Author's Warning: This story contains rape, non-consensual sex, physical/mental abuse, and murder. It was extremely difficult to write for obvious reasons; but mostly because this came from my mind and that means something about me that I'm not terribly comfortable with. Please do NOT read this if you are underaged or a sensitive reader. Thank you.


AN-The last chapter made me wonder where I was going with this story, but I think I'm ok with it after living with it for a few weeks.


"Your ability to rationalize your own bad deeds makes you believe that the whole world is as amoral as you are." Doug Coupland

Chapter 8

-Smallville—

Sunday morning found Lex waiting impatiently for Chloe to get out of bed. He'd made sure there was coffee and muffins for her, done some work, started rearranging some of the 33.1 facilities so they'd stand up to scrutiny, and put in an hour in his personal gym (not that he'd managed to do more than raise his heart rate slightly and break his treadmill).

He knew she needed rest, needed time to recover, body and soul, but waiting on someone was not something Lex did well.

Finally he heard her heartbeat change rhythm and then the rustling of bed covers, a multitude of sounds that told of her morning routine, and at last she emerged from her bedroom. Lex timed it so he entered the kitchen with an empty coffee cup as soon as she had poured her own cup from the pot.

Chloe tensed when she saw him, but didn't flee.

"Good morning," he offered.

Chloe nodded, apparently not willing to agree or return the sentiment. "You have great coffee."

Lex couldn't help but smile. "I assume it's the best."

"I could never say one is the best. Then I'd have to just have that one. But, it's good."

Lex nodded in understanding, occupying himself with pouring his own cup. Leaning back against the counter he sipped his black coffee, while Chloe savored her cup, much lighter, swirling cream and sugar sweetening the bitter brew.

She remained in the kitchen with him, and Lex pointed out the muffins. "There are muffins, and Maria is here, she can prepare anything you'd like," he offered.

"This is fine," Chloe said politely, plucking a blueberry muffin from the basket. "Thanks."

"We should talk," he said plainly as she fidgeted with the muffin rather than eating it.

Chloe's eyes shot up to meet his, her horror clearly displayed. "No need, I-"

"Chloe, we don't have to talk about what happened here. Between us. But I want to make sure you have everything you need."

Chloe frowned, not grasping his meaning.

"You've been a prisoner, but you're free now. I assume you'll want to figure out your schooling, your job." Chloe nodded carefully, suspicion clear on her face. "I had some things delivered for you." He pulled a small bundle from his pants pocket and handed it to her. Chloe looked at it curiously, seeing a cell phone and student ID. "I assume you lost your purse." Chloe frowned again. "You didn't have one when you arrived here."

She stared at him warily. "You really do remember everything, don't you?" she said in a small voice.

Lex nodded in the affirmative. "I'm sorry if that makes you uncomfortable, but I won't lie to you. Not about what's happened these last few weeks."

Her eyes searched his face and saw only sincerity there. She wasn't sure if honesty or mutual denial would be better, but she could appreciate that he was trying. "If you can arrange a ride to Smallville…"

"I'd rather you stay here," he said honestly, having already determined that outright manipulation on this front would not work. She would see through it easily enough. Chloe may be hurting, but her intelligence was still in place.

Chloe's eyes shot to him again. "Why?"

Lex avoided her question. "The road to Smallville is damaged. Repairs will necessitate temporary closures and long wait times, and I assume you want to return to the Daily Planet."

"If they haven't fired me yet," Chloe said with false bravado. The Daily Planet had been her dream since she could remember. If she'd lost her internship due to Zod it would be one more blow.

"They haven't," Lex said with a certainty that Chloe knew meant he'd interfered. "You'll need a place in Metropolis. Your dorm has been condemned, so that is not an option. You'll want someplace nearby for convenience." He leveled a serious look at her, his blue eyes warm, filled with emotion. "My penthouse is ideal."

Chloe's eyebrows drew together as she regarded him. He wasn't wrong. His penthouse was only 10 blocks from the DP.

"Why?" she asked again. "Why do you want me to stay? You can't want the reminder of… And there's Lana."

Lex wasn't ready to address this issue of Lana yet, so he ignored it. "I'd prefer you remain here, with me."

"That's not a reason."

Lex's jaw tightened. Chloe would never be easy. She had a strength of character, a goodness, and a clarity of purpose that made her strong. And curious, stubborn, and persistent. But if Lex had wanted someone to acquiesce to his every whim, he'd be with Lana. He wanted Chloe.

