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Thread: Out of the Depths (3rd of a trilogy - updated 12/16/14)

  1. #11
    Happy-ending addict Senior Member lexie's Avatar
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    Re: Out of the Depths (sequel to Deep In the Bottle/The Depths We Sink To)

    Quote Originally Posted by TheAmazingApe View Post

    ETA: I hope? Does anyone know how to upload an icon here? IDK, but there seems to be no option to do it!
    Check out the other thread you opened. I've posted detailed instructions of how to do it.

    Thxs to Esther25jm for creating the banner for me and to beeej for the avi

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  2. #12

    Re: Out of the Depths (sequel to Deep In the Bottle/The Depths We Sink To)

    Quote Originally Posted by lexie View Post
    Check out the other thread you opened. I've posted detailed instructions of how to do it.
    Thanks. I did. Still having issues. But I'll figure out why I'm not getting that custom option at some point. :/ In the meantime, it's not super important.

  3. #13

    Re: Out of the Depths (sequel to Deep In the Bottle/The Depths We Sink To)

    Quote Originally Posted by lexie View Post
    Check out the other thread you opened. I've posted detailed instructions of how to do it.
    Thanks. I did. Still having issues. But I'll figure out why I'm not getting that custom option at some point. :/ In the meantime, it's not super important.

  4. #14
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    Re: Out of the Depths (sequel to Deep In the Bottle/The Depths We Sink To)

    Nice more soon please.

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    Re: Out of the Depths (sequel to Deep In the Bottle/The Depths We Sink To)

    Oooooohhhh my gooooooodness I am so addicted to this! Insanely, insanely good stuff here! Anxiously awaiting the next update!!!

  6. #16

    Re: Out of the Depths (sequel to Deep In the Bottle/The Depths We Sink To)

    Quote Originally Posted by trinna View Post
    Nice more soon please.
    Sorry it's taken me so long to get back to this one. It's busy for me in RL and I just haven't had much writing time. But here I am!

    Quote Originally Posted by Domino View Post
    Oooooohhhh my gooooooodness I am so addicted to this! Insanely, insanely good stuff here! Anxiously awaiting the next update!!!
    I was, too!!! I never though it would take me more than two months!

    Anyway, here we are with the new chapter and I am very pleased to add a banner from the awesome Purple_moon123, who has now provided banners for three of my fics!



    Picking up right where we left off with (Fucking) Regan showing up, so timeline-wise, we’re still just after the Chloe/Tess scene in Instinct and will be finishing with that episode. Also, lots of talk about the events of Odyssey.

    I’m trying not to go into crazy detail, but I have to get into episode scenes that I can use both to support Chlex and to make Chloe and Lex look better than the show did. Chloe staying so devoted to Jimmy with how he treated her in season 8 made her look so weak and passive and season 8 made Lex look like no more than a petty, jealous douche. So I must fix. Fanwanking this show’s crap takes time and effort. Think of all the things I could have accomplished in life if this was a show I could just watch and enjoy. Ah, Smallville. How you failed me at every turn!

    Links if you need them:
    http://smallville.wikia.com/wiki/Odyssey
    http://smallville.wikia.com/wiki/Instinct

    Chapter Two

    Manhattan, October 8th, 2008 - 11:20 pm

    “I’m looking for Mister… Lachlan is the name I have.”

    Lex squeezed his eyes shut at that voice. He knew that voice. He just hoped he’d never hear it again.

    “Who’s asking?” Otis said warily.

    “Just let him in, Otis,” Lex said tiredly as he stood, moved to the door and saw the man. Of course. Of all the people to find him, it had to be Fucking Regan.

    Regan stepped in, staring at Lex with wide eyes. “Sir! I never doubted I’d somehow…”

    “How did you find me?” Lex cut in tightly, already tired of him.

    Regan smiled, as if it was some sort of praise. “Well, it wasn’t easy. Lachlan was listed as an investigator under your payroll, but I noticed deposits to his off-shore account seemed to stop at your disappearance and I followed that trail and I thought…”

    “Did you ever think I didn’t want to be found?”

    Regan looked taken aback. “I did assume your enemies might be one reason, but… Sir, I have been loyal every step of the…”

    “Just get in here.” Lex turned, moving back into the suite’s living area, rolling his eyes at the thorough ass-kissing he was surely about to be treated to. “So you figured out Lachlan. Great.”

    He turned to find Regan preening. “Well, not exactly. But I thought he might have some information that…”

    “That wasn’t a compliment, Matthews,” Lex groaned, sinking to the couch. “If you can find him, who’s to say every other…” He stopped, glaring at the TV.

    “This is the big one. You hear that Elizabeth? I’m comin’ to join you, Honey!”

    The audience seemed to find it hilarious, but Lex wasn’t in the mood. “Will you turn that damned thing off?” He snapped at Otis.

    “Oh, sure thing, Mr. L.” Otis finally closed the door and rushed to the TV to shut Fred Sanford up before turning, staring from Lex to Regan. “So… I take it this guy worked for you, huh?”

    “How did you figure that?” Lex sneered.

    “Well, he called you ‘sir,’ so I thought to myself…”

    “It wasn’t an actual question,” Lex said through clenched teeth. He turned his attention back to Regan, who was looking Otis over with obvious disdain. “How many other people are going to show up looking for Lachlan?” Lex asked, calling Regan’s attention back to him.

    “No one else. I swear, Mr. Luthor,” Regan said quickly. “I was just more vigilant than most. I followed up any and all possible leads as I never stopped believing…”

    “Yes, so you said,” Lex broke in impatiently, Regan’s sucking up, as always, rubbing him the wrong way. “You also said you’ve been loyal all this time.” He stood and moved to the mini bar, his hand hovering over a miniature Johnnie Walker Black before he forced himself to grip a lukewarm Perrier instead. “I just wonder what your definition of the word is,” he finished as he turned back, leaning against the small counter.

    Regan blinked at him, “I have never given up on you, even all these months…”

    “I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about your flagrant disregard for my orders.” He put her in a six-by-ten cell. Lex couldn’t forget that. He had her take her meals in guarded lines, in a gray jumpsuit, as if she were nothing more than…

    “With all due respect, Mr. Luthor, I didn’t defer to Mercer because I felt she was not carrying on your work in the spirit you must have believed she would.”

