This is my first Chlollie fanfic so I'm just hoping that I get the characters more or less right. Just for orientation: Oliver hasn't met the Smallville gang yet. Neither has he been stranded on an island for two years, so there's no Green Arrow either (yet). He's the CEO of Queen Industries and sort of the past bad version of Oliver. Lex is still alive and up to no good. Chloe and Clark are still a duo trying to take him down, but things are shaky and there's no JLA. The rest will become clear throughout the story – I hope. Otherwise just ask. P.s. all reviews will be highly appreciated!

Beneath the Bleeding
Chapter One

Chloe was seriously pissed off. No, scratch that, she was beyond furious. She'd gotten up that morning feeling better than she had in a really long time. The morning sun had finally forced its way through the ceiling of dark grey clouds that had been hanging over Metropolis over the weekend and was shining delightfully through her bedroom window. She'd miraculously managed to get the huge load of work done that she'd taken home with her on Friday and had actually slept a full eight hours the last night. She stretched zealously, dead sure that today was going to be a good day. Boy, had she been wrong.

Things started going downhill the minute she stepped out of her apartment building. First she'd nearly been run over by a pubescent dwarf on a skateboard causing her to drop her folder in a reeking puddle of yellow, probably a courtesy of her neighbour's dog. She'd quickly checked on her articles and decided to push the incident aside once she saw that they had gotten away unscathed. So, she strode over to her car, but not without looking left and right, twice for good measure, just in case somebody else tried to use her as a speed bump. She rummaged through her bag in search of her keys, her movements going from slow to frantic when she couldn't find them. Taking a deep breath she carefully went through everything again relieved when her fingers finally touched the cool metal. She definitely needed a smaller handbag because this one kept on sending her on blasted scavenger hunts.

She unlocked the door and settled into the driver's seat, quickly inserting the key and turning the ignition and then… nothing. Absolutely goddamn nothing. No humming, no rattling, no cogging, no not even a puff of smoke. Herbert had officially given up on her, time of death: 8.45 am. Cursing under her breath she got out and slammed the door shut. Now she was going to have to walk…seven freaking blocks…crap.

By the time she'd made it to the coffee shop right opposite the Daily Planet she was gasping for air and desperately wishing she hadn't dug out her newly bought 55%-off black Louboutin pumps which magically made her legs look longer and her ass smaller, because right now, the only thing there were doing, was torturing her feet. Her little stroll through 'concrete park' had drastically shortened the time she still had left to get to work, but no way in hell was she forfeiting her delicious almond mocha with extra whip for a cheap filter coffee from the staff room. Drinking that poison was nothing more than a downright sin.

She squeezed her way through the usual crowd of people groaning when she noticed the length of the queue. This was going to take half way to forever but she wasn't giving in. The day might have started off with a few obstacles but she wasn't letting them dampen her mood. She was even going to grab a handful of donuts for Lois just to prove how brilliant of a day it was going to be.

Ten minutes later and she was making her way out of the café with a steaming white chocolate mocha in her hand – yes, she'd spent the extra 80 cent today – revelling in the smell. Things were definitely looking up…slosh…or not. The hot brown liquid trickled down the front of her cream-coloured satin blouse leaving behind a sticky splotch that clung to her skin showing off her bra underneath. Freaking fantastic.

Frustration was building up in her and she looked up ready to give someone a verbal lashing, but the culprit had disappeared into a sea of suits. So, she grabbed the napkins in the paper bag holding Lois' donuts and forcefully dabbed at her soaked blouse all the while making her way across the street to the Daily Planet. Fortunately, she arrived at her desk without any further mishaps and plumped into her chair letting out a sigh of exhaustion.

"Good morning, cuz", Lois' cheery voice pierced through the undertone buzz of the bullpen, "Aww, is that for me?", she pointed towards the paper bag with keen expectation.

"Yeah", she huffed and lifted the donuts from the bag placing them on Lois' desk opposite hers, "I was feeling charitable this morning."

"I knew I loved you for a reason", Lois grinned, already digging into her first double-chocolate-glazed donut. "Sho wassup?"

"Really Lois? Didn't the Genereal ever teach you not to speak with your mouth full?", Chloe chastised only receiving a nonchalant look from Lois who was happily munching away. "And by the way, nothings up. I'm fine."

The stressed tone in Chloe's voice made Lois halt making her look like a chubby-cheeked hamster. Gulping down the chunks of donut she turned to face Chloe.

"First of all the General only taught me the important stuff", she raised her hand holding up three fingers, "effective argumentation, the intricate art of spying, self-defence and well offence and", she added a fourth finger, "guns." Chloe's expression remained stoic. "Second, your not fine. I can tell."

"What, did the General teach you how to read people too?", Chloe quipped holding up finger number five.

Lois remained unfazed, "No, that I picked up on my own, because I'm great that way", she smirked. "Now, stop with the attitude and tell me what's bugging you?"

Chloe just looked at her for a second taking in a deep breath, "It's nothing specific, really. I just had a feeling that today was going to turn out great, but the morning has been nothing but utterly disappointing and that's what's bugging me."

