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06 November 2005 @ 05:51 pm
PCB! Lex (Part 3)  
Had network probs all day, but finally back on... except wouldn't you know it? It's already time for bbq. Guests arriving momentarily! *types superfast*

Anyway, there is more of the Silliness. Thanks again to supacat for beta-ing.


Day 3 Maintainance callout

Clark did a lot of sneaking in the next twenty-four hours. He rather enjoyed it. It reminded him of the old days in Smallville with Chloe.

First, that evening, he flew past Lex’s penthouse. Of course it was tricky because of the security system, but superspeed and x-ray vision came in very handy. After a couple of passes he was reasonably confident that Lex was still in residence. He’d got good at reading the signs over the past year: when Lex was out of town the staff set the window dressings slighly differently. Plus, the half-finished glass of scotch on the nearest coffee table was a bit of a give away.

He considered hanging around until Lex got home, but decided he didn’t need to. Besides which, Lex had a habit of staying out late and not coming home alone, which usually resulted in more information than Clark needed. Not to mention the fact that Superman should use his powers to fight evil and protect the weak. Clark wasn’t sure spying on Lex’s sex life really fell into that category.

He moved on to a patrol of all the LexCorp facilities he knew about. To say that Lex’s business interests were diverse was an understatement. Clark still had no idea what went on in some of the factories on the edge of town. An increasing number of them were tell-tale black room-shaped holes when he scanned them, evidence of lead-lining. And nearly all had some form of kryptonite security system. But that didn’t mean that a patrol was pointless: hints of new or unusual activity at any one of them could be useful background for a more conventional investigation.

On his return to his apartment, Clark rang Chloe. She was out but he left a message on her answering machine.

***

The next morning, Clark got to the office extra early. The bleary-eyed night team had the percolater going in the kitchen and were trading jokes. Clark wanted to join them but then he saw that Colin, one of the sub-editors was there. He’d avoided Colin ever since that embarrassing apostrophe incident. He’d just have to find time for a coffee excursion later. First, he had business to take care of.

Clark opened the door and switched on the light to the copy room. The light panels in the ceiling flickered into life one after another. He pressed the auto-sleep button on the largest of the machines. There were three, as well as the Xerox and the special design printers for the magazine divison. Clark didn’t have the codes to turn those on, but it didn’t matter. He figured the major copier would be enough, and grinned again about his plan.

Clark tugged on the double doors; they opened to expose the machinery. He crouched and peered inside. He was going to have to be careful – nothing too obvious. There were several handles, numbered, which allowed you to open further panels. Clark tried one after another, undoing the machine like a set of Russian dolls, until he got to the innermost workings. This was better. He focussed his eyes and took aim. The metal fused. When he finished, there was a bit of a strange smell, but he figured it would blend in with the toner fumes once the machine was running.

***

Lois hijacked the rest of Clark’s day. She was good at it.

‘Hey! You’re early! That’s great!’

‘So are you. How did that happen?’ Lois wasn’t exactly a morning person.

‘It’s called dedication, Smallville. That can’t be your excuse though.’

‘Well I thought I’d get some reading done before you got here, while it was still quiet.’

‘Yeah, right. Whatever. Listen, I need you to do something for me? Can you go to the council offices for me? I want you to get the file on the planning permission for the Met U Institute. Just call me when you’ve got it, ok?’

Just like that. Clark spent much of the rest of the day pouring over residents’ complaints and the council’s responses, punctuated by impatient calls from Lois on his cell phone. He had to admit that they uncovered some pretty interesting findings: the construction of the Institute broke council height regulations for the district, and it appeared LexCorp had bought the silence of more than one resident who had challenged its construction. More than one troublemaking resident had moved to a ritzier suburb or completed a stalled renovation on their home. No direct links to the University, of course. Convenient.

Clark had a few pangs of regret that he wasn’t in the office to see Lex make the maintainance call. But then, the helpline technicians rarely made it out on the same day of the call: there was probably still plenty of time.

