Chloe said, "It doesn't make sense for Lara have you come back to the Fortress. What if Clark is supposed to have your child?"
"I don't make sperm," Lex said.
"Not now, but having sex with Clark could trigger sperm production. You have all the parts."
"Perhaps Clark gets pregnant?"
"Clark is an alien. His unborn child could kill a human being. You fuck Clark. Wait two days and you'll be making sperm."
"Lara called Clark her son, not her daughter or child. I didn't misunderstand."
"I'll talk to Lara. You sit in the plane with the pilot. You are making yourself crazy over a computer program you misunderstood. If you are right and the computer wants you to be the mother of Clark's children, we may be able to convince the computer that Lois is a better choice." Chloe went to the Fortress of Solitude and entered the chamber. "Clark's mom, Alexander Luthor isn't the mate of Clark (Kal-el) or whatever you call him. Lois Lane is Kal-el's mate and that isn't going to change."
The surface of a small circular table light up and flashed with the rhythm of the AI's voice. "Bring this Lois Lane here."
Chloe left the chamber. Once seated in the plane, she said, "The AI will speak to Lois. We are making progress."
"Clark brought Lois up here," Lex said.
Chloe called her cousin Lois when they got back to Canada and the cell towers. She didn't like using the phone on the plane. "We need you and Clark to got to the ice fortress. The AI wants to speak to you," Chloe said.
"Me?" Lois asked.
"I intervened for Lex's benefit. Lex wouldn't speak to the alien computer so I did." Chloe gave Lois the name of the town that they were spending the night.
"Clark will fly me up in the morning."
Clark dropped Lois off at the hotel and went to kiss her good-bye.
"Clark, stay," said Lex. "This is your future we are discussing."
"Lex, I will go for you." Clark hugged him and muffed his hair. "If I had been honest with you, you would never felt the need to follow me."
"Please, don't treat me like Ryan," said Lex.
Chloe said, "Lex was wrong to violate your trust, but you don't give your friends much choice."
Clark put a hand on Chloe's shoulder. "We'll straighten this out together."
"Lex and I are taking a plane," said Chloe. "We aren't risking getting left behind."
"We'll all go by plane," said Lois.
Lex had a taxi take them to a small airfield. Clark sat in the front seat since he needed the legroom. As Lex paid the fare, the cabdriver said, "Can I tell the wife and kids the Superman rode in my cab?"
"Sure," said Clark.
"No one is going to believe me," said the cabdriver.
The pilot had waited for them by the private plane. As he helped them board the plane, he said, "Superman, if we run out of fuel, you can fly the plane."
Lex gave the pilot a dirty look.
"Mr. Luthor, we have plenty of fuel."
"Superman is my guest," Lex said in his best on nonsense voice then he showed everyone to a seat. "Superman, sit. Take a load off those red boots."
"I'll stand," said Superman.
"We'll wait then," Lex said in his most patient voice. "My pilot has orders that we don't move until everyone is seated. See the last time someone moved in my plane (without precautions), my pilot was shot."
"That's absurd," said Superman, still standing.
"Chloe checked Lois's pockets and the pilot checked her purse and Chloe's," said Lex. "Airlines are much more thorough than I can possibly be."
Superman continued to stand and put his hands on his waist.
Lois said, "Superman, sit by me."
"You can take a seat or meet us up there." Lex wasn't intimidated by anyone and certainly not Clark Kent.
Superman walked toward the exit. "I'll meet you up there." He left the plane.
Lex put on his seatbelt. "That was rude."
"Lex, what were you trying to prove?" asked Chloe.
"Just because he has that 'S' on his chest doesn't mean he doesn't have a obey the rules." Lex took Chloe's hand.
The plane flew to the North Pole without Clark. The pilot handed the plane on the ice sheet. Lex offered an arm to each of the cousins. "Superman's loss," exclaimed Lex.
The walk to the Ice Fortress wasn't far and Clark was standing like a blue and red statue as the wind blew his cape. Once they got inside and out of the wind, Clark said, "What took you so long?"
"We need to take off and land and observe flight patterns," said Lex.
The AI turned on when Clark ran his hand over a panel. "Mother, I bought my wife and our friends."
"Kal, welcome back. Greetings Lois Lane, Chloe Sullivan and Alexander Luthor. What do I owe the visit?" said the Al in a female voice.
Chloe spoke, "Alexander Luthor is not Kal's mate."
"Let the boy speak," said the AI.
"I'm only a boy because you reset my biological clock," said Lex.
"I can reset it, again," said the AI.
"No, thank you," said Lex.
"Don't you love Kal-el?" asked the AI.
"I once did," said Lex. "Kal has a wife, Lois Lane. I do not wish to intrude on their marriage."
"Lois Lane, Kal-el's mate, you let a boy speak for you," said the program.
"You asked Alexander to speak," said Lois. "I talk to people, not computer programs with attitude."
"Alexander Luthor, Chloe Sullivan has proved her love for you by coming to me. I wish you both luck in your chosen destiny." A green light flooded the chamber.
After the ambient lighting returned, Lois said, "That's it."
"Lois, do you feel any different?" asked Clark.
"No, " said Lois.
Lex said, "We shouldn't keep the pilot waiting. Clark, are you and Lois coming?"
"We'll stay a bit longer."
Lex and Chloe walked to the plane and got in where it was warm. The pilot said, "Odd place to hold a meeting."
"Superman's home away from home," Lex said.
"Very well, sir," pilot said.
"Is Miss Lane coming with us?" asked the pilot.
"Superman will be taking her home," explained Lex. "Take us to Metropolis."
"Very good." The pilot went to cockpit.
From the plane phone, Lex talked to several plant managers and confirmed he would be at a board meeting. R & D at his new plant was making progress analyzing the metal alloy he gave them the specifications on. Things were moving along faster than he hoped. All Chloe should be able to hear from her end was "Good, good" and he paid his pilots for their silence.
Lex and Chloe spend the rest of the day at the paper. When they arrived home, Lex fell asleep to be later woken by a wet dream, something he never experienced in this body. He got aroused and he pleased Jeremy and himself but his tip occasionally getting wet with a drop of clear salt water wasn't a normal ejaculation. Chloe was asleep in the other bed and wouldn't appreciate his excitement and call him childish. He knew his semen was a gift from Lara.
He would surprise her next time they had sex. When he heard Chloe's footsteps on the loft floor, he walked behind her and kissed her neck. Chloe said, "I don't know if we should. I ovulated last night.'
"We shouldn't waste Lara's gift," Lex said, leading her to the bedroom.
Chloe had no panties under her baby dolls. Lex started licking her between the legs. He wanted to satisfy his hard-on, but her needs came first, and cunny was what made Chloe squirm.
After Chloe was good and wet, Lex went in there with his dick. She felt so good that he fired right away, teenage hormones. He'd get better with time.
He rested his head against her. "Sorry."
"You fired," she said.
"I fired this morning." Lex paused. "In my sleep. I wanted to make it good for you."
"Was it good for you?" she asked
"Great." Lex knew he was blushing.
"I wonder if Clark and Lois are enjoying their gift."
"We can try, again. Now that the edge is off." Lex kissed her neck then her lips. Sex had been great before, but this was so much better. Lex had no words; his mind was a blank. Lex swore he could hear the sound of the ocean, which was odd since Kansas was far from the water.
