Title: Unstoppable
Authors: Lex's Lady & Mistress Ace
E-mail: winter@sapphire-dragon.net & rosewood@inreach.com
Feedback: It's the icing on the cake. We write because the story demands to be told. Feedback lets us know if we struck a chord with you.
Distribution: Our website, of course, www.fandomwriters.com. The list archives are welcome to it also. Anyone else, please ask first. We'd like to know where our fic is going.
Rating: NC-17 (eventually or maybe quickly depending on the whim of the muses)
Category: Crossover, Romance, Angst
Spoilers: All of season 1 of Smallville and season 6 of Buffy: The Vampire Slayer
Pairings: Buffy/Clark/Lex, m/f, m/m
Disclaimer: We don't own the characters at all (however much we might wish we did). Buffy and all references to BTVS are property of the great god Joss Whedon, et al. Clark, Lex and the Smallville storyline belong to Miller-Gough et al. We're just borrowing them for a while. We promise to put them back unharmed and perhaps a little happier.
Notes: ** denotes internal thought, * = italics.
Summary: What if the Summers girls moved to Smallville? What if Buffy discovered that Clark had a secret and thought he could use a confidant?
Dedications: From Em: To Ace, for her never-ending support and her willingness to work on this with me. She writes both Clark and Lex in a way I could never hope to achieve, and I couldn't possibly have done this on my own.
From Ace: To Em for reminding me why I love Buffy. To Beth for being my Smallville watching partner even when the scripts were awful. To the whole Clark/Lex list for opening my eyes to the potential here. And finally to Christina for her great story; Runaway Trains at 3 A.M. which was part of our inspiration. You can find it at: this site.

Chapter 33

Meeting adjourned and after stopping a moment to exchange a few words with the head of HR, Lex was on his way back to his office. He'd been filled in on Buffy's salary, her experience as well as the results of her aptitude tests. What he was paying her was not nearly enough and that was something Lex was going to rectify right away.

She wasn't in the outer office. Feeling a niggle of doubt, Lex checked the surface of her desk and relief replaced doubt as he spotted the picture of her, a very attractive older woman and a younger girl that could easily unseat Ms. Lang as Town Princess. There was enough of a family resemblance to peg the other two as her mother and the sister.

Pushing open his door, Lex spotted Buffy in one of the chairs that faced his desk. He'd hoped for the couch but the chair would do. The door clicked shut, followed by the sound of the lock snapping into place and that caught her attention. She was halfway to her feet by the time he reached her and any words she'd meant to say were swallowed in a kiss.

The pad of paper slipped from her fingers and hit the floor, but Buffy couldn't care less. Her body melted against Lex and she let the kiss sweep her away. Without a single word being said, he managed to reassure her and calm her down. Either he'd known exactly what she was feeling or he needed this as much as she did; either way, she happily gave in. And when their mouths parted, she continued to cling to him.

"Thank God..." she whispered softly and pressed her face against his chest. The loss of control left her shivering lightly, since she'd stopped suppressing it. But she didn't care. The door was locked, and right now she was his lover and not his assistant.

Submission was a beautiful thing. Addicting as well. Given her other profession, it was probably something she indulged in rarely. Lex felt Buffy melt into him, felt her give up control and his response was instinctive.

He cleared the surface of his desk with one hand and lifted her with the other. Her arms stayed around his neck, holding on as he kissed her again. Warm push of his tongue into her mouth, followed by his moving between her legs. The sensible skirt gave way to acres of smooth skin that he wanted to spend the next few hours exploring.

Buffy was conflicted inside. She had absolutely no desire to do anything other than let Lex do whatever he wanted. But he had an appointment at 10:15, and she was supposed to be getting paid to work, not to sleep with him.

After an internal debate, she sighed softly and looked up. Hazel eyes met deep blue-gray and she was sure the conflict showed in her eyes when she spoke. "Should we really be doing this here?" she whispered softly.

"I would like nothing more than to go along with it, and God do I want you... but if someone came looking for you, it could cause a lot of trouble. Neither of us needs something like that on our reputations... especially if we're already outcasts." She was truly worried, for him more than for herself. Small town minds could be brutal.

Gorgeous, sensual on a level that all his other lovers failed to reach and she had a head for business. Buffy put Victoria Hardwick to shame... on all counts. One final kiss became the limit of his indulgence, one last entrance into the warm haven of her mouth before he released her. Leaving both of them aching for more.

"You're right. This is not the place." Lex took a deep breath, ticking off the items on his agenda for the day while waiting for the adrenaline to subside. He had two more meetings this morning, a lunch date that he could postpone until tomorrow and the remaining items could be easily handled from his home office. "Call Peterson to reschedule lunch for Thursday. We can spend the rest of the day at home."

