Title: Nobody's Pawn - Part One
Pairing: Chloe/Lex, hints of Chloe/Oliver, hints of Oliver/Dinah
Rating: A light R
Spoilers: to the beginning of season 10 to cover myself!
Summary: Sequel to 'Scorned'. Chloe has accepted the terms to Lex's proposal. Now she has to confront those she used to know in her new role – Mrs. Luthor.
Author Note: All comments and reviews are appreciated. For the sake of this fic, Oliver never exposed his identity to the world. Dedicated to Solo, because she needs some cheering up, and I know a bit of Chlex always manages to do that!
Chloe had been preparing for this night for the past two weeks. She was sat in a limo, wearing an elegant black silk dress, and fighting the urge not to fiddle with the tiny purse in her lap.
Tonight was the night Luthorcorp was holding an exclusive charity function, all in honour of Lex's return from the dead. The fight to regain control after such a long absence had been hard, but quick. Money still talked in the right places, and he was welcomed back with open arms. All accept Oliver and Tess'. They had fought with everything that they had and were bitter with their defeat.
She and Lex had now been married for four weeks, and he had gone out of his way to play the part of the doting husband. Since his return to the world, not only healthy but with a new wife in tow, the world's eyes were constantly upon them; especially her old friends.
Their abilities gave them an advantage, but Lex had prevented any 'surprise' meetings with ease, keeping Chloe far from their unwanted presence. The mansion had green kryptonite strategically placed around the grounds and within the walls, and on her wedding night she had been given a beautiful platinum necklace, encrusted with diamonds and green meteor rock. It matched her engagement ring perfectly.
As superheroes, access to her was limited, but as a human it was worse. Security had been tripled from Lex's previous contingent, and they were frequently forced to threaten police action and have Oliver Queen and Lois Lane from the grounds.
At her first week in the mansion, Chloe had detected Victor intruding on their security footage and had to block his attempts to spy on their daily lives. She had thought of suggesting that they put on the act of a happily married couple, but she found that there was no need.
Marriage to Lex was surprisingly simple. He was holding to his part of the agreement, and they both seemed to be enjoying the benefits of the contract. The real surprise was how she was starting to enjoy his company. He was starting to remind her of the Lex she had met when he first arrived in Smallville. Gradually, witty banter began to fill their evenings together, and Chloe was able to witness a less uptight, softer version to the asshole she once knew.
"Are you sure you're ready to do this tonight?"
His smooth voice plucked her from her inner thoughts. Concern from him was still foreign to her, but she rationalised that he was merely protecting his investment.
"I'm ready; but as much as I want to see the look on their faces, I'd rather not speak to any of them for too long."
"Does that include your cousin?"
Lois had been the only one to even speculate the truth. Chloe had received an email from her cousin every day since her disappearance, despite the lack of reply. Upon her return, those emails quadrupled.
The most recent had hinted that she believed her (righteous) anger towards Oliver may have prompted her decisions. Lois had said she understood wanting to hurt the disloyal bastard, but she didn't want her making mistakes because of that rage. There were a few 'quotes from the General', but more importantly she asked that no matter what choices Chloe made, she wanted to be a part of her life.
Chloe looked over at Lex who was patiently waiting for her reply.
"As strange as it sounds, Lois may be the only one I won't mind talking to. So far she is the only one who is viewing this marriage with an open mind."
"You know that she plans to marry Clark. Knowing the hurt she will feel during his downfall doesn't put doubt in your mind?"
That was the only regret that she did feel over her arrangement of Lex, but Lois was strong. She would get through it, just like Chloe had to every time her heart was shattered. Loving a hero was dangerous and ultimately she was doing her a favour.
"Please stop questioning my determination to see this through."
He put his hand on her knee, and the heat of his hand warmed her through the thin material of her dress. It was a strangely over-familiar gesture, despite their active sex life. To Chloe, it felt almost too…intimate.
"I have never underestimated your desire to see things through. Your past speaks for itself."
Chloe felt her spine stiffen, ready to defend whatever event from her past may have popped into his mind.
