Title: Panther and Tiger, But Lex Himself a Lion
Rating: Adultish, R
Length: 5595 words
Spoilers: future fic, although hazy continuity for DCU
Warnings: slash, het, angst, occasional odd humor, misconceptions and delusions of grandeur
Disclaimer: Not mine, seriously. All belongs to Al&Miles, CW/WB and DC Comics.
Summary: Bruce reveals more than he should. Clark intervenes. Lex plans for the future.
Lex does his rounds at the charity gala, benefit for the Orphans of Metropolis Foundation, before he spies Bruce Wayne, glass of champagne in his hand, standing uncharacteristically alone near the dance floor.
"A little far from home, aren't you, Bruce?" he says, making sure to add just a hint of snideness to his voice. WayneTech has surprisingly been the victor recently in a defense contract dispute, beating out LexCorp. All Lucius Fox's doing, no doubt, since everyone knew that Wayne here couldn't do rudimentary math, let alone the strategic maneuvering necessary to outwit Lex's best team. A beautiful man, to be sure, but only a figurehead, good for magazine covers and gossip, something to trot out as a mascot.
Bruce turns, beaming, vacuous and yet somehow magnificent. "Hello, Lex, old man! Had some tedious business in town. Dreadfully boring. You know how it is."
Lex swirls his scotch, raises his eyebrow. "Gave you the slip, did she?" Bruce can only be here chasing glitterati tail, just as beautiful and shallow as the man himself, but undoubtedly half as young. One of these days, Bruce will accidentally breed and dumb down the gene pool that much further. Which suited Lex just fine since that meant Wayne Enterprises would be helmed by a true idiot and be ripe for the plundering. All good things come to he who waits.
Bruce laughs, sips his champagne. "What gave me away?"
Lex can't help the remark, much too easy. "Your reputation."
"Yes, that does tend to precede me." Bruce twirls the stem of his glass and Lex notices the graceful slide of his fingers, the sidelong look that borders on flirtatious. Of course, this is how Bruce glides through life, garners attention. He's an idiot savant in this one area, flustering the keenest minds by appealing to the animal within. Despite himself, Lex feels a slight tingle of interest.
"And so you find yourself alone this evening," Lex says over the rim of his glass.
Bruce sighs. "Not quite, unfortunately. Unthinkable to attend these sorts of things alone. A lone hunter is just a cad, they say. Brought an acquaintance, recently single. Wonderfully inept, bound to chase any game my way." He winks. "Or should I say ours?" He raises his glass and points to the buffet table. Lex's eyes follow and...
Clark. Dressed to the nines and uncharacteristically stunning. Just as beautiful, if not more so, as he's always been—and now packaged to show it. On display in this upscale meat market and clearly surrounded. Women, men, couples, all vying for his attention. Shameful and disgusting. This isn't how it's supposed to be. The years Lex has spent putting the darts of doubt, all third party, into that travesty of a relationship Clark had with that harridan until the recent success of her scurrying away one day in a taxi. Clark's meant to wallow in that rent-controlled apartment of his, experience that anguish, betrayal, and it can only be one-hundredth of what Lex has felt every day since...
"Kent? That pathetic hack? Bruce, I'm surprised. You're scraping the bottom of your acquaintance barrel with that one."
And for a less than a moment, there's a flash of something dangerous in those blue eyes, a set of the shoulders. But it's gone as Bruce grins and shrugs. "Well, it was last minute. Besides, the extra publicity can never hurt. Media is media."
Christ, the man's an idiot. "He doesn't work the society column."
Bruce looks laughably baffled. "He doesn't? I don't keep up on these things." He drains his glass. "Where's a waiter when you need one?" He snaps his fingers in the air. "Garçon!"
Near them, Charlotte Balinski, last year's debutante and the sort to make even the Dior she's wearing look trashy, turns from a small gaggle of similar and just as vapid girls—and giggles.
"Are you laughing at my plight?" Bruce purrs. "My friend and I could use your assistance."