Buffy nodded; she'd already found his day-planner and the database of business contacts loaded onto her computer and linked to the network. "Right away, Mr. Luthor," she said. She was back in her job position as his assistant, but since they were still alone the tone of her voice was such that it caressed the name and made it more personal than it should have been.

She'd shown earlier that she had the ability to put work before personal issues and behave herself in front of other people. Now she was showing that she could do the same thing in reverse. And if Lex being the boss didn't have at least a few perks, then life in Corporate America was nothing like she remembered.

"Mr. Luthor is my father. Call me Lex." Slow syllables spoken in a tone she'd only heard in his bedroom. Lex's gaze lingered on her for a few moments, drifting down from her face to her breasts and points south. His hand brushed the inside of her thigh, eliciting a shiver.

There was still some time before his appointment and he knew she wanted to talk. Lex drifted away in order to give Buffy a little breathing room. To let both of their heads clear. "We should set some ground rules, don't you think?"

Buffy nodded and sighed. "Yeah, we should. We talked about being discreet, for a while anyway." She watched him cross over to a small fridge and lean over to retrieve two blue bottles; she licked her lips unconsciously and knew that watching him move would never calm her desire. The man just moved too sensually, and she couldn't keep her eyes from caressing him.

She slid off the desk and straightened her skirt. Then her nylons. "Oh, by the way... does company dress code require pantyhose? I really hate these things," she finished quietly as she tried to straighten the flimsy garment without putting her fingernails through it. Pantyhose had to be one of the most uncomfortable pieces of apparel still worn by modern women.

Better than a corset, by far, but women didn't wear them anymore. Or, at least not for function.

"Not that I'm aware of. If it does, I'll get it changed." Lex handed her one of the bottles, his fingers caressing hers in a fleeting touch. While he wanted to do nothing more than strip all of her clothes off, or at least use his letter opener on the confining garment in question, talking was in order. Rather than use his desk as the forum, Lex chose the couch.

Fluid movements were as much a part of him as breathing. He slid into the embrace of butter-soft leather and patted the seat next to him. When Buffy hesitated, she was treated to a sharklike smile and a murmured, "You know I don't bite... unless you ask me to."

"I know," Buffy smiled at him and glided across the room to settle beside him. And she very carefully ignored the voice in her memory that said, 'Don't worry, I don't bite.'

The leather cradled her body as she sank into its luxurious softness, and she let out a tiny sigh of pleasure. She was going to get spoiled very quickly by all the luxury that surrounded Lex. She was very honestly enjoying it. There was something to be said for the purely sensual feeling of soft leather couches and silk shirts and wool pants.

"Rules. Nothing here. Not at the plant, right?" When Buffy nodded, Lex took a sip of water to hide a second or two of irritation. That rule made sense though. It would keep them out of a lot of trouble.

He could live with that rule. It was the other ones that were going to make this whole situation a lot more difficult. He'd have to hide everything about their relationship to keep her from becoming to hot topic of conversation around the office. "Outside of the plant what do you want?"

"I'm not entirely sure, Lex," she answered quietly. "I want to be with you, to spend time with you. But we need to be careful of your reputation with these people. I don't care all that much about what people say about me, except that it would hurt you and Dawn and Clark." She could and probably would be hurt by it, but she was used to that.

"I've never done this sort of totally secret thing before," she admitted. "I mean, I've kept secrets and snuck out of my bedroom through the window for most of high school, but there were still always people who knew. People I could just relax around and not worry about what they saw. This will be different. And I don't want any of us getting hurt..."

"Is it that different? Clark knows, Damien knows..." The wheels were turning in his head as he ran through the scenarios. He was good at keeping secrets, what was one more? After all, he had the majority of Smallville snowed into thinking his interest in Clark was purely out of friendship. Only Buffy had been able to see through his expert game of smoke and mirrors... even Clark had been fooled.

"We can be ourselves around them but otherwise, we will have to keep it quiet. You need the job and I need someone I can trust." Lex covered her hand with his as he took a sip of water. A sidelong glance revealed an expression of confusion on his lover's face at that cryptic comment. "My last assistant was Dad's spy. Everything I did got reported to the old man."

Buffy shook her head. "Oh, geez. No, you won't have to worry about that with me, I can promise you that." She couldn't be bribed or threatened into working against Lex in any way. She turned her hand under his and laced their fingers together lightly. "In some ways, it will be different. We'll have to keep it secret from Dawn, and Clark's parents, and their friends and everyone. When it was about Slaying, I still had Giles and my friends, and eventually my mom and sister. The three of us will only have each other."

