View Full Version : [WIP] The Villain in Me (NC-17) (Updated 02/15/2015)

20th October 2014, 00:40
The Villain in Me


Sometimes you know right away the impact a person will have on your life. Sometimes you don't. Either way, I know who is responsible for who I became.

Most of you will probably think this is about the boy. It isn't. It isn't even about the girl you may think.It is about HER.

Honestly, I am not really sure what could have changed how things turned out. Maybe if she trusted me, maybe if she let me explain.Mostly, I think things would have been different if she loved me too. Maybe then I would never have found the villain inside me.

Pairing: Chloe and Lex (Chlex)
Rating: PG - NC-17 depending upon chapter
Timeline: Entire Series


Sometimes you know right away the impact a person will have on your life. Sometimes you don't. Either way, I know who is responsible for who I became.

Most of you will probably think this is about the boy. It isn't. It isn't even about the girl you may think.

It is about HER. My lodestone, my albatross, and the lost key to my salvation. My nemesis and the only heart I needed.

Honestly, I am not really sure what could have changed how things turned out. Maybe if she trusted me, maybe if she let me explain.

Mostly, I think things would have been different if she loved me too. Maybe then, I would never have found the villain inside me.


It may seem odd, but all these years later, I still remember every detail of the first time I met her. She was cute and young and blonde. In my life, this should have made her fairly forgettable. But for some reason I didn't forget. Then or since. I didn't recognize her for who she would become, but I didn't forget her either.


I decided to seek out the bright, 15-year-old Chloe Ann Sullivan for two reasons. Neither of them were the one that I told Clark.

First, I was curious about this girl that Clark spoke of so much. She was obviously very important to him. He spoke of her almost as much as he spoke of the beautiful and elusive Lana Lang.

Honestly, when he described both girls, I thought this Chloe Sullivan and her wild ideas seemed much more intriguing than the delicate brunette. But the heart wants what it wants. That is certainly something I came to understand all too well. For me, Chloe would prove the elusive one. The one always sought and rarely captured, but I had no idea about that at the time.

My second reason for seeking out Chloe Sullivan was because, in a town where everyone hated me and blamed me for every single problem based on nothing more than my last name, she didn't. From my plant manager -- Chloe's proud father, Gabe -- I learned of her wild theory about the meteor shower being responsible for many of the strange goings-on in Smallville.

Turns out it wasn't such a wild idea.

So I found myself at Smallville High in a room that proudly declared itself to be "Home of the Torch."

The huge collection of articles, snapshots, clippings, notes, and other assorted ragtag media should have made it feel like the den of an obsessive conspiracy theorist.

It didn't.

The room was full, but bright and colorful, with a logical order to all of it. The person that "owned" this space took pride in every detail. That person had a deep desire to know the truth, even at the risk of walking a line others may see as crazy. It felt like the home of someone very thorough and extremely clever. Someone able to make connections other people would miss.

I thought it fascinating. I found myself looking over the array of articles, notes, and other details for much too long. I had only intended to meet the girl to take her measure, inquire about her theory, and leave. Instead, I was interrupted as I was still reviewing the work thirty minutes later by Clark.

I'm not sure why I lied. Maybe because I didn't want to reveal my fascination with the workings of the mind of a girl I'd never met. Maybe it was just habit.

"How'd you end up here?" Clark asked.

"My plant manager, Gabe. He's always going on about his daughter, the reporter at the Torch. Thought I'd drop by and say hello. She wasn't around, but I was struck by this." I indicated the clippings on the wall.

"That's Chloe's hobby. She thinks she can trace all the freak things in Smallville to the meteor shower."

I knew this already from my earlier Internet research, but I wanted to hear Clark's take on the idea.

"Interesting theory," I hedged.

"Most people think it's crazy."

I didn't think it was crazy at all.

When the girl finally made her appearance, she wasn't what I expected. Small, cute, blonde. Colorful. Not my type, even if she hadn't been 15. More than that, she didn't look at all like the person I expected from the fierce determination I saw around me.

"Mr. Luthor." She smiled as she said my name. A real smile. Most people didn't do that.

I found myself smiling back. Also a real smile, which was odd. "It's Lex. Clark was just telling me your meteor theory. I like it. Especially since most people think my company is secretly behind everything that goes wrong in Smallville."

Her eyes and smile were bright, but her reply told me more. "That's the reigning theory."

She was obviously not the least bit intimidated by me. Though I was trying to be friendly, most people were still at least a little nervous. She wasn't. Also interesting, she was willing to go on record that she was thinking outside the box.

"Are you the only one that blames the meteors instead of me?" I asked.

"Pretty much. Well, there is Mr. Hamilton."

And just like that I was sent on my first search into information about the effects of the meteor shower. Thanks to Chloe Sullivan.

"Call me when you're looking for a summer job. I've got friends over at the Inquisitor." I offered in my throw-away favor way.

Now that I think about it, she never did take me up on that offer.

She went and got herself an internship at The Daily Planet all on her own instead.

Bravo, Chloe.


Maybe I should have paid better attention that the memory of the girl stuck with me. But in my defense, I was pretty distracted at the time. I was trying to build an empire from scraps and figure out the secretive, heroic boy that saved my life. Even after growing up under my father's harsh care, I still had light in me. I was drawn by hope of a true friendship with the boy. True friends were not something I had ever found in the privileged circles of my life. Bald at nine, I was a freak. My money gave me a pass into their world, but never welcome. Something about Clark made me feel like I may find real acceptance. Maybe it was because my efforts to buy it failed. Whatever the reason, whenever the chance arose for me to help him out, I jumped at it.

So when I found out through the grapevine that the "small get-together" Clark invited me to was blossoming into a full-fledged party. I decided to up the event a bit for his sake.

But for some reason when the large fireworks I had arranged for started going off, I found myself checking Chloe's reaction.


I saw her in passing a time or two after that, including when she helped investigate the strange powers of Bob Rickman. Her keen investigative sense and logical intuition gave us just the link we needed to find out what was going on with the strangely persuasive man.

But I can't say I really thought about her much. She was 15, after all, and I had a trail of ready bed-warmers.

It wasn't until Clark asked if I would be willing to do an interview for The Torch that I really got to match wits with Chloe Sullivan for the first time.


I will admit, I was surprised by the direct, aggressive way she started the interview. This was not the happy, shining girl I had seen before. Even having witnessed her impressive investigative skills, I expected to meet with a girl grateful for the chance to interview local, and international, royalty. I didn't have a crown, but I certainly had the castle. I find it funny now, since I know her so much better, that I thought then she would ever be dazzled by something so vainglorious. Instead, I was surprised and more than a little entertained to be confronted with a real reporter. This was the heart of her. Chloe on the story. Chloe after the big bad.

And the big bad was me.

Huh. Maybe she had it right all along. It was just me that didn't see that truth.

Can you blame me for loving such a woman?

At the time, in such a young girl, I found it a game. A little 15-year-old girl writing for her high school paper thought she could crack Lex Luthor.

Chloe asked Clark impatiently, "Are you ready now, Clark?"

"Yeah. I forgot to press the record button. Sorry."

I couldn't help smiling at my friend's sheepishness. The girl was clearly the one in control of the pair when doing something so clearly on her turf.

Actually, it was my turf, since it was in the study of my mansion, but she was totally unfazed. She was the interviewer and obviously saw herself as number one in the room.

I found that amusing as well. Few people would think themselves the bearer of the upper hand when confronting a predator in its lair. Even fewer might one day be right.

"So, Mr. Luthor. Are there anymore secret construction projects going on at LuthorCorp like Level 3?" she asked directly without a trace of apology or smile.

"Please, call me Lex." I deflected the question easily. I had too much experience with reporters to be caught flatfooted, even if I hadn't expected such a brazen question from a high-schooler.

"Okay, Lex. Are you going to answer my question?"

"Chloe..." Clark warned.

"What?" she snapped at him.

He clearly didn't have a good way of explaining what he saw as a breach of etiquette on her end.

"It's okay, Clark. Our critics are our friends. They show us our faults."

"Benjamin Franklin," Chloe said, naming the author of the quote to my surprise. I let my admiration show in a small nod.

"Excuse me, Mr. Luthor. Your father's on the phone," one of my guards interrupted us.

"I need to get this." I told the girl. She flashed a look at me as if thinking this was my way of weaseling out of the interview. I looked back at the guard. "I'll take it in the conservatory."

Honestly, I was sorry to have to leave our conversation. The exercise was proving significantly more interesting than I had anticipated, but I still had a healthy fear of my father. He easily won out over the blonde girl and even the boy in the study.

I leaned in toward Chloe to make sure I had her full attention. For some reason, I wanted her to know I wasn't just blowing her off. "I look forward to resuming our verbal judo," I told her truthfully even with through the veneer of charm.

She smiled at me. A smile of acceptance, and some warmth. A smile for an equal that has played a good game and with whom you wish to match again.

I returned the smile.

Verbal judo. I didn't know it at the time of course, but those words would go a long way in encapsulating our relationship. Two opponents trying to get the better of the other in a match of wits, wills, and negotiation.

It still amazes me how well matched we were. And how long it took me to realize it.


Next time I saw her, she was lying on the wet grass outside the mansion as rain and glass fell around her. She had been thrown through one of the stained glass windows of the mansion. She and Clark were attacked by robbers breaking into my library vault. She had fought back against one of the burglars, but he had managed to overpower her and throw her through the glass and out onto the roof. She had managed to cling for a moment to the roof edge before losing her grip. She fell three stories to the lawn below. As the lightning flashed, illuminating her still form, she looked dead.

I wonder now if it would have been better for all concerned if she had been.


I saw to it that she got the best possible medical care. I even went to visit. I told myself it was not because of anything special about her, but the incident happened on my property. I called the doctors, then the lawyers. Told them to ready a settlement. Surprisingly, neither Chloe nor her father ever sued. I had forgotten that detail. It seems the people that I most wished to buy never were for sale.


The doctors informed me when Chloe woke up and that she was on the road to a full recovery. Even apart from the legal ramifications, I found myself happy to hear that. I had lied to Clark about wanting to handle the thieves myself because of what happened to Chloe. The truth was I needed the disk they had stolen back, but I still found myself glad to hear the plucky girl would suffer no lasting damage. Considering the terrible fall, she had been very lucky.

I called the local florist shop myself. Unusual for me to do it personally, instead of delegating it, but it seemed appropriate. I had them create a horseshoe shaped arrangement. I had thought of it as a joke. A lucky horseshoe. Never did actually follow up to see if she got it - flowers or joke. I kind of had my hands full, and once I knew she would be fine, I mostly pushed the event from my mind. Mostly.

It was the first time, but certainly not the last, that Chloe Sullivan would be harmed because of me.


