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17 September 2010 @ 01:19 pm
"The Art of War" (Chlex one-shot- General- PG): Entry for NS Fanfic Challenge #11- Competition  

TITLE: THE ART OF WAR

AUTHOR: lexie aka lillianschild 

CHALLENGE: Entry for Naughty-Seduction's Fanfic Challenge #11 July 2010- “Competition”

PAIRING: Chlex

RATING: PG

SUMMARY: In war the victorious strategist seeks battle only after victory has been won


A/N: This one-shot is set around Fragile (5 X 18).

 The leather-bound volume has been in his possession for fifteen years now- his father’s present for his tenth birthday. It sits next to Machiavelli and Nietzsche’s works- books and doctrines meant to shape him into a ruthless Luthor and to smother the innocent God-believing soul Lillian had striven to nurture before her untimely demise. Sun Tzu’s The Art of War has accompanied him throughout his formative years as a tycoon in the making, an heir worthy of the most powerful surname in Metropolis and one of the most influential in the whole of America. The Chinese strategist’s principles have helped him start to build an empire of his own with which to compete with his father’s and eventually overthrow Lionel when he least expects it; and he’s relying on them now to seal the most important deal in his life.

The world believes he’s had it easy, that he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and that he’s never known what fighting for something you want or need is like. That couldn’t be further from the truth; he’s had to compete from the very cradle and despite his triumphs in the business arena, which have been made public in the financial section of every major newspaper in the nation as well as on the front covers of The Economist and Forbes, he’s never been the victor in the one field where he craves to succeed the most- that of love and acceptance. No one knows what really drives him to compete but her, and he wishes she didn’t because revealing one’s weakness can cripple you in any game, and defeat can be excruciatingly painful when it’s your happiness what is at stake.

 

Lex knows himself well, but he also knows Chloe inside and out. He’s aware of what makes her tick and what unsettles her because her weakness is also his. She’s as used to competing for someone’s affection as he is; living in someone’s shadow and pretending she’s strong, that she’s unbreakable. Both Julian and Lana might be the past and yet they contributed to shape them into whom they are today. While Lillian and Moira’s abandonment planted the seeds of the insecurity which has plagued them every step of the way, the ghost of a dead baby brother and of a small town princess cemented the belief they’ll always fall short of everyone’s expectations, that they’ll never be worthy enough of anyone’s love.

It’s funny how the boy who used to be both his best friend and the young brother he once wished he’d had is on his way to becoming the competitor for his father’s affection. Lex’s come to accept that’s one competition he might never win. However, there’s one he’s determined not to lose. She doesn’t know it yet, hasn’t realised she’s the other player in the game because all warfare is based on deception and he’s learnt his lesson well. He won’t let emotions overcome him; they’re another weakness of his and one which almost gave his game away when he met her in the caves. He felt slighted then because she’d been constantly avoiding him. He felt neglected and hurt for her choosing Clark over him after everything they’d been through, especially because he suspected she no longer pined for the farmboy and that someone else had taken Young Kent’s place in her heart; she was just being too stubborn to admit it or too ready to sacrifice her happiness out of loyalty towards Clark. Lex’s outburst in the caves was nothing but jealousy speaking. He’d no longer make the same mistake. In war the victorious strategist seeks battle only after victory has been won, and he almost jeopardised his carefully devised plan by attacking when he should have seem unable.

It’s been a year and a half since her return to Smallville, eighteen months of keeping an eye on her without her being aware- upholding this particular Sun Tzu principle has been one of the hardest. Staying away and feigning not to be interested in her has been the most difficult part of this game. Knowing her weakest point resides in her insecurity about her powers of attraction when it comes to the opposite sex, he went back to dating for a short spell. A moment of folly and the instinctual need to prove he could live without her led him to bed a one-night stand and almost get himself killed. The blonde reporter helped clear his name in a detached and professional way, which he welcomed as much as resented for what it entailed. Then came her Cousin Lucy’s visit... the perfect opportunity to remind Chloe what it felt like to be under his protection. And yet he got no reaction from her; only a civil exchange of pleasantries at The Talon when she chaperoned the youngest Lane and held some chit-chat with Clark. Sometimes he wishes he’d spoken up at the safe house instead of waiting for her to finish high school. Lately, he’s opened and leafed through his old volume more often. She’s taking her ease, so he should give her no rest.

Lex’s always thought of himself as a very patient man when it comes to getting what he wants. He also knows he’d never force his attentions on a woman who isn’t willing and is convinced Chloe isn’t one of them; she’s simply fighting an attraction which has been there since their first meeting and grown into something he’s been too afraid to give a name to. Supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting. And he’s decided to hold out the one bait he’s sure will entice her and make her capitulate- Lana Lang. It’s one card he wishes he didn’t have to play because the brunette’s turned out to be a good friend and he wants to break the Luthor cycle of using people for his own gain. Lana’s vulnerable right now, and the scruples instilled by Lillian make him doubt. However, hesitation is short-lived for the spoils of this competition are too precious to question Machiavelli’s teachings. This is one of those occasions on which the ends justify the means.