    Lex shook off the thought of Chloe kept like an animal and turned his attention back to Regan. “That’s not what I’m talking about, either. I have no complaints about Mercer’s work thus far.”

    Regan drew back as if offended. “Then perhaps you’re not aware that she released every single mutant in Black Creek and…”

    “And tagged them with locator chips and she is courting the loyalty of the ones she believes will be useful.” It’s something Lex wished he’d thought of himself, not that he’d tell Regan that. He’d rather Regan think it was all part of his plan. But it wasn’t. He wished it had been. He’d always been too close to the situation, also half-drunk. He moved away from the bar behind him, itching for a drink still. “I know every move Mercer makes.”

    “How do you…”

    “I’m talking about one particular… freak.” He hesitated to use the word describing her, also hated letting Regan know that Chloe was more than the average prisoner to him. But Regan had to be taken to task. “Sullivan, Regan. I left specific instructions about where she was to be held.” He wasn’t sure if the more luxurious accommodations would have gratified Chloe any more than a cell, but she would have been safer. He’d gone to The Arctic half sure he was on his way to his death and that was one of the only things he needed to be sure of; that she’d be safe. On some level, he thought, if Mercer found her there, she’d recognize Chloe was important somehow, maybe they might even be looking for him together and working side by side, where he could see her every moment and…

    “But, Sir, when you disappeared…”

    “I’m sorry.” He speared Regan with a glance. “Does that mean that my instructions don’t get carried out? I had reasons for her being kept in secure quarters with Lang when…”

    “But Lang escaped.”

    “And?” Lex still wasn’t sure how much he cared about that. “That doesn’t mean Sullivan gets put in general population. Hell, I’d rather you released her than…”

    “But with her powers…”

    “What was she going to do out there?” Lex sneered. “Heal too many people?”

    Regan shook his head. “You don’t know,” Regan said, so softly Lex barely heard it. “I thought you must have known.”

    “Known what?” Lex took a step forward.

    “Who’s Sullivan?” Otis asked, crunching on a handful of chips.

    Lex turned to Otis. He’d almost forgotten he was there. “Don’t worry about it.”

    “Just asking. Hey! Why don’t I change up that soup I was getting you and just order us all somethin’ nice, huh?” Otis smiled at the both of them.

    Neither man smiled back.

    “You know, they do this Beef Borgignahn thing here. I mean, it’s just beef stew, but pretty tasty with some nice bread and a bottle of red. Why don’t we all…”

    “Why don’t you do something useful and order it… in the other room?” Lex suggested, turning back to Regan.

    “Okay, okay.” Otis backed toward the master bedroom. “Hey, I can get us the match on pay-per-view, too, if you guys wanna…”

    “Fine,” Lex ground out. “Idiot,” he muttered when the door closed.

    Regan stared at the door. “Where did you pick up that thing?”

    “He’s been useful,” Lex growled. It was one thing when he insulted Otis. That didn’t mean Regan was allowed. “He also follows instructions,” he added. “Now what is it you think I don’t know about Sullivan?” he asked, keeping his tone level. But he was offended. He’d like to think he knew more than most.

    ”I put her in general population,” Regan said, shrugging. “But that was because I assumed you had her taken to your quarters for questioning. When you were gone, I assumed…”

    “Yes, you’ve been telling me all about what you assume. Now what about Sullivan?”

    “We had an updated note that she was a healer, but that was not what we observed. During testing, we found unnatural recall and data comprehension. It was almost like she were… some kind of computer.”

    Lex stared at Regan, but saw Chloe, standing defiantly before Tess on his feed just moments ago, refusing to hack into the crystal. He knew Chloe had leapt over the odd government firewall, but alien technology was something beyond her. Wasn’t it?

    “…crack any codes we put in front of her and even she seemed surprised by her abilities. Of course, this was when she was cooperating. As soon as she realized she wasn’t being held by the DDS, she became difficult and I had to take matters into my own hands.”

    He could barely take in any of this. Chloe’s mutated power was enough, but now he wondered what else she’d gone through at Black Creek. He’d seen Regan’s brand of autonomy with the guard at Intercept, with wanting to get rid of Milash… Lex groped for the edge of the couch and sank into it, drops of mineral water spilling in his lap. “How exactly did you do that?”

    Regan hesitantly took a seat in the small wingback across from him. “We had encrypted data on a group of mutants who attacked us while we searched for you and she had been unscrambling the transmissions into cell numbers that helped us locate each, but she stopped after only two, almost as if she knew the numbers. She attacked her holder and I had to step in and… help things along.”

    “Yes. How?” Lex ground out, clutching the plastic bottle until it caved in his hand.

    “Well, I stepped in to interrogate the terrorists we had. The water-based freak and the screamer. They were in league with The Traveler. I could tell. They were also in League with The Green Arrow, working under him. Don’t you see? They’re all connected?”

    Lex shook his head. Yes. He knew that. All of them had worked against him. Of course they were connected to each other – and to Clark, to Chloe. Maybe they were all under his spell, the same as she was. He still could barely comprehend it, but he had some sort of power over them, some form of mind control. Yet he couldn’t bring himself to care about that at the moment. As much as he was learning all he could about Clark: The Traveler, the origins and the mysterious symbols that seemed so tied to him, he could only see Chloe at Regan’s mercy. “What about her? What did you do to her?” He met Regan’s confused eyes, realized he might be giving too much away. He forced a smile. “I mean, I’ve dealt with Sullivan. I know how difficult she can be. How could anyone get her to cooperate?”

    Regan let out a chuckle. “Not willingly. I used the spinal fluid you harvested from her mother. Your scientists finally made it effective in making people… extremely cooperative. I explained to her what it was and how it only worked for a short time and…. Well, it worked on Sullivan regardless.”

    “Did it?” Lex took a long drink from his bottle, more to tamp down nausea than for thirst. He knew he had no right to be so squeamish. He’d paid for the work that made a part of her mother into a tool to be used against her. And he’d have used it eagerly… against anyone but her. She had to know that. Of course, with Regan handing that info to her, how was she to know anything but that he was toying with her and hers? Hell, even if she did know this was a call he never would have made, it wouldn’t make it better. She never seemed to care that it would all even out in the end. She’d just see him, harvesting parts of her family.

