Lionel's press release regarding 'the future of LuthorCorp' was scheduled for 4:00 that afternoon. Lex immediately scheduled one for 5:00, informing those who asked that his topic was 'answering any questions raised by Lionel Luthor's statements.' Four o'clock found him and Clark in front of the LexCorp television set with the local news turned on. He'd already related most of what had passed during the morning discussion with Lionel, minus the bits about who Laura's father was. He'd explained Lionel's interest in her as that of a grandfather who wanted a new heir.
He'd also called Martha about it, and told her the same story. Warned her that Lionel might attempt contact with Laura. Told her to tell him if he tried. She was probably watching the news as anxiously as Lex and Clark were.
Lionel started with a prepared speech about LuthorCorp, its accomplishments, its vision, its people, all very standard PR stuff. Lex could imagine the reporters were feeling rather disappointed at the usual company update instead of whatever they were expecting when Lex called a rebuttal conference minutes after the time of Lionel's was announced.
As he wound down in conclusion, Lionel dropped the bombshell. "In keeping with these traditions of stability and dependability, LuthorCorp will no longer be willed to a man who has recently been embroiled in one of the nation's largest scandals, placing his personal preferences ahead of his business interests." Lex pressed his lips together and sat up straighter on the couch. "Instead, should something happen to me, the company will be placed in trust until my eldest biological grandchild reaches her majority. That is all. Thank you all for coming out here today." He then turned and left the stage without taking any questions.
"Fuck," Lex swore. He'd said 'her'.
Both PR men were looking at him with resigned looks on their faces. "Something you want to share with the class, Lex?" Ferrier asked. "You know the vultures are going to look for her." Of course they were. That pack of jackals wouldn't have missed the significance of using a gender specific pronoun.
Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit. "Clark," he asked under his breath, "can you tell yet if we're having a girl or a boy?"
Clark's eyes widened in surprise, then narrowed as he focused his x-ray vision, but he shook his head. Dammit. "He's making assumptions," Lex told his men. "Clark and I have already taken steps to have a child. It will be born in a little less than six months time. He's guessing at the gender."
Ferrier didn't believe him, but he only believed about half the lies Lex had him put out as the truth, so it didn't really matter. "I hope she's hidden well," he said warningly.
Fuck it. "Lionel's the only secret keeper I don't trust, but I have enough on him that he's not going to say who she is or where to find her. There's no paperwork at all about her, at least not as having any relation to me. She wasn't born in a hos- fuck. The intensive care doctors," he looked at Clark. "They watched an empty crib for two weeks before she showed up, less than an hour old. They know her birth certificate's wrong and they know I arranged it all."
"Do you know their names?" Goldman asked, pulling out a pad of paper and clicking his pen to its writing position.
Lex shook his head. "It was a while ago. If you can get me a list of people working in the intensive care unit at Metropolis General between three and four years ago I can probably pick them out."
"On it," Goldman said, and was out of the room in a hurry. He had twenty minutes to find them before Lex's own press conference loosed the wolves to their own investigations. Right now, they were probably still busy writing up notes from Lionel's and busy trying to get across town to where Lex's would be held.
"And the mother?"
Lex shook his head. "Not a problem."
"Lex?" he warned again.
Lex looked him straight in the eye. "The mother is currently engaged to another man. There is not going to be a problem there."
Grudgingly, he nodded and accepted that. "And your new fetus? When do you plan to announce that?"
He sent another look toward Clark, which inexplicably prompted him to pull Lex closer to him and wrap an arm around him. It was probably a little unprofessional to be curled within his fiance's embrace while discussing strategy, but if felt nice and Ferrier was a PR guy. PR guys, by definition, saw their employers as fallible humans instead of bosses. Besides, they were discussing Clark's child. Lex was certain great restraint was being shown in that he hadn't been pulled into Clark's lap and held with a palm pressed against the skin of his stomach.
"Tonight," he answered. "Lionel's announcement is basically forcing the issue. Grandchildren are now the topic of the day, and since I'm not willing to give up my illegitimate daughter, I'll need to sacrifice the news about the almost legitimate one on its way."