Keeping secrets from people you loved and respected could be extremely difficult. Yes, Clark had been keeping his identity secret from everyone for a while now. And Lex might be used to keeping secrets. Buffy was used to having a confidante in most things; the last thing she'd kept truly secret was that she'd been taken from Heaven and not Hell by her friends.

"I think the three of us are enough. Buffy, I've been keeping secrets from the cradle on. The same is true with Clark... But if it's too much for you..." The words trailed off as Lex considered the alternatives. They could always stop, nip this whole thing in the bud before it got to the point that none of them could walk away.

No. Not possible. He was already at that point. Had been since he'd looked over his shoulder to find both Buffy and Clark actually following him to his bedroom.

She might be able to walk away and Clark might be able to but Lex was stuck. If they left him, he'd eventually end up like his father. A bitter and hard man who used people until they broke, then threw them away in favor of younger and better toys.

Another alternative was to find her a job somewhere else. Smallville didn't have a lot of prospects for that. She'd probably have to go to Metropolis and the thought of someone he loved that close to his father was unacceptable. Lionel would sniff her out, track her down and then send another flunky like Rog or Dominic to drop an envelope full of color glossies in his lap again.

Completely unacceptable.

Or they could make this work. Somehow.

"I don't think it's too much for me, Lex. I guess I'm just used to having Willow to talk to. The first really close friend I can remember having," Buffy said softly. "She was always my support when it came to anything romantic. No matter who disapproved or who thought I was doing something wrong or foolish or bad when I was only following my heart... Willow was always there for me. Encouraging me, even. As long as I was happy."

She didn't know why she was telling him all of this, but she was. Almost like she needed to. "Maybe it's a girl thing. I dunno. But I miss her. Sometimes I need someone to tell me that I should do what my heart feels is right, because I get scared. And she knows why, she doesn't have to ask. And I'm not sure I'm even making sense anymore." Buffy shook her head and shrugged.

She leaned sideways and rested her head on Lex's shoulder. "I want this to work, and I want to do everything possible to make things work for us, Lex. And I believe we can do it. But it isn't going to be easy."

"Nothing worth having is ever easy. And you are worth having." His arm slid easily around her, drawing Buffy in close until all that separated them was their clothes. Sex he was no stranger to, but this wasn't sex. It was intimacy, something Lex knew very little about. "Where is Willow now? Can you call her and would it help?"

"Willow is in a facility in England. Rehab for magic addicts," Buffy said softly. "Wills went on a power trip a few weeks before we decided to move, when this jerk who was trying to kill me killed Tara, her lover. It was an accident, he was just shooting the gun randomly. Willow had sworn off magic up until then and was doing a good job of it. But when she lost Tara... she went nuts." Poor Willow... the whole thing had been terrible.

And Buffy blamed herself partially because, if not for her strictures against killing humans, Warren would likely have already been dead by then.

"I do have the phone number at home, but calls are monitored. Probably no one would pay attention to two women talking about romantic entanglements, as long as I didn't use names, but it's hard to say for sure. And it's majorly expensive to call England from here."

"A gun? Did you get hurt?" Self-involvement was another long-standing Luthor trait. While Lex did feel a twinge of sympathy for Willow, his focus was on his lover. And yes, it happened before he knew Buffy but still... someone had attacked his lover.

That was a transgression that would not go unpunished. If the man still lived, he wouldn't for long.

Buffy nodded and found his free hand. She touched his fingertips to the spot on her chest where the bullet had gone in. "Here... I was shot. Xander was with me when it happened, and I managed to shove him to the ground when I saw the guy had a gun. A random shot took Tara, but he got me first. Xander called the ambulance. I might've died on the operating table, but Willow on her trip came in and saved my life. There's not even a scar, now."

Blue-grey shifted to pure steel as Lex felt the steady thump of her heart. Cardiac tamponade at best, the bullet nicking the pericardium and leaving her to bleed out in a matter of minutes rather than seconds. Someone had just signed their own death warrant. Two phone calls, maybe three and he'd have the bastard's head delivered to his doorstep.

"Who was it?" Silken tone, spoken without a hint of menace. Or any emotion at all.

"His name was Warren. But he's dead now. Willow killed him, with magic. For killing Tara." She shivered and tried not to see the image in her memory. It had been rather - okay, completely - disgusting to see. And this from someone who fought some of the ugliest demons imaginable. "I couldn't stop her, though I tried. But she was tapping power directly from the Hellmouth."

"She sounds like someone I'd rather have on my side." Keeping his own council about whether Buffy should have interfered or not, Lex nuzzled her cheek. She leaned into the touch, her eyes closing for a moment as he murmured, "Don't worry about the expense. I'll take care of it whenever you need to call."