    I'm a meteor freak, Lex. I'm nothing more than something that jumped out of a petri dish to you in the end.

    It wasn’t true, whatever she thought. With her, he’d have found some other way. For her…

    Me, whoever you're holding in some undisclosed location... It's all the same. I can't pretend I'm special just because we used to fuck.

    But she was special. She had to know that. Then again, maybe she didn’t. Not after Regan… It didn’t matter. She was lost to him. He turned his attention back to Regan.

    “… finally gave us the final three digits,” he was saying. “And Green Arrow was in the facility and...”

    Lex leaned toward him at that. “And did you unmask him?”

    Regan drew back, sputtering. “Uh… Well, I… You know, I felt it would be a better use of time to inject him with the serum to have him help us find you, Sir.”

    “Yes, of course.” Lex rolled his eyes. “Because knowing his identity is definitely not something we could use against him.”

    “Well, he disappeared from the facility and the others escaped and I knew that Mercer would screw it up, which is exactly what she did. She freed all the…”

    “Mercer hasn’t done anything she wasn’t told to,” Lex lied quickly before moving on. “But Sullivan was freed, obviously. I’ve seen her.”

    “How did you…”

    “Never mind that,” Lex cut him off. He wasn’t about to tell Regan about the feed Tess was giving. “Let’s just say Sullivan’s not using her powers to plot world domination. She’s planning her God damned wedding,” he muttered before he could stop himself. Somehow, it was all making him angrier. If her healing powers had somehow mutated into super-intelligence, then why was she marrying Jimmy Fucking Olsen? But what was it to him? He had to forget her… except for how he was still waiting on a hack from those Isis computers of what he knew had to be her work. But her personal life was nothing to him now. It had to be.

    “Well, it’s a relief, Sir. But that doesn’t mean our work is done.”

    He turned to Regan, shaking his head. “Our work?” If anything was truly nothing to him these days, it was Regan. “I think our work together is done.”

    “I beg to disagree, Mr. Luthor.”

    Lex narrowed his eyes. “What are you after? Money? Your extremely generous salary was paid up until the end of this year,” Lex said pointedly, standing.

    Regan put his hands and stood as well. “Sir, I’m not extorting you. I truly believe in your cause. The Traveler must be identified and destroyed.”

    The Traveler had been identified and, as for him being destroyed… Lex didn’t like to think about that part. It had all seemed so simple in that crystalline shelter, in the moment it fell around him and Clark, as if it was an act of God. It had seemed like an end that was so simple and clean. They would leave the world safe, leave it together. But they were alive and the idea of calculating plans to destroy someone he’d once called a friend…

    “And Project Prometheus must be completed at all cost if we are to…”

    “What?” Lex shook of the thought of Clark and stared at Regan. He wasn’t supposed to know about that.

    “I tracked down a few more employees and found a Doctor Groll that…”

    “Yes, I know who he is,” Lex said, standing and pacing away. “But I thought Prometheus was scrapped,” he lied, “considering I was missing.”

    “Groll seemed to indicate it was ongoing under an anonymous backer.”

    Yes, me. Lex busied himself with pouring the rather flattened Perrier into a tumbler and bending to the mini fridge for ice cubes. Regan knew too much.

    “If we can lure him back,” Regan went on, “then the project can be in its rightful…”

    “Boxing!” Otis slammed out of the master bedroom. “I tell ya, we picked the right night for a fight. We got Kelly Pavlik and Bernard Hopkins, kid versus old timer and right oughtta Atlantic City. Call me crazy, but I think the old guy has a chance. Anyway, the food’ll be right up, they said.”

    “Yes. Thank you,” Lex said tensely, turning to him, then staring at him blankly.

    “You okay, Mr. L?”

    “I don’t know,” Lex sighed. Here he was standing between two loyal employees. One a complete idiot, the other a complete asshole. Of course, the idiot was pleasant and the asshole was competent and he wondered why he couldn’t take the best qualities of both and combine them into an employee he could stand to be around. God, he still missed Gina!

    But, damn it all, he had to work with what he had.

    “There’s something I need you to do,” he said, agitating the ice in his glass as he turned to Regan.

    “Anything, Sir,” Regan said eagerly, stepping forward. “Did you want me to liaison with Groll about your current location so that…”

    “No,” he cut in. He didn’t even want Regan to know his current location, but that couldn’t be helped. “I can handle Groll,” he said dismissively. “I want you to retrieve something from Tess Mercer… without her knowledge. An artifact: a crystal.” He didn’t want her prying into it any further. Not yet. He’d seen it for himself, the way she scoffed at the idea of other life forms. He might have felt that way in her place, but he’d seen too much. But Tess hadn’t seen enough, not to deal with this.

    Regan looked annoyingly gratified. “Yes. She might not be discerning enough to deal with the things we have. I can certainly…”

    “Get it tonight,” Lex cut in. He may have been thinking the same thing himself, but he didn’t care for Regan’s easy agreement. “Then we’ll see if I require your services further,” Lex finished, wanting to leave him in some doubt.

    There was a knock at the door and Otis rushed to it. “That’s the food. You guys are in for a real treat. They do some real nice…”

    “I don’t think I’ll be staying for that,” Regan cut in with a very tight, very false smile at Otis. “I have things to do.” He moved closer to Lex. “I will get it tonight. You will see.” Regan said before pushing past Otis, past the room service cart, and out the door.

    Metropolis, October 9th, 2008 – 11:12 am

    Chloe kept her eyes on the new Isis files. More and more people were coming forward and requesting counseling. Putting ads in all the tri-county papers, even the tabloids, hadn’t hurt. Lana may have started Isis, but she’d done very little with it so far. Chloe remembered having to hunt it down, herself. She had to make sure they knew there was something out there other than Belle Reve.

    She stared at her ad from The Smallville Ledger, filing it with the others for posterity. Sometimes she was proud of it, of the wording, the way it offered no judgment. She’d like to think it beckoned them in and maybe someone with her way with words should actually be writing or… She should stop thinking about things she couldn’t have. Counseling these other mutants was something she could have. She wasn’t even sure if she was qualified to do that, but she’d been in their position and that was something. Hell, she’d spent so many years exposing them and their crimes, the least she could do now is offer a safe space in the hopes that maybe less of them would turn to crime.

