Chloe hissed as the antiseptic drenched cotton ball was pressed against the recently inflicted gash under her right eye.
"So what 'horrible infraction' did you commit this time?" Felix asked dabbing at a second gash this one across her left cheekbone.
Her gaze drifted away from him and toward her bed. He walked over then turned back to her a questioning look on his face.
Chloe walked over to him and shifted the mattress revealing the wall behind it, his eyes grew wide as he walked around her and traced his fingers over the small markings in he wall, "What is this?"
"That's how long I've been stuck in this place… there's a mark for each day."
Felix shook his head, "how much longer are you going to let this continue Chloe?" he asked. His concern for her etched across his face.
She scowled at him her eyes narrowed, "it's not like I let them do this to me." she snapped.
"You're right… you don't, but you're not doing anything to stop it either, now are you?"
"What do you expect me to do?" she asked crossing her arms defensively over her chest.
He stepped closer to her, "Let me help you escape this place Chloe." his voice was barely above a whisper as he brought his hand up to cup her cheek.
"I told you I can't." she replied softly.
"Well what about that hero of yours? Don't you think with his help we could get you out of here, get you someplace where they'll never find you?"
Chloe started at him her eyes narrowed and she batted his hand away from her, "how do you know about him? Did you finally find a way to get into my mind? Get the information they want? I can't believe I was actually stupid enough to trust you all this time." She backed away from him, "I should have known you were just playing me." she said softly as she looked down at her feet.
"Chloe, listen to me," he moved even closer to her, "I didn't invade your mind. I promised you I wouldn't do that and I meant it… You have to understand, everyone here knows what you did to end up here… and who you did it for."
"That's what I don't understand, if everyone knows then why hasn't anyone gone after him again?"
"Honestly… because they already have you, you have all the same information he does and they assume a whole lot more. Besides they bring him here the two of you have a much better chance at escaping. They're willing to sacrifice one hero if there's even the slightest chance they can break you and gain access to the rest," he paused for a moment, "he is the only one without superpowers after all, and that's the main kind of people they want to recruit… the more powerful the better."
Chloe finally looked up at him her posture tense, "you want me to trust you then explain to me why, out of all the people they've captured and held against their will, you decided to make me your chance for redemption?" She backed further away from him until she hit the wall behind her.
Felix sighed heavily and closed the distance between them, he leaned against the wall beside her and slid to the floor. Chloe stared at him for a minute until he nodded toward the floor beside him. Hesitantly she slid down too and held her breath waiting for him to speak.
"After all this time you still don't remember me, do you?"
Chloe stared at him, desperately trying to remember where she could possibly have met the man beside her before. Finally she shook her head, "I'm sorry, I can't…"
He patted her knee with his hand several times, "no it's fine, I figured you wouldn't," he took another deep breath, "You were kind to me once a long time ago. You saved my life."
"What?" she shook her head again still not remembering.
"The Isis Foundation…I came to you when I first discovered that I was meteor infected. I had heard all the stories about how people who had abilities brought on by the meteors eventually went insane. When I came to you I was prepared to kill myself rather then become like them," he looked up at her and smiled weakly. "You sat me down and explained to me that not all people with abilities ended up like that, they were just the ones people knew about because of their news worthy crimes."
Chloe shook her head in disbelief a vague memory clawing its way to the surface. She continued to stare at him hoping that looking at him would help her remember when suddenly everything clicked. She lifted her hand to his short black hair for just a moment before placing it in front of her again, "your hair was much longer then… shaggier? Am I right?" she asked.
He chuckled at that, "yeah, well when I signed on with Checkmate, the first thing the Waller insisted upon was a hair cut… said no one on her team would look like some common vagrant."
"I think I remember now, you asked me how I knew for sure that people could still be normal while living with a meteor infection ?"
"And you asked me if I thought you were normal, when I said yes you confided in me about your dormant power. I was so shocked when you told me, not only by the information but because you trusted someone you barely knew and told them your deepest secret."
Chloe nodded slowly, "I was scared that if you didn't really believe what I was telling you that you would do something crazy… that you would hurt yourself."