Buffy went still for a moment, completely startled, then relaxed again. "Are you sure? I mean, I know Clark said you're almost richer than God, but..." She knew she should be arguing more about this. Her mother would tell her that it was too much, that she shouldn't take advantage of his money and his willingness to let her spend it. But she missed Willow so badly...

"It feels... like I'd be taking advantage of you, or something. I don't love you because you have money, Lex. I love you for you," she murmured as she turned her head to kiss him softly.

The Clark reference drew a chuckle from him; that sounded very much like his impressionable friend. "Richer than God? Not quite. That would be Dad, not me." Lex caught her mouth in another kiss, the last one for awhile as time was a commodity that he was lacking in this morning. "But I can afford calls to England."

A soft sound of regret escaped his lips even as he disentangled himself from her arms and stood up. Lex rearranged his tie, smoothed wrinkles out of his pants and jacket before buttoning it closed. "You won't be taking advantage. I've probably spent more money on the Kents' produce than you will ever cost me."

His mouth lifted in a sardonic smile at Buffy's amused glance. "Yes. It's exactly what you're thinking. Any excuse to spend time with Clark was worthwhile."

"And probably helps keep the farm going in a way Mr. Kent can't possibly object to," Buffy added with an amused smile and nod. She'd seen Mr. Kent's stubbornness in action and doubted he'd let Lex do anything to help directly. But he couldn't refuse a customer his produce.

With a soft sigh, she got to her feet and smoothed her skirt once again. "Thank you, Lex. For everything. I'll keep in mind that when e-mail just feels too distant, I can call to talk to Willow for a while." She was truly grateful, but she wasn't going to pounce on his offer immediately. She'd save it for a time when she didn't want to pounce on him so badly.

"I'd better go call Mr. Peterson to reschedule your lunch. And you have another meeting soon, I think. Is there anything that I should be doing while you're gone?" she asked, hoping there would be something. No one had really explained her duties or whatever. Just that she was Lex's assistant. But she had no idea of what she was supposed to be doing in that capacity.

"Yes, there's a prospectus I need proofed as well as the quarterly board meeting notes. Let me get the disks." There was a button undone on her blouse, which he fastened, then moved away. Lex opened the center drawer on his desk, pulled out two disks and handed them to Buffy. "Once they're proofed, print me a hard-copy and see what you can find out about the ownership of Riley Field. I think the plant could use a new parking lot."

He'd promised Clark yesterday that he'd pave the place over. No more scarecrows were going to be hung in the shadow of his plant.

Buffy took the disks with a nod. She agreed about the field, completely. It needed to be gone. "I can do that. Is the network firewalled, and do you have an anti-trace program I can use?" Pretty standard stuff, according to Willow, but Buffy didn't know enough about hacking to set one up for herself. "I know the basics, but Willow was our computer geek. She had an anti-trace and a program for cracking password-locked data."

"I'm starting to like this girl more and more. Once she gets out of rehab I think I can find a job for her. Your system's fully loaded, no one will be able to trace your inquiries." Lex unlocked the door and ushered Buffy out into her own office. As she settled into her chair, the door to the outer office opened to admit two men in well-tailored suits. Not as well tailored as Lex's but there was no mistaking the care that had gone into their appearance.

"Gentlemen." A gracious smile was followed by a warm handshake. Lex oozed charm as he greeted his guests. "Right on time. Care to join me in my office? Buffy, would you mind taking notes?"

"Not at all," Buffy replied easily. She picked up a pen and a legal pad and followed the men into Lex's office. She spotted a chair off to one side and skirted around the group at the desk to head towards it. She was not there to participate, she was there to listen and make note of what went on. And to be as unobtrusive as possible, she thought. This meeting would likely be educational, as she'd never been involved in this level of business before.

Contracts were laid across Lex's desk as he listened to his lawyers' advice. The buy-out had gone well and profits were being reinvested in the plant. Pamela had thrown the weight of her stock into the transaction, giving Lex proxy voting rights and for a few days his ultimate freedom from Lionel had been in his grasp. He'd garnered almost enough proxy votes to have his father ousted from the board of directors, almost enough to force the old man to retire.

But Lionel pulled in some votes from his side of the house that Lex hadn't anticipated. When the dust was settled Lex and the employees did own the plant but it was nominally still part of LuthorCorp. Which was why he still ended up reporting to his father instead of enjoying an autonomous existence here in Smallville. In a few years time, Lex hoped to take his father on again and when he did, he'd win.

Today's negotiations were just the beginning of that particular ambition. One day LuthorCorp would become LexCorp and he looked forward to Lionel's retirement party. He might even fly in Vicky as a party favor for his father to toy with. **Here's your gold watch, Dad. Oh and a gold-digger to go along with it.**

Buffy took better notes for this meeting than she ever had for any class. Her shorthand might be illegible to anyone but herself, but that's what computers were for. She'd type it up later.