    “Chloe?”

    She heard Clark’s voice and shoved the ad in the file. What was she doing worrying about her qualifications for Isis now? She had other concerns. Jimmy-related concerns. “Hey. I just talked to the doctor. I'm bringing Jimmy home in two hours, with his heart in the right place and his hormones in check,” she finished as she slammed the cabinet shut and moved to the table with the new apps for group therapy.

    “I guess you figured out that Maxima kissed Jimmy,” she heard Clark say.

    Chloe turned to him, trying to lean very casually against the table. “Oh, please. One look at Jimmy's blood panels, and I put it all together.” And she wasn’t angry. She really wasn’t. She’d been relieved, in fact. Maybe Jimmy had strayed a little, but could she say she hadn’t? The very night before Lex disappeared, she strayed a damned lot... with Lex. And maybe they weren’t engaged then. Maybe she’d even resigned herself to running away with Lex at that moment, Jimmy and her over in her mind.

    It hadn’t turned out that way. Now, she was marrying Jimmy with a toy ring on her finger to prove it. She had to keep reminding herself why. Jimmy was good for her. Jimmy was safe. Jimmy was normal. He might get sucked into her strange world sometimes, but she had to remind herself that it wasn’t Jimmy’s fault. Maybe this actually evened things out a little.

    “I can't say I'm thrilled that he macked on an alien goddess,” she said levelly to Clark, “but I got to say --Maxima knows how to rev a guy's engine.” Things between her and Jimmy had never truly revved up again. Maybe this was really her fault. She’d shut him out. If she weren’t so caught up in Lex, even now, even with him gone…

    “Yeah, speaking from experience,” Clark was saying, “he didn't stand a chance. Especially since she went after him when he was vulnerable. He was really shaken up about some letter.”

    Chloe moved away, so caught up in her own guilt about Lex that she’d nearly forgot what set Jimmy off. But, damn it, it was still ridiculous. “Yeah. That letter was for you. I, uh, read it to you sophomore year in high school when you were really sick. The only way I had enough guts to tell you how I actually felt was when you were unconscious,” she said in a rush as she moved to her desk and her bag to retrieve it. But, even saying the whens and the whys of the letter brought it home more. It was ridiculous. She’d been fifteen when she wrote that and she and Clark had never done anything then. Hell, they’d never really done anything since. Yet, for two years, Jimmy kept insisting on feeling threatened by Clark.

    Yet, even as she handed the letter to Clark, she knew Jimmy had a reason to be threatened. It just wasn’t by Clark. Damn it again! Maybe she deserved his suspicion. Maybe it was there rightfully and Jimmy was just putting it on the wrong guy.

    "I may not be the one you love today,” Clark read aloud, “but I'll let you go for now, hoping one day you'll fly back to me."

    Chloe tried to smile. “The kicker is, you did respond, with one word -- Lana." It still hurt just a little, not with who she was now, but how she felt then had a sort of echo, getting weaker with time. It had hurt then, wanting someone so much, pouring so much into resisting it and working with them, then feeling so very unwanted in return. But it had dulled over the last year. Sometimes she wondered if she truly loved Clark. She had no doubt she felt that way at the time, but maybe it was just admiration and friendship and, obviously, attraction. He’d attracted her on so many levels and, to feel something that intense and find it unrequited was a devastating blow to a girl… and especially at fifteen. She did feel valued by him on other levels: for her work ethic, loyalty, certain special skills. But the sting of feeling unwanted, unattractive only went away years later.

    And she desperately wished she could say that her relationship had been the catalyst. But it had really all started with a forgotten birthday and a bottle of scotch… She turned her attention back to Clark and his heavily furrowed brow.

    “I guess I always knew. I just...

    “Clark, that was a long time ago,” she cut in, moving to him, hoping to cut off the guilt train before it left the station. “Don't worry. I don't feel that way now. I just wanted you to read it so that I could finally close that chapter of my life and put it behind me.”

    He was still frowning.

    “But don't get me wrong. I don't regret having had those feelings.” Maybe most of her willingness to help him had started out with a crush, but it had gone deeper by now. Working with him, making the world a better place at his side had become second nature by now. She did love him, but with something so much deeper than a teenage crush. They were partners in this now. Loving Clark had paved the way for saving the world and… Jimmy. She had to remember Jimmy. “But that's because they helped prepare me so that I was ready to share my love with the perfect person. And to me, that person is Jimmy.” It would be. It had to be. They’d gone this far. She could forgive the things she knew in the hopes that Jimmy would have forgiven all the things he could never know. It would be fine. Everyone would be fine. Of course, Clark was still looking so aggrieved. “So you blew it, Bud.” She took the letter back with a smile, hoping he’d return it.

    Clark did, finally. “I just want you to be happy.”

    He meant it. Clark was almost incapable of lying, after all. That’s why he needed her around. “Clark, what you and I have, I will never share with anyone else.” She wasn’t even sure what to call it at this point. It was too vital to be called friendship and a little too incestuous to be called family. “You're my BFF,” she said, settling on that, silly as it was, “which is why, um, when Jimmy and I get married, I was hoping that... you would give me away at the altar.” It wasn’t as if she had anyone else to do it. Her father had responded to her “save the date” in the negative, after all. She’d been trying not to think about that.

    But Clark was all smiles. “Absolutely. I'd be honored to, Chloe.” He pulled her in.

    She hugged him back, but kind of waited for the realization. The “what about your father? Why isn’t he giving you away?” She didn’t want to think about it, but sometimes she wished just one person would ask so she could give voice to all the resentment of it. Even Lois never mentioned him except for a bland “What’s Uncle Gabe doing these days?” Chloe sometimes felt like he was some distant uncle to her as well. She forced a smile as Clark pulled away.

    “And I may have an early wedding present for you,” he said brightly. “Since Jor-El created Brainiac, I think he can cure your infection.”

    Chloe moved away, forcing herself to hold that smile. “Maybe so, but I thought that when the fortress disappeared, so did your father.” Infection. She almost hated to think of this that way. Maybe it was a gift. She didn’t ask for it, but she didn’t exactly ask for healing and this was… Well, it could be… She didn’t want to say “better,” but it could be more useful on a day-to-day basis. Yet she wasn’t sure Clark was ready for that take on it.

