“Would you stop hovering?” Lara asked. Kaldur had not stopped looking over her shoulder, and had gone so far as to hold her hand in the halls and carry her books. “People are going to start asking questions.” As if to prove her point, Eureka came out of nowhere and grabbed Lara’s arm.
“If you’ll excuse us for a minute,” Eureka said, and before either of them could object, she dragged Lara into the girl’s room. “All right, I know that there are certain things in your life that are secrets. I respect that, I have secrets of my own. But really? Couldn’t you tell me that you had a boyfriend?”
“Kaldur’s not my boyfriend,” Lara replied. At Eureka’s raised eyebrow, she protested, “He’s not! He’s just a friend—”
“A gorgeous friend whom you ogle when he’s not looking,” Eureka pointed out. “A friend, who after a creepy visit from Lex Luthor comes to school to watch your back and hold your books and your hand, and he stares at you an awful lot, honey. Are you sure there’s nothing there?”
“I didn’t say there wasn’t anything there,” Lara replied. “He’s just not my boyfriend, and I doubt that he could be, all right, so drop it for now.” Eureka nodded, though with a frown plastered to her face. “And how do you know that I have secrets?”
“Shady background, you disappear from school for a couple of days every now and again, you look just like Kryptongirl without your glasses.” Eureka smiled and placed a hand over Lara’s open mouth. “Look, you can’t tell me, at least not yet, I get that. Just know that I’m here for you if you need girl talk away from the capes. You know, heavily veiled, coded girl talk, I am down with that.” Lara reached out and hugged her best friend. Eureka braced her arms around her squeezing comfortingly. Lara pulled back after a moment and eyed her friend.
“Wait, then what secrets do you have?”
“Fair play dear, I figured you out on my own, you have to figure me. Now let’s not keep grey eyes waiting. I’d hate to see a boy like that in a conniption.” Eureka led Lara out much the same way she led her in, by dragging. Though the second she left the bathroom, Kaldur grabbed her.
“She knows your identity!” he hissed.
“Yeah, and I trust her,” Lara said.
“How could you trust someone you barely know?” Kaldur asked.
“I trusted you, didn’t I?” Lara said, taking his hand. Kaldur stiffened slightly, before he relaxed into her grip. “Trust me, Eureka has good vibes. She won’t betray my secrets.”
“If you trust her,” Kaldur replied reluctantly.
“I do. Now come on, I don’t want to be late to chemistry,” Lara said pulling him along. Kaldur let himself be pulled only for a moment, before he stopped dead in his tracks. “What?” Lara asked, following Kaldur’s gaze to where Lex Luthor stood talking to the principle, his faithful bodyguard Mercy standing just behind him. “Great…just what I needed. Come on Kaldur.”
“We should radio Batman,” Kaldur said.
“In a moment,” she said. “The hall is too crowded. Drop me off at chemistry and then say you have to use the bathroom and let Batman know what’s going on, all right?”
“I don’t want to leave you alone with him,” Kaldur said.
“I was along with him yesterday, and he had plenty of time to make a move,” Lara said, as they walked into the classroom.
“Miss Kent, I was told that you would have a shadow,” her chemistry professor said. “Kaldur Amon, yes?”
“Yes sir,” Lara and Kaldur replied as one.
“Well, Mr. Cooper has already informed me that he will be out today, so why don’t you two partner up for today’s assignment?”
“Sounds good,” Lara replied taking her seat. Kaldur laid her things next to her, and then cleared his throat in the direction of the professor.
“Excuse me sir, I uh, need to use the rest room before class.”
“You might want to make it quick,” the professor said. “Though I’m sure Lara can fill you in on any part of the lecture you miss during lab.” Kaldur nodded and darted out of the room, just barely missing the principal as he walked in escorting Lex and Mercy.
“Class, Dr. Leitner, this is as I am sure many of you know, Mr. Luthor. He wanted to observe some of the classes today, so please be on your best behavior. Mr. Luthor I’ll leave you to observe.”
“Thank you Dr. Krause,” Lex said. “Where would you prefer me, Dr. Leitner?”
“Perhaps in the back would be best for observation.” Dr. Leitner led Lex to the back of the classroom, where he procured two chairs for Lex and Mercy. The CEO and his body guard took their seats rather gracefully, not that Lara was watching, just as Kaldur slipped back into the room. “Now, if everyone will turn to the assigned reading, and pass forward their homework, we’ll get started with today’s lecture.” Lara pulled out her assignment; avoiding Kaldur’s pointed looks as she collected the homework from those behind her and passed it all forward. She turned her book to the assigned reading and pushed it between the two of them, placing her notebook off to her side as Dr. Leitner began to lecture.
Kaldur apparently sense that he would have gotten in trouble for talking, and did not let it slip until they began working with the actual chemicals that Batman could arrange for her to be picked up if she could fake sick.
