by Hope

For victoria, happy belated birthday! Many thanks to Andy and Wendi for holding my hand when the Fraud Muse showed up.

She tasted of india ink, something dark and pure that stained indelibly. Like her nails down his back, Lex would wear her signature tomorrow, maybe the day after if she pressed down hard enough. Her hands, blunt nails ragged from chewing, never mark for long, but her calligraphy kisses linger. Strange that Chloe should be nothing but truth and integrity and straddling his lap with vulnerable confidence.

This was never supposed to happen. He had no business slipping his hands beneath her shirt, no right to skim his hands to cradle the weight of her breasts, but that didn't stop him. Hot flesh and hard nipples, she felt good to him, like the barbs she landed in his skin when she waved her digital camera at him and asked all the right questions he didn't want to answer. A challenge, an adversary, Chloe never gave him time to think; turning his back to her was an unacceptable defense.

When he met her, she'd been a pretty freshman with rough edges. Four and a half years had smoothed her to a pretty freshman again, a little more polished, a lot more experienced. Once upon a time, Lex would have called her charming, or cute, possibly feisty, but he learned to call her by name, because it said so much more. That soft, guttural H hidden after the C tightened his throat and rounded his mouth to a sensual curve, the L rolled his tongue behind his teeth and before he could make that long slide into her vowels, she claimed his mouth again.

Six weeks ago, all she'd been looking for was a story. College paper, first chance to make a big splash at Met U, of course she went to Lex. Walked right into his office, dropped herself in the chair across from him and refused to move. She'd been winsome enough, informing him with a rolled shoulder and a half-smile that it wasn't what you knew, it's who you knew, and she wasn't going anywhere until he let her interview him. He made her wait, taking phone calls and sending e-mail, playing half a game of chess on his computer between bouts of paperwork.

Then he made her wait a little more, tugging on his jacket and shutting down his laptop- no reason to tempt her with the entire LuthorCorp mainframe just an arm's length away. Jingling his keys in his hands he managed a neutral smile, watching her crane her head to follow him as he headed for the door. "I'm going to dinner now. You're welcome to watch me eat."

Halfway through appetizers, she slid into the booth next to him. Smoothing her hair with a quick flash of hands, she settled in to take him up on the invitation. Camera on the table, Chloe lifted her chin and watched him peel shrimp with his fingers, studied the way he cut through a steak, was gracious enough to lend him the unused napkin at her place to daub off his shirt when he flecked butter on it, and smiled silently while he studied the dessert menu. When the waitress returned with a slice of cheesecake, Chloe propped her chin in her hand. "Ready to talk now?"

Because she was Clark's friend, he'd tolerated the intrusion. Because he'd already heard tales of the dorms from hell and the cafeteria of the living dead, because he knew she would probably go home to eat ramen after this little performance, he bent. Just a little. He offered her fifteen minutes of his time, but she took thirty, and skipped over the softball questions for good measure.

No biography, no puff piece, she wanted to know whether they opened galleries with the Luthor name on them out of philanthropy or good market strategy, how much they donated to which political parties, and by the way, how - did- LuthorCorp manage to stay on the EPA's good side considering the Smallville vector? His mouth slick with chocolate, he parried with a kiss, exacting and sharp, designed to shut her up. Women liked Lex, they liked what he could do with his mouth and his hands and his money, and when she pulled back with heavy lidded eyes, brushing her lips with the tips of her fingers, he smiled. Checkmate.

Chloe blinked, rolled her tongue against her lips and looked him in the eye. "So, about the Smallville vector..."

He answered most of her questions. He even gave her a ride home. And seven days later, the Met U Gazetteer ran a story about breaking ground the next spring on the new Lex Luthor Science Center. He'd had a copy delivered straight to his desk, just so he could be in the middle of reading it when she stormed in.

"You killed my story," she said, bunching her lips into a tight purse.

Folding the paper, Lex leaned back in his chair and corrected her. "On the contrary. I made more interesting news."

Of course, Clark interceded. Morals and ethics and Chloe's a friend- finally Lex waved him off, chopsticks perched between his fingers. Chloe knew where to find him if she wanted to voice a complaint. She knew his secretary's number if she wanted to make an appointment for an interview.

Instead, she cornered him at his car, after dark, after a long day, and had the audacity to wrap a hand around the back of his neck and pull him down for a kiss. Long, sweet curves, breasts that swelled when she took a breath, she stepped back before he had the chance to put his hands on her. "You owe me."

Lex wasn't stupid enough to believe she was anything but dangerous, not after he made her come against his hand in the back of a limo, or when she taught him the right way, the only way, to say her name, harsh and rasped out on a guttered, orgasmic breath. Not when he went down on her the newspaper office, and not when she left him gasping, sweating on his office's Aeron chair. Touching Chloe Sullivan was playing with fire, his scorched fingertips tracing her nipple, his body dry tinder when she fought with her mouth, coaxing his tongue past her lips to suck. Lex really didn't care where she learned that trick, because he could feel the throb draw all the way to his cock.