Besides, it was interesting. Lex had mentioned leading an employee buy-out of the plant, and she'd heard talk in town that people were glad the plant hadn't shut down. She knew it provided a lot of the jobs and income this area of the country needed to survive, so their feelings made sense. But she was learning more about just what had happened and what the results of it were.

Lex was in his element, flipping through the contracts with a practiced eye and pointing out where changes needed to be made. By the time they were done he would own another small chunk of his father's company. Another building block in his own empire.

When he'd started this whole thing, it was a bid to be free. Now it was something else. It was an investment in their future. With the money he made from this venture, he'd be able to send Clark to any school in the world. It would have to be disguised as a scholarship for the Kents to accept the gift, but the goal would be met. His lover... Lex's gaze flicked from the contract to meet Buffy's eyes... their lover would get the education that he deserved.

By the end of the meeting, Lex was satisfied with the results. His lawyers packed up the contracts, promising the amended copies on his desk by the following day. He rose from his seat, shook their hands and watched with pride as Buffy ushered them out. The only jarring note was when the younger of the two gave her a speculative look that lingered a little too long on the curve of her breast.

Buffy also caught the man's eyes roving over her body and she gave him a look of pure venom for half a second - just long enough to convince him to stop. Then she covered the look with a warm smile and bade the gentlemen a good afternoon.

She wasn't venomous by nature, but she hated it when people undressed her with their eyes. Appreciative looks and smiles were nice, a balm to the ego she just barely had. But anyone who stared too long or lingered in the wrong places generally pissed her off.

After seeing them to the door of the outer office, Buffy returned to her desk. First she would type up the notes from the meeting, then she'd move on to the proofing project.

For the rest of the morning they worked in companionable silence. Lex looked up when Buffy brought him the notes of the meeting and his smile was warm. He accepted the notes, his fingertips grazing hers for a moment before he turned his attention back to the operating budget.

The second time she came in, he was on the phone with his father. Lex stared off into space, listening patiently to the blather coming from the other end of the line. His harried expression and hunched shoulders were accompanied by a low-grade headache. Unaware that Buffy had joined him, Lex rubbed at the back of his neck and then his temple.

Buffy set the document and disk down on the surface of Lex's desk; the board meeting notes were complete, but he could look at them later. Glad that she'd closed the door behind herself when she came in, she silently circled around the desk until she stood behind Lex. Small hands settled on his shoulders and began to rub. Her thumbs eased the tense muscles in Lex's neck while her palms and fingers worked on his shoulders.

Tense... God, he was so tense. She knew that if he was talking to his father, which seemed likely to her, he might not necessarily want her in the room. But if he wanted her to leave, all he had to do was say so. Otherwise she'd stay, and keep doing what she was doing until he started to relax.

It was almost noon anyway. When he got off the phone, she was going to try to convince him to take a break for lunch. If they were going to be working from his place that afternoon, perhaps she could take him home and make him really relax. For a while, at least.

Lex had enough presence of mind to cover the receiver before he groaned. Gaby had just been replaced as his massage therapist as far as he was concerned. Strong fingers found each of the spots that really ached, eased away the tension his father's calls always caused. He closed his eyes and murmured, "God... you're perfect."

His brain engaged in time to keep the rest of it from spilling out. A proposal of marriage, a pledge of undying love... hell, an offer to bear her children was in the offing so long as Buffy didn't stop.

Buffy's fingers fluttered, skimming a soft caress on the sides of his neck in acknowledgement of the compliment, and she leaned forward enough to press a soft kiss against the back of his head. She'd save verbal for after he got off the phone. She continued the massage, determined to keep him from stressing out while talking to his father.

And she really was glad that she'd closed the door on her way in.

"Yes... yes... You'll have them by tonight." Lex leaned forward to give her more access as he listened to the rest of the lecture. It tapered off after a few minutes to be wound up with, "I'll see you in Metropolis next week. Goodbye."

He set the phone down and surprised Buffy by asking quietly, "Did you call Peterson?"

"Yes, earlier this morning," she answered. "After your lawyers left. Thursday is fine, and he'll meet you in the same place at the same time."

She hesitated, then spoke up again, "Lex, it's nearly noon. You need a break... do you want to stop for lunch?" Her hands move further down his back in her attempt to ease as much of his tension as possible. Some people just wound you into knots, and apparently Lex's person was his father.

"Depends on what you're offering in the way of food. Ahhh..." he grimaced in sudden pain as she hit one of the bruises Clark had left. The hands on his back lifted up and he shook his head. "No, don't stop. It feels good."

Still at the office. They were still at the office so he had to behave. His calendar for the rest of the day was free which led to the simple question of why they were still at the office. "On second thought, stop. We can continue this back at the house."

