Title: Living In Stockholm
Sequel to: Night At The Hospital
, Day At The Park
, Evening of Truths
and Hoping For Tomorrow
Pairing: Chloe Sullivan/Harry Osborne
Disclaimer: Don't own Smallville/Spiderman
Summary:It's been months since Harry forced her to give up all she loved and live with him, and Chloe finds herself battling her resentment towards him, and the love that seems to still be growing for her sweet, utterly screwed up captor.
It’d been some months since she’d been blackmailed into living in Harry Osborn’s home, and Chloe was adjusting. She wanted to hate Harry, wanted to despise him for how he’d just torn her away from her life and her friends and her duty, but after the first couple of weeks she’d been unable to keep up her anger and resentment.
It was the look in his eyes.
It’d been lost and hurt and confused and she’d realized that despite it all, Harry really was just a lost child deep down inside. He hadn’t wanted to hurt her, not really, but he loved her, he knew that, she knew that, and he’d thought she was with someone else.
And he’d done what he’d thought necessary to separate her from all it was that kept her from him.
It was psychotic, but Chloe still understood it in a morbid kinda way.
And she couldn’t hate Harry.
“So, I was talking to Gabe, and he said he’d be over for the party.” Harry announced with a smile as they had breakfast together like they always did. His eyes gleamed as he talked, dimples deep. “I’m sending over the helicopter and it’ll bring him over for the weekend of the party.”
Chloe looked up from where she’d been playing with her food, not really hungry. “He’ll be here for the whole weekend?”
Harry nodded, eyes showing his pleasure at the small smile forming on her face. “I thought you might be missing him.”
It was moment’s like these when Chloe just wanted to lean over and place her hand in Harry’s, but then she’d remember that the reason she was missing her father was because Harry had blackmailed into living with him, in being by his side all the time. She worked for him, lived with him, and spent all of her free time with him.
She should be sick of him by now, and it bothered her that she wasn't.
If anything she fell treacherously more in love with this man who was happiest living with a woman he’d forced by his side.
Her resentment and love warred against each other repeatedly, as she watched him as he continued to talk about the party he was throwing for her birthday. He was so excited, planning an affaire that would put any Luthor event to shame, and he was constantly asking for her approval, desperately seeking it with every piece of clothes or jewelry he bought her.
He was trying to say he was sorry in his own way, trying to make her less miserable by his side, trying desperately to make her happy.
She remembered her chance for escape, remembered when Clark had arrived two nights after her move. She remembered him talking to her, trying to get her to escape with him. He and the others had been scoping out Harry’s luxury apartment and knew the situation. They were offering her a way out, a place to hide, their own safeties be damned.
Chloe had looked into Clark’s earnest face and had thrown herself into his arms, crying, telling him that no matter how much she wanted to go, no matter how much she wanted to be with them, she wasn’t going to sacrifice them—the world. And Harry treated her well, she doubted he would hurt her.
And maybe, just maybe, she could make a difference in his life.
Harry wasn’t evil, despite his Double G Jr. ways. He just needed a firm, good influence in his life, and Chloe was sure, that in time, she could be that for Harry. She could, once she’d gotten over her stark resentment.
Clark had tried to make her understand she had to leave with him, had even threatened on forcing her to leave, but she’d calmly told him that she’d made a deal and if he took her out she’d only return, and that would have made everything moot, wouldn’t it?
The man who was Superman had sighed, hugged her close, held her tight, and told her that if anyone could change Harry, if anyone could bring the light into his life, it would be her. If she truly wanted to do this Clark would be there backing her up. But if she was ever in danger, or in need of help, to never hesitate in calling his name and he’d be there in seconds.
She’d cried with him as they said their goodbyes, not knowing when it would be that they’d see each other again, and then he’d gone in a gust of wind.
Chloe is almost sure that Harry knew about the visit, maybe even heard the conversation, because the very next day he gifted her with a state of the arts laptop and cellular---two things he’d done his most earnest to keep away from her in the past.
It only meant on thing.
He knew she wasn’t going to try to escape.
“We should go shopping for new dresses for you.” Harry’s voice interrupted her thoughts. “I have the evening free after 3.”
Chloe looked up at him, smiling in amusement. “I still have dresses I haven’t worn, Harry. Save your money.”