"There's no pressing need," Ferrier disagreed. "It's not like your father is dying or anything."
"That's not the point. The point is that Lucas will see it as a race to get someone pregnant first. I'd rather he didn't attempt to procreate. There's already enough Luthor bastards running around. So I'm going to announce we have a baby on the way and provide ultrasound pictures in the next press release."
"And Lionel knew of this new child?"
Lex drew in a deep and nodded. "It's why he decided to disown me sooner rather than later."
Ferrier looked at him suspiciously. He was really very good at his job, flawlessly spotting the trouble spots in every story. "Why is that?"
Clark gave him a worried look when Lex went suddenly tense. Lex looked back. "We need to tell him eventually," Lex said.
Realizing what Lex meant immediately, Clark's eyes widened in fear and surprise. "No, Lex. We don't. It's too dangerous."
Lex just held his eyes in his own. "We have to spin it, Clark. We can't hide it, not this time. Dad knew that, and so do I. And nobody spins better than Ferrier. Hell, we can probably give the exclusive to Grant and she'll make it part of her story and nobody will even bat an eye when it turns out to be true."
"What are you talking about, Lex?" Ferrier asked, looking pointedly at his watch. "What's this terrible secret?"
Lex looked away from Clark to stare at his main PR representative. He'd trusted this man with almost every secret but two since he started in LexCorp. One about Clark. One about himself. "You lived in Smallville for a little while, Robert. You noticed the strange things, right?" Ferrier nodded slowly, warily. "Then, four years ago, I holed up in the mansion for several months and would take no visitors, do you remember that?"
"Vividly. It was hell to explain since you wouldn't."
"I'll explain now. I was pregnant with my first daughter. Dad told me then that if it happened again, I'm on my own. Today, he found out that I'm currently three and a half months pregnant with my second child."
Ferrier cursed softly. "How many people know?"
"Seven. Eight, now, counting you. Want me to list them?" At his nod, Lex did. "Me, Clark, you, my father, both of Clark's parents, and my two doctors."
"I assume the docs are ob-gyns?"
"One was before she decided it was too emotionally draining. Now they're research scientists who study an ability the meteors granted one of the Smallville mutants."
He frowned, ferreting out the inconsistancy almost too easily. "And they became your doctors, how?"
"I'm the mutant they're studying."
For a moment, he closed his eyes and just breathed. When he opened them again, he looked remarkably calm for a person who just found out his employer was meteor affected. "LexCorp is researching male pregnancy?" he asked, voice thoughtful, as if this had potential.
Lex shook his head and answered tersely, too accustomed to Vogel and Johanssen's zeal to not put a firm stop to the thought. "No. Cellular regeneration. The pregnancies are kept completely off the record by executive demand. I do not fund xenobiological studies of metahuman reproduction."
Ferrier rubbed at his temple. "Metahuman," he repeated, a little dubiously.
Lex couldn't prevent the defensiveness. "Granted, it's nothing like superspeed, extraordinary strength, the ability to breath underwater, or any of the good superpowers, but I think I qualify." Clark rubbed a hand soothingly up his arm, silently urging him to calm down. Easy for him to say. He got the deluxe package and still got to keep his hair.
"I'm sure you do," Ferrier assured him, seeming to recognize Lex's sense of meta-inferiority, but still frowning as he shook his head. "I'm just trying to decide if that's a word we want to use. I don't want to segregate you from the rest of the population any more than you already are." But there was something in the words that reminded him of his scientists when they got excited and started talking about 'the mutant' as if he weren't there.
Lex was grateful for Clark's arm holding him, reminding him that he wasn't alone. He wondered if maybe Clark heard it, too, that implicit suggestion that maybe Lex ought to be segregated, kept away from the regular humans, because the arm tighted around him momentarily.
With a final sigh, Ferrier shook his head. "I don't see that we'll have much choice unless you want to announce a sex change."
"No," Lex refused, firmly and adamantly.
"I still don't see why we can't just drop off the map for a couple of months; say we're taking an extended honeymoon," Clark suggested, not for the first time.
