely about Clark and his penchant for kisses and as-yet no expressed interest for anything much more physical that would be... below the belt, as it were.

After all, Lex knew damn well that his own physical reactions to Clark were very positive in this regard, and surely there would be no odd hangups once they got to said below-the-belt point in their relationship, when he would actually be confronted with pseudo-human-male-like alien physiology. Clearly. Because no city-dwelling good citizen of Metropolis' who has frequented many -- if not all -- of itsfinest (and not-so-finest) after-hours clubbing establishmentswould ever have even the slightest twitches at the odder and/or less common sorts of sexual relations, despite being Kansas-born-and-bred with all the homophobic reactions that might otherwise imply.

...Damn Oliver and his insinuations. Lex was 99.99999% positive that he really never had had sex with a human male before, but he would've liked to have had some indication or other memory of such, if only for the data. Because that 0.00001% nagged at him, and he was pretty sure that he was not bisexual, though he hoped that he was more well-bred than to freak out at anyone, even a male, after a one-night stand a la drunken blackout, if it had happened. Except that he was pretty sure that it hadn't. And it better not with Clark. Argh.He was overthinking this.

Lex forcibly shoved Oliver out of his brain, where he should have stayed in the first damn place, because who wants a dumb blonde archer running around their brain? Not Lex. Certainly not when the bastard was carrying pointy little arrows to stick pins in bad thoughts --aaaand Lex pushed Oliver out of his brain again. He'd much rather have Clark there, thank you.

So Lex concentrated instead on rather large eyefuls of Clark. He hadn't managed to get Clark's pants off during the painting session, but he had been able to get him into the shower... and then slide his shoes and socks off, remove his mother's watch, and slip in right behind him... and then watch Clark turn around and get all flustered and have to be reminded that they were married... and then have to explain that married couples (and even significant others) did in fact sometimes shower together... and then realize that Lois had never actually done this sort of thing with Clark, for one reason or another -- Lex certainly didn't care about the whys and wherefores -- except that he was going to be the one to get to explain why...

At which point Lex was the cat that ate the canary. (Catwomen and Black 'birds of prey' aside.) Oh, such a good day.

Lex faced the wide expanse of Clark's watercolor-bespeckledskin and slowly slid the slightly-rough cotton washcloth up over Clark's shoulder and then down his back, luxuriating in the feel of it. He had to bite down on a grin as he resisted the urge to wrap himself around Clark from behind and just... But no. Too much, too soon. Instead, he reached around Clark's front carefully and wetted down the cloth with more water from the showerhead spraying down over them (though more over Clark than himself, Clark being closer to the drain). He watched Clark flex his hands slightly on either side of the showerhead, and his muscles shiver and jump as Lex lathered up the cloth with more suds from the soap and then took another long, slow, hand-wide swipe across Clark's back from shoulderblade to hip.

When Lex had finally finished the procedure on Clark's back and sides, and turned Clark around to finally face him, he was slightly disappointed to see that the constant water spray had already washed away most of the paint. Lex finished that a bit too quickly for his liking, but that was that.

...At least, until he caught Clark staring down at him from under lowered lids with an expression he'd not quite seen before.


"Ahh... --yes, Clark?"

Clark stepped just a little closer to Lex. "Can I...?"

Lex's breath caught slightly. "Can you... what?" he asked as lightly as he could, trying not to sound strained, because god Clark smelled good under the water and clean smell of the plain bar soap.

"Can I..." Clark paused, looking nervous, starting to blush all over again. Lex waited with baited breath, because Clark was rarely the one to instigate anything sexual between them.

Lex barely made out Clark's soft murmur. "Can I... your shirt..."

And then Lex had to blink and desperately try to keep a straight face and not laugh, because it came to him that Clark was still wearing his pants and he himself was still fully-clothed (except for his socks).

"Sure. Of course, Clark," Lex managed to get out without sounding strangled.

Clark's blush turned on full-high-red, and before Lex could being to move to remove the offending (and by this point, soaking wet) item, Clark's large hands came up and started to undo buttons.Lex watched in fascination asClark slowly and oh-so-carefully peeled his shirt off of him, because this was far more erotic than it should have been, and it was a damn good thing that Conner was in school right then. And that he was wearing somewhat constraining pants.

