Chloe and the Beast
Disclaimer: All the characters from Smallville belong to Gough, Millar, DC Comics, and the WB. The story of Beauty and the Beast is a French fairytale. I own nothing.
Author's note: This is a fairytale AU written for Aelora's Smallville Fairytale Challenge.
"Chloe, have you seen my black socks?" Gabe Sullivan asked as he rushed out of his bedroom, struggling with his tie.
"Yeah, Dad, they're in the dryer," Chloe called back.
Frustrated, Gabe stopped fiddling with his tie and retrieved his socks from the dryer. As he reentered the foyer, Chloe met him with his suitcase in her hand. Without saying a word, she set it down and went to work on his tie.
"Are you sure you and Lana will be all right this week?" he asked.
"We'll be fine, Dad." She made the final loop and tightened the tie.
"You know, maybe I could get someone else from the company to go instead?"
Chloe just smiled and dusted off her father's shirt. "You worry way too much. We're old enough to take care of ourselves."
"No, you're old enough to take care of yourself; Lana I'm not so sure about." He kissed her on the forehead and then motioned up the stairs. "Go ask your sister what she wants."
Chloe nodded and went to wake up Lana. It was a tradition that whenever their father went out of town he brought them each back a gift. Lana always asked for something expensive and extravagant, but Chloe always asked for something simple or useful.
A few minutes later, Lana bounced into the room and hugged her father tightly. "You can't be leaving already!" she cried.
"I'm sorry, Pumpkin, but I have to go." He stepped back. "Now, what would you like from this trip?"
Lana thought for a minute, then she grinned. "I could always use a new dress for the prom. Maybe something in red."
"All right," Gabe nodded. He then turned to her sister. "And you, Chloe?"
Chloe shrugged. "You don't have to get me anything."
Gabe sighed; they went through this every time. "There must be something you want."
"Not really." However, she could see that her father wouldn't take no for an answer. Crossing her arms, she let her eyes wander until they landed on the empty windowsill back in the kitchen. She looked at Gabe matter-of-factly. "Okay, if you really want to bring me something, bring me back a rose."
"Yep, a rose." She pointed towards the kitchen. "It would look nice in the kitchen window."
"Then a rose it is." Gabe lifted his suitcase and took one last look at his daughters. He couldn't believe how different they were.
In looks, Lana took after him. She had his dark hair, eyes, and olive skin. However, unlike him, she was very feminine and a little vain. She constantly had boys that followed her around and was the most popular girl at Smallville High. She loved beautiful things and was often too busy to help out around the house.
Chloe, on the other hand, was more like her mother. With short blonde hair and green eyes, she was a beauty in her own way. Unfortunately, she never could see it. She was often fond of saying that Lana had gotten the looks while she had gotten the brains. She was very curious, always asking questions, and felt more at home in the school newspaper office than on the cheerleading squad. Gabe always trusted her with responsibility and knew that she was the one who took care of the house.
He hated going on these business trips, but his job demanded it. Bidding his daughters one last farewell, he reluctantly left.
A week passed, and Gabe endured boring meeting after boring meeting in Metropolis. He rarely ever got to see the city outside, but when he did, he went dress shopping. With the help of several sales ladies, he finally found a red dress that would be perfect for Lana. However, no matter what flower shop he went into, he couldn't find the perfect rose for Chloe. Defeated, he finally started on his journey home.
Unlike the ride to Metropolis, the ride home was much more treacherous. Rain poured down in sheets, drumming off the hood of his car. Thundering and lightening took turns lashing out in intervals. Gabe had to stop on the side of the road several times because he couldn't see out of his windshield.
Gripping the steering wheel, he leaned forward and narrowed his eyes. Sadly, the rain was too thick, and he couldn't make out the road ahead of him. He saw the wrought-iron gates in his headlights too late. Slamming on the brakes, the tires skid on the slick pavement. The car careened across the deserted road and slammed into the gates. That was the last thing Gabe remembered.
As if waking up in a strange house wasn't enough, Gabe's eyes widened the minute he saw the size of the room he was in. Sitting up in the large four-poster bed, the light brown room stretched out endlessly before him. The bed sat against the middle of the back wall with a small nightstand beside it and a trunk in front of it. His clothes were folded and neatly sat there. To the right, sat a beautiful hand made rocker with a door behind it. To the left were floor-to-ceiling windows with a fireplace resting in between them. Another door was positioned directly across from the bed.
Cautiously, Gabe crawled out of the bed and noticed that he was wearing someone else's pajamas. Checking all the doors, he found one leading to a bathroom. Quickly, he took a shower and dressed. When he walked back into the bedroom, he found his suitcase sitting next to the bed.
