The helicopter landed within a kilometer of the ice fortress that Lex had spotted on aero photos. Lex, a totally white snowsuit, stepped out of the helicopter into the blinding snow then cut the fuel line. The pilot ran out of the helicopter and screamed. "Are crazy? You'll kill us both."
"Only one of us." Lex started to walk away from the helicopter; the pilot would die of hypothermia before help could arrive.
Lex touched indention in the fortress that appeared to be a closed door. "Welcome. You are the one that the pod has chosen for my son, Kal-el," said the holographic image of a dark-haired woman that could have been Clark's mother.
Lex tried not to shiver, as the computer scanned him, and walked into the ice fortress, because, no matter what obstacles it held inside, the structure would shield him from the wind and snow.
"I do not know any Kal-el." Lex Luther didn't cower to computer programs.
"Kal-el's mate, you meet him the day his ship landed on your world," the computer program explained.
Lex hoped the program meant mate as slang for friend or companion. "Clark." Lex acknowledged the program.
"You must make a choice to go forward or do you wish to return to who you were before meeting Kal-el?"
Lex didn't go backwards. "Go forward."
The computer scanned him again. Green light filled the ice chamber. Suddenly, he felt weak and lost consciousness. He woke to find Clark standing over him wearing that stupid costume of his, the one Jimmy Olsen photographed. Lex could feel the cold but was no longer shivering. "Did Martha make that?" Noticing his voice sounded higher in pitch, Lex put his hand over his mouth to feel some fine hair on his face.
"Mom wanted something flashy so no one would look at my face."
"It works. Is the S for Smallville?"
"Miss, who are you and what are doing here?"
"Miss? What are you talking about?" Lex felt his head, which had thick shoulder length hair. As Clark helped him to a sitting position, Lex couldn't feel his male organs and screamed, "Your damn computer neutered me."
"I x-rayed you and you look complete."
"You x-rayed me?"
"For broken bones, you were lying on the ground unconscious."
Lex stood up and walked over to one of the ice panels that was polished like a mirror. He stared at the red-haired woman with his features staring back at him. "Shit."
"Miss, who are you?"
Lex touched his/her hair. "I haven't had hair since I was nine."
Clark walked over to her. "Lex?"
"Can we go someplace warmer and talk?" Lex asked, feeling more uncomfortable than cold.
"You had no right to come here," Clark stated.
"Your computer welcomed me."
"What did it say to you?"
"It called me Kal-el's mate. I take it that you're Kal-el."
Clark touched a key. "Mom, did you invite Lex Luthor inside?"
"LexLuthor will bear you fine children," said the computer image.
"Lex was male. You had no right," said Clark.
"Kal-el, I scanned LexLuthor when it entered the chamber," said the program. "It was sterile. I made it fertile and gave it the wisdom to care and raise your young."
Lex interrupted. "I'm not a thing to be tampered with." How dare a computer program call him it and rearrange his body to suit its needs.
"Return Lex to who he was when entered this chamber," Clark insisted.
"LexLuthor is far superior to the previous sample you brought me."
Lex's curiosity was peaked. "Who did you bring up here before?"
"I brought a piece of Lois's hair. My holographic mother said she wasn't compatible." Clark looked in the direction of the hologram. "Mother, restore Lex Luther."
"I repaired her." The computer program shut off.
Lex understood that compatible, as a computer interface was compatible to another system. Dr. Walden wasn't compatible to the program and years later he still lingered in a vegetated state. "Clark, would you take me home?"
"Do you want to see Lionel at this moment?" Clark asked.
"Not really. Take me someplace were I can buy some new clothes and get my hair done. I can't face my father and step-mother looking like this." Lex turned to Clark.
"How about Halifax?" Clark suggested.
"Fine. We should get a room and talk. Like old times, we can order room service and talk all night. We also go to the lounge and play a few games of pool." Lex took a deep breath. "You must be hungry."
"Lex, I know you're in shock. What did you expect to find here?"
"The Rosetta Stone. When this ice fortress appeared from nowhere with markings, resembling the markings in the cave, I knew it would have the answers."
"Do you have the answers?"
"I believe I do." Lex walked proudly to the entrance of the fortress.
"Why did you cut the fuel line of the helicopter? You weren't thinking you were going to walk away."
"There is a radio aboard the copter and the fortress would keep me shielded from the cold until help arrived," Lex explained. He didn't go on suicide missions.
"I brought the pilot safety. You intended for him to die." Clark picked up Lex then flew away from the ice fortress.
"If I intended for him to die, he would have been dead already. The pilot was quite capable of following me to shelter." As Clark was aware, Lex didn't chain the man or prevent him in anyway from following.
"You should be careful of what you say. I'm carrying you."
"You're Superman. You won't drop me."
"She chose you; she won't chose anyone else."
"I'm not marrying you because some AI program, that has no regard for my sex simply because I was infertile, thinks I'm intelligent."
"I seem to recall you had quite a crush on me."
"That was years ago."
When they arrived at Halifax, Lex signed for the room using her credit card then got her hair done at the hotel beauty salon and credited it to the room while Clark put on his flannel shirt and jeans. At the shopping center near the hotel, Lex purchased several dresses and one pantsuit while Clark looked terminally bored. As she grabbed two medium nightgowns and box of panties, Clark looked at the growing pile. "You need all that."
