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21 September 2008 @ 09:07 pm
Hope and Happiness (PG-13)- Chlex- Drama/ Romance : chapters 1 and 2  
Summary: Chloe ran away from Metropolis three years ago with some very special memories but the past comes back to haunt her. Lex finds himself in a quandary. Is he willing to sacrifice everything, including happiness, to close a deal ?

Disclaimer: all Superman and Smallville characters belong to DC Comics and Gough & Millar. The characters from Batman's universe belong to Bob Kane and DC Comics. No Infringement's intended.

Author: lexie

Pairing: Chlex

Raiting: PG-13






CHAPTER I: Choices

The sun was setting in Metropolis and Lex Luthor was standing by the panoramic window of his office, his hands in the pockets of his expensive black trousers, surveying the city landscape with a pensive air.

His private meeting with seventy-five-year-old Rocco Ferrucci to negotiate the acquisition of the exclusive ' Speranza ' department stores had produced an unexpected result and put Lex in a quandary. In fact, the old man's condition for the sale had taken the young billionaire by surprise, and he wasn't a man easily stunned. However, Lex wasn't going to allow a ' small ' detail to stop him from purchasing one of the leading companies in its field. Lexcorp needed to enter a business such as this in order to acquire respectability in the eyes of the consumers. God knew the world tended to identify his young corporation with his father's and the fishy business Lionel had always seemed to be involved in.

Lex made use of all the acting tools he had learnt to master as a Luthor and, with his habitual poker face, lied through his teeth. He had to plan his strategy and his response had helped him buy the time he needed. Lex's mind was working at full speed because he knew the Italian-American couldn't be fooled for long. The blantant lie he had told the old man about the press vultures wasn't far-fetched, but if Ferruci hired a PI to do some digging, the truth would come to the surface and Lex couldn't afford that.

Several courses of action took shape in his mind, but most of them entailed jeopardising Lexcorp and his own personal fortune. Lex weighed the economic variable and thought it could be solved by his team of lawyers and someone willing to sign the papers. However, there was one aspect which he found difficult to come to terms with- was he willing to sacrifice himself and any possibility of ever being happy to close this deal?


Gotham's skyline was dark and oppressive even in daylight and now that it was almost nightfall, it seemed more so. Chloe had always been a cosmopolitan girl who enjoyed the beat of the city, its rhythm and even its smog. However, she missed the clean and indescribably blue skies of Kansas. Gotham wasn't Smallville, and it was a far cry from Metropolis- the city she loved for what it had given her and from which she had run away a little over three years before.

Funny how things can change overnight, how a seemingly simple undercover assignment for The Daily Planet could put a life upside down. It had taken one night- or, rather, a few hours- to truly know herself. Although it had been a glimpse, she couldn't or wouldn't forget it; it had meant too much and it had made her the woman she was now. She wouldn't have changed a thing about that night. True, she had run away, afraid of the consequences, but she had no regrets. All of her had been there, still he didn't know. He shouldn't know.

Chloe looked out of the window once again, trying to make out the stars and constellations she knew were there, but saw only the light that appeared to illuminate the cloudy skies of Gotham almost every night- the bat signal. She wondered what kind of man would patrol the streets and skies of that city dressed like a flying rat. Somehow, she couldn't picture him as someone like Clark- he had to be a darker character, a hero more appropriate for a gloomy city such as Gotham.

She closed the curtains and walked towards the fireplace on whose mantelpiece lay an invitation with embossed gilded letters. She had got it a month before and had had internal arguments over the wisdom of attending the soirée. She had even drawn up a list of pros and cons which had decided her not to come until she walked by a shop window and saw the perfect dress to wear to the do. After a week of debating with herself, she had caved in and entered the exclusive shop to buy the garment, as well as an expensive pair of shoes and a matching bag.

She had stopped thinking about herself just when she had discovered what it meant to be truly alive. It had been a conscious choice which had brought about a different kind of happiness. But now, it was time to start being a little selfish again.

CHAPTER 2: Surrender

Lex Luthor's private helicopter landed on Wayne Enterprises' helipad early in the afternoon, and the young billionaire was welcomed by his friend and former boarding-school classmate Bruce Wayne.

Flying to Gotham had been a spur-of-the-moment decision; Lex was in a tight spot and thought he had nothing to lose. Attending a boring soirée in a city that wasn't Metropolis could present him with a viable alternative to the unsavoury ones he had considered thus far, and he was so high-strung he wasn't going to look a gift horse in the mouth.

As it was customary when visiting Gotham, Lex was staying over at Bruce's and ended up entertaining the guests when the lord of the house disappeared into thin air to respond to one of his usual mysterious emergencies. Lex could play the role of host on auto-pilot but would have rather stayed in the background to do what he liked best, observing people from a safe distance and, taking into account the predicament he was in, it was exactly what he had been looking forward to.

