Title: Honesty -- Chapter 18
Author: PepperjackCandy
Rating: PG-13
Pairing: Clark/Lex
Category: Established Relationship
Spoilers for: Tempest/Vortex (sort of)

Disclaimer: I own nothing Smallville-related, or related in any other way to Clark Kent, Superman or any of the various creations of the wonderful folks at DC Comics.

Feedback: Always welcome, either by lj comment, e-mail or using the review system at When we last left Honesty, Smallville had been hit by a tornado (i.e. the one in Tempest). Lex found that Lionel had been at Luthor Manor when the tornado hit, and had been seriously injured. Lana, Pete, Chloe, and Pete's cousin Natasha Irons had been at the Spring Dance. Lana returned home to find her bedroom ransacked and her meteor-rock necklace gone.

For the fate of Lana's necklace, see the slightly-in-the-future Conduit at and Conduit in my lj. Also, all of my honestyverse stuff can be found here: http://pepperjackcandy. so-fast-you-might-miss-it crossover in this one. We may see this character again, but I think she'll be pretty much permanently on the periphery.

Also, many thanks to for helping me out with my question about blood.

It was several days after their return from Chicago when Lex finally returned to Luthor Manor. His father's hospitalization, and the resultant need to stabilize LuthorCorp, had taken up the lion's share of his time, in the Aesop's Fable sense of the term.

Pun totally intended, he thought as he collapsed onto the relatively rubble-free divan. He scanned the room, mentally triaging the repairs that needed to be made.

Shattered glass, broken objets d'art, and chunks of wood from the ceiling lay everywhere.

And then, in a patch of sunlight, he saw something shiny and red.

He knew the room well, and there wasn't anything this particular shade of red in this room. In fact it looked like a puddle of still-liquid blood; if there were any reason for blood that wasn't dried out to be in this room.

Fearing that someone else was in his house, and was hurt, Lex walked over to the puddle.

When he got close enough, he saw pieces of broken glass underneath it; and then he identified it. It was a vial of Clark's blood from his lab.

He sat down hard on the floor. He used a bit of wood lying nearby as a scoop to pick up a small sample of the blood, which had just exhibited another distinctly non-human trait. It had lain there for days, and yet it hadn't dried or spoiled at all.

He ran down to the lab for a vial.

Upon his return to the library, he scooped as much of Clark's blood as he could into the fresh vial, then returned to the lab and quickly made a slide and put it under the microscope. The blood was so thick with corpuscles and platelets that Lex wondered how it had managed to stay liquid. Not only that, but the red corpuscles were fully oxygenated. The only thing that hadn't changed was the number of the black flecks that Lex had seen in Clark's blood before.

Lex started a complete blood count on the rest of the blood in the vial, then went to handle his security problem.

Five minutes later, Lex was heading down to the kennels, one of Lionel's shirts in hand.

"Elizabeth," he addressed his head of security, "I need to permanently ban my father from the property." He handed her the shirt.


"He can only come into the house escorted by one of my staff, and only when I'm home. And I want to be notified of who he arrives with whenever he does visit."

"I'll get right on it, Mr. Luthor."

"Thanks." He turned to leave.

"Mr. Luthor?" She said to his retreating back.

He turned around. "Yes?"

"You know, the dogs would do a better job if you spent some time with them."

"Isn't that your job?"

"They really need a connection with you, as well."

Lex turned slightly gray.

"Mr. Luthor? Are you feeling all right?"

"I'm just not that fond of dogs."

"But these are [your dogs, Mr. Luthor. I promise no harm will come to you."

Lex weighed the pros and cons of putting Elizabeth in her place for implying that he was afraid of dogs (though, unfortunately, it was true). He was saved from having to do so when Clark arrived.

The dogs began wagging their tails so hard they practically snapped in half. Clark reached down to pet them, naming each individually. Lex couldn't tell them apart. He wondered how Clark could.

Then Clark ran off, the dogs in pursuit. Every once in a while, Clark would lean over, pick up something from the ground (which, Lex would find out later, was a ball), call a name and throw it. One dog (and only one dog) would then chase the ball. He'd repeat this with another dog, and so on. Eventually, each dog would bring back the ball, and Clark would throw it again.

Lex watched, amazed at the camaraderie between Clark and the dogs.

"Tell you what, why don't you come around tomorrow and help me with grooming them?"

