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14 February 2009 @ 01:58 pm
"Finding the Way Back" (Chlex Drama/Romance)- PG-13: Chapters 1 & 2  

Here´s the beginning of another old Chlex fic of mine. Enjoy!

Summary
: Thirty-six-year old Chloe finds herself in a conundrum when someone very dear to her leaves her side and accidentally sets the wheels of destiny in motion. Chloe is forced to take some painful decisions to protect two innocent people and recover or lose the love of her life for ever.

Rating: PG-13

Author: lexie (lillianschild )

Disclaimer: all Superman and Smallville characters belong to DC Comics and Gough & Millar. No Infringement's intended.

Spoilers: Relic (borrowed some lines used by PI Mason),Perry, Shattered, Asylum (I´ve borrowed a couple of lines that Lex said to Clark).

 

FINDING THE WAY BACK

CHAPTER 1: Flying Away

Two years had gone by since Laura flew away from home. Chloe had known that day would come but that knowledge hadn´t made things any easier. As her dad Gabe would remind her time and time again, she had done her part to the best of her ability. Nevertheless, when all was said and done, she would never relinquish the role that God had assigned her in Laura´s life.

¨It takes a father to know how you feel, sweetheart, ¨said Gabe over coffee. ¨Now you know what I went through when you spread your wings. ¨

¨Why couldn´t she choose another career? Gotham´s got two of the best universities in the country... Why go all the way to Metropolis? ¨ she whined.

¨Archaeology’s been her dream ever since she could play with her bucket and spade, Chloe, ¨ said Gabe paternally.

¨Don´t you think I know that? I´d never ask her to give up her dreams, dad, but I´m afraid. ¨

¨You´ll have to trust her, Chloe. She´s a wonderful kid. You´ve taught her right from wrong. ¨

¨I trust her. Of course, I do. It´s not her decisions I´m worried about. I´m afraid of the world out there, and what it can do to her, ¨she choked.

¨She´s a strong girl just like her mum. She´s old beyond her years, honey. ¨

¨I wish I could have spared her that, ¨she said bitterly.

¨You´re safe now. She´s safe now. There´s no use in dwelling on the past. He can´t harm you any longer. Isn´t it a relief to be able to use your name again? ¨

¨Dad, I´ve never asked you this, but... did you resent my leaving like I did and changing my surname in the bargain? ¨

¨Sweetie, you´ve always had a great heart and what you did you did to protect someone you loved, so... you can forget an old man´s foolish pride, ¨he responded, squeezing her hand.

¨I should have told you the truth back then, dad, ¨she said with glassy eyes.

¨Let bygones be bygones, Chloe. He´s no more. He cannot get to you, now. What he threatened you to do is no longer practicable. ¨

¨He might be dead but... ¨she said with a strangled voice.

¨Chloe, you´ve got to pull yourself together. ¨

¨Dad... there´s more to this than what I told you ten years ago. ¨

¨More? ¨he asked transfixed.

¨It´s the reason I´m so worked up. When I read those e-mails of hers, I was so happy at first. She seemed to be adjusting so well... making new friends... and then... a couple of months ago something happened. Remember I told you she had met someone? ¨

¨Yes, that guy at the faculty. What about him? ¨

¨I think she´s in love with him. ¨

¨Our Laura in love! ¨exclaimed an exultant grandfather. ¨Why that long face? Is it like you and Clark? ¨

¨Unrequited you mean? I don´t know, but I hope so. ¨

Chloe was lying in bed curled up in a ball. Pouring out her soul to her dad after hiding the truth for so many years had been a trying ordeal. If it hadn´t been for Laura´s e-mails and what Chloe had read between the lines, her lips might have remained sealed. But, now, just as she had run away to protect someone she loved in the past, she would have to go back to save two innocent souls. She was the only one who could do it, and there was no way she´d put it off. She realised now she had been foolish and reckless, but she wasn´t willing to jeopardise two people´s happiness and sanity for her own stubbornness. Least of all when the two reasons she had kept away were no longer part of the game.

Flying to Metropolis was something she didn´t relish, but it had to be done. Once she got there she´d have to make some difficult decisions. Her relationship with Laura was amazing and Chloe loved her more than life itself, but she was going to deal her quite a blow, a blow which might end up with her daughter hating her for the rest of her life.

As to the other people involved... one was definitely out of the picture, but the other two were completely oblivious of the predicament they would soon find themselves in. She hoped the truth wouldn´t earn her a new pair of enemies to replace the devil who had chased her away from Smallville nineteen years before.

CHAPTER 2: Pain

The Torch

¨Hi, Chloe! ¨exclaimed Clark, flashing his 100-watt smile at the young reporter before noticing her red-rimmed eyes and gloomy demeanour. ¨What´s up? ¨he asked concernedly. ¨Are you feeling all right, Chlo´? ¨

¨I´m fine, Clark, ¨ she responded, showing him her back to pull down a menu on her computer.

