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27 February 2011 @ 12:18 pm
"The Last Ace" (Fortune Revisited): Chlex one-shot sequel to Undercover Warrior (PG-13) BANNER ADDED  

SUMMARY: Fortune smiles on those who help themselves.

AUTHOR: Lexie aka lillianschild

RATING: PG-13

PAIRING: Chlex

SPOILERS: Masquerade and Fortune

A/N: here’s my own personal spin on Fortune and Chloe’s arc, my vision of what it should have been or rather what it IS as far as I’m concerned.

I'd been toying with the idea of writing a sequel to my one-shot
Undercover Warrior- my Chlex interpretation of last season’s Warrior- and the minute I watched Chloe's farewell scene I knew now was the time to do it.

It might be read as a standalone, but a large portion of its nuances would be lost without having read the other ficlet. In other words, I strongly suggest devoting a couple of minutes to Undercover Warrior to better understand what the hell I’m talking about here .LOL

I suppose that those of you who are familiar with that fic and/or know me must have already guessed what this story will be about.

Thanks to Rocío aka purple_moon123@LJ  for the amazing banner.



 
 
THE LAST ACE

It's been a year and seven days since the night she finally stepped into these borrowed arms. Three hundred and seventy-two days having her in his life and waking up to find her lying next to him, looking into his loaned eyes with her deep emerald gaze, calling him a name he’s hated since his childhood, a name that he silences on her lips with a smothering kiss every time he brings her to completion trapped in these loathsome wrappings he’s donned for months on end.

He knows this is a bittersweet hell of his own making, that he could reverse the spell with one word- he still has some artefacts and writings to have Zatara’s daughter do his will- but it’d be too high a price to pay when he and Chloe are still in an indefinable limbo. He isn’t ready to lose it all by having her look into a pair of blue-grey eyes and read the truth behind all the masks.

He’s always been a patient man when it comes to secure what he wants and she’s been that for the last seven years. The dream could have been his without having to resort to any magic tricks or mirages if he hadn’t let his fears and obsessions stand in the way. He’s given her independence, curved his innate controlling and over-protective self because he’s aware that clipping her wings is the sure way to lose her.

“I have been so many things over the years: doe-eyed sleuth, intrepid reporter, Watchtower, business-suited cyber-saviour? I've always wound up defining myself by some group or cause or other person. Um... I haven't felt like Chloe si... well, Chloe 1.0 anyway, since...well, her,” she said, looking wistfully at an old photo of her in Smallville High’s Year Book. “And then I erased it all. I gave it all away. I think that's why I've been struggling to define myself against you. I'm...I'm afraid I'm gonna lose the last little bit of me that I have left.”

“No matter what happens...I know who you are, Chloe.”

“I know. And that's why I have never questioned the love I feel for you. So, what do we do now?”


However, giving her too much leeway has put her in harm’s way; she’s even trade her freedom for this man who drinks Lex Luthor’s best bourbon and plays at being his nemesis’ successor at LuthorCorp. He wonders if she’d have done the same thing if she touched bare skin instead of blond hair every night. She did it once, not so long ago, when he was trapped in his mind and wasn’t able to find a way back on his own. Maybe he’s deluding himself, but he wants… needs… to believe she would.

And now he’s getting impatient, feeling the sand of his castle is slipping slowly but inexorably through his fingers. He knows she’s waging a war in her head and her heart, that he has her on borrowed time, that she’s chosen to come back to find closure. He wonders if she knows, if she’s spied behind the veil and seen the man imprisoned in this cage of his own making; he wishes she did because if she’s stayed this long and returned for him, then there might be a glimmer of hope in the darkness that even now assails him.

And then he remembers their last week’s ride in the boot of a kidnappers’ car and realising with a pang she had forgotten it was their first anniversary. It makes him wonder if it is the wrappings she can’t allow herself to be attached to or if it is being who he is inside this borrowed body that she can’t bring herself to give her all to.

“Hey, Chloe. Listen, I know how hard you worked to disappear, but I'm gonna be in the spotlight for the rest of my life. I was kidding myself with this whole ‘trying to be normal’ thing. I thought I was, um...Giving up my identity by coming out, but, uh... All I did was change it. 'Cause I am who I am. It's time I stopped hiding from that. I made this bed... Now I have to sleep in it.”

“Well, you don't have to do it alone.”

“Really “

He remembers how hard it was to keep a poker face all day, anxiety eating at him as he waited patiently for her to make up her mind and finally define their relationship with one word.

“So, Chloe, I got a question for you. When people see this adorable blonde --and you are -- on this ‘adorable’ blonde's arm...What'll they call you?”