Two weeks later, Chloe had a pregnancy test done. She couldn't wait to tell her father the news. She went outside the Herald Building. "Daddy, Lex and I are expecting."
"Honey, the doctor said you couldn't."
"We can and we did."
"He's a Luthor."
"Dad, you should know more than anyone else that he isn't his father. You saw him grow up a second time." Chloe wanted her father to be happy.
"What did he learning growing up, again?" Gabe said.
"Patience. He learned to enjoy little things. He'll be good father. He wants to stay home and raise our child."
"And is he going to marry you?"
"He hasn't asked. I turned him down once. Daddy, will you plan me a big wedding?"
"The baby is the heir-apparent, Lionel Luthor's first grandchild."
"Lionel isn't someone you want as an in-law."
"Don't I know it," said Chloe, recalling the past. Lionel gave Satan a run for his money.
When Chloe went home that night, she asked, "Do you want to get married?"
"Only if you want to," said Lex. "What about me and my problems? They haven't gone away because you're expecting."
"You're seeing a therapist?"
"Dr. Foster." Lex walked over to the kitchen. "My weddings turned out badly."
"We can get married by a justice of peace."
"Why do we need that sheet of paper? What we need is to buy a proper house and hire a nanny and housekeeper. An artist loft is fine for a childless couple, but we need something with a yard and real walls."
"Your father and my father are going to expect us to get married," Chloe said.
"Then, they can get married."
Chloe smiled slightly. "Although the image does wonders to my mood, I don't think it is going to happen."
Lex put a hand on Chloe's ass. "I want you to be my old lady."
"That's so retro." Chloe squeezed his butt and kissed him. They went to the bedroom for more unmarried sex. Lex later found them a country home with several acres of land not far from Metropolis that seemed like the perfect place to raise a family. "Now that it has furniture, it isn't too bad. It isn't as creepy as the castle or Wayne Manor."
"You've been to Wayne Manor?"
"I get around."
Lex hugged her, playfully reining her in. "That better end. You're my main squeeze."
Chloe looked at her hand touching his arms. "I don't see a ring."
Lionel invited himself over to the mansion. He looked at the paneled walls with Jeremy's and Lex's paintings hanging on them. Lionel sat on the leather sofa. "It's nicer than the loft."
"It has a yard with trees. I can put in a swing set for the baby. Chloe says it's less creepy than the castle."
"Where's your old lady?" Lionel sneered.
"At the paper." Lex poured himself a brandy. "Father, you didn't come here to frown at my taste in dcor."
"You're smart not marrying the tramp," said Lionel. "She has more men than Mata Hari."
"You should know." Lex recalled that his father had seduced her with his money many years ago.
"I would recommend you get a paternity test."
"Like you did for Lucas and Geoffrey. How old was Geoffrey when you married his mother?"
"I thought your memories had returned."
"They have. I'm just saying, Dad, that you have your share of bastards."
"Now that my destiny is free from Clark's, I was thinking of revisiting that Legion of Doom idea." Lex curled up against his pregnant girlfriend.
"How do you plan anarchy club?" Chloe put her arms around Lex. "Isn't anarchy against plans?"
"We are against government, not plans to disable governments."
"The only way to disable government is revolution. The FBI will seize your files." Chloe liked to hear Lex's plans although he tended to keep her out of his more covert operations.
"We'll have to be a secret organization," Lex said in a soft voice. He was serious about destroying the world. Chloe realized he was having a psychotic break. It explained the wandering off to paint mid-sentence, his lose of interest in business only to be enthusiastic five seconds later. As editor of The Herald, she had been able to cover for him. She wondered if Mercy was covering for him at LexCorp.
"My cousin is married to Mr. Law and Order." Chloe hoped she was wrong about the psychotic break and humor would lighten the mood.
"If she doesn't leave him, she'll get caught in the crossfire."
"You and Jeremy drew the Legion of Doom as a gag: Criminal Masterminds plotting the destruction of Superman, people in dark rooms, failing world governments, making the moon a free state. No one will join."
"People will join. I'm not the only one who sees government as evil. Bruce says I should call it something like Entrepreneurs for a Freer Society."
"You should." Chloe smiled. Lex could benefit from being around like-minded businessmen. It would help keep him grounded. "How about I put an ad in the Herald?"
Lex smiled. "I'll only let my Inner Sanctum know about the Legion of Doom. We can pretend to be businessmen arguing over cocktails." Lex touched Chloe's arm. "Chloe, are you part of my Inner Sanctum?"
"Always." Chloe kissed his back.
"We have to get rid of Superman."
"How are we going to get rid of Superman?" asked Chloe, humoring Lex. Keeping him calm would help his brain chemicals return to more normal levels. Telling him that Clark was his good friend and he didn't want to hurt him would probably set him off. Back when Jeremy and Lex were into the Legion of Doom, they drew cartoons with Superman having 666 on his chest. If Lex was really have a break, he wasn't going to listen to reason.
"He had his powers taken away twice that I know of. Eric Summers and Lois Lane had his powers. You could find out how Mr. Summers got Superman's powers since Cousin Lois would rather die than squeal." Lex stood up and walked away from Chloe, leaving her arms clinging to the air. "I have plans to make."
Chloe hoped Lex didn't call anyone and embarrass himself. The other breaks, times that he wasn't himself didn't appear to last long. Tapping a button under the headboard, Chloe signaled Mercy to keep an eye on her boss. Lex had panic buttons installed in every room in the house. After all the times he had been kidnapped and assaulted, he left nothing to chance.
As the first meeting of the Entrepreneurs for a Freer Society progressed, Lex wandered off to the parlor and started painting. Chloe walked over to him. "They have some good ideas," she said.
Lex continued painting.
"They're talking about lobbying and how ridiculous it is to create more laws so they need to pay off more officials to find ways around the laws," Chloe said. "They believe that less government is better government and they want change."
"They argue about trusts and tax loopholes," Lex said. "I don't want to work inside the system. I want to take it down." Lex mixed his colors on his palette used the multiple strokes to achieve his affects.
"They believe that the president is an idiot like you do. They want better candidates. They want to make the system work," Chloe said.
"It will never work," Lex said.
Being against the government didn't prove he was irrational. His thinking was as sane as ever. Chloe was worried about him walking out on business meetings. What really upset her were the times he walked out without a reason. "Did you talk to your therapist about your problem with staying on task?"
"She suggested coffee and if that didn't work, she would put me on Ritalin. Ritalin at my age."
"Maybe it help," Chloe said. "People are going to see you as a flake if you keep on walking out." Chloe returned to the meeting and hoped whatever was wrong with Lex could be treated. Chloe tried to pick up on the conversation about business and politics but it took a few minutes to get into the flow. The conversation returned to lobbyists "What you need a good argument that you can encapsulate into a sound bite. People today have very short attention spans."
A businessman said, "You pay people to speak for your interest and they have their own agenda."
"You have to match your agenda with their agenda. If they don't believe in what they are doing, they won't fight for your cause," Chloe said. The conversation digressed to throwing good money after bad all over again and she understood Lex's reasons for walking out.
After the meeting was over, someone whispered to her about her husband and Chloe lied saying he needed air. She met Mercy after dinner the following day. "Lex isn't himself lately," Chloe explained.
"In what way?" Mercy asked while hitting her punching bag.