¨You don´t look fine to me. You know you can talk to me, Chlo´. We´re friends, aren´t we? I know I hurt you when I picked Lana over you but... ¨

¨Drop it, Clark! Believe it or not, the world doesn´t revolve around Clark Kent and Miss Lana ´Perfect´ Lang, ¨said Chloe bitterly.

¨What´s bugging you, Chloe? You´ve been crying and by the looks of it, it wasn´t just a bout. It takes a big heartfelt cry to have red-rimmed eyes like yours. ´

¨Gee, thanks, Clark! As if I needed you to remind me I look like a punching bag,¨she chuckled.

¨Chloe, I´ve noticed of late... ¨

¨Blame it on PMS, Clark. Give me a couple of days and I´ll be back to normal. Now, if you´ll excuse me, I´ve got to finish today´s edition, ¨she cut him off, entering her password to make some last- minute changes to her editorial.

¨Ah! I almost forgot, ¨he said turning round at the doorway, ¨Lana´s organising something small to welcome Lex back. We want to smooth things a little for him. ¨

¨That´s a nice thought, ¨ murmured Chloe, hiding her discomfiture by fishing for an imaginary blank CD in her bottom drawer.

¨Can we count on you?¨ he asked, looking at Chloe´s bent head.

¨What time´s the do? ¨ she queried.

¨ At 6.30. He´d like you to be there.¨

¨You´re his best friend, Clark. I´m just a friend of a friend.¨

¨He enjoys talking with you, Chloe. He´s my friend but half of the times I find it hard to understand what he´s saying. And, let´s be honest, he´s too much of a gentleman to say he doesn´t give a damn for my teenage problems. ¨

¨He cares for you, Clark. Why would he put himself to so much trouble to bring you and Lana together if he didn´t give a damn for your teenage problems as you say? ¨she chided him.

¨I haven´t got your wit or your humour, Chloe. You´re the only one I know who can cross swords with him. ¨

¨You give me too much credit, Clark. My educated guess is that after what Lionel´s put him through, he´ll look forward to hearing you prattle on about Lana- no offence, Clark. Besides, we´ve already talked, ¨she answered with a tremor in her voice.

¨You saw him? ¨queried a surprised Clark. ¨How is he? ¨he added, coming back into the office.

¨You´ll find out soon enough, Clark. Now, pleeease... I´ve got a deadline to meet, ¨she beseeched him, hoping he took the cue and let her be before she crumbled in front of him.

¨What happened at Belle Reve? I know you went to see him... ¨

¨Lionel put him there. You do the math, Clark. Don´t expect him to remember what´s been going on in the last couple of months. Please, shut the door when you leave. ¨

Against all advice she had been to Luthor Mansion the previous day after getting a call on her mobile from a sympathetic orderly at Belle Reve, who had informed her of Lex´s release. Sylvia was an incurable romantic who had developed a deep hatred for Luthor Sr and what he was doing to the young couple. She knew she couldn´t do much for them; Lionel had eyes and ears everywhere, and she couldn´t afford to lose her job or worse. However, once Lex was released, she retrieved the piece of paper the blond reporter had slipped in her hand on one of her visits, and dialled the mobile phone which was jotted down.

Although Chloe had felt relief on hearing the news, she wasn´t naïve. She was aware that his ordeal was far from over and that it´d take him a long time to recover, if he ever recovered. She knew she had made a promise, but she needed to see him one more time. She had every intention of keeping her word, but her heart drew her to him like the proverbial moth to the flame. Despite the fact that seeking him out would bring more heartache and pain, she couldn´t help but want to dispel that heavy sense of foreboding which had seized her of late.

When Chloe got to the mansion she was welcomed by Lex´s butler, an agreeable man in his sixties who had been privy to the couple´s secret rendezvous. He was the only man on Lex´s staff he trusted implicitly and the elderly servant loved the young billionaire like a foster son.

¨Welcome back, Miss Sullivan, ¨ he said warmly on opening the front door. ¨Master Alexander´s in his study. ¨

¨Thanks, Stevens, ¨whispered an emotional Chloe. ¨How is he? ¨she croaked.

¨He hasn´t talked much since his arrival, miss. He´s sought refuge in his den and hasn´t come out yet. I sent him up a tray for lunch. At least his appetite´s as good as it was before...¨he explained with a shaky voice. ¨I´m glad you´re here, miss. ¨

¨It won´t be for long, Stevens. I´ve come to say goodbye. ¨

¨Goodbye? ¨he echoed with a puzzled look. ¨But I thought... ¨

¨It´s for the best, ¨she answered, her eyes brimmed with tears. ¨I hate farewells. Promise me one thing, though... promise me you´ll watch out for him while I´m not here. ¨

¨What has the old man threatened you with, miss? ¨he asked sagely.

