Lionel Luthor sat in his study, specifically not brooding. He and Lily fought rarely, but she always got so upset afterwards. He didn't understand it, and he would never let his emotions get so out of control himself. So he was reading. Not brooding.
The door creaked--he'd left it open--and he looked up. Lex was standing there, looking at him. He must have escaped from his nanny again. "Lex, aren't you supposed to be taking a nap?"
"I woke up," the boy said simply, and came into the room, trailing his security blanket behind him. It was a tattered purple square that he'd been inseparable from for over a year now. "Daddy, are you sad?"
Lionel cleared his throat. "Of course not, Lex. Daddy doesn't get sad."
Lex stood in front of him, apparently considering this. His eyes were serious under his shock of red hair. His mother's hair. He finally nodded and offered Lionel the blanket. "Here, Daddy. This will make you feel better."
Being contradicted by a three-year-old. It was ridiculous. Almost as ridiculous as a three-year-old Luthor's still dragging a filthy, ragged blanket around for comfort. Lionel took the blanket from him, but instead of holding it as Lex obviously expected, he got up. "Lex, you're too old to need something like this. We're going to put it away."
Lex looked at him as if he didn't understand. "It's my binkie."
"Yes, Lex, and you're much too big a boy to have one. We're going to get rid--"
He'd had the sense to keep the blanket tucked securely under his arm, but he hadn't planned adequately. Lex shrieked, "Binkie!" and lunged at his leg, sinking his teeth into Lionel's shin.
"Marta!" Lionel roared. "Marta! Get in here right now!"
It took the nanny and two other servants to pry Lex off Lionel's leg. All the time, he wailed for his blanket, which Lionel gave to one of the servants with instructions to dispose of it. The noise attracted Lily, who stood silently in the doorway with her arms folded, looking at Lionel. Her expression was calm, but Lionel felt the accusation.
Lex was carted back to the nursery by main force, and Lionel buried himself in his work, ignoring the howls that echoed down the hallway. It was about four hours later that he let himself stop. He'd done enough for the day. He would go and get some air.
When he went to the coat closet, however, his favorite tailored cashmere duster was gone. He questioned the servants, but they had no idea where it was.
He stopped in Lily's rooms. She was sitting at her desk, writing something. "Lily? Have you seen my coat?"
"It's not in here, Lionel." She turned the page with a graceful flick of her finger.
He spent the next fifteen minutes searching through a dozen different rooms
before trying the nursery. What he saw there stopped him dead.
Lex was asleep on his bed, his eyes still reddened, his face streaked with tears. He was curled up in Lionel's coat, clutching it tightly around him.
Clever. His boy was clever enough to know how to wage war. And strong-willed enough, too.
He heard steps behind him, and Lily slipped her arms around his waist. "We'll get you another coat," she said softly, pressing her cheek against his back.
"Yes," he agreed, turned, and kissed her.