Title: Lionel Luthor's Successful Plan
Characters/Pairing: Lionel Luthor, Chloe Sullivan/Lex Luthor
Disclaimer: Don't own Smallville
Summary: AU. When Lionel realizes that his twelve year old son didn't kill his little brother Julian, he's disgusted with himself for ever believing he did it, and so begins Lionel's quest to make it up to Lex, by finding him happiness in the form of a six year old Chloe, and nurturing that relationship as both grow into adults.
Lionel Luthor was disgusted, and would never forgive himself for having believed, if only for a couple of days, that Lex had killed his own little brother Julian. Lionel should have been able to see through that immediately, to know that his Alexander was incapable of such an act, and yet it was only when he was sane enough to view the images of the hidden camera he’d had installed all around Luthor Mansion inside and out, had he learnt the truth.
His son Lex hadn’t killed Lionel’s youngest son Julian, Lionel’s wife Lillian had, and Lex was covering for his mother.
Lionel had dealt with the matter personally, though it killed his heart to do so, and when news of his wife’s ‘suicide’ reached the world Lionel’s breakdown and his tears weren’t faked. It was the worse day of his life, made even worse by the fact that he couldn’t tell his son that he knew of his innocence because then Lex would know what he’d done, and his son would never forgive him for taking his mother from him.
The funeral had been delayed due to the vast amount of people who would be attending the ceremony. Lillian was the reason why so many people tolerated Lionel, she’d been loved by so many…
When it finally took place it was a solemn event, and Lionel had both been proud and heartbroken at how emotionless and proper Lex had behaved throughout it all.
And then, when it was all over and everyone returned to the mansion Lex disappeared. Lionel, knowing what was expected of him, pushed this knowledge and the faint worry in his heart to the back of his mind until he could do all that was expected of him.
It was a couple of hours later when he could slip away from the crowds and go searching for his son, and when he finally found the boy in his mother’s room what he saw shocked him.
Lex was sitting on his mother’s bed, face red from obvious crying, and yet there was a smile curving his lips----a smile Lionel had only seen before that meteor shower in Smallville.
Lionel’s gaze followed Lex to the source of that blinding smile, and he noticed a young girl, around the age of six, sitting on the floor bedside the bed and giggling up at Lex. The twelve-year-old was smiling tenderly down at the blonde child, who wiping at the few remaining tears on his tear-stained face.
“See? Don’t cry.” The child giggled, reaching out her hand and resting it on Lex’s. “I’m your friend.”
Lex’s pale hand curled around hers. “Thank you.”
Slipping away, Lionel stored away that smile, those entwined hands, and he wondered where it was that he’d seen that little child before.
As he saw the way his son pulled away into himself after the funeral, saw how he wouldn’t speak unless spoke to, saw just how pale he was getting, Lionel took a much more direct approach and tried to discover who the child had been.
And then he found her, much by accident, while driving by his Metropolis plant one day and seeing an ordinary worker, Gabe Sullivan, being greeted by his wife and six year old daughter.
Ordering his driver to stop immediately, Lionel had strode out towards the employee and had met Chloe Sullivan for the first time, and she’d enchanted him. The kid was bright and vivacious and with a sweet smile that brightened the whole day.
Lionel had known what to do.
He’d investigated the Sullivans, and had found out that Moira Sullivan, Gabe’s wife, had a degenerative mental disorder that was only treatable with extensive care in a prestigious facility. He also knew that Gabe Sullivan, as an ordinary worker, didn’t have the money to send his wife to said facility to get the treatment she needed.
So Lionel had done what he’d done best.
He’d gone to Gabe and he’d made a deal.
He’d sponsor Moira’s stay at the facility needed where she’d get the best treatment money could buy, and he’d elevate Gabe from the status of ordinary factory worker to manager of the Smallville Luthorcorp facility…if he signed over full legal guardianship of Chloe Sullivan to Lionel Luthor.
Gabe had refused, until Lionel showed him the medical records he’d managed to get from the doctors---the records that showed just how badly his wife’s disease was getting. Lionel made sure Gabe knew that if Moira went without treatment in a couple of months she’d be lost, and Gabe, Gabe cried as he signed every single document Lionel shoved before him.