"He walked out on a meeting last night. He would normally reroute the conversation to his favorite topic, himself. He spent to three weeks to arrange this meeting. It isn't like him to leave."
"The boss has always had strange ideas." Mercy hit her bag again.
"Yes, but he always stayed around to fight for them. Has he run out of meetings in LexCorp?"
Mercy stilled her bag. "He was discussing product placement with a distributor and walked out between 'the' and whatever the next word would have been. When I caught up with him in the hall, he said he needed a drink of water. He has a cooler in his office."
"I'm worried that whatever is going on with him is more serious than ADD."
"I'll pin him to his seat if necessary at work."
"You do that. We need to keep this under wraps. We can't let the public know that Lex Luthor may be losing his mind. We'll meet with Lex's lawyers and my father to insure that LexCorp doesn't fall into Victoria's hands."
"Mercy, if Lex continues to lose interest in his surroundings, inform me."
"I would never betray the boss."
"We can't have to world thinking Lex Luthor can't follow a simple conversation. I know this is asking a lot, but he have to protect him from himself." Chloe kissed Mercy's cheek. "We both love Lex and we want him safe."
"Why do you have this thing against Superman? You and Clark were good friends as I seem to recall," Chloe asked as Lex ranted about destroying Superman.
"He thinks he's above everything. He wouldn't sit down on my plane."
"You're being juvenile."
"It's more than that. He treats heads of state the way that he treated my pilot and me. No one should be a power onto himself," Lex explained.
"Superman isn't your father." Chloe knew that Lionel Luthor was ruthless and could buy anyone. She and her father had been purchased more times than she cared to admit. Now Chloe and her father owned a good percentage of LuthorCorp; actually, she owned 10 percent of LuthorCorp and owned close to 90 percent of LexCorp. Since she had the paper to run, she had her father proxy for her at both companies. Chloe knew that there was a lot more going on than ADD when Lex signed his shares over to her without a fight. "Lex, are you upset that my father is in control of your shares?"
"Chloe, I signed the paperwork and all the lawyers assured me that it was binding. We had enough witnesses. I trust your father with my life. He's a good man and knows everything there is to know about LexCorp and LuthorCorp." Lex kissed Chloe's shoulder. "I don't know what is wrong with me, but I know that Gabe Sullivan and Mercy Graves have my best interest at heart."
"And me?" Chloe asked.
"My father told me to never trust a pregnant woman," Lex teased and kissed her nose. "I trust you. Besides, Mercy would kill you if you did me wrong."
"Very true. Why do you ramble about destroying Superman?"
"He was in paper today talking to a diplomat. I should know the name." Lex scratched his forehead.
Chloe snuggled against him. "Honey, it's okay."
"I feel like I'm going senile," Lex said. "I can't remember an article I read earlier today. Superman was treating some government official like he was a spoiled child. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. He has to be stopped."
"You don't like Superman because he doesn't have to obey the governments that you want to dismantle." Chloe scratched his back and kissed the back of his head.
"We all have crazy dreams. However, I know I can't dismantle governments but I want to take my anger out on something and everyone screams that they want to kill the president and shoot everyone in Congress; it's meaningless. If Superman wanted to eliminate the world powers, he could do it in the flash of an eye. No one should have that kind of power. The only reason that we aren't under Superman's authority is that he respects the world powers." Lex stretched out so Chloe as to encourage Chloe to scratch more of his naked back.
"The police in Metropolis have kryptonite if Superman should turn evil," Chloe said.
"And with some planning on Superman's part, he could get the kryptonite. He has friends at every level of government. They hold the kryptonite only because Superman lets them," Lex said. "I like Clark. I don't like Superman. How could such a nice young man be so ruthless because he puts on a red cape?"
"Power," Chloe said, continuing to scratch Lex's back. "Remember when you signed your shares to my father and I. My father can't do anything without my consent other than vote on matters specially outlined. I can't sell the shares without his consent. All of it is in trust to our unborn children and Mercy and your team of lawyers will ensure that both of us to carry out everything to your wishes. There are safeguards so our children and you are protected. The safeguards that protect the world from Superman are a joke. Your continual care and the care of our children are better protected."
Lex nodded. "I agree. We need to do something about the threat Superman poses."
"I can put an expos in the Herald that the governments need to establish controls in handling Superman. They shouldn't back down to his wishes no matter how powerful he is. Clark is a reasonable man and doesn't need to get his way at all times," Chloe said.
"That's a good start," Lex said. "Let's tell Superman that we don't like that he treats the leaders of the world like children and see what he does about it. A number of journalists own me favors and you must have a number of contacts yourself. We have exposs in papers in at least a dozen languages telling the world that Superman is only an alien raised by a Kansas farmer. Superman will know that the world press doesn't believe that Superman is an expert on everything. Then, we'll know what kind of man Superman really is."
"I grew up with Clark; he can be rather stupid at times," Chloe said. "I think if we had the press questions his intentions, you'll have your answer if absolute power corrupts absolutely. For Clark's sake, I hope you're wrong."
"I hope I'm wrong, too." Lex turned toward Chloe and kissed her. "Goodnight, love."
"What kind of power do you have?" Chloe asked.
"I heal remarkable well. I have a positive blood test for malaria and a few weeks later, I tested negative. Dr. Foster still thinks the first test was an error, but the lab that ran it says that they ran the test more than once and it isn't."
"What do you believe?"
"I healed. You seen the things other K-mutants can do. I would tell you to put a bullet in my head to prove it, but my brains are such a jumble as it is, we never be sure how much it healed." Lex laughed.
"How could laugh about that?"
"What would you have me do cry because I'm losing my mind?"
Chloe stopped scratching his back. "But you're sure that you would live."
"Definitely. Mercy used to break my bones on the regular basis. Mercy knows that I'll heal any injury; ask her."
"But you aren't bulletproof."
"The bullets will make me bleed and I suspect if there were enough of them that I could bleed to death before I completed healed so I'm not willing to risk it. Anyway, I'm not into pain. You wrote stories on mutants; you must have some power yourself."
"Healing, but nothing like you. Lex, go to sleep. I have a vicious expos to write in the morning."
"Make sure the other articles look like a response to your original one."
"The world won't know what hit it."
Mercy countered Chloe after dinner. "If you ever betray Lex, I'll kill you slowly."
"My father has voting rights until my unborn child reaches his eighteenth birthday. I get nothing out of the agreement unless you think I'm ruthless enough to kill my own father," Chloe said.
"I'm just informing you. I read the article that you wrote on Superman," Mercy said.
"It's an editorial and all the facts in are true," Chloe said.
"And you know where Superman grew up and spoke to his father," Mercy said.
"I was deliberately vague so the identity of Superman parents would be protected," Chloe said. "I have the right to protect my sources. We wouldn't want Superman's parents to be a target for every madman on the planet."
"And Lex knows who these people are?" Mercy asked.
"Yes." Chloe said.
"He rants for hours about getting Superman were it hurts and he has never gone after Superman's parents," Mercy said.
"He rants but he wouldn't hurt innocent people," Chloe said. "Mercy, I'm not using Lex. Lex insisted that I share financial control with his father until our children are capable of handling the shares on their own. There is no one on the planet that Lex trusts more than my father. I'm not going to discuss every details of those papers that took us three days to go over and another day to sign and notarize."
"Why do you stay?" Mercy pushed Chloe against the wall and then put a hand gently on Chloe's face.
