Author's Notes: Contains spoilers of rthe season three finale.

"Just the Two of Us"

By DebC

The view from the window of Clark's loft was as beautiful as it was the very first time Clark had brought Chloe up there back in junior high. They'd just moved and Clark had been asked to show her around by their homeroom teacher. She'd never been away from the city, never seen a farm or so many corn fields in her life. She thought Clark was like... Amish or a Quaker or something. She'd also thought he was a huge dork. Cute, but still a huge dork. So she'd kissed him just to get it out of the way. And just like that, they were friends.

"Nice view from up here," she commented as she leaned against the window frame next to him. Their shoulders brushed against each other and Clark smiled in a quiet, wistful way. He didn't say anything at first. There really wasn't a need for it--not between them anyway. Things between them were easy and comfortable now that Clark was free to share things with her without worrying about who she might tell.

"I can see all the down to the creek," he said at last. It wasn't really a response to her words, though. Just an observation. "Remember that time you and me and Pete went down there... that summer it was so hot?"

"We went swimming." The boys striped down to their boxers and Chloe to her dainty black bra and panties and jumped in. They'd been just young enough that summer not to realize that they were too old to do that sort of thing and have it still be innocent. She'd started noticing Clark then, really noticing him. How tall he was getting, how buff the constant farm work was making him. How his green eyes sparkled and nose crinkled when he smiled. Chloe thought he was gorgeous when he smiled; he didn't do it often enough anymore.

"Yeah..." Clark's voice was wistful and sad. "I'm gonna miss that."

So was Chloe. Everything had changed in so short a time. In just the blink of an eye--or the closing of a door--all their lives had changed. Pete was gone. He packed up and moved to Wichita and was still mad at her, so he hadn't even let her hug him when she and Clark showed up to help him pack and send him off like friends. He was acting funny around Clark, too, and she hadn't known why at the time. But he was gone and there wouldn't be an opportunity to make up for two years of taking for granted that he'd always be there. There would be no more Three Musketeers camped out in the corner of the Talon cramming for exams, working on last minute deadlines for the Torch or just hanging out.

Lana was gone too, but Chloe really couldn't say she was going to miss Lana half as much as she was going to miss Pete. They'd been friends, but it had been a difficult friendship and Clark affections lay between them like a great gaping chasm the size of the Bill Gate's wallet.

How ironic that Clark only seemed to notice what was right in front of his face until all of the other distractions--Lana, Pete, even Lex--were no longer in his line of sight. Then he looked at Chloe, seeing there for the first time what she'd known all along. There could have been something between long before now. But his crush on Lana and the secrets. The secrets. Chloe no longer cared about the secrets, even though she most of them now. Snooping only got a girl into trouble. She'd learned that the hard way recently... while helping both Lex and herself get out from under Lionel's thumb. She'd always thought that a kept secret was something to unlock, but now she knew that some were best kept buried.

The wind picked up, and Chloe leaned a little closer to Clark as if shield herself from the gust of cool air. Clark shivered. "I think it's gonna rain," he commented, watching as clouds moved in and obstructed their view of the bluest sky ever.

"It might. We can go inside the house if it does," Chloe told him.

Clark shook his head. "I like it out here with you," he told her solemnly. "Just the two of us." He couldn't stand the atmosphere inside the farmhouse, though. Chloe knew it. Jonathan was really sick now and Martha vacillated between being worried about her husband and being angry with him. Clark clung to Chloe's companionship because he had no one else to cling to.

It was kind of sad, really. Their entire world had been torn apart and instead of helping each other rebuild it, everyone their had fought own battles. Alone.

"Just the two of us..." she echoed, and brushed her hand against his. It was going to rain; she could feel the moisture on the ever-cooling breeze more prominently now. Clark shivered and they huddled closer. He should really go back to the house, but he was stubborn and she had to admit-- there was no place for her in that sad, sad house.

Heavy raindrops hit the tin roof of the barn--sporadically at first but that changed and soon pelted the barn harshly and swiftly. The rain had moved in fast. When the wind began blow sheets of it in through the window, Clark finally gave up and moved to the hammock in the corner. He sat down and made room Chloe to sit beside him.

"I love you, you know," Clark said randomly when Chloe rested her hand on his. His skin was dark and tan from hours of working in the warm summer sun. Hers was pale from being cooped up indoors for days on end. And his was warm and comforting.

She only wished his words had been as much of a comfort.

"I know," she said softly and stood up, leaving him on the hammock. Why did he have to say it now? "I have to go, Clark," she told him. She had to... it was time. He looked up, and the eyes that met hers were as sad as she felt right now. "I will always love you, too," she told him and slowly faded away.