"There was a reason I fired you from the Daily Planet, Chloe. I've always known that if you held a position of power, you would continue to be a force to be reckoned with. My father learned that lesson first; it was one that I learned from. Despite everything, your loyalty and determination is the reason you have always had my respect."
"If that is really true, Lex, then stop doubting me."
"It's not my doubt in you; it's the doubt in yourself which concerns me. You're about to put yourself into a room with people you have loved. People you have been willing to give your life for. Can you trust yourself not to want them in your life again?"
It was a question she had asked herself repeatedly before saying 'I do', and time and again she found herself having the same answers.
"Clark has always used me as a resource. Our friendship has been dying for years as he tried to live by his father's black and white model. Despite not fitting into his ideals, he was happy to use me, but caring about me isn't something he's been concerned with for a long time. He didn't even try to find me when I was gone."
"What about Dinah Lance? She will be there tonight."
"The bitch can rot in hell. You know from your own dealings with her that she only looks out for herself."
Chloe saw the corners of his mouth upturn as he tried to suppress a smile.
As much as she hated to admit it, on occasion she still had to fight back her tears over the loss of him. She had thought that they were something special, that he would know she would be fighting her way back to him.
She was unsure what hurt her the most. The fact he had moved on so quickly after their first 'I love you', or that he hadn't trusted her to return.
Lois had told her he'd searched for her, but it was Dinah and Clark who had convinced him to give up. The assumption being that Chloe had turned her back and had joined the other side, assisting Checkmate.
There was a bittersweet satisfaction that their actions had helped to fulfil that prophecy, of sorts. She was determined to protect those who had cared for her; she would continue to protect the secret of AC, Victor and Bart. It was Oliver who had to be wary. Lex already knew half of his secrets before Chloe had even approached him.
She would have married him if he had asked. Instead, he had left her feeling like an easily disposed whore. It had been another rejection added to her life's list.
It had killed that last happy part of her. That was how she had been able to listen to Lex's plans and feel nothing. It was like her heart was hollow.
There would be no genuine happy, bright smiles anymore; just a satisfaction in knowing that she couldn't be hurt anymore.
"If I can't hurt Oliver, then he needs to pay somehow. I'm tired of being the only one that faces the consequences of their actions."
Lex gave a small nod at her words. "Just one more thing,"
Chloe turned to glare at him, challenging him to continue his interrogation.
"Looking beautiful in a dress is nothing without a smile to go with it. Yours used to dazzle; it would be nice to see it again."
"Don't worry; I can act with the best of them."
"I'm sure that you can, but it's something that I would like to see. This marriage need not be a chore, Chloe."
Chloe studied his face for any sign of a lie, but found none. His request appeared to be surprisingly genuine. She relaxed back into her seat, the feeling of defensiveness slowly ebbing away.
"It isn't a chore. As partnerships go, this is bringing me a satisfaction I haven't had in a long time. I have a purpose of my own."
The car began to slow, before finally coming to a stop. Looking out of the window, it seemed as if the world's press had gathered outside for the first official pictures of Lex Luthor returning to public life. It would also be the first time that he would be photographed in public with his new bride.
"Are you ready?" Lex asked.
"I have a feeling tonight will be one to remember."
The door was opened, and Lex smoothly stepped out before turning to offer her his hand.
After taking a deep breath, she accepted his hand and stepped into the mass of flashing lights and shouting voices.
Dazed and disorientated by the attention and the bulbs from the photographers' cameras, she plastered a bright smile on her face and allowed Lex to guide her through the throng.
He paused several times, generously answering questions for the unfortunate reporters who were unable to acquire passes to the Metropolis' event of the year.
As his wife, she did her part by standing at his side, listening to his answers, and helping to keep the attention focused on him. Not that she needed to. She hadn't seen the Luthor charm in full swing for a long time. It was almost nostalgic to see.
It took them thirty minutes to walk the twenty-five feet from the car to the building's entrance, with Lex keeping her arm firmly threaded through his.
Chloe couldn't believe how easily he had worked the crowd of journalists, effortlessly avoiding the awkward questions in favour of those that focused on the positives of his return.
"It's as if you never left. With less than five words you had them eating out of your hand." She whispered into his ear.
