Title: Look At Her Past (1/1)
Character/Pairing: Chloe, Lex
Summary: Chloe decides to leave it all behind.
Disclaimer: I don't own Smallville.
Author's Notes: Thanks to JennyLD for the beta. She and I both wrote a fic from one of my prompts. (the italicized lines in the beginning) This is mine.
"For sure?" Clark asked, practically bouncing in place.
Grinning, Chloe patted his shoulder. "Absolutely, 100%, for sure."
And then he was gone, leaving nothing behind except Chloe and her quickly disappearing smile.
Chloe slipped an earbud on and turned to the nearest computer, inserting a small flash drive into the USB port. Running her eyes over the code that moved across the monitor, she spoke quickly and clearly. "I have the location. I'm sending it to you now." Closing out of the computer, she pushed away with one last look around, feeling a small sense of loss. "Going to radio silence."
Tapping the earbud to turn it off, she pulled it out and tossed it to the floor, then stepped on it, crushing the plastic under her foot.
She felt like she should be nostalgic, or sad, or... something. But there was just a sense of loss and disappointment that her life had led her here.
Led her to this. To all the losses.
Grabbing the bag she'd hidden under the stairs, she pulled out a flare and lit it with a snap and a hiss. The tip burst into flames and then settled down. Tossing it into the closet with the open gas cans and explosives infused with Kryptonite, she left Watchtower for the last time.
Clark would be back soon. The wild goose chase she'd sent him on wouldn't keep him distracted for long and she didn't want to ruin all of her carefully orchestrated plans if he showed up before she got out of there.
Wrapping her jacket tighter around her in the cold rain, she stayed under the canopy as a car pulled up outside. The door opened, patiently waiting for her to get in. With another look at her past, at her death, she drew in a deep breath and got into the car.
Lex pulled smoothly into traffic, eyes on the road, but she knew his attention was on her. "You're doing the right thing."
She scoffed quietly, facing the side window. "I'm doing the only thing I can do to save my skin. Don't make this out to be more than it is."
"Chloe, very few people have the opportunity to know what's in store for them. Knowing how and when you die is a gift; one that you just used to your advantage. Don't be ashamed of that."
She stayed silent, not sure how to respond to that truth. The facts were there and all lined up, neat and in a row, each one leading her to this moment.
To the end of... everything.
Resting her hand on her stomach, she bit the inside of her cheek, refusing to cry anymore.
Instead, she focused on how much of a coward she was for the way she was handling everything. She wasn't ashamed of faking her death, or destroying Watchtower in the process--
An explosion sounded behind them, shaking the ground, making the car windows rattle. Grabbing the leather seat, she turned, looking out the back window, seeing a ball of orange fire rising up, with billowing smoke preceding it.
"I think you overdid it a little," Lex chuckled, eyes on the rearview mirror.
"Probably." And it felt good. Cleansing.
Wiping out her entire life had to be big, otherwise Clark would never believe it. Or Oliver. Lois... blinking back the tears that refused to be stopped completely, she turned back around, buckling her seatbelt and staring straight ahead at her future.
Her life as Chloe Anne Sullivan was over.
She was now Christine Bethany Gilbert.
Glancing at herself in the side mirror, she pushed her hair off of her forehead. She didn't feel like a Christine. Didn't look like one either.
Her choice of partner in all of this calmly kept driving. Turning to him, studying the side of his face, she marveled at how normal he appeared when she knew that, deep down, underneath it all, he was just as twisted and scarred as she was.
Eyes dropping to his black-gloved hand, she remembered that all of his scars weren't internal.
"Do you think I stopped it? Will I live to see my 23rd?"
His lips tightened, eyes finding hers briefly. "I don't know. Let's just get you past the next few days first."
"Spoken like a true--"
Her phone rang suddenly and she realized she'd forgotten to trash it with everything else. She dug frantically through her bag, searching for her cell.
"I know, I know!"
She pulled her phone free and Lex grabbed it, rolling his window down and tossing it out. The window whirred up again, cutting off the sound of wet streets and sirens.
"Stupid, rookie mistake," she muttered, tossing her bag to the floor, angry with herself for being so stupid. Her plans had been simple enough. Get rid of all things past. Take nothing with her.
"You've never had to fake your own death before. It's understandable." He sounded so reasonable, as if this were an everyday thing. For him, it practically was, but this was her first time. Lex had been the one to take care of the details of her first fake death, back in her senior year of high school.
"Why are you helping me? Why are you being Mr. Understanding?" She'd wondered about it for weeks, from the moment he came to her, under cover of night, telling her she would die unless she did something about it.
She hadn't believed him until he told her what she'd already learned from Clark; that one of the Kandorians would kill her.
"I'm not completely selfless in this," he told her, eyes finding hers.
"I know. Now, I wanna know why."
He shifted gears, ignoring her question. The windshield wipers streaked back and forth, thumping on every half swipe. Lex shifted again, pulling into an underground parking lot. Slipping into an empty slot, he stared at the concrete wall, splashed in yellow light and stained with things she didn't want to think about.
"Because you're not done being a pain in my ass yet." The words were spoken quietly, sighed out like an admission. He turned the engine off and faced her more fully. "Are you?"