    “Jor-El's just complex computer programming inside a Kryptonian crystal,” he said, “the same crystal that produced the fortress. And now Tess Mercer has it.”

    Chloe thought back to last night, Tess in The Talon, coming at her with honeyed words and then veiled threats in a rather Luthory way she knew all too well… and maybe missed a little, perverse as it was. But she’d been too busy dismissing her to think further. “That's the computer she wants me to hack into.”

    “I think I can re-create Jor-El and the fortress. I just need to get that crystal back. The only problem is, I've already searched the Daily Planet and the mansion. I haven't found it.”

    “Maybe this time, we use a little less brawn and a little more brain.”

    Manhattan, October 9th, 2008, 2:02 pm

    Lex needed a little more sleep… or any. Still, he wasn’t sure he could get any now, with Otis snoring away on the couch. He’d tried to go into the bedroom and it seemed almost louder. Why the hell hadn’t he gotten rid of him yet? Still, Otis had come through. His little associate finally hacked through Chloe’s defenses at Isis and Lex, as much as he knew he needed sleep, didn’t exactly want it when he could spend more time poring over the spoils.

    It wasn’t as if Chloe kept a journal of everything she did. He wasn’t so lucky, especially with how tight she’d been with her work at The Planet. But he knew she was one to keep a hell of a database and he wasn’t disappointed. Most of it he knew of, the Torch articles, The Ledger, The Planet, even national publications scanned in… all relating to what had been her life’s work, cataloguing the freak events and outright freaks out of Smallville. But there was one file in particular he wanted. He knew she had to have something on the symbols. He just never expected it was a God damned dictionary.

    He hadn’t been able to sleep, obsessed trying to translate what he could with Swann’s notes. It was a long and boring process. It wasn’t as if the symbols were in any order he could comprehend. And there were thousands of them. He’d barely gotten two sentences.

    This is Kal-El of Krypton, our infant son, our last hope. Please protect him and deliver him from…

    That was an entire night’s work. He’d need a damned team working night and day, but he couldn’t have that. There weren’t enough people he trusted with something this huge.

    Kal-El. He knew who that was by now and…

    Otis let out another loud one and Lex groped blindly for his headphones to catch Tess’ stream. He wasn’t sure that was much better as Tess was still punching and kicking away at her trainer. He listened absently to her and the man. His Japanese had never been as good as his German and both were a little rusty from disuse, but it seemed she was horribly unfocused. She hit harder at the accusation. He knew why she was so pissed off. He’d seen her open that case this morning and stalk all over the mansion, but hadn’t listened in as she’d almost immediately gone to change for this little workout session and he didn’t want to see that. Besides, he didn’t need to see or hear anything more. It was obvious enough that Regan had done his job.

    He stared at his phone, thinking he’d probably have to dole out some kind of positive reinforcement in that direction. Regan was still an asshole, but he was an extremely efficient one. He’d barely started pulling his headphones off when he saw her. Not Tess. Her.

    He leaned forward, but Tess turned away from Chloe and back to her trainer. Luckily, she dismissed the man and quickly turned to face Chloe again… then walked right past her.

    “Damn it, no!”

    “Do you kickbox, Chloe?” Tess asked, then turned to Chloe again. “I find it helps focus my anger.”

    She was wearing a skirt. He really did miss her legs in a skirt… and other parts. He wished she’d turn around.

    “Maybe I should rush over to the dojo,” Chloe said, rather bitterly, “cause I have a lot of it building up right now.”

    Of course, he was okay with seeing her angry, too. How many times had they started out that way only to end somewhere else. He wondered if… He drew back, reminding himself he wasn’t Tess, even if he was seeing Chloe through her eyes. She wouldn’t make the same moves he would in her position unless… He shook himself, rather sickened by the idea. As much as the sight of two attractive women had always been a little treat, the thought of Chloe touched by anyone but him wasn’t something he wanted to see, let alone the strange repulsion that always seemed to hit him at the idea of Tess in any sort of sexual…

    “Call me paranoid,” Tess said, drawing him back to what was actually happening, “but it sounds like that rage is directed at me.”

    Chloe nearly spoke over her, her eyes hard. “I don't appreciate people breaking into my office when I'm not around.”

    Tess was in Isis?

    “The door was open.”

    Lex shook his head. He must have missed that. Fucking Regan! The man might have retrieved the crystal, but he’d distracted him all damned night before that! Of course, that wouldn’t have happened if he had something with enough drive space to save the feed, rather than at the mercy of the stream. He couldn’t keep this up, dealing with a laptop and whatever hotel room he ended up in.

    “Do it again, and I'll press charges,” he heard Chloe say.

    “You made your point.” Tess moved past her, which annoyed Lex to no end, grabbing a towel off her… his desk, actually.

    “Listen, while I'm here, maybe I could take a look at that supercomputer.”

    He sat up straighter. Why was she so interested? Of course, he knew why. It would have to do with Clark. Maybe he sent her here, under whatever hold he had on her. That aside, he still didn’t know how to feel about it, that Chloe could deal with something so advanced as to be beyond him and all the scientists he knew. It made him almost wistful for a different world, one where they worked together. But he abandoned that thought as Tess turned back to Chloe, still so hungry for the sight of her.

    “Sorry, but, uh... looks like the little hacker bird missed the worm.”

    Chloe moved toward Tess, her brows drawing together. “What do you mean? I thought you said that I was the only one capable of getting into it.”

    “You might be, but we won't know now, because I don't have it.”

    Lex glanced at his phone again, reminding himself to call Fucking Regan when Tess’ eyes slid to the desk again.

    “It was stolen,” she said, her gaze moving to Chloe once more.

    Chloe looked rather adorably confused again. “Well, who else would want it?”

    Tess started to move. “I intend to find out. Stay by your phone, Chloe. Only a handful of people knew about that device,” he eyes slid away again, “and when I find out who has it, I'm taking it back.” That was it. Only one short glance at Chloe before she started pummeling her trainer again.

    Lex vaguely heard the click of Chloe’s heels fading away between the grunts and punches. He found his interest fading as well, the longer he knew she’d left the room. He tore the headphones off, annoyed at himself. He had to stop this. This obsessive focus on Chloe achieved nothing. She was engaged to her manchild and counseling the very people he had tried to protect the world from and she was… she was the enemy. He hated to think it, but there was a line between them and there had always been. When would he stop stupidly attempting to erase it?