"It never quite worked with you though, did it?" He turned his head towards her with a small smile.
"What can I say? I'm one of a kind!"
There was a mischievous twinkle in her eye, allowing the playful feeling take her over briefly. She was almost startled by the large smile Lex gave her in return as they entered the room. The noise level dropped slightly at their entrance, just as she expected it to.
Lex led her to the edge of the room and grabbed two glasses of champagne from a passing waiter.
Chloe's skin was crawling as she felt so many pair of eyes focused in their direction. "When are you expected to make your speech?"
"Within the hour," he sipped from his glass as he glanced around the room, looking for familiar faces "It will give us the opportunity to make a swift exit if we need it."
"That shouldn't be necessary. We will stay for however long you need to. It's a public venue. Olive rand Clark will keep their heads here."
Chloe watched as a slow smirk formed on his lips, but it wasn't the one she normally saw when she amused him. There was a touch of satisfaction and malice in his expression.
"I don't think you realise just how crazy you are driving Queen."
Lex had been the only one to see Oliver since his return from the dead, but only for the formalities in retaking control of his company. She regretted not being able to see it for herself, but she had been able to extract a few details from a member of Lex's security detail. Apparently the atmosphere was so tense that his personal security escorted him into the boardroom.
Lex himself had told her that Oliver hadn't dared to mention her by name, but had implicated that Lex was using underhanded tactics to gain advantages over him.
Yet again Chloe saw her place in the eyes of others. Her value was only proportional to her knowledge, and not as an individual. It was also the first time in her life she was glad that was the case. Oliver would be seething.
Lex took her hand and led her in the direction of the podium set up for the occasion.
He never failed to pay her attention, and happily introduced her to those who crossed his path. She in turn smiled warmly and picked up her parts in the conversation easily. He made sure she felt at ease, and she appreciated the effort.
They might not love each other, but they loved what they could do for each other. Revenge might be best served cold, but it was just as satisfactory sharing it with a like mind.
Before taking his place at the podium he placed a soft kiss on her cheek, before whispering in her ear. "We have a familiar audience. Your ex-lover and his date are twenty feet behind you."
Chloe fought the desire to turn and look over her shoulder.
"Stand with me. It will look good having you so close, and it will avoid any distractions during my speech."
Knowing that they were here to put on a show, she continued to smile brightly, and nodded in agreement. He guided her up the steps to the small stage area, where she did her duty and stood at his side, but slightly behind him as he addressed the audience. This was his time to shine, after all.
As he began to charm the crowd, Chloe continued to feel eyes burning into her. She was getting used to the inquisitive glares that being the new Mrs Luthor brought, but she knew this was different. She could feel the intensity of it, and it made her want to wipe her palms on her dress and hide. Instead, she held her head high and smiled adoringly as she was expected to. After all, they were newlyweds.
As time passed, she held her mask in place and fought for control of her eyes, knowing exactly where the more intense attention was coming from.
Lex was the reason they were all here, and as such the focus of the room should be on him alone. There were precious few people in the room that didn't care to hear what he had to say.
So instead, Chloe focused on Lex's pleasant words and tried to play the part of a devoted, corporate wife.
His speech continued, and he swayed his audience with a short, light hearted speech. He talked about bright futures and then surprised Chloe by formally introducing her as his wife.
Taking her by the hand he led her forwards to stand at his side, so she widened her smile for those taking advantage of the photo opportunity.
Lex put his arm around her waist, holding her close to his side. She drew confidence from his possessive embrace as she continued to feel Oliver's stare upon her. With the security of Lex beside her, she could finally brave a look in her ex-lover's direction.
Her stomach dropped from the look she found in his eyes. There was so much hate and anger; but there was something else too. Sadness, perhaps? Chloe hoped he felt every negative emotion she could imagine. It would be justice for him to feel what she had experienced for weeks.
She hoped the guilt ate at him from the inside as she stood by Lex's side, knowing that the man he hated enough to kill was now her husband.
Lex gently squeezed her hip, bringing her attention back to him. "Is everything okay?"
She smiled back at him, with a genuine grin this time. "Absolutely fine."
