by Destina Fortunato
"You're saying that Superman is...?"
"And Clark Kent is-"
Lex made a choked sound, something that rattled between a laugh and strangulation, and covered his face with his hand for a moment. Muffled from beneath his fingers, he asked the natural follow-up question: "And your evidence of this would be?"
"Think about it," Nixon urged, and when Lex looked up, Nixon's eyes were too bright, too excited. "Doesn't it make sense? Every time a story breaks, Kent is nowhere to be found. He's off feeding information to Superman."
"That's not what I'd call conclusive proof, Roger." Lex had regained a bit of his composure. "Could just be bad timing. Or maybe an overdeveloped sense of social responsibility."
"Or maybe they're fucking." Roger looked triumphant. "I have photos of Superman going in and coming out of Kent's apartment at all hours of the day and night. After being there for a long time - hours, sometimes. He's stayed overnight; not what I'd call a friendly visit."
"Really." Lex's tone was as dry as his throat. "Any other late-night visitors to Kent's place?"
Nixon had the good grace to avert his eyes; a red flush crept up from beneath his loose collar. "I destroyed those photos, Mr. Luthor. What you do is none of my business. You've made that clear."
Lex fixed Nixon with a level gaze until he shuffled his feet and began to fidget. Point made.
Still, Nixon picked up the threads of his argument without missing a beat. "They avoid being seen together, Mr. Luthor. Never in the same place at the same time. They must want to keep people from speculating about them."
"Anything else?" Lex asked.
"One more thing. Lois Lane threw herself at Superman. I have a source that tells me she took off her clothes for him, tried to seduce him on the roof of the Planet. I have pictures of her rubbing against him like a cat in heat, for crissakes. Nothing. Nada. He didn't bite."
"Maybe Superman is simply more of a gentleman than you or I would be under similar circumstances."
Nixon just held the envelope out to him. "I'm telling you, Mr. Luthor, this story is too good not to print. We'd kill two birds with one stone - take down that righteous fuck Kent and keep him from digging into your business, and knock Superman out of the air. What does this country need with a gay superhero? That's worse than a woman president."
"Sure signs of the apocalypse," Lex agreed, and stifled the laugh that threatened to erupt any moment if he didn't get Nixon out of his office.
"Kill the story." Lex snatched the envelope from Nixon's hand.
Stunned, Nixon stammered for a moment, lips forming words that led nowhere, and then: "You can't be serious!"
"Oh, very much so." Lex threw the envelope on the desk unopened. "When I bought The Inquisitor, I told you I wanted you to remain on staff to plant stories. Not seek them out. When I want something investigated, I'll let you know."
"This is a mistake," Nixon said softly. "If you're doing this to protect Kent-"
"My reasons are none of your business." Lex rose from the chair and invaded Nixon's space by moving close, closer, looking into his eyes with easy calm. He knew Nixon wanted to move away; he could sense it, could feel Nixon's body twitching underneath the cheap suit, held in place only by a supreme act of willpower. "I pay you to follow orders. Now would be a good time for you to start - since withholding your pay is the least of my options if you don't. Are we clear?"
"Totally clear, Mr. Luthor." To his credit, Nixon's voice was steady, even if his eyes were darting around nervously, as if he were an animal caught in a snare, seeking escape. "It won't happen again."
"Good." Lex smiled at Nixon, his most toxic smile, and took great pleasure in watching all the color drain from Roger's face.
He took a step back, turned away, picked up his scotch from the desk. "You can show yourself out."
"Yes, sir." Roger hurried...or perhaps scurried, like a rat...to the door.
Once Nixon had gone, Lex settled into his desk chair, sipping his scotch and thinking back over the assignments he'd given Nixon, the things the man had looked into. If this was the best Nixon could do - if this was the way his mind worked - Lex would have to hire someone to go back over every scrap of information Nixon had given him for the past ten years. If it was all as fatally flawed as the story about Kent, Lex was in big fucking trouble.
It was just a matter of time before someone caught on - really caught on - and then everything would go to shit.
He called for the limo and made his way down to the garage. The drive downtown didn't take long. Roger was probably right on his heels, camera clicking away. Lex couldn't make himself care, because he already cared too much about the right things, the real issues. The dangerous ones.
The elevator deposited him on the eighth floor; he proceeded to let himself in with his key. Clark was sprawled out by the fireplace, laptop glowing as he tapped out some low-level tenth-page no-byline assignment for that bastard editor of his. Would have been so much simpler if Clark had agreed to come to work for him, but no. Had to be his own man, and all that...Lex gave him grudging respect for it, even if it drove him crazy.
Big, brilliant smile - "You're home early, aren't you?" - and a hard, determined armful of Clark, and for a moment Lex convinced himself that this was why he'd been in such a damned hurry to get home. But of course, it wasn't - wasn't home, and wasn't the reason.
Clark's mouth was on his, and his tongue was sliding hot and wet against Lex's tongue, and already Clark was tearing at his shirt, seeking skin. Lex caught his hands, set them aside. "Clark. Wait."
Must have been something in his voice, or the catch in the way he said Clark's name, because suddenly Superman's eyes were focused on him, incisive. "What is it?
"You won't believe it. Nixon. He thinks you're gay."
"Hey." Clark's eyebrow rose. "So. He finally got one right."
"No...no. He got it wrong. He thinks you're fucking Superman."
A goofy smile dawned on Clark's face, and mutated into a grin as he said, "That would be your job."
Lex chuckled, and then he was laughing, and Clark was pressed against him, hands everywhere, and he was laughing into Lex's mouth, his breath sweet as he kissed Lex, took his mouth and opened him, made him weak with need. It sealed them together, this allegiance to one another. It always had.
On the way home, Lex had decided Nixon was too much of a liability to let him live, but he'd go over the particulars of that in the morning - when Clark's mouth was not wrapped around his cock, when he wasn't arched like a cat beneath Clark's hands, shivering and moaning and completely vulnerable to the only person who could keep him under anything resembling control. He would have bruises in the morning, but Clark wouldn't. Clark never did.
Lex's goal was to make sure it stayed that way.
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