Summary: If you have enough money, you can buy just about anything if you have the right broker.
Disclaimer: I own none of the characters, no money made, no copyright infringement intended.
Spoiler: After all seasons of Pretender and before the episode 'Gemini' of season 6 of Smallville. The story happens before 'Gemini,' but it will spoil you for the plot if you haven't seen it yet.
Word Count: 450
"Mr. Luthor," Lex's secretary interrupted via the office phone.
"Yes, Mrs. Schatz?"
"Your nine o'clock appointment had arrived."
"Send him in." Lex stood, straightened his suit. He was careful that his appearance was impeccable, a suit of armor that had no kinks. He knew that Mr. Lyle was much more than he appeared. Lex could not appear weak before this man. Most people looked at Lyle and accepted the mild-mannered businessman. Lex saw a ravenous wolf.
Mr. Lyle –no first name had ever been offered- walked in as he always did, with an easy smile and an outstretched hand. Lex shook the proffered hand. "Mr. Lyle. Pleasure as always."
"Yes, it is," Lyle agreed. "We have had great success to share." He passed a legal-sized envelope over the desk.
Lex smiled, opened the envelope and flipped through the pictures. Lyle rarely reported bad news. "Project Gemini?"
"Yes. Since you expressed disappointment with the last model, we fine-tuned our process. I believe you'll be most pleased with the results. We'll complete programming by the end of the week. Where and when will you want delivery?"
"Soon." Lex ran through all the possibilities. He paused at the last picture in the pile and gentled. He was so close to fixing the past. It was well worth the cost, both in money and in allowing the Centre's researchers into his secrets. Lex knew that they reported each experiment to Lyle, but without Lyle, a good number of projects would never have happened. Lyle could supply great quantities of very smart people with questionable ethics and sealed lips. The paper trail also led to the Centre and not to any Luthor holding. "Has your company made a decision on which project of 33.1 you'd like to trade?"
"Not yet. But we hope to by the end of the week."
Lex translated that to mean 'in six months.' He couldn't show his impatience. The Centre would hold on as long as possible to acquire the most powerful specimen possible. They didn't know what power was and Lex didn't care to enlighten them. "Please do," was what he said. "I dislike being beholden to anyone."
Lyle smiled. "I understand." He stood. "Call Blue Cove when you have settled on delivery specifics."
Lex stood as well. The men shook hands and then Lex saw Lyle to the door. "It's always a pleasure doing business with you."
"Yes, it is," Lyle agreed. He left.
Lex closed the door behind him. He couldn't help but sighing in relief. He walked back to his desk and looked at that last picture.
He smiled. Life would conform to his plans and pleasure.
It would. He'd get his brother back.