“Master Bruce said he'd be back before nine, Mr Luthor,“ murmured Alfred Pennyworth when Lex helped himself to another glass of champagne.

“I'd like to know how he does it, Alfred. I've always pictured in my mind ways to extricate myself from these tedious do's without actually carrying out any of the exits I've envisioned,“ he answered with a smirk.

“Oh, here he is, sir,“ responded Alfred on spotting the tuxedo-clad Bruce entering the room.

“It was high time you turned up at your own party, Wayne,“ voiced Lex when Bruce joined him.

“I can tell you've been doing a great job, Lex. At least, no one has deserted the soirée so far. My, my ... I think I've arrived just in time to witness the entrance of the Belle of the Ball,“ answered Wayne looking towards the blonde young woman wearing a tight-fitting sequined blue dress that attracted the attention of the male guests.

“Chloe Sullivan in Gotham City,“ murmured Lex, letting his eyes run over her figure before focusing them on her face.

“Do you know her, Lex? “

“I met her in Smallville. She's the daughter of my former Fertilizer Plant's manager, Gabe Sullivan. She was barely out of high school the last time I saw her but had a great future ahead. The question's where you know her from. “

“She's a friend of Vicki's and a terrific reporter. “

“Are you sure you want her snooping around, Bruce? “ asked Lex, raising an eyebrow while following Chloe with his gaze.“ There's nothing like a big dark secret to attract Miss Sullivan's attention. You won't be safe if you have anything to hide. “

“And what makes you think I'd be in danger around her? “

“You should know better than to underestimate me, Wayne. I don't appreciate being taken for a fool your magical acts of appearance and disappearance may go unnoticed to the common folk, but we both know I'm not a regular guy. “

“I'd never presume that, my friend. She's stunning, isn't she? “ added Bruce with a glint, watching Lex's interest in the reporter.

“She's grown into a beautiful woman. But most importantly, she's got brains and, if she hasn't changed since her days as the editor of The Torch, a great sense of humour. A hard combination to find in our circle, Wayne, “ responded Lex, leaving his empty glass on a tray. “ Now, if you'll excuse me, I'll greet an old acquaintance while you mingle with your guests. I believe I've done enough for one night, my friend. “

“Good luck with Miss Sullivan, Lex. She's a hard nut to crack. “

“Do you know from personal experience, Wayne? Don't let Vicki hear you or she'll poke your eyes out, “ Lex answered with a lop-sided grin before crossing the room to seek Chloe out.

The minute Chloe made her entrance she scanned the room in search of her friend Vicki Vale, but her eyes got distracted by the presence of America's two most eligible bachelors. She tried to cover up her shock by sweeping her gaze past them and controlling the hammering inside her chest. When she saw the crowd part like the Red Sea to let Smallville's billionaire cross the room to where she was rooted, Chloe realised it was too late to slip away unnoticed.

'Sullivan, you can do this. Pull yourself together. Paste on your best smile and look at him straight in the eye. Don't let his all-seeing eyes deter you. Look him square in the eye and you'll be safe. Safe? Who are you kidding? '

“Miss Sullivan, I never thought I'd ever find you in an event such as this; least of all in Gotham, when our paths haven't ever crossed in Metropolis. It's been a long time. “

“It certainly has, Mr Luthor. What brings you to the city? “

“Call me Lex, Chloe. I'd like to say pleasure but it's business. However my trip's turned out better than I expected. How did you end up in Gotham, Chloe? I was surprised to stop reading your name in The Planet when you were unquestionably the best reporter of the two cousins. “

“I'm flattered, Lex. I left Metropolis because I felt it was time to move on. Sometimes I feel nostalgia but I'm happy here... I've got a great job. “

“I'm glad to see you've done so well. How's Gabe? “

“He's great. It took him some time to get used to an early retirement, but he's doing fine now. “

“Is he living in Gotham, too? “

“Yes. We're living together as a matter of fact. “

“I've always envied you, you know. The relationship you have with him is so close and loving. I remember how he hated leaving you alone in Smallville when I sent him away on business. I could tell it wasn't just worry over what scrape you might get into, “ he responded with a forlorn air. “Do you still look for trouble, Chloe? “ asked Lex with a smile.

“Old habits die hard, Lex, but I try to stay away from dangerous stories. I don't want to die young. I have a lot to live for, “ she answered passionately.

“Almost getting killed for a Luthor proved to be too much, didn't it? I've never thanked you enough for what you did for me, Chloe. I was just a friend of a friend and still...,“ responded an emotional Lex.

“I did what was right to do, Lex. And I would do it again,“ said Chloe with a catch in her voice.