"I should get jeans, tee shirts and I forget bras and stockings." Lex tossed a few more items onto the counter. Lex felt stupid in still wearing the snowsuit in mid-October, but she wasn't going to wear men's business attire in public. Something was odd; she should have been sweating by now.
While they were walking back to the hotel, Clark said, "What scares me if you knew your dress size?"
"Clark, I don't want to go into that right now," Lex said. "I'm not going to be able to go to business meeting looking like this."
"If you shaved your head, no one would know," Clark said.
"Unlike you, I wouldn't be comfort living a double life. I've been Lex Luthor, meteor mutant, since age nine. I'm not going to hide now." Carrying her shopping bags, Lex walked proudly still in that dreadful snowsuit.
"So you're going to go to your meetings, in the clothes you brought."
"If I go to my board meeting, I will wear clothes suited to my stature."
After returning to the room, Lex removed her snowsuit, tie and shirt. Clark went over and touched her skin. "No sweat."
"Apparently, your holographic mother changed more than my sex." Lex continued to undress as if Clark wasn't in the room. The man did have x-ray vision according to Lois Lane's article on Superman. He could peek under her clothes anytime. She changed into one of the dresses she brought.
Clark stared at her with amazement.
Lex reached in back to zip her dress. "Are you staring at me because I'm beautiful or is that shock?"
"Both." Clark was direct. "You have worn women's clothes before."
Lex, not to be intimidated, said, "I've watched a lot of ladies dress and undress."
"Granted, but you didn't try any clothes on."
"I looked at a size chart for cm and kg."
"No, you didn't. You pulled the clothes from the rack. You knew exactly what you wanted and where to get it. You were married for less than two weeks so didn't shop with your wife."
Lex finished dressing. "You don't want to know about my sorted past."
"Lex, you know my secrets."
"I went to an all boys high school in England and the other boys thought it was funny to have the skinny bald American kid to put on a wig and do the girls' parts. Are you happy now? I need some make up. I'm not facing my step-mother without looking my best."
Clark hugged Lex. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have asked."
"It doesn't bother me. The teasing taught me how to be strong."
"That isn't true. You're allowed to hurt. If you want to cry or scream, do so." Clark stroked her back affectionately.
"It won't change a thing. That computer treated me like object." Lex looked at her reflection.
Clark put her hand in his. "Did it ask for your permission?"
"Yes, but I didn't understand the question," Lex said.
"Lex, you know better than anyone ignorance is never an excuse."
"I'm not blaming you. I walked into the fortress and agreed that I was your mate. We have been mates all though your high school career. Pete was jealous that I was your best mate. I feared if I said no it would have killed me on the spot."
"It's not your fault." Clark touched Lex's cheek. "What are we going to do? I have to get to the Planet tomorrow."
"Call Mr. White and say you have an exclusive with Lex Luthor?" Lex put her fingers through Clark's silky hair. "Now, that I don't have to wear that hideous snowsuit, I can manage a department store on my own."
Lex put on the sandals purchased at the boutique, put her wallet and room key in a newly purchased handbag and left the room. Lex walked in the slight heel focusing on her walk. Lex Luther couldn't go back to his companies. He wouldn't be humiliated this way; there has to be another option. She thought about having Clark's babies and smiled to herself. Somehow, it would work out. Lex Luthor wasn't one to give up.
The woman at the counter of the expensive department store was very helpful and Lex found all the cosmetics she needed. She sniffed a few bottles of perfume and she was certain that her sense of smell was more sensitive. She carried back two large bags filled with clothes and cosmetics. She then realized that she needed to buy shampoo and conditioner and stopped at a hair salon to get a suggestion from the woman working there. Hair wasn't something Lex ever needed to think about before.
Lex hugged Clark when she entered the room. "Did you make your calls? I've been so busy shopping that I forgot to eat."
"We can order room service. I ate while you were out," Clark said.
"Clark, you would eat two dinners all the time as a kid," Lex said.
"And Pete told you all my secrets," Clark teased.
"I think we need to kill Lex Luther," Lex said. "I want you to help fake my death."
"I won't help you commit fraud," Clark said.
"Fine. I'll find someone else to do it," Lex said. "Now who do know from Smallville that works in the media? Chloe Sullivan. This fit right into her Wall of Weird."
"You're not getting Chloe involved. If something goes wrong, she would go to jail."
"And you would still be implicated because of the three million dollars is in your account." Lex kicked off her shoes, sat down at the desk and turned on the hotel laptop.
"You put three million into my account?"
"You say the word and it goes to Miss Lane's account." Lex hand her hand over the keyboard and punched the codes needed to get into her Internet banking services.
"No. Leave Lois out of this," Clark said.
Lex closed the program. "Then, you'll help me."
"We'll talk about it."
Lex sat on the edge of the bed, crossed her legs in a feminine fashion then dialed for room service.
"If I was in your place, I would be falling all over myself," Clark stated.
"There isn't much difference between a lady and a gentleman."
"A gentleman chews small bites and keeps his legs close together when he sits. I already told you that I did female roles in high school."
"So you looked like a drag queen."
"At least, they were laughing with me instead of at me. Do you think it is easy for me to walk away from a multi-billion dollar company? Worse, as my will stands, most of my assets will go to my father. Ultimately, it will go to my half brothers and sisters and not to our children."
