Perry and full cast, from "Perry"
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the CW and DC Comics, not to me.
Read the story from the beginning here.
Read Chapter 10 here.
The lion's den, otherwise known as Lex's study, was a dark, gloomy cave of a room, its gray stone walls accentuated with dark cherry shelving and panelling. What light filtered through the leaded windows was tinted red and purple, giving the place an even darker cast.
Refusing to show any sign that the place intimidated him, Perry strode into the study. Lex eyed him curiously from behind his massive, carved desk.
"When they told me you were at the gate," he said, "I could hardly believe it."
"Yeah," Perry admitted. "You and me both. I just thought we should..." He shrugged. "Talk."
Lex's face was as smooth and difficult to read as ever, but Perry thought he saw a flicker of anger deep in the granite-gray eyes.
"We have nothing to talk about."
Perry pretended indifference. "Oh. I'm sorry to hear that. I guess you'll never find out what I have on your father, then."
He turned toward the door, but halted when Lex spoke behind him.
"If it's personal," Lex said, "I don't much care. If it's legal, the statute of limitations must have passed long ago."
Perry turned back toward him and smiled slightly.
Lex cocked his head slightly, as if trying to figure out if Perry was bluffing, then stood up and stalked slowly toward Perry, predatory and dangerous as Luthors always were. From what Perry had heard, making a deal with Lex was a perilous undertaking, and the fact that he'd been trapped on an island, alone, for months didn't seem to have improved his personality any.
Lex paused only a foot away, and stared challengingly into Perry's eyes.
"If this information is so damning, why did my father stop at simply destroying your career? Why didn't he kill you?"
Perry offered what he hoped was an insouciant smile. "Multiple copies, plus multiple attorneys all with, in the event of my death, instructions to disseminate-- well, you do the math." He shrugged casually, as if the fact that he'd had to maneuver frantically to avoid being murdered hadn't scared him in the least. The truth was that he still had nightmares about it, all these years later, but he sure as hell wasn't going to tell Lex that. "It's all yours. I just want one thing in return."
Lex's eyes narrowed slightly. "What exactly did you have in mind?"
Perry paused, just a second, then spoke.
"Everything you know about Clark Kent."
"Clark," Lex repeated.
There was something slightly odd in his tone, something defensive, something protective. Something that hinted at genuine friendship.
But that was crazy. There was no way Lex really cared for this farm kid. Lex didn't care about anyone, and never had. He just used people. And the fact that he was so close to Clark was a sure indication that he thought the kid had some abilities worth using. It was proof positive that Perry was on the right track.
"Yeah, Clark," he said, walking around Lex in a circle. "Two years ago, you drove your Porsche off a bridge. I went over the police photos, Lex. There's no way you could have walked away from that crash without the miracle that is Clark Kent. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that you'd actually cultivated a friendship with this kid."
He paused, looking into Lex's eyes, and saw something there that made him hesitate. All of a sudden he wasn't quite so sure of himself. He had the sudden, strange impression that Lex's feelings for Clark were quite genuine.
Lex spoke in a low growl. "So now you're going after Clark. This is a new low, even for you."
The anger in his voice was unmistakable. Perry was beginning to be fairly certain he'd made a miscalculation here, but he decided not to back down. Backing down just showed weakness, and the one thing a person didn't want to do in front of a Luthor was show weakness. He plowed on.
"The Lex I knew wouldn't shake your hand without an ulterior motive. You must have something. Give it to me, and I'll deliver you a story that'll bring new meaning to the phrase 'sins of the father.'"
Lex stared at him a moment longer, then grabbed his jacket and shoved him against the stone wall, none too gently. Perry tried to get away, but he was no match for the athletic younger man.
Lex spoke through his teeth. "You may have been able to neutralize my father... but not me."
"Well, well." Perry refused to let Lex see any fear in his eyes. He kept his tone casual and unimpressed. "Looks like the jungle living really took a toll, Lex."
Lex's snarl grew fiercer. "I'm warning you, damn it. Stay away from me, and stay away from my friends." He spoke in a furious hiss. "Trust me, there won't be any blood on my hands when they find what's left of you."