Flicking at her buttons, he smoothed her shirt off her shoulders, hands following down her back to catch her. Just a little push, gentle really, and he knocked her off balance, pinning her between the desk and his body. He knew her just well enough to torment: reclaiming his tongue to trace down the column of her throat, breathing hot against the beauty mark cradled in the shadow of her collarbone. She warmed like ginger on his mouth. No sugar, all spice, he painted tribal tattoos between her breasts, exhaling hot on her skin to make her shudder and clutch at his shoulders.

If it had been about love, or even affection, he would have taken his time with her, maybe sliding his fingers into her to draw out long, coaxing strokes, maybe watching her eyes widen with soft, pretty surprise. If their foreplay weren't the imminent disaster of what she wanted to know versus what he felt like telling her, he might have even carried her to the couch and spread her out beneath his mouth, making her come with tongue and fingers before sinking into her. Instead, he used rough hands to push her skirt up, treating a good girl like a bad one when he pushed her panties to the side to expose her.

Steeling her fingers against the back of his neck, Chloe rose just enough to let him free his cock, a hard breath rattling in her throat. The sweet tang of sex sharpened the air, quiet cut by needy whimpers that finally fell to a rasping demand. "Do it, Lex."

Lex caught his lower lip between his teeth, piercing her with a silver gaze through pale brows. Rubbing his cockhead against her clit, an electric sting coursed through him, blood pounding in his ears. Slick, wet heat spread through his fingers, and he taunted her with nowhere strokes, not inside her, and deliberately foreshortened to make her feel, make her shudder, but mostly, just to make her want him badly enough to beg. "Do what?"

"Bastard." Curses became endearments on her thick voice, and she retaliated with teeth, a sharp nip against the thrumming pulse in his throat, too high to be hidden by a dress shirt. Every stroke coiled her tighter, her muscles trembling and a sheen of sweat rising on her skin. Leveraging against his shoulders, she pulled herself up, away from his cock, threatening to leave him alone with his dick in his hand if he didn't quit fooling around. Another charming Sullivan trait, playing hardball just for the sheer hell of it.

Tightening his hands against her waist, he followed. A good, solid ache burned at the small of his back when he lifted her, pushing her to sit on the edge of his desk. Papers fluttered to the floor and the executive toy nattered emptily when she fell back on her elbows. Such a good, pretty girl, with her generous mouth parted to curse or taunt again, and she spread her legs so easily. Pulling her damp panties aside again, he pushed into her on a long, jagged stroke, her pussy tightening around him, a molten caress.

Some kind of feral, pagan coupling, he crashed into her, hard, deep thrusts that reverberated up his spine, the slap of slick bodies colliding marking staccato time. No more thinking, just fucking- graceless shudders and blunt force, his body played strategy for him. Slamming in deep, he ground his hips against hers, and clenched his teeth to keep his harsh murmurs to himself. Even when she wrapped her hand in his tie, pulling him down in a subtle adjustment of stroke to make sure his cock dragged against her clit, he suffered her pleasure in silence. Control in the midst of chaos, he held his tongue but plunged balls deep into her, greedily devouring the way startled bliss transformed her.

Dark closed in around them, erasing the rest of the world, leaving nothing but their tangled bodies at odds, near kisses missed, Chloe raising her hips to meet his strokes, Lex pressing hard fingers into her waist to hold her hard in place. A summer storm, Chloe shuddered and writhed beneath him, the edge of her panties grazing his cock with each thrust to add another layer of raw sensation to the clasp of wine hot flesh. All base instinct, harder, faster, deeper, she stiffened in a cathedral arch, her skin stained with a climbing blush, and her breath faltered. So close to coming, right there on the edge of his desk, catching glimpses of their half-dressed business fuck in the wall of glass that separated them from the city below.

Lex crossed his arms behind her back, holding her up, feeding on the shudders rippling through her. So sweet, so - hot-, it would be easy to fall into her and forget everything: why she'd come to him in the first place, why she kept coming back. Spectacular orgasms just marked the miles between the question, and the answer. Time to think again, he pressed his mouth to her ear and shallowed his strokes. "Still interested in the truth, Chloe?"

Shaking her head, she clung to his shoulders and wrapped her ankles around the back of his knees to urge him back inside. "Don't, not now."

Not 'no,' but 'not now,' and that was enough. Catching her mouth, he parted her lips with lis tongue, skimming over sharp teeth to claim her mouth. Gingered mouth, feeding him keening whispers between thick tastes, Chloe's kind of surrender came with a flurry of wild gestures- clawing at his back in razor trails that would ache long after she'd gone. She flowed around him, tight and liquid for his cock, arms and legs climbing ivy, pulling him in, harder, yes, harder, and he didn't hear her cries. Just the pound of his pulse, and the sounds he strangled when he snapped, coming hard and selfish and breathless inside her.