    He reached for his phone, trying to focus on what needed to be done. As annoying as it would be, he had to give Regan his due. The man had been useful.

    “Sir?”

    “I understand Mercer’s found the crystal missing and she’s very upset,” he said dully. “Well done.”

    “Is she?” Regan laughed.

    It only served to annoy Lex. “So where is it?”

    “It’s safe.”

    “You said you have it,” Lex prodded Regan, a little worried now. Would the man try to hold it for some kind of collateral? He still wasn’t stupid enough to trust Regan implicitly.

    “Yes. I retrieved it fairly easily and…”

    “Then why aren’t I holding it right now?”

    “You said you’d be moving on to London. I thought I might stay on here, tie up some loose ends, then meet you there when…”

    Lex held the phone away, rubbing at his eyes. God, he was too tired for dealing with whatever Regan thought.

    “…obviously need to monitor Chloe Sullivan.”

    He brought the phone back to his ear quickly. “What?” He hadn’t told Regan about the hack. After the way Regan treated her, he didn’t even want Sullivan on Regan’s radar. “Why would I need that?”

    “Well, you seemed so interested in her before. I thought you might want eyes on Sullivan.”

    He did. Dear God, he did. But not like this. “That was just…” Damn it! How was he going to get out of this? “I wanted her under special care at Black Creek for her… connections and the hope her loyalties could be changed.” It was nearly true. “Since it’s obvious that won’t happen, I have no further interest in her. I’m… I’m not even sure she knows anything we can use,” he lied. “Just get me the crystal and…”

    “But it won’t take much,” Regan cut in. “I can easily hire maintenance workers to bug her apartment and…”

    “You’re wasting time.” Even saying it he knew it would be useful. He might need eyes somewhere else other than wherever Tess happened to be. But bugging her home… It was something he hadn’t done, even before. It was something even he knew was a touch too far. Unfortunately, Regan had no problem taking things too far, as usual.

    “I’ve already made preliminary arrangements. The meter reading at The Talon can include all parts and a simple…”

    “No,” Lex broke in. That would mean seeing her at home, seeing her with Olsen. And that wasn’t happening. “I have other ways of seeing what I need to and I don’t want your work wasted on… some den mother to low-rent freaks.” He wondered how Chloe saw it, what she was dedicating herself to now. He hadn’t gone through the entire Isis database, so seduced by all those symbols. But he’d glanced over enough to know that seemed to be her plan: counseling them, keeping their secrets in some vain hope they’d be useful members of society with some coffee and donuts and group sessions.

    He supposed she saw it as some kind of mission of mercy. She was the type to. This power... I was given a gift and it's my right to use it to... do good things. That was what she said. And he knew that wasn’t just her healing power talking. It was just her. But her power had obviously mutated and here she was, still giving herself to any sad stray who needed her. He hadn’t complained so much when her focus had been on him, but that wasn’t what had him so annoyed now. He may think this was a bit beneath her, especially now, but she wasn’t just helping the freaks. She was helping Clark. Why else would she have a damned database of his home planet’s symbols? But to what end? He had to find out. But not like this. Besides the obvious violation, it felt almost like cheating.

    “I still think,” Regan was saying, “she might know more. I saw it at Black Creek. She knew what she was decrypting and…”

    “Because she’s a sympathizer,” Lex cut in. “She’s an under-qualified therapist to freaks and nothing more. So she knows a few vigilantes. That doesn’t mean she can lead us to The Traveler any more than your failed experiment with Green Arrow did,” he said, hoping that would be the end of it.

    Regan was silent on the other end, so he knew it must be.

    “I’m still more concerned about how you found me,” Lex began, wondering if he’d berated him too hard. Regan still had the crystal. He didn’t want him holding out for wounded pride. “Your particular skills must have helped things along, but what about others? Are we sure no one else is on the same trail?”

    “Sir, believe me. No one else was following my leads. There may have been whispers here and there, some ideas of someone fitting your description seen in Georgetown.”

    Lex groaned. He actually hadn’t thought he’d been noticed so far.

    “I swear,” Regan was saying, “It was only enough to know you were alive.”

    “Enough,” Lex repeated dully. “That’s more than they need to know.”

    “Well, it was only from some associates overseas who travel in similar circles, stay at similar hotels.”

    “Damn it.” He should have known. Just because he had the money to spend didn’t mean he had to spend it. If anything, the ostentation would only draw attention. He’d have to downgrade. “If you hear any more whispers, whisper something else,” he began. “Get the word out that I’m done for, weak as a kitten, at death's door.”

    “Weak? Why would you want anyone to think…”

    “Because they won’t be expecting me. Just get here,” he barked. “I need you here,” he said, just a little more nicely now. He still needed the crystal. Hell, he might still also need Regan, effective as he was.

    “Yes, Sir. Immediately.”

    Lex hung up and stared at his computer, content to let his enemies believe he was weak. It wasn’t something he’d ever tried before. In the corporate world, it was almost a sin. But he wasn’t in that world now. And he was feeling stronger every day.

    He glanced over Tess’ feed, still wailing on her trainer, maybe harder than before. He wondered if Chloe’s visit had something to do with that. He knew the confusion in Chloe’s eyes was genuine, but he wasn’t sure Tess did. Taking that crystal wasn’t some petty act. She wasn’t informed enough to have it. She hadn’t seen enough to know what she was holding.

    He frowned at the screen, then finally decided to take the heat off Chloe. Maybe not just that. Tess had to know, in whatever small way he could tell her, that he was on her team.

    Implanting spyware in her eyes? That’s teamwork for you. The voice, as always, sounded too much like Chloe’s.

    It hadn’t been the plan, making her his eyes. It has been happenstance. Hell, he hadn’t even been the one that hired her. That had been under Lionel’s watch. He’d scouted her out and Lex had been thinking of shutting her entire project down the day he went to inspect their work. When the explosion destroyed the South Pacific lab, it was probably grounds for doing just that. But he went in after her. Something told him to. He could barely explain it. And he hadn’t even planned to implant the nano-cams. But her optic damage demanded reconstructive surgery and when his scientists had suggested testing the transmitters on her, it seemed to good an opportunity to waste.

