Fugitive Endeavor, part 4
Disclaimers in "part 0"
A stunned silence descended over the dinner table for a bare moment, then: "Clark."
Clark followed his wife's gaze to his hand, where he had clenched his fist around his fork. He opened his fingers and let the fork clatter to the table. "Sorry, Lois. Hey! Lavender, don't-"
The petite blonde snaked the fork away and held it up between her hands, admiring the wave pattern it had acquired. "It's hot, not on fire, Clark," she pointed out, easily avoiding his snatch for the bit of flatware. She leaned her elbows on the table to display the bent fork to Bruce, sitting across the table. "And I see what you mean."
Lois reached over with a linen napkin to pluck the fork from Lavender's hands. "We're getting quite a collection of these," she remarked dryly, rising to take the fork to the sink and fetch a new one for Clark. "Bruce, you should have your marketing boys spin them. High end cutlery, warped almost beyond recognition. You could call it the Lex Luthor collection."
"You could have him advertise from behind bars," Clark grumbled. "This is air-tight conviction material-"
"Clark," Lois chided, setting down the new fork and returning to her seat. "We can't go public with this," she reminded him, nodding significantly toward Bruce.
Clark paused. "Bruce, he's trying to frame you! You have evidence-"
"I have evidence that David Cain has been breaking into the Batcave," Bruce stated flatly. "I know from J'onn's scan of Cain's mind that he has been hired to kill Vesper and make it look like I did it. Nightwing found Cain's contact and Oracle confirmed that he's a point man for Checkmate. Which one of those pieces of evidence will stand up in court?"
"Thinking about doing something is not the same as doing it," Lavender added. "Even if we connect Cain and Checkmate, all that's happened so far is an elaborate set up."
"Well, we have to stop it," Clark said grimly.
"Not yet," Bruce corrected, taking a bite of rigatoni. "Lois, this is delicious," he complimented.
"Mama Pavoni's," she confessed, watching her husband's face as he stared incredulously at Bruce Wayne.
"What do you mean, not yet?" Clark finally spluttered. "You can't seriously mean to let Cain-"
"He won't get through with it," Lavender reassured. "But until he does something..."
Lois nodded. "I see your point."
"Clark, think it through. It's like a gift. We know what he's planning. If the press can catch Cain in the act-"
"Of killing Vesper?" Clark sounded scandalized.
"She won't get killed," Bruce interjected. "Right now I have my own security taps on the Manor phones, as well as on Vesper's. Oracle has set up a program to send an instant alert if any call matches a set of parameters we've devised. I've got my team doing 24 hour surveillance of Vesper. And I've got Batgirl as a failsafe."
Lavender rested a hand on Clark's wrist. "Trust him on this one, Clark."
Clark met Lavender's pale green eyes for a moment, then sighed. "Fine. We're letting this thing move forward. So Cain makes his move, tries to kill Vesper. Someone on your team stops him."
"No," Bruce corrected. "Not my team if we can help it. Cain's going to be watching to make sure we're all accounted for away from the scene. And we don't want to risk a discovery of what Bruce Wayne does with his nights."
"Of course not," Clark commented sarcastically. "Cain already-"
"Clark," Lois reprimanded again.
"Cain knows," Lavender put in gently, "but he hasn't shared the information. He took the job because of he knew he could kill two birds with one stone, play the game better than Luthor could anticipate."
"And he doesn't know about J'onn," Bruce added.
Now Lois sounded incredulous. "He's had your home under surveillance and he doesn't know about J'onn?"
Lavender smiled. "I'm very discreet," she preened, taking a precise bite of penne.
"And good with a cover story," Bruce observed, shooting his lover an admiring glance.
"A cover story," Clark repeated slowly. "You already have a plan."
"Most of one," Bruce acknowledged. "We just need to put a few more pieces into place. That's where we can use your help."
"If it nails Luthor-"
Bruce took a sip of wine. "It will."