So Lex finds himself in the most horrible position of being chatted up at the bar by a sophomore from Met U. The bartender inexplicably serves her and so Lex's hopes of her being carded and escorted away by security are dashed. Bruce currently has his arms around Ms. Balinski and one of her friends.
"The evening's definitely looking up, I'd say," Bruce says to Lex, giving Charlotte's shoulder a squeeze.
Lex only sighs, downs his second scotch of the evening, and turns his attention back to the buffet table. Back to Clark, the beautiful monster in the guise of a man. His beautiful monster that one day he'll forgive. One day. His.
But Clark is only paying slight attention to his ring of admirers, some already with hotel card keys in the palm of their hand to slide inside his own. Clark blushes, that still becoming blush, and Lex's heart feels that old lurch from when he had been the cause of that. So many evenings, after he's sent yet another unsatisfactory lithe brunette home from his bed, that Lex has consoled himself with yet another bottle of scotch that he'll be the cause of it again. Even Superman's crossed arms and stern expression—and Clark thinks he can fool him with that one when they both know—can't deny fate. These ten years without that sinful lush mouth, that broad back rippling underneath Lex's hands, are only a brief separation from the inevitable return.
Clark is only paying slight attention because his eyes are focused here, this very bar. There's no mistaking the pang, the frank jealousy, in those always amazing eyes, ungraced by glasses as they once were. Ah yes, Clark, you remember.
Lex smiles, his arm going around the shoulders of the twit of a sophomore whose name he can't be bothered to recall. "Yes, Bruce," he says, "The evening's definitely looking up."
Bruce, the buffoon, has his uses after all, it would seem. Although Lex prefers his women—and so rarely now, men, so rarely since him—to have a PhD, at the very least, quick-witted and skilled and unfortunately deadly, he'll take this opportunity. He's not debasing himself but Clark.
Clark looks away.
Just when Lex thinks that their little group of five is only one drink away from going up to Bruce's suite—Bruce with his threesome and Lex with his sophomore—Bruce leans down, whispers something in Charlotte's ear. She pulls away and slaps him in the face.
"What kind of girl do you think I am?" she says, yanking her friend from Bruce's other arm and the other from Lex's. "Ladies' room. Now." The three march away in determined solidarity as the two girls pepper Charlotte with questions.
"She seemed the sort," is all Bruce says, shrugging and playing with his drink.
Lex silently grits his teeth in frustration. The abrupt ending of this little show only serves to make him look pathetic in Clark's eyes. Bruce has only one skill-set but has still managed to sabotage his own efforts with some whispered predilection. The man is truly useless to the point of offensive.
"Going somewhere?" Bruce says, laying his hand over Lex's own before Lex can escape the bar. And the way Bruce's thumb glides over Lex's knuckles is not offensive in the least. The tingle of interest he idly felt some minutes before threatens to surge into open want. He swallows the hitch of breath back down before it can escape him, looks down at those elegant fingers that have never gripped anything but a golf club or tennis racket, a cocktail glass or the small of a woman's back.
"And why should I stay?" Lex says. "You've managed to chase off your own game and mine as well." But his voice isn't anywhere near chastising. He looks up as Bruce's hand slides away, into the full onslaught of those blue eyes, and Lex feels himself just as pinned.
So this is how it works, the magic that Bruce Wayne is infamous for. The vacuousness slips away to be replaced by narrow knowledge, focus, murmurings of shadows and secrets and the desire to know them, a depth in which one could drown gladly.
Lex has already drowned once, only to be caught by destiny and similar eyes. Similar, yes, for now that his view shifts, the resemblance is only short of remarkable. The dark hair, the blue eyes, the planes of Bruce's features just slightly sharper and more urbane. The two of them could be brothers. Genetic accident and cosmic irony that such distant origins could arrive at an apparently identical formula.
Perhaps a hostile takeover of Wayne Enterprises would be entirely unnecessary, certainly less pleasant. Although the hint of an unbelievable body underneath the tailoring is most likely due to vanity hours at the gym and whatever health food trend Bruce blindly follows, that body would feel the same in a dimly lit room, a sumptuous bed. And instead of slipping away, unreachable, into accusation and a power that even now Lex struggles to combat, Bruce would be amenable, moldable, in a way that Clark, frustratingly, never had been.