There were many tears shed, from both the parents and the child, but Lionel Luthor returned with the child to Luthor Manor by the end of the week, moving her into the room next to Lex’s. His son seemed suspicious when Lionel had told him that his worker hadn’t been able to take care of his daughter anymore and Lionel had become her guardian, but Lex hadn’t spared his father more than narrowed eyes before the child was crying and hugging Lex’s leg and all his attention was hers.
“I want my mommy and daddy.” Chloe cried into his pants leg, curling her tiny body around his.
Lex looked like he wasn’t exactly sure what to do, but then he cleared his throat, took in a deep breath, and picked her up, carrying most of her weight on his hip as she hugged him tightly and cried into his shirt. “Your mommy and daddy aren’t here anymore, Chloe, but I’m here. I’ll take care of you.”
The child continued to cry. “Why aren’t they here anymore? Don’t they love me? Was I bad?”
Sadness filled Lex’s eyes. “No, they love you. My mom loved me but she had to leave me too. It’s not because of us or because they don’t love us anymore, these things just happen. That’s why you and I are going to have to take care of each other from now on.”
Chloe pulled her tear-stained face from Lex’s shirt and sniffled as she looked up into his face. “You’ll take care of me now?”
Lex nodded, smiling softly down at her. “I promise.”
A beautiful smile touched the child’s face as she hugged him tightly. “I’ll take care of you too.”
Lionel witnessed the emotions cross Lex’s face, sadness, happiness, guilt---he probably guessed why Chloe’s parents had ‘left’ her and why she was living there with them now, but the boy said nothing as he turned and left Lionel there while talking to Chloe and telling her about all the things they would do now that they were together.
And true to childlike innocence, Chloe forgot she’d been crying, that she’d been sad, and smiled up excitedly into Lex’s face as they disappeared around the corner.
Lionel had smiled and turned away.
You’re welcome, son.
For the next few years Lionel stayed out of the children’s lives as much as possible, letting them spend time together, to form a bond in the loneliness. The video feed from the various cameras in the Mansion let him peep in on the relationship quickly growing between the two. Chloe proved to be a sweet child whose antics made both Lionel and Lex smile, and thankfully she’d been taught good manners in her parent’s home because Lionel hardly ever had to scold her.
He found himself growing quite fond of the child himself.
She was bubbles and laughter, the sun seeming to follow her wherever she went.
And Lex adored her.
The boy was possessive and protective and god protect anyone who made her sad.
This only grew as Chloe did.
Lionel remembered quite well Chloe’s tenth birthday. She’d been living with them for four years by then, and the private tutors had trained her well. She was refined, poised, elegant and every bit a Luthor as if she’d been Lionel’s own flesh and blood. Despite being only a child still her intelligence and curiosity were enviable and astounding.
Whereas Lex found his studies boring yet necessary, Chloe thrived on the knowledge. Lionel remembered finding her bent over one of his many Latin texts as a child, intrigued by the language she had yet to learn, and Lionel had found himself coming home at night, tired from work, and yet finding time to motion the excited child over and teach her what he knew.
But he was getting off of topic, wasn’t he?
He’d been remembering Chloe’s tenth birthday.
The child, who’d stopped asking about her parents after her eighth birthday, was magnificent in her elegant green dress, wearing pearls, hair done up in a hairstyle that might be too serious for a ten year old and yet with the air of maturity she had it suited her.
Lex had been sixteen at the time, and despite the fact that he was entering his rebellious years, he wasn’t as much of a hassle as Lionel had expected. This was mostly because instead of going out with the few associates he had from school, Lex stayed at home with Chloe, or if he went out it was because he’d promised to take her somewhere.
Some people had whispered about his devotion to the child with disapproval, voicing their opinions that Lex should spend his time with females his age, but Lionel couldn’t have approved more. He’d known that either Lex would see the child as a little sister or he’d see the potential Lionel himself saw in her.
The potential of becoming the future Mrs. Luthor.
And if the way Lex grabbed the little friend of Chloe’s by the back of his shirt and threw him out of the house for kissing her had anything to say about it, well, Lex was thinking the latter.