***
Back in the office everything seemed quiet. The late afternoon sun slanted into the building almost as far as Clark’s desk. It increased the glare on his screen, which made writing even more exhausting. Clark leaned back in his chair, stretched out his arms behind his head and yawned.

‘Well, I see I came just in time.’

Clark jerked upright and whirled his chair round, banging his knee on the filing cabinet as he did so. He hoped there wasn’t a visible dent.

Lex was looking amused. ‘I’m just about to do a coffee run. You want anything?’

‘Whatever did we do without you, Alex?’ Lois was perky. She ran on caffeine. ‘Make mine a strong macchiato, two sugars.’

‘Nice!’ Alex gave her an approving look. ‘Clark?’

Alex? When had he started thinking of him as Alex? Clark’s mind spun.

‘Clark?!’

‘Uh, latte. Thanks.’

‘Sugar? Flavour?’

‘He wants hazelnut.’ Lois handed Lex a note. ‘My shout, Clark.’

‘Thanks.’

Clark watched Lex walk to the elevator. What was going on? He checked his email again: no, nothing from Alex. So what had happened? Clark was sure he’d done a good enough job. He decided to check out the copier room.

He paused in the doorway.

No.

No way.

There was a new copier. Plastic sheeting and heavy polystyrene littered the floor. The copier took up nearly a whole wall. It was already working, humming quietly and spitting out a series of stapled and folded pamphlets.

To one side of the doorway, on top of the reems of copy paper, was a clipboard with paperwork attached. Clark picked it up. It was a contract from Canon. Clark flicked through the papers quickly and found a copy of an invoice to Canon. He checked the model number. He checked the new machine. He stared at the bottom line of the invoice and whistled softly. That was a lot of money.

But Clark knew one person who could afford to throw that type of cash around. He flipped the papers back in place and replaced the clipboard. He was just in time.

‘Excuse me.’ A technician wearing a Canon ID tag and a disgruntled expression pushed his way past Clark.

‘Oh, I’m sorry. I’m in your way.’

The technician grunted by way of reply. He was tucking the clipboard under one arm and bending to repack the opened toolkit on the floor in front of the copier.

‘Excuse me, can I ask you something?’

‘Yeah. What?’

‘You just delivered this today, right?’

The guy straightened and threw Clark a bored look. ‘Ye-es.’

‘The Daily Planet… we didn’t have this on order did we? I mean, it was only arranged today, right?’

‘Right. Look, I got other calls to make, ok? I’m just here to do set-up. The training guy will be here tomorrow. You can talk to him about it.’

‘The training guy?’

‘Yeah. For the inservice training? Oh, look, talk to your manager about it, ok?’

The technician, toolcase in hand, left the room. Clark turned to watch him go and saw him cross paths with Lex, on his way back with a cardboard tray of coffees.

‘Oh there you are, Clark.’

‘Just on my way back to my desk.’

‘Uh huh.’ Lex handed Clark his coffee. Their fingers touched briefly, awkwardly, as Clark found his grip on the foam cup. ‘Hazelnut latte. You never used to drink those.’

‘Times change.’

‘Yes, they do.’ Lex was smiling. Clark didn’t know what he thought he had to smile about. ‘So, do you like the new machine?’

Clark straightened. ‘I’ve really got to go, Lex.’ He took a step a way.

Lex pouted in mock sympathy. ‘Lois got you on a leash, huh?’

Clark glowered and turned his back on Lex.

Lex’s smile lingered in his memory, but it didn’t matter. Let’s see if you’re still smiling tomorrow, Luthor!

TBC
 
 
 
roxymissroseroxymissrose on November 6th, 2005 08:37 am (UTC)
*smiling* The gloves are coming off, I see!
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Lex purple evilbop_radar on November 6th, 2005 11:05 pm (UTC)
Oh yeah! ;)
HeroHunter.  I, Storyteller.: clexcorpherohunter on November 6th, 2005 04:27 pm (UTC)
Bwahahahahahaha!!!
Taking it out on the copier, Clarky? Tsk, tsk, tsk!