Clark took a shuddering, excited breath and his eyes went wide as the soggy fabric fell to the porcelain below. He gently slid his palms up Lex's bare, hairless arms and curled his fingers around Lex's shoulders with the lightest of butterfly touches. His eyes were glazed over, and his pupils were blown out wide -- completely blissed out.

And then they were suddenly both on their knees because apparently Clark was so thoroughly enthralled with the sight of Lex that he'd forgotten how to stand.

Lex grinned, leaned forward, and took Clark's mouth in a hot, wet, hungry kiss under the warm water spray. Clark's arms slid down his back and encircled him completely.

Oh yes, Lex and Clark were taking things slow.

Worth it, Lex thought smugly.


Take 4: Be Mine


"Sugar hearts?" Lex asked, leaning over his son's head as he sat at the kitchen table, and tilted his head at Conner'shumongouscandy haul. Apparently the schoolgirls adored him.

Lex would have puffed his chest out and said they had good taste, if there wasn't a decade-plus difference in life experience involved. Instead, he had the uneasy feeling that comes with wondering if some strange older woman (or twelve) was exhibiting indecent sexual interest in his three-year-old son and possibly considering performing some sort of deviant behavior on said son, and confront the distinct possibility of having to plan what necessary measures he might have to take in preemptive retaliation against said woman (or women) at this disturbing revelation.

Lex wondered again, and not for the first time, whether Conner might be better served being placed to work in a daycare with infants, toddlers, and pre-kindergarten children. After all, he'd learn responsibility -- he was perfectly capable of taking care of others smaller than himself -- and would be learning to socialize with children closer to his own actual age... while being otherwise bored out of his mind. This as opposed to attending highschool, where he was having to navigate the teenage social structure (or what horrific tangled mess ever existed as such), deal with bullies andsycophantstrying to respectivelybesmirchor capitalize on the Luthor-Kent name, among other atrocities... while being otherwise bored out of his mind. Yes.Maybe Lex shoulddis-enrollhim tomorrow. He could. After all,Lex really wasn't seeing the upside here.

...Except for Conner somehow having mysteriously gained lots of sugary snacks from said large group of secret- and not-so-secret admirers. Clearly his son must have gotten that bit from Clark, no matter how much Clark claimed to have been patently not a social butterfly throughout any of his school years -- Lex knew Conner didn't get it from him. No girl in her right mind had ever given him the time of day when he'd been going to Excelsior, and it wasn't because it was a boy's boarding house and there had been a significant lack of female presence on the school grounds.

"Daaaad," said heartbreaker complained. "They're candy hearts, and they taste great!"

"Taste like what? It's pure sugar!" Lex protested, trying to swipe them off of the table and away from his son. "They have no redeeming nutritional value whatsoever. Even chocolate has milk in it, at least, to offset the cocoa and sugar a bit."

Conner pouted outright, clutching the small box of processed and no doubt artificially-colored sugar in his hand, and soon after it degenerated into a case of keep away, with Conner trying to hold it out at arms-length while Lex tried to grab it away from him.

When Clark arrived home from work, he soon put a stop to that.

"Lex, Conner can keep any candy that isn't poisoned or otherwise inedible --and sugar is edible," he quickly added as Lex was about to protest. "Conner, don't tease your dad because you've got something he doesn't have." And with that, Clark slapped the offending candy box into Lex's hand, turned on his heel, and marched out towards the bedroom, loosening his tie and grumbling under his breath.

Lex blinked down at the box of sugar hearts, and glanced over at Conner, only to realize that it wasn't the box of candy hearts, it was a box of candy hearts, with its own set of funny sayings. Conner still had his.Hmmmm, Lex thought. And then Lex thought some more.

Lex grinned.

Conner eyed Lex's slightly larger box of candy hearts."Wanna trade?"

To which the sometimes-villainous genius articulated well-in-kind, and with great aplomb:



Take 5: Flowers/Flowery


"Seriously! This has to stop!" Clark complained to Lex in an irate whisper, while Lex casually leaned against a nearby cubicle wall in satisfied supine relaxation.

"But flowers are an essential component of Valentine's Day," Lex said reasonably. "I've done research."

"Of course you have," Clark muttered, rubbing his face with his hands under his glasses.

"So it's reasonable--" Lex continued.

"No, it's not reasonable! You know it's not reasonable!" Clark yelled, losing his temper. Then he grimaced and winced as he caught attention like a good Reporter Clark shouldn't , and toned it down again. "You totally know better."