When Chloe got out of the hospital, I really wasn't surprised to receive an email message from her.


That was all it said. Just one word, but I knew exactly what she meant.

Chloe still wanted her interview.

I smiled and replied.

Willing to tackle the dragon in his lair again?

Her response was almost instantaneous.

I'll bring a fire extinguisher. Friday 8pm?

I thought of a few snappy responses about virgin sacrifices and teeth, but decided against them.

That will be fine. I'll let my staff know to expect you and Clark.

Again, an almost instant reply.

Thank you, Lex.


Funny how those early days in Smallville would play out over the next few years. Chloe on the story. Chloe fighting against seemingly impossible odds and coming out stronger.

Clark so concerned about what is right that he doesn't see what is necessary. Lana thinking only of herself.

Me trying to buy them all. Of them, Lana was the only one that ever came to me for money. The day Chloe awoke in the hospital after the fall, Lana came to me for the first time with hand out to save her beloved Talon. People are so much easier to manage when they owe you and they know it. Even though at the time I did use window dressings like "partnership" to make it more socially acceptable. Even so, the truth was that was how Lana first gave herself into my power.

I often remind myself that Lana started out a good person, thought that changed. My money corrupted her. I corrupted her. In the end, she took the money, faked her death, stalked me, and did everything in her power to destroy me.

Chloe never fell so far from grace. But then I've never met a stronger person than the little blonde. She pitted herself against me time and again, but she never tried to destroy me in the way the twisted Lana did. Even as much as I think she sometimes wanted to. Even at her most practical, the light in her was always greater than the darkness.

But she managed to destroy me anyway.

Ah, but I digress...


Friday came around and so did Chloe. Though without Clark.

"Where's Clark?" I inquired of her.

She shrugged out of her jacket and gave it to the servant. "He had to help Lana with some project. I figured I can just set up the camera before we get started and leave it rolling. I won't have any pans or push in/outs, but it will just have to be enough."

"We could have rescheduled again," I pointed out.

Her look was surprisingly sharp. "Oh no, not going to fall for that."

"Fall for what?" I asked with a small smile. Though I already knew the answer.

Her eyes narrowed. "Not going to let this reschedule, reschedule, and reschedule again until you 'forget' you agreed to do it. Or until you think I lose interest and give up." Her eyes narrowed. "You said yes. This is going to happen."

"Is this your way of putting me on notice to be wary of what I agree to do around you?"

Her eyes stayed narrowed as she sought the trap in my words. She knew I was having some fun at her expense, but was trying to see if there was more behind it. There was, of course. I was trying to gauge her resolve.

"Yes, Lex. I'd say that is fair. I don't take broken promises lying down."

Her look was surprisingly serious and very targeted. I knew she wasn't speaking specifically about the interview. She was also talking about my friendship with Clark and my taking over the Smallville plant. I actually caught myself blink in surprise. Was she really...warning me? Me? This tiny little blonde highschooler...was trying to intimidate Lex Luthor?

I wondered briefly what it would be like to have such a fierce little ally fighting for me.

Then she broke the moment. The fierceness melted away, and she was again just a bright and eager girl. "So, back to the library I assume? You'll have to lead the way, this place is a maze."

I smiled back and gestured for her to follow me down a hall. "Right this way, Miss Sullivan."


The article she wrote based on our interview was surprisingly balanced. She had grilled me in depth about Level 3, my plans for the Luthorcorp plant, my Metropolis past, my anticipated future in Smallville, and more. Insightful questions that were not easily fobbed off and were not just a rerunning of facts that would already be widely available on the Internet. I give few interviews, and when I do agree to one, I always hate questions that could have been answered by a 60-second google search. One thing I had expected her to inquire about, but she skipped over, was research into the meteor rock.

Was it really possible she didn't know I had started looking into the effects of the rocks on my own?

Even so, the portrayal was not a puff piece. It wasn't particularly kind, but it was fair. She obviously had her doubts about some of the plans I described for the plant and Smallville, but was willing to give me the benefit of the doubt after outlining her concerns for the readers. She left it up to the readers to take the information given and come to their own conclusions.

So not what I hoped for, since I had done the interview as a favor for Clark, but being given a fair treatment in Smallville was a success in and of itself.

20th October 2014, 16:56
YAY! New Chlex from You!! I'm so excited!
I loved the first chapter.
I'm just a little worried to how it wil all ends because of what I read in the prologue. No happy ending?
Anyway, I'll keep reading and find out!
Update soon!

21st October 2014, 01:02
I'm always excited to see a new story. Very interested to read more, I love that you included the early SV days.

22nd October 2014, 02:30
can't wait to see what happens.but the prologue a little since it may not be a happy ending

23rd October 2014, 16:52
Thanks for the love guys! Especially from TrinityR - glad you found this here since I wasn't going to post on K-site.

As for if the story will have a happy ending...I can tell you what I'm thinking in a PM, but don't want to post spoilers. Even so, that may change. Lex already turned the story one way I wasn't expecting - the rascal!

27th October 2014, 05:16
This is definitely intriguing to say the least. Will be watching for updates. Just loving these chlex stories, which I would never have expected. But since I started reading them, I think they are my favorite ship now!

2nd November 2014, 02:08
CHAPTER 2 - First Loves

Love comes to each of us in different ways. When I moved to Smallville, my heart was untouched. Though that would certainly change, much to my pain and sorrow.

Clark told me he had been in love with Lana since they were children.

Lana seemed to be infatuated with whatever man was currently paying her the most attention at the time.

For Chloe, it was Clark. I don't know when it started for her, but the moment I saw them together it was obvious. It was also clear he had no idea.


"I really messed up," Clark told me over the phone.

"What's wrong, Clark? What did you do?"

"I told Chloe that I would sign us up for a journalism conference in Metropolis on Saturday, but I got distracted, and --"

"And by distracted, you mean 'was busy with Lana' right?"


"So now you need tickets if you expect to ever get out of the doghouse with Chloe."


I smiled. This was easy. "I'll make a call and see if I can get you some tickets."

"Thanks, Lex."

"No problem, Clark." He didn't hang up and I got the impression something else was eating at him. "What else is on your mind, Clark?"

"Do you think I've been ignoring everyone else in favor of you and Lana?"

I blinked. That wasn't a question I expected. "I'm not sure, Clark. Why do you ask?"

"Chloe said something..."

"Ah, ok. Well, I guess you are the only one that can say for sure. How much time have you made for your other friends?"

"Well, I..."

"Clark, take it from someone that has a very short list of people they can really call friend. Make the time for the important people in your life."

I heard a heavy sigh on the phone. Then, "Thanks, Lex. I've got to get to class."

"No problem, Clark."

After the boy hung up, I just shook my head. I still don't know how he could be so blind. It seemed obvious that Chloe was annoyed at Clark for more than just going MIA on her, but until one or the other of them were willing to speak up, I would let that dog lie.

Though it didn't take long.


I stopped by the Kent farm and sought out Clark in his loft while I was there. "What are you reading? 'Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus'?"

"I'm trying to get an insight into the female psyche."

I smiled and brandished the book. "I seriously doubt you'll find it in here. What's the problem?"

"I've got these two amazing friends who both happen to be girls."

Ah, so he finally saw what had been so obvious about Chloe. "For argument's sake, let's call them Lana and Chloe."

"I've always liked Lana, but I can never get near her. I just found out that Chloe likes me and I think I may have feelings for her too."

A true embarrassment of riches. I was happy for him, but also frustrated by his inaction. It's so strange that I recall hoping he would choose Chloe and not the elusive Lana. I really saw her as the better fit for my friend.

I was right about that, much to my own later pain.

Though at the time all I said was..."So which one do you want to pursue?"

"That's the thing, I want to protect my friendship with both."

I let some of my annoyance show. How could he be so blind? "Then you'll never get either one."

He clearly didn't appreciate my advice. "Thanks. I think I'll stick with the book."

"Clark, love isn't about playing it safe. It's about risks. Unless you're willing to put yourself out there, you'll never know."

"Have you ever been in love before?"

"I've only loved two women in my life. One died and the other betrayed me."

I know Clark thought I meant romantic love, but that wasn't the reply I gave. At that point, my deepest heart was still my own. The women I was talking about were my mother and my old nurse, Pamela.

It's interesting that the two women that were causing Clark so much confusion at the time would both end up doing their own damage to my heart. One trying to tear it out and the other succeeding.

"I'm sorry," he said.

"Some people are meant to be alone," I replied.

Maybe I should have taken my own advice.


I understand what Clark saw in Lana. She was undeniably beautiful, kind, and had a sort of purity. I remember pushing him time and again to pursue her, but he never did. He insisted on waiting, taking the high road road over and over again, which just seemed to push the two of them apart.

Not like me.

I never hesitated when I was provided an opportunity. In my case, most of those opportunities I found in Smallville were for the undervalued Luthorcorp #3 and later Lexcorp. I was desperate to build a life outside of my father's power and used any means given to me. Including some not particularly safe or ethical work with meteor rock and its applications. Later, some of those works would come back to strike at me, but at the time they provided some very exciting results. Many of those shady projects kept the company afloat when everyone, my father included, were trying to bring it down. Ethics were not my highest priority at the time. Or any time really. That trait gave me a unique advantage in a difficult position. I felt no shame in using an unconventional source to uncover new areas of potential research -- Chloe Sullivan.

Clark often told me about the investigations and and hunches Chloe had for her "Wall of Weird." Most also went on to be published in her newspaper - The Torch. I owe Chloe quite a bit from those early days. Her in-depth research into "meteor freaks," along with the various incarnations, and myriad (often illegal but profitable) usages of meteor rock was fascinating. Projects looking into using meteor rock to project fear, walk through walls, even invisibility. What she published often became the groundwork for additional research in my own labs.

Not that she knew about that.

I am not sure why, maybe it is just a hunch of my own, but I also have the feeling that Chloe Sullivan was somehow involved in more than one of my close-calls. Maybe it is just because whenever something out of the norm went on in Smallville, she was never far away. She was like Clark that way. Unlike Clark, she wanted to know the why's of the events and not just be there to save the day. She wanted the whole story. She always was a true reporter at heart, seeking the truth and bringing it to light. I just happened to benefit as a side-effect.

It is a such strange sensation now -- to owe thanks to her, considering all that happened between us.

But back in those early days, it should come as no surprise that when I wanted the best possible girl for Clark, I wanted Chloe for my friend. Not Lana.


Turns out Clark did finally give Chloe a chance after saving her from being buried alive. He asked her to Spring Formal. Then he left her at the dance, and afterwards they decided to put their friendship above all else. I never did understand what caused them to do that. Then Clark returned to his pining for Lana. And Chloe continued to pine over Clark.