"I need to make amends. I need you to allow me to start making amends. For a year ago and the past weeks," he gave his reason without artifice.

He saw the surprise, the emotion on her face as she heard his explanation. He just hoped it would be enough.

It wasn't.

"I can't… I can't stay here. Can't… move in. Too much has happened." She rung her hands with some anxiety or discomfort and Lex backed off.

"I understand. I'll find you a place you can go. Somewhere where I can be sure you're safe. But until then, I'd like it… It would mean a lot to me if you would stay."

Chloe looked like she was considering his request, but didn't respond either way. She drank the last sip of her coffee and Lex extended his hand to take the cup from her, but she flinched, her body jerking back, away from him.

"It kills me that I put that fear into your eyes," he said low in his throat, his words rumbling with unspoken emotion.

Chloe hesitated, the holds out the cup to him. "I'll stay, until I can find a place."

-Smallville—

Chloe avoided Lex most of the day, sleeping in her room, making lists and plans. He listened in as she talked to her cousin, the false excitement in her voice as she told Lois she would be getting her own apartment in Metropolis as soon as she could.

She also called the Daily Planet, leaving a message for the intern coordinator. She only came out of her room for an afternoon food run, so Lex sent Maria to fetch her for dinner.

Maria led a reluctant Chloe, dressed in short black and cream chevron pattern dress with three-quarter sleeves, that dipped into a low V in both the front and the back. Chloe covered what would be an uncomfortable amount of cleavage, given the circumstances, with a grey scarf. Somehow the clothes bought for her, by Zod – but she was sure with a hefty amount of influence form Lex, fit her perfectly and flattered her figure.

On the outside patio she saw that her outfit nicely complimented Lex's casual (for him) look of black trousers with a thin blue-grey cashmere sweater.

He was standing next to a table, set formally with white linens and fancy dishes and silverware, talking on the phone. Seeing her he nodded in acknowledgement, but continued his conversation, making no effort to hide it from her.

Chloe listened in curiously as Lex argued with Metropolis's mayor about how to phase the rebuilding effort. Lex ended the call quickly and motioned to Chloe to sit down. Immediately, Maria appeared with a tray of three covered dishes and a basket of warm bread.

Chloe smiled at the woman. "It all smells delicious," she complimented.

"Thank you Maria," Lex said regally.

Once they were alone again, silence fell awkwardly around them. Chloe served herself and glanced over at Lex. "The mayor wants to rebuild the stadium first?" she asked with some scorn.

"Apparently it will provide jobs," Lex replied noncommittally.

"And help him keep the Huskers in town."

"There is that. Undoubtedly the stadium needs repairs, but I think we need to focus on infrastructure and housing first."

Chloe nodded, and Lex knew she agreed with him. Chloe had a soft heart for underdog and a distaste for political largess and nepotism. However he was hoping she wasn't completely opposed to gifts.

They talked about the recovery effort while they ate, but as soon as he finished his steak, Lex broached a more personal topic. "I spoke to the University President. Met U will be closed for the remainder of the year." Chloe looked aghast. She'd thought she'd lose a semester of school at most. "Your tuition and housing payment will be refunded to you in full."

Chloe nodded, her mind racing. Maybe it was time to consider leaving Metropolis. Some space between her, Lex, Lana, Clark and all things alien.

Lex lifted a box from the unused seat next to him and extended it to her. "I got you a laptop, top of the line. I'm not sure where you left yours." Chloe looked up at him her mouth hanging open. "Use it until you get yours back, or keep it, either way, it's yours."

"Lex… I can't accept this."

"Of course you can. You know I can afford it, and I know you need it. Chloe Sullivan without access to the internet? Even Dark Thursday pales in comparison," he teased. "Besides, you'll need it. I've talked with my alma mater to arrange for the honor students from your school to be able to enroll in online classes so you don't fall behind."

"Yale classes?"

"Yes, and your high school grades and SAT scores make you eligible," Lex said.

Chloe nodded and ate the rest of her meal silently, her mind racing to consider all her options. Lex watched her, catching each flicker of emotion as it crossed her face. For someone with so many secrets, she really could be an open book.

When a frown twisted her beautiful features and remained in place he finally spoke. "What's wrong?"