"Hmmm, bummer," Lois deadpanned.

"Is that supposed to cheer me up?", Chloe questioned disbelievingly.

"No, but you and me, a bottle of wine accompanied by a tub of Tiramisu Häagen-dasz and the new Ryan Gosling movie tonight are", Lois winked. "I'll take care of everything, you just have to bring yourself."

Chloe's frown softened turning into a grateful smile, "thanks Lois."

"Hey, it's the reason why you love me so much."

"One of the many", Chloe chuckled feeling her mood lighten again.

"Great, so now that you're back on track, how about we show this paper who the real journalistic talents around here are", Lois pointed her finger back and forth between Chloe and herself.

Chloe decided to use the opportunity to find out just how close Lois actually was to finding out Clark's secret. "Are you still on the hunt for the Blur's true identity?"

She'd tried convincing her childhood friend to tell her cousin, his girlfriend, the truth considering the two of them had been dating for over a year now, and that pretty much meant they were serious about their relationship. But Clark ever the sceptic was convinced it would only put Lois in jeopardy and that was the last thing he wanted. In the end, Chloe gave in, knowing that it wasn't her decision to make. She just hoped that when Lois did finally find out, she wouldn't hate her for lying all this time.

"You bet. The guy might move faster than a bullet, but believe me, I'm hot on his heels", Lois held up an enlarged photo of a recent street mugging, an obvious blur of red and blue surrounding the tied-up robbers. "Nobody outruns a Lane", she finished looking rather proud of herself.

Chloe reached over to take a better look at the shot, relieved when there was nothing in the picture that could point towards Clark. Passing the photo back to Lois, Chloe thought she might use the moment to plead caution. "Look Lois, I don't want to discourage you or anything but maybe some things are better left uncovered. This guy is doing Metropolis and its people a great favour and exposing him might not be for the best. Write about his heroic saves, get the people on his side and when he's ready to come out of the closet then by all means go get your breaking story."

Watching Lois alternately fumble around her stacks of notes and type on her computer, Chloe was pretty sure Lois had stopped listening right after the first sentence. "Lois, are you even listening to me?"

"Partially", Lois admitted without turning away from the screen. "I hear what you're saying, but I just can't back down, Chloe. You were the one who told me that nothing is more important than the truth, and that's what I'm trying to find out. Yes, judging by everything we've seen, the Blur is nothing less than a hero, but just because he's doing good doesn't mean we should turn a blind eye. We have a right to know who he is and why he's doing what he's doing."

There was no chance in hell that Chloe was going to get through to Lois, at least not today. "Okay, fine. I understand where you're coming from Lois…I just need you to be careful alright."

"No worries, cuz", Lois waved off Chloe's concerns. "You know me, I'm the personification of caution."

Chloe scoffed. "More like the opposite. But I've said what I needed to say and the rest is up to you. Peace?"

"We were never at war", Lois wise-mouthed. "You and me, we're a team and even if it doesn't seem that way sometimes, I do appreciate your concern", she finished with a soothing smile.

"Good to know", Chloe returned the smile and then went on to unpack her bag.

Hardly a minute later the boyish looking intern straight from high school appeared next to her desk wearing a sheepish look and fidgeting with his tie.

"Miss Sullivan", he addressed Chloe nervously. "I…er…I'm supposed to tell you that Mr. Luthor would like to see you in his office."

Dread immediately washed over her and she peered over to Lois who was likewise sporting a suspicious look. This wasn't good, not good at all. She'd been up to see Lex a number of times only to receive lectures on her work with subtle threats relaying to Clark and herself and their efforts to expose his countless intrigues. She'd never looked forward to those conversations, but she'd always managed to meet him head on, no sign of fear or weakness. She wouldn't let Lex intimidate her, no matter how resourceful he was.

But something about today was different. The past couple of weeks had been rather uneventful and Clark and her had spent most of their time patrolling the streets of Metropolis. Ever since they'd taken down another two 33.1 labs a couple of months ago, Lex had been keeping a low profile. That in itself was naturally unsettling and Chloe was sceptically waiting for his next move. Lex wanting to see her right now was somewhat out of the blue and that could only mean he was up to something.

"Thanks, Trevor. I'll be right up", Chloe responded after a moment's thought.

The intern just nodded in return, then stole a weary glance at Lois and quickly scuffled back into the morning bustle. Chloe didn't miss the obvious fear written all over the boys face when he had looked at Lois. She'd have to talk to her cousin about that sometime, but right now she had more serious matters to focus on.

"So, it's back to the lion's den, huh?", Lois said with a hint of weariness.

"He's more like the devil and it's not like I have a choice", Chloe answered glumly. "I have a bad feeling about this."

"Want me to come with you?", Lois offered. "You know, in case his inner Hannibal decides to take over. I'll just say I needed to talk to him about a new idea for a story."

"Thanks, Lo. But I have to do this on my own", Chloe declined with an appreciative tone. "Just knowing that you've got my back already helps a lot." She slowly raised herself from her chair, straightened her skirt and blouse and then made her way towards the door stopping shortly in passing and turning back to Lois. "If I'm not back in twenty minutes call the police." Chloe had actually meant it to be a joke to calm her nerves, but the words had come out more earnest than intended.