It’s done. And it couldn’t have played out better. It’s only taken him a friendly dinner and a drive to the dorms to drop Clark’s flame in order to achieve his goal. The object of his desire turned up at the right time and fell into his trap. He’s immensely grateful for her timing since it’s saved him from taking more drastic measures- namely, romancing the girl who’s largely to blame for pushing Chloe into Lionel’s deadly web. The blonde spitfire walked on them yesterday evening and he’s been patiently awaiting her arrival as he sips a tumbler of vintage bourbon and goes over some stock market reports on his laptop. And the minute the clock strikes six she storms into the study she hasn’t set foot in in almost a year. The circumstances are different and so is her body language; whereas that May morning she was all stuttery and recoiling, this time she’s ready to pounce on him and goes straight for his jugular. He disguises his pleasure behind an urbanely superior smirk and as she slams the double doors on leaving he starts savouring the taste of victory.

Chloe leans against the mahogany doors which separate her from Lex and takes a few deep breaths. These eighteen months have been a true test of endurance. She knows him well enough and also knows he’s the second man she’s met who can both have her knees wobble and make her feel safe. When the other player’s superior in strength and you fear capitulation, you avoid and evade him. It’s a double-edged weapon which serves both to shelter your heart and to irritate the opponent by stirring his choleric temper. He might have been raised to be a Luthor but, unlike the devious snake of Lionel, Lex is still predictable when emotions are involved. She’s used his weakness against him today; playing on his insecurity, telling him he’d only be second best in the competition for Lana. He’s lashed out aiming at her own insecurity- which is a mirror of his- and now she’s struggling to hide a satisfied smile lest a security camera in the corridor’s filming her. She’s been pretending to be weak, counting on his arrogance. She’s got him where she wants him now. She’ll let him savour this one battle he believes he’s won and then play the Jimmy Olsen card she’s been saving till the very end. Lex’ll break first and victory will be hers... theirs... when he confesses what she’s known since the trial and that he’s stubbornly tried to deny with that painful one-night stand which almost broke her heart into a million pieces last year.

 
She walks to her car with a bright face. The end of the war’s near and he won’t know what’s hit him until it’s too late.

 

THE END

 

 
 
Current Mood: tiredtired
 
 
 
eternal_moonie: nude clarketernal_moonie on September 17th, 2010 04:21 pm (UTC)
OMG! What an AWESOME Chlex oneshot honey!!! *BIG HUGS*
lillianschild: naughtylillianschild on September 23rd, 2010 05:48 am (UTC)
Thanks, darling. Glad you enjoyed it.
phoenixnzphoenixnz on September 17th, 2010 08:33 pm (UTC)
Wow, I love the way you use the Art of War in this - fantastic one-shot. Would love to see who actually wins in the end.
lillianschild: married kisslillianschild on September 23rd, 2010 05:50 am (UTC)
Several people have asked for a sequel, but I'd rather leave it up to you to decide who'll be the winner. Although I'm of the mind they'll both win in the end if they finally get together, which I have no doubt they will.
Jengreenlady2 on September 18th, 2010 07:09 am (UTC)
Love this. Ha! They each think they're dominating the other, when in reality, they're both losing the battle. :-)))
lillianschild: still waitinglillianschild on September 23rd, 2010 05:51 am (UTC)
Yes, they are. And what a lovely way to lose it is for they'll get the happy ending they both deserve- once they stop being stubborn, that is.
purple_moon123: Chlexpurple_moon123 on September 23rd, 2010 04:31 am (UTC)
Omg loved it!!!

They are both trying to make the other break first!!
lillianschild: lex desirelillianschild on September 23rd, 2010 05:47 am (UTC)
I'll leave to you to decide who will break first. :)
mexican_cutiemexican_cutie on October 14th, 2010 11:58 pm (UTC)
I love this story! I read it over at NS during the challenge (and, of course, I voted for you), so when I saw it on LJ I took a few minutes to re-read it! I love how you capture their personalities so completely. I can totally picture this playing out on my screen. Thanks much!

Mandy
BTW- I am patienly awaiting an update to "Choices". I love the concept, and I can't wait to see how the story unfolds.
lillianschild: gaplillianschild on October 15th, 2010 05:55 am (UTC)
In fact, you can't have voted for mine because there was no voting on this challenge- only two of us submitted a fic last month. LOL.

Anyway, it's nice to know you enjoyed it so much to believe you'd have voted for it.I'm glad you feel both Chloe and Lex are very much in character.

As regards Choices, there'll be an update in a week's time. It's already written but I'm sticking to my schedule because there are hard times ahead and I want to make sure I'll have stuff to post on a regular basis- even if that regular is every twenty days. There won't be pure Chlex in quite some time because I'm leading them slowly towards that moment. This fic is unlike anything I've written thus far, structure-wise that is.
mexican_cutiemexican_cutie on October 15th, 2010 11:19 pm (UTC)
You are so totally right. For some reason, I thought that particular challenge had more enttries. Perhaps I was going to vote for yours and I just thought I did. Or perhaps, it was just that great that I thought I did. Who knows?!:)

Anyway, I'm sorry to hear about your tutoring position. I will keep my fingers crossed for you that your side business picks up.
lillianschild: believelillianschild on October 15th, 2010 11:24 pm (UTC)
Thanks for your good wishes. They're truly appreciated.

I've just posted the one-shot I submitted to the latest challenge since voting is over and the poll is closed. Julie has yet to reveal who the winner is but since mine hasn't won, I decided to post here today.

Edited at 2010-10-15 11:25 pm (UTC)