Chloe hadn’t forgiven Lex for treating her friend or his family that way until he’d apologized, something Lex had refused to do for daysuntil he’d realized that Chloe was sticking to her anger and wouldn’t break breath to him until he’d righted his wrong.
“Come on Chloe, you can’t be like that!” Lex announced, anger and desperation tinting his voice deeper.
The blonde continued to ignore him as she went over the thick, rare Latin text Lionel had bought her for her birthday. Lionel had been quite smug at the excitement in her eyes when she’d unwrapped it, the way she’d squealed and hugged him, thanking him for remembering the text she’d been so intrigued by since it’d been referenced in one of the books in the library.
And they said he didn’t know how to give gifts!
“Chloe, it’s been seven days.” Lex sighed as he collapsed in the seat next to her, looking at her emotionless face. “You have to talk to me sometime. You—you can’t---you can’t ignore me like this!”
The blonde proved that yes she could by flipping the page and continuing to read, scribbling some notes on the pad next to the text.
Lionel watched them from his desk over the reports he was supposed to be going over.
Sometimes it was so hard to remember that Chloe wasn’t a naturally born Luthor, she was so much more one than Lex himself. She could be cold and harsh and manipulative---Lionel couldn’t have been prouder.
“He kissed you, Chlo.” Lex sighed, hand on his forehead. “You’re just a kid. You shouldn’t be kissed yet.”
Chloe shot him a glare that told him if he continued on that vein he’d lose all that made him a man.
Lex gulped, recognizing the look and fearing it as any intelligent being should.
Lionel had a convenient fit of coughs to cover up his amusement with the situation Lex was digging himself into.
Chloe then gave Lex a glare as cold as the arctic before returning to ignoring him.
Lex looked like he wasn’t sure which was worse, the glare or the ignoring.
Silence filled Lionel’s study.
And while he might have once liked it that way (and could never understand how his private study had become Lex and Chloe’s favored place to be or why he didn’t run them out like he should) the silence was now bothersome and Lionel kinda felt bad for his son.
A sigh escaped Lex’s lips. “Okay. Okay. I’ll apologize.”
Chloe’s eyes widened and she turned to Lex, expectant, a small smile playing on her lips. “You will?”
Lex’s face transformed into a smile at that voice. “Yes, I’ll apologize.”
The blonde child then squealed and launched herself off of her seat and onto Lex, giggling and hugging him and pressing millions of kisses to his face while thanking him.
Lex drew the child to him and rested his forehead on her shoulder, just keeping her close to him, his arms around her, breathing in her scent, obviously relieved as hell to have her like this again.
Lionel was glad that no one was in the room other than the three of them because they’d have noticed his smile and he’d have had to killthem if they started rumors of Lionel being able to smile tenderly at the sight of the two youngsters hugging each other, whispering how they’d missed the other, and Chloe agreeing to promise to Lex to never ignore him again.
Lionel kinda felt Lex had given in too easily to Chloe, but then again he’d grown so used to Chloe’s attention and smiles and care that the patriarch of the Luthor family decided that if she were angry at him he didn’t think he’d fair much better than his son.
That realization hit hard.
He hadn’t realized how much the child with the smile of the sun meant to him until that moment.
And that was when he cemented his decision that she would marry his son.
He doubted, when the time came, that Lex would object to it, and while Chloe was the more stubborn out of the two, the way she adored Lex and took extra care of him, fussing over him always, hinted that in the future that could very well change into womanly feelings.
Lionel just had to act when she was old enough and it didn’t seem so pedophile-like.
He loved Lex.
But he’d kill him if he laid a hand on Chloe while the girl was yet a child.
Thankfully Lex didn’t seem inclined to do anything untoward towards Chloe while she was a child. If anything he was paranoid and protective of her and her virtue, and while he did uncover the fact that her junior high math instructor at school was a registered sex-offender (something to this day no one could figure out how the Elite school had had no knowledge of) mostly his suspicions and worries were only founded on his possessiveness and his jealousy.
Lex didn’t like sharing Chloe’s attention, not even with his father.
