Part 11 Malevolent Pair

Lionel was proudest of his sons when they were exhibiting traits he had inculcated in them. Needless to say, right now he was proudest of Lucas for being so manipulative when he had actually been away from Lionel's tutelage for most of his life.

It had been hours since the party winded down, hours since they had confirmation that both Chloe and Lex left the castle together. From the security tape that Lucas lugged into the library, the two men watched as Lex went over the threshold of sanity and control when he abducted Chloe Sullivan.

"I have to say, son, that I knew you were reprehensible. The way you played your cards though, pushing Lex closer to the edge with every move, is far beyond my expectations." Lionel poured two glasses of Lex's celebratory scotch and handed one to Lucas. "Coming in with the ring while Lex was with me? Brilliant!"

Lucas' lips curved upwards and he raised his glass to his father. "I cannot take credit for the magnificent genes that turned me into a natural schemer, dad. Besides, this all started out with your idea." Lucas drew a deep gulp of the alcohol.

The older man nodded in agreement. "You're right, Lucas. We would not have succeeded if it were not for me. Still, you contributed," he allowed. Lionel walked over to Lex's plush seat and lowered himself on it. He swirled the liquid inside his glass thoughtfully. "It feels rather odd to finally succeed in a plot in which I am sure Lex would not despise me. Come to think of it, no one will get hurt in this one," Lionel murmured.

"You've got to try new things sometimes, dad."

"That's true. There's some sort of weird jolt in here." Lionel jerked his thumb towards his chest.

"How does it feel?"

"Odd," Lionel answered. "Not exactly unpleasant. Unfamiliar yet vaguely warm." He frowned. "I hope this is not a heart attack."

Lucas shook his head. "Heart attacks are sometimes painful, often numbing. You're not numb, are you, dad?"

Lionel cocked his head to the side and considered his entire body for a minute. "Far from numb," he finally concluded. "There is a tingle that radiates through my limbs."

"Where is it coming from?"

Again, Lionel indicated his chest. "Very strange. I don't feel like I'm dying. But then again, what would I know? The only time I was ever close was when I got shot, and the fall from the library balcony knocked me out."

"So," Lucas said thoughtfully, sitting in front of the desk with his scotch in hand, "there's a warm tingly feeling going through your limbs."

"And it's coming from here," Lionel added.

"Your heart," Lucas smirked. "Or whatever is in there pumping your blood."

"Don't be a condescending ass, Lucas," Lionel advised, then caught himself. "No. Don't take that advice seriously. Be a condescending ass, but only to others. Your father deserves more than that."

"Sure thing, pop."

Lionel frowned at what he believed was a degrading reference. He picked up the phone to dial his doctor's number. "I should probably get a cardiogram soon. I am not as young as I look."

Lucas furrowed his eyebrows, inspecting every line on his father's face, every gray in his hair, and said, "You don't look young."

"And I reiterate the advice I imparted not twenty seconds ago."

Lucas smirked and settled back in his chair while his father tried to connect to his doctor. After a few moments of silence, he sat up and slammed the glass on the table. "I have it!"

Lionel dropped the handset in surprise. "Heart attack?"

"No, dad! I know what you're feeling."

"And you're a doctor now?" Lionel said patronizingly. "When did this come about?"

"When did you start feeling like this?"

Lionel shrugged. "When we watched the tape."

"Of your eldest going wacko."

"I wouldn't term it that but yes, it was when Lex went off the deep end and retrieved enough balls to go after the girl he's been hot for."

"Well, dad," Lucas proclaimed in a superior manner, "I deduce that you are feeling satisfied with yourself."

"That's ridiculous. I have always been satisfied with me. I am the epitome of human excellence!"

"Alright," Lucas said. "Not satisfied as much as contented. You are inwardly applauding yourself for a deep well done. You believe you've caused happiness for Lex. And that is all you ever wanted."

Lionel flushed a deep red. "Your lack of proper education is showing through," he muttered, turning away from his son and looking out the window.

Lucas smirked. Just then, they heard the rapid knock on the doorway. Lucas stood to answer it when the knocking became more like pounding, getting more frantic at every passing second. He looked over to his father who was now glaring at the one intruding their bonding session. Lucas strode to the door and pulled it open.

"Chloe?!" he gasped. "What happened?"

Upon hearing the name, Lionel advanced towards the door. When he saw the girl outside, he stumbled a step back. Chloe stood there shivering, with her hands and arms stained pink with blood. The front of her blouse was drenched with an even darker shade.