Lex looked to Ferrier because as yet he hadn't been able to explain it to Clark's satisfaction. Ferrier looked back, but then took the hint, "It's a matter of image and appearance. If he's minding the business, faith will be restored that he's not going to neglect the company. If he just vanishes, what Lionel said just now would come to be believed; that Lex is going to put his personal whims ahead of his professional responsibility. If he's not seen publically involved with running LexCorp, it'll be left wide open to attack."
How that differed from the half dozen times Lex had said exactly the same thing, he couldn't tell, but this time Clark slumped slightly in defeat.
After several moments of uncomfortable silence, Ferrier spoke slowly, as if he were testing the idea for faults even as it left his mouth, "Your Grant suggestion seems the best way to gauge how the public will react should the information come out for real. Do you really think you can trust her enough not to spill it as fact before working it into her fiction, though?"
Lex leaned against Clark, closing his eyes as he thought carefully through his assessment of the Planet's society columnist, weighing everything he knew about her, judging her integrity, estimating the balance of mutual favors they'd exchanged since this whole thing began (him not suing her, her gaining him an incomprehensibly high public opinion), testing the strength of the strange alliance she and Clark appeared to have forged over the last three months. Finally, he nodded. "I'll risk it."
They were interrupted by the door opening and Goldman returning with the list of doctors who might have been involved in the Laura Kent deception. As he scanned the names, two immediately popped out and he pointed them out. "That one, and that one. That's them."
Goldman nodded, "I'll find them and stress the importance of keeping their silence. Discreetly, of course," he added, when Clark frowned a little suspiciously.
The other three filed out of the executive lounge after him, having run out of time before their own press conference. In the elevator ride down to the ground floor, Ferrier pressed the main points. "Don't give them anything about the metahuman thing yet, but try not to lie because we are going to admit to that eventually and the tapes from tonight will be rehashed. If you insist on bringing up the unborn kid, be sure to emphasize that you're engaged and you've been talking about a life partnership for a while now. The timing's still not right, but we'll have a few weeks before they realize that."
Lex frowned. "What's wrong with the timing?"
Ferrier gave him an exasperated look. "The timing shouts that this kid was an accident and everything that happened since was a panicked attempt to make it right."
Automatically, Lex opened his mouth to deny that, but the words that came out weren't quite as all encompassing as he would have liked. "I was never panicked." Judging by the look Ferrier gave him, even that much wasn't taken as successfully refuted. Lex opted against an reiterative 'I wasn't' only because he didn't think he could pull it off without sounding like a guilty-as-sin three year old. He'd seen Laura try. It only compounded the original statement's untrustworthiness. "Grant better not call this a shotgun wedding," he grated instead.
Ferrier gave them both sour looks. "Once people know you are carrying the child yourself, there is no way to avoid the suggestion, the timing being what it is."
"I doubt Lionel even owns a shotgun, and if he does, he wouldn't use it to force a wedding," Clark scoffed.
Lex scowled, more familiar with the viciousness of the media. "Doesn't matter. They'll still say we got married to legitimatize the kid." The expression was abruptly replaced with a standard PR face as the elevator reached the lobby and pinged open. They stepped out and headed for the doors. Even before they got outside, they could hear the din of the gathered press. Keeping the mask firmly in place, he added in a lower voice, "With luck, Cat's fantasy story will keep public opinion from swinging that way. Which is why I don't want her to print the theory."
Then they were outside and flashbulbs went off like silent fireworks as he and Clark stepped onto the dias. Clark and Ferrier hung back, but Lex stepped right up to the podium full of microphones that had been set up just outside the LexCorp building. "Hello," he greeted, "I just have a few remarks, then I'll open the floor for questions. First, Lionel's decision to cut me out of his Will does not affect my future plans, either personally or for LexCorp, in any way. I would not have inherited until he died in any case, which is too unpredictable an event to put into a five year plan. LexCorp does not now, nor has it ever, needed the expectation of inheriting LuthorCorp to be a success in its own right.