"I love him. I know that he rants at times and his attention wanders, but he has these moments that nothing can compare." Chloe locked eyes with Mercy. She knew that Mercy gave Superman a run for his money so she wanted to avoid getting into a fight with this woman.
Mercy moved her index finger over Chloe's lip. "You aren't even attracted to men. I've done some research of my own."
"I had a crush on Clark Kent when I was a teenager and I lived with a man for two years," Chloe said. "Sexual orientation isn't a constant."
"I don't believe for one minute that you love Lex." Mercy put her hand on Chloe's shoulder and planted her lips against Chloe's. Mercy pulled Chloe toward her gently and wrapped her arms around her. Mercy kissed her deeply. Chloe didn't fight the affection but opened her mouth in response and put her hand on Mercy's face gently. "I think I have my answer."
Chloe initiated the next kiss wrapping her arms around the butch woman. Mercy was hot in her dark business suit and hair pulled back in a single braid. "So I'm not head over heels, but that doesn't mean that I don't want to raise our child together."
"I want what is best for him." Mercy pulled away.
"So do I." Chloe touched Mercy's arm. "What was that kiss about?"
Mercy licked her lips. "Would you like to take this further?"
"Would that strain your relationship with Lex sleeping with his woman?"
"Neither one of us are married to Lex." Mercy touched the hair on Chloe's forehead. "Does Lex fulfill your needs?"
Chloe wasn't going to answer. He did a few months ago, but he wasn't fulfilling her needs at this moment and Mercy looked so tempting. "Lex will know."
Mercy kissed Chloe's earlobe and then whispered, "And you don't think the boss set it up." Mercy nibbled on her neck.
"When he hired me to watch the house, he told me that you liked butch women and you were making eyes at the food editor." Mercy moved her fingers lightly under Chloe's short blonde hair.
"Diane is at least fifty. I'm not that desperate," Chloe said.
"Lex only had implied that you were looking." Mercy put one hand on her shoulder.
"Diane looks good for a woman of any age. Mercy, if you want to do more than breathe on my neck, I think we should take this to a bedroom."
The number of international papers responded to Chloe's initial editorial, not all were the ones that Lex had contacted. Even the evening news had debates about Superman's authority. After two weeks, Lois arrived at the mansion. "You have nerve," Lois said.
"I wrote one editorial," Chloe said. "I didn't expect the outcry I received. I expected to be ignored or called a crackpot, but a lot of people seem to agree that we shouldn't hand over power to an alien we know hardly anything about."
"You made Superman sound like a vigilante."
"Lois, he is. At least, Batman works under the authority of the police. Superman is an authority unto himself."
"You made him sound like one of the aliens from Independence Day."
"I did no such thing. All I said was in horror movies the aliens are never up to any good and we should at least question Superman's motives."
"I'm meeting Jimmy for a business dinner. I really have to go," Chloe said.
"This isn't the last you heard from me," Lois said.
"I did nothing libelous. I didn't say that his motives were questionable. I only said that we should question them. Lois, I'll trust you to see yourself to the door." Chloe picked up her jacket and walked to the door. Chloe met Jimmy Olsen at the nearby Italian restaurant. "Jimmy, order what you want the meal is on me."
"What do you want to see me about?" Jimmy asked as they were seated.
"I read a few of the freelance pieces that you did as Leslie Lowe and I feel that your work at the Daily Planet isn't living up to your potential. Perry White isn't using your talent to his best advantage and I could offer you so much more than he is," Chloe said.
"You're a start up paper and many of them fail. Lucy just had a baby and we aren't in the position to take any risks," Jimmy said.
"No risk. With your skill, you could make over six figures on freelance alone. I want to give you editorship of the sport department and I want you as a staff writer for Arts and Entertainment."
"What happened to your editor?"
"He left to work as a staff writer on a magazine," Chloe said as the waitress arrived with the bread service. "I need know your decision within the week or I'll have to consider other applicants."
"I'll let you know in two days," Jimmy said.
"Let's enjoy our meal. Unless you have you have questions about the position," Chloe said.
"You want me working two positions. How are you going to pay me?"
"You'll be earning a salary as sport's editor. For the other position, I'll know later if I'll need you as a staff writer or on freelance. Either way, you'll get two pay checks so I don't look like running a school paper," Chloe explained.
"So I assumed, that I'd be using two names."
"I want Jimmy Olsen on sports. I don't care what name you use for The Arts and Entertainment Department. I like Leslie Lowe because you won an award under that byline, but it is your choice." Chloe buttered her bread.
"Leslie Lowe is fine. It's a gender neutral name and if I'm reviewing art or food, no one will know who I am," Jimmy said. "You can you give number for the editorial position for Perry White to match."
Chloe wrote a yearly salary down on a piece of paper.
Jimmy tried not to show emotion when he looked at it.
"I assume it is better than what Perry White is paying you now."
"We'll know in two days if Perry is willing to meet it or top it," Jimmy said. "Why the two positions?"
"First, because many people believe editors are glorified spell checkers and because I run a small paper and I need the overlap. I occasional write articles myself. You know the scandal my last major editorial caused."
"Why did you do it?"
"Lex and I were having a discussion and Lex insisted that absolute power corrupts absolutely and I wanted to prove otherwise."
"Have you proved it?"
"So far, Superman hasn't argued with any world powers about which people he can protect. All I spurred so far is a lot of theoretical debates, but at least all our once silent worrying is out on the table." Chloe sipped her water.
"Drinks?" the waitress asked.
"A glass of white wine," Chloe said.
Lex came home from his doctor's appointment grinning ear-to-ear. He hugged Chloe and swung her around. "I'm not going to die in the next ten years unless I'm severely mangled and that might not kill me," Lex exclaimed.
"What did the doctor say?"
"That my condition doesn't appear to be degenerative. She liked to do another battery of test in six months just to be sure. When I did the IQ test this morning, Dr. Foster didn't bother to let me finish. She said the scores of the two sections I completed proved that I didn't have early onset Alzheimer's. She looked at the CAT scans and I have patterns that are similar to other people with schizophrenia," Lex said.
"You seem so rational," Chloe said.
"I'm having a good day," Lex said. "Dr. Foster says it a catch-all and says my conditional is very atypical and probably due to my exposure to kryptonite."
"It's good news. With a workable diagnosis, she can look for medication to treat your condition. We should go out and celebrate your continued good health," Chloe said.
"I never thought that I would be relieved to be told that I'm mentally ill."
Mercy found Chloe reading a book in the library. "He's painting the walls and laughing."
"He got some good news today," Chloe said. "Let him celebrate."
"There are better ways to celebrate," Mercy said.
"He wanted to tell you the good news. We just returned from dinner." Chloe walked to the parlor and Mercy followed about three steps back. "He's armed with a dangerous paintbrush."
"He could paint my clothes," Mercy said.
"It's acrylic; it will wash out. You're being a baby," Chloe teased. Chloe walked over to Lex and put her hand on his shoulder while he continued painting a very small section of wall. "Why are you painting the wall?"
"I like this shade of purple," Lex said.
"You upset Mercy," Chloe said.
"I apologize. I'll buy interior paint and use a bigger paintbrush," Lex teased.
"You have me worried," Mercy said.
"I didn't mean to worry you," Lex said.
"Chloe says that you have good news," Mercy said.
"I won't need diapers in a couple years. My condition appears stable. Of course, my doctor wants to check in six months to be certain," Lex said.