"There are rumors, Lex," Bruce says, tongue sliding over the name in such a way that Lex's pupils dilate in response, a physical reaction and apparent, "that you wander to other parts of the forest."
"I've been known to indulge," Lex says, one finger tracing the rim of his glass. "But I haven't heard the same about you, I'm afraid."
"True," Bruce says, leaning in slightly, the timbre of his voice flowing further down in register, tone and nuance, a subtlety that, by all rights, this man should not have access to, "But perhaps I only need the right guide."
"That depends on where you plan to go." Lex taps the bar for another drink but never takes his eyes off Bruce. Fortune, literally, has fallen in his lap. Only a few well-placed words and Lex will be ordering room service in the morning. And while he could have said the same for the now missing sophomore, this has the potential to be so much more. Tonight Bruce would make up in natural talent what he lacks in experience. And by the time Lex amends his schedule to allow for his private jet to touch down in Gotham the following weekend, Bruce will open up the door to Wayne Manor, to which Lex has, inexplicably, never been invited.
"Right now," Bruce says, a conspiratorial whisper and warm breath that teases Lex's ear, "I was thinking of the veranda."
"That isn't very far," Lex says, turning only slightly to glance at the French doors and back again. "I wouldn't need to guide you there."
"A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step."
Lex can only smile since Bruce most likely has no idea whom he's quoting, the resonant implications. Eastern philosophy must be the trend again this year. The man surely has a private yoga instructor too since that appears to be still the rage. And the agility that comes with that, the various positions...Yes, the veranda would be a nice start. "Where did you pick up that little quote?" Lex says, the subtle hint of desire in his own voice.
"Oh, I just heard it somewhere," Bruce says, offhand, but the soft murmur doing wonders to Lex's skin. "Shall we?"
"I can't see why not," Lex replies. He leads the way but can't resist the faint shiver as Bruce places a hand on his back just so.
The air is cooler out here, the faint glow of evening and the cityscape spread out before them. His city, but he never ceases to marvel at it, how his own hand has shaped the skyline. Miniature orange trees, in blossom, dot the veranda, perfume the air, the slight spring breeze. And if Lex were a less cynical man, he'd call the setting romantic. He sips his drink, breathes in and sighs, enjoys the physical sensation of that warm hand, gentle, still on his back.
"Different from what you're used to, I imagine," Lex says, looking sidelong at Bruce, his glance tilted slightly up, Bruce almost a height with Clark. And the sudden immensity nearly startles him as he takes it in, the potential Bruce has for personal power through size alone. A marvelous creature, and thankfully without the will or ambition to realize it fully.
How Clark once was.
And the nostalgia hits him, forcefully, a cascade of loss. All lies, of course, but Lex had believed it at the time. So young, too young, but he couldn't wait to touch that innocence, let it fade away into the surety of manhood and all its disappointments. For a brief moment, Lex had been as close to happiness as he'll ever see in this life, content with the illusion, nesting in a secret of their own that no one outside of it could possibly understand.
"I've traveled the world," Bruce says, his voice no longer laced with innuendo, but a hint of sadness that pulls at Lex all the same. "But you're right, there's no place like Gotham." And there's something akin to love in the way he says the name, as if the city itself were a harsh mistress, beautiful and demanding.
So easy to forget that Gotham has already demanded so much from Bruce. His carefree life reflects little of the tragedy of his past. Poor little rich boy, growing up with everything yet nothing. Who knows what that would have done to a more complicated man? His travels only years of escape, a fortune left in trust and Bruce reluctant to take the reins. Irresponsible, yes, yet understandable. But the globe is just that, no place far-flung enough, so that return is inevitable. Now Bruce only indulges in hedonism, his escape continuing, a man running in place, the treadmill of pleasure.