“Let's start with ‘girlfriend’ and go from there?”


A week has gone by since that momentous landmark in their relationship and the elation he experienced when she uttered that one simple word is crushed by the envelope he’s found peeking out of the handbag she’s left open on her desk.

‘We are pleased to inform you your application to work for our prestigious newspaper has been accepted…..

Dana Chalmers
Editor-in-chief of the Star City’s Register’

He reads and re-reads the opening and closing lines and feels the final curtain start to fall. He wonders if she’s left the letter visible on purpose, if she’s trying to tell him something, or if it‘s just the result of leaving in a rush to answer an urgent call from her cousin. He knew this moment would arrive, but now that it’s here he can’t resign to accept it without a fight. He won’t be selfish like the others, expect her to give up her dreams for him, and yet he does no longer know how to go on without her in his life in any shape or form. And so he makes up his mind. He’ll trade one of the treasures hidden in his LuthorCorp vault for a new spell.

Lois’ bachelorette party is the chosen setting to play his last ace with Zatanna’s bought aid. The enchanted bottle of expensive vintage champagne is uncorked and the gang, which now miraculously includes his own half-sister, drinks a toast to Clark and his fiancée’s happiness. Lex never thought he’d be grateful for all those times he got drunk in his life, but he is for he’s going to have to play the role of a lifetime to be part of the scene and, at the same time, stay on the fringes since- unlike the other players- he’s going to have all his memories of the night intact.

The spell lasts enough for him to play the last card he’s been keeping close to his chest and one he wishes he could stake without wearing this mask. He engages in the gang’s investigation, plays his part to perfection and counts the minutes for the moment when she gets ready to say goodbye. Just like him Chloe’s never been good at farewells and something tells him that moment won’t be long coming. And she doesn’t disappoint.

“Hey, where are you running out to so quick?, “ he asks, stepping out of the Watchtower to see her walking away.

“What are you doing?” she stops on the pavement as he walks up to her. “I thought we were rendezvous-ing at your place later,” she adds with a quivery smile, feigning happiness.

“You're leaving again, right?”

“Oliver, I...” she stammers, her eyes bright with tears.

“It's OK, I can read between the lines. Chloe I never expected you to stay as Watchtower for the rest of your life. I know better than that. I have something I...” he tells her in a voice which sounds younger and shaky to his Luthor ears.

He stretches out his hand and presents her with a piece of the puzzle she believes to have already solved in the shape of Clark and a fluke wedding. He puts his hands in the pockets of his trousers and holds his breath until she takes out the other half of the puzzle and finds it to be a perfect match.

Certificate of Marriage
This is to Certify that Chloe Anne Sullivan & Oliver Jonas Queen
Have been United in Holy Matrimony and were Wed in The City of Metropolis
by The Reverend Suzanne Armstrong
In accordance with all state and local laws and regulations

And he looks into her beautiful emerald eyes filled with unshed tears and believes he sees recognition in them. And his heart stops beating for a millisecond, he feels the hand of cruel fate creeping in like an ominous shadow to rob him of the one chance to know happiness if only for a short while.

And then she smiles and his soul breathes relieved. Maybe he’s just deluding himself. Maybe she doesn’t know or maybe she does and she’s deluding herself it’s the wrappings she cares about. It’s a borrowed name and he tells himself it doesn’t matter after all because under the wrappings he still is who he is and that’s the person she’s married not the name he’s signed on the dotted line.

Fortune smiles on those who help themselves.

THE END

A/N 2: the lines of dialogue were taken verbatim from Season 10's "Masquerade" and "Fortune".
 
 
Current Mood: nostalgicnostalgic
 
 
 
phoenixnzphoenixnz on February 27th, 2011 04:25 pm (UTC)
Ooh, I wonder if she does recognise Lex under his Ollie mask after all. This is awesome hon.
lillianschild: kiss aproachlillianschild on March 1st, 2011 03:51 pm (UTC)
Glad you liked it so much.

Maybe she knows. It doesn't hurt to be hopeful, does it?
phoenixnzphoenixnz on March 1st, 2011 04:19 pm (UTC)
The banner is wonderful hon.
mexican_cutiemexican_cutie on February 27th, 2011 05:37 pm (UTC)
I Love It!
Thanks for the awesome sequel to Undercover Warrior. I do have a few questions for you, though.
Since, these one shots have been from Lex's POV, we haven't really seen if Chloe has any idea that this isn't Oliver. Does she have any thought that this is Lex? Have you considered writing another a story where Chloe finds out?
lillianschild: dark chlexlillianschild on March 1st, 2011 03:59 pm (UTC)
Re: I Love It!
Since, these one shots have been from Lex's POV, we haven't really seen if Chloe has any idea that this isn't Oliver.

