"I didn't think I was your type," she said as they sat, having dinner at one of the most expensive restaurants in Metropolis called Aquavit, a Scandinavian-Japanese fusion cuisine place that had an indoor waterfall.
"Type?" said Lex, dressed in a tuxedo.
"Tall, dark, homicidal . . ." Chloe said, dressed in a red shoulderless gown.
"Let's say I wanted to try a change of pace. Hopefully, my luck will change as well."
"Well, I like to think of myself as a friendly face."
"Perhaps we could become more than that. Although . . ."
"I'm not sure Clark would approve of you dating someone like me."
Chloe made a face. "As I'm not his girlfriend, I don't see why I need his say-so on the matter. Besides, aren't you his friend?"
"He doesn't approve of everything I do."
"Makes the two of us."
"To alliances . . ." he said, raising his glass.
"Alliances," she said, raising hers in response.
Four years later
"Chloe," said Lois Lane as she walked up to her at the yearly journalism conference held at the Metropolis Convention Center for both journalists and people who aspired to be journalists. "It's been a while."
"Yes, it has been. That's what happens when two people work for rival newspapers," she said, referring to the fact that she worked for the Metropolis Journal while Lois worked for the Daily Planet.
"I've been reading your column. Since when did you become Lex Luthor's mouthpiece?"
She gave her a brittle smile. "Lois, that's not nice . . . I suppose it was when you became Superman's greatest apologist . . ."
"I just state the facts. I don't apologize for him or . . . pretend that there's nothing underhanded about him."
"No, of course you don't," said Chloe, rolling her eyes. "I heard from a certain source about some private property being burned to the ground. Hmm, Superman, Super Arsonist?"
"And I guess that source wouldn't happen to be Lex Luthor and that private property wouldn't be some illegal laboratory."
"I guess Superman, Superstar is more your thing. Well, let's just say that if this SMALL problem keeps reoccurring, let's just say my source is going to take off his gloves."
Lois narrowed her eyes. "Small problem?"
Chloe frowned. Is it possible, she doesn't know, she thought. "Speaking of small, where is Clark, anyway?"
"He got called away at the last minute. He had to talk to an informant." Lois was giving her an uneasy, slightly confused look.
"Ah, I remember him doing that to me all the time. Who knows where he really was?"
"What do you mean by that?"said Lois.
"Nothing, really . . . I'm just surprised you've fallen head over heels for Superman."
"I admire his heroism. While I do find him attractive, there's nothing more to it than that," said Lois, bristling.
"Oh, come on. Your columns are epic love poems. I am surprised, though."
"I didn't picture you the type to fall for an authority figure. He is judge, jury and well, he doesn't execute . . . Still, I didn't think he'd be your type," Chloe said, thinking of how often Lois got into trouble throughout high school and college.
"I don't think it's any of your business."
"Probably not. But I'm going to give you a piece of advice. Not everything about a Superman is super or even that great."
"And you would know this, how?"
"You really want to know?"
"Put up or shut up."
Chloe looked at her and thought about all the times that Lois had sneered about how Lex wasn't much more than a mob boss interested in crazy science experiments and how Clark and Lois were always disapproving about her association with Lex. Chloe smiled as she thought about telling Lois about how one summer an urban legend had come to town and robbed several of Metropolis' banks. She thought about giving an account about how that urban legend was bulletproof, disappeared into thin air and how a police car had exploded for no reason during his last robbery. She thought about telling her about how at the same time Clark had been in Metropolis at the same time and how the robberies had ended when he came back to Smallville.
2. Second in Command
Chloe waited for news inside the command center of the fortress buried deep inside a mountain, shielded by an inch of lead all around it. She put her hand on her eye patch over her left eye. Soon, she would have a mechanical replacement for the one she lost during a fight a year ago. Life had been rough ever since President-For-Life Kal-El had declared the opposition movement to be illegal and had forced them to go underground after many of the leaders had been imprisoned, executed or sent to re-education camps.
"General Sullivan, Colonel Ross is arriving."
"Has he news about what happened?"
"He says that any information was for your ears only."