Mercy hugged him. "I don't know how relieved I am." Lex painted some lines on her face before Mercy could take the paintbrush away from him. "So did she give you a diagnosis?"
"Schizophrenia. I had my first diagnosis of psychosis at twenty-three. The first time around I yelled at Foster that she was using me to advance her career. Now I'm glad that I'm not going to die a slow, agonizing death," Lex said.
"Boss, it's good to know you're not suffering," Mercy said, stepping back from Lex.
"This women comes home with all these travel brochures and places them all over the living room table. She then tells her husband all about the trip she planned to Paris, what hotels they will stay in, what restaurants she wants to make reservations. Her husband tells her that can't afford a trip like that. So she says how about we take in a movie and go dancing afterwards. The relieved man says sure dear. That's how I feel right now." Lex started laughing. "Same shit, different day."
"So what do you want to do?"
"I don't have any brochures to throw all over the living room table, but I'd like to go to Paris."
"I'm too far along to plan such a trip. We'll have to wait until after the baby is born."
"We'll get the brochures and plan it. I've been trapped in Smallville for seven years. I want to see the world."
"We'll go as soon as William is old enough to travel." Chloe hugged Lex. "Come on, Honey. Let's go to bed."
"I'll have the housekeeper clean up the paint," Mercy said. "Celebrate that your diagnosis hasn't changed."
As Chloe walked Lex to the bedroom, she was upset that Mercy had brought Lex brought Lex back to reality. He was only being silly; he wasn't harming anyone.
Lex had made arrangement for his unborn child thinking that he wasn't going to live much longer. Now, he needs a plan what to do with his life. He couldn't go back to working full time, but there were plenty of other things that he could do. Lex sent the cook out of the kitchen and made pancakes by scratch using a cookbook. "Chloe, I'm making breakfast."
Chloe looked at batter everywhere. "I'll get muffin on the way."
"Maybe later today I'll come by the Herald," Lex said. "When I signed my voting shares over to your father, I was assuming that I wasn't going to make it through the next decade. Now, I have all this time and I don't have a plan. I don't want to waste my days playing video games and making pancakes."
"Whatever you decide, you'll be great." Chloe kissed his flour-covered cheek.
"I'll talk to my friend Bruce. " Bruce was independently wealthy and could do as much or as little as he wanted when it came to Wayne Enterprises. Bruce was an expert at killing time.
"Every time I suggested that you speak to him, you said that he's depressing." Chloe took the first pancake the Lex made and shook her head. It wasn't as perfect as the ones the cook made but Lex was sure it was edible.
"He talks in this monotone." Lex turned the next pancake. "It's like there's no Bruce to Bruce."
"Have a nice day." Chloe ate about half the pancake before leaving.
Lex ate his pancake and left the mess. The cook took a few pancakes and sat down beside Lex. "Lex, you seem chipper this morning."
"I don't have Alzheimer's," Lex said.
"That wonderful news, Sir. I'll tell the other staff that you're well," the cook said.
"Thanks." Lex was sick of the staff walking around on eggshells. They were patronizing enough without them thinking he was dying. He wanted the quiet indifference they gave Chloe, but he knew that wasn't going to happen. The staff knew he was mentally ill; they were never going to give him the respect that his father demanded.
"Would you like anything special for lunch?"
"A sandwich and salad. I'm going to be painting."
"Very well, Sir." The cook continued eating.
After finishing breakfast, Lex called Bruce while sitting in the parlor. "Bruce, I was calling to see if you could squeeze me in at one of your galleries," Lex said.
"I'll check the schedule right now. Can you stay on line?" Bruce said.
"I gave Mr. Sullivan my voting rights. I'm kind of bored. How do you manage?" Lex asked.
"I have hundreds of hobbies," Bruce said.
"Your computer and your martial arts and probably things that I don't want to know about," Lex said.
"I heard about you walking out on important meetings."
"I have a few medical problems, but nothing life threatening." Lex smiled.
"I have a date," said Bruce. "It's at David Jacoby's Gallery. Is two months from now okay? I have to confirm the day with Jacoby."
"Doesn't work for me, it's too close to the baby's due date."
"The next available date is in four months."
"William should be old enough to travel. That sounds great."
"You better not embarrass me. Just because you have money and connections doesn't mean you have talent."
"I'll send you a few jpegs and you can decide if my work meets your aesthetic standards."
"I know you sell out at the small art shows, but that doesn't mean you meet Gotham City standards. The critics might be cruel. Can you handle that?"
"I'm used to criticism. 'Critics are our friends; they show us our faults'." Lex recalled Poor Richard's Almanac.
"What was the diagnosis if you don't mind telling me?"
"K poisoning. She's going to write schizophrenia on the forms."
"K poisoning isn't in the DSM-V."
"It should be. Enough people suffer from Kryptonite Psychosis."
"Does that mean I should keep you away from sharp objects?"
"I can't move things telekinetically, so Chloe and Mercy just laugh at me when I have my homicidal rages."
"At least, you can laugh at it."
"They say that neurotics build castles in the sky and psychotics live in them. I definitely live in them." Lex usually enjoyed the moments that he was trapped by his own thoughts and didn't want reality to interrupt.
"Would you like me to visit?" Bruce asked.
"If you want. Chloe would love to see you again."
"Mercy hates me."
"Mercy hates everyone that why I hired her."
"So how do Chloe and Mercy get along?"
"They come to an understanding."
Bruce's voice picked up. "What kind of understand?"
"The kind that leaves bite marks and mild bruising."
"You must send me the videos."
"So how are you and Ms. Kyle doing?"
"She's serving time for cat burglary, but I visit her often and I put in a good word for her at the parole board."
"She steals jewelry when she's dating the richest guy in Gotham City and I'm crazy?" teased Lex.
"She does it for the thrill," said Bruce.
"Have Selena take up skydiving or bungee jumping."
Bruce said in his monotone, "This from a man who goes skydiving without a parachute."
"Having Lex's memories might make me responsible for his actions, but I didn't commit them." Lex didn't like admitting that he was a copy and the original had been destroyed. He intellectually knew it was easier to destroy the twenty-eight year old original and create a nine-year-old copy. "I lived a pretty secluded life -- these nine years." Lex realized he was a copy and a defective one.
"Keep living in those castles." Bruce said, "I'll be over to look at the paintings. Jpegs never do art justice."
After Lex got off the phone, he called Chloe. "I decided to paint. I'll visit the paper another time."
"Sure," said Chloe. "I love you."
"I love you, too." After hanging up, Lex went to the parlor to paint and took out his watercolors. Today was a bleed through blend together today, not a stay where you set them acrylic day. He started painting a landscape.
When Bruce arrived at the manor, Mercy padded him down. "Hello, Ms. Graves."
Mercy said nothing and continued to frisk him.
"I assure you I'm not carrying a weapon," Bruce said.
"Boss, he's clean," said Mercy.
Lex said, "Mercy, bring his bag to the guest room "
"Sure, Boss." Mercy took the bag.
"My friends don't usually check my luggage for bombs and secret compartments." Bruce's dark eyes seemed follow Mercy up the stairs.
"Mercy needs to feel important," said Lex.
"I'm never going to get used to seeing you with hair," said Bruce.
Lex went over to Bruce and hugged him while Bruce stood like a statue. "My newest work is in the parlor. I'll have cook bring us some tea and cookies."