Lex can't say that he hasn't tried that himself, but he grew out of it quickly, matured. Happenstance granted him an epiphany. And he doesn't want to feel anything resembling gratitude toward Clark for pulling him out of the rushing river of his life, a moment of breath and clarity. He doesn't. He would have arrived on his own eventually. There are no such things as saviors. Clark is merely an opportunist in the guise of a benefactor.
But that doesn't mean that Bruce isn't looking for one. The idle always feel bereft, hands empty, no matter how soft the pillows surrounding them are. They're haunted by loneliness and nightmares as much as anyone else, although Lex suspects that Bruce has only vaguely unpleasant dreams once in a while. It takes a good deal of imagination to give monsters true form.
"So what did you want to be when you grew up?" The question surprises even Lex when it comes out of his mouth. They're both against the railing now, facing the city lights, drinks in hand, elbows almost touching as Bruce leans in to catch the question.
"A ballerina," Bruce says, a shade of sarcasm that gives way to an easy grin. He swirls his drink, takes a sip, gazes out over the city. "You know, the usual, astronaut, fireman, policeman."
"Is that all?" Most likely, it is. Lex doubts that Bruce will add inventor or President to the list.
Silent for a moment, Bruce finally says, "Doctor."
"Like your father." A brilliant man, from what Lex has heard, and a small shame that he didn't pass that on. But history is full of splendid kings and idiot princes, broken legacies to be reaped by ambitious barons, rival kingdoms. LexCorp will expand and Lex can only spare a brief regret for the small boy opening his father's medical bag in wonder.
And whoever spared him that regret? He's generous in feeling it at all.
"I'm nothing like him," Bruce says, swirling his drink again but leaving it level with the railing. He laughs, shakes his head. "Can you imagine me in medical school? No attention span. Charitable donations and a good time, that I can do." Smiling and mischievous, he leans further in, whispers, "I'm a giver." And this time, their arms do brush. "So how about yourself, Lex? Since we're sharing."
He hasn't answered this question honestly in years. He's used to conversation polite on the surface but adversarial beneath, riposte and parry. But there's no deviousness here, at least on Bruce's part, who's only answered truthfully. Lex catches a whiff of cologne, scent familiar but he can't pin it down, no doubt designer, custom-made. He finds that he wants nothing more than to smell the hint of it on the pillow, a sleepy morning conversation that ten minutes ago he couldn't even contemplate.
"Poet," he says. "Comic book writer. Lawyer, for a short time." And Christ, this feels good. He hasn't accessed this in a long time. It aches. The words come out less gracefully than he intends, too open.
"Business lawyer, no doubt," Bruce says, the small smile no less artful or beguiling for its being genuine.
"No, civil rights attorney, if you can believe it." He ducks his head, smiles himself, an old habit that he's thought long gone, left behind in a Smallville mansion with cloth-draped furniture.
"What if I can?" Bruce says, leaning in further so that their shoulders now touch.
And Lex looks up at that. Respect, fear, admiration, he's come to expect that over the years, demand it. But not belief. Bruce just looks at him expectantly and, Jesus, he's beautiful. Not the annoying randomness of genetic fortune, which he certainly has, but the possibility that there might be graciousness of spirit under that.
There's an honesty in simplicity. And if Lex had noticed a passing resemblance to Clark in the harsh light of the ballroom, that's nothing compared to what he sees now. Bruce isn't merely a goldmine ripe for the plundering, he's a godsend. Just to talk, openly and without weapons, when's the last time Lex has ever done that? To have someone want him, not for an agenda, information, money, power, but merely for himself. Bruce wants none of these things, only sex and perhaps companionship. And that, Lex can provide.
"Don't be nervous," Lex says when Bruce flinches slightly as he runs his hand up his arm. That arm relaxes as Lex reaches the bicep, accompanied now by a soft smile and an even softer blush. God, he's shy. "I'll take care of you."
And he means it, as they lean further in and lips almost touching. Lex holds back slightly, eyes half-lidded, just to draw it out, breathe in the city air, the orange blossoms, the tang of Bruce's cologne that impossibly brings back the memory of open fields and truckbeds. He will take care of him, now, and even when he rips his inheritance out from under him. Bruce doesn't need the hassle of a corporate empire, just the lifestyle he's accustomed to. And Lex has slept on a bed of nails for too long not to spoil him. He'll want for nothing, all taken care of. Let him have his charity work if he wants something meaningful to do. Open arms is all Lex will ask in return.
