And They All Lived Happily Ever After
a.k.a. That Crazy Liona Fic
(Disclaimer & Acknowledgments: "Smallville" and all its characters are owned by DC Comics and/or the WB and/or Millar & Gough and/or Tollin & Robbins. "Superman" was invented by Shuster & Siegel. I don't own any of the characters. I'm just fooling around. Please don't sue. This goes drastically AU around the middle of season three. A million thanks to Dr. Science and the Red-Headed Firecracker for all their beta-reading help. All remaining errors and offenses against common decency are mine and mine alone.)
Disgusted, Lionel threw aside the headphones. This amplification of the Belle Reve surveillance tape was no better than the rest. He resolutely did not regret the tampering that he'd ordered on his son's mind. It was for the boy's own good, after all. If Lex hadn't forgotten about that damn tenement fire, Lionel would have been forced to kill him.
Ah, well. As he and Morgan had discovered during their so-called childhood, there was more than one way to skin a cat. Lionel could afford to indulge this little (but potentially oh-so-important) hobby of his until the next day at eleven a.m., when there was a meeting in Metropolis that would demand his personal attention. What could he do in that time to find out more about Clark Kent?
Miss Sullivan was a dry well for the moment. Lionel had ensured that Gabe's financial troubles would manifest themselves gradually, allowing the girl's discomfort and guilt to work upon her conscience. She would tell him more in time.
Martha was a source he preferred not to tap at present. Since her baby's death, she seemed to be more or less a shell of her former self. Perhaps he maintained a tendresse for the woman. In any case, he would leave her alone if there were any alternatives.
Jonathan Kent was too unimaginative and, well, stupid to approach by any but the crudest means. Lionel preferred to save actual physical force for a last resort.
Who else even lived in this hick town? Ah. Lex's lovely business partner, Nell's nubile niece, the well-regarded Miss Lang. Her coffee shop was the one part of LexCorp that Lionel had not yet restored to its rightful place as a wholly-owned subsidiary of LuthorCorp. Lex's former attorneys had done a journeyman's job of tying up the property. The idea of that contract still made his blood boil. What the hell had the boy been thinking?
She'd lived within sight of the Kents' farmhouse from an early age, as well. Visiting Lana would kill two birds with one stone.
Excellent. Lionel secured the tapes and equipment in his personal safe and twirled the dial jauntily. It wouldn't do to keep the lady waiting.
Lana hummed as she gracefully flitted through the Talon, refilling all the sugar dispensers. She liked to keep things neat and sweet!
The breakfast rush was over. Only a few customers lingered over their lattes. Lana made sure to smile brightly at them whenever they turned her way. Gotta keep the clientele happy!
Thanks to the Smallville High Work-Study Program, she had forty minutes before she had to get to class, and she wanted everything to be shipshape before Connie showed up for her shift.
The bell over the door tinkled. Lana was so happy she had made Clark install it for her! She turned towards the door with a warm smile of greeting.
Lionel's limousine was seen less frequently in Smallville now that he had gotten over his blindness and, for the most part, returned to his rightful place in Metropolis. Lionel enjoyed the slack-jawed stares of the locals. He basked in their attention, relishing the feeling of their impotent anger and loathing.
Lionel commanded his driver to wait and strode masterfully into the coffee shop. The shop's door swung closed behind him with an irritating tinkle. Lionel swept the room with his gaze. This strangely-decorated, poorly-designed cafe was the last vestige of Lex's ill-fated little business rebellion. He would decide how best to crush it after getting to know the proprietress, and pumping her for all that she could give him on Clark Kent.
Ah, the proprietress: Lionel identified the young lady holding a sugar canister as Lana Lang. She turned big, brown eyes up to him at the sound of the door's bell, smiling and wrinkling her nose appealingly.
Lionel instantly lost his train of thought. Suddenly, for no good reason, he wanted this attractive young creature for his own -- to the devil with young Mr. Kent, and to the devil with the Talon!
After the wedding, it would belong to him anyway.