After a final pose for pictures, he led her through the awaiting throng towards a small table reserved for just the two of them. It was Chloe who saw a tall blonde making his way hastily towards their location first, and his date struggling to keep up before being swallowed by the crowd.
When he finally stood before them, to her surprise it was Lex he looked to with such contempt.
"Queen, so glad you could make it." Lex said pleasantly.
"I don't know what your game is Lex, but I'm not going to let you use Chloe like this."
"Use Chloe? She's my wife, not a pawn." Lex rubbed her hip with his thumb, and the small gesture gave her comfort. Oliver's quick eyes caught the movement and his body stiffened in response.
"What are you holding over her head, huh? Chloe has always been quick to sacrifice herself for others, and you're using that to your advantage."
Despite being the topic of conversation, Chloe was beginning to feel almost invisible. This was supposed to be her confrontation as much as anyone's and it was about time that she was able to voice it.
"I'm glad you can acknowledge my belief in sacrifice now. It's a shame that you could never appreciate it when I gave up my freedom for you. It only took a few sweet whispers in your ear for you to turn your back on me. You let my friends turn from me, leaving me with nothing to come back to."
He finally met her gaze with his own, as if he had only just realised that she was there. Of all the responses she had expected, a bitter laugh hadn't been one of them.
"You're telling me you married him without persuasion? I know you better than that to believe you would. He's told you to lie for him."
There was confidence in his words. After all the bad things that her friends had believed her capable of in the past, they believed that she was above marrying the enemy to soothe old wounds?
"I had persuasion, Oliver - Yours. So thank you for that. As for knowing me better? You knew a fraction of who Chloe Sullivan was. She was the woman who died for you at the hands of Checkmate. Chloe Luthor just took her place."
The look on Oliver's face didn't change. He clearly still didn't believe that she would make this decision for herself. She turned to look up at Lex, and was amused to see the triumphant look gracing his features. He was making no effort to hide his smirk.
"Lex, I think I need some air."
"No problem, my darling."
Chloe inwardly cringed at the pet name, knowing that Lex would know her dislike of it but had used it for his own amusement. The look on Oliver's face was thunderous, so she just grinned and took it.
Lex moved his hand to her lower back again, and began to guide her away.
Oliver's hand reached out to grab her arm, and she was unable to shrug off his grip.
"Remove your hand now. Or do I need to call security?" Lex gritted out, all amusement falling from his face immediately.
"Chloe!" Oliver looked at her with pleading eyes.
She saw Dinah finally managing to approach their table, just in time to see the commotion. It was when she stood by his side and put her hand on Oliver's shoulder that Chloe found the words to use.
"Let go of me, Oliver. It was easy enough the first time, why should now be any different?" She spoke softly.
Chloe could see the hurt in his face, and his grip loosened. She pulled her arm free, and rubbed it to take away the sting left behind, before walking away.
Lex caught up to her with a few quick strides. "Come on; let's get you out of here."
She wanted to argue that their presence here was too brief to be considered acceptable by Luthorcorp's shareholders, but she just didn't have the energy to argue.
"Sounds good to me."
Lex ushered Chloe into the waiting Limo and asked for them to be taken back to his Smallville mansion.
Chloe was still idly rubbing her arm, something which Lex did not fail to notice.
"Are you alright?"
"Nothing a warm bath and a nice cup of coffee couldn't fix."
Lex reached over and brushed his fingers over the red marks on her arm.
"I'm sorry about this. I didn't expect Queen to become physically aggressive towards you."
She saw the seriousness with which he said the words, as he lightly touched her skin. She believed him, and let herself enjoy the tingles his touch sent along her arm.
"Do you mean to imply that you expected him to last out at you tonight?"
"I thought there was a possibility that in his frustration, he would allow his fists to do the talking."
"So, should I be calling you my hero or admiring the public relations nightmare you could have created for him back there."
"A little of both would be appreciated."
His fingers were now caressing her whole arm. Because of Oliver, there would be bruises there tomorrow, but for now Lex's comforting touch had her melting into her seat.
"You know, seeing his reaction tonight…he's not going to let it drop so easily. He isn't convinced that I married you of my own free will."