¨I won´t answer that question. I´m sorry, Stevens. I´ve learnt my lesson and it wouldn´t do any good to your master if I were to speak again- least of all in this house. You´re an intelligent man. You must know Mr Luthor has eyes and ears in the mansion; that´s how he found out what we had with Lex. ¨

¨Stevens! What´s taking you so long? ¨called Lex from upstairs, startling Chloe and the butler.

¨Miss... I forgot he had sent me for a bottle of brandy before you knocked on the door, ¨he said, fetching the beverage from a console.

¨Give it to me. I´ll take it to the study, ¨she said, grabbing the bottle with cold hands.

¨It´s been a pleasure, Miss Sullivan. ¨

¨Ditto, Stevens, ¨she sobbed, embracing the man and pressing a kiss on his cheek.

Chloe dragged her feet up the stairs, afraid of what lay ahead. She stopped at the study door, which was ajar, and tried to pull herself together, wiping off a couple of treacherous tears with the heel of her hand. Her heart was hammering in her chest and her hands were sweaty. So much so that she had to tighten the grip on the bottle to prevent it from sliding and ending up in splinters on the polished hardwood floor.

She pushed the double doors gently and took a couple of hesitant steps forward. Lex was sitting in front of the fireplace with his back to her, and Chloe felt a sudden tug at her heart when she looked at his slouched shoulders.

¨Lex? ¨she murmured a little nervously.

¨Chloe! ¨he responded, turning around and standing up.

¨Hi! ¨she exclaimed, pasting a smile on her face. ¨I got word that you were back home and... I... wanted to see how you were doing, ¨she added, looking into his beautiful blue-grey eyes and feeling her own get watery again.

¨Great, actually, ¨he said calmly. ¨Never better. What have you got there? ¨ he smirked, pointing at the bottle she was cradling in her arms.

¨Oh! Stevens sends you this. He said you´ve asked for it. ¨

¨Yes, I´ve missed my daily fix while at Belle Reve, ¨he said with the ghost of a smile. ¨Thanks, ¨he told her, taking the vintage beverage from her hands.

¨You´re welcome, ¨she blushed, feeling a jolt of electricity when his soft skin brushed hers.

¨I´m afraid I haven´t been too much of a host lately. Let´s ask Stevens to bring up some coffee, ¨he apologised, picking up the phone. ¨I heard you went to visit me at the asylum on several occasions, ¨he continued once he had put down the handset. ¨As a matter of fact, I have it from a very well-informed source that you were the only one there besides my father. ¨

¨Clark paid you a visit once, ¨she responded, sitting down on the sofa.

¨It´s nice to know I´ve got people who still care about me and my well-being, ¨he said, sitting down in the armchair across from her. ¨I have to thank my dad for recognising my psychotic break in time and committing me to the asylum. I tremble to think what harm I could have done had I stayed on the loose. How´s Lana, by the way? ¨

¨Lana? ¨she echoed sadly. God! Lana, Lana, Lana. Why was it that the girl´s name was always on the lips of the three most important men in her life- yes, even her father had fallen for the girl´s saccharine smile. ¨She has a slow recuperation ahead, but she´s doing OK. You´ve got nothing to blame yourself for, Lex. It wasn´t your fault, ¨she said vehemently.

¨I´m not so sure, Chloe. Even though I wasn´t in my right mind when I pushed her under the horse´s hoofs... ¨

¨You weren´t mad, Lex, ¨she murmured, averting her gaze.

¨Do you want to tell me something, Chloe? ¨he asked, trying to read the expression on her face.

¨It was just as you said, Lex... your island trauma precipitated everything. Having your dad spying on you, bugging your house, and robbing you of a 150-million dollar contract that you assumed was a done deal... a lesser man would have broken down sooner. ¨

¨We Luthors are made of resilient stuff, aren´t we? ¨ he stated with a lopsided grin.

¨I have confidence in you, Lex. You´ve lived through a lot. You´re a survivor as you´ve proven to the world so many times. I´m glad to see you at home, ¨she said sincerely, holding his gaze and trying to control the butterflies in her stomach.

She could feel her heart break into a million pieces when she heard him utter his next words.

¨You know, Chloe, there´s one thing I´ll never forget. ¨

¨What´s that? ¨

¨How important your friendship and Clark´s is to me, ¨he said pulling her into a hug and closing his eyes- unaware of the deep wound he had inflicted in the young reporter´s heart.

Her gut instinct had been right. He had forgotten they were more than just friends and, although her heart cried in pain and she wanted to tell him the truth and everything be damned; she couldn´t bring herself to do it. She loved him too much to sacrifice him for she knew Lionel wouldn´t stop at anything next time.

