Disclaimer: I do not own these characters.
For two years, Lex had been Chloe Sullivan's personal psychiatrist. Theirs was not the average doctor/patient relationship. For one, Chloe's condition had no precedent, no known reason of occurrence, and no foreseeable future of when she may improve. For another, Chloe had been given special allowances which kept her out of any facility but required her to live with someone else. Normally, the medical profession would not allow a patient to live privately with a doctor, especially one of the opposite sex, but Chloe was a special case.
For lack of a better description, Chloe was prone to states of disassociation. While her personality never changed, the situations and relationships her mind created for herself changed daily. On any given day, Chloe would wake up to know she was a patient of Lex's, or that they were no more than roommates, or friends, some days he'd be her boss, and on more than one occasion he became an interview subject of hers. Each day changed, and because the changes never occurred at the same intervals or due to any specific circumstance, Lex never knew which part he would have to play in Chloe's life.
Depending on one's point of view, Chloe's best days were when she was his patient. Inexplicably, it was these days that she remembered every moment of the past two years despite the situation. Sadly, she could not remember the whole of her life prior to this condition. Specific memories were spotty at best, and gaps of months to years were lost to her. On these days, she accepted Lex's presence in her life. They spoke about what occurred in the days between her times as a patient. Discussed how she felt. Why she needed to be that person that day, hoping to find a correlation between the choice her mind made for her and her condition. They worked to improve her memory of anything before her onset.
During these days, Chloe might laugh incongruously as if this wasn't happening to her. She needed to laugh at the absurdity of the situation because the other options hurt too much. It hurt during the days when she had to wonder why this happened to her. What had caused it? Could anything have been done to prevent it? Could it ever be fixed? Beyond confusion was the anger of it all; the belief that this was unfair to her. That she hadn't done anything to deserve it. Then the guilt came because maybe she had and she just didn't remember. Maybe this was a punishment that could only be lifted when she apologized for what she had done…but that was made impossible due to her lack of memory…some poignant idea of irony worthy of a Greek or Shakespearean tragedy.
And the worst moments in these days came when she accepted everything and stopped fighting. Stopped caring and just waited for the next day so she could escape this reality.
But as hard as these days were, at least she had some small notion of what was happening to her and for that Lex took comfort. On these days, his life was made easier. No explanations necessary. Save for when she thought they were roommates, no need to explain what he was doing in her apartment. No excuses for why she couldn't leave. No farfetched schemes to get her out safely into the world when she insisted.
Because as cruel as going with each farce of life seemed; he couldn't allow himself to shatter each illusion she built for herself. Destroying each world would only cause her to breakdown and rebel what she was hearing. She'd be a danger to herself and others and he'd be forced to admit her into an institution. Something he swore to himself that he would never allow.
So each day he played to her cues. Every day he carefully withheld pieces of information that he knew to be fact. And each night he hoped for a recovery that would probably never come. Prayed that she wouldn't wake up one morning and have no place for him.
On this particular morning, he was cooking a special breakfast for Chloe. He knew it to be risky, especially if she didn't at least think of him as her friend, but he always been apt at charming himself out of a dangerous situation. Besides, Chloe had a particularly difficult day yesterday due to a breakdown of tears during their session. Even if she never knew why he was doing this for her, he still wanted her to have this gift.
He nearly burned himself from the surprise of her arms wrapping him from behind. In the two years since this has begun, this had never occurred.
From behind him he heard Chloe's unmistakable laughter. It rarely made an appearance, but when it did, it was a treasure. "Sorry, I didn't mean to scare you. Since when have you been so jumpy?" She teased him but didn't make an effort to release him from her grip.
Lex wasn't about to make her. He intended to savor this moment for as long as she wanted. He had no idea what he meant to her today, but whereas knowing was usually his priority, today ignorance could be bliss.
Closing his eyes to help memorize the sensations, he knew he'd have to answer her and he'd have to tread carefully. He also needed to turn around and look at her. Hopefully, he could do so without causing her to remove her arms. He turned off the stove and checked to make sure it would cause no problems. He couldn't afford a distraction right now. Slowly, he turned in her arms and pushed them both away from the counter. Smiling as he looked into her eyes with what he hoped was the right amount of emotion to please her and not risk scaring her away, he replied, "Not jumpy…just thought you were still asleep." Truth could be helpful in cautious situations.
She smiled, "You know very well I don't sleep well without you." She pinched his side as some small punishment and then quickly lifted herself to be pressed closer to him. She began a slow kiss that quickly escalated as Lex began to realize what was happening and decided to join her. As much as he wished for this day to come, he had his strong moments of doubt that it ever would.
After a moment that could never be long enough, Chloe moved away and began walking around the apartment as if looking for something. "Have you seen my rings?"
