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Written for Cesperanza's Taxes challenge. Sequel to Superman and the Canadian Shack.

Taxes on the Fortress of Solitude
by shalott

There went the wall again. At least he'd been expecting it this time. Clark carefully put down the tractor and flew down the hall to watch Lex climb in through the smoking, glassy edges of the hole, dusting ice from his shoulders.

"Nice of you to drop by," Clark said, forcing down a grin.

Lex smiled pleasantly, in that way that meant he was mad as hell. "Actually, I'm here about the rent."

"It's not the first of the month." Clark ignored the fact that his mouth was watering anyway.

"There's been a small problem."

"Oh?" Clark tried for innocent. He wasn't sure if he was pulling it off. It was always hard to tell, with Lex.

Lex strolled past him and down the hallway to the bedroom. Clark paused to melt some ice down over the gap in the Fortress wall before following.

"Planning to take up farming in your spare time?" Lex poked at the tractor engine.

Okay, he could play along. "It's for the Smallville 4-H club."

Lex hit him with a raised eyebrow and a smirk, then wandered over to the bed and stretched out. "Nice of you to take time out of that busy schedule of saving the world and getting in my way."

Clark gave in. "So what's the problem?"

"Oh, I think you know."

An edge of pissed-off had actually climbed into Lex's voice, and Clark had to clench his jaw muscles so hard they actually hurt to keep from losing it. "Sorry, no clue," he said, not trusting himself with more.

Lex unzipped the jacket he was wearing and took a sheaf of papers out of an inner pocket. "This might help."

Clark caught the packet and scanned through it at high speed, putting on a wide-eyed expression for Lex's benefit. "Wow. $1.5 billion, huh?" Clark reminded himself to thank the Prime Minister again.

"You know, I can't imagine how the Canadian government came up with that assessment for a piece of tundra 800 miles from the nearest town."

Except of course he could imagine perfectly well. Clark quit trying not to grin. Lex could handle being on the other end of a smug expression once in a while. "So what are you going to do?"

"Well, I could forfeit the property," Lex said, "but I think I'm going to pay it."

Clark stopped feeling smug. Lex was rich, okay, but—"You're going to pay a billion dollars in taxes? Just to keep—" He'd been going to say harassing him, but he could see from the glitter in Lex's eyes that he wasn't going to get away with that.

"My net worth went up by $20 billion last year. I can swing it. Of course," and Lex shrugged off his jacket, smiling for real now, sharp as a knife, "I'll have to pass along the higher costs to my tenant."

And then Lex pulled his tie loose, and Clark was abruptly over him, pushing him flat, wondering if maybe this was what he'd had in mind all along.

= End =

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