Once she was back in her car, she let the tears fall and, looking one last time at the mansion in the rear mirror, she put the key in the ignition. It was at that moment that her mobile rang, and she felt a sudden tightening at the pit of her stomach when she recognised Lionel´s number on the caller ID.

¨Hello? ¨she sniffed.

¨Hello, Miss Sullivan, ¨he answered tersely.

¨What do you want? ¨ she snapped, wiping her tears with the palm of her hand.

¨I thought we had an understanding. Imagine my surprise when I heard that you went running back to Lex. ¨

¨Cut the bullshit, Mr Luthor. You know damn well what was said in that room. Knowing you, you must have found the way to keep tabs on everything that goes on at the mansion. ¨

¨Do you want me to repeat it verbatim, Miss Sullivan? ¨he asked wryly.

¨If there were some thread of humanity left in that rank soul of yours, you would understand my need to see your son one last time. ¨

¨It must hurt to know he doesn´t remember your tender romance, Miss Sullivan. Had things been different, I would have welcomed you to the family with open arms. You´re the only woman Lex has ever shown an interest in who I truly admire.¨

¨How could you do this to your own flesh and blood? Why do you hate him so much? ¨

¨Oh... but you´re wrong, Miss Sullivan. It´s because I love him that I had to do what I´ve done. ¨

¨You´re one twisted bastard, and I hope you´ll rot in hell for what you´ve put your son through. You´ll live to regret what you´ve done to us. You may have the upper hand now, Mr Luthor, but I won´t stop believing that one day everything´ll come to the light and fate will bring your son and I together again. ¨

¨That day won´t be too soon, I´m afraid. If you value Lex´s life, as I´m convinced you do, you´ll stay away. ¨

¨Don´t fear. You´ve given me no choice. Goodbye, Mr Luthor, and don´t you ever try to contact me again, ¨she flipped the mobile shut and tossed it on the passenger´s seat.

Five minutes later, when she was at a reasonable distance from the mansion, she pulled up, turned off the engine, and let the anguish kick in. Bitter sobs racked her young body as her mind replayed scenes of the two-month bliss which had ended so abruptly.

Her curious and inquisitive nature had brought them together but had also signed their death sentence. Finding a skeleton in Lionel´s closet which could put him in jail for the rest of his life was no game. She had been foolish enough to believe she could blackmail the old man to extricate herself from the deal she had struck with him to spy on Clark. Lex had realised she was in deep waters and, ever the gentleman, had offered his help. Desperate, she had grabbed it with both hands and doomed him in the process.

The verbal judo they had always enjoyed engaging in when their paths crossed on occasion- mainly at The Talon when he would turn up to collect some invoices and have a cup of coffee- grew into something a lot deeper as time went by and they consciously sought each other´s company. The subdued attraction, which had been there from day one- she could still remember him coming into The Torch office that very first time – flourished, and the flirty banter gave way to heartfelt passion.

Despite the seriousness of the matter which had brought them together, Chloe couldn´t remember ever feeling so elated in her life. Neither could she think of any time when Lex had looked so relaxed or flashed a smile which wasn´t a practised gesture. Her interlude with the handsome billionaire had revealed that, although she cared deeply for Clark, what she had thought was ´love´ had been in fact a major crush. Clark had been her first love, but what she felt for Lex was too big for words. Her childhood and teenage infatuation with her best friend paled in comparison. She was seventeen going on eighteen now and had a long life ahead of her. Still, in her heart of hearts she knew that there would be no man in her life other than Lex.

Her love for him was so big that, in order to protect him, she´d sneak out of Smallville without a goodbye. She had to sever all ties if the plan was to work. Lionel had left her no easy way out. She would have to hurt the people she cared for the most to save the one person whose love she craved the most.

tbc

CHAPTERS 3 TO 6

 
 
Current Mood: apatheticapathetic
 
 
 
Ophelie H.shiverslala on February 14th, 2009 09:21 pm (UTC)
oh wow! seriously good start O_O can't wait for the next chapter!
lillianschild: naughtylillianschild on February 14th, 2009 09:29 pm (UTC)
Thanks for your comment.

I´m posting all of my old fics more or less in the order I´ve written them to make them known to another audience.

While you wait for an update you can enjoy the other oldies which I´ve finished posting on this LJ or access my website- Lillian´s Child- to read my latest and most mature work. I´ll put everything up on this LJ in time so... if you´d rather wait, you can check out what I´ve posted here thus far.
Jengreenlady2 on February 17th, 2009 01:20 am (UTC)
Great start! Lionel is seriously evil. :-(((
lillianschild: wobblylillianschild on February 17th, 2009 03:30 am (UTC)
Yes, he certainly is- there´s a reason for us to call him the MB.