But it didn’t really bring him any problems until Chloe’s sixteenth year of life, when she embarked on the illustrious world of dating.
Lex hadn’t been pleased.
Lionel hadn’t been pleased.
He remembered how things had been when he was of dating age, and now things were even worse! The thought of those pimply-faced youths putting their grubby paws all over his protégée, it made him furious and nervous, and he paced the floor of his study, checking the clock and calling every half hour to make sure they were where they said they’d be.
He’d had to restrain Lex from going to spy on the date.
The college student had done the next best thing and bribed someone he knew from college to follow them instead and keep him informed. Both Lex and Lionel knew that Chloe would never forgive them if she caught them spying themselves, so Lionel had only patted his son on his back for his cunning, Luthor-like thinking, and both had been edgy, waiting for the frequent updates the spy gave them.
That was how, when the date tried to get fresh with her in the cinema, Lex and Lionel knew first hand of how Chloe had not only dumped her popcorn all over him, but had done so with her drink as well, and stormed out, hailing a taxi.
Thanks to that heads up they were both acting completely innocent (Lionel going over the plant’s reports and Lex playing the piano) by the time she stormed in swearing to never date again. Both had pretended to be confused and supportive, listening to her rattle on about the incompetence of her date and his eager, sweaty hands, and both Lionel and Lex had been pleased by her decision not to date for a while but concentrate on her studies.
Now Lionel could spend his nights peacefully and not be worrying about the crime-filled city and the fact that his little Chloe was running around there like a kidnapping and ransom waiting to happen.
“You were completely right, Lex.” Chloe whispered, laying with her head on his lap on the sofa, still dressed in the tiny black dress she’d been wearing on her date. “He was a complete dork and I don’t know what I saw in him.”
Lex looked a hundred years younger now that that had been cleared up and Chloe was back home. “I told you so.”
Lionel stoked the fire in the fireplace before going to sit on his large, magnanimous and extremely comfy seat. “Did he do anything to you that I’ll have to fire his parents for?”
Chloe turned her tender smile on him. “No Lionel, you don’t have to fire his parents because of a bad date.”
“I’ve fired people for less.” Lionel assured her.
She giggled, eyes dancing with mirth and mischief.
Even Lex looked amused.
Then again, Lex was just in an overly good mood thanks to Chloe’s not wanting to date again for a couple of years.
When she’d be legal.
Rubbing her face on Lex’s leg, Chloe smiled and closed her eyes, the picture of contentment and happiness, bringing Lex’s arm around her and curling around him like she’d done since childhood. “I don’t know what I was thinking, really. I don’t need anyone other man in my life when I have you two.”
Lionel smiled tenderly at that.
Yes, dammit, he was smiling more and more like that daily.
It was the sad truth.
At least it only happened when he was alone with his son and protégée.
Somehow Chloe had managed to heal the pain and suffering caused by the meteor accident that affected Lex so, and intensified by Lillian’s madness.
And Lionel knew that he’d do whatever possible to make sure that child stayed with them.
He’d let nothing and no one take her away from them.
And then, when Chloe was eighteen, her father came back into her life.
In the contract signed Gabe Sullivan had agreed to bow out of the life of his daughter and let her live her life with the Luthors, and yet after Moira’s death he must have missed family and had contacted Chloe on the sly.
Lionel remembered the day he was crossing town in the back of his limousine with Lex, (the young man not only in college but working for Lionel in the Metropolis branch of Luthorcorp) when they saw Chloe sitting outside of a café with Gabe Sullivan, talking.
For the first time in a long time Lionel felt fear.
They’d stopped the limousine and walked up to the father and daughter. Gabe had gone pale in fear while Chloe just continued reading the documents he’d passed her.
Lionel recognized them as Gabe’s copy of the contract.
“Chloe, I can explain.” He began.
The girl who was becoming a woman raised her hand regally, silencing him, flipping the page and continuing to read.
“What’s going on?” Lex wanted to know, confused and wary. “Who is this guy?”
“I’m her father.” Gabe whispered, shakily.
“And you’re about to be fired.” Lionel hissed under his breath.
Gabe winched and drew into himself. “She’s my daughter.”
“You signed away all rights to her.” Lionel pressed.
