I can't stop you from reading subtext into this story, but I didn't put it there. For once.
Thanks to Te for letting me pester her into beta'ing this (closed course, professional driver, do not attempt); any remaining errors, omissions or awkwardness are mine. Thanks to Jenn for asking for mistletoe fic, thus inspiring the story into existence. Thanks to Isilya for the title, and the rest of the PSG for their encouragement.
No Uncommon Sentiment
He could feel his mouth pulling to one side, but decided not to hide his amusement. The only people who could see his reaction, after all, were the ones he was reacting to -- and they worked for him, besides.
The glances that came his way, from the household and catering staffs bustling round the room, were direct; most caught his eye briefly, the regular employees who knew him well enough to feel comfortable doing so showing perhaps a gleam of shared humour. Everyone was looking, though no one's gaze lingered, at his father.
Lex took a good long look.
Lionel appeared to be overseeing the preparations for the party, if you didn't know he was blind, or make the connection hinted at by his dark glasses and long cane. Stationed under a garlanded arch flanking the tables where the food and drink would shortly be laid out, Lionel turned as if surveying the room. For all Lex knew, he was; his father's increasing competence at compensating for the loss of his sight was beginning to verge on unnerving.
Smirk still in place, Lex crossed the fresh-polished parquet. Lionel's head rose and turned in his direction as he approached; recognising the cadence of his stride, perhaps, or the distinctive tap of his handmade loafers? Whatever it was only gave Lionel an approximate fix on his position, so that when Lex spoke, his father still had to turn his head slightly to better face him.
"Bit early for the party, aren't you Dad?"
Lionel chuckled. "Just ascertaining that all is in order, Lex." His free hand sought and found Lex's shoulder, resting there somewhere between getting his bearings and bestowing a familial embrace. "This evening is important, for both our companies."
Lex resisted the urge to split semantic hairs by pointing out that LexCorp was his, not theirs. "I agree, Dad." He raised his own hand to the back of Lionel's arm, like completing a circuit. Unable to resist darting a quick glance upwards, he continued, "Let me go over the way the ballroom's been laid out."
The smile made a mirth-marked triangle of his father's face, sharpening his features to something that could cut. "I'm aware of the details, Lex. Leslie went over the plans with me, and the caterers thoughtfully provided a model along with their charts." One brow rose above the dark glasses at that last.
Not about to confirm or deny anything he might (or might not) have communicated (or had communicated) to the event coordinator, Lex went for the smooth redirect. "We'll have to be sure to give Leslie a nice bonus, then."
"Mmm," Lionel responded, noncommittal.
"There was apparently at least one detail everyone neglected to mention to you, though."
Lex glanced up again. "This arch we're standing under? It's decorated with mistletoe."
Both brows twitched up in tandem at that, then Lionel chuckled richly. "Well, that explains why no one but you has come within ten feet of me." The hand on Lex's shoulder moved up to clasp his neck lightly, and his father leaned in to press a dry, paternal kiss to his cheek. Lex half-expected a physical shock, but the absence of carpeting or rubber-soled shoes, perhaps as much as the recent relaxation of tensions between them, let the brief contact be harmless. Not missing a beat, Lionel withdrew, turned and settled his arm in Lex's grip.
"All right, Lex. Show me what else was overlooked in my previous briefings. There will be cheeks to be kissed, tonight, and hands to be shaken, but switching the two would be, well." He chuckled again.
"Not to our advantage, for a business function," Lex finished, guiding them towards the central table. "So. Shall I go over the guest list with you, too?"
Happy Winter Gift-Giving Holiday to All, and to All a Good Night!
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