"Nothing," she answered quickly. Too quickly. Her eyes skittered across his face before staring off into the distance.

"Your heart is suddenly racing, and somehow I don't think it's because of me." Chloe stared at him, trying to decide if she could trust him or not. "If you have something to ask me, just ask Chloe. I could never lie to you. Not now."

She blinked as she considered his statement against his recent behavior and their past, finally deciding that her need to know outweighed the possible downsides. "When… when everything happened… I thought… you said something about… Clark?"

Lex assessed her and nodded slowly. "You mean Kal-El." She remained silent and he smiled ruefully. "You are a good and loyal friend to him, but you don't need to hide his secret anymore Chloe. I know. I know everything."

He explained about Zod fighting Clark twice. Zod and Clark coming from the same dying civilization. How Zod and Jor-El had worked together to try to save Krypton, but after Zod's wife and child had died and Jor-El refused to bring back Zod's son, their friendship had deconstructed. Years later, Jor-El was a member of the Krypton ruling council that sent Zod and Faora, his second wife, to the Phantom Zone.

"What are you going to do now?"

"Do with my powers or do about Clark?"

"Both."

Lex shook his head. "Nothing regarding Clark, as long as he remains one of the good guys." Chloe looked surprised. "Is that look because you still think of me as one of the bad guys?"

"I…"

"I'm me again Chloe, not Zod. I'm not the villain everyone makes me out to be, I hope one day you'll be able to see me for who I really am." Chloe looked conflicted. "I need to earn back your trust. I acknowledge that. But understand this: I would never hurt you and I will do whatever is needed to keep you safe."

Chloe blinked at him rapidly, her mind racing to understand what Lex meant and why it mattered to him. "You have that look again." Her eyes met his. "That look that says you're wondering if you should ask me something or not." He smiled softly, and Chloe remembered how much she'd trusted and relied on him that summer when he'd been her only protection against Lionel.

She swallowed and licked her lips, obviously nervous. "Zod…"

When she broke off, Lex compressed his lips tightly in frustration, but forced himself to relax. "You can ask me anything, Chloe," he said in warm reassurance.

"Zod said that you…"

Lex finally knew where she was going with this. "Had feelings for you," Lex hesitated, letting her see his inner conflict. "It's true."

Chloe looked confused, but he could also see her hurt. The same hurt he'd seen in the first few weeks of her senior year, after she'd returned to Smallville, and Lex had begun distancing himself from her in the only way he knew how, complete avoidance.

"But…"

"I know I lost your trust, your regard, because of how I behaved. But I didn't ignore you because you no longer had anything of value to me. I did it because you were of value to me." Chloe frowned. "My father was going to come after us. You, me, anyone who helped us. If he knew how I felt about you, he would have come after you first."

Chloe stared at him, questions filling her eyes, but her mouth remained closed.

"I wanted… no, I needed to keep you safe Chloe. I know I hurt you, and I'm sorry for it, but I did what I did because I cared about you, because it was the best way to keep you safe and alive." Lex paused, blue eyes boring into green. "I cared about you, more than I should have, but I forced myself to stay away from you. I hope you can understand that, even if you can't forgive it."

-Smallville—

Lex watched Chloe walk away from the outdoor dinner table, the dress accentuating her waist and revealing her legs. He wanted her physically, with a need that gnawed at him, but he also wanted her trust, her affection, and eventually her love.

He'd written her off a long time ago. She had no longer been his ally and he'd decided that neither was she acceptable collateral damage in his war with Clark.

He regretted her current hurt and that their relationship was so damaged but a month ago she hadn't even been on his radar. So now was better.

-Smallville—

Lex got out of bed bright and early Monday morning, dressing for work, though he had no intention of leaving until he saw Chloe. She hadn't cried herself to sleep the night before, but neither had she come out of her room after dinner.

Lex knew he'd given her a lot to think about. Her immediate future. Their joint past. The fact that he had confirmed knowing about Clark's secret, at long last. Lex assumed Chloe would impart the news to Clark soon enough, along with the fact that Lex had Zod's powers. A fact she'd omitted from the conversation Lex had listened in on. Clark would undoubtedly be dismayed. Lex expected he'd see his old friend soon enough.

Lex settled into work in his den, keeping one ear trained on Chloe's room, wanting to know the moment she woke up. It would be the first day she left his penthouse freely since arriving on Dark Thursday. There was the possibility that she wouldn't come back. That the memories held in his home would be too much to return to. That her foreboding about Lex himself would overtake all the groundwork he had laid to try to regain her trust and friendship.