Opening the door across from the bed, he peered out. "Hello?" There was no answer, only his voice echoing throughout the house.
Clutching his suitcase, Gabe found the stairs and walked down them. The minute he reached the bottom, the overwhelming smell of warm bacon and eggs greeted him. As he walked into the kitchen, he glanced left and right.
"Hello?" he called again. "I'm not sure what happened, but thank you, whoever you are."
Still no answer.
He took one look at the food on the table, and his stomach growled. Choosing not to ignore it, he helped himself. When he was finished, he looked up and saw the most beautiful flower garden he had ever seen through the large kitchen window.
He couldn't resist. He had to go outside and look.
Every kind of flower that he could imagine grew in that garden. There were daisies, sunflowers, petunias, lilies, and gardenias, just to name a few. However, there was one particular bush in the corner that caught his eye. It was a rose bush, and the red roses that grew there were large and perfect. He searched the garden to see if anyone else was there as he crossed to the bush. There was still not a soul in sight. 'Surely they wouldn't mind,' he thought as he plucked one off the bush.
"Is this how you thank me?" a voice from behind him asked calmly.
Gabe slowly turned around and nearly dropped the rose. A large beast with red fur, blue eyes, and an impeccable suit stood in front of him. His ears were like a cat's, yet he had the nose of a wolf. His paws were huge and folded in front of him like a man would fold his hands.
The Beast leaned forward. "I asked you a question."
"I-I'm sorry," Gabe stuttered. "I didn't...I just...my daughter asked for a rose, and yours were so nice."
"Did you ask if you could take one?"
Gabe shrank back, mentally wishing he could fuse the flower back onto the bush. "I...I didn't see anyone."
The Beast narrowed his eyes. "That's no excuse," he said dangerously. "I would've heard you ask." He stepped closer to Gabe. "I suppose I'll just have to eat you."
Gabe's mouth dropped open. "No, please. My daughters. I can't leave my daughters."
The Beast's cat ears seemed to prick up. "This is the second time you've mentioned daughters." His eyes traveled to the rose. "They must be very important." He looked back at Gabe. "Very well. Promise me that one of your daughters will take your place, and I'll set you free."
Mustering all of his courage, Gabe stood to his full height, which was a foot under the Beast. "What kind of a man are you?"
The Beast laughed and held out his hands. "As you can see, I'm not a man at all." His eyes flashed. "Now make your choice," he growled.
Just then, all of Gabe's courage left him. Holding on to the rose, he ran out of the garden. He grabbed his suitcase and continued his jaunt until he reached his car, which showed no signs of the wreck the night before. Tossing everything inside, he slid in, shut the door, and locked it. He then cranked it and drove off.
Chloe sat in her car and stared up at the large wrought-iron gates in front of her. The minute she laid eyes on them, she knew this wasn't a good idea. Gabe had tried to warn her, had tried to talk her out of it, but her mind was made up.
When Gabe had reached home, he told Lana and Chloe the whole story. Lana had suggested that they forget the whole thing, but Chloe's curiosity was too strong. She argued that since she asked for the rose, she should be the one to go back to the strange stone mansion.
Now she was sitting in front of it and all she wanted to do was go home.
Taking a deep breath, she rolled down her window and searched the wall for an intercom. None could be found. That was weird; how would this guy know she was here? Before she had a chance to wonder any further, the gates swung open by themselves. Chloe's mouth dropped open; just what had she gotten herself into?
Cautiously, she drove through and into the circular driveway. She parked in front of the door and climbed out of the car. The gates slammed shut behind her, causing her to jump. Turning back around, she saw the front door open seemingly by itself.
'There's no turning back now,' she thought.
Creeping into the large stone mansion, the only sound Chloe heard was the echo of her shoes on the hardwood floor. Then, the front door closed.
"Hello?" she called.
"Hello," a cool male voice answered her.
Chloe narrowed her eyes to see who had answered, but the foyer was too dark. She couldn't see two inches in front of her face. "Who are you?"
"I'm the Beast. That's all you need to know," came the quick reply.
Mustering all her courage, Chloe crossed her arms. "What? I can't know who's going to kill me?"
Just then, a lamp flicked on, flooding the room with light. Chloe's stomach dropped when she saw him. He looked like her father had described him, but she had been skeptical. There were no such things as talking beasts. She stood corrected.
No matter how scared she was, she refused to let the Beast see it. "All right, let's get on with it. If I'm going to die for a rose, it might as well be here," she challenged.
