Disclaimers: The canon characters aren't mine. Not even close. Juliana is mine since Lionel, the bastard (according to Lex), didn't want her.
"What if: Little Sister"
At the sound of his friend's voice, the young man glanced up briefly to see Lex Luthor approaching, coffee cup in hand, then continued on with his work. Lex had more to say anyway. "Where's your young sidekick?"
A small grin crossed Clark's face. "Sleeping."
Lex smiled, amused. "He thinks you're his big brother."
Dropping a screwdriver into his tool belt, the teenager focused on his task as he replied, sighing. "Yeah, well, I guess I am . . . Till tomorrow." Turning, he crossed the room, leaving Lex standing by the workbench.
The elder man didn't turn, instead, Lex let his gaze wander across the tools before him, allowing his inquisitive nature free reign. "Kid's growing on ya." Putting down his coffee, he picked up a part, examining it.
Still in the process of putting away tools, Clark glanced over his shoulder as he replied, "You know how it is. Being an only child, no one else around. Don't you ever wish you had a sibling?"
Lex lifted his head, his mind automatically conjuring an image of green/grey eyes looking out of a face surrounded by strawberry red hair. "I have one, Clark."
"Really?" Surprised, Clark looked over as Lex turned to meet his gaze. "I didn't know."
His friend smiled wryly. "Which is exactly the way my father likes it." At the younger man's confused expression, Lex clarified. "I have a twin. As the story goes, when my father found out my mother was carrying twins, he was ecstatic . . . two sons to carry on the Luthor legacy. It was his `dream'."
Brushing dust off his hands, Clark returned to the workbench. "What happened?"
"Turns out, my mother wasn't pregnant with two sons." Lex's lips twisted slightly. "But a son and a daughter." He smirked. "I may have turned out to be a disappointment to my father but Juliana let him down before she was even born."
"Because she's a girl?" Clark frowned. "Why?"
"My father fancies himself a modern day caesar. In his eyes, the only contribution my sister can make to our family is to marry well, maybe bring in a few billion in dowry or something. Beyond that she's irrelevant." Lex flashed a rueful smile. "An afterthought."
Clark watched his friend move about, caught between curiosity about the sister he hadn't known his friend had, and sympathy for Lex who was obviously frustrated by the neglect his beloved sibling had endured over the years. "I'm sorry."
"Don't be." Lex shrugged. "In the long run, Jules was lucky. My father tolerated her presence over the years but she was very much our mother's child. After my mother died, my father had absolutely no time for her. During the school year, he shipped her off to whatever boarding school was `appropriate'. The rest of the time she was to be persona non grata anywhere that my father was going to be. She escaped his influence."
Before Clark could respond, the other man briskly shook off the topic and walked back to the workbench again. "But I didn't come over to recount my family's tragic history. My father's offered me a chance to return to Metropolis."
A surprised smile appeared on Clark's face, then he recalled Ryan's words and the smile faded. "Did you tell Ryan about that?" Turning, he crossed the room again, tools and parts in hand.
"I haven't told anyone, Clark." Again Lex set down his coffee, but this time, he rested his hands on the workbench, staring at it.
"Well," Clark glanced back, trying to gauge his friend's feelings on the matter. "That's what you always wanted."
Lex lifted his gaze, focusing it on some distant point. "I used to think it was." He looked over his shoulder. "Now I'm not so sure. I was a different person there, a different person around my father." He dropped his gaze to the workbench again, moving things about with one hand. "He wants an answer tomorrow night. We're having dinner in Metropolis."
Behind him, Clark's face was troubled. He knew Lex was seeking advice on some level, be it consciously or not, but he didn't know what to say. What to offer. Finally, he moved forward. "If anyone can choose who they want to be, Lex, it's you."
Lex looked away, his own eyes shuttered, protecting his own inner turmoil. If anyone could...that was the question, wasn't it? The one he wrestled with. Could any man choose who he was? Could he? Did the son of Lionel Luthor get a choice...or was he trapped. Doomed to his future no matter what he did...
Several Days Later...