Maybe if they had both followed their hearts then, I never would have risked my own.

And lost.

Though love of a sort was about to find me anyway in the form of Desiree Atkins.

A one-week courtship and some meteor-rock powered pheromones and I found myself married.

Though the punchline of the event might be the guestlist for the wedding, which included Clark, Lana, and...yes, Chloe.

Then my "wife" tried to kill me.

Well, Desiree did like to picture herself as a trendsetter.



Beautiful, driven, smart. I was instantly attracted, despite the thorns she had out when we first met.

Our courtship was the most traditional of all my wives and dalliances. Maybe that should have been a warning in itself.

Nothing with Chloe was ever traditional, but it was still the closest I've ever come to true joy.

Then, Chloe was still so young, just sixteen, but I remember the first time I really saw the woman Chloe would become. The woman that would always meet me as an equal and drive me mad with desire.

Not surprisingly, it was when she was being difficult.


Clark had come down to the caves just after I hired Dr. Frederick Walden to translate the paintings on the cave walls. After the doctor threw a tantrum, I agreed to let him have his way and kick out all visitors.

I didn't even notice Chloe until the doctor shouted at her. She had climbed up onto a ledge in the cave and was looking down at us like some sort of wild deity. After Clark called her, she descended with surprising grace and an even more surprising smile.

"What are you smiling at? I want those photographs," Doctor Walden challenged her snippily. He then attempted to take her camera.

Bad idea.

Meeting his shocked look challengingly, Chloe told him bluntly, "You're the cunning linguist. Why don't you translate this?" She paused to give each word proper emphasis. "Kiss... my... ass."

She snapped the camera from Walden's grasp and strode away as I tried hard to fight back a smile. The doctor was a prick, and I admit I liked seeing him put down so firmly.

I liked it less when she turned that attitude on me.


I stopped by the Kent's barn to see Chloe in Clark's arms.

"My own personal superhero. I always knew there was something special about you, Clark Kent," she was saying to him.

I thought I should announce my presence before things between them got...heated. "I hope I'm not interrupting anything."

"You are," Clark said with obvious annoyance, putting Chloe down. It was then that I saw she had done an interesting sort of dark striping to her hair and her clothes were unusually short and tight. A part of me that had no business thinking reacted to the look.

After some confusing banter, Chloe and Pete agreed to let me have a quiet word with Clark. But not before Chloe turned her newly cruel wit on me. "You know, I always wondered." She marched up to me in a way I had never seen from her before. She looked me up and down in a very clearly assessing way. "For a boy who has all the money in the world, you'd think he could afford a good toupee."

I'm not proud of it, but that frank and surprising assessment was...hot. And wrong. And hot.

Then she was gone and I was left feeling dirty for where my mind and body had gone in those few brief moments.


Those uncomfortable feelings around Chloe lingered far past when they should have faded. They didn't go so far as to interfere with my relationship with Helen. Though maybe if they had, I would have been spared another failed marriage. As it was, I didn't suggest to Helen that Chloe receive an invite to our wedding. It was never brought up as an issue though, since this was a much more formal and planned affair than my shotgun to Desiree. This wedding was to be a full upper-crust event. Much of the day is a blur of polite smiles and forgettable music, but Helen looked radiant. I spent a great deal of time amusing myself with all the ways I would make love to my new wife when we reached our secluded honeymoon spot.

That was our last happy day.

Like all good things in my life, my joy turned to ashes. For the second time, my newly minted wife tried to kill me.

This time, by arranging a plane crash.

Helen's plan failed, and I found myself stranded on an island, unsure of exactly what had happened to bring me there.


I really am the worst judge of love.

2nd November 2014, 11:18
Yes, Lex, you are!

3rd November 2014, 05:06
Can't imagine how this is to end, but you're definitely reeling me in like a hooked fish with this one. I love the writing being entirely from lex pov!

4th November 2014, 03:15
can't wait to see what happens next

4th November 2014, 23:58
Thanks for the story love! I really enjoy writing from Lex POV - his mind is so complex and fun!

Also just a brief advertisement - I posted about seeing if people were interested in doing a fic/art/vid swap for Chlex over the winter here:

You would pick what you would like to do, but I wanted to open it up to authors, vidders, and artists alike.

If this is something you think you would like to do, please let me know on the post or a PM.

13th November 2014, 06:09
Chapter 3 - The Rabbit Hole

There has always been a darkness inside me, but I know the exact moment when it began to eclipse the light.

It was the first time I killed.

The first time I took up a weapon in anger and used it to snuff the life from another. I had come close once before as a boy, but was stopped. Though I still thought Duncan, my friend, died anyway when he was hit by a car after I beat him bloody.

Even so, there is a difference between almost killing and actually killing.

And the man I killed didn't even really exist.

His name was Louis and he was just a figment of my imagination, a malaria delirium.

Or maybe he was a part of me.

He was trying to kill me, so I killed him instead.

When I returned to Smallville, I remember speaking about it to Clark. I didn't tell him I had killed, or the nature of my delirium, but I admitted to the impact it had on me. I still remember the exact words of my reply when he asked what had happened to me on that hellish island.

"Something I didn't know I was capable of. It's ironic. In the most remote solitude I still managed to find an enemy. I suppose I was just hallucinating from malaria, but the enemy I found was real. I got a good look at myself, or at least the part I've always tried to ignore."

Clark's answer was surprisingly thoughtful. I learned later he had quite a bender over the summer as well. "Lex, I guess we all got to take a look at our dark side sooner or later."

"The problem is if you stare at it long enough, it can get hard to tell the two sides apart."

Even now, I'm not sure what part of me was the true killer. What I did know was that if any part of me was to be saved, I needed to find a light.

I knew it was a false hope even on that god-forsaken island, but I still hoped it would be Helen. Then when she tried to kill me yet again, I even turned to my father.

I couldn't have chosen two worse people to lean on.

It was only by following another lost soul down a rabbit hole of secrets and lies would I finally start to see the light in me again.


I got "Welcome back from the Dead" flowers, messages, and invitations from everyone from The First Bank of Switzerland to the Kents. But not a peep from Chloe. We weren't exactly friends; in truth, we were only slightly better than casual acquaintances, but I still remember being rather disappointed. Not hurt, just...disappointed. I thought she would be glad of my non-death. She was one of the few people in Smallville that I thought saw me for myself and not my name.

As it turned out, it was my allying with my name that was the reason for her radio silence.

Upon my "death," my majority shares in Lexcorp were willed to my father. He promptly returned my company to Luthorcorp. The outstanding Lexcorp shares that had been purchased by my employees the previous year were also bought back, and the employees' jobs were returned back under the Luthorcorp umbrella.

Upon my return, I could have chosen to tear my company away from Luthorcorp again since it had been wrongfully dispersed, but I didn't. The betrayal of my wife, and my near-death had left me somewhat rudderless.

Overall, my company was actually performing better under Luthorcorp than it had been under Lexcorp. I didn't see the point in a drawn out legal battle when things had been managed well in my absence. There was no more talk of closing the plant. Lexcorp employees had been well compensated for their shares and their mortgaged properties cleared of debt.

I admit to a certain weakness at this point. Even if the company had been doing poorly, I don't know if I had it in me at the time to go against my father. Bruised as I was, I wanted to belong, not to fight. I wanted to see everything work out. I wanted to be a part of the family business again, not a rival. I thought I could find peace there.

I was wrong.

What I didn't think about, was how the employees I had left behind would see my return to the family fold. I had only looked at the financial aspect and saw they were above board. It never occurred to me to think they would still expect more from me. I had been removed as their ally and leader, why would they would still want me to represent them? Why would they still expect loyalty from me? It was such a foreign concept, it didn't cross my mind once. But then, I didn't think anyone ever expected anything from me but the worst.

From Chloe's point of view, my nostalgic return to the Luthorcorp fold was a betrayal. From the very beginning, her father Gabe had been one of my strongest supporters both under Luthorcorp and then Lexcorp. In fact, he was one of the main parties that convinced other employees on my Lexcorp buyout plan. He had successfully run the Lexcorp plant for me, and when the company reverted to Luthorcorp, he had been quietly reabsorbed. I don't know how Gabe saw it, but when I returned from the dead and chose to work for my father instead of breaking Lexcorp free, Chloe saw this as traitorous to the employees that had stood with me. They had fought to break free with me, but I had returned to the Luthorcorp fold without any fuss.

I know now that I went about it all wrong. I should never have submitted so easily to my father. He only saw it as weakness. For Chloe's part, I wonder now how she would have reacted if I had fought. Even if I lost.

As it was, with my capitulation, came the end of my independence. And the independence of those working under me. We were now all subject to the whims of my father. Including Gabe.

What I didn't know was my father was applying no little pressure on Chloe because of that. Lionel had also come to discover what I had the previous year. Chloe Sullivan was an invaluable resource for the weird and unexplained of Smallville.

What neither my father nor I ever could have guessed was the exact direction one of Chloe's investigations would take.



A week or so after my triumphant return to Luthorcorp, I was attacked outside the office. Clark saved my life (again), this time from a bullet fired by a disturbed kid. Clark explained I was on the kid's -- Van's -- hit list because he thought I may have some sort of meteor ability. What he didn't say was why anyone thought I was meteor altered.

Turns out, one of the many research projects Chloe was working on was identifying possible meteor infected individuals. I had made her list.

It seems her interest in me went beyond a Torch article.

On my way back into Luthorcorp headquarters after meeting with the police, my phone rang.

Chloe Sullivan showed on the caller ID. I was surprised...but strangely pleased. Few people were as unintentionally stimulating as the young blonde. She hadn't reached out to me since before my disappearance, and I found myself missing our interactions. I was unsure what would finally bring her to contact me weeks after my return, but I forced myself to let the phone ring three times before answering.

"Yes, Chloe?"

"Lex. Are you alright? Clark told me about the attack."

I was surprised by her concern, but didn't let it come through the mocking tone I employed. "I'm fine, Chloe. I've been through much worse recently than a deluded adolescent." I paused a moment, but she didn't reply immediately. I could almost hear her thinking. Probably about how much to tell me of her real reason for calling. I decided to prod her. "Was that the only reason for your call? Concern for my welfare?"


I waited silently. Interesting thing about people, most hate silence. If you use it well, they will tell you almost anything just to fill the sound void. Chloe was no exception.

"Lex, he went after you because of me."

I froze in my tracks. She had my full attention now. "Explain." I said in a clipped voice. I didn't like being threatened.

"I was...researching you."


"Yes. I have a...list. I thought you may be meteor infected."

"Why would you think that?"

"You're kidding, right?"

"I've never been more serious, Chloe."