"I don't know what you mean," Lex dissembled, trying an innocent look on for size.

"Yes, you do!" Clark hissed back under his breath. "This is too much!" he gestured at the floral arrangement.


Clark gave him a dirty look.

...Well, maybe Clark did have a point. The delivery people (--women, he'd been careful to specify) hadn't exactly been careful with where they'd placed the bouquets. Looking around, Lex had to admit that it was a bit of a fire hazard, and some of Clark's desk-mates were looking a bit uncomfortable, if not downright peeved, at the level of nearby available tabletop working space, or lack thereof.

"No less than thirty people have asked me how I'm going to get these to Superman!" Clark gritted out, his eyes sparking a little red.


"I got those for you..." Lex said slowly, trying not to pale. Surely the florists had not made such an error--

"Well, people don't believe it. They either think that they've been mismarked, or that it's some kind of joke," Clark said, steaming mad. "Like they think I got a hold of one of your credit cards or something and ordered them myself, or that... we're not actually seriously..." Clark's shoulders came out of their usual workplace-induced Reporter-slump and his eyes sparked red.

"That we're not what?"

Take 6: How Will I Know?

When Clark didn't reply immediately, not meeting his gaze, Lex pressed him.

"That we're not what, Clark?"

"Together," Clark said tonelessly. "That we're not together. Like it's some sort of sick game that you blackmailed me into somehow, and it's just to piss off Lois. Put her off her game."

Lex felt like he'd been slapped. Then he felt nervous-cold-shivery-worried as he tried and failed to conceive how Clark must feel about it.

"Or that you actually did send them to Superman and Iswapped out the Superman cards for my name."

Lex gulped, because Clark was now looking rather ferally at him.

"I would never--" Lex protested under his breath. He damn well knew the difference between Superman and Clark. Superman wasn't real. Clark was. Unlike some he could name (Lois), he'd never mix or muddle that one up.

"You'd damn well better not. Ever," Clark growled down at him, stepping into his personal space.

Oh. My. Lex's breathing grew shallow as he tilted his head back. He'd never thought Clark could be so... possessive. Or so scarily, frighteningly hot being so possessive.

Lex stayed right where he was, but only because he had his back against something not-so-movable and Clark's even less movable arms on either side of him restricting his motion. He had a sudden flashback to the file room and their first real kiss.

Seconds passed and stretched. Lex lost track of the passage of time. Clark leaned in slowly, gaze for piercing gaze, looking nothing but predatory -- which he shouldn't, oh so very much should not be doing at his workplace, because of secret( identitie)s and lies and reporting dues unpaid and pending -- and Lex knew down to his soul that his lover wasn't on red-K, if only because there was no way in hell that he'd ever be able to pull off this kind of self-control in this sort of situation when...

Then Clark's lips met his, and rational thought steamed away into a hot, thick haze for awhile.

"Mine." Clark growled in Lex's ear before he pulled away. And don't you forget it. the rest of his body language screamed.

Oh, Clark, you really shouldn't do things like this, Lex thought desperately, almost panting with lust. Reinforcing bad behavior will only get you more of the same...


Take 7: Vow


Lex smoothly strode into the center of Justice League operations -- the Watchtower -- with impunity and cool self-assurance.

He smiled to himself as he navigated the central area, currently-deserted of the usual assortment of heroic foes, and ascended the smooth and rather high-tech looking metal-and-plastic staircase to the medical level above.

Then he swung a quick right into the living area for the League's resident medical doctor who, as luck (or, rather, planning) would have it, was in fact currently in residence at the moment. Imagine that.

"Oh, hello again. ...You know, I don't think we've ever been properly introduced," Lex said casually, stopping to lean against the inside of the open doorway.

Dr. Emil Hamilton blinked owlishly up at Lex and then looked startled. "Ah, no? You're... correct, I believe. I don't think we ever have, Mr. Luthor," he said, obviously puzzled. He glanced out the doorway, frowning slightly.

Then he let himself take on a small smile as he approached the good doctor and held out a hand. "I'm Lex Luthor," he said, grasping Emil's hand in his. "Tess's brother." Then he let himself grin outright.

And tried not to let his grin widen too much further as Emil's look went from sleepy owl to twitching mouse. Apparently he was having a difficult time calculating which gave him the odds of a better chance of survival: whether to stay still and not move a muscle, or to (possibly unsuccessfully) rip his hand from Lex's grip and try to make a run for it. He glanced out the doorway again, looking slightly panicked.