Taking a gulp of breath, Lex asked "Rings?" In truth, he had a damn good idea of what rings she meant but he needed to stall to think of a reason.
"Yes, I was wearing them last night, but when I woke up this morning they were gone. I know they were the right size so they couldn't have fallen off but I checked the bed anyway. And I don't remember taking them off." She looked back over at began to scrutinize him, settling on his hand she finished, "You're not wearing your ring either."
Lex glanced at his left hand even though he knew that no weight rested on his ring finger. Luckily, his mind had come up with a solution. Hopefully, Chloe would go against her nature and not ask too many questions just this once. "I wanted to engrave something special on both our wedding bands and your engagement ring. I had hoped to get in done last night and surprise you this morning, but there was a problem and it will have to wait. I'm sorry if I worried you." He hoped she trusted the sincerity in his voice during the last sentence not to question the lies in the rest of the statement.
Chloe nodded in acceptance. "It's okay. I hope no heads will roll because of this. You've really got to learn that not everything can be bent to your will."
He smiled and raised both his hands in surrender. "No heads, I promise. I'm really starting to learn the error of my ways. All thanks to you."
"Yeah, whatever, kiss ass." She walked back over to stand in from of him and wrap her arms around his neck, making him all too willing to support her weight by wrapping his arms around her waist. "Moving on, I've given some serious thought to what we discussed last night… and I believe that we are ready." She finished her thought by kissing along his neck.
"Definitely ready." Lex admitted as he took the opportunity to breathe in the scent of Chloe's hair.
Chloe pulled back and looked him up and down. "Good, then let's get started." She began to unbutton the dress shirt, the kind he had taken to always wear because it worked for every occasion her mind created.
"Started?" Lex managed to speak against the haze Chloe's actions were creating. He wasn't about to stop her, but she had mentioned some discussion that supposedly occurred and he needed to understand where exactly she was headed before he knew how to join her.
"Yes, Lex. You're the one who was so adamant about this, and I know I want children as much as you do. Now is just as good a time as any to start. And while removal of all clothes isn't a necessity, it certainly makes things easier." Her eyes dared him to just try and contradict her.
Children. Chloe wanted to have his baby. They were a happily married couple who were ready to start a family. Could he do this? Take this humongous risk that would more than likely end in failure? Tomorrow, Chloe could wake up as the patient and she would hate him. She'd make sure he would never see her again. Taken to some place where she'd be just another patient and no one would really care. It would be as much a detriment to her as it was to him, but she'd do so because she would see this as some form of broken trust.
But against everything he knew to be true about her condition, his mind screamed that there was a chance that this world could stick. She could forever be his wife. They could be happy.
More than anything, this would make her pleased today. And he swore to never break her world. She needed this as much as he did.
So he kissed her urgently and walked them back to her room…their room. When they fell together on the bed, he looked down to see her looking at him with combination of lust, love and trust.
And none of it fazed him.
Together, they expertly removed each others' clothes, exchanged loving kisses, and moved their hands across each others' bodies. Touched… caressed… pleasured… loved.
When the final moment came where Lex could have turned back, he didn't hesitate; didn't ask Chloe if she was sure because he already knew the answer. She was sure of this need as he was.
In between their lovemaking, they took time in the day to have a regular life. Laughed and smiled at special memories. Teased, playfully argued, and just enjoyed each other's company. While Lex couldn't know if this day meant something to Chloe, it was one of the best in his life… certainly in the last couple of years.
During what he knew to be the last time he and Chloe would make love before she slept for the night, he tried to make the moment last as long as possible. To memorize every sensation…every bit of her touch…to make a memory that may have to last a lifetime for him.
As she slept, he didn't want to let her go. In his mind, he pleaded that she would remember this tomorrow and would want to continue. That she would still be his wife. That this wasn't lost to him forever.
As the light began to creep into her window, he carefully left the bed and gathered all evidence that he was ever there. It wouldn't help anyone for her to wake up and wonder why he was in her bed.
While he waited for Chloe to awake, he spent his time trying to figure out what he would say if she was his patient again today. How would he explain himself? No matter what, he was certain that he'd do everything in his power to ensure that she wouldn't be leaving his care.
Luckily when she entered the kitchen for breakfast, by all accounts they were roommates today. And if she had suspected that she had sex the previous night, she gave no indication of it to him. He just needed to get through today without grabbing and kissing her. Well, today and the rest of his life. Shouldn't be any more difficult than usual.
Okay so he knew that would be proven wrong.
As more days passed, his patient hadn't resurfaced. He had been gifted with his roommate, friend, employee, and on the best days, his wife came back to him. Chloe proved eager to make sure she became pregnant, and despite the complications that would surely arise, Lex was only too happy to please. Yes, bringing a child into this situation would be unjust, but children had been brought into the world for worst reasons. He was certain that when the time came, he could help Chloe adapt. He knew their child would never want for love from him, and Chloe was never the type to abandon someone when they needed her. No matter the circumstance, she would care for her child. He was giving them both the chance to have something more in their lives than just a wait for what the next day could bring.