"You survived the meteor shower, a near-fatal car accident, and a plane crash. You heal extremely fast and never get sick. You have a white blood cell count that is off the charts. How does all that happen without some sort of boost?"

I paused. She had a point. I didn't think to question how she knew my medical details. Chloe had incredible resources for someone just 17 years old. That wasn't important right then anyway. The important part was...she may be right. I had never thought the cause of my surviving so much might be because of...me.

"I'll take your theory into consideration, Chloe."

"Do it or don't. I gave you the warning about you being on the list Van is using. My obligation is fulfilled."

"Your obligation? Is that how you see me?"

"What else would I see you as...Mr Luthor?"

I didn't miss the switch from Lex to 'Mr Luthor.' Or the coldness that entered her tone at the words, though I didn't understand it. We had been casually friendly before I left. What changed? Something to do with my being a Luthor, which was new for Chloe.

Before I could spend anymore time pondering, one of my security people waved for my attention.

"I need to go, but your warning has been noted...Chloe." I was very careful to emphasis my use of her first name. We were battling over something, and I knew that the casual use of her name wouldn't be missed as a sally.

I hung up without letting her get out another word.


That night I started a new investigation. Or rather, an alternate to an existing investigation.

Could the reason for all my close calls and near-death escapes be found within my own DNA?


Shortly after that my mind is blank.

I lost seven weeks of my life thanks to the electroshock my father had me subjected to in the mental hospital. I only have short snippets and impressions of that lost time.

Interestingly, though I have almost no memory of those lost weeks, I still have feelings about what happened. My intellectual connection to the events during that time may be gone, but not my emotional reactions.

Trust doesn't come easily for me. I also don't understand when people give me their trust without my earning it.

So it was the strangest thing when I found myself trusting Chloe Sullivan without knowing why.

Though that didn't stop me from firing her father from Luthorcorp when my father requested it.


A few weeks after I got out of the mental institution and had resumed work under my father at Luthorcorp, I became the surprising shelter for Chloe Sullivan. She summarized it well when she said my mansion was the last place anybody would look for her. I had just fired her father and I knew Lionel had him blacklisted as well. I felt a little bad about that since Gabe was a good man, but I wasn't willing to battle my father over it.

On top of that, my father had taken back the Torch computers, which were how the email killer was selecting attackers to go after Chloe.

So when Clark called and asked me to hide Chloe while they tracked down the email killer, I agreed. As to be expected from any story of Chloe's, it proved fascinating. Even more important, Doctor Garner and Summerholt gave me hope for recovering the lost seven weeks of my memory. Sadly, that part never came true, but like so many leads in those early days, I had Chloe to thank.

Though, again, she didn't know about that.

At the time, I don't know why I was so surprised that Doctor Garner would go to such lengths to attempt to silence her. I was equally dismissive of Clark's initial guess that my father might be been behind the attempts on her life.

Chloe did have a way of pissing off the high powered and morally challenged, even while she was still a minor.

I know, for me, there were days when I didn't know if I wanted to kiss her or kill her myself. Maybe it was the mix of the two that made her so irresistible.

After seeing her safely into my care, Clark left to talk to Doctor Garner, leaving me alone with Chloe. I remember looking up at her and being struck by her strange expression. She looked...lost. It was such an odd look for her. It made her seem scared and naked and very young.

The look brought forth an equally strange response in me. I felt...protective. As a rule, I don't shelter people in their weak moments. I take advantage of them.

That wasn't what I felt watching Chloe. I wanted to guard her.

I found it an uncomfortable sensation.

I gave a quick excuse and abandoned her alone in the library. Though I did tell her to make herself at home.

Huh. Maybe I should have chosen my words with more care. Now I wonder where she decided to snoop since I gave her such a perfect opportunity. I have no doubt she did.

As it turned out, I really shouldn't have been so concerned for Chloe's safety. Over the course of two days, the little blonde fought for her life against four determined attackers and won.

I should have been concerned about all the digging she would do left alone in my library.


After securing our cyber killer, I confronted Doctor Garner myself. The research that Chloe had done for her article on Summerholt was very impressive. I could now see why he was willing to kill to keep it suppressed. I decided to use it as leverage to force Garner to cease his attacks against Chloe, as well as help me try to recover my lost memory. I even employed a classic blackmail technique to do it. I took the moral high ground while forcing him to my will.

The attacks against Chloe stopped immediately. As a further balm, I had the computers returned to her beloved Torch.

Unfortunately, the memories I sought of those lost seven weeks remained elusive, but other, older, ones would come to light.

Not even I can always win.


Next time around it would be Lana in need of protection. That was considerably less unusual. I actually thought of Lana as a friend, in part because she was one of only a handful of people completely at ease in my presence. Lana was also easy to understand, and her damsel-in-distress manner was appealing. She was warm, kind, uncomplicated, and always saw the good in people.

This made her a born victim.

Enter Adam Knight.


I like puzzles. I always have. I like them even more when those puzzles are people.

I like them less when they threaten someone I care about.

Adam Knight. His behavior and records didn't match even under the most cursory investigation. The warning signs were all there. I just needed to know if he proved a threat.

I was starting to form my own suspicions about "Adam Knight" when I saw I wasn't the only one thinking to solve the puzzle of the mysterious new man in Lana's life.


I wasn't the least bit surprised to find Chloe also on the case. She is fiercely protective of those she cares about, and quickly saw the irregularities in Adam as well as I. During a concert at The Talon, I watched her covertly enter the apartment above and followed. I couldn't resist watching her for a moment. She was clearly an old hand at snooping, because she bee-lined for one of the most common places people think they are clever to hide things. Under the bed. If I hadn't interrupted her, I'm sure her next stop would have been the underwear drawer. As it was, I let my eyes roam over her curvy backside as she crouched to look under the bed. The backside was sweetly rounded and very distracting. I thought idly about what kind of underwear she might have on under the snug pants she wore. I was only brought back to my senses when she got up from the floor. Surprised by my train of thought, I went on the attack to cover my silent ogling of her.

"Last I heard, breaking and entering were still against the law," I told her.

"I could say the same thing to you," she replied without a trace of guilt.

I've always enjoyed our riposte, and this was no exception. We exchanged what little we knew about the new boy in Lana's life. Then, knowing we had reached a tacit agreement to work together on this one, I left her to her snooping.

Delegation was how I looked at it. Chloe was one of the best investigators that not even money could buy. I would let her follow the trail and she would come to me if and when I was needed.

I knew she'd uncover the truth.

And of course, she did. And it was more than I ever could have dreamed.


She easily outpaced my own half-hearted investigation and traced a serum from Adam's apartment, investigated his records, and tracked down a high-level researcher at Metropolis University before hitting a brick wall and bringing me back into the loop.

That's the thing about Chloe, she doesn't ask favors. She collaborates. Maybe that is why we had never become friends, even though we shared so many people in common. She never needed me like Clark and Lana did.

I didn't know it at the time, but she had learned about debt and obligation from the same hard tutor that I did - Lionel Luthor.

Only when we were allies did she come to me. Like she did with Doctor Tang.

Chloe was right, my name and connections did get me in to see the good doctor. Then I used those same tools to blow the lid on her illegal research and get her fired when she refused to play nice with me. Unfortunately, Doctor Tang chose to shelter under my father's wing instead of mine. Even so, I had a new piece for my puzzle.

Then both Doctor Tang and Adam Knight disappeared.

Chloe had found answers there too -- both the who and the where. Luthorcorp.

She really is quite amazing, isn't she?

However, that is where I decided I had to step in. Both for her sake and mine. I couldn't risk her making my father aware of our investigation or have her put in danger.

Stupid protective instinct.

Looking back, maybe I should have let Chloe handle it. I overplayed my hand, and my father put me on the hook for the murders of Doctor Tang and her research staff.

Things suddenly got much more complicated and I had to cut a deal with the FBI to escape the setup. That fateful agreement would set off an unstoppable chain reaction that would start the first cracks in my friendship with Clark, make an enemy of my father, and lead to my unexpected rescue by the little blonde.

But that came later.

14th November 2014, 10:50
Liked it:)

8th December 2014, 01:39
CHAPTER 4 - A Tale of Two Girls

In the months after my return from death, the island, and then the mental institution, my connections to the people in my life went through several shifts. Some for better, some for worse. The most striking of these changing relationships was between myself and two young women.

I built a stronger bond with Lana, something I thought was a real friendship.

And Chloe and I were first really drawn together.

Lana was a friend to me from some of my earliest days in Smallville. She was easy to know and understand. She was also one of the rare people in town that was willing to look past my last name. She felt comfortable around me from almost the first day we met, and was easy asking for help from others. Even from people she barely knew. In many ways that was a good quality. Most people were eager to help the beautiful young brunette, and I was no exception.

Unfortunately, this also put her on the radar of dangerous and undesirable people. They saw her as an easy target. A target that could easily be manipulated and controlled.

Again, I was no exception.

Chloe was Lana's opposite in many ways. Lana loved her coffee shop, but it wasn't part of who she really was. For Chloe, being a reporter wasn't about what she did or where she worked. It was a part of who she was in her soul. This was also both a good and bad trait. Her curiosity and pride in her skills got her into more trouble than twenty cats let let loose in a fish market. But those same traits also sharpened her mind and instincts into weapons that she then used to break herself free. Though not without cost.

That the two became such friends never failed to surprise me. Lana with her prom-queen looks and sweet temperament. Chloe with her fire and snark.

Not to mention their shared love of Clark Kent.

Any two lesser women would be trying to claw out the eyes of the other as a rival. Instead they became roommates and friends.

How remarkable.


The two young women were so different -- Chloe and Lana. Though between them they found far more than their fair share of trouble. How exactly that trouble came to the girls and how they dealt with it said so much about them. For my part, I tried to protect Lana whenever I could, and Chloe whenever she would let me.

Mostly trouble seemed to find Lana. She was rarely the one that sought it out. In the same way, she always looked outside herself for help. Once after being attacked, she came to me for self-defense lessons, but stopped after several weeks. Though she did keep some of the skills learned, she instead mostly chose to rely on others for protection and help. Beautiful Lana, a true damsel in distress. What she never quite understood was that few knights are as pure-hearted as Clark Kent. I'm certainly not.

Such weakness is a vulnerably and I exploited it to reshape her without conscious thought. I didn't have any intentions when I did so, but it is second nature to me to reform people and circumstances to my best advantage. I thought it was friendship, that I was making her stronger, but I wasn't. I was making her more and more dependent on me.

All action fell to me. All problem resolution was because of me.

That isn't a real friendship. That was me allowing someone to work their own way into my debt.

Not so Chloe. She seemed to seek trouble at every turn. She was always poking her nose into dangerous territory and relying on her own quick wits to save her. She genuinely thought she could bluff/sneak/think her way out of any trouble. Shockingly, she was mostly right. It also helped that she had great good luck. The number of lucky saves she had was almost equal to my own.