    Yet he’d balked at first. It seemed a waste of time, for one thing, using that technology on a lab research assistant. For another, he felt… He wasn’t sure what he felt then or why he cared, but there was a certain guilt in saving her life only to invade it. That same impulse that had him going into the burning building after that somber, no-nonsense red-head almost pulled him away from going through with this violation.

    But, in the end, it was impractical to waste a perfect opportunity to test the technology and those same objections became arguments in favor of it – she was just an assistant. And hadn’t he saved her life? Surely this was a small price for her to pay. He had given her a generous raise, however. And he’d made it a point to know her better.

    It wasn’t exactly engrossing stuff, looking into the goings on of a laboratory. But he found her background interesting enough. She was smart, obviously overqualified for her position. He didn’t often find one of his employees had made it into an Ivy League college while still wearing braces, so he sat up a little straighter when he accessed her feed after knowing that.

    Besides that, she was loyal to him, almost to a fault. No coworker could complain about the boss without her sternly reminding them he saved her life. He found a certain gratification in that, even found himself watching her work, the way she interacted with those around her and, seeing her world, he almost found himself knowing what she might say or do, as if he was transmitting his will to her, impossible as it seemed. There was a kinship there. And maybe some of it had been his mourning Gina, maybe some of it had been that burnt red hair that sometimes made him think of his mother when she passed by a mirror, but he had faith in her, enough to put her in charge of everything he’d fought to control even if it seemed like a shot in the dark.

    She hadn’t disappointed him so far. She needed to know that somehow. He pulled up his email and searched through his pictures, looking for the crystal’s gif scan Groll had last sent him. He quickly masked his IP and address and tried to think up a subject line that might not get sent to spam before he settled on “LOOKING FOR THIS?”

    Was it vague? Maybe. But he knew her by now. She’d look over everything. She had that sort of dedication.

    He took the scan and added text:

    WE WILL DISCUSS THIS LATER

    No. That was implying a meeting and he wasn’t sure he wanted her to anticipate something he couldn’t deliver. He stared over the symbols printed out and spread over the table. He still had so much to do.

    YOU WILL KNOW WHY IN TIME

    No. He wasn’t even sure he could promise that. Maybe he was wrong about Tess. She’d done well in his stead so far, but she might never be able to handle the… alien element. She’d scoffed at it so readily. She was…

    He finally settled on the truth…

    YOU ARE NOT READY YET

    He sat back, staring at the words. Then he stared over the symbols, scrawled on every but of paper he could find and barely known to him, still.

    This is Kal-El of Krypton, our infant son, our last hope. Please protect him and…

    And what? What was he the last hope for? Conquering other planets? Visitors from Krypton had been here before. He knew that much from the caves. He knew that from Veritas and all the talk of The Traveler. But to what end?

    YOU ARE NOT READY YET

    The words might as well apply to him. But it didn’t matter if he was ready to know. He could never stand not knowing.

    YOU ARE NOT READY YET – X

    He added the letter hastily and hit send, not sure if he was hoping she knew it was a message from him or if she didn’t.

    It didn’t matter. It was done. He minimized her feed and brought up Chloe’s little Rosetta Stone again. He had to do this, symbol by symbol...

    This is Kal-El of Krypton, our infant son, our last hope. Please protect him and… deliver… him… from… evil…

    He sat back. It sounded almost noble. Almost like a prayer. Of course, he had to wonder what the Krypton definition of evil was...

    TBC

    Lex right now…



    I’m taking him on a little journey in this fic, getting him all the knowledge I can and having him draw his own conclusions, whether they’re wrong or not, to start with. I really want Lex to indulge in all the info-porn he ever wanted before I have him meet up with Chloe again.

    Anyway, I really did want to deal with more than Instinct in this chapter, but it just had so many things, between Chloe and Lex, that I wanted to address. Even as I write it, Chloe is obviously frustrating with her so blindly marrying never-right-for-her Jimmy and Lex is annoying in still theorizing Clark is an evil overlord mind-controlling his subjects. The difference between me and Smallville’s season 8 is I’m only writing these issues to fix them later. The show never did explain why they kept shoving Chimmy at us when pretty much no one enjoyed it, did they? Seriously, if they were planning to kill him off and NOTJIMMY him, then why? Why did we have to watch his non-chemistry with Chloe? Why?

    Ah, this show. Even years later, it’s still frustrating.

    I will try to get through two episodes in the next chapter. I really don’t want this fic to be as long as the last if I can help it.

    BTW, sometimes I use music to force myself to focus when I am blocked (and I was so blocked on this chapter). Sometimes the song is what I imagine to be playing during the “scene” and sometimes it’s just something light enough to put me in the mood to write without being too obtrusive. This chapter seemed to want light progressive rock. My playlist was…

    Rilo Kiley: Science vs. Romance
    Furniture: Brilliant Mind
    M83: Midnight City

    I promise to be back in less than a month with the next, if not sooner!

  7. #17
    NS Full Member TrinityR's Avatar
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    Re: Out of the Depths (sequel to Deep In the Bottle/The Depths We Sink To)

    I'm posting here the same comment I left you on your blog (ou answer here faster I guess) plus, I have a few comments I suspect you never read to you other stories, so I just paste them here, all right?

    To this chap

    Finally!! I thought I would never stop waiting!
    There are two things I keep waiting for this summer! First is the final season of True Blood and every episode I watch with my eyes plastered to the screaan and with oblivity to what's happening outside the show,
    then there's your fic. I'm reading it the very same way!!!

    I don't know whether to leave you a comment here or on NaughtySeduction... maybe on both is safer? It's enogh for you though to just answer one one site.

    Hahha! I love that:
    “What was she going to do out there?” Lex sneered. “Heal too many people?”


    You know, make it as long as it can be. I don't mind - just write faster lol


    Oh, and one more thing. Will you adress the episode in which Chloe lost her mind? That would be interesting if all she could remember was Lex...
    Wishful thinking from my part?
    And then Clark earased her memories and that could be a perfect reason for her to kind of turn her back on him!! (provided she found out;/)


    Almost Lois Intro:

    just finished rereading this part. I even enjoy it more the second time around!! I LOVE LOVE LOVE this series!!
    Just wanted to tell you that
    As a writer myself I know how hard it is to actually come up with something new regarding Smallville or Superman and make it original, it is also hard to write a story like an actual book, it has certainly taken me a lot of time to learn until I did it, so I really respect you for this and for finishing all your stories too! There is nothing worse than just leaving your readers hanging there! Especially ,when it's so well written!