Chloe was pale and trembling. Lucas drew her into the study and warmed her upper arms with his hands. "What happened to you?" Lucas demanded again, more softly this time.

She licked her parched lips. "Can I get a drink?" she whispered hoarsely. "Please."

"Certainly, my dear. Where's Lex?" Lionel helped her sip some of his scotch.

Chloe coughed at the burning sensation in her throat. She sniffed again and handed the glass back to Lionel. She glanced up at Lucas' concerned eyes and took a deep breath. "He kidnapped me!" she cried. "And then he tried to kill me because he said I was only involved with Lucas for his money!"

"What?" Lucas yelled. "No. No. You must have misunderstood him!"

Chloe shook her head wildly. "Lex grabbed me from the party and spirited me off to this really deserted part outside Smallville," she narrated. "And then he went berserk. He attacked me! Lex swooped down on me and tried to choke me!"

Lionel shook his head faintly. "My son would never do that."

"He did," she insisted.

"Did he squeeze your throat?" Lucas asked. He inspected the skin of her neck and found no bruises. "Did he hold his hand over your mouth and nose?"

"He's a freak," Chloe gasped. "He tried to strangle me by ramming his tongue down my throat so I wouldn't be able to breathe!"

Lucas threw a horrified look towards his father. Lionel started massaging his temples. "Chloe, dear, you did misunderstand. I cannot believe my son did not make his intentions clear. You can't think he means you harm."

"Of course he means me harm," Chloe snapped. "He tried to wrestle me. And believe me, Mr. Luthor, despite the fact that your son looks thin, he is one heavy guy."

"He. tried. to. wrestle you?" Lionel choked out.

"He took my wrists and pinned them over my head. And then he pinned me down."

"Chloe, why are you bloody? I assume in this misunderstanding you kicked him in the shin and ran?"

Chloe covered her face with her hands and sobbed loudly. "Ahcldm," she said in a muffled voice.

"What?" Lucas prodded. "Chloe, we can't help if we don't understand you. Look at you and Lex. You had a miscommunication and now you're confused."

She sniffed loudly and glared at him. "I killed him!" Lionel's glass shattered on the floor. "We. rolled down to the ground. because he was really. energetic. He's an energetic killer," she informed them.

"Sure."

"I felt a rock and just." she trailed off.

Lucas bit his lip. "Whacked him?"

She nodded. "You have to help me. It was self defense!"

Lionel reached blindly for support. Lucas grasped his father's hand and led him to a chair. "You okay, dad?"

"I think now I know what a heart attack feels like," he murmured.

"I'm so sorry!" Chloe cried again. "I had no idea Lex would go insane."

Lionel rested his elbows on his knees and clasped his hands over his eyes. When Lucas saw this, he helped Chloe out of the study. "We'll deal with this," he told her calmly. "I will go and find Lex. You couldn't have hit him so hard. I'll retrieve him. Lex won't press charges," he assured her. "Now I want you to take a bath and remove all traces of blood on you. You can go to one of the guest bathrooms and I'll have a maid bring up fresh clothes."

Chloe nodded blankly. Lucas dropped her off in front of one of the rooms and went back to the study to inform his father of his newfound mission. Lionel seemed lost and mournful so Lucas assured him that Lex would be fine.

When Lucas was gone, Chloe slipped out of the guest room and tiptoed to Lex's bedroom. She closed the door behind her and sighed. She shook her head at Lex, who sat at the center of the bed, surrounded with water basins, makeup and food colors.

"That was awful!" she groaned.

"Hey," Lex said with a huge grin, "I thought it was brilliant." He pointed to the screen where security video of the study was playing. "You deserve a Kids' Choice Award."

Chloe screwed her lips at the thought. She collapsed on the bed beside him, overturning a water basin and drenching the sheets. "How long before you actually go out there and end their misery?"

"A week?" he suggested.

Chloe hit him on the shoulder. "That is way too evil, especially for you. Your dad looks devastated. Lucas is out there looking for a body that isn't even there, but here wrapped in a nice warm robe."

"Fine," Lex said. "Four days."

"Lex!" she exclaimed.

"Five hours and that's my last offer."

"One and we'll talk about that second kiss," she bargained.

Lex narrowed his eyes at her and drew her close to him. He leaned closer to her and whispered, "Kiss me now and we'll emerge right after."

Her lips parted in response to the warmth of his breath on her skin. Chloe surrendered to the kiss with closed lips, savoring every sensation that he awakened inside her. When he lifted his mouth from hers to take a breath, her eyes fluttered open and she smiled at him. "What was that you were saying about a week, Lex?"

fin