"Bruce, that's enough."
They both turn to find Clark standing by the open French doors. Still achingly beautiful and now neglected. Oh, this is more than perfect.
"Go make your excuses," Lex says, patting Bruce on the arm, but not without a little smirk. "And we'll take this upstairs." Finishing off his drink, he says, quite genuinely, "Hello, Clark. I'm afraid I've stolen your acquaintance for the evening. But I'm sure you can manage. I hear you're used to flying solo these days."
Clark says, "Hello, Lex," in return, very polite, but his eyes are only on Bruce as Bruce pushes off the railing and makes his way over. And his eyes are pleading, almost disappointed.
Oh, that's interesting. So Clark's recent bout of loneliness has given way to shallow wants and lusts. Surprising, but this only makes it a double-win for Lex. Bruce, most likely blissfully unaware that his trailing media bears an interest, will deal a crucial blow without Lex having to say another word.
But if Clark wants him then perhaps there's something more to be gained. "On second thought," Lex says, "Why don't you invite him to come with us?" Nonchalant, but only in voice. To have Clark follow, join in, lay down his body with the olive branch after so long, to have both...Lex has to close his eyes briefly at the sight before him, the promise of it, Bruce now standing beside Clark.
"Bruce, this is cruel, even for you," Clark says softly, sparing Lex only a worried glance and neither of them answering. "You're only making it worse."
"But Clark," Bruce says, now the one pleading, hand on Clark's arm as Lex had placed his on Bruce's just moments before, "What he did--"
"Doesn't matter. Leave it. Can't we just be happy without you complicating things?"
The glass slips from Lex's hand, rolls across the veranda and not breaking, as the hushed conversation, which he is not a part of, continues.
"Not here..." Clark says as Bruce reaches out with his other hand, cups Clark's face, and leans in.
"I don't give a fuck who knows," Bruce says, "Especially him."
Clark relents and the kiss is brief, far from sordid. It's the sweetest fucking thing Lex has seen in his entire life.
"You're right, Lex," Bruce says as he pulls away, turns, "Clark and I will go somewhere. But not with you." And the eyes that face Lex now are deadly, intelligent. Full of malice and intent.
Lex's feet leave the stone tile, waist dangerously levered against the railing, back meeting nothing but deadly altitude as Bruce snarls, hands fisted in the lapels of Lex's tuxedo.
"Child fucker," he grits out, nothing but spit and fury to match the silent panther grace that had powerfully sprinted across the veranda just a moment before. "Give me one good reason not to hurl you off this balcony right now."
Clark hadn't stopped him when he very well could have. But Clark had told. Obviously.
"You don't know a single thing about us!" Lex spits back, face contorted in fury, betrayal and fear. Of course Lex knows how it would look, especially given Clark's penchant for half-truths, his constant skewing of the facts, subjective reasoning. He's hardly the victim of abuse. No, Lex is the one who was used, lied to, left with nothing but a shattered heart in his hand as Clark walked away, shedding the vestige of humanity to reveal to the world the monster within. And the idiot bastards love him for it merely because he poses so nicely for the camera.
"There is no you and him, Lex. Not if you're dead." Now the words are grim and purposeful, eyes fierce but calculating. Lex feels himself pressed, lowered a few more inches, any more and the railing will snap and send him plummeting. And Christ, the strength, it's barely human.
No. This isn't the way he's planned it. He's not going out like this. Not taken out by some random maniac. Clark's supposed to do it, the only one worthy. And the only hand Clark has in this is by staying his hand.
But Clark's against Bruce now, hands on his shoulders, whispering urgently in his ear. "Stop. This isn't who we are. Bruce..." The reverence with which Clark says this, he's not only appealing to a crazed lover, but an equal. And that's just not possible unless...
Unless he's one of them.