“I don’t think that’s going to work,” Lara whispered back, measuring out water in a test tube. “These are perceptive people. They know that I don’t get sick, not really. We’re going to have to make up some kind of emergency, I think.”
“But we need to get you away from him before he has time to engage you again,” Kaldur whispered. “Could you not at least try?”
“I don’t know what being sick is like, so probably not,” Lara said. “Look, I have piano practice next. Just stick it out and we can radio Batman back.” Kaldur grumbled, but assisted with the experiment. For the whole class, Lex observed quietly from the back, not even taking special note of her. Though, she did notice a few times he seemed to be glaring holes in the back of Kaldur’s head, for reasons that she could only believe he assumed the same thing that Eureka did and believed Kaldur to be her boyfriend. She had a feeling this was not going to go over very well.
When they left chemistry, Kaldur rushing ahead of everyone a little, they headed straight for the auditorium, where Lara practiced piano every single day. She noticed, though, that Kaldur seemed to fidget as he walked and then when he sat down to watch her. “Is something wrong?” she asked.
“It is nothing.”
“Kaldur, something is wrong. Tell me.”
“I merely feel the need to relieve myself,” Kaldur told her. “It can wait until you are secure.”
“Go to the bathroom before you give yourself some kind of infection,” Lara ordered. “I will be fine for a few minutes on my own.”
“I cannot leave you alone,” Kaldur said.
“Then pee fast,” Lara retorted.
“Could you not come with me?” he asked.
“Yeah, into a high school boy’s room, that would go over astonishingly well, I think,” Lara said. “Just go, Kaldur, I’ll be right here when you get back, and I will be fine.” Kaldur looked like he was debating it for a minute, before he rushed off stage toward the nearest bathroom.
“I thought he’d never leave,” came a voice from the wings.
“You know, that was kind of creepy, on a number of different levels, even for you,” Lara said as Lex walked out of the shadows, holding a cigar.
“You didn’t tell me you had a boyfriend,” Lex retorted.
“I don’t,” Lara replied, coolly. “Kaldur is just my friend. One who would be greatly missed if you tried to do anything to him.”
“Pity,” Lex remarked. “Are you sure that you would not prefer someone with a little more social status? I here Alexander Xanatos is yet unoccupied, and he’s bound to inherit billions.”
“Okay, I’m going to pretend that we aren’t having this conversation, because Kaldur is not my boyfriend,” Lara said, brushing the hair from her face and bracing her fingers against the keys.
“But you are interested,” Lex told her, waving the cigar around. “And from the looks he gives you, he’s interested in you as well. I just want to make sure you are making the right decision.”
“This has to be some strange food influenced nightmare I am having,” Lara remarked. “Stop it now, or I swear I will start playing Lady Gaga.” Lex scoffed and dabbed out his cigar before placing it back inside his suit pocket. He sat down at the bench, and began playing the chords for Poker Face. “Oh god, now I know I’m dreaming. Stop that!” she said, hitting his hands. “Everyone knows that song, especially after Glee.”
“I’m sorry, what is this Glee of which you speak?” Lex asked. “And if you’ve got something better, than please, show me.” Lara cleared her throat and sat up properly. She pounded out the first few notes to the song, until the chords came in singing along to the lyrics of “Dance in the Dark.”
“Impressive, did you arrange that yourself?” Lex asked.
“Yes,” Lara said. “It wasn’t so hard, though. Playing piano is something I’m really good at. I can’t say if it’s because they injected it into me at Cadmus , or if I’m just naturally like this, but I like it.” Lara felt her hands fall limp against the keys. “You know, it’s funny, but super powers and villainy aside, I think I have more in common with you than him.”
“Is that a bad thing?” Lex asked. “If super powers and villainy are aside.”
“I’m not sure. But it kind of scares me,” Lara said. “I mean, what if, just what if, they were trying to create a copy of Superman, but with the genius and cunning of Lex Luthor. And you are part of this elaborate plan to get me to take over the world?” That made Lex laugh.
“Lara, I doubt I could talk you in to taking over the world. And take a little heart in this. Your father is a man of facts, I am a man of science, and you are an artist. That already says a lot about the path you want to strike out on, and how you can make your own decisions. And if anything, I think Batman’s been the best father to you so far of the three of us. He’s watching us right now, after all, to make sure your safe and well tended to.”
“Yeah, but you could argue that I am a pretty valuable commodity,” Lara said.
“They’re the heroes, Lara, they don’t see people as commodities, just people,” Lex said. He checked his watch and stood. “I should be going. But as soon as the Bat allows, call me.” He handed her a small manila card with a phone number written on it. “We can have dinner or something paternal. And you can let me know where to drop off that Ferrari.”
“Mustang,” she reminded him.
“You’ll get what I give you, and you will enjoy it,” Lex retorted, walking up the aisle of the auditorium. He gave a slight wave, and though he could not see her, Lara waved back.