“Why? If all I do is save money I’ll die and someone else will profit from it. Why not spend it on what makes me happy while I’m alive?” Harry cleared his throat, his cheeks suddenly turning somewhat pinkish, as he hesitated a second before reaching forwards and resting his hand on hers.
Both of them were still, silent, eyes on their hands.
Every single time Harry had tried this in the past Chloe would tense up, slap his hand away, and storm off.
And every time she saw that hurt and shattered look in Harry’s eyes even when she closed her own.
Despite her constant (and sometimes furious) rejections, Harry kept regaining his courage and trying once more, never giving up on her, not even when she ranted and raved and told him she hated him.
He was never going to give up on her.
That sort of devotion was earth-shattering and confusing.
Clearing her throat, Chloe forced herself to calm down and returned her gaze to her food, using her free hand to bring her fork to her mouth, chewing on the delicacy, not needing to see Harry’s face to know that he was smiling beautifully at her.
The pulse in his hand was beating rapidly, and he squeezed her hand slightly, happily.
It was a start, progress, no matter how small, and they both knew it.
“I want him to meet Bernard.” Chloe announced, keeping her eyes on the food. “I’ve talked a lot about him, and dad’s keen to meet him.”
Harry grinned, nodded, in the best mood she’d seen him in since he’d regained his memory. “You know Bernard’s going to be jealous, though, right? He’s taken to you like a father. We might have a jealous father/father figure smack down on our hands if you’re not careful.”
Chloe smiled, looking up into his face, amused by the image of the proper English butler having a smack down with her humble father.
Harry’s butler was a good, loyal man. She enjoyed talking to him, and admired the loyalty he showed towards Harry. He adored the boy, having raised him more than his own father had, and knew that he’d do anything to ensure that Harry was happy.
It was one of the reasons why Bernard was doing his best to make sure she was happy.
‘Master Harry needs someone to love him, Miss Chloe,’ the butler had confided to her once when Harry had fallen ill and they’d both taken it upon themselves to nurse the man to health. ‘No one else ever has, no one other than I, and I think sometimes he believes that people are incapable of loving him.’
More and more she was beginning to believe Bernard. To the rest of the world Harry was the owner of a multimillion enterprise, a capable businessman, but to Chloe he was a little puppy who looked away in shame when she scolded and who brightened whenever she offered the smallest of smiles.
And he hadn’t touched her.
Well, not like that.
They both knew that Chloe was attracted to him, they both knew that if Harry pushed the issue Chloe would end up in bed with him if only to tend to her own needs, but Harry never did so. He was always respectful with her, always treated her like she was the most important person in the world, someone to be cherished, taken care of, and while she’d seen the deep desire in his eyes whenever he’d look at her she also saw his own restraint.
He was keeping himself in check, waiting for the day when she would come to him.
And it made her love him just a little bit more.
“Is there anyone else you’d like to invite?” Harry looked away, his smile falling from his face, his grip tightening possessively on hers, but not painfully, never painfully.
Chloe took the opportunity to examine his face, the insecurities that were bared there for her to see, even if he didn’t realize it.
He was giving her the opportunity to invite the others, if she wished.
And he was terrified that she would.
Was terrified that one look at them and she’d leave.
It was amazing how well she’d learnt to read him.
“No.” She replied softly.
He didn’t look at her but he closed his eyes and sighed softly in relief.
“But no new dress.” She tried to stress that point. “I’m serious when I say I still have a lot of dresses I haven’t worn once.”
He still wasn’t look at her.
She raised an eyebrow. “You’re going to buy more for me no matter what I say, aren’t you?”
He turned an amused yet guilty expression on her. “Am I that easy to read?”
She grinned, shaking her head ruefully at him. “No, I just know you too good for you to be able to get away with anything anymore.”
He smiled. “You do, don’t you? Know me, I mean.”
That seemed to make him so happy.
Feeling a little awkward, she looked away. “So, I’m going to have to put up with Luthors, right?”
Harry frowned, nodding. “I invited them because it would be a snub to my business associates if they weren’t invited to my most prestigious celebration.”
She sidled him wit a look. “You know, a homemade cake with you, dad and Bernard would have been enough to make me happy, right?”