Even when she did get in over her head, she rarely sought help from others to save her. Her seeking shelter with me from the email killer was an exception.

And of course there was Clark. But then, there was always Clark -- asked for or not.

It wasn't until much later that I really understood why Chloe so rarely sought help from others. Caught in a weak, vulnerable moment, her curious nature and hubris allowed her to fall prey to an unscrupulous manipulator. From him, she learned her lesson well about owing favors from the same hard teacher as I did - my father. When Chloe failed to abide by the terms of the "agreement" he set with her, Lionel decided to use his power over her father's position to teach her a lesson.

And to make it worse, I was the tool my father used to exact his pound of flesh. I fired Gabe Sullivan and blacklisted him at my father's order.

But that didn't keep Chloe from fighting back. In fact, I think that was a major miscalculation on my father's side.

Very few people decide to put themselves up as opponents to my father. Very few win. Even fewer live to enjoy their victories.

None were high-school girls.

From Lionel, she learned better than to let another person gain any control over who you are. I'm still impressed that even his mastery failed to turn her into his puppet. In fact, she managed better than I ever did. No matter how much I fought it, I still became in large part who my father made me.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. This is about Lana and Chloe, and how I shaped one, and the other shaped me.


Part of my nature that came from my father was how I handle people. Or more accurately, how I manipulate them. Some people are so easy to manipulate, that I don't even realize I'm doing it. It's just second nature to me.

For example, Lana.

If you ask most people that knew Lana before and after our ill-omened marriage, they would say it was during that time that I twisted her, corrupted her.

That isn't true.

It was much earlier than that.

Though the reasoning was still the same. I realize now that even back then, I was trying to manipulate Lana into becoming a match for me. Or more accurately, I was trying to shape her into the woman that was already the perfect match for me.


I just didn't realize yet that she was. I had a hard time seeing past her youth, funky clothes, and bright, wild hair.

Besides, I wasn't ready to accept that I wouldn't need to "fix" her to be my match. I didn't understand then that if you have to tear a person down and rebuild them to fit an image, the final result wouldn't be a partner or an equal. The result would be a twisted, broken shell.

Maybe that is why the people I find the most fascinating are the ones I have difficulty manipulating. I also find them much more frustrating. People like Clark. And Chloe.


I've found there are two main types of people that are difficult to manipulate. The first are people like Clark. People that suspect you are playing a game, but either don't care or refuse to play. These people can often be hurt by manipulations, but rarely end up placed how you would desire.

The second type of person are those like Chloe. People that see the manipulation, understand it, and are willing to use, follow, break, or tease out the game to fit their own needs. The second group can make intriguing opponents. When they are incredibly clever and determined young women they can be particularly riveting opponents.


That year, the more I got to know Chloe, the more I found myself pushing at Lana. Her sweet nature and desire to help people made her easy to manage, easy to understand and control in a way I never could with Chloe. Without conscious thought, I used my power over Lana, trying to shape her into the other girl. The more Lana came to me for help and advice, the more I pressed her. She put up some resistance, but I'm very good at what I do. She caved. Every single time. I don't think I made a single suggestion that year that she didn't conform to. I really thought I was helping her, but it was easy. Lana was always the type of person that let herself be defined by others. First her Aunt Nell, then her quarterback boyfriend, then Clark, then me. The pattern would continue through many other iterations, with her giving up control of her own self to another.

Years later, when I decided to pursue Lana, her capture was a forgone conclusion. I knew exactly how to handle the young brunette to bring her to heel. She was weak and I exploited that to bring her to me. Without conscious thought I had been pulling her tighter and tighter to me for years. Unfortunately, by the time she was fully mine, all those actions deformed her. The creature in her skin was barely recognizable as the the sweet innocent she had been before she tangled herself in my web.

Unlike Chloe.

Chloe. I could never touch the core strength of her -- to corrupt it or capture it. She had reservoirs of will deeper than some oceans. Chloe was able to match me -- both with me, and later against me -- but she was the exception. The only exception.

Chloe had a pragmatism that let her see and manipulate the gray of life. The fascinating element was how she learned how to properly wield it without letting it inside. She would get some hard lessons early on that showed how damaging such compromising weapons can be. So she learned how to use them without succumbing to it herself. She channeled the gray without letting it touch the light within her.

And when the time came, she could fight darkness with darkness. The trick to it was, by then she knew never to use it against someone undeserving. This protected the core of her, the brightness and clarity of her.

She would use darkness against me. But then again, I certainly deserved it.

There was a time though, when she used her light for me. Light that would tempt, haunt, and obsess me for the rest of my life.

But not yet.


If you truly want to know a person, one of the most interesting experiments you can do is to give them their desire and see how they react.

For Lana, this was acceptance into a Paris art school. A ticket out a Smallville and a chance to start fresh. At first she balked over it, but I was able to show her that if you have the chance to grow, to achieve a dream, you take it. You don't quibble over the life you leave behind. As with all things, she gave in and decided to go to Paris. There was no way for us to know it at the time, but that trip would set Lana on the road to a strange and powerful darkness.

For Chloe, her granted desire was the ability to learn the truth from others. To get all the answers she so desperately craved.

Those hard lessons I mentioned? This was one. Chloe got her greatest wish, and employed it ruthlessly. For good and ill.


When Clark told me "a friend" of his had been snooping around the Levitas lab and been exposed to the substance there, I knew immediately who it was.

Chloe Sullivan.

No one else was likely to break into one of my labs just on the off chance there could be something worth the snoop.

This left me severely conflicted. The gas had a 100% mortality rate, but I couldn't think of another person that would be more likely to use their truth-telling ability more effectively than the little blonde. If she could get my father to admit to something that could satisfy the FBI, that could get me off the hook for the set-up of the lab murders.

But I didn't want her to die either.

So I decided to play both ends of the odds. As soon as I knew of the break-in, I had my team scrambling to find a cure, but until it was ready I would employ Chloe as an interrogator.

I made a call to the little blonde and told her I had an urgent matter to discuss concerning a Luthorcorp project that had me concerned. I asked her to come meet me at the mansion.

She swallowed the bait whole.


She was waiting in the study by the time I made it back to the mansion from the Levitas lab. I knew she wouldn't be able to resist the lure. Especially when it was true. "Chloe, thanks for coming."

"Yeah, well, I only have a minute. Clark just called me about a story that broke at the hospital, so..."

"Then maybe you can just give me the abridged version of your field trip to Luthor Corp the other night. Let me guess... somehow, no one can resist telling you the truth." Her expression never changed.

"Are you looking for an apology?" I suppressed a smile, though I think some of it may still have come through. Brashness and honesty all in one. I admired that.

"No." An apology was the last thing I wanted. I gripped her arms so she would understand how important my next words would be. "Chloe, I want you to use your gift to help me get back the weeks my father stole from me."

"Lex, I don't think your dad would go to such extremes to destroy those memories if they didn't pose some sort of a threat to him," she said with narrowed eyes. "Maybe you should just leave it alone." Then she walked away. My mind works fast. Even before she got to the door I realized two things.

One, she may be protecting me. That was a very strange concept, but it led me to thought Two.

If she knew to protect me...she must know what she was protecting me from. I said as much...in my way.

"Why do I get the feeling you know more about this than you're letting on?"

"I don't know anything about that." Before I had time to challenge the lie, she went on the attack. "I do know that because of you, my dad can't get a job. So why would I help you?"

And I had to tell her the truth. Even though I hadn't meant to.

"Because my father is the one who ordered his dismissal." I had to pause and admire how well the Levitas gas worked, even against me. Or maybe for me...I looked at her conspiratorially. "You know that's the truth, don't you?"

Her face turned pained. I was worried for a moment before she attacked again. "Meaning that my family's future is just one chess move in the endless game of one-upmanship played by you and your dad?"

"It's not a game, Chloe. You're the only one who can get me the truth." When my father put me on the hook for the murders he broke the rules. With a single stroke he showed me how little I mattered. I was just another tool to be wielded. My silly delusions of a better relationship between us after my return from the island were just that. Delusions.

Her eyes narrowed and she paced around me in a slightly predatory way. It was an odd sensation to feel stalked by Chloe Sullivan. "Why do you keep doing this to yourself? Why can't you just walk away from your father?"

Lost in my own thoughts, I replied without even trying to fight the truth compulsion. "Because he won't give me the only thing I've ever wanted from him."

"And that would be?"

Then I saw the trap, a yawning void. I wanted to say "respect" or "freedom" or "control of the company." But I couldn't fight the Levitas.

"I want him to love me."

My first reaction was shame. I had never wanted to admit how much I wanted that. Even knowing it would never happen. Then I realized it was the first time I had ever really admitted that. Certainly not aloud. I hadn't even wanted to admit it to myself, but there is truth in the old saw. The truth can set you free. Saying it, I knew it was truth. But even knowing that, I saw another truth. It wouldn't stop me from doing whatever I needed to.

Meeting Chloe's eyes, I saw compassion there. And something else. Understanding maybe. But not the disdain I would have expected after admitting to such a weakness.

I found myself caught in her gaze at the moment. Her eyes were deep green pools that reflected my own image back, but softer somehow. Trapped, I stared into her eyes for a long time. Too long.

I think that was the first moment I saw the light in her. She had just used her powers against me, but the gray her her action was wiped away by the brightness of her.

It gave me hope for a light in me too.


Author's Plea: SecretChlex is on! You can see the posting with details here: http://forums.naughty-seduction.net/showthread.php/8948-SecretChlex-is-OPEN!-Signups-Now-Jan-01-2015

8th December 2014, 06:06
I love this story. Please update soon.

8th December 2014, 16:46
You know, Lana actually did not stop taking self defense lessons. She just stopped taking them from Lex becuase as she said, he had a way of bringing out of her what was scary and unsettling.

9th December 2014, 05:00
TrinityR - I don't remember seeing Lana taking any lessons beyond ones with Lex (until she does the training flashbacks in S8 Power), but you are more a Lana expert than I! I am willing to take your word for it. Though, in my story defense, Lex may not know either. ;)

9th December 2014, 05:25
loved the chapter. the gas does effect lex.can't wait to see what happens next

9th December 2014, 11:15
TrinityR - I don't remember seeing Lana taking any lessons beyond ones with Lex (until she does the training flashbacks in S8 Power), but you are more a Lana expert than I! I am willing to take your word for it. Though, in my story defense, Lex may not know either. ;)

Well, I guess Lex might not know and yes, we didn't see Lana trainging with anyone else but Lex, but she did tell Clark that she signed up self-defence classes at the end of that episode, because Lex brought out a scary side of her. So she was still training:)

9th December 2014, 11:16
TrinityR - I don't remember seeing Lana taking any lessons beyond ones with Lex (until she does the training flashbacks in S8 Power), but you are more a Lana expert than I! I am willing to take your word for it. Though, in my story defense, Lex may not know either. ;)

Well, I guess Lex might not know and yes, we didn't see Lana trainging with anyone else but Lex, but she did tell Clark that she signed up self-defence classes at the end of that episode, because Lex brought out a scary side of her. So she was still training:)

21st December 2014, 20:32
More please. I love it.