Buffy slid her arms around Lex's neck and nuzzled the back of his head briefly. "Anything you want, love," she murmured. "We've got about five hours. You have that dinner meeting you mentioned, though, and I'm supposed to take Dawn to the Kent's tonight. But if you still want to meet us afterwards, that would be wonderful. I want you to meet my sister."

That might've sounded very bad, but for her tone of voice. Buffy simply wanted her lover to meet what remained of her family. And even if they had to keep quiet about being lovers, just having him be accepted was important.

"I'm looking forward to meeting her. Plus Clark's due at 3:00 with a delivery. Think we can coax him into bed for an hour or so?" Lex turned and rubbed his cheek against hers, feeling Buffy shiver at that suggestion.

The thought of dragging Clark to bed was very appealing. Maybe they could meet him at the front door wearing nothing but matching smiles. Lex wondered briefly just how long it would take Kent to get naked too. Would Clark insist on going up to his room or would they go to it in the middle of the foyer... right under the disapproving eyes of his father's portrait.

"I don't think he'll need much coaxing, love," Buffy murmured with a light laugh. "I think by the time 3:00 comes, he'll be feeling even more needy than you and I are right now..."

Gentle squeeze, the press of her hands against his chest, then she was gone. She circled around his desk and smiled as she said, "I just need to grab my purse from the desk drawer and I'm ready to leave. You ready to go?"

"Very. Let me call Gabe and leave him in charge." Lex hit the speed dial on his phone even as she went for her purse. "Gabe? No, the meeting went fine... I'm going to take some work back to the house to finish up. My assistant? I'm taking her with me... Uh-huh... Yes, she's working out just fine."

He smiled, rising from his desk when Buffy came back into the room. The phone still in his hand, Lex gathered up some of the papers from his desk and powered down his laptop. "Yes, she'll make a good addition to the team. I'm leaving you in charge, Gabe. If you need me, call the cell. Thank you." Lex clicked the phone off as he unhooked the laptop from the docking station. It went into its case easily along with the sheaf of papers.

"Do you really think so, Lex? I feel so overwhelmed sometimes..." There was just so much she didn't know. So many things that she picked up on but she couldn't say anything because she didn't know the details. She wanted to be something more than what her father's secretary was. More than decorative and useful for things like typing and scheduling and coordinating meetings.

Buffy really wanted to be able to work with him. As much as possible.

"Yes, I really think so. All you need is a little more time to let it soak in." He reached for the case only to have Buffy take it away from him. Smiling, Lex led the way out of his office and then hers. On the way past, the empty vase caught his attention. He made a mental note to make certain it was never empty again. His hand slipped into the small of her back as he opened the outer door for her. "And about the way you handled Jamison. Nicely done."

Buffy smiled. "Thank you. People like that... they just irritate me. Make me angry. I'm not an object to be gawked at, and now he knows it too. He'll never make that mistake again." Her smile turned smug for a moment. Privately, she got a thrill out of putting the fear of womankind into men who objectified the women around them. There was an advantage to having a certain amount of strength.

Just because she looked fragile didn't mean she was. Not entirely, anyway.

"He's got quite the reputation." His smile faded as they walked through the rest of the office. It was replaced by his cool, professional mask. Not a single hint of their true relationship was revealed as he introduced Buffy to several of the department heads before Lex announced they were headed to work off-site. The first raised eyebrow was greeted with chilly disdain, so cold that it quashed any possible rumor that might try to arise.

Once they were outside, Lex relaxed a little. He turned his head a little so he could catch Buffy's attention. "Jamison keeps it above board most of the time. His firm's sensitive to employment practices issues. Namely sexual harassment. If he gives you any further trouble, mention that and he'll back off."

"I'll remember. Thank you," she said softly. She was relaxing a bit, herself, but they'd gotten a few odd looks from people inside. It made her uncomfortable, and she'd done her best to fade into the background. After that, the looks didn't happen so often because they dismissed her as nothing special. She was going to have to be careful around these people for a while. But to be able to work with Lex, it was worth it.

The green Ferrari had been the ride of choice this morning. Lex tried to rotate the cars so they got equal use but this one was on of his favorites. He opened the door for Buffy and stopped long enough to admire her legs as she slid the laptop into the foot-well. That gaze brought his thoughts around to another subject.

The clothes she was wearing were adequate for the plant, but when he took her to Metropolis next week she'd need something better. Something that would come off as sharp rather than unobtrusive.

"I probably should take my car... I'll need it later, anyway. And if I left it here, I'd have no way to get here in the morning." Buffy would've much rather driven with him. It would be rather embarrassing to park her beat-up, twelve-year-old Ford anywhere remotely near Lex's place. But she would need it later, and it was all she had.

