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Thread: The Villain in Me (NC-17) (Updated 02/15/2015)

  1. #21
    Spunky Chick Senior Member hfce's Avatar
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    Re: The Villain in Me (PG-13) - Chapter 4 A Tale of Two Girls

    More please. I love it.
    "Everyone seems normal until you get to know them. "

  2. #22

    Re: The Villain in Me (PG-13) - Chapter 4 A Tale of Two Girls

    Yeah! Thanks for the love!

  3. #23
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    Re: The Villain in Me (PG-13) - Chapter 4 A Tale of Two Girls

    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!!

  4. #24

    Re: The Villain in Me (PG-13) - Chapter 4 A Tale of Two Girls

    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!

  5. #25

    The Villain in Me (PG-13) - Chapter 5 Party Games

    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.

  6. #26
    NS Full Member
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    Re: The Villain in Me (PG-13) - Chapter 5 Party Games

    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.

  7. #27

    Re: The Villain in Me (PG-13) - Chapter 5 Party Games

    *sigh* I couldn't agree more about the missed opportunity. Ah well. I'll just have to write it myself.

  8. #28

    The Villain in Me (PG) - Chapter 6 Choosing Sides

    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!

  9. #29
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    Re: The Villain in Me (PG) - Chapter 6 Choosing Sides

    great update can't wait to see what happens next

  10. #30
    NS Full Member Ami Rose's Avatar
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    Re: The Villain in Me (PG) - Chapter 6 Choosing Sides

    That was a great fic too bad it was never finished
    *Coffee Break 9:00 to 5:00 Daily.
    *Heaven doesn't want me and hell is afraid I'll take over.
    *Are you crazy?
    *From zero to insane in 1.5 seconds!
    *If I agree with you, then we'd both be wrong!

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