Gotham City, Winter 2010

Ever. Ever. Evergreen.

She came to him once, ever green, like the land around the Nile, brilliant brilliant sparkling life. She came to him once, then a shadow of his old doubts encased in glimmering stain. She was a picture perfect thing like love denied.

In his dreams she came like mist towards him, as he was lying half covered by silken sheets on the bed they had once shared. He knew he was in a dream. Only his subconscious could be so fortunate. In those dreams the moon shone outside, so full and splendid that her blonde hair seemed to be a halo around her face.

Ever green.

Every memory unforgotten. He held them close in his heart. The days and the nights that she was his were stranded in some corner that ruled his brain when all else slipped away.

Someday soon, she promised in his sleep, like the way he promised that cold morning before frozen talons of dread crept past the shield he raised around her and sent her far.

"Someday soon," came the murmured vow againt her temple.

"I won't leave you," came a whisper-harsh promise carried in the cold air. "Not because of this. I'll stay. I'll make you let me stay!" she insisted.

She was a child then, he told himself. He half wanted her to be stronger, more powerful, less vulnerable to the evil that he feared would destroy her.

"Don't send me away," she pleaded with him as two of his most trusted men came to stand behind her. One took her by her arm. "You know I'll die, Bruce. I'll die without you."

His warm hands framed her ice-bitten face. Circular circles he rubbed on her cheekbones, erasing with his thumbs the tear-tracks that marred her skin. "And you know I will do anything to make sure that doesn't happen."

Ever ever ever green.

Green surrounded the field on which he stood when he sought escape from his nightmares of losing her to the life he led. The plane was streaked green from tail to nose, because green were her eyes and he adored her beyond the limits of the sky. That was the green that was his last sight of the plane before it disappeared into the clouds.

Evergreen.

She danced, glitering ecstatic figure; the whirling and twirling of the most beautiful creature in the world, atop the green green grass of the Wayne grounds, haunted his sleep.

Evergreen was the color of his nightmares.

Scenes more brutal than violent death were his nighttime companions. Nights blurred and music was the voices calling out over static. Records of the futile attempt to recover his love clawed into the depths in which he fought to be nightly buried.

She was torn grace from the dead grayness of his every day.

Ever ever ever green.

Metropolis, Summer 2007

It was the summer of 2007, as Lex Luthor sat comfortably surrounded by luxurious leather, that Lex glanced up from the amber liquid swirling inside his glass and sealed his fate. It was on that cold summer night that he laid eyes on a familiar figure walking down the street and made the choice – and choice it was – to tell his driver to slow down. It was his own hand that pushed the button to roll down his window so that he could call out to the young woman outside.

"Chloe Sullivan!" he called out.

He had not been certain, because it took her long to turn her head and peek at him through the curtain of short blonde hair. She was dressed unexpectedly, simple and plain as her attire was in that white button down shirt and black cotton pants. When she turned those eyes though, Lex would not mistake those brilliant greens. Even from the distance of the sidewalk to his seat in the limousine, they pierced him.

"Where are you headed?"

Chloe slowly turned around and stopped. Lex asked his driver to stop the vehicle as well. She cocked her head to the side, as if she did not recognize him. It was unbelievable, of course. No one who had ever met him forgot him.

"Lex Luthor," she said softly, enough recognition to satisfy his vanity. "How are you these days?"

Lex's eyebrows furrowed with concern. It did not seem to him an appropriate response from the girl he once knew. In fact, nothing but her eyes was brilliant. Chloe Sullivan had always been vivacious, thrumming with energy whether she was incensed, ecstatic or puzzled.

"I'm well," Lex answered. He opened the door and stepped outside. "Get in, Chloe." He reached for her arm and frowned. "You're already freezing. Get in and we'll catch up."

"I have to get home," she told him, sounding dazed, but allowed him to usher her in.

He climbed in after her and handed her his brandy. "That will warm you."

Clutching the glass with two hands, she tipped the drink and downed it. "Thank you," she said hoarsely.

"What's wrong?" he asked in concern.

