Title: Idle Days Are Gone (3/3)
Rating: Mild R
Genre: Angst, drama
Disclaimer: I don't own Smallville.
Author's Notes: Thanks to JennyLD for the beta.
A/N2: Thank you, everyone, for reading and commenting. Comments are love, and they make me write more. So, thank you. :)
A loud clap reverberated through the silence of the room making Chloe jump. The gunshot came from somewhere on the other side of the door, near enough that it made her dart her eyes to the doorknob.
Shivering in the cold air, she hugged her arms to her body, longing to be comforted, to be told that everything would be okay, but refusing to touch Lex, to gain any sort of reassurance from him. He was the reason she was in this situation in the first place.
She couldn't trust him.
Shouts and more gunshots rang out, bringing an end to the calm reprieve of a few minutes ago. It almost seemed a more fitting mood when paired with the moonlight shining into the room, covering the floor and walls in a sickly yellow light.
Carefully extricating herself from Lex's side without waking him up or making any noise that anyone outside might hear, she pulled herself into a sitting position. The bed shifted beneath her and Lex exhaled heavily.
Chloe went still, waiting, hoping he was just moving in his sleep. Her heart sped up and her palms grew slick with sweat as a terror-filled scream pierced the night.
Darting from the bed at the sound of his voice, she spun around, staring at him. Eyes taking in his sleepy gaze, the concern in his eyes, and the weary slump of his shoulders, she fisted her hands at her sides, fighting the concern sweeping through her for him.
Fake feelings. Not real.
She didn't care about Lex, she didn't care about Lex, she didn't care about--
The door exploded inward, sending the bed, and Lex, flying across the room. He hit the wall behind her and dropped to the cold floor, blood running in rivulets down his face. Chloe ran to his side in a panic, no hesitation remaining in her.
Clark stood in the doorway, eyes narrowed on Lex, brows lowering. "Chloe. I found you."
She searched futilely for a pulse, feeling Lex's chest for a heartbeat, his lips for breath.
There was nothing.
Tearful face lifting to Clark's, she felt a sob rise in her throat as pain sliced through her. "You killed him."
Chloe jerked awake, scrabbling back on the bed, eyes darting over the room. White walls covered in colorful artwork, white bedding, black furniture, and bright sunshine coated everything in a warm glow.
"Where am I?" she whispered, fisting her hands in the silky sheets beneath her. Then, a little louder, a little stronger, "Where am I?"
A noise sounded to her right. Startled, she snapped her head in that direction.
Lex was standing in the doorway, dressed in a fresh suit, bald head as sleek as ever. He looked so handsome, so familiar and warm, that her stomach clenched at the sight.
There were no bruises, no cuts, nothing left on him that told the tale of madness they'd survived in his labs.
Confusion and disorientation began to set in. How long had it been since they'd been rescued?
"Where am I?" she yelled again, clutching the sheets to her chest. Her whole body ached, and her back burned. Little stabs of pain went through her in all the places she'd removed the implants from. Her head throbbed so much that she felt nauseous.
"It's all right, Chloe," Lex replied gently, crossing the room quickly, eyes filled with the same concern he'd shown her in the dream.
Was this a dream as well? The others were. How could she know whether or not this one was real?
Sweet, tender, gentle Lex.
Ruthless, inflexible, heartless Lex.
He sat on the bed beside her, reaching out to touch her. "You're safe here. My security found us a few hours ago--"
"Safe?" She jerked away from his hand, laughing bitterly, nearly hysterical. The laughter turned to tears so quickly that it scared her. She scared her.
His hand dropped from her cheek. "I won't hurt you."
"It was never my intention--"
"You kidnapped me and held me against my will, did experiments on me to make me love you," she spat, climbing shakily to her feet, taking the sheet with her, keeping it wrapped around her nearly naked body. "What sort of intentions did you have exactly?"
His lips thinned, tightening for a moment before he nodded shortly. "You're right."
Shoving a lock of hair behind her ears, feeling cleaner than she should after the night they'd spent in the ruined cell, she sighed. "Didn't you learn anything with Lana? You can't force someone to marry you or love you. It just doesn't work that way."
"I didn't force Lana to marry me. That was my father." He looked bitter, eyes hard as he stood watching her with a cold gaze. After a moment, he shoved his hands into his pockets and drew in a deep breath and the bitterness disappeared. "I care about you, Chloe. And I know you care about me."
"Because you made me." The bitterness was hers now as she felt her feelings for Lex swim through her veins. She wanted to slap him and kiss him. She wanted to feel his arms surround her, keeping her safe and warm.
A stronger side wanted to run from him as fast as she could.
This had to be another dream. In reality all he ever did was hurt her. And it'd explain his lack of cuts and bruises.
"No. Think about it, Chloe." Lex moved closer to her, voice low and even as if she were a horse he was trying to keep from scaring away. "Really think about it. It's always been there. Throughout the years. All those time you defended me against Clark, against Lana. Against my own father. Even when it looked like it was me, you gave me the benefit of the doubt."
She stared at him, giving her head a short shake. "You can't know that. You can't--"
Realization hit and her mouth dropped open, eyes widening on him.
"You were in my head?" Oh, god. Clark. He knew everything; Clark, his powers. Oh, god. Gasping for breath, feeling like she'd been punched in the stomach, she leaned over, bracing her hands on her thighs. "You went into my head?"
"I didn't have to." He grabbed her by the arms, his touch warm and soothing, crawling along her skin with its trickery. "Think about it. All of those denials. Every time you spoke up for me. You felt something even then."
