Predictably

by Jojo


Thanks to Karen T for betaing.


||

Lex wakes. It's a Tuesday.

Yesterday he blew up Superman with a kryptonite-laced bomb. Not particularly fancy but he'd been pressed for time. Lex likes to think he works best under pressure.

At least it had been pretty. The explosion, that is. The bomb - not so much. A mess of old-fashioned wires and an exceptional lack of aesthetic attributes. Unless you counted the green ring he'd used for extra oomph.

He slides out of bed. Five minutes spent mentally addressing yesterday's business has put his almost military morning schedule behind. The TV in his living room has already switched on to the twenty-four hour news station he prefers. This time yesterday, Lex was already on his way to the kitchen to pour himself a coffee, black, with half a teaspoon of sugar.

The shower temperature is all wrong. Lex sighs and deals, not bothering to adjust the digital dial. He's eight minutes behind and he uses the mirror to see if he's getting crows feet.

He's not. His PR rep wishes Lex looked a little more his age rather than the teenage boy who graced the front pages of the Inquisitor way back when having a good time required chemical stimulation.

He wears his most austere suit, sits in the limo, tapping his fingers on his knee. A flicker of red out of the corner of his eye has him pressing his nose to the window like the grubby schoolchild he'd never been.

A woman's riding a bike, her red coat flapping - Calvin Klein, last season, ill-fitting - behind her. She looks a little like Lois Lane. Lex had once been obsessed with Lois Lane, until he realized he'd just transferred one old obsession to a new, easier target.

The traffic is predictably appalling. The limo is barely two blocks away from Lex's residence and it's been nearly forty-five minutes. Lex debates for two seconds - one second too long - and then climbs out of the limo into uncharacteristic silence and walks.

Clouds part and sunshine patterns the ground. A kid skates past on blades a subsidiary of LuthorCorp made a killing on the Christmas before last. Lex buys a coffee from a street vendor who is a little shell-shocked to be supplying Lex Luthor with a beverage. Lex pays with the exact change.

The crowds thicken as he walks. He has no problems making his way quickly through the black-clad Metropolitans because, as someone said to him once, he always looks like he has to be somewhere far more important.

The Mayor shakes his hand with a sweaty palm. He has a couple of convincing tears in his eyes, though Lex knows only too well that the Mayor's extra-curricular activities will only flourish without Superman's eagle eye.

He has, of course, been reserved a seat. Amusingly, it's between two ex-lovers and Lex suspects this is intentional. He greets them both, comments on the sad occasion, and then pretends they're not there.

Various people make speeches. The Mayor. Lois Lane, not wearing red. The President via video-phone. Handkerchiefs flutter in the audience. Outside, the people who didn't make it inside are loud in their mourning. Lex can hear strains of Amazing Grace.

He notices a scuff on his left shoe and recalls why he doesn't walk anywhere anymore.

He chats with Bruce Wayne afterwards. Wonders why the hell a billionaire from Gotham City felt the need to drop by to mourn Metropolis's loss. Pictures Bruce all in black with little black ears. Remembers Bruce's obsession with flying vermin way back when they were geeks at Excelsior together.

Eats a canap. Stands in front of the statue with which the Mayor is going to honor Superman's memory.

It doesn't look anything like him. Lex grinds his teeth in irritation.

"Luthor."

Lex turns, a fixed look of sobriety on his face. "Ms. Lane." A select few women he's fucked truly loathe him like Lois does. It makes him vaguely proud.

"I'm surprised you have the audacity to show your face here," she spits. Her nails are long and red. She used to dig them into his shoulders. She's also slapped him a few times, making sure to scratch at the very last second. Lex is constantly struck anew by her magnificence.

"I'm simply here to pay my respects to Metropolis's fallen hero, Ms. Lane," Lex replies, smoothly, hands chilled around the mediocre glass of white wine. His eyes slide beyond her, automatically looking for Clark Kent, whose job it has always been to restrain Lois when she's spitting mad and in public.

But, of course.

Clark is not there.

If he was... able... yes, able (not stronger, no), Lex would make a comment about Kent's absence. Something trite and hurtful, considering. I see you're missing your stalwart companion.But the words, poised on his tongue, huddle together and do not make it out into the open.

She takes a step forward and Lex forces himself to stand completely still. Three inch heels and Lois is capable of hissing in his ear, "I know it was you. I'll prove it, you smug, self-serving sonofabitch." The tickle of the alliteration makes Lex's skin break out in goose-flesh.

"Lois?"

"Coming, Clark." Lois gives him one last fulminating look, and then stalks off. Clark Kent, dark-suited, hair too long, glasses smudged, looks uncomfortably large and just plain uncomfortable in his surroundings. He nods sternly at Lex and then walks off into the crowd, his partner at his side.

Shock makes his fingers lax and the glass slips through them.

It shatters, predictably, and now he really will have to throw the shoes away.

||

Completed: 12 May 04

Thanks to Karen T for betaing.



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