Lex was unsure. "Like baths . . .?"

"Like brushing. It'll help you bond with them, and you can get to know them one at a time."

After Clark finished playing with the dogs, Lex and he walked to the house together.

"I didn't expect to see you in the kennels," Clark said by way of opening conversation as they stepped into the house.

"We need to talk about that."

Clark was silent as he took in the destruction in the office.

"My dad was here, as you know. What you don't know is what he was doing here.

"Somehow, he got into the lab. He was apparently trying to make off with a vial of blood from the lab."

"My . . . ."

Lex interrupted him, "Yes, that blood." He pulled a piece of paper and a pen from a relatively-unscathed drawer. He wrote can you check for bugs?

Clark nodded and looked around. "All clear."

"We'll need to do this in the hallway outside the lab, too. And the mechanism of the lock on the door. There are a lot of moving parts in there; I just want to make sure they're all mechanical, and none are electronic, in that case.

"I need to know how he got in there," he added, kicking himself mentally for whatever oversight he'd committed.

"However," he brightened up, "I think he may have done us a favor."

"Do I want to know?"

"Yes. You do. Come this way."

Lex and Clark walked down to the lab, and Lex typed in the six-digit password, 169531, as Clark checked for bugs.

"Nothing," Clark responded to Lex's inquiring look.

Lex opened the door as realization hit him. "My password must be too obvious."


"The pass code. It's one of Alexander's battles, Aornus, converted into numerals. Then I converted each numeral into one digit by adding them together. It's too obvious."

"So what are you going to do?"

"Change the password, of course. Can you do me a favor? Making sure to check for surveillance equipment before doing [anything unusual, run home and get a six-letter word from your father? Other than your mother's name, that is."

"My dad?"

"Can you think of anyone who'd be better at picking a word that Lionel Luthor can't guess?"

With a wry grin, Clark zipped from the room.

Moments later, he was standing next to his dad in the field. "Hey, dad?"


"I need a six-letter word."

"Doing a crossword puzzle or something?"

"We need the last word that Lionel Luthor would think of."

"Um," Jonathan paused, thinking, then he grinned widely. "How about 'thanks'?"

"That's great! Thanks." He zipped back to Lex's house.

While Clark was gone, Lex checked the CBC he had run. The numbers were, as Lex had expected, through the roof.

He ran the sample through again, expecting that the numbers would have dropped, just as they had months earlier, when Lex had first run a CBC on Clark's blood.

"'Thanks,'" Clark said as he returned to the room.

"For what?"

"No. That's the word my dad chose. 'Thanks.'"

Lex sat down and did some calculations on a scrap of paper. He opened the lock on the door and programmed in 281521. Then he stopped and did it differently: 125182. Satisfied, at least for the moment, he closed the door and indicated for Clark to join him at the counter.

He reached over and grabbed the printed CBC, glancing at it and handing it to Clark. "Well, what do you think?"

"Um, my cell counts are really, really high. Other than that . . ."

"Clark, this blood sat out on the floor in a patch of sunlight for a couple of days."

"You think that's it?"

"Well, they call the scientific method 'empirical' for a reason," Lex said as he took the final vial of Clark's blood out of the refrigerator. He fed a small amount through the blood count machine and then left the room. "You coming?"

"So what are we doing?"

Lex propped the vial up on the sill of a broken window. "Feel like a game of pool?"

Two games of pool later, they took the vial back down to the lab. Lex cleaned the machine and put some of the still-warm blood in the machine.

"Now we'll control for other variables by keeping it warm, but removing the exposure to light," he put the vial on something that looked like a hot plate, settling a piece of black fabric over it.

The second report came out, and they went to look at the first two. "My numbers are closer to human normal in the first one, but levels of pretty much everything are raised in the second."

Lex siphoned off another sample from the vial under the cloth. "The temperature's staying constant," he remarked to Clark as he brought it to the CBC machine. "The exposure to air hasn't changed from one sample to another. Let's see what we get."

Sure enough, the levels of all of the cells except the black flecks in Clark's blood had started to decline.

"So what are the black things?" Clark asked.

"Some kind of solar cell, maybe?" Lex shrugged.

Suddenly, his aspect brightened. "I've got an idea."

He hurried to the cupboard and pulled out a tourniquet, a butterfly needle, a tube, and a vial for blood.

"I'm going to give you your first lesson in phlebotomy."