“You forced me to!” Gave pointed his finger accusingly at him.
“You made the choice.” Lionel announced, truthfully. “I gave you the choice and you made it, I didn’t put a gun to your head and tell you to do it.”
“It was my wife.” Gabe whispered.
“And she was your daughter.” Lionel growled.
Gabe hung his head in shame.
“I don’t think I’m following.” Lex frowned darkly. “What exactly happened?”
“My mother was ill, and Lionel took advantage of that to get my guardianship from my father for exchange of my mother’s treatment.” Chloe took in a deep breath, putting down the contract. “This is just like the contract Lionel has in his vault at home.”
The three men turned to look at her in surprise.
“You know about what happened?” Gabe asked.
“You know where dad’s vault is?” Lex blinked.
“You know the combination to my vault?” Lionel sputtered.
“Yes, to all questions.” Chloe nodded, taking in a deep breath. “Why do you think I stopped asking questions?”
Lionel pouted. “You’ve known my combination since you were eight?”
“I learnt to be cunning from the best.” Chloe smiled at Lionel.
Lionel couldn’t figure her out.
Was he in trouble or not?
Chloe stood, going to Gabe and hugging him. “Dad, I understand why you did what you did, and why you did it, and I’m sorry about mom’s death. You can come and visit me as many times as you want, and you won’t lose your job.”
Gabe smiled up tearfully at Chloe.
The blonde then turned to Lionel and hugged him too. “I know why you did what you did.” She whispered in his ear as she held him tightly. “I could never hate you for trying to make your son happy, and you’ve given me a wonderful life, Lionel. I love you like a father.”
Lionel was a little uncomfortable with this public display of emotion, but he still found himself hugging her back, doing his best to keep his face emotionless. “I have grown to think of you as my flesh and blood as well.”
Giving him an extra squeeze and kissing him on his cheek, Chloe pulled away before going to Lex and hugging him, pressing her cheek to his chest, seeming to draw strength from his presence.
Lex wrapped his arms around her protectively, resting his cheek on the crown of her head. “Why don’t we go home now?”
“Home?” Chloe sighed contentedly. “I’d like that.”
Lionel had given Gabe one more glare before following his son and Chloe back to the limousine. On the drive home he contemplated changing the combination to his vault, but sighed and discarded the idea, realizing she’d just find out the new one.
And it wasn’t as if anything had been going missing these years.
Chloe was nearly in Lex’s lap, resting against the arm he had around her, their faces nearly touching as they smiled at each other and whispered softly to each other.
That was the first time Lionel finally recognized the feelings between them had matured, and that the happiness in their eyes was fueled by love.
He smiled, leaning back against his plush leather seat, trying not to puff out his chest smugly at how well his plan was coming out.
Their hands were entwined, their fingers caressing, their gazes loving and happy.
Lex leaned down and pressed a kiss to her forehead, and Chloe closed her eyes, her lips curled in serene happiness.
Lionel sighed at how lovely a picture they were.
His plans were successful, as they always were.
Chloe would become his daughter by law and no one would ever take her away from them.
He patted himself mentally on the back on another successful mission.
Good job, Lionel my man.
His heart soared at the happiness on his son’s face, the happiness he’d once feared he’d never see there, the happiness that’d only grown with Chloe.
He couldn’t help but feel proud that he’d had a big part of making his son this happy, and chose not to think of what life might have turned out if he’d never discovered that Lex was innocent of his mother’s crimes, if he’d sent him away to that boarding school, and if, god forbid, Chloe Sullivan had never become a glowing, happy part of their lives.
Yes, he chose to deny the possibility of that ever happening.
This was how things were meant to be.
He’d been right all along, of course.
Chloe rested her cheek against Lex’s chest and snuggled in closer, eyes closed.
Lex’s face was pure bliss as he took in a deep, satisfied breath and closed his eyes as well.
Both were just savoring the touch and scent of the other.
The father watched them and that damned tender smile appeared once more as he observed them together, that part of his chest where his heart was supposed to be warm and content.
He sighed and closed his eyes as well, hands folded over his chest, a smile still etched on his face.
It was good being Lionel Luthor.