The thought seemed to take him by surprise. “Really?” He blinked, confused. “Why?”
She then began to wonder if he’d never had a honest to god, homey birthday. Had it always been pomp and show?
Had it never been just him and his father blowing out candles and unwrapping horribly wrapped gifts?
Her green gaze scanned his face.
No, it’d never been that.
It’d been big luxurious affairs made more for show than the boy’s amusement. It’d been multiple gifts wrapped elegantly, all chosen by his father’s secretary.
“Cancel all the plans.” Chloe suddenly announced.
“What?” Harry asked, surprised. “Why? I thought you liked---.”
“Yes, I liked them, they’re like a princess’ ball, everything a fairytale could ask for.” She assured him because she knew that he’d put in a lot of thought for this. He’d wanted to make it special for her, her first birthday since living with him. “Reschedule it for later then, another day in the week. I want to have a real birthday.”
It was obvious that he didn’t exactly know what she was talking about but was hesitating to ask.
That in itself only confirmed her decision.
“You’re going to give me an honest to god, family birthday.”
He perked up at the ‘f’ word. “Really?” He raised an eyebrow, intrigued, a small smile lighting his face. “How does one have an honest to god family birthday?”
Okay, maybe she shouldn’t have said the ‘f’ word, but it was already out in the open and there was no going back, not anymore.
Taking in a deep breath, Chloe gathered up her courage.
“For one, I don’t want any expensive gifts, forget about that. The gifts aren’t what make a birthday special, it’s the memories one makes while on that special day.”
His smile disappeared, his face serious, thoughtful, as he listened to her.
“I don’t want any factory made cake, you and I are going to bake it, together.”
His eyes went wide as if he didn’t even know you could make a cake.
It amused her somewhat.
“Also, I don’t want any fancy restaurant or caterers or anything. We’re going to make the food together as well.”
“I’ve only ever made an omelet, and it was that one time with you.” Harry warned her, looking unsure of this plan. “Maybe Bernard could call---.”
“No.” She shook her head, firm in this. “You are going to help me cook. We’re going to spend the whole day cooking and re-cooking until we get it right if we have to.”
“I also don’t want any paid entertainment.”
He opened his mouth to argue.
“I want you to take me to the zoo, or the park, or---I know!” Her eyes lit up. “The planetarium! I’ve been wanting to go there for the longest time!”
“The planetarium.” Harry didn’t seem to believe she was serious. “You want me to take you to the planetarium for your birthday.”
“Why not the planetarium?” She frowned, narrowing her eyes. “What’s wrong with it?”
“Nothing!” He raised his hands in a sign of submission. “I just thought you might prefer to go to the opera or something. I could buy you a new gown, some new diamonds, and we could watch La dame blanche.”
Chloe raised an eyebrow and folded her hands over her chest. “You seem to keep forgetting that I’m not one of your girlfriends. I’m not a socialite. I don’t fawn over your cars or your money or your status and I don’t barter my soul or body to have new dresses or jewelry or to see some fat person sing some loud pitched songs in languages I don’t know.”
Harry was silent for a moment before grinning. “Yeah, you’re right.”
About which part?
She continued to eye him suspiciously before sighing and rolling her eyes at his grin. “So, are you taking me to the planetarium or am I taking Bernard?”
“Me. I’m going.” He frowned at her, looking insulted for her having questioned his attendance. “I—I’ve never been to a planetarium before.” Harry admitted. “I wanted to go when I was young, but my father never had the time, and I wanted to go with him like all the boys in my school did.”
It was moments like these, in which Harry proved once again that he was open bare before her, that caused Chloe’s heart to clench, made her want to reach out and hug him, hold him tight.
It made her want to comfort him.
Her beautiful, sweet, caring, screwed up captor.
Clearing her throat, Chloe hesitated before finally reaching over and placing her hand in his.
Harry’s eyes widened, trained on their joined hands, before he smiled shakily, not daring to look her in the eyes.
He didn’t need to look at her, she could see the joy in his every feature as he closed his large hand around hers and stroked her skin with his thumb reverently.
Her heart tugged at her once more.
Sighing, Chloe smiled at him tenderly, head tilted to the side, and tightened her hold on his hand, wondering, somewhat whimsically, if this was what Stockholm Syndrome felt like.