"I probably would have, that's how you saved me Chloe Sullivan, and now I'm going to do everything in my power to protect you for as long as you're stuck here."
Chloe looked at him, "so I have to ask…" she hesitated unsure if asking him how he ended up working for a secret government agency was too much, but in light of what he had just told her she was certain there wasn't much he wouldn't be willing to confide in her. "How did you end up here? Working with Waller?"
"Well that story is not nearly as interesting, cliffs notes version… I came up with the bright idea to use my ability for… financial gain. I played the underground poker circuit, and somehow ended up on Waller's radar. She had me brought to her, and told me how badly my country needed someone like me. I thought I would be catching international terrorists, you know, really bad guys. It didn't take me long to realize the truth… but by then it was already too late… there's only one way to get out of Checkmate."
Chloe reached out and placed her hand on his arm trying to offer some kind of comfort to the man who had risked so much to protect her, "Thank you, I know how much you're risking for me, and I'll never be able to thank you enough."
He looked up at her and she saw something flash through his eyes, something she hadn't expected and something that shouldn't be there.
The door to her cell swung open, and Chloe silently thanked God for the interruption.
Amanda Waller strolled in her high priced heals clacking against the cold cement floor, the sound echoing off the walls around them.
They both looked up and watched as she was followed in by one of the tall stocky henchmen that escorted her everywhere.
Without warning the man walked around her and stalked toward Chloe. He lifted her roughly from the ground by her one arm as Felix held on tightly to the other.
"What are you doing?" he demanded keeping a firm grip on her hand.
"Let go of her," Waller told him, her voice held together with an unnatural calm.
"Where are you taking her?" Felix said refusing to release his grip on Chloe, but as hard as he tried her fingers were slipping from his as the large man whose hands were still clenched around her upper arm wrapped his other arm around her waist and lifted her off her feet.
Felix finally lost his hold on her and the man began to carry her toward the door. Chloe fought against him, her feet dangled below her as she kicked and screamed, this was different then the other times they had come for her she could feel it. Normally when they took her for 'interrogation' they would wait a few days or at least one since her previous beating, but she had just been in 'the room' earlier that very day.
She gripped the door frame as she was carried out, her stomach clenched and somehow she knew that once she left that room something was going to happen, something that would change everything.
"Stop." Waller said and the man holding immediately did as he was told. "Put her down… but don't release her."
He nodded and lowered her to the ground but kept his vice like limbs wrapped firmly around her.
Waller pulled a small firearm from a side holster attached to her hip and pointed it toward Felix. She glanced back and forth between the pair. "Felix," she started shaking her head, a disapproving tone in her voice, "you should know better then this."
He glared up at her his eyes narrowed.
"You know I've been watching the two of you… very closely, and it didn't take me long to realize that things were not what they seemed to be. Getting emotionally involved with her was not part of your mission… the job was simple, get close to her, earn her trust, and acquire the information I asked for. That's all. And yet here you sit completely enamored willing to sacrifice the job at hand; all for someone who will never feel the same way you do."
"Stop," Felix pleaded his eyes meeting Chloe's his gaze was a mix of embarrassment and guilt.
"Would you like to know for sure how she really feels about you?" She looked back toward Chloe and smirked knowingly, "Miss Sullivan," keeping her eyes locked on Chloe she moved until she was beside Felix. She lifted the gun again but this time she placed the barrel to his temple, "give me a name, one name of a member of your old team, or you can say goodbye to your cohort here."
Chloe stared at her, eyes wide and tears streaming down her face. Saving his life meant betraying someone she loved, one of the people that after all this time she still considered teammates. He looked up at her, his body was stiff, and his eyes betrayed the fear he felt but when he shook his head no she got the message, he didn't want her to reveal anything to Waller. He didn't want anyone else to be stuck living the life he had been tricked into.
"I didn't think so." Waller said coldly.
Chloe was certain she could actually hear pleasure at her refusal in the other woman's voice.
Her body began to shake and she squeezed her eyes shut as she heard the gun cock and a second later a shot rang out through the cell and Chloe's body gave out from under her as she let out a strangled sob.