She didn't look at him when she pulled away this time. Keeping her gaze fixed on the floor, she smoothed her skirt and buttoned her shirt with automatic hands. She looked small to him, her uncreased profile strangely young.

Rearranging his clothes, Lex tried not to name the uncomfortable silence, but it settled low in his chest anyway. Buzzing, like white noise or tension, that only darkened the longer she stayed silent. Settling into his chair, he watched her motion through straightening up, and his palm itched to touch her face, to catch her hand in apology.

Before he could, she leaned against the edge of the desk and addressed his reflection in the glass. "What story?"


Seven days later, Lex slid two copies of the Gazetteer in his file cabinet. One, he'd save to re-read as a bedtime story, the other, he planned to have framed for his father. Down the hall, heavy, cheap shoes scuffled over the floors, voices rising in uneven, angry pitches. Lex traced the edge of the file folder, musing to himself. A nice black and white reminder of all the ways Lionel had underestimated him, not that he'd really need a memento. Concertina wire and a ten by ten cell should do the trick, and twenty five to life would be more than enough time to really examine his parenting skills.

Chloe had her exclusive by twenty four hours. The Daily Planet wouldn't cover Lionel Luthor's arrest until that evening, and the Inquisitor wouldn't limp in until two days later with it. Spiderweb reporting, the news spread paper to paper, outlet to outlet, a corruption scandal that had senators resigning and more than a few judges reconsidering their line of work. By the time Lex saw Chloe again, her name had been transliterated into romaji for the Asahi Shimbun, and a picture of her ducking into a cab to avoid attention had been printed in The Guardian and Le Monde. A Woodward for the new millennium, packaged up in consignment shop fashion and a flippy haircut that would undoubtably be imitated by would-be Jane Pauleys from coast to coast. Investigative chic. Grrl power.

And even though she had become part of the story, she huddled on the front steps of Luthor Tower with all the other hacks, tape recorder in hand and green, green eyes that cut through Lex when he stepped up to the podium. Of all the upturned faces waiting to hang on his every word, hers was the only that remained singularly unimpressed with Lex's humble, earnest demeanor. That kind of suspicion put him at ease. He'd done good things in Smallville with eyes watching him like that, now he would do great things in Metropolis.

"As of noon today, LuthorCorp ceases to exist." Lex waited for the murmurs to cease before continuing, a reverend to the converted. "I am ashamed of my father's actions. I am disheartened that he chose to build his company on the community, instead of with it. That he chose to take from you, and me, and every citizen in this city, without regard. Without conscience."

Letting his gaze wander, Lex lingering long enough on different reporters, to make sure they each felt like he spoke only to them. "I am not my father, and I will not follow in his footsteps. At noon today, LuthorCorp ceases to exist, and LexCorp will take its place. New management, new vision, and a dedication to each and every man, woman and child in Metropolis because we are not here to demand service. We are here to serve, and I will make that happen. Thank you."

He didn't take questions, he merely bowed his head and slipped back inside. No one saw his smile, no one witnessed a congratulatory toast made to himself from his new office on the top floor of the towers. As befitted a solemn new emperor, he spent the day working hard between sips of scotch, and drove himself to a solitary dinner long after nightfall. Midway through appetizers, he motioned for another menu when Chloe appeared. He could be gracious now, rising from his chair to pull one out for her. "Congratulations. You've made quite a name for yourself."

"I had my own little speech written," she said. She didn't move to sit, she just stared. "But it's not worth it. I know what you'll say. I used you, you used me, everybody got what they wanted..."

His smile faltered, that white noise buzz filling his chest again. "I'd say that's accurate."

Sliding her hands into her pockets, she rolled her tongue against her lips. "All I wanted was an interview. I thought it would impress my editor, you know, get things off on the right foot, gee, that Chloe Sullivan, she can get to Lex Luthor."

"You can."

"I would have written your story anyway." Chloe took a step back, glancing over her shoulder before turning back to him. Tipping her head to one side, she sighed. "I don't know what I wanted to say. I hate you, you made me feel bad, I feel like a slut, whatever, I guess it doesn't matter. Congratulations, I guess. You won. Go you."

Throat desert dry, Lex reached out this time, but balled his hand into a fist when she leaned away. He couldn't taste her name anymore, it didn't slip softly from his lips, all those vowels and syllables felt like dust, but he still said it. "We both played, Chloe. We both won."

"Sure." Drifting away from him, her generous mouth flattened to a tight line. "I'll see you around, Lex."

That was a lie he could have lived without.

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