"You want to do what?" Jonathan Kent glared at the two twenty-something billionaires as if one or both them had grown an extra head.
"It's really Bruce's idea," Lex told him. If the truth be known, Lex had thought that his friend had been nuts when he first suggested it. They'd just made up for a night of pain and misunderstanding, and Lex could think of other ways of spending the day, considering all they'd just been through. But as he and Bruce had pointed out to Amelia just yesterday, there were other guests to consider. Besides, they had plenty of time later, after the group from Smallville left, to be alone together.
"Honestly, I felt really bad for not being able to hang out yesterday afternoon. You folks came all this way, and I was too busy to stop and show you around my hometown," added Bruce. "Besides... if you want to know the truth, it's sort of a guilty pleasure of mine."
"Miniature golf?" Clark asked, doing a very good imitation of his father's skeptical look. Lex laughed.
So did Bruce. "What? I can't do normal-people things because I have money?" His question was light-hearted and clearly teasing.
"An obscene amount of money, bro." Pete informed him.
Chloe had an expression on her face that told Lex she was filing the information away for some future article as she said, "It's just... odd. Lex is into museums and theatre and stuff like that and *you're* into some mundane thing like putt-putt golf."
Both rich men laughed at the comparison. "Well, I also like skydiving, mountain climbing and have my own pilot's license, Chloe," Bruce informed her. "But my gut tells me Mr. Kent wouldn't approve if I offered any of those as an afternoon activity. So... anyone game?"
"There are photographers over there," Pete said in a whisper to Clark as he stood next to Lex and Chloe. Bruce was helping Lana make a her shot, leaning into her as he showed her how to hold the golf club like Tiger Woods. The expression on both their faces told Lex that they were imagining Lana's boyfriends seeing any of the pictures being taken.
"Yes, there are," Lex told him. He was used to it, and so was their host. Almost too used to it, if the fact that the cameras flashing in their direction hadn't bothered their games. Not that playing miniature golf with a bunch of teenagers from Smallville constituted serious golfing. But the fact remained that while Clark and the others were nervous under the spotlight, Bruce and Lex hardly acknowledged their presence. "Just ignore them and have fun," he advised. He knew he was having fun... just thinking about his father and the expression on his face should *he* see any visual evidence of this weekend. His father hated the man behind Wayne Enterprises; the mortification alone was worth being photographed.
"Ri-ight," quipped Pete. "Ignore them, he says," he added to Jonathan Kent.
"Lex would probably know best," the elder Kent told the boy. "You don't see Mr. Wayne worrying about our audience, do you?"
He didn't seem to be, either. Bruce had managed to show off the entire eighteen holes of the miniature golf course, joking around to entertain his guests as they went. When word got out--as it always did--that Bruce Wayne *and* Lex Luthor were at the amusement park, a crowd of on-lookers and photographers showed up. A few reporters, too, mostly from tabloids. The owners of the park turned out to be friends of Bruce's and promptly closed the gates to the reporters or anyone with a camera, period, but that hadn't stopped them from following the group of friends or taking pictures from just outside the gate.
They were on the last hole now--the hardest--and no one had made it so far. Bruce was determined that either he or Lana would, as they were the last ones up. Or maybe it was an excuse to cuddle up to Lana, Lex thought with a rueful chuckle as he watched his lover guide the young woman's swing. A second later, her ball scooted up the narrow ramp and hit the bell in the center before rolling into the collection basket with everyone else's. The bell went off, telling the crowd that someone had won a free game.
Lana went ecstatic, bouncing as she hugged Bruce. Somewhere in the background, a camera flashed.
"You know," Bruce commented as he joined them all inside the limousine. "They might not have shown up at all except for Lex." They being the reporters and photographers who'd hounded them during their game.
"What? So I'm a curse or something?" Lex asked, smirking.
Returning the smirk with one of his own, Bruce shrugged. "Gotham's pretty much used to me doing whatever I feel like on a whim. No one really notices half the time, anymore. But you--" here he patted Lex on the shoulder in mock-sympathy. "You're Lex Luthor, and for better or worse, it's big news if Bruce Wayne and Lex Luthor are in the same place at the same time."
"I'm sure it doesn't help that your fathers were business rivals," Jonathan Kent added.
"Exactly," Bruce agreed. "Though Lex and I are... in the process of changing that distinction." They sure were, Lex thought, smothering the smug smile that wanted to form on his lips. And they were so close, too. Their alliance--in business and in friendship--would change the way everyone saw them and their families. "Anyway," his partner continued, "I hope our 'friends' didn't bother you too badly?" he asked of the teens, seeming really concerned.
