|Before the Circle|
|What: A Meeting Before Lex becomes a new member of the inner circle|
Sebastian Shaw preferred to do meeting in his offices, on his time. It created a sense of power and authority that put Shaw in a well founded opening position. But he knew better than to expect someone like Lex Luthor to fall for such games. His father was infamous for those games, and Sebastian Shaw knew Lionel Luthor very well. Along with Howard Stark, John Braddock, and Warren Worthington Jr. they had come up in the Hellfire Club together, initiated all on the same day. He had met Lex once, but that was when he was much younger, but he assumed with the ruthlessness that he had cut his father out of the businesses; and then his unfortunate death, that Lex was probably cut with similar cloth.
Walking up to Lex's secretary he told her to tell Lex that Sebastian Shaw had arrived for his appointment. Taking a step back he straightened the red cravat he wore beneath his Italian silk shirt and custom black suit, and awaited for his approval to enter. You paged Laura Kinney with 'Still got me to annoy you...'
"A Sebastian Shaw is here to see you sir," his secretary chimes in matter-of-factly via the intercom. That name piques Lex's curiousity and instead of giving the usual, "Tell them I'm busy," response, he presses down the intercom button then asks, "What does he want Tess?"
Lex's secretary stares at Shaw for a moment trying to size the man up, "He wants to know why you're here." Sebastian smiled at the lovely woman and her lack of exactly who he was, he wasn't aware anyone didn't know who he was, "Tess, a lovely name. I've always been found of that name."
He set his hands on the desk laying on a the charm rather thick, "Please tell the esteemed Mister Luthor, that Sebastian Shaw comes to give him something that his father never gave him and it is important that he receives it immediately."
Hearing the words of Shaw through the intercom Lex waited a moment, truly mulling it over, then says, "Send him in." Like anything of Lex's the office is modern-looking, and has the best things money could buy. An office that takes up most of the floor along with a view painters wish they had of the city themselves. His green eyes calculating are looking Shaw over as the man makes his way in the office with a red carpet, medium gray walls and a ceiling. Expensive pieces of art hang from the wall, the artist are inconsequential to him. Lex studies art, respects it, but isn't really a fan. Classical music is a better way to express oneself. However, the art gave the office a bit of character.
"To what do I owe the visit? My Father's accounts were settled years ago," Lex says in his best people-pleasing voice. Honestly his father revolted him. A weak-minded simpleton with dreams that were just sad. He had to go and one day the old man just vanished without a trace. It took some time, but he was declared legally dead and then everything went to Lex. That's when Lexcorp started to turn around into what it is today...a behemoth on Wall Street.
"That is very true, Alexander," Sebastian Shaw said with a loud bombastic voice that announced to all who could hear it, I am more important than you could ever possibly be, and I am well aware of that fact. He took off his black coat and threw it on Lex's couch and walked over to his bar, "I'm having a scotch, can I get you anything?"
Before Lex could answer he looked at the bottle and commented, "Glen McKenna, thirty years old? Why that's older than you Alexander."
"The only time when age truly matters is with liquor. Everything else depends on skill," Lex says in a firm voice fending off the bombastic voice with one that is unafraid. Sure, Shaw had an empire that is built upon decades worth of servitude. However, eventually when things outlived their usefulness they had to be put down. And that's what Shaw is to Luthor, something that is antiquated at best. So, when most would cower from Shaw's empire, Lex just sees someone that's simply outstayed their welcome. "How true that is Alexander," he poured himself a glass of scotch and took a drink from it, "Ah, that is a good scotch. Not the best I've had you, no no. But very good."
He turned around to Lex and seemed a bit more serious, the pomp and cirumstance was now over. Much as Sebastian had suspected, Lex was not one to be intimidated simply by the title of the man in front of him. This was exactly what Shaw wanted to know about the man.
"Now, to buisness," he shoke his glass in the air and took a drink as if he made a toast, "I've been watching you for a long time now, Alexander. And no matter what you might think of me, and I suspect that you have some few choice words to share if you did share them, you are not one to pass up oppritunity. So I have an oppritunity for you, one that will not match any other oppritunity you'll ever be faced with." Lex's face remains neutral but he gestured for Shaw to continue. Maybe the old guy had one trick left up his sleeve that would actually impress the young Luthor. Shaw smiled softly, it was a predator grin, one that Lex had probably worn on his face more than once, "All in good time."
"First I want to know, Lionel was something of a friend of mine, I had once even considered sharing with him the oppritunity I am planning on sharing with you. Yet he... quite suddenly disappeared. Now I of course know what the 'official' story is but I was wonder."
Shaw's smiled disapeared as he asked, "Do you know anything about his disappearance, perhaps a note or a letter he wrote to his dear only son?"