*loving!!!*
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Clois snoopsbop_radar on November 6th, 2005 11:08 pm (UTC)
I know!!! He's so naughty. I like to think he got the idea from Lex thinking the toner was sabotaged.

Clark: *doing thinking!Clark face* ...hmmmm.... maybe I could sabotage the copier...

Thanks, hon!
Blue: Mulder - Is It Porn?blue_meridian on November 6th, 2005 04:29 pm (UTC)
I luuuuuuvvv you. I need to make an icon that says "will beg for porn" cause I'm pathetic like that. I see PCB!Lex on my flist AND I START TYPING IN ALL CAPS and go SQUUUEEEEE!! *happy sigh* kay, done now.

Part 4? *puppy eyes*
I'll beg. *bats eyelashes*
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Pirates puppy eyesbop_radar on November 6th, 2005 11:13 pm (UTC)
Awwwwwww! You are too cute! And I know, I know, the porn is not here yet... But somehow I've got this damn PLOT to get through first! Trust me there is porn planned...

Part 4 is underway. Gimme a day or so! ;) I'm so glad you're enjoying so much!
Kate: Mikey cigar cooolmskatej on November 6th, 2005 04:38 pm (UTC)
I luff you, Boppy! PCB!Lex is so awesome. *g*
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Clark secrets and liesbop_radar on November 6th, 2005 11:14 pm (UTC)
Hee! *g* I missed you guys on chat yesterday... *pouts*
Talitha: elli chloe499talitha78 on November 6th, 2005 10:01 pm (UTC)
This is so great. I just got caught up on all three parts, and I am so amused. Copyboy Lex is adorable!
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Daily Planetbop_radar on November 6th, 2005 11:17 pm (UTC)
I'm glad he amuses! He was first created when I was telling the girls at the_mas about the copy boy at my work. And then somehow this crazy fully plotted idea flew into my head. I am powerless! It just wants to be written... this has never happened to me before ever. And I'm laughing so hard internally that it was THIS crazy plot that turned me into a writer!

*pats PCB!Lex* Yes, I find him adorable too!
Cris: Lex - smile3duskwillow on November 7th, 2005 01:43 am (UTC)
Heh, this is getting better and better with every part.

Clark you naught, naughty boy! >:)

To one side of the doorway, on top of the reems of copy paper, was a clipboard with paperwork attached. Clark picked it up. It was a contract from Canon.
*snort*
And what are the chances that Lex got pissed and now owns shares in Canon? :)
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!bop_radar on November 7th, 2005 01:53 am (UTC)
Totally! I can just see him making calls on his cell phone from the copy room to the Canon execs!

Thanks for reading! :)
supacat: Raaarsupacat on November 7th, 2005 10:29 am (UTC)
LOVE this seriously. You witnessed in person its mood-changing effect! Can't wait for the next part. Er, the next next part. *g*
Feliz: Lex devil manfeliz581 on November 7th, 2005 04:45 pm (UTC)
Hee! Devious Lex and befuddled Clark - so cute!

Totally friending you, by the way!
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Lex mischiefbop_radar on November 8th, 2005 01:22 am (UTC)
Hee! Glad you're enjoying...
Right back at ya!
president of the back seat: Clex heartsvibrantharmony on November 7th, 2005 07:38 pm (UTC)
Ooh, stuff is happening! This is looking to be a really interesting story! I can't wait to find out what Lex is up to :D
Becky: suit love coloursadface on November 8th, 2005 08:44 am (UTC)
*remembers to comment*

YAY! PCB!

One day the real life PCB should be told what an influence he was to the world of slash. :D
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: MR glassesbop_radar on November 9th, 2005 03:38 am (UTC)
Agh! *chokes* um. That would be awkward. And would seriously inflate his ego to unreasonable proportions.

You will never mention that idea again! Or I'll spam you with PCB's music! And trust me - that's not good! ;-) (He recently recorded a CD and I felt obliged to buy it: it's very hard to say no to someone who is essentially your lackey!)