A/N: Thanks to The Die Hard for the idea of Lex talking with Chloe. This is also an idea of what happened with Chloe and Lionel.

Not wanting to go back to the mansion, he refused to call it home, Lex had stopped by the Talon. Besides taking up time, he could also get coffee to help him stay awake late into the night, or more accurately, early into the morning hours.

He'd taken a few sips of his coffee and was reaching for his laptop when Chloe slid into the seat across from him. "Hello."

"Ms. Sullivan," he greeted.

"Chloe really isn't that had a name to remember, or pronounce."

"Hello, Chloe. Good bye, Chloe."

"Nice try. But you won't get rid of me that easily. I'd heard you were back. No offense, but you look like you're getting to much coffee, and to little sleep."

"*You*, the Queen of Coffee, are telling someone they're drinking to much coffee?" Lex asked in a disbelieving tone.

"Takes one to know one. I recognize the signs 'cause I've seen them in the mirror." Chloe paused for a moment, thinking. Admitting that she'd never sneak the question past Lex, no matter how she tried to disguise it, she asked outright. "Can I ask you what happened?"

"I believe you just did," replied Lex; automatically falling back into their habit of Verbal Judo.

Chloe smiled slightly, acknowledging his point. "Will you answer?"

"Who's asking?"

"I am," she responded, not understanding.

"No. Who's asking? Clark's friend, and my plant manager's daughter? Or the investigative reporter?"

"Me. Chloe. Tonight's off the record. I promise. You may not believe this, but talking can help."

Lex was silent for a moment and Chloe wasn't sure he'd answer. "Alright. But not here. It's to public."

She nodded as he took another gulp of his coffee. Chloe saw Lana and held up to fingers then pointed to the door. Lana got the message and poured two coffee's, Chloe and Lex' usual favorites, into the Talon's to-go cups. Lex had caught the exchange and went to pay for the drinks.

Outside Lex put the coffee cups on the car roof and handed her into the Porsche he'd driven. He gave Chloe the cups to hold before closing her door and going around to his. The ride to the mansion was silent, but not uncomfortable.

At the mansion he led her to the library where they sat in the chairs near the fireplace. The fire had already been started and warmed the room. Lex couldn't help but notice the firelight shining off Chloe's blonde hair. She thought the sifting light created by the flames made Lex look even more mysterious and sexy than usual. Both took drinks of their coffee to distract themselves.

"So, what happened?"

"Straight to the point. I like that."

He told her of the crash. Of seeing Helen get on the Hardwick's yacht and sail away, leaving him for dead then being found by fishermen and taken to the hospital. He explained that when he recovered and done some research he learned of the connection between Helen, Victoria and Sir Harry.

"Well, you know what they say. Hell hath no fury like that of a woman scorned."

"Do you know the first line of that quote?" Lex asked, betting that she would.

"Heaven hath no rage like love to hatred turned, nor Hell fury like that of a woman scorned."

Chloe dutifully answered then stopped and thought for a second. She looked up to meet his eyes. "Heaven hath no rage like love to hatred turned." You're talking about yourself. You loved Helen, but now you hate her."

"Very good, Chloe. But don't worry. I learned another lesson from the Hardwicks. Revenge really is a dish best served cold. Then the person doesn't expect it. And seeking revenge in the first heat of anger makes one careless."

"And it is *not* in your nature to be careless," she mused aloud.

"Except, it would seem, when it comes to women. I've been married twice and both my wives tried to kill me. Neither time did I see it coming."

"Lex, you can't blame yourself for Desiree. She was using her power to control you. You really *weren't* yourself."

Wanting to change the subject, and thinking that it was Chloe's turn to do the talking Lex asked, "What happened with you and my father?"

Chloe's eyes went wide and she stalled for time by taking a long, slow drink of her coffee. "What do you mean, Lex?"

"Chloe, you are far to smart to convincingly play dumb. You know what I'm talking about."

Chloe was pleased by the compliment, and figured that after what Lex had told her it would be unfair of her not to tell her story. "Your father wanted me to investigate Clark for him. Clark did something that really hurt me and I agreed. Then Clark left town. I still kept looking. I finally came to my senses and told Lionel I couldn't do it. I ended the "arrangement"."

"What made you change your mind? You realized you still cared about Clark?" Lex asked, hoping she would say no. He refused to examine exactly why he wanted her to say no; to say that she didn't still have feelings for his best friend.

"No. It wasn't about Clark. It was about me. You know that Martha lost the baby?"


"Well, I went over to offer my sympathy. The real reason was to try and find out more on Clark. She was still. . . fragile? I don't know if that's the right word, 'cause Martha is a strong woman, but. . . "

"I know what you mean."

"Well, I realized what I was doing. I was using this horrible thing that happened to her as an excuse to snoop for information on her missing son. I like Martha, she's always been wonderful to me and now I was using her. I know this sounds clich├ęd but I didn't even recognize myself. *I* wouldn't do that. *I'd* be mad at anyone who did do that. That's when I said enough. I called Lionel for a meeting and told him I couldn't help him, that I wouldn't do his work."

"I find it hard to believe it was that simple."

Chloe got a thoughtful look on her face. "So did I, but it was. And that's what has me nervous. I think he let it go then, planning some kind of revenge for the future. Like you said, it's best to wait for revenge."

"That would be like my father," acknowledged Lex. "Since I don't know what he's planning I can't protect you. But now I know to look I'll try and find out, then I can help you. Most likely it will be trying to discredit you, and your work. He knows how much it means to you. He'll consider that a weakness and go after it. If he does try anything, come tell me. I'll help you take care of it."

Chloe wasn't willing to accept that without question. "Why would you do that for me? What's in it for you? I'm thankful for the offer, but I've learned no to trust Luthors."

"I'm not my father, Chloe. Not yet. And there are a few things in it for me: One, thwarting my dad's plans; one of my favorite pass times, and reason enough in itself. Two, making a friend. I've learned how valuable real friends can be. Three, because I can."

From what she knew of Lex, Chloe believed he was telling the truth. "Thank you."

Taking the last drink of her coffee she looked around the room and saw the clock. "It's starting to get late. I should be getting home. I rode with Lana. She'll drive the car home, so. . .

"I'll take you home." Lex offered and finished the last of his coffee.

The End???

Please review and let me know if you want me to keep the story going.

The Die Hard: Thanks for the idea of Lex talking with Chole. Hope you like how I handled it.

Endril: Thank you for the compliments.

Asharnanae: Thank you. Glad you liked it.