Lex gives a single nod, "Advice on what to do about the company and the typical sentiment any father would give his son in a will. Throughout the years Sebastian he told me to respect and look out for you," the Will part may have been a lie but the latter is the truth. During the time with his son, Lionel spoke of many things and one of those was Sebastian Shaw. Often Lionel would say, "One day you may respect man you need to watch out for. My friend Sebastian Shaw could one day be my competition. It's imparative son that you..," then the various lessons about loyalty began. Shaw was always the example when it came to personal loyalties. And that was the response that Shaw was looking for. He had his own suspicions on what had actually happened to Lionel Luthor but he really couldn't care less if Lex actually had something to do with his disappearance. He himself had made four of the similiarly elite... disappear mere months later, "Your father was certainly a friend. But honestly, he was also more than a bit of a prick. He he never seemed to really see the potential in you, Alexander. Always more worried about grooming you."
He took the last drink from his scotch, "Never realized that you were born for it, you never had to learn a damned thing." "Flattery will get you next to nowhere in this office, Shaw," by now the Green eyes are still locked in on Sebastion, unwavering or moved. However, inside Lex is growing a little tired of Shaw's round about way of asking for things. "If you don't mind Mr. Shaw, I would like to see the point of this meetings. I know I am better than my father. People like Steve Jobs were better than my father and he was an idiot. The point, Mr. Shaw."
And there it was, the fire inside that fine mask he wore was beginning to break down and he was seeing the real man, "The point then. You are all potential, even now. You think you've acomplished so much, but in reality you've acomplished, very little. I am here to offer you a chance to shape the entire world to your liking."
Who's Shaw to say that Lex isn't doing that already? Still Lex wants to see the point of this meeting and he just watches Shaw for a moment. Eventually the mask breaks, "Sebastian. I respect your work, what you've done, but ever since you've walked in you've done nothing except talk. You've yet to even properly present this offer. You've done nothing more but attempt to inflate my ego. Now, are you going to show me the man my Father was afraid of, or are you simply going to keep giving out empty words?" Those green eyes narrow at Shaw, "You have my respect Shaw, but you've done little to impress me." With a cold voice Lex shatters a momentary pause, "Now. Impress me with this offer."
Shaw for a brief moment considered showing Lex exactly the type of man his father was afraid of, the one that was willing to snap the petutulant boy's neck. But not out of spite, but because it would be amusing to watch his body flop around for a bit afterwards. But no, that was no way to start a business relationship so he simply asked, "I offer you membership in the society that has shaped human history for over 500 years. I offer you to stand above all these petty concerns and wield true power. Power to finally crack the World's Shell and bring about revolution."
He figured his words would mean little, while Lex had most asuredly heard of the Hellfire Club he probably had never heard of: "I invite you to the Inner Circle of the Hellfire Club."
Most who boast of socities that are centuries and shaped things are fools that believe in a diatribe system that stands around doing little to actually shape anything. However, Shaw believes the Hellfire Club, or some "inner" part of it actually did shape something. Maybe the old man had finally gone crazy? No. Shaw is too sharp to be crazy, not about the organization anyway. The power of belief is strong in anyone's hand. In a man like Shaw's, beleif is downright dangerous. "And if I accept this offer? What are my obligations? What are my benefits? Who would be working with me?" Lex really means to say "Who would be working underneath me," but refrains. There could be someone Shaw likes or respects that's of an inferior mind. It's okay sometimes smart people are allowed stupid pets. Sometimes. Eventually Lex would find a way to oust them anyway.
Shaw could sense Lex's lack of faith. I didn't surprise him in the least, after all he had never attended the club iself, only his father had dones that. It was almost laughable to see this boy treat such an honor as if he were offering him a paultry management position in some mom and pop store, "Your obligations would be to help myself and the others shape the way the world will turn next year. The benefits, far more than I can describe. They must be lived to be believed. You would be working with only the best."
He grinned and said, "But what you really want to know is who does this give you power over. And to that I can only answer... everyone. At the last party the Hellfire Club threw some of the greatest businessmen alive were there, I believe there were two four star generals, thirteen senators, ten congressmen, half the highest grossing actors and directors in the city."
"And as part of the Inner Circle they all look to you," Shaw said the grin once again slipping from his lips as he said, "They look to you for their answers, what movie to make, what government program to sign, what legislation to propose, who to do business with. Because you would be the White King, and who would dare question your word."
The Hollywood part forces Luthor to ask, "This isn't a religion is it? You're not going to try and sell me about some kind of cellular count needed for happiness are you?" Once he got the "No," Lex pauses to think about all of this. "My lack of faith comes from a lack of knowledge. Seeing is believing but out of what little respect I have for your friend, and the respect I have for you, I will except. If nothing else, it will show you that I'm not my father's son. I'm something better," on those words Lex extends a skeptical hand. He would need to see the results, the payoff, but at least the organization had Lex's attention.
Shaw couldn't help but laugh a bit at the religion question, "No, their are some quasi-religious aspects, but more just hold-overs from tradition. Nothing more than, say a college frat has."
He took Lex's hand, his grip was firm and any bit of the foppish attitude dropped and the cold blue eyes looked at Lex, "I would say you won't regret this, but you will one day. One day, for one moment you will regert this decision. Not forever, possibly not even for more than a single moment. But you are stepping into a much larger world, sacrifices will come. But those sacrifices will shape you into something greater than you will ever imagine."