Mere seconds seemed to drag on forever, and then Chloe heard the sound of Felix coughing. Her eyes shot open and she saw him grabbing his right knee his face distorted in agony as he screamed out in pain.
"You're very lucky Felix; there aren't many people out there with your particular talent." She leaned down and gripped his hair tugging his head back, "if you weren't so useful to Checkmate, I would kill you now." She stood back up to full height and turned to the man that still held Chloe. "Leave Miss Sullivan here. Take him the infirmary, and then come back for her."
The man threw Chloe across the room and she quickly rushed to Felix's side, "Felix, oh my God! I'm so sorry! Felix! Felix, look at me!," she pleaded to him through sobs. When his eyes finally met hers she sighed in relief.
"I'm fine," he choked out gasping for air through the pain of his bullet wound.
She was pushed to the side as Felix was lifted and the man threw him over his shoulder, he screamed out again at the sudden careless movements and he was taken from the room.
Chloe watched them leave. She pulled her knees into her chest and let the tears fall.
Chloe's eyes shot open at the sound of someone bursting through the bedroom door.
Lois sat at the kitchen table a ceramic coffee mug clamped firmly in her hands and the research for her latest article strewn around her but long forgotten. The scene at the clock tower earlier had gone better then she expected. Dinah had been civil to Chloe, and her cousin hadn't fallen to pieces when they got back to the farm.
Chloe obviously wasn't alright yet, but she seemed to be coming around… at least slightly. Clark had even confided in her that Chloe had teased him about wearing tights and a cape, which was the old Chloe shining through, she just prayed that tomorrow after the night's events sunk in her cousin would still be okay.
She looked down at her now empty mug and groaned. Time for a refill She walked over to the sink and turned the water on to rinse it first. A moment later when she heard the strangled scream from the bedroom Chloe was sleeping in she dropped the mug and rushed up the stairs taking them two at a time. As she got closer to the door Chloe screamed out again and Lois realized that what she had thought was a wail was actually words…
"Felix, oh my God! I'm so sorry! Felix! Felix, look at me!"
Chloe was screaming it so loudly that Lois was grateful Clark was on patrol. She was certain that the secrets Chloe had been keeping so close stemmed from whoever this 'Felix' was.
She shoved the bedroom door open and as soon as she entered Chloe shot up.
"Are you okay?" Lois asked her breath labored not from the physical exercitation of rushing to the room but from fear and concern for her cousin.
"I'm fine," Chloe's voice was hoarse and scratchy from her screaming; she cleared her throat then continued, "Just a bad dream."
"I figured." Lois replied. She walked over and sat down on the edge of the bed, "You wanna talk about it?"
"No," Chloe laid back on the bed and squeezed her eyes shut.
Lois stared down at her; it was now or never, "Chlo?"
Chloe shot back up her eyes scared and wide, "how do you know that name?"
"You were screaming it in your sleep. Is that who you're protecting?" She asked already knowing the answer.
Chloe nodded, "but I can't tell you anymore then that Lo."
Lois sighed heavily, "Chloe, you need to talk to someone, why not me?"
"Because the more I tell you the more secrets you will have to keep from Clark, and I can't put you in that position."
"Chloe, my life consists of keeping a lot of people's secrets. I'm pretty sure you can relate to that."
"So tell me what's been haunting you… let me help you. I promise I won't tell anyone."
Chloe stared at her and Lois held her breath silently praying that her cousin would confide in her when Chloe finally nodded Lois let out a sigh of relief and listened as Chloe began to tell her about the events that had played out over the past four years.
An hour later Lois stared at Chloe her mouth agape. Her reasons for protecting the man she now knew for certain was named Felix were obvious. There was no way Chloe would confide the truth in anyone else and she owed it to her cousin to protect her secret.
Chloe looked up at her, "You can't tell anyone Lo… promise me you won't."
Lois reached across the bed and placed her hand over Chloe's, "I won't tell anyone, I swear."
Chloe covered their joined hands with her other, "thank you."