"Secondly, I feel obligated to remark on Lionel's slur of my character. Yes, I am gay. I am planning to marry the man I love. I'm a CEO, not a monk. I am permitted to have a family and a personal life. The partner I chose may be a little unconventional, but LexCorp has not unduly suffered because I happen to be pursuing a gay relationship. By this time next year, Myst and I will be happily married, raising our child, and the fact that I'm homosexual will be old news. Any negative impact this relationship has on LexCorp is strictly short-term and I expect the worst is already over.
"Lastly, yes, the heir Lionel alluded to has already been conceived. It is, in fact, because Myst and I wanted to have and raise a child together that we brought our relationship out into the public eye in the first place. We have already taken steps in that direction and are expecting Lionel's biological grandchild within the next six months. As yet, we do not know if we're having a boy or a girl. The most recent ultrasound pictures were inconclusive on that point. Lionel was made aware of the child this morning."
Lex paused, letting that information sink in for a moment, with luck settling it into their minds that the child was planned and wanted well before thoughts that two men might have one by accident were even possile. "I will now take any questions you have."
There was a flurry of them. They ranged from 'why did Lionel disinherit you?' to 'have you thought about names for your child?' to 'does it bother you that your wedding won't be legal in this state?' He picked out a few that he liked, then held up his hand for silence.
"I can only guess as to Lionel's motivations," he started on the one that required the most spin, if only because he and his father were still linked in public opinion and calling him a homophobic bastard in a press conference wouldn't do either of their companies any good. "He disapproves of some of my more recent choices and he came by this morning upset that I agreed to Myst's proposal. Over the course of the argument that followed, I informed him of the child. Without an alternative biological heir, today's fight might have blown over like every other one we've had in the past three months, or maybe the marriage was just too much and he would have named Lucas his heir today if he hadn't learned of the baby." Lex shrugged, "But he left, telling me that he was holding a press conference this afternoon and I should arrange some rebuttal statements for my disownment."
He stopped for a few moments again, signalling the end of that answer before moving onto the next question. "Myst and I are still working on a precise date for the wedding. We've narrowed it down to October, though, so if you expect you're getting an invitation, you can start thinking about autumn formal wear. You've got three months."
As it was remotely related, he didn't pause very long before jumping onto the next question. "As yet, we do not have a short list of baby names. We've volleyed a few back and forth but so far we haven't found one we can both agree on. Once we know the gender, we'll try harder. What we do know at this point is the surname."
He paused again, this time purely for dramatic effect, and he could hear Clark from behind him, "We do?"
"The child and I will both be taking Myst's name." In his concern about Laura, Lex had forgotten to bring up that point with Clark, so he turned now toward his fiance to watch his reaction, a half-smirk playing about his mouth in anticipation.
He'd forgotten one of the major PR rules. Stick to the script, plan your bombshells carefully, and always, always, always give your own people fair warning about them. Failure to adhere to these rules could lead to unpredictable results and chaos. Any unguarded reaction or response was entirely the fault of the bigmouth for not preparing their people well enough. Consequences could be dire.
Clark's eyes went wide and for a moment he just went into stunned shock. Lex felt smug and pleased with himself, and maybe just a tad vindictive for putting Lex into a similiar position at the Heart Association ball. But then Clark got over the shock and he reacted. Still a bit dazed, he moved toward the podium, eyes focussed on Lex so intensely, Lex began to feel a little nervous about what he was going to do in front of everybody and their live news cameras.
Not that he was developing anything remotely like modesty, but he'd rather have less photographic evidence if he was going to get arrested for public indecency. "Myst," he said, trying to break Clark out of his funk.
Clark was implacable. He wrapped his arms around Lex, turning him so they both faced toward the news people. He leaned toward the microphones and said in a voice with a lower register than Clark's normally had, "Excuse us for a moment, please." Kent manners. The smile on Clark's face was a little fixed. Hopefully, it wouldn't come across photogenically as crazed. Lex had no idea what was on his own face. His PR mask had slipped when he turned around to watch Clark and unless he was more trained in PR disasters than he thought he was, it hadn't gotten put back up.