"Oh, don't worry -- Tess isn't in at the moment. We won't be disturbed for quite some time, in fact," Lex nearly drawled out.

"We won't?" Emil nearly squeaked, before clearing his throat and trying to forcibly calm down. Lex almost felt sorry for him. Almost. But some things... well...

"Oh, no," Lex said, releasing Emil, who looked horribly relieved for a moment. "I don't think that she'd be too thrilled about what I'm here to do, but, well...some things just have to be done. There's just nothing for it," Lex ended almost cheerfully, with a wide, wide grin.

"Ah, really?" Emil said, backing up slowly, as if he had anywhere to escape to in a one-door room with the exit at Lex's back.

"Mmm, yes. You see, Emil --Can I call you Emil? I certainly hope so, given your interest in my sister--" Lex started, reaching for an inner pocket. Emil tensed and flinched as Lex pulled out a small video player and pressed a button. Sounds of rather enthusiastic sex filled the air, and after awhile Lex clicked it back off. He'd faced the video screen towards Emil as it had played; he hadn't needed to see it again, he'd seen it before, but it made for an excellent object lesson, and Lex was loathe to let those slide.

At this point, Emil rather looked like he'd have welcomed having been introduced to a few new holes in him via .44 caliber handgun instead.

"Ah, well, that, you see, um--" Emil stammered.

Lex pocketed the video player and waved him off. "Oh, I know, I know, circumstances beyond your control, peer-pressure gone bad from a drugging on magickedchampagne, could've happened to anyone, yes yes. You both had a one-night stand, and while I would like to think that such an event should have been memorable, there were extenuating circumstances all around. I, for one, was tragically indisposed at the time and unable to do anything about it, and I'm certainly not inclined to do anything about it now." He paused to let that sink in just long enough for Emil to start to relax, and then-- "But you see, Emil, this wasn't just a one-time thing, now, was it? And," he tried not to smile too much more at Emil's rapid change in countenance yet again, "Well, this rather blatant and marked interest in sexual congress with my sister that you've been exhibiting would normally have me, well, to put it bluntly, standing off to the side and laughing hysterically at your antics and your well-deserved end." Lex smirked a little as he watched Emil struggle between fear and anger. "At her own hands," he finally added, and he nearly chuckled at Emil's newly-startled look.

"Yet, for whatever reason, Tess seems to actually have some sort of real interest in you and -- and seems to be willing to let you court her and reciprocate similar such behavior in rather impressively, and almost unnervingly public displays, especially given her societal standing and the rather impressive number of 'journalists' who can and do make their living off of 'reporting' such events to the ambivalent masses in the various rags and checkout-counter gossip columns that exist in this country, spreading in full measures any assortment of lies and half-truths alike -- alongside a person's personal, intimate, and private moments -- with impunity from coast to coast, simply anything that will grab a headline."

"Of course, if it wasn't you and her, it would be someone else. Such is life for those of us at this level of society. However, I am used to, shall we say, 'putting up with it.' Tess, not so much," he tsked a bit and shook his head in admonishment. "Of course, she is learning how to handle herself, and them. A credit to the Luthor name, in many ways. And you see, Emil, this is myquandary."

"...What is?" Emil said hoarsely, looking like his head was spinning a bit. Clearly Tess and the others must have given him a similar talk as Conner had received at one point. Or perhaps he had garnered a mistaken impression from his rather insane and morally-deficient (and now rather deficient in vitality) brother, who had once pretended to work in Lex's interest while he really played at 'fight club' organizer. Lex stifled a mental sigh and got on with it.

"Well, Lutessa is a Luthor -- please, don't try to deny it, she herself may even claim that she is not, but blood is blood, and she's quite proven herself such at this point. Lutessa is a Luthor, and also my dear little sister, and in this sort of situation, as the head male of our household, I have a brotherly duty to perform. ...Oh dear, you look confused. Perhaps I am going a bit too fast, and you require further explanation. Would you like to sit down?" Lex offered, and Emil sat without thinking. Lex managed not to snicker.

"Perhaps I should attempt to communicate this using more common terminology. I came here today for one purpose, and one purpose only:" Lex paused, then leaned down to talk as ifconspiratorially, "To give you a 'shovel talk'."

Emil blinked up at him. "Oh." He blinked a few more times. "Um, well. That's really not necessary. I would never hurt her--"

"Of course not," Lex smiled breezily.

