Rating: Adult. If you're under eighteen, please go elsewhere now.
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the CW and DC Comics, not to me.
Wayne smiled down at her, a supercilious smile she didn't much care for. But he was one of Gotham's most prominent citizens, so she swallowed back her resentment and refrained from slapping the irritating smile off his face.
"Clever of you to recognize me," he mocked gently, "considering that I'm featured at least once a week in that rag you write for."
So he knew her name, and that she worked for the Daily Planet. Interesting. Considering that she was not at all a star reporter, that struck her as peculiar. Bruce Wayne, world-famous billionaire and playboy, might know the names of journalists who wrote about him on a regular basis, but for him to know a cub reporter-- well, that was peculiar.
"The question is," she said, staring into his eyes unflinchingly, "how did you recognize me?"
He smiled. "We have a mutual friend, Miss Sullivan."
Her heart began to beat faster, but she tried not to show her reaction. "Does this friend have a name?"
"Ell," he said. "Kal Ell."
She tried not to collapse into a puddle of relief on the sidewalk, but his lazy gaze didn't miss her response. "You've been looking for him," he said.
"Yes," she answered, nodding. "He's been-- gone-- for a month now."
Wayne smiled, the slow, sensual smile of the playboy. But there was something else in his eyes, something that wasn't a smile at all.
"Kal is a lot of trouble," he observed.
She didn't like that calculating gleam in his eyes, not at all. If she knew anything about reading people at all, then Bruce Wayne was aware of things about Clark that he shouldn't be. Which figured, really. When Clark was "Kal," he didn't bother to keep his abilities under wraps. That was one reason she'd struggled so hard to find him, because she'd sworn to protect his secret.
And when Clark was Kal, he needed her protection more than ever.
"Maybe," she said. "But he's worth it."
"He and I have become good friends over this past month," Wayne said, still smiling the smile-that-wasn't. "Tell me, Miss Sullivan, what do you want from him?"
The last thing Clark needed, she thought, was the "friendship" of another billionaire, especially if Wayne had learned of his abilities and wanted to use them somehow.
"I've come to take him home," she said, trying to keep her emotions out of her voice. "That's all."
"But Miss Sullivan." The deep voice was rich with amusement. "What if he doesn't want to come home?"
"Believe me," she said grimly. "Somewhere deep down, he wants to come home."
"Perhaps he's changed," Wayne suggested.
Of that she had no doubt. He always did, on red kryptonite. But somewhere beneath "Kal," she knew Clark remained-- and he wanted to come home to his friends and family. She was certain of it.
"Mr. Wayne," she said crisply. "If you know where Kal is, I wonder if you could do me the favor of taking me to him."
"I might," Wayne said. "Then again, I might not."
She growled under her breath. She hated dealing with rich guys. Everything was always a game to them. Annoyed, she turned her back on him.
"Never mind," she said shortly. "I'll find him myself."
She heard his low, sensual laughter, and then his big hand wrapped around her forearm, bringing her to an abrupt stop.
"I like you, Miss Sullivan," he said. "You've got guts."
She turned her head and glared at him. "I'm sorry to say I don't like you, Mr. Wayne. Now let go of my arm, before I have to hurt you."
Another easy grin curved his mouth without touching his eyes, and he released her.
"Let's try this again, Miss Sullivan," he said, holding up his hands in surrender. "I'll show you where Kal spends his time. But I can't guarantee he'll come home. He's having too much fun right now."
She hesitated, still annoyed. But if she didn't follow this lead, she was aware it might take her days to find Clark. Gotham was a big city. She swallowed back her annoyance.
"Thank you," she said, as civilly as she could manage. "I'd appreciate that."
Read Chapter 3 here.