"Then we'll make him see that I didn't force you into this."
There was something that would help to convince Oliver and the league that she wasn't being forced into any of this. The only problem would be if Lex accepted the suggestion.
"You could unblock the security camera feed of the mansion. No one could act twenty four hours a day, even when under threat."
Lex looked lost in thought for a few moments as he considered her suggestion.
"For them to truly believe what they were seeing, we would have to unblock all of the feeds. Otherwise they would simply believe it was staged."
"That would mean having an access all areas pass to our home. Would you be okay with that? You would have to be careful with any work you'd bring home."
Lex smiled with confidence. "The cameras wouldn't be able to pick up anything visually, and there is no audio recording."
It was Chloe's turn to laugh this time.
"I wouldn't be too sure of that."
"Are you saying you could?"
"I'm saying that I have, and that I could do it again, even without the resources Oliver has at his disposal."
Lex turned to look at her with such a look, Chloe felt as if she had sprouted three heads and turned purple.
"You know, I think one of the biggest regrets I will ever have is for not keeping you close to me following my father's trial."
She rolled her eyes at such a sentimental thought. "Even if things had been different between us, the outcome would have been the same. Clark never liked to share his things, especially with you."
Lex put his arm around her and pulled her into his side. It was a surprisingly affectionate move, and one that was becoming more frequent. She hated to admit it to herself, but the contact was nice.
"I'm not partial to sharing either. It's not a surprise to me that Clark kept you within arm's reach."
"Yeah, he needed his personal search engine on call all day, every day." The bitterness in her voice was something she hated. Enough time had passed; she should have been over this by now.
"I think it was more than that. If I had had a shred of sense back then, I would have married you instead of Lana."
Chloe was really unsure how to take that statement. Being faked into an unwanted marriage and pregnancy in her teens wasn't something that she regretted never experiencing.
"You've always been Clark's 'Achilles' Heel'. If you had been at my side from the beginning, life would have been a lot less painful for the both of us."
It was a rare admission of feelings from a man she had believed to be devoid of them. There was no reason for him to lie to her now. If they were in this for the long haul, it made sense for them to let their masks slip on occasion.
He was right too. So much heartbreak would have been avoided. She would never have loved, married and lost Jimmy. Her father would never have moved half way across the country to find work, her career wouldn't have been flushed down the toilet, and she would have been far, far away from any emotional ties to Oliver queen, Clark, and their friends.
"You are worth billions of dollars and employ some of the greatest scientific minds of our age. Are you sure they can't whip us up a time machine?" She said on a sigh.
"If I went back in time how would I make the ever-loyal Chloe Sullivan fall in love with me?"
"Plying me with exotic coffee blends, instead of letting me waste my hard earned dollars on the filth you allowed Lana to serve would have been a start."
He smirked at her words and pulled her closer. Her arm draped across him as she cuddled into his warmth, allowing herself to fully relax.
"You are more complex than that. Even the Chloe I knew back then would have needed more than gifts to hold her attention."
She thought back to her life as a teenager, and the things that she had desired the most. There were things that were more important that the hopeful gaze of an attractive farm boy.
"Listening to me, and holding your attention; that was what meant the most to me. Strange as it may seem, I think you would have been one of the few people interested in my crazy theories, even back then."
"Your friends listened to you."
"They humoured me."
Lex leaned forward and kissed her cheek before whispering into her ear, "I'll start the time machine project first thing, Monday morning."
She laughed at the thought of a room full of scientists listening to his crazy demand. "Just whisk me away before I set one foot in Smallville High."
"Until the machine is built we will just have to be happy where our past has led us. I'm afraid all I can offer are distractions."
His lips travelled from her ear to gently glide along her neck, nipping her skin in between his kisses. His hand made its own path, trailing along her leg, slowly making her dress ride up to expose her thigh.
"The camera feeds will be unblocked tomorrow. Tonight, I want it to be just us."
The look in his eyes told her all that she needed to know about his plans for the evening. She felt a surge of anticipation and arousal at the thought. She swallowed thickly before answering.
"There are no arguments from me."