"I didn't agree to marry you."
"Clark, we don't have sex to have a baby. I'm having your children; that has been decided unless you want your people to die out. AI program isn't going to download into another individual."
"What do you want?"
"I haven't decided all those things, yet. I know I have to kill off Lex Luther and assume a new identity. I want to get my mother's things before everything goes into probate."
"I'll get them. Just give me a list. Some of your servants should remember me. Who's more dependable than Clark Kent?"
"Thanks. I hate making you do all this."
"Lois will be here in the morning to interview you."
"Fine. I'll grant her the interview, but I'm only talking business."
"One of my many employees, Dr. Jones from genetic research. How does that suit you?" Lex felt confident that she wouldn't recognize her because she didn't recognize Clark without his glasses. Clark returned in a few hours with the items on the list plus a few other things, including a vintage fur coat. Lex hugged the coat, remembering when his mom wore it.
"Lex, it's okay to admit that you are scared."
"My father said that Luthors weren't frightened."
"Your father is full of bullshit. Let's go to bed." Clark fell asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow.
Lex opened the computer and looked at a few of her accounts. She couldn't make any transfers without raising suspicions. She wondered if faking suicide was possible that way she could give some of the money to charity instead of her father. Most of her will was to foundations, but a penny was too much to give her dad.
She, finally, backdated an account for an Alexandra Jones and transferred two years back salary. She also changed the Lexcorps records to say that money had been deposited in that account bi-weekly since she started working for the company, directly under Lex Luther supervision. Both computers now showed an Alexandra Jones on their records. She now had verifiable work history with Social Security number.
Lois met them at the hotel restaurant at the appointed time. "Hello, I'm Dr. Jones; you must be Ms. Lane. Mr. Luthor was called back on business. I'll answer any of your questions."
Lois shook her hand and took a seat. "Thanks for agreeing to see me."
"Lexcorp is leading the world in genetic research. We are making great strides in combating illness by mapping the genetic code." Lex knew she said absolute nothing but vague statements were always good for PR. Lex continued to spew forth the usual rhetoric about gene therapy and their advances in cancer research.
"Thank you, Dr. Jones for your time," Lois said.
"No problem. That what I'm here for," Lex said. Lois left soon after Lex paid the bill. "She's an idiot. What could you have possibly seen in her? I'm a far better catch."
"What do you see in me?" Clark asked between sips of his coffee.
"Besides that you're Superman? Does a girl need anything else?"
"You were interested in me from the day I pulled you from the Porsche."
"You were pretty super back then."
"When you asked me if I fell far from the tree, I nearly fled out of there."
"I'm glad you didn't. I've always been attracted to you."
"I'll help you."
Lex created a message lowering his voice digitally to its previous pitch to say that he was on his way to Boston from Halifax and his friend Mr. Kent would be flying the helicopter. Clark flew the helicopter over some rocks and shifted the helicopter wrong so it would lose attitude and stall. He jumped out of the failing helicopter and swam in from the rocks to the shore. Clark was met by some tourists near the beach and they wrapped him blanket. As help arrived, he told his sad tale about his friend, didn't get out of the helicopter. Then, after saying he didn't need medical attention, he returned to his room to send the story to Perry White.
After Perry White confirmed receiving the story, he called. "Kent, take a few days off. I know he was your friend."
"Thanks, sir," Clark said.
Clark was interviewed by the local press as he pretended to drown his sobs in a pub. Clark hoped he was a decent actor. He would fly home to see his mom and dad in the morning.
Lois arrived bright and early the next morning. "Clark, I'm so sorry."
"I thought you had gone back to Metropolis."
"The plane was overbooked," Lois explained. "Mr. White called to tell me to delay my flight back and it was late so I thought you would be asleep."
"Thanks." Clark did his best sad face.
"I found out that you have been sharing a room with Dr. Jones for the last few days."
"That my business. I can date who I chose," Clark stated.
"Fine. I never said you couldn't. So where is your friend?"
"She left. She has business to take care of in the mid-west." Clark said in a condescending voice. "I could find out where she went. Not that, it's any of your business."
"I get the point. You must be heart-broken," Lois said.
"His pilot is in the hospital and I thought that I could handle it. I've flown helicopters in simulations. I have over five hundred hours airplane time," Clark said. "God, I feel so awful."
"Five hundred hours isn't like you started flying last week," Lois said.
"It just that I never flew an helicopter. I got cocky and Lex was always in a hurry," Clark said.
"Dr. Jones said he left."
"Obviously, his business was in town. I'm just a friend from Smallville. I don't keep up with all his business dealings. Maybe, you should talk to someone in his office to inquire about what he was doing in Halifax." Clark started sobbing.
"I know this is hard for you."
"You can ask Chloe about how close we were. Anytime I had a fight with my dad, I used to run to the Luthor castle," Clark said trying to pretend he was in mourning. "I saved his life from another watery grave the day we met. Neptune must have wanted what was his."
"I can't imagine what you're going through," Lois said. "I can write the article for you."
"I already mailed it off," Clark said as he pulled in the tears. "Lex was overworked. I shouldn't have let him talk me into flying him. I wasn't trained to fly helicopters."
"It was an accident. From what I heard of Lex Luthor, he's very persuasive."