“Have you ever regretted a decision you've made in your life, Chloe? “

“There are things I would have done differently, perhaps. But many a time you've got to take a certain path because it's the only one open and you have to be ready to compromise. “

“Even if it means sacrificing your own happiness? “

“What are we exactly talking about, Lex? I sense this isn't about me,“ she answered with a frown, seeing something unreadable in Lex's eyes.

“I'm sorry. I've got too sober all of a sudden, and I assume you're here to have some fun,“ said Lex apologetically.

“Are you sure everything's all right, Lex? “ she asked, unconsciously grabbing his arm before removing her hand as if she had been scorched.

“The last thing you'd want to do is getting involved in Luthor business again, Chloe. “

“It can't be Lionel again. He's been dead over three years now. “

“No, it isn´t exactly him. Although, it seems everything has to do with my father in a way. Getting away from his shadow and changing the perception people have of me has become my life's mission. I knew it'd be difficult, but I'm not sure if I'm ready to sacrifice it all,“ he said gravely, looking straight into Chloe's eyes. “Have I told you how beautiful you look tonight? “ asked Lex, lowering his voice an octave. “ You should have seen the envy in the eyes of the females in the room when you made your entrance. “

“It must be the dress, Lex, “ whispered an embarrassed Chloe, shifting her gaze nervously. “ Perhaps, it's a little over-the-top, but I couldn't resist the temptation when I saw it in the shop window. “

“I understand the feeling, but let me assure you it's not the dress. You could be wearing a rag and still be the most appealing woman in this room. “

“Lex, what are you trying to do? Are you sure you aren't drunk? “ asked Chloe with a hint of reproach.

“I thought you liked being told the truth, Chloe. And no, I'm not drunk. Believe me, you'd know it if I were. I apologise if I've made you feel uncomfortable. Please... forgive me. “

“Apology accepted, Lex,“ she said with a small smile.

“Seeing that you're unescorted and that Bruce's with Vicki, will you allow me to show you to the table? “

“Sure, Lex. Just promise you'll be on your best behaviour. “

“Whatever it takes to escape from Gotham's fortune-hunters. “

“Ah! So all this had to do with your need for a buffer. Do you always have a hidden agenda, Lex? “

“I'd like to say I don't but I can't lie to you. I've come to Gotham on a mission and, let me tell you... my expectations were rather low. This isn't something I can talk about here surrounded by a hundred people I've just met. Have dinner with me, Chloe. “

“You mean now? “

“No, Chloe. I mean dinner for two tomorrow night. “

“Lex, I don't think... “

“Please, for old times' sake, Chloe. I need to talk to you. It's plain business. “

“What do I know about business, Lex? Corporative stuff is alien to me. What could you possibly want to talk about?”

“Are you still a coffee addict? “

“Sure. The world would stop existing if Chloe Sullivan ever said 'no' to her daily caffeine fix. Are you thinking of opening a chain of coffee houses in Gotham? You know, you should talk to Lana, Lex. She's got more experience in the field than me. “

“I'm not interested in managerial skills, Chloe. I was just trying to tempt you with the promise of drinking the best coffee in Gotham after dinner if you accepted my invitation. “

“You know my Achilles' heel, Lex. However, I... “

“Is there someone in your life that might object? Is this the reason for your reticence? “

“Why is it that whenever a woman says ' no ' to a man, he immediately jumps to the conclusion there has to be another guy? “

“I must be losing my touch, “

“Because you can't believe a woman could turn you down? “

“No, because I can't remember being so gauche with a woman before. It's just dinner, Chloe. No strings attached. “

“OK, Lex, you win. Dinner... no strings attached,“ answered Chloe, chiding herself internally for being so weak.

“You've made my day, Chloe Sullivan,“ he responded with a sincere smile.

'Oh, this is a mistake, a gross mistake, Sullivan! How could you capitulate so soon? There goes your declaration of independence. You don't need anyone, least of all a man, to feel complete. Ha! Liar! You can't say “no“ to him, you never could. You've made your bed and now you must be ready to lie on it! '



Current Mood: nostalgicnostalgic
Jengreenlady2 on September 29th, 2008 07:15 am (UTC)
Oooohhh! Great first chapter! :-)))
lillianschild: tuxlillianschild on September 30th, 2008 03:51 am (UTC)
There´ll be more before the weekend. This was one of my first fics so it won´t be very long, by the way.
atemkpjmm on October 6th, 2008 02:33 am (UTC)
Great start.

I was always curious about the Chloe/Luthor storyline and I like how you had Chloe take a different turn. Interesting!
lillianschild: smirklillianschild on October 6th, 2008 08:18 pm (UTC)
I´m glad you find it interesting enough to read, being a LLer and not a Chlexer yourself. This was one of my first fics so it´ll be pretty short.

Chapters 3 to 5 are already up.