Besides, she'd packed herself some casual clothes that morning to bring along. She knew she was only going to have time to pick up Dawn and head to the Kents', so she'd brought along casual clothes for dinner.

"I'll bring you back. The plant's on the way." He waited for a moment, expecting her to give in. When Buffy continued to hesitate, Lex tilted his head to one side and smiled. "I want as much time with you as I can get. Do you mind?"

Buffy smiled at that and shook her head. "No, not at all. I feel the same way." She very much wanted to fold herself into his arms and kiss him, but she couldn't. Too public.

All she could do was agree. And slide into the seat while he held her door open for her. She couldn't help that her smile grew when his eyes lit up and he closed the door for her. He'd known she would give in, but the happiness and pleasure that lit his expression when she did... that was wonderful to see. She wanted him to always feel that way.

The grin on his face probably rivaled one of Clark's show-stopping smiles. It was a good thing the parking lot was deserted otherwise his employees would have been treated to the sight of the boss acting like a fourteen year old with his first girlfriend. Lex skirted the front of the car and climbed into his own seat. The engine rumbled to life, then hummed when he pushed it into reverse and pulled out of his reserved slot.

Reaching for her hand once they cleared the front gate, Lex drew it up to his mouth. Rather than place a kiss in the palm, he turned it until the wrist was under his lips. Without looking at Buffy, he sank his teeth into the spot he'd marked the day before.

Buffy shivered and a soft whimper sounded in her throat. He'd marked her again... claimed her she didn't know how many times in the past twenty-four plus hours. She was his, and if he needed a physical mark to prove it, he could bite her anytime he wanted to.

"You like doing that," she murmured her observation. She didn't know if he liked claiming her as his own, or simply enjoyed the fact that he could mark her in a way that he couldn't do to Clark. And she didn't really care which, though she was a little curious.

"Yes... God, yes. Mine..." Another bite, this one not as savage. Lex soothed each of them with a gentle suck, which engendered another soft whimper from her.

Fourteen... no, not even that mature. Six was a better target. Six years old and incredibly possessive of his toys. Time to embrace his inner child... If Lex had his way, his name would be tattooed on that very spot. Not only on her wrist but Clark's as well.

Buffy smiled a bit and nodded her understanding. "I know. Yours. And you're mine. And if you really want to play possession games, I can let the Slayer out... but I think I'd rather just have you to myself for a while, if that's okay." She wasn't sure Lex really even wanted to play possession games with the Slayer... he stood a good chance of losing, because the Slayer was nothing if not primal and possessive.

The glance Lex shot her was one of pure heat. The kind that seared from head to toe. He'd caught a glimpse of the Slayer last night and that had been enough to really pique his interest. "You can have whatever you like, Beauty. Anything at all."

If Buffy wanted time for herself, then it was hers. But someday soon Lex wanted time with the other side of the coin. With the Slayer and possibly with Kal at the same time. Let them have whatever they wanted.

Her reply came out soft, almost husky and alive with heat and passion. "I just want you, love. I want to know what you like. I want to know if we like some of the same things. I want to know if you enjoy things I've never tried, and I want to try them with you."

Her voice softened and she added one last thing, "I want to know if you can accept and feel safe with every part of me... with me and the Slayer and the combination of the two that is really both. But I want to wait until we have some time with all three of us together, because it's quite likely that I'll go out of control when I completely let the Slayer part of me loose. And I don't want to hurt you. I don't trust that part; it scares me."

"It doesn't scare me." The heat intensified, went from inferno to solar in a matter of seconds. It was even reflected in his voice as his mouth quirked upward. "Welcome to Lex Kink 101. One of the advantages of healing so quick... no scars."

His eyes flicked to her face and then back to the road. "But if it makes you more comfortable, we'll hold off until both you and Clark are ready. He can be our fail-safe."

"I think I would feel better having him there. I just... accidents happen, you know? The last Slayer who killed a human by accident ended up going rogue. And I don't want to even think about that happening to me." Buffy would not be Faith. Faith had hurt so many people who'd never done anything to her.

"But," she added, the smoldering look back in her eyes, "I think I'll enjoy Lex Kink 101. I did wonder about it last night, a little."

"Mmmmm? And what did you wonder about?" There were a few twists and turns in the road between the plant and the castle. Lex kept his eyes on the road now, feeling a moment of tension as the car slid into the long curve right before the bridge. The place where he died and was reborn.

The surreality of the conversation juxtaposed with their location was not lost on him. Especially when the new section of guard-rail flashed past. Eight months, almost nine months earlier he'd met Clark right here. His life changed... Just as it changed again yesterday.