Standing in the doorway, Lex leaned against the frame and watched the slim woman sitting across the room. Her long hair was loose, curls framing her face, as she stared intently at the canvas before her. She was unaware of his presence so he lingered, letting himself get lost in the memories.
Finally, he decided it was unfair of him to stand there and not let her know he was there. Propelling himself forward, he crossed the room, deliberately taking a roundabout path so that she could see him coming. As it was, she still didn't realize he was there until he reached out and touched her shoulder.
Juliana Luthor jumped lightly and looked up in surprise. Seeing who it was, she smiled brightly, put down her brush and threw herself into her brother's arms. Pulling back, she signed quickly even as she said, "What are you doing here?"
Lex didn't try to suppress the automatic smile that spread across his face he looked into his sister's smiling eyes.
Reflexively, his hands began to form his reply as he spoke, "I wanted to see you."
Juliana's eyes narrowed slightly as she watched him speak. "Why?" The simple, swift movements of her hands telegraphed her concern loud and clear. He wasn't fooling anyone.
In many ways, the Luthor twins childhood had been atypical from societal norms and the bond that existed between them was no exception. While it was quite ordinary for twins to feel a strong connection, nothing could compare to the intensity of the bond between them. Nothing.
Lex was, quite literally, the only family Juliana had, Lionel having cut off contact with his `defective' child years before. As a result, Lex was fiercely protective of his sister and she of him. While he still endured their father's attention, he'd long since realized Juliana was true family. The only family worth caring about. Lionel was merely the sperm donor that had aided in their birth.
Gesturing for his sister to sit, Lex took a chair and sat across from her. "He asked me to come back to Metropolis and work for him. Special Assistant to the Chairman Emeritus or some trumped up title." His disdain was apparent and equally apparent was the fact his sister shared it.
Juliana's lips formed a smirk reminiscent of her brother's. "He's afraid of you." She signed. By mutual consent, neither of them voiced their father's name. They had a long standing, unspoken, agreement of avoiding discussing Lionel as much as possible. The logic being, Lionel had cut Juliana out of his life, so in return, she had turned her back on him. "You're becoming a threat."
"I know." He replied with a wide grin. "That's why I turned him down. He wants me back here to control me. I have no intentions of letting that happen. When I come back to Metropolis, I'm going to do it on my terms."
His sister nodded her agreement. "I have to be honest," she signed ruefully. "it would have been nice to have you here again. But not if it means you would be another of his `drones.'" Reaching out, she lightly touched his face. "I like the Lex that comes out when he's not around."
"You do, huh?" Lex's grin turned teasing. "So...the rest of the time you just tolerate me?"
Juliana made a face at him, waving the comment off. "Not just then," She signed back with a wicked smile. "I just tolerate you all the time." She giggled when he tossed a throw cushion at her. "Just kidding, big brother," She threw the cushion back. "You know I love you. It's just..." she sobered. "You're different when you're around him. Darker. More like him. I just...I don't like who you are when you're around him."
"I know," He acknowledged, nodding. "Truthfully, Jules, I don't like me when I'm around him." He sat back, smiling. "But I didn't come here to talk about his affect on my character."
His sister met his gaze, understanding the silent plea to let the subject drop, and nodded. "Well, what did you come here to talk about?" She asked with honest curiosity.
Lex looked at his hands for a moment then looked into her eyes. "I want you to come to Smallville." He said bluntly. "Live with me. You'd like it there, Jules. The people are good." He sighed. "They're not fans of his but most of them are willing to give me a chance. And if they like me, they'd love you." He insisted with a proud smile. Lionel didn't take any pride in his daughter's accomplishments, but her brother most certainly did.
Inhaling slowly, she ran her hands along her slacks and nipped at her lower lip momentarily. After some moments thought, Juliana replied softly. "Metropolis is my home, Lex, I have a good life here."
