The seduction was simple.

He had done it with women before; letting them hopelessly fall for him, getting from them what he could, then ungracefully releasing them when he grew tired of their perky grins and boundless energy. He wouldn't need to remember them after he claimed what was rightfully his, as his father often predicted. One day, he decided, the world would be at his mercy, as long as they just believed the fa├žade.

Only one person saw who he really was, and this one had to be destroyed. In the most painful way possible, they would suffer for standing in the way of greatness.

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The scrawny man stood in the office, anxiety clear on his features. "I'm sorry, Mr. Luthor. It-it won't happen again."

"Oh, Mr. Goodman, there won't be a chance for that. I am relieving you of your LexCorp responsibilities. Do you know why I am doing this, Mr. Goodman?"

The man was visibly trembling. "Because I told my brother information about my position, sir?" he answered meekly.

Lex was pleased to see his influence on his employee. "And why, Mr. Goodman, is this such a bad thing?"

"My brother works for LuthorCorp, sir." Goodman knew it was a folly to accept one of the more secret positions at Lex's upstart business. He could only guess the strange green minerals were some rare form of calcite.

"Very good, Mr. Goodman. It's a shame that those brains will be wasted because you have chosen to betray your job description," Lex responded icily. "You are now dismissed of your duties, Mr. Goodman. And please, do make sure that we never meet again."

Goodman backed out uneasily, stumbling into a vase, an ottoman, and finally, Clark Kent. Lex's friend was strolling through the door just as the nervous businessman hobbled out, and Lex smirked as the two came face- to-chest. Clark stared curiously at the little man, who now broke into a tense run down the hall.

"I apologize, Clark," Lex pronounced as Goodman scurried off. The older man slinked over to the office's bar area and carefully poured himself a brandy. Clark smiled to himself at the familiar clink of crystal. As he took a sip, Lex continued. "It takes time to strike fear into the heart of an employee, albeit a very timid one."

Clark grinned coyly, but inwardly wondered if his friend was joking or not. "It's okay, I was just dropping off the produce anyway." He shrugged. "I stopped in because Mary's daughter said you were home. What's her name; is it Mercy?"

"Yes, I believe so." Lex's words were thin, and his smile was thinner. He sensed the potent atmosphere the room had taken on since Clark's arrival. "Is there anything on your mind, Clark?"

"Actually, yeah," Clark replied, almost reluctantly. He took the seat Lex offered. "I was thinking about all that destiny stuff you used to talk about." He sighed, and flushed crimson. "I think you were probably right."

Lex's curiosity piqued, and he waved aside the old adage about the cat. "How so?" A face flashed through his mind, all almond eyes, olive skin, and white grin. "Has something happened between you and Lana?"

Clark's eyed widened. "No, no, no, that's not it," he said hastily. When Lex cocked his head inquisitively, Clark added, almost to himself, "No, definitely not."

"Well, then, what is it?" Lex eased down into the leather chair behind his desk, and leaned forward, hands clasped.

Clark leaned back in his own chair facing his friend, and he ran a hand through his hair. "It's about us, Lex," he clarified. "You said that we have a future together. You said that our friendship would be legendary." The tension prodded him, causing him to stand and immediately start pacing. "I've been thinking about it, everything you've said. See, a lot of strange things have been happening lately, and they're causing me to sort of reevaluate myself." His gestures became more erratic, and his voice speeded up frantically, as if he had rehearsed it many times before. "I realized that we do have a destiny, Lex. We can do great things together. All we need to do is unite in a way that we'll be strongest, and we'll be unstoppable."

He stopped pacing suddenly, turning abruptly to face Lex's expression: half bemused, half intrigued. Clark set his hands down on Lex's desk, leaning in and staring his friend square in the eye. "I think - no, I know this is the best way. And I think you know it, too."

The kiss was abrupt. Clark had jumped forward in the blink of an eye and was on Lex, kissing and holding and touching him like he had never dreamed. Lex didn't resist, and only had a second to wonder why it was so extroverted, so unlike the Clark he had grown to love.

Clark grinned against Lex's jaw, pleased that it had gone so well. Lex wasn't even pulling away in shock; instead, he kissed back with a fervor that almost knocked an unguarded Clark off his feet. Plans hatched in his head, mapping out the rest of the night, and beyond.

The seduction had begun.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------- --------------------------- A/N:

I don't really want to give this too much of a footnote, but I'll count this as one last plea for reviews, and a favor. Since I'm pretty much experimenting here with Lex, romance, and misleading endings, I'd like those who review to please mention whether or not they thought the beginning part was about Lex stopping Clark, and then if they figured out by the end that Clark was actually the sneaky one - the seducer.

Thanks a lot for reading!