Another Life

Pairing - Martha/Lionel
Rating - PG-13
Spoilers - Mid-way through season two.
Disclaimer - Not mine. They belong to DC Comics and the WB. And even if I did own Martha and Lionel, I wouldn't really know what to do with them...
Summary - There was more between Marth and Lionel than just business...
Author's notes - The prompt came from Clannadlvr and was - Lionel/Martha--- Reference to a past relationship between Lionel and Martha. Special thanks to Kel..

Apples. They brought to mind crisp, cool afternoons in a shady orchard, a light breeze wafting through the leaves, stirring them into a quiet rustle, complementing the pages of the newspaper turning in his hands.

The scent of apples, on the other hand, brought to Lionel's mind a soft, cool touch that guided his hand to the proper signature lines on contracts, memos, faxes, checks, and the hundred other things that Lionel had to sign in a day's work.

It made him think of the rustle of long, reddish hair sweeping across a delicate feminine shoulder, tossed impatiently out of the way as Martha bent over beside him, guiding his hand and rubbing the inside of his palm with her thumb as their subtle gesture to write.

He could hear the crinkle of fabric as she moved beside him, efficiently tucking papers into her briefcase as more were withdrawn, winced at the sharp snap of papers against the edge of the desk to align them all, and his elegant fingers slid the stapler to her before she asked.

The thunk of metal penetrating paper was shockingly loud, the stack of papers surprisingly thick as they were stapled, slid into an envelope, sealed with a swipe of tongue and a small noise of disgust at the glue, and addressed with the quick scratch of pen against paper.

Lionel denied himself nothing, and therefore didn't stop himself from leaning over, rubbing his cheek against Martha's hair, scenting it softly and filling his nose and lungs with the scent of apples and the faint remnants of a light citrus perfume.

Martha made a clicking noise with her tongue and raised her shoulder, rubbing against his cheek even as she pushed him off. "Not in the office," she murmured under her breath, putting her hand on his wrist and moving his hand to the next signature line. Her thumb rubbed his palm again, and then slipped inside the cuff of his shirt and jacket to rub against his wrist, then up over his pulse before discreetly readjusting his jacket and removing her fingers entirely.

The 't' in Lionel's last name was crossed very sharply as Martha's fingers stroked inside his jacket, and Lionel put his pen down a bit more firmly than he usually would have as her fingers withdrew, and left him with a pat on the arm. "Martha--"

"This is the last thing you have to sign today, don't worry. It's the company memo that you wanted composed about the temporary closure of Personnel and Accounting through the weekend while the painters finish the last touches on the remodeling work," Martha said quickly, before he could take her to task for teasing him. "You've already approved it, and Cecelia will copy it and send it out first thing in the morning, because I'm going to leave it on her desk, along with the contracts you just signed for the drilling deal with Burke."

"I can hear your smirk," Lionel said, picking his pen back up and waiting to be guided.

"Of course you can," Martha agreed, but she was careful not to slip into patronizing. "Right here." Her thumb rubbed his hand innocently this time, and withdrew as he signed. "There we go! Since the conference call was scheduled for tomorrow, I think that's everything that needs to be done today."

"That's wonderful." While Martha tidied up the last of the day's work on his desk, Lionel turned around in his chair and picked up the scotch bottle by touch. He poured himself a glass, and turned back around, sipping calmly as Martha tucked the last stray paper where it belonged. "Are we ready to depart?"

"Yes, we are." Martha got to her feet first, and held out her arm for Lionel.

Lionel rose elegantly to his feet, draining the last alcohol in the glass before putting it down and looping his arm through Martha's. His other hand came to rest over hers, clasping it warmly as they started to walk. He knew when she tossed her hair over her shoulder again, because the scent of apples wafted strongly up to his nose, and he gave a quiet, luxurious little sigh as he scented it.

Martha grinned, and squeezed Lionel's hand over hers. "Lionel… are you sniffing my hair?"

Lionel debated. "Yes, I am," he finally said, deciding to be as bluntly honest as she was teasing. "I like the scent; it reminds me of soothing things. And the texture is soft, like strands of silk falling in waves. When you toss your hair, I can smell it, even more strongly than before, and it inflames me."

Martha's grip on Lionel's hand tightened, and she shivered. The warm heat from his body was welcome warmth as she walked beside him, warding off the sometimes-cold winds that cut between and across the high-rise buildings in Metropolis. The small bits of shrubbery and greenery outside were moving, promising that cold wind, and Martha pressed even closer to Lionel. "I like inflaming you," Martha said as she led Lionel off the elevator, and towards the roof access helicopter pad.

"It can be… dangerous," Lionel said, holding the glass door open with one arm and following Martha out with the other. "But, at the risk of sounding arrogant--"

"Which, you are," Martha said, as though it were a foregone conclusion.

"--it is often worth the risk," Lionel finished, as though he hadn't been interrupted. "And I am not arrogant, Martha. I simply know how good I am."

"Of course," she agreed again. "You're not arrogant at all."

Lionel scowled in her general direction. "And now you're humoring me."

"Yes, I am, because we both know that you are one of the most arrogant men on the planet today," Martha answered, rising on her tiptoes to gaze into Lionel's sunglasses. "Don't we?"

Lionel's arms switched their grip, coming around Martha's waist to hold her tightly imprisoned against him as she stood on her tiptoes. "Yes, we do," he murmured softly. The pad was obviously silent, the helicopter having not yet landed, and Lionel took advantage of it.

When he kissed Martha, he expected the crispness of apples, but instead found the sweetness of shared affection as her arms wrapped back around his neck, their hair blowing together and mingling in the breeze.

It was dark in the Kent kitchen when Martha's headlights swept through. The screened in porch was dark, and the only light was upstairs in Clark's bedroom, where she assumed he was doing homework, research, or whatever it was he did in the privacy of his room. That was something she tried not to impugn on, the privacy of Clark's bedroom, mostly because she had the distinct feeling that she didn't want to know what he was researching, because it would only take him further and further away from her.

Instead, she pulled the key from the car ignition, and stared at the little porch, listening to the flag flapping in the breeze. Jonathan's flag, Jonathan's house, even the furniture on the small wrap-around porch Jonathan had picked out, and the only thing she'd been responsible for were decorations--a doily here, a knitted afghan there, the cushions in the rocking chairs.

Martha licked her lips before getting out of the car, taking away the last, lingering tastes of Lionel in her mouth. She looked through her purse, stalling until the last possible moment, pulling out one of the small tins of peppermints she carried with her and quickly crunched it away as she got out. Her briefcase was locked in the trunk, and she carried her purse over her shoulder as she climbed the porch steps.

Before she could turn the key in the lock, she was blinded by the porch light clicking on, and Jonathan opened the front door. "Clark and I didn't wait dinner," is all he said. "There's a plate for you in the fridge if you want it."

Martha didn't offer any explanations as she came into the house and dropped her keys into her purse. Thankfully, Jonathan didn't ask for any, just started up the stairs. He paused halfway. "Goodnight, Martha."

"Goodnight, Jonathan." Martha sat down at the small table in the small kitchen, the pastel walls and floral curtains closing in on her and trapping her back into the shell. It was an uncomfortably tight fit lately, and it was harder and harder to fit back into it when she came home after a day of being open and free.

Reaching into her purse, she withdrew the oblong box that Lionel had given her that morning, and ran her fingers over the fine silver Cross pen inside, and imagined signing her name with a flourish on papers that would forever free her from the shell.

Instead, she closed the box and tucked it back inside her purse and followed Jonathan's hollow footsteps up the stairs.

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