Clark hasn't pulled Bruce off him, not for any passive-aggressive desire for revenge, but because this creature, yes, creature, is a being of similar magnitude. The beauty, the now apparent cunning mind, the power—he's simply not human.
If Lex survives this, he needs to examine this fetish of his. One is an accident, two is a problem.
How...? Lex knows of every Kryptonian that's ever set foot on this planet, hidden or revealed, every spaceship, meteor shower, every portal that's ever spit one out. He's spent too much effort and money not to. He can't have missed one. But there's no other explanation. Occam's Razor—the two of them appear so similar not because of a complicated series of parallel mutative events, a ridiculous interplanetary convergent evolution—no, they appear similar because they are.
Of all Clark's crimes, he can now add incest to the list. He's another El, he has to be.
Lex struggles only slightly, no point in breaking his own bones before he's thrown off the railing, tilts his head in an effort to regain position, Clark still murmuring, "Don't. This isn't what we do. Bruce..." and other useless soothing nonsense to placate this beast—and then he sees it. Just the lower half of his face, lips curled back and teeth clenched...
Oh. So that's who you are.
And now he only struggles to keep the flare of recognition, triumph, from his eyes, the bubble of laughter from his mouth.
How many times has he been in this same position at these very hands? And how many years has Lex spent looking for that grim and elusive man behind the mask, now so obviously in the wrong places? As soon as he gets back to the office, Lex will fire all his profilers. A recluse, they had said. A university man, a scholar and scientist, a martial arts master. Average to reasonable in appearance. Most likely asexual and celibate. Brilliant and paranoid, controlling. Violence his only human contact. A zealot.
No, here's a beautiful man that lives audaciously in the public eye and just as in love with Superman as the rest of this damn planet.
He can handle Batman.
Time to take control of this little erotic tableau. Yes, erotic. The quiet tiger and the raging panther. But Lex himself is a lion.
"It's not too late," he says, despite his position, calm and collected and only slightly lascivious, "For the three of us to take this upstairs."
Clark stills, silent now and eyes widening. Bruce's nostrils flare and his eyes flash the promise of death, but he hauls Lex back up, moves away as a predator that's allowing his prey a sporting chance. Breathtaking, literally, and vastly more interesting. Too many times he's goaded Clark into snarling, the glorious true tiger emerging, and pressing him against his own office wall not to have this type of response.
"I'm quite serious," he says, straightening his jacket and brushing his lapels. "At heart, I'm a most forgiving man."
Bruce only narrows his eyes, says nothing. And Clark, hand still on Bruce's shoulder as if he were the possessive, protective one, the one who pulled Bruce away from some terrifying precipice, only says, "Lex, are you okay? Are you hurt?"
"I've been through worse," Lex says with a reassuring smile.
"I don't have time for this," Bruce says, more to Clark than to Lex, a slight accusation.
"Let's just go home, Bruce." And Clark gently pulls, Bruce leaning into it for a mere moment, so clearly devoted. They both turn, collect themselves, now separate, to walk through those doors back to the ballroom. Only Clark turns his head to say, "Good night, Lex."
"Don't talk to him," Bruce mutters.
"You're the one who started it. What were you thinking?"
"If you hadn't..."
And the conversation fades as they continue on, leaving Lex on the veranda.
Oh my. How adorable. Clearly they're on their way to some newly shared residence, most likely Gotham, perhaps even Wayne Manor if Bruce is that arrogant, given Clark's abilities and Bruce's limitations. They'll continue their little spat and segue into passion, whispered declarations.
Lex sighs. Do those two fools think this is over? Lex is a man of action and not one to back down from a challenge.
He steps back into the ballroom himself to get to work.
Now sitting at the bar with a purloined pen and several crumpled and scrawled-on cocktail napkins, Lex nurses his fresh scotch, nibbles an hor d'oeuvre from a small plate beside him. He can make notes in public, a necessary process, the notes unintelligible to anyone but himself. He rubs his head in concentration.