Lois caught on to her cousin's unease wanting to make her feel better. "Forget the police, they're useless. I'll come up there myself. That way we can kick his ass together", she jested and winked.

With a gentle nod and a half-felt smile Chloe turned around again and headed up the staircase.

She didn't bother to wait for an answer after she had knocked and immediately strode into Lex' office. He was sitting behind his mahogany desk rifling through papers when he noticed her none too subtle entrance.

"You wanted to see me", Chloe spoke with irritation and walked further into the room arms crossed over her chest.

Setting the documents aside, Lex leaned back in his plush chair folding his hands and placing them on his desk. "Yes, indeed I did", he confirmed with an unnerving smile. "Please have a seat, Miss Sullivan", he gestured towards the armchair.

"I would rather not", Chloe refused. "What do you want from me?", she asked forcefully; her impatience giving way to her apprehension.

There was a short pause before Lex spoke again. "I thought for a change we'd play friendly today", he said with a hint of amusement. "But it seems it's the wrong time of month for that."

Chloe ignored his sad attempt at provoking her and instead studied him noticing the way the corner of his eye and mouth twitched with anticipation. She wouldn't for a second believe anything that came out of his foul mouth. Lex was a conniving snake and the second she let her guard down he wouldn't hesitate to bite. She looked him straight in the eye challenging him openly. "Nobody else is listening Lex. It's just you and me, so drop the act and cut to the chase."

Lex slowly leaned forward resting on his elbows and glared black at Chloe with a smile that had instantly turned from mocking to menacing. He wasn't here to play games anymore; that was clear.

"I used to admire you for your directness", Lex admitted, "but now your big mouth is starting to get on my nerves." He paused reigning in his anger and continued with more calm. "If I were you I'd keep it shut more often."

"Or what? You'll shut it for me?", Chloe spat back. "You forget Lex, I'm not scared of you."

Chloe sensed how the tension was drastically increasing and cautioned herself to tread carefully. She might not be scared of Lex, but that didn't mean he wouldn't have her gagged and shipped to the next 33.1 lab at the very first opportunity.

After another moment of silence, Lex pushed back his chair and stood, his expression unreadable. Chloe let her arms fall to her sides in response, her hands balling into fists. Closing his jacket, he walked towards her, each step marred with suppressed fury, until he was just mere inches away from her.

"You should be", he hissed dropping his collected façade. "You don't know what I'm capable of. And one day, your precious Clark won't be around to save you."

A shot of fear ran through Chloe at his last words. Not for her, but for Clark. Something about the way Lex had said it, didn't sit well with her. Lex knew something, something she hadn't figured out yet.

"I doubt that", Chloe opposed trying to sound as sure of it as she could. Lex merely chuckled in response sending Chloe's blood boiling. "We'll fight you until the very end, Lex. You're never going to win", she continued putting an end to his silent laughter.

"You'll be dead before you even get close", Lex threatened coolly. "But before that happens, I'm going to take away everything you hold dear."

That was it. Chloe had tried to maintain her composure, but now he was going too far. She was ready to fire back at him, but he swiftly cut her off.

"You're fired", he stated point-blank.

His statement hung in the air between them, the words echoing in Chloe's head. She couldn't think of anything to say. Surely, in the grand scheme of things, the news shouldn't have come as a surprise and considering the horrible actions Lex was capable of, she should have been relieved that he hadn't planned anything worse. But she couldn't move or breathe.

"Pack your things. I want you gone within the hour", Lex ordered returning back to his chair.

Chloe's head was spinning. She hadn't even begun to register what Lex had just said and then again something inside her was urging her to pull herself together. She couldn't lose face in front of Lex. She wouldn't give him that pleasure. So, even though her mind was in a haze, some part in her found the courage to speak up.

"Thank you", she spoke with as much conviction as she could, "You just did me a favour", and made her way towards the office door.

For a split-second there was a look of surprise on his face before he managed to conceal it. "How does the saying go?", he tilted his head in victory, "Don't thank me too soon."

Chloe was halfway out the door when he spoke and turned around only to be confronted with his signature sly grin. She'd be damned if Lex got the last word. "You know, sometimes I think back on the times when we were friends and I can't believe this is what we've become. Somewhere along the line things went south. There's nothing left of the Lex I once knew, and yet, despite everything that happened then, I never believed I'd ever have to say this to you", she took a small breath, "You're a monster, Lex. You've even succeeded in outdoing your father, so I guess you can be proud of yourself because that's what you've wanted all along, isn't it." She didn't wait to see his reaction even if she was rather curious and with a silent "Goodbye, Lex", she simply shut the door closed behind her.

As Chloe made her way back downstairs everything that had just occurred between her and Lex replayed in her head. She didn't know what she was feeling, if she was feeling at all. The only thought she could grasp at the moment was that she'd been dead wrong that morning because her day had ultimately crashed and burned and that really had her pissed.