"And I really don't think you'd have to worry about finding a shovel to hit me with--" Emil said, relaxing a little and starting to gather steam.

"Hmm?" Lex interrupted oh-so-innocently.

Emil stumbled to a halt and looked horribly uncertain.

"Ah, isn't a shovel talk when someone says--"

"--that when I was done with you the authorities would never find where your body was buried, or remains otherwise disposed?" Lex ended, talking with as pleasant a tone as if they were discussing the weather (sans tornadoes, as that topic generally required cussing across the region, he was well-aware).

"...Done with me?" Emil said, shrinking into his chair.

"Oh, yes," Lex confirmed, then waited a beat. "Eventually."

"...Eventually?!?" Emil was back to squeaking again.

"Ah, it seems I was right. I do have to give further explanation, don't I?" Lex smiled as he walked back to the door and quietly closed it.

And then he turned back to face Emil and proceeded to explain.


Lex was a Luthor, through and through.

And as such, he had enough self-control that when he was done explaining the way of things to Emil, in great detail and at length (and goodness, the rumors were true! -- the man was fully capable of imagining exactly what those sorts of things would be like to a person; sometimes a good imagination really was not a helpful thing, Lex grinned at the thought), he walked out of the Watchtower, took the elevator down, walked back to the LexCorp Towers, took the elevator back up to the penthouse, and made it into the penthouse living room where there were no bugs or listening devices of any kind, before collapsing onto a chair and bursting out laughing.

Revenge was so sweet.


"What did you do," Clark glowered at him later that night.

Lex attempted to look innocent. He was pretty sure he failed miserably, but only because he was able to keep a straight face for thirty seconds before laughing so hard that he nearly had trouble breathing. Good thing he had started out on the couch.

"Lex! This isn't funny!"

"It.. it kind of is..." Lex half-babbled, wiping tears from his eyes.

"I've never seen Tess so mad!"

Oh, Lex had known it was going to get back to her in all the wrong ways. Going after her lover like that and giving him a good scare would either scare him off or have him stick around even harder. Either way, Lex would get a better read on Emil, Emil would get a better understanding of himself (he was not a stupid man by anyone's accounts), and Tess would have an emotional and mental double-handful of a mess on her hands to deal with. That'd teach her to mess with him and his own love affairs like a shot across the bow -- keep her nose out of his personal life, or he'd repay her in like kind and full measure.

What Lex was more interested in knowing at the moment, though, was whether Emil had actually been the one to say something, or whether she'd had to find out second-hand from the Watchtower security feed, which he had not blanked out or otherwise wiped for the duration of his visit quite purposefully.

As it turned out from Clark's half-coherent yelling, it was the latter.

Well, well, well thought Lex, bemused. The man's got balls. ...Well, he'd just proved himself in Lex's book. He doubted Tess was happy with the man for that little stunt though, for exactly the same reason.

"--and you promised not to--!"

"--do anything physical in retribution," Lex ended. And waited.

Clark glared up a storm, but he hissed out a sigh. "I hate it when you do that," he ended, the epitome of frustration as he ran his hands through his hair, before sinking down to straddle Lex across the cushions he was seated upon.

"Hey," Lex said, reaching up to gently cradle Clark's face with his hands. "You know me."

"Yeah, I do. Ready to half-kill yourself to keep a promise, really careful with your wording, and ulterior motives for everything. So what was it this time?" Clark groused, then paused and stared at Lex, reassessing in utter disbelief. "Oh my god, you can't be serious."

"Well, look at it this way -- what would you do if some guy was getting serious with Kara?"

"That's different!" Clark exclaimed.

"Oh? How so?" Lex asked rhetorically.

"Because Kara is sane and a nice person, and Tess is psychotic and scary. You should've been warning him about her, not the other way around! He doesn't need scaring into behaving like a gentleman!"

Lex's mouth dropped open. Then he started laughing again.

"It's not funny!" Clark protested adamantly.

"Last thing... I ever expected you... to... ahahahaha!!"

"Oh god, seriously. Shut up." Clark rolled his eyes and whacked Lex in the arm gently.

"Just, could you promise that you'll at least run this stuff by me first? If there's ever a next time?" and by his tone it was obvious that Clark was hoping and praying to god that there wasn't one.

"Sure thing, lover," Lex quipped giddily, and got a kiss for his trouble.