The Beast laughed, even though it sounded more like a growl, and pointed upstairs. "Your room is on the right. Dinner is at seven. Don't be late." With that, he turned and disappeared into the darkness.
Chloe stood there, speechless. So, he wasn't going to kill her. Did he intend to keep her there forever? Not quite sure what to do, she climbed the grand staircase. Lights came on by themselves as she made her way to the top. Her eyes searched the red wall beside her, looking for signs of life, photographs, or paintings. All she found were smashed mirrors.
When she reached the top, she didn't turn right like she was supposed to. Curious, she turned left instead. The automatic lights continued to brighten her path, but this end of the house seemed darker and more forbidden. Eventually, she reached a brown door that was covered in cobwebs. Obviously, the room hadn't been touched in ages. Swallowing, she opened the door and walked in.
The room seemed to be perfectly preserved and dimly lit. Piles of paintings and photographs were strewn all over the place, most of them ripped to pieces. In each one of them stood a young man with red curly hair and blue eyes. She turned one of them over and read "Lex, age ten."
"What is going on?" she whispered as she replaced the picture. Not sure she wanted to see anymore, she turned and left.
It was seven on the dot, yet Chloe hadn't made it down to dinner yet. The Beast paced back and forth, worry and anger mixing in his gut. Had she escaped? No, her car was still there. Did she decide to stay in her room? The Beast stopped pacing and sat down at the table.
When he had formed this plan, he hadn't expected her to be so beautiful. She was only supposed to be a means to break the spell; he wasn't supposed to feel anything for her. Yet, he couldn't forget the sight of her face, how she barely showed any fear when she saw his. He tried to push the thought out of his mind; he couldn't lose sight of his goal. He had been a beast for far too long and couldn't bear to lose this opportunity.
"I'm sorry I'm late." Chloe's voice pulled him from his thoughts. He turned around to see her dressed in a short green dress, the same green that matched her eyes. She smiled. "I had a time finding clothes that would fit me; I hope this is okay. When I thought you were going to kill me, I didn't bother to pack."
"No, it's...it's lovely," The Beast stammered as he stood up. He led Chloe to her chair and held it as she sat down. He then sat down in his chair again. "Please, eat," he said, indicating the plate in front of her.
"Aren't you going to eat?" she asked, referring to the fact that he had nothing sitting in front of him.
"No, I don't like people to see me eat so I've already eaten." He pointed to the plate again. "Please, you must be starving."
As Chloe ate, a silence descended over the table. It had been so long since he had human contact that The Beast wasn't quite sure what to say to her. Finally, he cleared his throat.
"Chloe, will you marry me?"
Chloe nearly choked on the chicken she had just taken a bite of. After washing it down with her drink, she looked at him quizzically. "Excuse me?"
"Will you marry me?"
"I barely know you."
"Is that a yes or a no?"
"I'm sorry, but it's a no. Like I said, I don't know you."
The Beast nodded. So much for tact, but at least she was honest. Breaking this spell was going to be harder than he thought.
Months passed since that first night, and The Beast never asked again. Instead, he allowed Chloe to carry the conversation, telling him all about Smallville and what she loved about being a reporter. He noticed the sadness in her eyes when she mentioned her writing and her family, but he couldn't bring himself to let her go.
Although Chloe revealed a lot about herself, The Beast remained tight-lipped. He let a few things slip, like music preferences and what he knew about history, but he never talked about himself in detail. However, one night, Chloe was determined to get at least one piece of information out of him.
Looking up from her dinner, she met his blue eyes across the table. "What's your real name?"
"None of your concern," he answered shortly.
She calmly set her fork down. "Well, I can't go on calling you The Beast forever. The name just...doesn't seem to fit you anymore."
His eyes softened. "It doesn't?"
"No. So, come on, just tell me your name. That's all I'll ask."
He was quiet for a minute before he gave in. "Alexander Luthor, but my mother called me Lex for short."
"Lex," she smiled. "I like it."
A couple of week's later, Lex realized that he was growing fond of Chloe. So fond, in fact, that he would give her anything she asked for. Unfortunately, she never asked for anything.
Finally, he had an idea. At dinner, he cleared his throat and asked her. "Chloe, how would you like to speak to your father?"
She looked up, surprised. "You'll let me do that? But I thought I was still your prisoner."
"Well, you haven't tried to escape, and you haven't been difficult, so you've earned this." He winced the minute the words left his mouth. He didn't mean for them to sound so cold.
She nodded. "Thank you."
After dinner, Lex brought a cordless phone to Chloe's room and left her alone. Ecstatic, she quickly dialed the number. After two rings, Lana's perky voice answered the phone.