"True." Clark spoke some more about his friendship with Lex. Later that day, Perry White called to insist his two favorite reports get their butts in gear. Clark took a seat next to Lois on the plane to Metropolis. Clark kept his head in a book as they sat on the plane.
Lois said while they were in the air. "You have to get back on the horse."
"Not today," Clark said. He hated spending money on airplane tickets when he could fly for free. The only reason he put in hours at the Metropolitan airfield was so he could tell people he flew and not get strange looks. Actually learning to fly an airplane helped him getting over his fear of heights more than flying without the plane did. He didn't have that feeling like he would fall since he was safely surrounded by metal.
After creating a new identity for herself as Dr. Alexandra Jones, Lex took a plane to her father's house. Dr. Jones had worked as an intern for Lexcorp while working for her doctorate. She had resigned without actually stepping foot in an office. After she got an emergency passport made based on a well-forged birth certificate, she cracked into the MU computer and created school records. Dr. Jones was now a real person with a history.
Dressed in a long sleeve tee shirt and casual slacks, Lex went to the castle. After giving the cab driver a good tip, she walked toward the main gate. She wore what her mother would call sensible shoes. She didn't want to dress down for her father's wife, but she didn't want to dress obviously feminine. Alexandra Jones still needed to get a driver's license. She would take the test as soon as she could schedule it
Victoria greeted Lex at the door.
"I'm here to see my dad," Lex explained.
"You look different," Victoria said.
"My hair grew back." Lex laughed.
"I can't believe I ever slept with you."
"It was no party on my side either."
"Why do you think I won't tell anyone that you faked your death?" Victoria asked.
"Because it benefits you and I know how you think, Victoria. You say anything your precious son gets nothing. Not that any of this makes a bit of difference. A simple medical exam would prove that I was never Lex Luthor."
"What shit are you pulling?"
"Bitch, can't you tell?" Lex walked to her father's office. "Dad, I'm sorry."
"You have hair. How could you let me believe you were dead? Victoria is planning your memorial service. I shot Lucas to save you." Lionel put his hands into Lex's hair feeling it down to the roots.
"Not a difficult choice."
"Should we still have memorial?"
"Yes and make sure to invite the Kents. They took me in when you favored Lucas over me." Lex looked at her father.
"Son. I can't pretend that you're dead." Lionel took his hands off Lex's thick hair
"You have to. I say something now and Clark and I both go to jail for a long time."
"You're not getting your companies back."
"I don't want them. If I did, I would have them back and more within ten years time. I have other goals now." Lex kept her voice soft with a threatening edge.
Lionel said, "You sound like you did before your voice changed. What happened to you?"
"No, green rocks took away my hair. I found another Rosetta stone. It downloaded on me. It gave me the knowledge of the aliens and changed my body."
Lionel hugged Lex. "You are still my boy."
"No, Dad. I'm not a boy."
"I don't understand."
"Please. Dad, I'm a girl."
"Lex, you're putting me on."
"I'm going to marry Clark."
"I love him."
"Get out of my house."
"Dad, I'm sorry." Lex felt like crying, but she didn't. Lex drove Clark's red truck to the Kent house and knocked on the front door. "I need to see Clark."
"Clark can't come out to play," said Jonathan. "You look good for a dead man."
Lex stood by the door. "I had reasons for what I've done."
Clark came to the front door. "Sasha, come in. How did the talk with your dad go?"
"He told me to get out of his house," said Lex.
Jonathan said, "My son could go to jail due to your scheming."
"It was my choice to help her," said Clark.
"Her?" huffed Jonathan.
"I x-rayed her. It isn't like she could continue as head of Lexcorp. She took my truck to get here. She lost everything," Clark explained.
Lex sat down on the sofa, crossed her legs and placed her hands on her lap. "I'm sorry that I asked Clark for help."
"The quicker he gives you back your money, the better," Jonathan said.
"It doesn't matter," Clark said. "We're getting married."
"I forbid it," Jonathan said.
"I'm over eighteen," Clark stated. "I'll give you the money when the bank opens on Monday. Use it. Start a business."
"The pod chose me. I was downloaded with information about Clark's world. Jonathan, get your shotgun. You wanted to do this a long time." Lex smiled broadly.
Jonathan left the room and returned with a small lead-lined box. "Clark, get out of the room."
Clark stepped outside without questioning his father.
Martha ran into the living room. "Jonathan, don't. She could be allergic." Martha sat on the sofa by Lex and put her arm around the red haired woman.
"Open it," Lex said, knowing that Jonathan's meteorite sample was in it. "Consider it an experiment."
Jonathan opened the box.
Lex felt ill immediately. Sweating profusely, she put her head between her knees as she felt like she was about to collapse.
"Close it, Jonathan. You have your proof," Martha shouted. "You're hurting her." Martha reached over and closed the box. "Put it away."
As the box closed, Lex started feeling better immediately.
"What the hell happened?"
"I found markings similar to the cave on an ice structure. After the previous unfortunate incident, I didn't want risk anyone else. This AI program invites me in, asks me a few questions and then this green light scans me. The next thing I know is Clark is standing over me in this goofy costume. Your boy is a bit old for Trick-or-Treat."
Martha led the three of them outside. Clark was standing near a tractor. Jonathan looked at Lex as her walked over to Clark and put her hand on his arm. "Can you also pick up tractors?" Jonathan asked.