Bruce looked around at a few of his paintings hanging on the walls. "The landscapes say Sea Isle City." Bruce walked over to the one on the easel. "Little old ladies in Sea Isle City."
"Maybe you rather look at my acrylics," Lex said.
"What is the most that you sold a painting for?"
"Seventy-five. I'm wasting your time."
"Have the cook make us dinner. I'll look at the acrylics tonight."
After Lex told the cook they would have a guest for dinner, Lex walked over to Bruce looking at one of the more surreal paintings above the stairs. "Bruce, I won't go into a homicidal rage, if you tell me I suck."
"You don't suck." Bruce looked at Lex. "You have potential. I suggest you take some art classes. You keep painting and see me in about ten years."
"Sure." Lex felt disappointed. He would continue to sell his paintings at small venues, but he wanted to impress his friend. He didn't know about going to art school. There was no medication for K poisoning, but he would talk to Dr. Foster about it.
"What are you now, eighteen? You'll be twenty-eight, still a young artist." Bruce knew that he had over thirty years of life experiences even if he looked eighteen. He muffed Lex's short spiked hair.
"You see me as a child." Lex didn't mean to pout as he returned to the parlor and found one of his books on painting watercolors. He didn't think his technique was bad. Lex got to taste being back in business until his ability slipped away. He wasn't dying so he had eighty years or more of this cloudiness that he felt several times a day. "Lara kept me young because she knew she made a bad copy. Since she lost the original, I was no longer suitable for breeding with Superman."
Bruce walked back to the living room and sat on the sofa. "You weren't kidding about having no sperm."
"Chloe insisted we go back to see Lara. I didn't want to go."
"You can't make a good copy for a bad copy," Bruce said. "The odds are against it."
"But Lara let Chloe have her child." Lex sat down and stretched on the sofa. "Sex improves the odds for a clean copy. We didn't know I was clone when made the baby. The phenotype is based on Lex in one of his less rational moments, but my genotype might be clean."
"You had seven and a half years of mental health," said Bruce. "Let's say I buy the dirty copy theory. Hasn't the copy always been dirty?"
"The original Lex Luthor didn't have a breakdown until he was twenty-three. Most schizophrenics experience their first breakdown between 16 and 25. 17 is young but not unheard of."
"The original had it. You aren't a dirty copy."
"Same fault, more severe."
"Maybe he hid it better."
"I wish that wasn't the case. Being dipped in the Fountain of Youth sounds so much better than simply being a bad clone. My father has made enough of those."
Chloe arrived home and kissed Lex on the cheek. "Did you have a good day?" she asked.
"Bruce is here looking at my work," Lex mumbled.
"He came all the way out here." Chloe sounded excited.
"I suck. I'll never make more than a hundred dollars a painting," Lex said.
"Most painters do it for love."
"I want to be great."
Chloe tied her shoes. "My father says that you have fantastic ideas. You might not be able to sit through board meetings, but your ideas are still running LexCorp. Now, that he knows that you aren't dying, he'll be talking to you more often. You can watch Mercy whip my ass until cook calls us for dinner."
Lex turned on his computer, read his emails and IMed Gabe. Gabe sent him the links to private files of the newest work at LexCorp and LuthorCorp. He could work at either company from his own computer. As he started to read the work that had been done over the last few days, Lex felt better about his situation. However, the work would wait since the cook called dinner.
Bruce left in the morning. Lex went over to the Metropolis Art Institute. He had taken two classes there when he first moved to Metropolis, but needed to quit because of his obligations to LexCorp. He registered for the following semester as eighteen-year-old Alexander Luthor that had dropped out of high school. The clerk asked if he was working toward his GED and he said that he was. He agreed to mail them a copy once he passed it. What an insult? He had a BA from Oxford and the art school wanted a copy of his GED. His own high school diploma would show that he was much older than the age that he appeared.
Lex ate at the salad restaurant across the street from the Herald offices watching Jimmy Olsen chatting with a number of Herald employees. Jimmy came to Lex's table on his way out. "How is the painting?"
"I'm going to take a class at Metropolis Art Institute. I need to forward them a copy of my high school diploma or GED."
"So do it?"
"Would you believe that I graduated high school twenty years ago?"
Jimmy tapped his foot nervously. "You even don't look twenty."
"Thanks for the honesty." Why have the memories if he couldn't use them? Lex smiled at the man in his mid-twenties that had two journalism awards and a photography award. "How is the new job?"
"Chloe says good stuff about you. Don't disappoint her."
"I'll try not to. I have to head back."
Lex followed Jimmy to the Herald offices. As Chloe was shouting orders and looking over copy, Lex watched her work feeling impatient about sharing his news. He started to pace and sing slightly over his breath so no one else would hear him sing a song that he heard on the radio that morning.
Chloe came into the hallway. "Lex, you can't sing in hallway."
"I didn't think anyone heard me," Lex said.
"I'm not angry," Chloe said. "What brings you here?"
"I registered for an art class. I need to take GED; no one is going to believe that I graduated high school twenty years ago."
"Can you manage the forms?"
"Yes. The dates and locations are on the packet."
Chloe pointed out. "There is one in two weeks. Do you remember high school geometry and algebra?"
"I just took algebra," Lex said.
"The English and history should be a joke to you." Chloe walked back to her office. "We'll talk later."
Lex filled out the forms to take the test and handed them to the person at the door. "I have a learning disability. I can't take the test with the other students." Lex showed him that a slip off paper from his doctor with his diagnosis. "Under the disability act, accommodations must be made." Lex didn't want to sing out loud or hum during the test and disturb the other students.
"I can have you sit in the office and take the test. You won't have a time limit on each section. Can you read the instructions yourself?"
"I've taken standardized tests before," Lex said.
The proctor lead him to a meeting room and handed him the test and gave him laid three number 2 pencils by the test booklet. "Good luck."
"Thank you." Lex remembered to fill out the date of birth as the one on the birth certificate that he used when he went to Smallville elementary school making him only eighteen. He did the test without any trouble -- no sounds in his head or other weird distractions -- then went to proctor that was still giving the test to the other students and handed his completed test to him.
The proctor stepped out of the room while he looked at the test handed to him. "Mr. Luthor, I didn't mean to notice the date on the diagnosis, but it's nice to know that some young people don't wallow in self-pity."
"I need my GED to start art school. When I had my first break, the doctors assumed it was a brain tumor. After you find out you're not going to die, everything else is easy." Lex smiled, remembering he was an eighteen-year-old kid. He no longer needed to be the president of a big company. A brain tumor was more dramatic than early onset Alzheimer's, which was the original diagnosis.
"I wish you luck," the proctor said. "Mr. Luthor, you should get the results in two to four weeks." The proctor returned to the classroom as Lex left the building.
Chloe had William, a strawberry blond, at a private birthing center. Lex kissed his son's forehead and gave the baby back to Chloe. Chloe was going to bottle feed the baby and return to working at the Herald as soon as possible. Lex had a nanny in place and he only spent five hours a week in class so he would be home with William most of the time.
Lucy and Jimmy Olsen came with a gift for the baby. As Jimmy placed the gift with her flowers and other presents, Lucy kissed Chloe's cheek. "He's beautiful."
"He's handsome like his father," Chloe said.
"Why did you write William the First on the birth announcement?" asked Lucy.