"Last night, with Kal-el... it sounded like he had to be hurting you, but you seemed to be enjoying it more than anything else. And it made me wonder." She paused, uncertain of how to word the thoughts and feelings in her head. "I just wondered how, or maybe why. I know there's a fine line between pleasure and pain, and I know skirting that line can be a powerful thing."

Like last night, it had only made the pleasure-feelings more intense to be skirting that line, her body worn out. "But really crossing over the line doesn't do much for me. I have a high tolerance for pain, and some things that would hurt normal people don't really hurt me much. Like this," she held up her bitten wrist, "it just tingles a little. You'd probably have to draw blood before it really started to hurt. But I don't... I don't get off on true pain. Or, I never have before anyway."

Deep breath in, slow push back out as the memory of the burn and the pain returned. Sharp and strong and God... it made him feel so alive. The barriers imposed by birth and unimaginable wealth falling away in one searing moment, lying there nestled in impossibly soft sheets while an implacable alien impaled him on a shaft of agony. His father's voice in his ear, whispering this was what he deserved for wanting to be a catamite. Buried in guilt and shame and sex so hot that even the thought of it had his palms sweating. They slipped on the wheel, bringing Lex back to the present.

A present where Buffy was waiting for an answer he wasn't sure that he could give. "It's... yes, I enjoyed it. The loss of control. Knowing he could kill me without breaking a sweat but doesn't... It's about power. Clark would never hurt me and Kal can break me and I..."

Princeton graduate, Lex. Top of your class and you can't tell a lover that you get off on pain. That submission was the ultimate slap in Lionel's face. A lover hurting him wiped away all the times his father had done it... at least with a lover he got kissed first before getting fucked.

The cold rejection after the meteor shower. The quiet pride on his father's face as he held Julian up for the cameras and shielded the bald little freak Lex had become from their clicking shutters. The hard hand on his shoulder at his mother's funeral and the voice that hissed in his ear about being too emotional when all he wanted to do was crawl in the box with her and left the grave take them both.

Those memories were followed swiftly by the look on his father's face the one night he'd shown up at Lex's off-campus digs during his junior year. The shocked denial reflected in those cold, cold eyes when he found Lex chained to the wall... hell, walked in on his grinding against that wall and coming as his lover of the moment cut the final stripe across the small of his back with a cane.

That look was pure payback... Daddy's heir not only got off on letting anything with a dick in his bed but he let them beat him as well.

"You like it," Buffy finished softly. "I think I understand, a little at least. I have to be in control of so much, so much of the time, that those rare occasions where I don't have to be in complete control are what I truly enjoy. I suppose there isn't much difference between the two, being out of control in pleasure or in pain." The sensation didn't really matter, only the loss of control.

Her voice turned thoughtful, edged with curiosity. "I guess I don't really know if it's the same for me. I've never been completely out of control, because the only one who ever wanted to take control entirely from me was the one I could never trust enough. So I never let it happen, not entirely. Which really means that I have no real experience with what you're talking about, and I've only dealt with power plays in a different way."

She tilted her head slightly and regarded Lex for a long moment. There was no judgment in her voice or her expression, only thoughtfulness and caring and concern, tinged with curiosity. "In a manner of speaking, you have in me something similar to what you have in Clark. A dominant and a submissive side; an aspect who has the capability to break or kill, and an aspect who could never allow something like that to happen. And in both of us, you have someone with whom you can do what you wish without doing much damage."

Proof positive that he'd died and gone to Heaven. Two lovers, each with dual natures that could feed his every whim. Love and safety with one side, danger and pain and all-out lust on the other.

This was a great day to be Lex Luthor.

"Yes. I like it. I get off on it." Sometimes the truth did set you free. Lex's smile broadened as he made the last turn towards the castle. "I really get off on it."

The construction crew's vehicles were parked in the main drive so he skirted around to the back entrance. The curved lane that wound through the trees to the garage. At least here all the debris had been cleared away.

Buffy nodded and smiled back. "I'll remember. Might be easier to not have to worry about little things, like keeping my fingernails to myself. I'll have to work up to bigger things, though, I think. Something just feels very strange about the idea of wanting to hurt someone I love. Even knowing you'd want me to." Fortunately, the Slayer doesn't have that kind of inhibitions, so Lex wouldn't be totally deprived while the softer sides of Buffy and Clark got used to the idea.

When the car pulled into the garage, Buffy leaned over and kissed Lex gently. "Don't worry about me, though. I'm not afraid of you or anything you might want from me. I'll adjust, I'll learn."

"And I'll teach," he assured her with another kiss before opening his door. Before Buffy could exit the car, he was there holding the door for her and slipping an arm around her waist after she retrieved his laptop. Together they walked into his home and wound their way through the halls up to his study.

*****

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