"Dad, the pod decided. I can't change it," Clark said. "The AI shut down when I asked it to restore Lex."
"Lex, do you want to have Clark's children?" Jonathan asked.
"I have trouble believe that," Jonathan said.
Lex put her hand under the tractor and lifted up. It took both of her hands to lift a wheel of the tractor off the ground. As she put it down, her hand shook a little. There was little pain, but that could have been residual from the green rock. Further testing would be required.
"Who knows that you were affected?" Jonathan asked.
"No one else. My father knows something happened to me," Lex said as he sat down on the step. "I'm thinking about opening a coffee shop. The Talon ran in the black."
"You said it barely broke even," said Clark.
"I was angry about the fire."
"And you're trying to imply that I did it?" Clark asked.
Lex gave him a stare. "You were at all three fires."
"That happened years ago," Martha said, forever peace maker. "I'll start dinner and we can talk."
"I'll help Martha in the kitchen. Clark, talk to your dad," Lex said.
Martha said, "The servants would never let you in the kitchen."
"I sent the servants home many times and I don't have servants at my penthouse." Lex hated that because he had money people thought that he didn't know how to fend for himself. Lex only had security at his penthouse; valuing his privacy too much to allow anyone to snoop around.
"No offence, but you'll need to learn to live like the rest of us," Martha said as she started to dice vegetables.
"I prefer fish or chicken." Lex had no aversion to work; he did much of the genetic research at the lab. She was looking forward to working at a small setting without employees looking over her shoulder.
"How are you managing?" Martha asked.
"Good. It's only been two weeks since the accident at Clark's fortress. I have new identity. I miss who I was, but you can't change the past. I made the mistake and was willing to risk the consequences."
Martha and Lex put the food on the table. "Jonathan, she's going to be part of our family," Martha reminded him.
The little girl ran into the farmhouse as dinner was served. "Clark, who is your friend?"
"Linda, this is my future wife, Sasha," Clark said.
"Good to meet you," Lex said, putting the last plate on the table.
"Lois is prettier," Linda said.
"Lois doesn't have a brain," Lex said.
"She's a good reporter," Martha said, defending Lois.
"That is why Superman is always rescuing her," Lex continued.
"She knows that I'll rescue her," Clark said.
"And if you aren't there," Lex said.
"Clark will talk to her about taking unnecessary risks," Clark said. Obviously Superman and Lois had this discussion. "So you don't approve of my vigilantism."
"Flying around in a costume is stupid," Lex said. "You don't even wear a mask."
"I don't need one. Most people only see a blue and red streak in the sky," Clark said. "The people I rescue don't remember my face five minutes later."
"And Chloe doesn't know your Superman?" Lex asked.
"She sees a blue and red streak in the sky," Clark said. "And I've been very careful. Jimmy Olsen has never taken a good picture of me. I think he's starting to wonder about his camera equipment."
"What are you going to use your gifts for?" Jonathan asked.
"To bare Clark's children. We discussed this already," Lex stated. World conquest took planning and strategy. Clark was going about things the wrong way. PR was important but it wasn't everything. He needed to solve real problems, not put bandages over old wounds.
"Lex, what do you want from us?" Jonathan asked.
"It is Alexandra. Lex died in that helicopter crash. I've checked my fingerprints are different. From what you seen, if I still have DNA, it's altered," Lex explained. "All I want from you is your blessing."
"So you can convince our son that he is wasting his time rescuing people and he should take over the world," Jonathan said.
"I never would have been that blunt," Lex said.
"You had the tenth largest company in the world; you aren't going to accept less than taking over the world," Jonathan said.
"If I had the world, what would I do with it?" Lex teased. If she had the power of Superman, why would she bother with the world? Human beings were mere ants. What was important would be her offspring. Gods needed proper education. She would not repeat the mistakes of the Olympians.
"Absolute power corrupts absolutely." Jonathan walked behind Clark.
"Have the little compassion. She's going to be part of our family." Clark walked over to the truck.
"I'll help with the dishes." Lex collected the dishes.
"Child, do you need anything?" Martha asked.
"I'll be fine," Lex said, rinsing the dishes before putting them in the dishwasher.
"Let's visit Pete and Chloe," Clark said.
"I need to change into other clothes," Lex said.
"I'll help Mom with the dishes. Go change," Clark said.
Pete opened the apartment door and looked over Lex in her jeans and tee shirt. "Chloe, we have a ghost at the door," Pete stated. "Aren't you supposed to be dead?"
Clark came to the door. "Hi, Pete. Invite us in."
"I'm not usually visited by ghosts," Pete teased.
"Invite Clark and Lex in. I'm sure there is an explanation," Chloe said as she put a six-pack of soda on the coffee table.
"New look. I like the wig. Jeans and tee shirts have never been your style. Where is the thousand dollar jacket?" Pete asked as Lex takes a seat on the sofa.
Chloe poured a bag of chips into a bowl. "Clark, I'm appalled. I thought if there was one honest person in the world, it was you."
"When I crashed the helicopter, I was the only one in it," Clark explained. "Lex wanted out."
"Lex, you aren't fooling anyone with make up and a wig. How could you ask Clark to take the fall for you because you were tired of your life?" Pete said.
Lex picked Pete up like he was a feather. "Pete, do you think leaving billions behind was an easy decision?"