25th December 2014, 00:13
Yeah! Thanks for the love!

11th January 2015, 06:14
Very intrigued by this writing style. Killing me to know just how Chloe is the one to destroy Lex in this (well, according to him anyway). Hope to see more on this story soon! Wonderful work!!

13th January 2015, 05:51
Lol, I've been busy with SecretChlex, so this story has been kind of back-burnered for the past month. But lucky you! I was finally able to get back to it and polish up a new chapter! Enjoy!

13th January 2015, 05:56
Chapter 5 - Party Games

She lied to me, of course.

After Clark somehow located a serum to reverse the effects of the Levitas gas I went to see Chloe. I knew the chances were slim, but I had to know if she had succeeded in acquiring any damning information from my father. I needed to free myself from the trap he had set for me.

In retrospect, stopping by the house of a former employee I had fired to visit his teen-aged daughter may have seemed a little off. The reality was even more so, but I didn't let that stop me. When I made my way to the Sullivan house, my intention was to apply some subtle pressure to Chloe to see if she had gotten anything useful from Lionel before losing her truth ability.

Instead I ended up agreeing to host a birthday party for Clark.


I parked in the drive of the little Sullivan house. Apparently, the purchase of the large house on the golf-course had been stopped once I had fired Gabe. A twinge of guilt nibbled at me for that, but I pushed it away. I needed to be bad cop. Chloe hadn't come to me with anything after recovering from the effects of the truth gas, but that didn't mean she hadn't succeeded in learning something from Lionel.

It would be like her to keep a bombshell truth to herself until she was ready to release it.

I knocked firmly, but not aggressively, on the front door.

The door opened on the smiling face of Lana Lang.

Shit. I had forgotten about Lana as Chloe's roommate.

"Hi, Lex. Can I help you with something?"

I thought fast. I didn't want Lana to know about my attempted manipulation of Chloe.

"Hi Lana. Do you have a moment? I have an idea to run by both you and Chloe if she is home."

She smiled that lovely smile of hers and opened the door wide.

Chloe was sitting on the floor before coffee table in the small, bright living room. Her laptop was open in front of her, her fingers flying over the keys. A pen was held between her teeth.

Writing a damning expose on Lionel Luthor perhaps?

Her eyes didn't leave the screen in front of her when she spit the pen out of her mouth. "Who is it?"

Before Lana could reply, I spoke up. "Hello, Chloe. You look well after your mishap."

She didn't know it, but I already knew she was fully recovered. After the accident on the bridge and the untested quality of the cure serum, I had found myself...worried for her. My cool manner helped hide any bit of that weakness coming through.

She smiled at me. A real smile.

It left me dumbfounded. I had expected more coldness, maybe suppressed rage, not...warmth.

"Hello Lex. Yes, I'm back to my normal self."

I smiled slightly in return, some of my confusion evident. Chloe's "normal self" was not someone to underestimate. "Glad to hear that."

Snapping the laptop closed, she asked in a friendly manner, "Is there something I can do for you, Lex?"

I kept my smile in place. The idea that struck me when Lana had opened the door instead of Chloe was forming quickly into a solid plan. As I worked it through, I realized it had a higher potential of working that any sort of intimidation that I had originally had in mind. Especially given my unexpectedly warm reception.

Holding my smile, I replied, "Why yes, actually, there is something I need from you." I turned around to meet the wide, curious eyes of Lana still behind me, including her in the conversation. "I could use some help from the both of you."

Chloe's expression almost glowed with curiosity. "Oh yeah, and what is that?"

I let my smile widen as I saw the bait being set. "I need your help with a party."


My friendship with Clark had become severely strained by the search of the Kent farm by the FBI under my father's direction. Clark was angry at being dragged into the power plays between my father and I. I tried to explain that it wasn't my doing, but no one wants to hear their suffering was just collateral damage.

Seeing Chloe's modest little house and Lana smiling in the doorway had given me an idea that I hoped would kill several birds with one stone.

I would throw a surprise birthday party for Clark.

Firstly, I hoped the gesture would help soothe some of the tension that had developed between Clark and I by showing him that I valued our friendship enough to make an effort.

Secondly, arranging to host the party at my mansion with the help of the girls would put me closely into contact with them in a more relaxed setting. And by "them" I really meant Chloe. Under the guise of working together on the party, I could discreetly probe her for any sort of knowledge she may have gleaned while she had the Levitas power.

Thirdly, my instincts told me that Chloe knew something about my father's dealings. Something she knew before the truth gas exposure. Something that she was keeping from me. While she inexplicably seemed to have warmed towards me, she certainly didn't trust me. I was sure that, when pressed, she wouldn't be willing to go out on any ledges for me. I hoped that working together on something as well -- fun -- as a party would give us some more time to mingle causally. Add onto that the basic "good guy" move of throwing a party for a person we both cared about, and it might help build a little faith between us. I had to show her I wasn't like my father, that I was a person that deserved trust and any help she had been holding back.

Let the games begin.


I quickly outlined my plans for holding a surprise party at the mansion for Clark's 17th birthday. Lana was immediately on board, but Chloe needed more convincing.

"I'm not sure, Lex. I've seen the kind of parties you throw. Not really Clark's thing at all. He's really more steak-and-cake than champagne-and-caviar."

I smiled. That was exactly the kind of response I had been hoping for. "You see why I need your assistance then."

"I think that's a wonderful idea!" Lana enthused, but Chloe just held me in a measuring look, weighing my motives. I was sure she knew I was more than capable to doing the party on my own. I could see her turning over the puzzle in her mind of why I would come to her and Lana for assistance. I didn't let anything of my motives show in my eyes as I held the Chloe's gaze without flinching. I'm not sure what conclusion she came to, but she broke the contact first.

"Alright, Lex. We're on board."

I let my smile widen again. "Excellent. Why don't we meet up at the mansion in a few hours and go over details?"

"Today?" Lana asked, sounding disappointed. "I can't. I have to be at The Talon in an hour."

"We could meet at The Talon instead," Chloe offered quickly.

Lana shook her head. "No, that won't work. I have to do inventory today, so won't have time to work on this. Could we do tomorrow?"

I saw my opportunity and jumped on it. "Chloe and I could go over to the mansion, determine a setup and theme today. Then we could all meet at The Talon tomorrow to go over a catering list."

Chloe looked at me sharply, as if surprised that I would seek out her solo company. Despite her thawing towards me, it was as if she was trying to sense a trap.

She is a smart one.

Even so, I hadn't left her much choice in the matter unless she wanted to seem unreasonable.

She let out a slow breath. "Alright. I need to finish this article, then I head over to the mansion."

I smiled again, and I'm sure there was a bit too much victory in the smile. "Excellent."


True to her word, Chloe's car pulled up to the mansion two hours later. I watched from the study window as she got out of her little car, unloaded a huge purse, and snatched up her laptop. I found myself smiling. Leave it to Chloe to bring a laptop along to plan a party. I was sure she would have the entire event outlined and ready for publication within an hour.

I heard the bell ring and the voice of my butler as he opened the door and greeted Chloe. She murmured something in reply that I couldn't quite make out, but I was sure it was just a typical friendly greeting.

A moment later, the study door opened on a blonde whirlwind.

Without preamble, Chloe launched right into action. "Alright, Lex, let's do this thing."

"Alright, " I agreed, swirling the scotch in my glass. "Where do you think we should start?"

Chloe stripped the laptop bag from her shoulder and plunked both herself and the computer bag into one of the chairs. Settling herself, she pulled the computer out and flipped it open. "How about the guest list? Knowing who and how many people to expect should give us some ideas on where to go with everything else."

"Sounds like a good plan to me."


Two hours later, we had a guest list, a theme -- Blue -- and a rough timeline set for Clark's party.

I still couldn't understand it, but the warm regard I had felt from her at the Sullivan house was still there. And for the life of me, I couldn't figure out why. I didn't think she would be divulging any secrets yet, but the sharpness that had plagued our association since I had fired her father was distinctly lessened.

And the mystery of it was driving me crazy.

Chloe closed her laptop full of notes after sending myself and Lana an email copy of all the details we had determined. "Thanks, Lex. This was a good idea. I admit I was surprised when you first suggested it, but I think Clark will really like it."

I smiled slightly and replied truthfully, "I hope so too."

She put her computer back into her bag and sat for a moment looking at me with her hands clasped over the bag. I could feel her weighing her words in her mind. I waited patiently to see what she had to say. I found myself hoping she would clue me in to why her anger was so conspicuously absent. Then I fought a wave of annoyance at myself as I realized how much the girl's mood was impacting me. I was supposed to be the one working on her, not the other way.

"Lex, I know that things between you and Clark are...rocky right now."

I hadn't known what to expect, but of all the things she could have said, I was still surprised that she brought that up. To give myself a moment to think, I took another sip from my glass.

She continued. "I don't know what happened between you two, but I know that Clark takes perceived betrayal very hard." She grimaced. "As I learned recently."

Oh? Now what was this?

"Chloe, what do you mean?"

"It doesn't matter, " she evaded. "What does matter, is you just need to show him you are there." She smiled. "And I think this party is an excellent start."

I don't know how she did it, but I suddenly felt like the party had been her idea all along and not mine.

And seeing her smile, I was glad for it.


As planned, I met with Chloe and Lana at The Talon the next day where we set the catering menu...and ordered the eagle ice sculpture.

Don't ask.

After the menu was set, I found myself chatting comfortably with the two girls. Even though I had a mountain of paperwork waiting for me, I found myself lingering over my latte. It was such a strange and pleasant sensation for me to be involved in their lively chatter, that I stayed long past when I should have left. Lana was anxious about if she had gotten into the Paris School of the Arts and Chloe was reassuring her. I had to hide my smile behind my cup. I had pulled some strings. Lana would be accepted by the prestigious school. I expected the acceptance letter would arrive in the next few days. For her part, Chloe assured me the computers that I had upgraded and returned to The Torch were working perfectly. Without thinking a smile stole over my face to meet her own.

Something had definitely changed. I just wasn't sure what.

But I liked it.

I cleared my throat, suddenly realizing the trail of my thoughts. "Well, I can have my staff do all the decoration setup Saturday morning. Would either of you ladies like to supervise? Otherwise, I can have my staff handle it."