I've always found it easier and even more creatively fulfilling to write from his point of view. LOL.

Chloe has any idea that this isn't Oliver. Does she have any thought that this is Lex?

Well, the ending is ambiguous enough to leave it up to the reader to decide if she does. In my heart she does; Lex deserves a little happiness in his life. Although it'd be more fitting with his tragic history if she didn't...

Have you considered writing another a story where Chloe finds out?

In all honesty, I haven't. It would have to be really good and I'd have to find the perfect angle. I'm not saying no. I just have to wait for the right moment and the right idea to come my way, just as it happened with this one. When I wrote Undercover Warrior I thought it'd be a standalone...

eternal_moonieeternal_moonie on February 27th, 2011 06:00 pm (UTC)
AWESOME!!!!!
lillianschild: still waitinglillianschild on March 1st, 2011 04:00 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
Jengreenlady2 on February 28th, 2011 12:00 am (UTC)
Awesome story! I wonder if Chloe knows, and just figures Lex is going to discard her in the end. Hmmm.
lillianschild: smilelillianschild on March 1st, 2011 04:02 pm (UTC)
I truly hope that isn't what she's thinking about him...

On the other hand if it is, then her love for him must be really deep to go along with the charade.
purple_moon123: Chlexpurple_moon123 on March 1st, 2011 10:05 am (UTC)
You sure know how to get my inner Chlexer going!!

Great take of your verse and s10!!!!
lillianschild: toastlillianschild on March 1st, 2011 04:04 pm (UTC)
It's always rewarding to be able to fuel someone else's muse with one's work,

Thank you so much for the artwork. It's beautiful. I had to resize it in order to be able to post it on NS though. :)

Read the e-mail I've sent you. *wink*
karahalliwell: Sv ; Chloekarahalliwell on March 6th, 2011 11:01 pm (UTC)
Ah, so I finally read this, and I'm sad that it took me this long! I love the idea of Lex being Ollie, and you write the scenario perfectly, with Lex's doubts, and connecting Chloe's reactions, to being about Lex.... genius! I love this!

<333
lillianschild: face to facelillianschild on March 7th, 2011 03:11 pm (UTC)
Better late than never. LOL. Glad you found the idea original and "believable".

Thanks for reading and reviewing. :)
latetothpartyhp: Marliselatetothpartyhp on June 8th, 2011 06:28 am (UTC)
Mmmm. Bittersweet. I thought the "I know who you are" line particularly so, and the way he followed her out from the party. Lex was always a watcher, and he would have had years to watch her, to know her, to know what she would do in that situation.
- How long does Lex continue to play the part? Forever? Does he ever let the mask slip?
- Does Chloe know? She's a noticer herself: would she have noticed Lex's occasional slip? Would she, noticing, want to call him on it?
- What an interesting coincidence that this relationship began and ended in episodes featuring activity by Zatanna. Makes one wonder...

lillianschild: faint embracelillianschild on June 8th, 2011 05:43 pm (UTC)
Bittersweet.

That's exactly the mood I wanted to create.

Lex was always a watcher, and he would have had years to watch her, to know her, to know what she would do in that situation.
That's certainly true. He's always been a watcher even when everyone thinks he's out of the game. You might find another series of short one-shots interesting.:

From Afar http://lillianschild.livejournal.com/39707.html
Mirror: http://lillianschild.livejournal.com/40204.html
Lean on Me: http://lillianschild.livejournal.com/40823.html

These ficlets- my own spin on Season 8- exploit that trait you've pointed out and dwell on the similarities between both characters, a fact which renders them perfect for each other. No one better than them to understand each other.

- How long does Lex continue to play the part? Forever? Does he ever let the mask slip?
- Does Chloe know? She's a noticer herself: would she have noticed Lex's occasional slip? Would she, noticing, want to call him on it?

In my haartt and in Lex's all those questions would be answered with a yes, at least, it's our shared hope, and I believe there are subtle hints which suggest she knows or- at very least,- has a suspicion.

I'm not sure I'll write a follow-up, so the ending is decisively open to interpretation.

What an interesting coincidence that this relationship began and ended in episodes featuring activity by Zatanna. Makes one wonder...

I thought Zatanna's intervention was perfect to make my theory of "Lex as Oliver"more believable and the explanation of their being lookalikes more plausible- that is if you're open to accept that spells are possible. LOL

By the way, thanks for reading and reviewing. :)

lillianschild aka Lexie