"Put me down, man," Pete said.
Lex lowered him to the ground. "Clark offered to help me."
"Clark, why did you do a fool-hearted thing like that?" Pete asked.
"Because she needed my help," Clark said. "I don't turn my back on my friends."
"Committing fraud is a bit extreme," Chloe said. "Clark, you could land in jail if someone finds out. Lex, you need to go into hiding. I won't have you ruining my friends' lives."
"You have no understanding," Lex said. "For Clark to be committing fraud, one would have to prove that I'm Lex Luthor and one simple medical exam and it will be laughed out of court."
"He isn't serious," Pete said, sitting opposite Lex and Clark on the sofa.
Clark opened a soda and drank it from the can. "Pete, Lex Luthor died in that helicopter. This is Alexandra Jones. She worked for Lexcorp until the day of the unfortunate accident."
"I submitted my resignation because I felt partially responsible for Mr. Luthor's death," Lex said. "If he traveled on the plane with me, instead of insisting on traveling with an inexperienced pilot, he would still be here. No offense, Clark."
"None taken. I argued for at least an hour that I never flew a helicopter before and that he should wait for his own pilot to recover or take another mode of transportation. Lex is very persuasive. I've signed a waver that to that effect," Clark explained.
"No one will believe you're a woman," Pete said. "The pansy thinks he can put on a wig and some make up and everyone will believe that he's a girl."
Lex stood up. "Chloe, would you mind getting me a glass and some ice?"
"No problem, Alexandra." Chloe went into the small kitchen and got the glass and filled it with ice.
"Thank you." Lex poured the soda over the ice. "Pete, I'm not in the habit of undressing in front of strange men." Not many men were stranger than Pete.
Chloe laughed. "That's not I heard."
"Everyone has their double," Lex said. "I'm a lady and I don't have to prove it."
Chloe took Lex's hand. "Can we talk in the bedroom?"
"Pete's dribble is boring me," Lex said, following Chloe to the bedroom leaving the barely touched soda on the coffee table.
Chloe closed the door. "Pete is right. We could be in big shit if someone thinks we were involved in staging your death."
"I have different fingerprints, my DNA was altered, and most importantly, I am a woman," Lex stated. "Last time, I checked sexual reassignment surgery didn't include a womb and ovaries."
"Keep your panties on. I believe you."
"Just don't put me on your Wall of Weird. We should give the guys a chance to talk." Lex sat on the double bed.
"A small bit of advise. You move like a drag queen." Chloe sat in the single chair in the room. "I've watched Victor/Victoria. Drag queens movement are large; a lady's are smaller."
"I've been a girl for less than a month. I'll get better in time. When Clark watched me buy clothes the first time, he thought I looked good." Lex crossed her legs.
"Knowing Clark, he has never seen a drag queen," Chloe said. "What happened?"
"I found a cave similar to the one in Smallville and unlike Dr. Walden I'm not intellectually impaired," Lex said. "I woke up with hair the first time since I was nine. I couldn't shave my head and pretend nothing happened."
"A man doesn't step into a cave get zapped by an ancient device and wake up a woman," Chloe said.
"Why not? There must be stranger things on your Wall of Weird. Let me think. There's the boy that divided into two."
Chloe smiled. "Point taken."
"Why would you leave billions?"
"To live," Chloe answered.
"I wasn't living. God, I'm virtually penniless and I'm happier than I've been in a long time." Lex put her hand under her chin and felt a small hair there and yanked it out between her fingernails. She was a girl and now she had facial hair.
"Clark will give you the money back," Chloe said.
"The money doesn't matter. I would be just as happy if he gave it to charity."
"Why give it up?"
"I didn't want to lead two lives." Lex leaned forward to give Chloe her undivided attention.
After a bit more conversation, Chloe and Lex returned to the living room. "So do you guys want to see a movie?" Chloe asked.
"It's rather late and I need an article about Halifax," Clark said.
"Lying is never easy," Pete said.
"I convinced the police that Mr. Luthor persuaded me to fly his helicopter although I informed him that I didn't have the proper experience. They aren't going to charge me with vehicular homicide. I swam nearly a kilometer back to shore. I was lucky to save myself. I've never swam that far in my life," Clark said for Chloe's benefit. Chloe was the only one in the room that didn't know he was Superman.
"Don't you think it is odd that you're dating a woman that quits Lexcorp due to the accident?" Pete asked.
"We met just prior to the accident and she knows how persuasive Lex can be so she really doesn't blame me. I'm a cub report who just got his pilot's license. Lex chews up men like me and spits them out for breakfast," Clark explained.
"They would know that Lex saw you as an equal if they look into your history," Chloe said.
"The Halifax police aren't that thorough," Clark said. "No one will believe a cub report can stand his own with the powerful Mr. Luthor."
"So Chloe what is the verdict?" Pete asked.
"I didn't pry," Chloe said.
"Wash off that junk and take off that ugly wig." Pete reached up behind her as she snuggled with Clark on the sofa and pulled on her hair.
Lex was only mildly annoyed. "I spent good money on getting my hair done." Lex picked up her purse and walked to the bathroom. She brushed her collar length hair still enjoying the sensation of having hair that wasn't a wig. Lex had never cared for wigs; his mother tried to convince him to wear one as a boy and he refused. Lex opened her purse again and took out her make up. She reapplied some lipstick. She pursed her lips and looked at her reflection in the mirror.