The words struck something in her--a memory... something--but she couldn't quite grasp it. "I don't--"
"I'm not ready for you to be done." Rubbing his gloved hand over his head, he sighed, eyes rising to hers. "The psychic, the one who saw your future, saw an alternate one as well--"
"Yeah, I know all of this already. I'm supposed to do things. Things that I can't do if I die in the current future at the hands of the...." She darted her eyes away, so used to lying now that it never even occurred to her to tell him the truth.
"The Kandorians," Lex finished before she could find a decent lie.
"Right," she agreed, frowning at the wall beside him. "Sorry." They both knew her apology was a lie, but they ignored it for the sake of the cautious accord between them. That they needed between them. "What is this future, Lex? I think I've earned the right to know. I did just die for the cause, after all."
Lex's gaze stayed on her, steady and filled with knowledge and so much else that she didn't want to see in him. Darkness and pain. She knew what those things did to him, how he reacted to being hurt. Being dead had been hard on him this time. The scars seemed to be the least of his pains.
It made her want to help him.
Despite all that she knew about him, all the things he'd done, all the pain he'd caused others, including her, she wanted to ease that pain in his eyes. Ease the hurt and chase away the darkness.
It'd always been her weakness; she cared too much, even for Lex.
"Lex... what happened?" Dropping her eyes to his gloved hand, she reached out to touch the black leather, but he pulled back quickly, wrapping his hands around the steering wheel.
He shook his head. "If you know too much, you might make the wrong decisions. I can't take that chance."
"If I don't know, I probably will make the wrong decisions." Eyeing him shrewdly, fighting the instinct to reach out and comfort him, the instinct that she'd fostered for so many years being Clark's sidekick and best friend, she grabbed her bag, full of clothing she'd bought days before, clothing Chloe would never wear. Digging through the contents, she pulled out a hat and covered her hair with it, then wrapped a scarf around her neck. "What does it matter to you anyway?"
"It matters," is all he said, watching her disguise herself with a small frown. After a moment, he opened his door and got out. "Come on."
"Do I help you? Do I do something that affects you somehow?"
Slamming her door shut, she followed him to the elevators, glancing around to make sure no one was around to see them. Lex huffed out a small noise and she got the feeling he was laughing at her. Taking her arm, he drew her with him, halting by the elevators.
"You're making yourself more noticeable by trying not to be noticeable. Relax." He glanced at her as the doors opened with a ding. "And take these off." He slipped the scarf and sunglasses from her, holding them as he moved into the car, turning to face the doors. "It's probably for the best that you're no longer a journalist... I'm sure you'd have met sources in a Fedora and trenchcoat."
She rolled her eyes and shrugged a shoulder. "You promised to tell me when it was done, and, well... it's now pretty well-done."
They rode the elevator to the penthouse floor in silence, though she grew more and more impatient with each floor they passed.
As they left the car, Lex pulled a keycard from his pocket, still holding on to her scarf and sunglasses. "You have a power that will--"
"No, I don't," she countered, disappointment flowing through her. If that's what all of this was about, his psychic was wrong. His part of things was wrong. She didn't regret faking her death, didn't regret severing all ties with Clark, because she'd lost people because of him. And so much more than he would ever know about.
Plus, she was still supposed to die, and Clark was doing nothing to stop that.
So, she was okay with all of that.
But if Lex thought she could help him, he was wrong. "I don't have--"
"You will." He held the door open for her, letting it click shut behind him as they entered his home. "It'll form again soon and you'll help me immeasurably." He tossed her scarf and sunglasses to the couch cushions and stripped out of his coat, heading straight for the wet bar.
Chloe slipped out of her coat and set it, and her hat, on the cushions beside her other things. Glancing around at the new and improved penthouse, different from his old one, she figured being dead had its perks. "What kind of a freak am I going to be this time?" She turned to him as he tossed back a scotch.
His gloved hand shook a little as he poured another, then tossed it back as well. Eyes sliding past her, he stretched his neck, rubbing it with his good hand, mumbling something.
Straightening, he nodded and she glanced behind her.
Two big, muscular men dressed all in black, started toward her, looking out of place in the stark white interior of the penthouse.
She jumped to her feet, backing away, feeling a frisson of fear. "Lex, what the hell?"
"You'll develop a meteor power," Lex told her, pouring another drink as the men grabbed her and held her still, facing him. His eyes stayed on the drink in his hand. "It'll keep me alive long enough to destroy Superman." He tossed back his scotch with a shaking hand, nodding to the muscle holding her.
Pulling desperately on her arms, kicking at the men, she struggled, fighting back as they dragged her backward, down a hallway. She screamed and fought, feeling fear closing in on her. "Lex, you can't do this! I'm helping you. I--"
A door was opened at the end of the long, dark hall, and they tossed her into a room that resembled a cell. The door slammed shut, and she pounded on it, beating it, kicking at it as four or five locks slid home. The small, round window in the door afforded her a view of Lex, still standing at the wet bar, eyes closed.
He pressed his glass to his forehead and then turned and threw it against a wall. She didn't hear it shatter, and he didn't hear her screams; the room she was in was sound proof.
Feeling her heart sink, and her chest grow tight, she stared at the spot he'd been in. Because of all of her careful planning, leaving blood she'd stored up behind, all of her personal effects... she was, for all intents and purposes, well and truly dead to the world.