Perry looked into Lex's wild, angry eyes and realized Lex wasn't kidding. Whatever had happened to Lex on that island, he thought, had left him more than a little deranged. The guy had always been an amoral bastard, and something of a hell-raiser-- but now he looked like he could kill Perry, bury him in the garden, and plant pansies over his corpse without the slightest flicker of regret.
And I thought Lionel was dangerous. Jesus.
Slowly, sanity began to return to Lex's eyes. He let Perry go and backed away. Perry looked at him and saw that his hands were still shaking with rage.
Crazy son of a--
"Get out," Lex growled.
Lex didn't have to tell him twice. It was time for him to go. Now. Hell, it had been time for him to go ten minutes ago.
Perry straightened his jacket, turned his back on Lex, and strode out of the room, trying to look just as cool and confident as he'd looked going in. But he couldn't help remembering a confrontation with another Luthor, a confrontation that had almost ended in his death, and fear swelled in him, threatening to overwhelm him.
Luthors were quite simply bad news.
Out in the hall, out of Lex's sight, he leaned against the wall, breathing hard... and did some shaking of his own.
The side of the van read X-Styles, and its presence on the Kent farm was seriously pissing Clark off. Ordinarily he was a pretty calm guy, but the fact that his unfortunate problems had called this level of scrutiny and attention down on him and his parents made his teeth grind together. He stood at the window, glaring at the van, his parents and Pete behind him.
Pete patted him on the shoulder, and Clark knew his friend could tell how irritated he was. "Hey, man," Pete said, trying rather obviously to lighten the grim mood in the farmhouse, "I never thought you'd rate your own paparazzi."
Clark didn't want the mood lightened. He spoke in an angry snarl. "Perry White must have called in a million favors to get a camera crew."
"I guess so," Pete agreed. "But the good news is there's only one. If this solar flare theory is correct, then your tractor tossing days will be over by tonight."
"I don't believe this," Clark groused. "Jesus."
"Clark Jerome Kent!"
Clark's head whipped around, and he looked guiltily at his mom. He'd been so wrapped up in that damn van he'd almost forgotten his parents were in the room. "Sorry, Mom," he said sheepishly. "I just..." He stalked away from the window, feeling the rage building inside him. "I just feel like a prisoner in my own house. I just--"
Something hot and violent seared through his head, settling right behind his eyes. He clutched his head and bent over, trying to contain it, but he couldn't. Something was fueling his powers again, pushing them into overdrive, forcing him to--
"Pete!" he yelled. "Get down!"
Pete had known his secret long enough that he didn't pause to ask stupid questions. He just dropped to the carpet, and heat vision flared from Clark's eyes, shooting right over Pete's prostrate body. It seemed to reflect off the glass, and the curtains burst into flames.
"Shit." Clark tried to swallow the word back, but too late. Damn it, his mom was going to wash his mouth out with soap when this was all over. He grabbed a blanket off the couch and ran to the window.
"Clark!" Jonathan said sharply. "Wait!"
Clark didn't listen. He didn't need to wait, anyway. He'd put out fires with his hands before. He reached up to the flames, intending to snuff them out, and then yanked his hand back, yelping.
He doubled over, clutching his hand, and his mom ran to him. He was vaguely aware of Jonathan using a fire extinguisher on the flames-- they kept one around, despite Clark's inhuman ability to put out fires, because Clark wasn't always on the farm-- but he was more aware of his mom's comforting touch as she took his hand and gently pried it open. She gaped at the red skin of his palm.
"Clark! What's wrong with your hand?"
It was such a silly question that he would have laughed if it didn't hurt so badly. "I burned it, Mom." He curled his hand up again, trying to make the pain stop. "My powers... they must be gone again."
He straightened up, and his lips drew back in mingled rage and pain as he glared toward the window. Jonathan walked up behind him, putting a calming hand on his shoulder.
"Easy, son," he said gently. "Remember, all you have to do is get through today."
"And hope that I don't get another goddamned solar flare burst and burn the farm down," Clark said through his teeth. This time his mom didn't even seem to notice the swear word. "Next time I could hurt you or Mom." He turned his head, glaring at his father. "And Perry White will be there to catch the whole thing on tape."
"It won't be that much longer, Clark..."
"It's long enough." Clark spoke forcefully, trying to impress upon his father the seriousness of the situation. "Look, Dad... I can't stay here. I can't."
Read Chapter 12 here.