Pete touched Lex's shoulder. "Some kind of hair treatment."
Lex grabbed Pete's arm, knowing with her new strength that she could do damage. "I had enough of this. Chloe, we'll talk. Clark, let's leave."
A couple weeks later, Chloe arrived at the coffee shop that Lex was planning to open. The counters were being repaired and the coffee makers and kitchen equipment were being installed. Lex was going over paperwork while the workmen were busy. Chloe waited around for over an hour for Lex sign the work order and the workmen to leave for the day. Inside the coffee shop, Lex hugged Chloe. "Chloe, you look great."
Chloe smiled at the woman in jeans and a blouse that could have been Lana's. "So do you," Chloe said. "How are things?"
"Great. I love starting new projects. I like that I have no to tell me what to do. I'm still waiting for the espresso machine to be delivered; the warehouse said it would arrive today." Lex pulled out a chair. "I hope to be opened in a week."
"We have to do something about those plain walls." Chloe sat at the table across from Lex.
Lex put a hand on her chin. "A fresh paint job and a few paintings from local artists and we'll be set to open."
"Why did you put three million in Clark's account? Perry White almost had a bird. He practically accused Clark of taking bribes."
"I needed some assurance. Clark's barn burning led me to believe that he knew something about the cave markings. And he wouldn't talk otherwise."
"Clark Kent is the Fort Knox of secrets, but you didn't have to set him up."
Lex put her hand on her growing bustline. "What's a girl to do?"
"It's history. I'm sorry for the way Pete treated you," Chloe said.
"Pete and I have some history," Lex said.
"I should have pulled you away earlier. Is it me or you getting stronger?" Chloe asked.
"I could be gaining some muscle from all this hard work." Lex smiled. "Sasha is fine. Alexandra sounds so formal." Lex pulled two bottles of water from the refrigerator. "I love the location." She opened her bottle of water.
"Across the street from Lexcorp." Chloe opened the second bottle of water.
"Luthercorp. They're changing the signs. I wondered if my father will come in for a cup of coffee." Lex drank some more water.
"This must be a big adventure for you."
"I feel so free. No one's lives are under my control. For the first time, I'm only responsible for me. Do you know what it is like to be twenty-one and responsible for the lives of over two thousand employees?"
"Not a clue," Chloe said.
Clark came into the coffee shop and wrapped his arms around Lex. "Honey, I'm sorry that I've been ignoring you."
"I know you're busy." Lex kissed him briefly. "I stuck here waiting for an espresso machine."
"I have to get back to the Daily Planet," Chloe said. "Ciao."
"Come by anytime," Lex said.
"So how is the coffee business?" Clark took a chair.
"The coffee has been delivered. The kitchen equipment is working. I'm waiting to finalize a deal with the baker and I hope to be opening some time next week." Lex sat on Clark's lap.
"We need to take you somewhere and tests your gifts."
"We don't want you to put your fist through a counter."
"I don't strike out."
"What about that meter maid's car?" Clark smiled at her. "Come on. It will be fun to see what you can do. We can go to my fortress the whole weekend."
"After the shipment arrives, someone has to mind the store."
"Fine. Lois and I will bring you some take out." Clark kissed her briefly.
"Tell Lois not to eat all the egg rolls this time."
Clark drove the red pick up to a field outside Metropolis. Clark stripped to his costume and Lex put the clothes in her garment bag. "You have to wear that costume."
"You'll have to get used to it. It goes with the icon."
"If I learn to fly, I'm not wearing a stupid costume," Lex said.
"Have you floated in your sleep?" Clark asked.
"No. Are we going to test my speed and strength in a dark field? Besides, we have no test equipment here."
"I have stopwatch and the pickup."
"So you want me to chase the pickup?" Lex started laughing like it was below her dignity.
"If we used a treadmill and sophisticated equipment people would be suspicious. Run on the track."
"Sure." Lex discovered that she wasn't faster than a normal person, but she didn't tire the same way. She could run at sprinting speed for over a mile. She could pick up the truck, but Clark doubted that she could lift more. However, she appeared to be as impenetrable as Clark. "I had enough of your stupid tests."
"We won't fly anywhere." Clark put his hand on her shoulder. "You're amazing."
"Did you expect me to break down and cry?"
Clark wrapped his arms around her. "You must feel something."
"Shock. I've learned that you must accept the unacceptable a long time ago."
"Hit me. Scream."
"I hit you and I break my hand."
"You won't break your hand. Try it."
Lex threw a punch at full force at Clark's gut. It didn't hurt to hit Clark, but at the same time his stomach didn't give.
Clark moaned slightly as Lex's thrust pushed him across the field. "Wow. Look at your hand," Clark said sitting up.
"It's not broken and doesn't hurt." Lex looked at her fingers. "I knocked the wind out of Superman."
"Mr. Kent to you." Clark looked at the space between them. It was approximately twenty feet. Clark walked over to Lex. "You need to know your strength."
"I don't squeeze glasses too hard. I won't lean into a counter and leave my thumb print in the marble."
"Sometimes, I want to talk about the download just to know that it really happened. It seems dumb to talk to you about it. You were given the same information."
"Your emotions aren't wrong."