And though it was probably wishful thinking, he could swear that on the days when she wasn't his wife, she looked at him like she wanted to be more.
One day, it was late into the morning and Chloe hadn't left her room. Lex instinctively knew it was the day he was dreading. He opened her door to find her standing next to her window, staring out over the city. He waited for her to acknowledge his presence.
"Don't come near me." Her voice was almost flat but there was no mistaking the edge of anger there.
"Chloe... you have to understand…," but he cut off when she turned around to glare at him.
"You took advantage of me. I want you gone." She yelled at him, grabbed a pillow from the bed and threw it at him. He didn't even bother to duck, knowing she needed this.
When she backed herself into the corner and began crying, he slowly began his approach. Noticing his actions, she tried to move herself further back away from him. If she could have, she would have backed herself through the wall to get away from him.
The fear in her eyes hurt him more than anything she could throw and any words she could say. But he didn't stop. He knelt down beside her and took her grabbed her head so she was forced to look him in the eye. He knew now was the time that he couldn't play to her world anymore. Calmly, he stated, "I didn't take advantage of you." She tried to move her head away but he held steady. "This isn't real Chloe. I'm not your doctor. I'm not even a real psychiatrist. I'm your husband. We were married three years ago."
She shook her head trying to ignore the nonsense he was speaking. "No… no…. NO!"
"Chloe, listen to me. We've known each other for almost twelve years. We started dating when you were a senior in high school and got married as soon as you were done with college. A year into our marriage you started to forget things." Lex choked on his words as he tried to explain. "At… at first it was just small stuff that didn't really matter, but then you had trouble remembering the first time we met… our first kiss… one day you woke up and you didn't know who I was." He couldn't stop the tears from forming even if he wanted. "You were so scared of me and I didn't know what to do to fix it. I brought in the best doctors but they couldn't find any reason or cure. Somehow, when you saw me again, you didn't remember who I was but you also forgot that you woke in a strange bed next to a strange man. It was a clean slate, and I did the only thing I could do. I made up the lie about being your doctor so I could keep you with me. I couldn't leave you alone in that place. It didn't matter how you saw me as long as we could be together."
Chloe's breathing had calmed as she listened to Lex. Her posture had relaxed some so he felt it was okay to let go of her face, certain that she would listen to him on her. Instead, he picked up one of her hands, not trusting to let go of her completely.
She hadn't spoken up so Lex took that as his cue to continue, "For a few weeks, you fully believed that you and I were just patient and doctor. Then one day you started talking with me like we were old friends. You remembered everything before we had started dating. I tried my best that day to get you to remember more but it didn't work, and the next day you'd seen me as your doctor again. Thought everything we had talked about had been conjured in your mind. And I went along with it, hoping that by not destroying what you had created, I'd be helping you in the long run. And that's how we've lived our lives for two years now."
Lifting his other hand, he moved her hair away from her eyes and kept his palm holding her cheek. "But then a few weeks ago, you…my wife…came back to me. You remembered everything as if that part of your life had been paused this entire time. You even remembered the talk we had the night before this whole ordeal. And I couldn't risk losing you again… not without having our life once again."
He dropped his head to try and steel himself for what he had to say next. "If you want to hate me; then hate me for the lies I told you about this life… this world where you only see me as your doctor. But not for our real life. Not for loving you."
Chloe took a deep breath before and looked toward the window. "I need you to not be here right now. You don't have to leave the apartment. I just need to be alone." She turned back to look at him. "Please."
Lex nodded and lifted himself up to leave, but as he stopped at the door he turned back to her, "I don't regret anything I've done, Chloe. I promised you and myself that I'd never leave. No matter what had to be done." With that, he returned to the living room and sat upon the sofa to wait.
As he waited, he could do nothing but wonder what Chloe would say. She may not believe him… she might never forgive him. For the rest of their days, if she continued to play into this fantasy, she would hate him and never trust him again. But in other worlds she loved him, respected him, and trusted him… there would always be a side of her that needed him. He could make their life work once again.
When she finally opened her door, he stood up and waited for her to approach him. Nervously, she spoke, "I don't know if anything you told me is real… but I do know that no matter who you were... I've always felt safe with you. I want to try and keep that feeling."
Lex smiled as he carefully pulled her into his arms. "I'm always here for you."
AN: As far as I know, a condition like Chloe's doesn't actually exist. At least, I couldn't find a term that corresponded to exactly what I wanted. I realize that I've probably offended my old psychology professors, my uncle and my father by just making up a mental disorder... but I don't care because it's fiction.