"Nothing. I'm just tired." Lex saw her force a smile as she asked, "Where are you headed? A date?"

"A dinner. I'll drop you off at home first if you will tell my driver where you're staying."

Chloe nodded and said to the man whose ear was ready. "2409 Overland Mansion." And then she glanced away, out the window.

Lex watched her actions and could not help the sinking feeling in his stomach. This was completely odd. Chloe was more than this silent ball of cold flesh, with unseeing eyes turned away. "Chloe," he said softly. She did not turn around. "Chloe," he repeated. He took her chin firmly in his hand and turned her head to face him.

It was then he saw her tears.

"I'm sorry," she gasped. "I broke up with Clark tonight."

It explained so much to Lex, though it did not make sense for her to grieve so much. Clearly it was Clark Kent who was on the losing end in the end of their relationship. Yet her pain was reflected in those eyes and he slid closer to her and she buried her face in the crook of his neck. Lex wrapped his arms around her.

They remained in that position with Lex whispering soothing words into her ear until he vehicle stopped and the driver cleared his throat. The door opened and the doorman bowed. Lex reluctantly released her from his arms. "I'll walk you up."

"No!" She laid a hand on his chest and pushed gently. "Go. You can't be late."

"I'll stand her up," he pronounced.

"Don't. She deserves more than I got from Clark," she advised. "Just drop by next time, okay?"

Enraptured, Lex nodded his assent and they drove away. She haunted his mind.

Ever green eyes permanently emblazoned on the backs of her eyelids. All during dinner he saw her face, heard her voice as the woman in front of him spoke. He will return for her and purge himself of this newfound addiction before it consumed him.

His companion seemed none the wiser of his preoccupation. Lex ended the evening early and asked for the check. When he slipped his hand inside his pocket for his wallet, he cursed. He swore he had his wallet before they went home.

Lex whispered to the waiter, and the response was, "Absolutely no problem, Mr. Luthor." Lex instead signed over the bill as his IOU in lieu of any of his cards.

He helped his date out of her chair and led her to the limousine. "Where to, Mr. Luthor?"

"We'll take Ms. Cassidy home," he replied, to the disappointment of his companion.

He had no time or inclination to reassure the young woman with him before he dropped her off at her house. And then, Lex leaned back in relief.

The driver's voce reached him with the question, "2409 Overland, Mr Luthor?"

Lex's lips curved and he responded, "If you insist. And remind my secretary that you need a raise."

"Very well, sir."

The same doorman opened the door to his limousine and Lex walked up the door when he barred him. "I need the apartment number before you can come in, sir."

Lex's eyebrows rose. "Ms Sullivan's."

"I'm sorry but that won't do, sir. For security purposes you understand. I need to announce you too."

"I don't know! I need you to tell me how to get to Ms Sullivan's apartment."

The older doorman shook his head simply.

Lex growled in frustration. He fished for his mobile phone from his pocket and was shocked to find it missing as well. The day had been horrendous. He slammed into the limousine once more and took the car phone. He hated doing this, but he needed to reach her.

The other line rang once and there was an immediate answer. "Clark, I'll need Chloe's number."

"Lex," Clark Kent replied on the other line, "Chloe and I haven't been talking."

"I know you broke up," he said gruffly. "But I need you to give me the phone number."

"You don't understand, Lex. Chloe and I haven't seen each other since high school graduation. I don't know her contact number."

When Lex hung up the phone, he fumed at the back of the limousine. He was pretty certain he had his wallet and his phone when he got into the limo when he left Smallville. He had a nagging suspicion laced with images of green eyes.

Once again, he rolled down the window and addressed the doorman. "You remember the young lady I dropped off about two hours ago?" The doorman nodded. "Does she live there?"

"Ms Sullivan? No sir."

"Then why do you know her?"

"Because she always gets off a private car and hails a cab here."

Lex shook his head and rolled up his window. "Let's go home," he said. He glanced back at Overland Mansion and cursed soundly again when he saw the doorman speaking into what seemed very much like Lex's lost phone.

Chloe Sullivan had duped him.

tbc