"Because he will eventually inherit the Luthor Empire and you know Lex's sense of humor," said Chloe.
"The test came back positive," said Jimmy.
Lex walked toward the window and looked out. "The test was to appease my Dad."
Chloe said, "You want to hold Will?"
Lucy said, "Sure."
"Will and Jimmy can play together," said Chloe. "You and Lois are like sisters to me."
Lex kissed Chloe's cheek. "Visit with your cousin. I need to make a few phone calls." Lex left the room.
Chloe teased, "He never stops working. Lex is supervising work on an alloy that will be the next Teflon."
"You can't be giving out an company secrets," said Jimmy.
"No." Chloe laughed. "Everybody claims to be working on the best thing since sliced bread. It's good PR."
"I wish you would marry him," said Lucy.
"He turned eighteen August. I have my own business and my own money," said Chloe said. "I like that Chloe Sullivan is financially separate from Alexander Luthor." Lex used the name Alexander on all his art school paperwork. He was starting a class in a few weeks. The school was hesitant to readmit him after he dropped out, but he showed them his medical paperwork and they agreed to make appropriate accommodations when at all possible. Lex agreed to continue to see a therapist and to keep the school aware of his prognosis. Lex had a new passport that he reflected that he was an eighteen year old born in Smallville, Kansas, making Chloe feel like a cradle robber.
"The tabloids call you his lady love and his whore," said Lucy.
"I'm a woman of the new millennium," Chloe said. "I don't need to be married."
Jimmy hugged Lucy and looked at the sleeping baby in her arms. "The media will say terrible things about Chloe whether she's married or not," said Jimmy. "Uncle Gabe runs LexCorp and attend LuthorCorp board meetings. I hear that he might have only ten percent but he has the respect of the other members of the board and often sways the vote in his direction."
"I hate seeing her called a bimbo," said Lucy.
"I'm no bimbo," said Chloe said. "I run a newspaper."
"What about Lex?" asked Lucy.
"He paints and has his own projects. The day-to-day operations are left to my father," Chloe said.
"Is Lex still having problems since nearly dying in the snow?" Lucy asked.
"Lex died in the snow. The boy staring out the window is a copy. He may claim to be the original, but he isn't. He's starting to accept that." Chloe knew it was hard for Lex to accept that he wasn't the bald man that he remembered being. Chloe looked at her sleeping baby in Lucy's arms. "Lucy, he's asleep; you can put him down."
Lucy put the baby into the hospital crib. "I can't believe that Jimmy was ever that small."
Chloe smiled at Jimmy, knowing that Lucy meant Jimmy Jr., not Jimmy Sr. "William the First. All you talk of Jimmy this, Jimmy that. How do you manage to tell your two boys apart?"
"Jimmy Jr. wears diapers." Lucy took her purse and gave Jimmy Sr. a dirty look. Chloe didn't know why Lucy gave Jimmy Sr. a look that could cut through metal. Maybe, Lucy was suggesting that if Jimmy Sr. also wore diapers in a metaphoric way. Jimmy was too nice and didn't stand up for himself. Then again, Chloe was putting thoughts in Lucy's head and she didn't read minds. "Mom has been babysitting long enough."
Lionel visited Lex, Chloe and William at the manor. "So this is the heir," Lionel said.
"I might not have the mind of the original, but I have his DNA." Lex stepped back from the landscape that he was working on. His father would be turning seventy in November and Victoria had a large party planned. "Dad, it's good to see you."
"I told you not to let art become an obsession," Lionel said.
"It isn't." Lex was obsessed with many things and art helped him deal with them. "Business isn't important to me."
Lionel's voice turned patronizing. "Son, what is important?"
"William, Chloe, enjoying the sunset." Lex returned to his painting. He didn't want to ignore the old man. No matter what the man had done; he was still his father and for seven years he raised him without question.
"People have been searching for the fountain of youth."
"There is no fountain of youth. I'm a copy like Emily and the original is just as dead as the girl in the graveyard," Lex said.
"What a depressing thought." Lionel put his arms around Lex forcing the young man to hug him.
"I'm never going to be your dead son." Lex broke from his father's embrace.
"Your work is like Frida Kahlo's," Lionel said. "Why do you paint about suffering?"
"The memories of that twenty-eight year old man haunt me like a curse. I know they are only recordings in my mind. This body was created in Superman's ice cave only nine years ago," Lex said.
"I don't want to bury Lex in the snow. Lucas is a jail, Geoffrey isn't very bright, Sammi is an infant and Linda is being raised by the Kents."
"Linda has great potential. I told Mr. Sullivan to keep his eye on her. She might be the heir to LuthorCorp that you have been looking for -- Martha's child. To have the Luthor brilliance tempered by Martha Clark's wisdom and integrity. Educate her." Lex smiled at his father. "She isn't a defective copy made with kryptonite as the original died of hypothermia. She's the key to maintaining your empire after your retirement."
"I'll be seventy this year. I should have retired years ago."
"Retire." Lex laughed.
"And my drones will tear the company apart."
"Mr. Sullivan will keep an eye on it. There are many good people that work for LuthorCorp. It won't be long before Linda takes her place among them. Hire Martha to vote as your proxy." Lex smiled.
"You only want to play from the sidelines," Lionel sneered.
"I get a better seat that way. Gabe and I talk for hours some days. LexCorp scientists are working on the alloy. Gabe is having LexCorp work with LuthorCorp. We're very close to replicating it for commercial use." The metal, Lexin, was now able to be replicated in small batches and was awaiting patent. LexCorp had trademarked the name. Lexin was a self-sealing room-temperature superconductor.
After Chloe stepped into the parlor holding the infant, Lionel kissed Chloe briefly. "Thank you for giving me a grandchild."
"Mr. Luthor, thank you for coming," Chloe said.
"You signed everything over to Mr. Sullivan and his daughter," Lionel said.
"Not everything. The estate has to be maintained. I own the manor and I have enough money in the bank to maintain my standard of living indefinitely. If Chloe and her father went away, all the trusts in place for my care would be maintained. I might not be able to sit through business meetings but I still write proposals and sway corporate decisions. Don't minimize my abilities. Dr. Foster has rated my IQ above the level that standard tests are calibrated. Please, don't treat me like a fool. I may be eccentric, but I'm not stupid."
"I never meant to imply otherwise," Lionel said.
"There are no medicines that can treat kryptonite psychosis and one of the first symptoms is patricide," Lex said.
Chloe smiled. "I thought it was matricide."
"But my mother is already dead; we do the best we can," Lex said. "Remember I'm certifiable. I could get away with it. You had the original declared incompetent and that never protected you."
"You wouldn't kill me," Lionel said.
"No. I rather watch you squirm. You killed your parents. Why should I repeat the sins of the father?" Lex returned to his painting. "Dad, Cook will get you something. Thanks for the visit."
Lionel looked at Chloe. "He's completely insane."
"You raised him," Chloe whispered to into Lionel's ear as she walked passed him.
Lionel didn't get anything from the kitchen as he made his way to the door followed by Mercy. Mercy said a polite, "Good-bye, Mr. Luthor," as he left.
"Your father believes your psychotic," Chloe said.
"You make it sound like it is bad." Lex closed his watercolors and washed his paintbrushes. "Did William have his bottle?"
"You can give it to him." Chloe handed him the baby and returned in a minute with a warm bottle.