"I didn't care about you. I was being fair." She thought back to all the times she'd told Clark that Lex was innocent, all the times she'd defended him, all the things she'd said and done in his defense. "I didn't love you. I don't--"
She couldn't finish the lie.
She may not have loved him then, but she did now.
"You put meteor rock implants in my body, and that made me love you."
"No." He slid his hands to her shoulders, drawing her up until she was face to face with him. "That's not what they were for. They didn't make you care. You already did. Think about it, Chloe. Think about all those times you told Clark it wasn't me. All those times." His voice was almost hypnotic as he caressed her skin, rubbing gentle circles into her flesh, relaxing her against her will. "Do you remember them?"
Nodding slowly, she blinked back tears as the memories flooded her mind. Sitting with Clark in the Daily Planet, telling him that Lex was guilty of a lot of things, but she didn't think he was responsible for the death of a doctor that'd been working on a serum to infect people with meteor rocks.
Telling Lana that Lex probably hadn't blown up a house and the family in it just because the mother had dirt on him.
Assuring Lois that Lex wasn't responsible for killing her story. Telling Clark that Lex hadn't had Lana followed. Telling Pete that Lex hadn't tried to run him off the road. Clark. Lana. Lois. Pete. Over and over again, she'd told them all that Lex wasn't guilty of the heinous crimes they'd accused him of.
It washed over her, embracing her with a certainty she'd never noticed before. She could feel it now, sense it, remember it.
She felt like she was going to be sick. Breaking out of his grip, she dropped to the edge of the bed, breath coming out in harsh gasps. "I can't-- I don't remember..."
But she did. It was all there, in her head, in her heart. She loved Lex, had for years.
"It was never my intention to hurt you." He sat beside her, cupping her cheek, forcing her to look at him. "I just wanted you. But you wouldn't admit that you love me."
"I don't want to," she whispered, lip trembling. She saw him rear back a little, just a small amount, but it broke her heart and that very nearly broke her.
"I know." He sounded resigned. His eyes were shuttered now, face blank. "But I need you. I love you." His gaze darted to the wall behind her for a second, then returned to her, looking clearer. Settled.
Like he'd resolved himself to his decision.
"I love you, Chloe."
She liked the way the words sounded coming from his mouth. The way they sounded knowing he was talking to her. But her mind fought against it. Loving Lex dangerous. He wasn't a good man and he'd swallow her up, leaving nothing behind but bitterness and fury, just like he had with Lana.
And Clark. Clark would be angry. He'd rightfully fear for her and his secret.
"You weren't in my head?"
"No. You saw what Sidney did to me, Chloe. I'd never put you through that."
She believed him. "Of course not." A tentative smile curved up one side of her mouth, though she couldn't quite feel it.
Something lightened in his face, and in the set of his shoulders. "Get some rest," he murmured, sliding his hand from her shoulder to her wrist.
She nodded and let him guide her onto her side, still wrapped up in the silky sheet. Staring at the sunlight bathing the room in a golden hue, she let the memories of him take over again. His touches, the way they warmed her. His voice as he told her he loved her. The teasing, happy side of this man that she was in love with. It all swirled in her head, wrapping around the thoughts and feelings she'd had over the years.
Centering on Lex.
Yes. She loved him too.
Smiling, she closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep.
Lex let out a breath of relief when Chloe back settled into sleep. A finger casually caressed her face as he leaned down to place a kiss on her lips, smiling when she mumbled his name.
He finally had exactly what he wanted.
A shuffling behind him reminded him that he wasn't completely alone with Chloe. Eyes darting to the doorway, he stood up, covering her bare arms with the blankets.
Jefferson backed into the hallway as Lex crossed the room and shut the door behind him with a quiet click, smile sliding from his lips. Smoothing his tie down, he faced the former resident of room 12, feeling the same unease he always felt in his presence.
"It's done," Jefferson said, back straight, voice flat.
Lex slid his hands into his pockets. "You were able to complete it then?"
It was a sloppier, more down and dirty way of getting what he wanted with Chloe, but at this point, unless he wanted to start all over again--and he had no desire to do so, no desire to put her through... any of that again--then this was the only option he had left.
"Yes." Jefferson nodded toward Lex's bedroom, toward Chloe. "Your nudges in the right direction made her follow her memories all the way back to the beginning. She'll never know the difference." He tilted his head a little to the side, eyes narrowing.
Free me. Release me.
Lex smiled coldly, stepping forward as Jefferson's voice echoed through his mind. "I don't have the implants, Jefferson. Your power is useless on me." He nodded to the men at the other end of the hall. Eyes on the security team, he turned his mind back to Chloe. "Take him back to his cell. Give him a few days of rest... he's earned it."
"No. You can't do this to me." Jefferson turned to grab Lex, but large, muscular arms yanked him backwards. "I did what you wanted. I did what you wanted!"
One of the security guards pulled a needle out and slipped it into Jefferson's neck. Lex waited as Jefferson's eyes drifted closed and he sagged to the floor.
"I did... wha... I did-- you wanted..."
His team caught Jefferson and dragged him down the hallway, slumped between them.
Turning the doorknob, Lex pushed open the door to his bedroom. A smile lifted his lips as he entered, seeing Chloe curled up on his bed, wrapped up in his sheets. Running a hand over his smooth forehead, where the cuts and bruises and abrasions he'd received from their time in the seized labs had been just a few hours ago--before she'd somehow healed him--he walked slowly to her side.
Slipping his fingers into her hair, he leaned down and kissed her softly, feeling that elusive contentment that he'd only had a few times in his life. This one would last longer. He'd guaranteed that.
Everything he wanted was right here in this room, in his life, and would stay with him forever.
He'd made sure of that.