    Almost Clark chap 13.

    think I have grown up and matured with this story as well as you said you have.
    When I read it first and then kept on waiting for the updates I kept thinkng: Chloe! Just forgive him already! be with him! Stop pushing him away!
    But now when I actually am rereading it, I see that you made it all perfect, because what Clark did to Chloe was not right and what she let him do was not right either.
    But I can understand them. I was there once, few years ago when I still wasn't that mature.
    Now that I have grown I think differently and I just wanted tell you that you really did a great job with writing Chloe and Clark through all those parts. They have grown up.


    Almost Whole Intro:

    I can't believe I did not catch that the first time I was reading this!
    A person who would want to hurt both Lex and Chloe? After some thinking it can be pretty obvious.
    I notice the hint in doctor Albright's scribbled. It was: grady. leery.
    And I was like... Chloe!! can't you... wait, you can't. You can't remember.
    How could I miss this before?


    I love how you write Martha. Especially I love the chapter when she says this: Happiness isn't a happy ending. Because there is no ending. Life goes on. Happiness is... moments. These little times when you appreciate what you have more fully.

    It's so true I wish I knew that myself earlier but I guess it's good I figured that out in my early twnties than later lol


    Tightly Controlled:

    You know, you should write some hot Clex fic


    That would be all
    Can;t wait for more of Chlex!

  8. #18

    Re: Out of the Depths (sequel to Deep In the Bottle/The Depths We Sink To)

    Quote Originally Posted by TrinityR View Post
    I'm posting here the same comment I left you on your blog (ou answer here faster I guess) plus, I have a few comments I suspect you never read to you other stories, so I just paste them here, all right?
    I'm so sorry I let replies pile up so much. It's just so hard on fics that aren't current. It's hard enough to find time to write, let alone reply to replies. LOL. But I do save each one when they come into my email in a folder to get through and, I don't know if you've noticed, but I've started replying to backed-up comments on my "fic homework entries," including yours. I have a plan in place to get to yours in bulk whenever I update Chlex (whether it's on a Chlex fic or not) as I know you Chlex the most.

    Finally!! I thought I would never stop waiting!
    There are two things I keep waiting for this summer! First is the final season of True Blood and every episode I watch with my eyes plastered to the screaan and with oblivity to what's happening outside the show,
    then there's your fic. I'm reading it the very same way!!!
    LOL. I'm glad to be right up there with TV! Makes me feel like a showrunner. Sorry the wait's been so long. A girl's gotta pay the bills, first of all, and we all know fic doesn't exactly help with that.

    I don't know whether to leave you a comment here or on NaughtySeduction... maybe on both is safer? It's enogh for you though to just answer one one site.
    Honestly, it's easiest to leave it on the forum for whatever fic as I always reply to any and all comments before posting on a forum. I try to reply to comments on blogger, but the notifications/threading issues frustrate me there. So I am much more vigilant either here or on Ksite.

    Hahha! I love that:
    “What was she going to do out there?” Lex sneered. “Heal too many people?”
    Heh. It really is a non-issue, that healing power. TBH, I really wished the show had kept it once they established it as her power rather than brush it aside. I think Chloe struggling with whether to use something so self-damaging could have been an interesting dilemma and it's something the show barely explored. I'm not saying I wouldn't have wanted her to have something cooler to work with, but once the show gave her that, I wish they'd dealt with it realistically rather than just getting rid of it in season 8.

    You know, make it as long as it can be. I don't mind - just write faster lol
    If only I could!

    and one more thing. Will you adress the episode in which Chloe lost her mind? That would be interesting if all she could remember was Lex...
    Wishful thinking from my part?
    I have been toying with the idea of SOMETHING happening involving Chlex during that episode's timeline. I won't be going AU or changing canon, but I have had a scene in mind. But I'll say no more on that for now.

    And then Clark earased her memories and that could be a perfect reason for her to kind of turn her back on him!! (provided she found out;/)
    I've dealt with Chloe finding out in a couple fics by now on a Chlark level. I do want her to find out here, too. But it might not be the same way. Suffice it to say, this will be addressed in this fic in a different way. I just haven't worked out how yet.

    I'm going to answer your other fic comments in the current "fic homework" entry on my blog, among others. It's not like this forum kicks you out for not being Chlexy enough or for multishipping, but this is a Chlex forum, so I'll keep the other Chloe ships there. Cool?

    That would be all
    Can;t wait for more of Chlex!
    I can't, either! Every time I get into this fic, I wish I could stay a while. But it's got a few other fics on the front burner ahead of it. Once I get them done, I can settle into this one for a good long while!

  9. #19
    NS Full Member
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    Re: Out of the Depths (sequel to Deep In the Bottle/The Depths We Sink To)

    glad you updated can't wait to see what happens next

  10. #20
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    Wink Re: Out of the Depths (3rd of a trilogy - updated 7/14/14)

    Your fic is better than the last two seasons of Smallville (so disappointed with so many unresolved/unexplored story arcs)! I stumbled across your first story in this trilogy and am blown away with your sexy/villainous/dastardly/powerful/human depiction of Lex and the snarky/intelligent/torn/kindred Chloe.

    I can't say enough great things about each of your fics, but especially this last update. I love that Lex is still pining for Chloe (and really hope that we can get Jimmy out of the way ASAP and avoid Davis altogether--hated that little tangent the writers took her on). Chloe seems only to really respond to Lex when she feels needed by him; when is he ever going to get that through his thick skull and just come clean with her? So deliciously frustrating.

    I love that Lex has put down the bottle and is focusing on being more honest...now he just needs to be honest with himself about the depth of his feelings for Chloe and grovel/trick her into wanting him again. He could always dangle Clark over her head to get her back by his side--which is where she belongs.

    So excited for a new update! Thank you for the lovely and all-consuming (Yes, I binge-read all of your fics in a weekend!) writing.

    ~flirty
    Last edited by flirtydramagirl; 5th August 2014 at 22:24.

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