"Lana! It's so good to hear your voice. How are you?" Chloe asked as she crawled to the middle of her bed.
"Chloe? Is that you?" Lana's voice grew louder. "Oh, my God! You're alive! What's going on? Are you coming home?"
Chloe laughed. "Yes, I'm alive, but no, I'm not coming home. Can I speak to Dad?"
"Why not? Is the Beast horrible?"
"No," she paused for a minute. "You know, I haven't even thought of him as a Beast in a long time. Now, go get Dad."
"All right." Lana's end was quiet for a while, then it rustled, and finally, Gabe's voice came over the line.
"Chloe?" He sounded like he had a cold.
"Dad, I've missed you so much. How are you?"
"I'm okay, just a little under the weather." He quickly changed the subject "I can't believe you're still alive. How has that beast treated you?"
"Actually, very well. You know, he's not as evil as I thought at first. He's really very sweet." Chloe found herself grinning as the words left her lips.
"Sweet?" Gabe paused as he sneezed. "I would've never used that word with him."
"Dad, you sound awful. Maybe Lex will let me come home and help get you well?"
"That's his name."
"He has a name?"
"Yes, Dad, he has a name."
She continued to tell him about the past few months and how things had changed between her and Lex. It felt wonderful to talk to her family again, but the time was starting to grow short. Eventually, with a heavy heart, she turned off the phone.
Clutching it in her hand, she took it downstairs and placed it on a small table in the living room. As she turned to go, Lex's voice stopped her.
"How is he?" he asked.
She turned and found him sitting by the fire, warming his paws.
"Not well. He sounded very sick, but he said it was just a cold." She paused and bit her bottom lip. She then asked the question that had been on her mind since she spoke to her father. "May I go home and take care of him?"
Lex stared at the fire. "Will you come back?"
The question surprised her. "Yes," she answered without hesitation. "Give me a week; you have my word."
He looked at her, longing in his blue eyes. He didn't say anything for a long time, and Chloe feared that he would say no. However, he simply said, "You are free to go."
Chloe crossed the room and placed her hand on his paw. "I promise I'll be back." With that, she stood up and headed back to her room.
Out of all her family members, Lana was the happiest that Chloe was home. Now she didn't have to cook or clean or look after her father anymore. She could run free without a care in the world. However, the thought of it only lasting for a week bothered her. She had to think of a way to make her sister stay.
At the end of the week, Chloe stood over an open suitcase, packing for her trip back to Lex's house. Lana knocked on the door and casually walked in.
"Chloe, Lex called earlier while you were out with Dad. He said you could stay another week," she said.
Chloe stopped packing and glanced at her younger sister. "That doesn't sound like Lex."
"But he did," Lana insisted. "Come on, would I lie to you?"
Since she trusted her sister immensely, she unpacked her suitcase and stayed.
Then, one night, Chloe had the strangest dream. In it, she saw all the light in Lex's mansion dying out. All of the flowers were wilting, and the fire in the fireplace had gone out. As she walked towards the fireplace, she found Lex slumped over in his chair. He, too, was dying.
"Don't break your promise," a voice behind her whispered. She turned around and saw her mother, who had died the day she gave birth to Lana. "You have to go back to him," she continued. "You know you must."
Chloe's eyes flew open and she sat upright. Glancing at the clock, she realized it was three am. Instead of going back to sleep, though, she threw on a robe and dashed out to her car. Something inside of her knew that she had to go back to Lex. She knew his dying had been no dream.
Within minutes, she pulled up at the mansion. She raced up the stairs and into the massive foyer.
"Lex!" she called as she ran through the house. Just like in her dream, she found him slumped over in the chair, the fire having grown cold.
When she reached him, she realized that he was barely breathing. Touching his furry face, tears began to stream down her cheeks. His eyes were closed.
"Please," she said. "Please don't die. I'm here; I came back." No response. "You can't leave me, Lex. I love you."
No sooner had she said those three words than the entire room lit up. Right before her eyes, Lex began to change. The fur vanished, the ears returned to normal, and the paws became hands. There, sitting in the chair, was the young man from the photographs she had found.
To her delight, his breathing grew stronger and his eyes opened. They were still the same blue that she remembered. He looked at himself, then at her. A knowing smile crossed his lips.
"I knew you'd come back," he said.
"I had to."
He stood up and wrapped his arms around her. "I love you, Chloe."
"I love you, too, Lex."
She then kissed him as the entire house came to life around them. The spell was broken, and the Beast had found his Beauty.