Clark's arms around him half-guided, half-pushed him to the back of the dias, back to the doors of the LexCorp building, and inside. There was an executive lounge off the lobby where important guests waited while they were being screened, and Clark led him into that room. "Out," he told the two people in it now, both employees fortunately, "Lock the door behind you." They took one look at them and split.
The door hadn't even closed before Lex was laid down on his back on one of the leather couches. Clark straddled him almost immediately, sitting on Lex's thighs, hands already starting to unfasten his belt. His eyes, though, were on Lex's face. God, Lex hoped they hadn't been glowing like that outside. Lex's belt was yanked free and dropped onto the floor and Clark's gaze didn't waver. Lex was so screwed. Not that that was a bad thing. The timing could have been better though.
It wasn't until Lex's pants and underwear had joined his belt that Clark spoke. He was still fully clothed himself, and throughout the stripping process of Lex's lower half, he hadn't looked away from Lex's face. Now settled on the leather cushion between Lex's legs, hands hooked under Lex's knees as if still deciding what position he wanted to take him from, he seemed to come back to himself enough to say, "You're taking my name."
Heart pounding loud in his chest and ears, Lex nodded. "I'm taking your name."
Clark's eyes squeezed closed, his expression looking painful. "Fuck, Lex." Then he abruptly went into superspeed as he stripped off his own pants. Lex made a mental note to destroy the room's security tapes.
Preparation was quick and perfunctory. Their lube came from the gross misuse of moisturized napkins from the lounge bar. Then Clark was pushing home. He wasn't going to last long, and there were too many reporters waiting just outside for it to be anything but a quick fuck, so Lex worked his own cock while Clark thrust into him, his rhythym already erratic.
While the lounge's walls were reasonably thick, they were not soundproof. Most of the sex commentary of uh, yeah, God, more, Clark, Lex, and fuck wouldn't make it through, but Clark's shout as he came must have. In fact, Lex wouldn't be surprised if the reporters outside heard the "Mine!" For the next four strokes of his own dick, he wasn't too concerned about it, but as he lay catching his breath after his own orgasm, he couldn't help but wonder if that had been the point. Clark was already draped over him, working on Lex's neck with a none-too-subtle intent to mark him.
When he insisted they had to go back outside, Clark solitously helped him dress again, which might have been taken for a kind gesture, but Lex was onto him. Clark arranged his clothing so that it was obvious what they'd been doing. His belt wasn't looped correctly. The semen on his shirt was wiped off, but left a good sized wet spot that was carefully arranged to be best shown off. And somehow, Clark had gotten it on all four of his non-thumb fingers, and proceeded to 'accidently' press his hand against Lex's ass before he washed his hands.
Lex waved him off, fixed his belt, discreetely rearranged the folds of his shirt to hide the worst of the stain, straightened his collar, and determined not to turn his ass towards the cameras once he got outside. There was nothing he could do about the mark on his neck, but he was willing to give Clark that. He also did his best to straighten out Clark's attire, but there was no hiding what they'd just been up to. Even if their appearance wasn't enough to give them away, the front row or two of reporters would be close enough to literally sniff out the story. There just wasn't time to get upstairs and shower though. They'd already been here too long.
Ferrier was at the podium answering general questions about LexCorp when they returned to the dias. He gave Lex a dirty look when they traded spots, as if to say 'weren't you just saying you were a professional?' Lex decided it was best to just ignore him so he continued moving to the microphones without pause. "Are there any other questions tonight?"
There were. But unlike before, the range this time was exceedingly narrow. Almost every question put forward was a variation on 'What is Myst's name?'
Lex hadn't registered that Clark was still right behind him until he leaned forward to speak into the microphones by going over Lex's shoulder. "My spouse's name will be Alexander Kent," he answered one of the variants, his voice laced with pride and satisfaction. Awed delight, as well.
Lex smiled and closed off the conference before another question risked making Clark take him right there beside the podium, "Thank you all for coming out here this evening. Press releases will be distributed to your offices later today, including a copy of one of the ultrasound images."