A few minutes later, Pete walked into the room and saw that they were alone inside the room. "Bad news. Lex has been captured by Kal-El."
"We have some people in the lower levels of his personal service. Do they know anything about what's going on?"
Pete made a face. "Our source, a woman who is one of Kal-El's maids, has told us that Lex is unharmed but guarded night and day by Kal-El's personal guards. It appears that Kal-El has a very strong personal interest regarding Lex, that he's trying to bend Lex to his will, hoping to make him join his side voluntarily. Other than our source who delivers Lex's meals and cleans his room, Lex has been allowed to see nobody else but Kal-El."
"Lex hasn't been able to secretly give our source a message?"
"Kal-El has been in the room every time she has been there. Lex didn't dare make even eye contact with her. She has heard from the guards that a public announcement of his capture would be made later this month so what I'm telling you is not going to remain secret for long. So, what are your orders? After all, you're in command right now."
Chloe closed her remaining eye and tried not to think about the times she and Lex had fought side by side or how Lex managed to come up with a plan that had saved them all or the times that they had sought comfort in each other's arms when they thought the end was near. "Lex knows too much about our operations. Kal-El knowing everything Lex knows would utterly cripple our movement. If he seems to be on the verge of betraying us, he needs to be eliminated. It would be the first order he would give if I were captured."
"No rescue mission, General? I thought of a plan where lieutenants Desiree Atkins and Alicia Baker could transport themselves into the Fortress and perhaps . . ."
"Call together a war council, we need to discuss our options . . ."
3. Heart of the Mystery
As they walked in the snow just above the Arctic Circle in Alaska, Chloe Sullivan mused about the words that had started an adventure that had lasted five years and could possibly be coming to an end.
The first time they had met was at a book signing at Cody's Books in Metropolis. She had recognized him at once as one of the leading men in Metropolis. "Ms. Sullivan, how would you like to travel the world and see things nobody has ever seen?"
"You sure know how to make a girl interested. But why me?"
"Because unlike the women in my social circle, I know that you won't mind breaking a nail. I've read your books about your adventures in Gotham and Bludhaven."
"And you're saying that the adventure you have in mind is even more thrilling than what I've been through in both cities?"
"Yes and more lucrative as well."
"Color me intrigued."
And he had been true to his word. He had told her about his quest for three crystals that put together would rival the library of Alexandria. It was only several months into their journey when they found the first one that he had hinted that the crystals may be extraterrestrial in origin. They had traveled around the world from deep inside an Egyptian pyramid to the Andes mountains to the deserts of Mongolia. What really made it exciting and at the same time a bit scary was that both of them were sure that someone was following their trail yet they could never get definitive proof, never mind find out who it was.
It was only after the night they spent in a yurt, a tent made out of felt, in Mongolia under a night sky unobscured by the artificial lights of mankind that he finally told her the real reason behind his quest. His younger brother Julian had disappeared one night when Julian was sixteen. Lex had been searching for him ever since. "When my parents brought him home, they told me that he was not of this earth. After he was gone, I tried to find out as much as I could about him and the world he came from. I decided to collect anything that might have come from there," he said pointing to a small empty patch of sky. "The planet he came from is . . . a dead one. At least that's what one of my sources told me. I can only hope that since the artifacts seem to be connected to the same planet, that maybe they will lead me to him somehow."
After he put the lead containers containing the crystals in the ground, he pulled off the tops and immediately ran to his snowmobile and tried to put as much distance between himself and the crystals. As Chloe followed his lead, she looked back and saw that the crystals were now glowing and that lines of light connected them. She went back to looking ahead but could see by the shadow she was casting that the light behind her was unbelievably radiant. The snowmobile was hard to control considering that the ground kept shaking. Once the shaking had stopped, they both looked back to see an enormous castle that seemed to be made out of white ice.
"Yes," yelled Lex triumphantly. "Yes."
They put their arms around each other and screamed with joy. "It's beautiful!" she cried out.
It was only then that a tall man appeared before them, dressed in blue with a red cape and red boots. Chloe gasped as she recognized him from the photos Lex had shown her throughout the years.
"Julian?" said Lex. "Is that you?"
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