"Wish I could, Lex. But I have to be here," Lana replied.

I turned to look at Chloe. She shook her head as well. "I have to finish an article, but I can stop by early afternoon and check everything over."

"Sounds good, " I replied and draining my coffee, left.


By the time mid-afternoon on Saturday rolled around, I found myself inexplicably watching from the front windows for Chloe's car. My confrontation with Lana had not gone as I had planned. I had pulled strings to get her into the school and now it seemed like she wanted to back out. All because I had no interest in holding onto the coffee shop. The wavering was highly annoying.

Strange that the changed opinion of another woman would be so distracting to me then.

I found myself looking forward to seeing Chloe, and possibly getting some answers for her thawing towards me. I played the conversation we had while she was under the Levitas gas over and over in my head. My instincts told me it was something there that changed her mind. I just couldn't see what it was.

When I saw her cute little car pull up the mansion drive, my heart rate picked up in the same way it did before I walked in to close a large business deal. Like my body was preparing for the battle ahead, by sending adrenaline racing through my veins.

But there was no corporate tangle or battle to fight.

I was just walking a 17-year-old girl around some party decorations.

I knew the setup would be flawless, even considering the silly ice sculpture Lana insisted Clark would love. My staff was extremely competent and used to throwing much larger events than this little surprise party for Clark. Even without the detailed plans Chloe created, this would be a walk in the park for them.

So why in hell was I so keyed up?


Our exchange as we looked over the decorations was relaxed and cordial, but didn't give me any more clues to Chloe's sudden change of heart.

Afterwards, as I watched her climb back in her car, I growled slightly to myself. This puzzle was frustrating as hell.

But I had other things to worry about first.

There was a dagger I wanted to find.


My plan to win myself back into Clark's good graces hadn't taken into account one very unfortunate variable.

The birthday boy never showed.

But a crazed Jeremiah Holdsclaw did.

Chloe was extremely anxious when a half-hour had passed since we expected Clark to show. We had told him it was to be a little going-away party for Lana. We thought there was no way he would miss that.

But he had.

To soothe Chloe's concern, I stepped out to have a word with my staff and see if anyone at the front gate had seen Clark.

No such luck.

But then we saw figure moving around outside the library. We assumed it was Clark. I exchanged a smile with Chloe and moved to stand next to her. But she didn't seem to notice, and moved to join her friend Pete.

The figure walked in, but it wasn't Clark. It was Jeremiah Holdsclaw looking for my father.

I admit, fear and surprise got the better of me. Had Jeremiah done something to Clark? That would explain why he hadn't come for Lana. I looked over at Lana, but Jeremiah saw the look and misinterpreted it. He seized Lana.

I was not willing to let a friend be harmed to protect my father, so I gave in to his demands to locate Lionel, though I did my best to warn my father about the man coming for him.

When it came right down to it, I knew I had chosen my side months ago.

And it wasn't the side with my father.


So the party was a bust, the future leader of the Kawatche clan was dead, and the dagger had dissolved into dust before my very eyes.

What a crap weekend.

So it was an unexpected pleasure when Chloe Sullivan was announced by my butler as I sat in my study. Up until that moment, my plans for the day had involved a daunting stack of files, including the sale of The Talon, and a bottle of a particularly mellow scotch.

As the butler said her name, I wondered what version of Chloe I would see today. The friendly smile of my party-accomplice, the cold disdain of the wronged daughter, or...something else.

She marched in, with fire in her eyes, brandishing a stack of papers. "Lex, why did you turn down our offer to buy The Talon?"

Ah, so today it was fire and fury.

I smiled, almost relieved. I knew how to handle this Chloe. Her phrasing tipped me off to her real reason for her barging into my home this way. It told me she wasn't truly angry about losing the chance to buy The Talon. She needed to know why she had lost it.

She wanted answers.

Typical Chloe.

"Hello, Chloe. Please come in."

She glared at me from the middle of the room, unfazed by my pointing out her rudeness in marching into my home with accusations.

"Cut it, Lex. Why did you turn down the offer my dad and I put in to buy The Talon?"

I sipped my scotch and mulled how best to frame my reply. The truth of it was, Lana had told me that Chloe and her father had expected me to arrange a loan for them. I had been more than willing, both to ease my conscience and to secure a hold, but they hadn't done so. When their fully funded offer had come in instead, I did some investigation. The incident with Gabe's overlarge house purchase before I had fired him had made it clear Gabe was clearly financially unwise. Even so, I'm sure it was pride that kept Gabe from coming to me, even though I was willing to forward a loan. Instead, Gabe had gone to a particularly predatory bank and secured a loan with a cleverly disguised balloon rate that would be impossible for him to pay off. Buying the coffee shop the way Chloe and her father had planned would ruin them utterly.

Not to mention that Lana claimed she didn't want them to buy the shop. Though if it had been a sound investment for The Sullivans, I would have gone through with the sale.

But I couldn't tell Chloe that. I had done enough damage to her father, without lowering Gabe in his daughter's eyes by exposing his financial incompetence.

"I'm sorry, Chloe, but I received a better offer."

She stepped up, eager now, sensing a challenge. "We can beat it, I'm sure of that."

I shook my head, "No, Chloe. The paperwork is signed. I'm afraid it is a done deal."

Chloe looked sad, but not heartbroken. As I expected, she wanted to know why she had lost. She didn't actually care about winning.

While I saw her thought process, I couldn't quite understand it. I needed the WIN, even when I didn't care about the prize.

So I watched her with some interest when she flopped down in in swirl of colorful bag, coat, and clothes into one of the armchairs. Our business was concluded, but she looked like she planned to stay a while.

"Is there something else I can do for you, Chloe?"

Her eyes cut up to me and an evil gleam shone in her eye. "Get my dad a job?"

I had to turn away to hide a smile. I had walked right into that one, but I couldn't give her the answer she so clearly wanted. I still had to mange my father, and that meant I couldn't go against his express wishes where Gabe Sullivan was concerned.

But maybe I could...

A sudden thought occurred to me and I looked back over my shoulder furtively. Chloe was smiling with a trace of...triumph.

I had to blink as I saw the truth. Chloe Sullivan had tried to play me. She had come in here in faux righteous indignation about the sale of The Talon, when she had really planned to use the opportunity to pressure me to get her father a job.

And she had come surprisingly close in getting it to work.

I shook my head, fighting a small smile, as I admired her nerve. If she had been just a little older and experienced, if she knew better how to school her expression, it may have actually worked.

She was still patiently waiting for me to reply, purposefully giving me time to -- what? Consider what I could do for Gabe? I let her stew a moment more before breaking the silence just as it became uncomfortable.

"I can't do that, Chloe." I seized her gaze with my own. "But I think you knew that."

She smiled unapologetically. "Nothing ventured, Lex."

With that, she collected her things and made her way to the door. I had turned away when I heard her footsteps stop just in front of the library door.

"I saw the loan my father took out this morning. And all the conditions." I heard her draw in a breath, but didn't turn around. "Thank you for turning him down, Lex."

Wait. She knew and she had still come --

I swung around with my mouth open to speak, but she was already out the door.

My hands clenched into fists. I wouldn't go after her and demand she explain exactly what she had been thinking by --

Then all the anger drained out of me, and I felt an admiring smile form across my face.

She had known the trick she played, and though I had won, she had shown me her hand at the end. Just to show me she had known it was a game all along.

Maybe she was better at this than I had given her credit for.

14th January 2015, 04:14
Love this. Chloe really can give Lex a run for his money when it comes to who is better and outwitting each other. I only wished this has happened on the show. The writers of Smallville really missed an opportunity for a great pairing and great storyline.

16th January 2015, 03:42
*sigh* I couldn't agree more about the missed opportunity. Ah well. I'll just have to write it myself. ;)

16th February 2015, 05:00
Chapter 6 - Choosing Sides

I may have been winning small battles with Chloe, but I was clearly losing the war against my father.

That is, until an unexpected ally came to my rescue when it looked like all was lost. My father had caught me wearing the FBI wire. When he tore open my shirt to reveal its damning presence, I knew that I would never get anything from him that would satisfy the FBI. I was on the hook for the lab murders and my only shot of freeing myself had just been torn asunder. I had fought against him and lost.

Then Chloe Sullivan stopped by unexpectedly once again. I guessed she had a new ploy to try to twist me into finding work for her father again, and frankly, I wasn't in the mood to humor her efforts. I had been dressed down by my father, the FBI, and Clark all within the last few days. The last thing I wanted was another guilt trip from Chloe. I told my staff to turn her away.

So I was surprised when the butler tentatively knocked on the study door again. "Sir, I'm sorry, but she insists it is urgent. I can turn her away again if you wish, but she is quite...forceful."

I sighed. I knew if I didn't agree to see Chloe, then I would likely have to filter through a report tomorrow about an unexpected break in or security compromise at one of the Luthorcorp labs.

That was just the way Chloe operated when words like "urgent" came into play.

"Fine, let her in."


It was such a strange thing, but the moment she came into the dark and elegantly masculine room, everything seemed brighter. I found myself blinking to determine if it was just a trick of the light.

It wasn't. Yes, she stood there in a beam of sunlight that had peaked out from behind the clouds just for her, but it was something...more.

It was her. She was so bright and vibrant and just so alive, that the static space seemed to react.

And then she handed me my salvation like some sort of unexpected angel. A very snoopy, headstrong angel, but my deliverance nonetheless.

"Lex, I just heard that you've been working with the FBI from Clark. That you are looking for something that could put Lionel away." She paused, before continuing. "I've come to help."

I had less than 24 hours to come up with something before it was me being hauled off in cuffs, and despite her many skills, I couldn't figure out what Chloe expected she could do that I hadn't already tried. As I had told Clark, my father was exceptionally good at covering his tracks. Chloe coming by "to help" almost felt like she was poking fun at me. I didn't appreciate it. I stopped much too far from her for comfortable conversational distance. If she thought she really was going to taunt me that way, I wasn't going to make it easy. There was only one thing that would really help at that point. "So you have information that could put my father in prison."

I expected her to say No, of course. Maybe even hedge that with only access to such-and-such she might be a step closer.

Her reply was quite a surprise. She paced towards me, her expression intent. "So did you before he obliterated those seven weeks of your memory at Belle Reve."

What? Was that what my father had gone to so much trouble to destroy? Something I had known that could see him locked away? The worst part was...I could see him doing it. I could see him subjecting his own son to such a treatment to secure his own freedom. But now that may have been for naught. If Chloe was really telling me what my heart was leaping to hear...

I kept my voice calm as I asked, "You know what he was trying to hide?"

