by Insomnikat

E-mail :
Rating: PG
Spoilers: The first half of season 2
Summary: "It's amazing what people try to get away with when they think you can't see." Lionel sees something no one else can, especially Lex.

Notes: Thank you Masikka for being there for me on my maiden voyage into Smallville - and particularly L/L - fandom. Special thanks also goes to Christie who came up with the title which is latin for "vantage point" and fits this predominantly Lionel POV story like one of his exquisite, finely tailored suits.
Ravish Me Winner of the "Ravished the Staff Award" of Round 2: Summer 2003. (Each member of the staff of this website (Amber, Christie, Jamie, Jade and Lissette) will choose one fan fiction they feel represents the absolute best of the Lex/Lana fandom. You cannot be nominated for this award. All fictions are eligible and the staff will make their decision based on their own personal tastes)

* * * *

Pink ears were ominous. Pink right on the top auricle, the outer ear, were harbingers of the most terrible thing that could possibly happen to his son.

Lionel had warned him repeatedly not to let passion rule him. It was inherited from his mother, of course, and had to be crushed. Lionel thought he had made some ground in eradicating this weakness from his son, but now he was faced with the distinct possibility that this was one battle he was going to lose. He gritted his teeth and clenched his fists underneath the table. This was unacceptable! He had invested too much in the preparation of his son's inevitable ascension to power to let it be crippled by a - a weakness for sentimentality!

He imagined Lillian now, still young and full of vigor, patting him lightly on the cheek and laughing at his frustration. "He's just being his father's son."

There was the same unwavering honesty and audacious belief in the goodness of all people. The same extraordinarily expressive and gleaming eyes that hid nothing and feared very little. She possessed the same kind of prettiness and simultaneous sense of strength and fragility. Lionel closed his eyes and frowned. How could he have been so - for lack of a better word - blind?

He opened his eyes and turned his gaze back at the two sitting across the room at a corner table. Lex was completely oblivious of the threat blossoming in front of him. He said something to the young manager that caused her to nod and smile sweetly at him. He matched the smile with an equally charming grin. Lionel shuddered at the sincerity oozing from the exchange.

How did this happen? he thought. Nothing Lex did ever escaped his notice. How did an investment in a local coffee shop avoid his highly sensitive alarms-of-suspicion? His ever-critical eyes narrowed behind tinted glasses on the Smallville darling. Clark Kent, his mind computed. Yes, it all started with him, didn't it? Lex's ridiculous obsession with the boy he considered his lifeline, his savior, had resulted in this odd partnership that was growing to be a liability to his plans for his son. The girl listened to Lex with rapt attention, her eyes steady on him as the pink spread unnoticed to the rest of his ear. There was a frankness in the way she looked at her son that was unlike that of any other inhabitant of Smallville, save for the Kent boy. They did not see a Luthor nor all the things tied to the name when they looked at his son, but a good man and a dear friend. To Lionel, that made them very dangerous.

But it was all starting to make sense now! Just as Lex perceived Clark as the ideal brother he never had, so was Lana the adorable younger sister. It was no wonder the whole town was infatuated and overly protective of her: she practically radiated innocence and vulnerability. Yet she'd come so far from the insecure 10-year old Nell had brought with her to Metropolis all those years ago! Lex may have embraced her as a little sister for now, but it was only a matter of time before his eyes would fall upon her one day and find her all grown up.

Pink ears. That was all it was for now.

Lionel tried not to flinch and show any sign that he could see them when the two turned their heads towards him.

* * * * *

"I must apologize for my father," Lex said as he turned his attention back to his companion. "He has an acute ability to creep people out rather than garner their sympathy for his blindness."

"Isn't it the Luthor way," Lana smiled, returning her gaze to him, "to show no fear?"

Lex allowed himself a small chuckle and Lana's smile widened at the victory. She stole a quick glance once more at the older man. The smile disappeared and she leaned forward, her voice dropping to a near-whisper. "How is he, really?"

Lex's brow shot up in surprise at her genuine concern. "He's doing well, considering. Though the feeling of incompetence born from his dependency on me must be eating him up inside." He offered a sheepish and horridly false grin in what he hoped was reassurance.

Lana shocked him again by reaching over and worming her small hand into his, squeezing gently. "And how are you?"

His mouth opened slightly in awe, captivated by the dazzling pair of green eyes that stared right at him and through him, demanding nothing less of the honest truth. It took a second for Lex to process her words. "I'm exactly how I'm expected to be," he replied, though it came out colder than he intended. "He is my responsibility."

Her tiny hand squeezed again. "He is your father."

Lex tilted his head slightly and stared hard at her for a moment. He pulled his hands gently from hers and stood up, avoiding her questioning gaze. "I'll see you, Lana."

* * * * *

They were in the car and about ten minutes from the castle when Lionel reached over and groped clumsily for the volume switch. The loud techno music was replaced by an even louder silence. From the corner of his supposedly un-seeing eye, Lionel saw Lex's jaw muscles tense up as he pushed the car's speed up another ten miles in response. Lionel couldn't help but smile. "I take it the Talon has continued its mediocre, if not satisfactory profit earnings this month?"

Lex shot a heated glare in his father's direction. "Much more than satisfactory, dad."

Lionel tapped his finger to his lips as he considered the implication of his words. "Your partner must be a superbly devoted and passionate young woman."

Lex's heart clenched and he pushed the car's speed another ten miles. He knew exactly where this was going. "She's only sixteen."

"That doesn't seem to be stopping you," quipped Lionel.

Lex knew his knuckles were white beneath the leather gloves gripping the steering wheel. There was still three minutes to reprieve. "She and Clark--"

"--are just dancing around each other." Lionel interrupted. "And it frustrates you because all you want, or thought you wanted, is for them to hook up and live happily ever after so that you can finally feel that you've repaid the debt you owe him for saving your life."

The car came to a screeching halt.

Lex leaned over and put his arm around the shoulders of the passenger seat and glared at his father. Lionel stared blankly in front of him, unsurprised by the jerking stop. Lex was seething when he spoke. "For a blind man, you sure claim to see a lot."

Lionel gave an offended hmph! in response.

"What are you getting at, dad?"

A sly smile crept slowly across his face. "Nothing," Lionel replied simply. "Nothing that experience saw coming a mile away."

After a moment, Lex pulled back into his seat and slid the car back into motion. He turned the music back up to maximum volume, grinning slightly as his father cringed and shot his hands up to shield his ears.

Lionel screamed something, but his voice was drowned by the hard techno beat. If the volume had been even a notch lower, Lex would have been able to make out his father's words:

"I met your mother in a coffee shop."