"I could let out my feelings and hurt someone. I don't even know if I'm human anymore."
Clark put his arms around her. "You're very beautiful."
"I was obsessed with you for years. I have trouble accepting that you're returning my feelings."
"Why?" Clark lifted her face.
"Because you were a mystery. I had all these pieces. The super speed and strength, the barn burning, your interest in the cave, and hundreds of other things. I knew that I hit you with my Porsche. I ran the scenario on my laptop. There was no way that you could have survived it, but you did. I'm a scientist. I didn't want to believe in aliens. Much of what you do can only be explained as magic and it seems that I've now experienced that magic first hand."
"Are you in love with me or the mystery?"
"Both. I have the language in my head. I'm gaining superpowers. They are nothing like yours, but they are growing. I'm becoming a woman and that is fascinating in itself."
"I'm sure it is."
"I regret that my father and I don't have a better relationship. I would like him to be happy for me."
"My mother has always accepted you as part of our family." Clark's pager went off. "I have to call the paper."
"I'm getting out of here before I have to tell my neighbors Superman's secret identity. See you later." Lex drove the pick up to her apartment complex's parking lot then walked over to Chloe's and Peter's apartment. "I need to talk to someone," Lex said as she entered the apartment.
"I know it's lonely in this age of the Internet," Chloe said.
"Working late. Sasha, what is up?"
Lex made her comfortable on the sofa. "Clark was called back to work and I had been looking forward to seeing him all week. I wanted him in my life for years. It seems odd that I would have him."
"I was obsessed with him myself, but Pete showed me the errors of my ways."
"I should have found another man, but Clark was a mystery." Lex put her hands on her lap. "I left Smallville and I told myself that I would forget about him, but four years later I saw his name in the paper and I had to see him again."
"I was in Metropolis for business. We started talking about his experience in that cave and I offered to show him another cave I discovered. I asked him to meet me there but he wasn't there so I explored it myself. He found me passed out."
"I'm glad he found you." Chloe laughed.
"I was so afraid that I would end up a clone of my father." Lex squeezed one of the sofa pillows tearing the cover. "Now look at me."
"Sasha, let it out." Chloe insisted.
"I can't beat up your pillows."
"I can buy more." Chloe got a pillow of the bed and punched it.
Lex hit a bed pillow and it tore a hole in it scattering feathers all over the apartment. "Sorry."
"That is what a vacuum cleaner is for. Hit another one." Chloe started to laugh.
Lex hit two more pillows causing more feathers to scatter over the apartment. "I should give you something to replace the pillows."
"Don't worry about it. The thing in the cave made you stronger."
"A little. I can handle it. Clark was downloaded with the same thing before Dr. Walden used the key himself. We have the knowledge of the aliens in common. I believe they changed me to female so I could teach our children the knowledge the AI imparted."
"An alien intelligence."
"This was a new cave. The alien ship must have landed recently."
"Superman claims to be an alien."
"Why don't you introduce to me to your cousin Lois Lane? She seems to have the inside track on Superman." Dr. Jones had been introduced to her, but it was for a brief interview and Lex didn't want to feel like she was imposing.
"Fine. We'll have a girls' night out. Pete and Clark can watch a game or something," Chloe said.
"Thank you for helping me blow off some stress."
Lex opened her pursed and wrote a check to Chloe Sullivan for a hundred and fifty dollars.
Chloe looked at the signature and said, "Alexandra Jones, I can't take this."
"I have the money. It's for the pillows. I told myself many times if I was penniless tomorrow that I would own the world in ten years."
"You're an incredible woman. Clark is lucky to have you."
Clark arrived at Lex's apartment Saturday afternoon. "I finished the assignment."
Lex wrapped her arms around him and kissed him. "I talked to Chloe. She knows we were both affected by the same alien intelligence."
"She'll know I'm Superman."
"And you don't wear a mask. Clark, I'm surprised that the whole world doesn't know you are Superman." Lex kissed him again. "If she thought you were Superman, I put doubts in her mind. It wasn't like half the school didn't know you were snooping around in that cave."
"So Chloe thinks we were infected by some alien intelligence."
"So if she is still doing her Wall of Weird, we'll be here next entry." Lex put her hand through Clark's hair. "Baby, I need a little affection."
"I should tell Chloe anyway. She and Pete are getting married and it's wrong for me to force him to keep a secret from his wife."
"I asked Chloe to introduce me to Lois. While us girls are out, you can tell Pete before it causes strife between him and his future wife," Lex suggested.
"You're brilliant." Clark kissed her.
"So when are you going to buy me a ring?"
Clark went into his bedroom and came out with a jade bracelet. "'Whatever your destiny for the true one in your life,' Kyla's grandfather said when he gave it to me."
"I can't wear this," Lex said.
"Consider it an engagement ring." Clark put it on her wrist. "I love you." Clark kissed her wrist. "The story is that a man came from the stars and fell in love with the mother of their people and the Kawatche people were born. I'm Naman and you'll be the mother of our people."
"The cave in Smallville."
"Maybe we should visit it again. Perhaps, Joseph Willowbrook is still alive and can tell us more about the legend of Naman."
"Are you going to tell him that you are Naman?"
"I think we can trust him." Clark put his fingers through her red hair.
"I want our people to be more than Skinwalkers."
Clark kissed her forehead. "They will be."
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