Charlotte and her friends approach him, apparently now with second thoughts, and inquire timidly about Bruce. Lex curtly responds with "He left with someone." And when they don't leave, implying that they'll settle for second-best, he ignores them until they push away in a huff.
Good. He doesn't care to be interrupted.
Bruce made a vital mistake tonight in piquing his interest, revealing himself, and letting him live by giving into Clark's pleas for mercy. Clark should have let him do it, but that's always been his flaw to believe in mercy and redemption when Lex clearly needs neither. Bruce could have gone on for years serving as an infuriating but worthy opponent from the shadows. Brilliant and cunning, he's earned Lex's respect and death at his hands tonight wouldn't have been entirely ignoble.
Now, neither of them stands a chance. Not when Lex possesses all the pieces, mystery solved.
But Clark has a tendency to do that, become the flaw to otherwise flawless men. He's the Desdemona to both their Othellos. A point of sympathy, yet only a small one. Mercy may be Clark's flaw but it's certainly not Lex's.
They'll expect retaliation, death threats and contracts. Lex isn't going to give them that satisfaction and none of these serve his ultimate purpose.
He has to admit that the relationship between Clark and himself has been in a rut lately, become routine. And that's just as much his fault as Clark's. Not that this isn't eternal, or their physical reunion any less inevitable, but all longterm relationships can only prosper from added spice, reinvigoration.
Bruce has unwittingly won himself an ally tonight. Lex isn't going to allow Bruce to fulfill his mad deathwish by falling at the hands of some insane clown, some Jeopardy addict or a laughable stout man that fashions himself after a bird. All of them ridiculous and small thinkers. Really, what's Bruce thinking? He's more than that. He's a man who has challenged gods and won through sheer ingenuity. He deserves better.
No, Lex isn't going to kill him. He's going to fuck him.
Lex has been going about it the wrong way all these years, separating Clark from his lovers, isolating him. Lex isn't going to make that mistake again. No, this time, he'll have the pair, the set. He'll let them have their warrior's embrace for now since any reasonable plan will be years in the setting. He may not be a merciful man, but he's an indulgent one.
Of course this won't prevent him from intruding on their illusion of privacy. Given enough determination and creativity, there's practically nowhere that his cameras can't go. Not even the fortress that Wayne Manor must be. He'll satiate his voyeuristic tendencies. Really, as generous as he's willing to be, a few hours of viewing pleasure is the least they can offer him.
United, these two, along with their rag-tag collection of so-called heroes and hangers-on, have proven quite formidable. The Lanterns, certainly, might be an issue. A challenge, to say the least, but not an impossible one. For there are alliances, negotiations that Lex can yet make that not even together Clark and Bruce can withstand. Lex may have lost the battle tonight, but he'll win the war. And then this Earth and all its misguided people shall see their false idols, erroneous hopes and dreams, fall away. Save two. This planet shall look to Lex as its true protector. And he'll have his two captains, consorts, first at his feet and then by his side.
He won't resort to anything as mundane as beatings or rape in order to accomplish their cooperation. Any idiot with enough force behind him can coerce, and only momentary satisfaction. No, there are more gentle, subtler methods to which even Clark's stubbornness and Bruce's tenacity will eventually succumb.
Lex needs it to be real. And it will be.
If he can manage it, although regrettably this might prove too difficult, he'll spare their Amazon princess as well. After all, she's the feminine version of them, with her dark hair and light eyes, muscular and determined, her quaint sense of justice. For all he knows, she might be a part of the current dalliance. Clark isn't necessarily gay or Bruce strictly homosexual. Nor, for that matter, is Lex. He's pragmatic, as well as generous. Someone has to bear him an heir, children. She's sturdy, fertile stock and good for eight at the very least. Neither cruelty nor hardship since her goddess forebears averaged twelve.
And if dark hair makes an appearance in the line, punctuates the necessary red, he'll raise them as his own, love them just the same. One family, all of them.
So one day, and not as distant a future as any of them might think, he'll see those twin heads willingly bowed over his body, similarities and differences, sunlit promise and dark whisper. Yes, that very position.
And, given enough time, they'll love him for it.