"Not at all," Lana answered for them all, blushing as she smiled at the man who'd paid her so much attention that day. She was speaking more for herself, though, Lex knew. Clark seemed on the verge of contradicting her and Pete was still staring out the window--looking back at the crowd still milling about outside the miniature golf course.
"Good," Lex said, injecting before the others could speak up. "It was a lot more fun than I thought it would be, actually."
"Did you doubt me, Lex?" Bruce feigned a hurt look.
"Only for the first..." Lex's eyes were flashing, his voice teasing. He cast a glance at Clark, winking. "...seventeen holes," he finished with a laugh.
Monday dawned bright and sunny, just like the day before. Unlike the previous day, however, every one of Bruce Wayne's guest had been up early. Jonathan Kent and the kids had to get up in time to make their airplane. Lex and Bruce rose at the same time, so they could bid them all farewell.
As Bruce pulled Mr. Kent aside to speak to him about the credit union one last time, Clark ambled over to Lex.
"You know, Lex," he said a little nervously.
"We, ummm... all had fun this weekend. It was good seeing you again."
Lex gave a small laugh. "It was good to see you, too," he said honestly. It had been. These teens were the first people in Smallville to warm up to him. To see through the Luthor name to the man hiding behind it. "All of you," he said, including the others in the statement.
Clark blushed characteristically. "Wish you were around more, though," he added.
"Clark's right," Lana piped up. "The Talon just isn't the same without you lurking in the corner booth."
Lex was touched; they missed him. No one had ever missed him when he wasn't around. His father was usually happy to be rid of him. "Well, one never knows," he said thoughtfully. "The summer is just starting. I might be able pull off a visit to the country."
The phone call Lex had been expecting all weekend came shortly before lunch.
He and Bruce were relaxing on the terrace, reading newspapers and waiting. The waiting was possibly the hardest part. Gregory Willard had called first, telling Bruce that "it was done." It. Their move on Grant Tech had been made. And Lex had let it go unchecked. The takeover had happened, and all there was left to do was wait for his father's phone call.
"Dad!" Lex greeted his father almost cheerfully when he finally did call. "Yes, I have seen the morning papers," he replied to his father's inquiry. Lionel asked what he'd thought he was doing that weekend. "Dancing? Playing miniature golf?" Lex suggested, looking at the rather candid shot of himself, Lana and Bruce at the golf course. Clark and the others were in the background. His father did not like that answer. He reminded his son of the *real* reason he'd been sent to Gotham. A mission that he'd failed at, Lionel further reprimanded. He asked if Lex had thought of the fact that Bruce Wayne making nice to throw Lex off his game.
Right about this time, Bruce leaned forward, and moving the cellular phone away from Lex's ear, kissed him. His lips trailed to the ear that the cellular had been pressed against only moments before. "Give Lionel my regards," he whispered seductively, just low enough that Lex knew his father would not have heard it.
"You may be right about that one, Dad," Lex admitted with a chuckle. "But I assure you, I did everything I could for Grant Tech." Lionel asked how that was possible, since the research firm was no longer theirs. Lex smiled, satisfied, at that acknowledgement. "We just didn't catch it in time," he told his father. "Wayne Enterprises had the jump on us... nothing left to do by the time I got there, really." His father wasn't pleased about that. He asked, sounding rather resigned, if Lex had started the process of handing the company over. "Yes, I have. Actually... I'm with Mr. Wayne right now." Lex glanced at his partner, who had spread himself comfortably over a lounge chair. He looked very "come hither," and Lex was having trouble concentrating as watched him. "Yes, Dad," he said curtly, starting to lose patience as his lover licked his lips with his soft, wet tongue. Such a tease. "I'll be such to make a full report to the Board of Directors when I get back." Lionel barked out a few more orders and let Lex knew he was very disappointed with his performance. He'd trusted that Lex was ready to handle this responsibility on his own. Lex had failed him. The thing was, Lex thought as he said goodbye to his father, Lionel Luthor's disappointment no longer bothered him as it used to.
"I take it Lionel was less than thrilled with the way things turned out?" Bruce asked, smiling lazily up at him.
"What gave you the first clue?" Lex retorted, slipping his cell phone back into his pocket.
"Oh, I don't know... a hunch, I suppose." His lover chuckled softly. "C'mere," he told Lex, sitting up to make room for him on the lounge. Lex slid in next to him. They kissed, each leaning in towards the other at the same time. Lips met, massaging sensually. Lex reached out, burying his hands in Bruce's dark hair, pulling him closer. Bruce's fingers skimmed softly across the back of Lex's head, stroking his scalp the way he knew Lex liked it.
The kiss continued, unchecked in its passion.
They'd won a minor battle against his father today, and the war was far from over. Nevertheless, the tables had turned, and the moment was theirs to savor. Together.