Lex didn't like the idea of her running away from him, though he knew he could track her down or draw her back to him if he needed to.

Lex had already started work on his backup plan for keeping Chloe close. The trick was that it had to be of her own free will. He didn't want a prisoner. She was meant to be free, not caged, even if the cage was gilded.

A few hours later, Lex was waiting for Chloe to get her coffee and either return to her room or find a place to eat her breakfast. He had 'accidentally' run into her in the kitchen the day before and didn't want to repeat the tactic. But when he heard her gasp of pain, he discarded his plan for another 'coincidental' meeting and sped to her side in concern.

Chloe hadn't even had time to set down her cup when he arrived in the kitchen with a whoosh of air. She didn't react in fear at his sudden appearance he noted with satisfaction, but his attention was focused on the dark wet stain above her right breast. She had clearly spilled hot coffee from her cup onto herself and the liquid was hot enough to hurt.

Lex zipped to the sink, wetting a towel he found and then was back at her side pressing the cool wet cloth to her stinging skin.

Chloe hadn't spoken yet, just stared at him as she set down her coffee mug. Lex met her eyes. "Does it hurt much?"

"Some," Chloe answered honestly. She liked her coffee hot. And she hadn't even gotten to add creamer to her cup. She'd just wanted a sip to see if it tasted as good as it smelled, as good as she remembered, when she'd misjudged the distance to her mouth. She wasn't normally a klutz but she'd been tormented by dreams of Zod all night long and felt more tired than when she'd gone to bed.

Lex's eyes dipped down to her chest, noting that she was obviously wearing something under the thin silk robe, but mostly interested in the fact that her nipples were poking through the thin fabric in a way he couldn't have missed. "Let's see how bad it is," Lex said in a low silky voice, but the inflection was comfort, not seduction, which was meant to alleviate any fear or misgivings she had as he peeled back the right side of her robe to reveal the patch of burned skin on her chest, but also her breasts contained a white silk bra.

He'd bought it for her, but hadn't seen her in it until then. The snowy whiteness of the silk gave an air of innocence, which was reinforced by Chloe's blush and downward cast gaze as his eyes took in her curves. Lex ached to touch her, to brush his fingers over the creamy swell of pale skin visible over the silk.

When his hand rose of its own accord he diverted it from its target to her burn, skimming his fingers over the damaged skin so lightly Chloe wasn't even sure if he actually touched her or if she only felt the air stirred by his movement.

She couldn't help that her body reacted to him. She was exposed. He was Lex. And she was accustomed to any touch from his hand leading to sex. But when her nipples stiffened even more, Chloe's blush deepened.

Lex frowned, not wanting her to be shy around him or ashamed of her physical reaction to his touch. He knew her body as well as he knew his own, but he didn't think she'd appreciate the reminder.

"I'm sure I have some ointment," Lex offered, trying to ease the sudden tension emanating from Chloe. She didn't respond and kept her eyes trained on the floor. Lex tipped her chin up with one gentle finger asking her to look at him, and she reluctantly complied. "There's nothing to be embarrassed about Chloe, you have a beautiful body and a passionate nature."

Lex meant only to offer her relief, but as her eyes dipped from his eyes to his mouth, he suddenly realized that there was more opportunity in this moment than to just reinforce their connection. Chloe was aroused. He could see it, smell it. "Chloe," he growled.

The need in his voice was so surprising that her gaze shot back up to his. Lex locked eyes with her, wanting her to see the tenuous control, the burning desire in his gaze. Chloe inhaled softly and her lips fell open, her expression shocked.

Lex seized the moment, stepping forward and sealing his mouth over hers.

He moved his lips over hers slowly, softly, asking, not demanding or taking. Chloe's whole body stiffened at first, her hands rising to push against his chest. But just as quickly her hands fisted in his jacket, holding him in place.

Lex's intent was to coerce her, to tempt her enough that she would disregard her fears, but the kiss itself was gentle, warm, and hinting at heat and passion while somehow also promising safety and a place to belong.

Chloe moved her lips under his, her tongue darting out to get a taste of him, but she quickly withdrew, turning her head to break the kiss.