"I know you do." Lex countered, knowing full well what that life entailed. He may have left Metropolis, but he was well aware of his sister's activities. Letting his gaze wander over the sitting room, he gathered his thoughts before bringing his eyes back to the immaculately groomed woman sitting before him. A moment of sudden rage came over him, rage directed at their father. Lionel Luthor had written off Juliana as a `loss' years before. Useful only as far as marrying well, but, as he'd once snidely remarked when he'd thought Lex couldn't hear, who would want to marry her? She was defective in his eyes. Useless. It was a comment he'd never forgotten. A comment he would never forgive his father for. "But I'm not here anymore."
She frowned, pushing to her feet and pacing away before spinning to look back at him. "What's that got to do with anything?" She signed swiftly. "I don't need your protection Lex. Why would I? He acts like I don't exist."
"Sooner or later, Jules, that's going to change." Lex pointed out, standing as well. "You'd be safer in Smallville with me."
Juliana pressed her lips together, lapsing into total silence as she signed. "I'm an adult."
"Who's every move is recorded by her father's security." Her brother shot back heatedly. "Face it, little sister, the minute you step out of line..."
She sighed and shook her head. "Lex..."
"You don't have to decide right now." He replied gently, his hands moving slower. "But, please, Juliana, think about it." He smiled, moving closer. "I miss having you around." He gestured at the canvas. "And the house could use some new works..."
Juliana's irritation began to melt and she tried to push back a smile. "Lex..."
"Please, Jules...Think about it."
She exhaled heavily and mock-frowned at him. "Ok, ok. I'll think about it." She signed in acquiescence. "But no promises."
Lex tugged her into a hug then moved back so she could see his face. "I'll have the staff prepare a room."
Juliana pinched him then grinned. "Sure of yourself aren't you Lex?"
"No. What I am sure of is the fact you never say no to me." He grinned smugly. "Never."
She groaned and shook her head again. "Jerk."
"Now, Ms. Luthor, is that any way to talk to your big brother?" Lex asked archly.
"Two minutes." Juliana complained, as she sat again. "You're only two minutes older than me."
"Might as well be two years." He replied, his hands moving in a lazy fashion as his relaxation grew. "I'm still your big brother."
"God help me." His sister shot back with a wicked smirk.
Her brother's answer wasn't in words or ASL but Juliana got the message loud and clear when the cushion connected with the top of her head. Dropping it onto her lap, she smiled then signed. "It's good to see you again."
Lex smiled. "It's good to be seen."
Walking into the front hall, Lex restrained a smile as he called out for the head of his house staff. When the slim woman appeared in the doorway, he tugged off his leather gloves and leveled his gaze in her direction. "The suite that looks out onto the rose garden, get it ready."
"Are we expecting guests, Mr. Luthor?" She inquired formally and he could almost see the list of tasks, which needed to be done, forming in her mind.
"Not exactly." He handed off his coat to the waiting maid. "Get the suite ready and make sure there are fresh flowers. Daisies. Check with Martha Kent, if she doesn't have any, call Nell Potter."
"When are we to expect arrival?" She restrained any sign of annoyance at her employer's deliberately obtuse statements and resolved herself to glean what information the young man was willing to offer.
Lex saw the frustration beginning to build and chuckled lightly. "Expect it when it happens."
With that, he strode past the two women, tossing, "I'll be in the library," over his shoulder as he went.
The maid holding his coat raised her eyebrows and looked at her superior. "What was all that about?"
The older woman mulled over the sparse information Lex had given her and compared it with the women she'd seen him interact with. Of all of them, none of his `lady friends' fit the details. She was about ready to admit defeat when another possibility entered her mind and she smiled widely. "We' ve a special guest coming." She informed the maid briskly. "Hurry up and put away Mr. Luthor's things. We've work to do and it'll be our necks if she arrives and he thinks we're not ready."
With that, she hurried through the nearest door, muttering to herself about sheets, cleaning, and flowers.
There was much to be done and, as she well knew, when it came to his sister' s happiness, Lex Luthor had nearly impossible standards. Standards that he fully expected be met, otherwise, the consequences could be quite severe. Of Juliana Luthor, he was extremely protective.
She smiled, glancing at the library door as she passed it. At least one of the Luthor men had gotten it right.
Lionel was an emotional write off but Lex...he was solid gold.
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