"Lex..." She stepped even closer, within touching distance, but still apart. "Your father murdered his parents. In a tenement fire. He hired a crime lord named Morgan Edge to do the dirty work." My mind raced. There was no statute of limitations on murder, but it sounded too good to be true. Chloe kept filling in the blanks of those missing weeks. "You got Edge's confession on videotape, but Daddy Dearest destroyed it."

And there it was. The hook had set, only to snare me into false hope. Still my voice was a little choked with disappointment. "Then there's no proof."

I moved around her. Away from another dashed hope. It was stupid, but for just a few seconds I had allowed myself to dream that this crusader of truth had actually come to the rescue. I should have known better.

I had mountains of accusations without proof. They were all useless. Just like this one.

Then Chloe turned the tables on both my father and I with a sunny smile. "Only the voicemail confession of Lionel Luthor himself." That caught my attention and I turned back to meet her smiling face. "He tried to scrub it out, but erased voicemails are like deleted computer files, and someone with enough pull and the right password can resurrect them from the cyber graveyard."

Had she done what I suggested all those weeks ago under the truth gas? Had she really gotten a confession from Lionel? It was too good to be true. It had to be a trap. "Why didn't you come to me sooner?"

Her expression told me I was clearly an idiot, as if the answer should have been obvious. It wasn't a look I was used to getting. "Your psychiatrist didn't accidentally wrap her car around a tree. You showed me the investigator's body on a slab in the morgue. Luthor family politics can get a little grim."

She was right about Luthor politics. Almost every twisted thing my father had ever done to me he had written off as a way to "make me stronger." I didn't remember the morgue slab, but it didn't sound out of character. I was probably trying to protect her. To show her what she faced. Clearly, from her run-down she did.

But she was still willing to put herself into danger.

For me?

I felt incredibly, indescribably thankful and impressed by the exceptional bravery of the woman before me.

"Chloe." I stepped closer. Despite everything, I still felt I had to warn her...again. I put my hands on her arms. Her corduroy jacket was soft, but her arms were pleasantly muscled underneath. I don't think I had ever touched her before. I'm not a touchy sort of person, but with Chloe it was...nice. "It means a lot you're willing to do this for me." Her eyes shifted away. Was she not doing this for me? "But if you come forward, you're putting yourself between my father and the FBI. That's not a very safe place to be."

She swallowed. She was afraid. She should be. She'd have to be really stupid not to be. "I know. But I can't get out from under your father's grip by myself." My father's grip? What had happened between her and Lionel? Then I remembered how he had asked me to fire Gabe, and had him blacklisted. Then the incident with the Torch computers. I had thought there was just some minor insult my father had been avenging. It appeared there was more to it than that. Then she said the most surprising, strangely wonderful thing to me.

"Besides, I know you won't let anything happen to me." Then she smiled at me, before catching herself and trying to look properly solemn.

I was sorry to see that smile go. I kept my expression under control, only allowing myself a tiny quirk of a smile in response. I couldn't let her know what that statement meant to me.

She was choosing to trust me. After everything I had done to not deserve it, she was still choosing to trust me. With her very life.

It was an extraordinary gift.

Holding her green eyes, I said the only thing I could. "Thank you."

She smiled at me again -- as warm and bright as a summer's day -- and suddenly I felt something in me that had gone dark and cold...grow warm.


We sat and talked for hours after that. She told me all about her deal with Lionel. How he had found her in a weak moment and offered to repair her beloved Torch and win her a column at The Planet to boot. She guessed now that it was really him that had destroyed her newspaper to start with, just to seem the white knight when he came to the rescue.

When Chloe failed to abide by the terms of the "agreement" he set with her, the column at The Planet disappeared, she was blacklisted, and the computers from The Torch were seized. Then Lionel decided to use his power over her father's position at Luthorcorp to push home the lesson just a bit more.

And to make it worse, I was the tool my father used to exact his pound of flesh.

By the time Chloe left, a few puzzle pieces started shifting in my head. My father had known about the wire. The FBI agent was pressing me about dropping the case in 24 hours, even though at least some of the recordings should be incriminating enough to keep the investigation open. The raid on the Kent farm. Lionel pressing Chloe for information on Clark.

My father had been busy.

I hadn't realized until then, he had been working behind my back to subvert me at every turn, even going so far as to bring Agent Lodor over to his side. He had tried the same with Chloe, but failed. I quirked a smile to realized that Chloe had more strength of character than an FBI agent. Though if my father had Lodor in his pocket, and had already gone after one friend of Clark's...others may also be in danger.

I fingered the transcript of the voicemail Chloe had given me. Now that I had proof to back up one of my father's crimes, I had to find Lodor and get him back on the right side. My side.

And now, Chloe's side.

Putting down the evidence, I started making calls.


Looking back, I wonder now at what point my father saw his error in making enemies of both Chloe Sullivan and myself. After everything he had done to cow and discredit us both, I like to guess at what point he realized his mistake. Was it when they snapped the cuffs on him? When his voicemail transcript was read? Or was it not until they pronounced sentence? I'm sure he never predicted that we would come together not once -- but twice -- to bring him down.

I guess when it came right down to it, Chloe and I both chose the side that would set us free.

Even if being free led us to nearly lose our lives, and did cause me to lose...something else.


I'm not really sure why I decided to stop by the Kent farm. Maybe it was because I was anxious about my father going free on bail, and Clark's family home always seemed so stable. Maybe I just wanted to talk over my concerns with a friend. I had already spoken to Chloe, but Lionel was too slick in how he couched his threats to her. Nothing she could provide for the bail hearing would be considered clear first-hand evidence of my father posing an imminent danger. However, I knew that if my father was released on bail, he'd never see the inside of a cell again. The only way he'd be locked up as he deserved, was if he was forced to stay there. He wouldn't be nearly as effective at pulling whatever strings needed pulling to free himself from inside prison.

As I talked it over with him, Clark once again came to my rescue when he agreed to testify about what he saw at Belle Reve during my electroshock "treatments." Lionel had been willing to turn his own son into a vegetable for the sake of covering up his murderous past.

My anger at Clark's revelation that he too knew about my father's crime was brief and hot. He had kept the secret from me, for what he hoped was my own safety. I didn't like it, but after everything my father had shown himself to be capable of, I couldn't blame Clark too much. Especially not when he was now putting himself in danger as well. With the sort of first-hand testimony Clark had from Belle Reve, it would be impossible to argue that Lionel was anything but an ongoing danger.


As his next gambit, I wasn't really surprised when my father asked for me to come visit him in prison. I know his mind must have been furiously working on how to get free from the moment Agent Lodor had put him in cuffs.

What I didn't expect was an emotional plea as part of a dying wish. It was just so...un-Luthorlike. My father would never do anything so...human as die. Not to mention what his death would mean for me. I'd been unable to let him die before, but it would be different if he was taken by illness. I'd be free of him, but without the guilt.

You see, I still had morals back then. Things I wouldn't do.

Still, when he had his doctor's send me his records, I still looked them over. To my shock, he hadn't been lying. He was actually dying.

I think it shows how much my allegiances had shifted, that my first thought wasn't for my dying and imprisoned father. It was for the only person keeping him locked up.

I thought of Chloe.


I called Chloe and asked her to come by the mansion. I had to warn her of the danger. Not only had we caged a dangerous enemy in Lionel Luthor, but now he was desperate and dying too.

When she arrived, I briefly outlined for her what my father had told me about his condition. He had gone to every major medical institution in the western world and none could help him.

Lionel Luthor was dying. Quickly. He'd be gone before the year was up.

"I'm sensing you're having second thoughts. Lex, I understand if you want to back out. I mean, he needs to be punished for what he did, but he's still your father. And he's dying." Her voice was filled with compassion. It was strange to hear someone that had suffered so much at the hands of Lionel Luthor offer sympathy at his death. Then the most bizarre thought struck me. Her compassion was not for Lionel, it was for me. Chloe was concerned for me. I kept my face carefully blank, lest I give away how her words struck me. How touched I was, but I had resolved on a course. My father's imminent demise did nothing to change what needed to be done. If I let the charges be dropped against him, I would stay on the hook for the lab murders. And worse, my father would win the last battle between us. I couldn't let that be how things ended between us.

And I wasn't the only person that would be impacted by this choice. That Chloe would offer to let the charges go -- for MY sake, just so I wouldn't have to face sending my dying father to prison -- was incredible. I was only just now starting to understand how important my unexpected, but suddenly very precious ally, was to me. And not just because I had promised that together, we would see ourselves free of Lionel. And it certainly wasn't for something as naive as a need to bring much-delayed justice to his door.

I just found that I very much wanted to keep all the promises I had made to Chloe.

For once, I felt like I was on the right side.

"Yeah. And he's gonna draw his last breath in prison, not the VIP suite at Metropolis General." She nodded in agreement, holding my eyes. Her expression was concerned, but I had to be as strong for her as she was willing to be for me. I stepped close and gripped her shoulders tightly, making sure I had her full attention. She had to be clear on what we were up against. "But only if you're still willing to go through with this."

"I don't think I like the sound of this," she said, sensing more behind my words. Smart girl.

I let her go and turned away. If I kept looking into those brilliant green eyes, I wasn't sure what I would do. Probably something dumb like try to protect her, when what I needed to do most was put her in danger. "Chloe, a dying man has little to lose. My father used a bizarre blood platelet cocktail to raise the dead, then pinned the murders of the research team on his son. Who knows what tactics he'll use to avoid going to prison?"

"Yeah, but the FBI guaranteed our safety. I mean, they're putting me and my father in protective custody until after the trial."

"Then what?" I asked. By now, I well knew how little the promises of the FBI meant. My father had easily corrupted Agent Lodor. It would be the effort of only a moment for him to find out the location of Chloe's safehouse. I'd have to find a better option to keep her safe.

"Lex, are you trying to scare me?" She looked scared, her eyes wide.

"I'm worried about you, Chloe. I want you to have all the facts before you walk into that courtroom." Because God help me, if she walked into this blind and something happened to her...

"Your father's intimidated me long enough. I'm not backing down." She looked terrified and her eyes had a suspicious shine.

I've read a thousand versions of the same sentiment -- That being brave, doesn't mean an absence of fear. It means that you can do what needs to be done, despite of the fear.

I've never known anyone braver than Chloe Sullivan.

And it was my job to keep her safe.


It was a close call, but Clark did show up to testify against my father as a imminent threat to society if he was released on bail. As soon as Lionel was led back to prison in handcuffs, I knew the real battle had begun. The battle for Chloe Sullivan's life. And my own.


Author's Note: I also wrote a new One-Shot under Completed Angst called "Choices". Check it out!

17th February 2015, 04:22
great update can't wait to see what happens next

Ami Rose
17th May 2017, 02:46
That was a great fic too bad it was never finished