Lex sat on the leather sofa and positioned the baby to take his bottle. "Hi." He smiled at the baby. "I have another batch of tests in two months. What if Dr. Foster was wrong and it is degenerative? We know so little about K poisoning."
"You're going to be fine."
"I'm all that remains of that man that went to Superman's fortress looking for answers. I'm also an eighteen-year-old boy whose brain chemicals don't work right. I can handle the stares I receive when I sing twenty-year old songs or laugh at my own thoughts on the bus to the city."
"Why did you insult your father like that?"
"He wants me to be someone that I'm not and I can't do it." As Lex burped the baby on his shoulder, he paced lightly before walking to the nursery.
"Alexander," the nanny said. "I'll take the baby."
"I'd like to hold him a little longer," Lex said.
The nanny picked up her book and laid on the daybed near the crib.
Lex smiled at the woman as William cried, put his son on the changing table and changed the diaper. Lex then played with the baby until William fell asleep. "He's yours." He put the sleeping baby in the crib.
"I didn't mean to step on your toes."
"Chloe is returning to work soon."
"I need to keep William safe."
"I'm his father."
"And you're not mentally stable." The woman looked anxious as she closed her book.
"I won't hurt the baby." Lex sat on the bed beside the woman that reminded him of a younger Martha Kent.
"Not intentionally. I don't want to offend you. Alexander, everyone in the house has heard you rant."
"You can watch me when I'm with the baby, but don't forget that he's my child."
"Very well. We all want what's best for William."
"I know I say strange things and laugh inappropriately, but that won't hurt the baby."
"If you put the baby on a bed or chair and forget, the baby could fall."
"Then you remind me to pick up the baby or put him in his seat or crib." Lex smiled at the woman. "You're here to help me with the baby. Chloe must have told you how much I'm allowed to do and what your duties are."
"When the baby awakes, I'll ask you if you want to feed him," the nanny said.
Lex looked in the mirror at the boy with the short red hair and freckles. He ran a comb through his hair before he joined Chloe in the dining room. "I'm sorry that I lost it with my father. The nanny is afraid that I'll hurt our child. Am I that nuts?"
"No. You were a little loud when you ranted today."
"I felt in control when I spoke to my dad."
"You were loud, not screaming, and you said some weird things. Did your father really kill your grandparents?"
"You remember when Perry said that he had a story that could bury my father?" Lex asked.
"My father was fourteen when he killed my grandparents. I have all the evidence in my files. If you don't believe me, Perry White has multiple copies of the evidence."
"Why he hasn't printed it?"
"He told you. He didn't have the courage so he started drinking. Then, he got his career on the fast track and it didn't seem important to get revenge on my father. If my father was over eighteen when the murders took place, the situation would have been less complicated."
"The bastard really did it."
"Let's not talk about it. I want to enjoy my dinner." Lex started to hum as he ate. Although he realized he was making inappropriate sounds, he decided that it wasn't necessary for him to stop, but he did anyway. Everyone in the household knew he was crazy even the nanny that they hired only a few days ago.
When William was two, Lois came by the manor with a newborn baby in her arms. "Thanks for talking to Lara on my behalf. I shouldn't have been angry with you for writing your opinion."
"It just shows that Superman is a bigger person than I am," Chloe said. "Did you adopt?"
"Superman brought the baby back from the fortress. He claimed publicly that he found a baby in the trash and knew that Clark Kent and Lois Lane wanted a baby. He told this sob story to the child welfare agency about not wanting to find the girl that discarded her baby, but the baby was created by Lara for us to raise," Lois said. "Thanks."
"Lex believed he would have carried it," Chloe said.
"Perhaps, he has mutant healings abilities," Lois said.
"Most people from Smallville have mutant healing abilities. We don't realize it until we move out of town that it takes a broken leg more than a week to heal," Chloe said.
"And no one does an expos on this?" Lois asked.
"Perry White told me that I was making up stories when I wrote about the strange phenomena in Smallville. Dr. Hamilton was researching it when he died. The medical reports are there if someone wants to collect the data, but do you want people to flock to Smallville looking for this magical elixir?"
"Do you know what it is?" Lois asked.
"Yes and the same thing that gives Lex his magical healing is also causing him to lose his mind," Chloe said.
"People should know about it."
"People will think you're tabloid journalist if you go after this story."
"We'll talk about it later."
"I collected hundreds of stories on the Smallville phenomena and posted them on the wall. I saved them on the school computer and made copies to my home computer. I could email you the links."
"Another time. I want to enjoy the new baby." After the baby woke in Lois's arms, Lois gave her a bottle.
William entered the parlor carrying his stuffed dinosaur. "Where is Daddy?" he asked.
"He's at class. Mommy is here," Chloe said.
"I want juice," William said.
Chloe returned with a small plastic cup with juice.
"Ice," whined the two year old.
Chloe went to the kitchen and put ice in the cup.
William took his cup. "Baby." Then he tried to poke her with his little fingers.
Chloe grabbed his hands and put them back on the cup. "What is her name?"
"Madison," Lois said.
"Can we keep the baby?" William asked.
Lois, holding the baby close to her, said, "No."
Lex arrived carrying his portfolio. "Lois, nice to see you."
"Clark found the baby at the fortress," Lois said.
"Lara wanted me to carry the baby." Lex put his portfolio in the corner before he sat down beside William on the sofa.
"I don't have your healing ability," Lois said.
"The man that followed Superman to the fortress loved Clark. I can feel the passion that the original had for him. He was obsessed with Clark. I can feel the obsession but it is like an old memory, not something that I feel every moment," Lex explained.
"I loved him too," Chloe said.
"I was obsessed with him," Lex babbled. "He was all I thought about. When he didn't love me back, I wanted to destroy him."
"Daddy, I'm hungry," William said.
"Cook is making dinner," Chloe said.
"Hungry, now," William shouted.
Lex returned with a plate of applesauce and a spoon. "William, here is your applesauce." Lex put the plate on the coffee table.
"Thank you." William started eating getting more on him than in him.
Chloe said, "The great thing about kids is they're washable."
William now covered in applesauce tried to pull the baby's fingers.
"Lex, are you the only person with your healing ability?" Lois said.
"My father and I," said Lex. "Kryptonite and Luthor genes. And I don't think my father wants to bear Superman's child. My younger brothers and sisters don't have our exposure."
"Does your father plan to exposure them?" Lois asked.
"Considering that my father is a sociopath, it wouldn't surprise me." Lex got some wipes to clean William's hands and face.
"Clark considers Linda to be his sister," said Lois. "Even if Lionel exposes her, Clark wouldn't give her a child."
"Clark's morals are above board," said Lex. "And mine aren't. Are you suggesting that I would breed with my sister for political ends? I paint violence and turmoil because I have the original Lex Luthor's memories in me. If I didn't have a strong sense of right and wrong, his memories wouldn't hurt me so much."
Lois held the sleeping baby to her chest. "I didn't mean anything."
Lex said. "Thank you for bringing the baby by."
"This is strictly off the record," Chloe said.
"Of course," Lois said. Then, again, she wouldn't print anything that outrageous it would ruin her career.
"You no longer want to destroy Superman," Lois said.
"He's your problem now." Lex watched Lois pick up Madison and leave the parlor. He and Chloe had William and Lois had Clark's baby. However, Lex had this feeling destiny wasn't done with him.
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