Lex lifted his hand slowly and brushed her bangs out of her face, wanting to see her face. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have done that." He lowered his head so their faces were close enough that her rapid breaths brushed against his cheek.

He deliberately breathed in, taking in her shower fresh scent, his expression tight with arousal. Chloe felt a corresponding tug low in her stomach. "Lex…" her voice was weak, but he knew she meant it to be a rebuke.

"I have all these memories, of you. Of us, together. I can't turn it off."

Chloe stared into his heated blue eyes, swallowing reflexively.

Lex extended one arm to rest on the counter behind her, using his body to turn her so her back was to the counter. His other arm reached out to trap her between the counter and his body.

"Tell me to leave Chloe," he said softly, making it her choice.

Her chest rose and fell with rapid breaths, but she didn't say anything.

"Tell me this isn't what you want."

She shook her head and he could see the conflict in her eyes, but her arousal was just as clear. He dipped his head to kiss her again, and her soft sigh as his tongue slid along the seam of her lips convinced him that she wasn't going to object.

The kiss changed suddenly, Lex's mouth ravaging hers, seeking out her taste, as if it had been years not merely a day since he'd touched her, felt her heat, tasted her sweetness.

He untied her robe, pushing it open to reveal her body to him. He almost gave into his need, almost let himself lift her up onto the counter and take what he wanted right there. It wouldn't be their first time in the kitchen.

But Chloe deserved better, and Lex needed to distance himself from Zod in her mind. Zod would have ripped away her clothing, taken her on the counter until he was satisfied. Lex exerted control over himself to carry her back to her room, laying her on the bed, undressing her slowly, giving her the benefit of his experience and patience.

Lex undressed quickly, lowering his body over hers, feeling a deep satisfaction as she widened her legs to allow him to settle closely against her. His hands traced over her curves, his lips keeping her mouth occupied.

Soon her whimpers filled the room, small sounds of pleasure and demand. He lined himself up at her entrance, but paused, bracing his weight on one bent arm, his body pressed against hers from pelvis to breast. "Chloe," he said deeply.

Her eyes met his and she reached out to cup his cheek in her hand. The move was so unexpected, so intimate that Lex felt his heart clench.

He shifted his hips forward slowly, filling her inch by inch, watching each expression of pleasure flit across her face. He wanted her. Her body, her intelligence and humor, her warmth. He wanted all of her. Lex was obsessive by nature, a fact he realized, but didn't view as a fault. He wanted Chloe, so he would have her. At the moment she was giving him her body, and with that Lex knew he had a second chance.

Chloe stared up at Lex as he moved into her. He was going slowly, his gaze locked on her face the entire time. His intensity was frightening, but somehow it also warmed her. Lex saw her. He really saw her for who she was. There was no doubt of that. There never had been. Even when she'd been invisible to him, she'd known he knew who she was. Lex was a keen observer of humanity.

And a strategic genius. Chloe wondered if she was just another move in a chess game she didn't understand, or if this was real. The attraction was real, of that there could be no doubt.

Chloe had doubts about Lex. And knowing that, she knew she shouldn't have been reaching out to him, clutching his shoulders and begging him to go faster. But there was a connection between them. One from the past. And one from both their subjugations by Zod.

Chloe had pinned her hopes for survival, for freedom, on Lex's return. Longed for him so much, convinced herself that some of him was seeping through Zod's control, that every act of kindness from Zod, every bit of compassion, came from Lex. Somehow, while Chloe had been alone with Zod, she'd imagined that Lex was there with her, so she was never really alone.

And now Lex was really back, and the connection between them was flaring brightly. Chloe couldn't ignore it, couldn't ignore the attraction, not when Lex was making it clear that he wasn't willing to ignore it. No, Lex seemed to want something more from her.

Chloe felt the pressure in her body build, until it was too much to bear, and it burst, her climax washing over her like a balm.

But Lex was still hard. Chloe shifted her hips under him, clenching down on him and earning a groan in response. "You feel so good," he whispered in her ear.

Chloe wrapped her legs around him, and Lex began to move again, shifting her legs higher so he could go deeper. Chloe wasn't surprised when she came again before he did, but he followed her soon after, wrapping an arm around her and rolling onto his side, keeping her tight against him.

Chloe could feel his gaze on her, but she closed her eyes and let herself slip into sleep, not ready to answer any questions from him about why she'd just allowed that to happen. Not when she wasn't entirely sure herself.