Title: Life's Lessons Learned (1/1)
Author: sinecure
Character/Pairing: Chloe/Lex
Rating: R
Genre: Drama
Summary: It takes a few years, but Chloe learns to be who she is.
Disclaimer: I don't own Smallville. If I did, Lana would've been a bit player, and Chloe and Lex would've had sex in every episode.
Thanks: to momdaegmorgan for the beta. I asked for a prompt to challenge me to write in this tense, which I really don't like. She gave me Stairway to Heaven and this fic formed.

Need. It's a word Chloe's familiar with. All her life, she's been riddled with it in one way or another. For truth, for Clark, for doing what's right... until she discovers that what's right doesn't always mean what's best.

That year, her world is turned upside down and her life becomes forfeit.

Lex saves her, and life goes on, but she's lost her innocence.

She discovers that evil comes in more packages than billionaires who murder their parents. It also masquerades as a friend and then forgets you when your usefulness ends. Forgetting Lex is as easy as pouring her feelings back into the boy she's loved since coming to Smallville.

Clark saves her, and life goes on, but she's lost her hope.

Wrapped up in soap opera style romances and keeping Clark's secret, Chloe finds that work is more than merely dialing the phone and filing folders. Keeping Lex from finding out what she knows is exhausting and she considers running for the first time in her life. It worked for Pete.

Lionel saves her, and life goes on, but she's lost her will.

Friends, old and new, flit in and out of her life, and she discovers she's a freak, one of the very people she's been fighting for years now. Insanity holds little worry for her now due to this newest wrinkle in her life.

She saves Lois, and life goes on, but she's lost her drive.

Lana's absence in Lex's life makes him darker, more determined to do what's wrong. And Chloe's more determined to stop him. Two men in her life lose the one woman they both love, and neither realizes she's lost Lana as well; her best friend, her confidant, the person she's come to think of as a sister.

Lex doesn't care. Clark drags himself around like a moping catastrophe on wings, devouring all that's evil and chewing it up and spitting it out in his own image; his own morals.

Chloe goes along for the ride for a time, wanting what he gives her in spirit and hugs, but they're empty and desolate. She comes to realize that Clark is moving past her, climbing the stone stairs to another level of becoming who he's meant to be.

She breaks into LuthorCorp more times than is safe and barely makes it out again without being caught. Disks full of plans and locations make it into her hands and her head, if not her hard drive. She's never given enough to time.

Lex knows it's her; he sends minions her way and steals back the information before she can use it against him.

She's beginning to like the game.

She discovers that he's building an army of men and women, pumped full of Kryptonite. They're sent out to small countries to train while Clark is kept busy with freaks of all kinds, human and not, meteor-infected and not. Some try to kill him, others try to kill his support group. The ones that try to take over the world are becoming more and more common.

Lex's information in her head, swallowed up by whatever ability she has now, tells her what he's doing. That he's trying to save the planet from the same people Clark is fighting, but he's going about it the wrong way.

Her sense of right and wrong are still straight and narrow, but she's beginning to understand Lex more than Clark.

How can a man with so much darkness see the dangers better than the man whose job it's becoming to fight it back? Because he's a part of that darkness.

She cuts corners and takes routes she never would've considered just a few years ago.

Life goes on.

Lex comes to her one night, instead of sending one of his minions. She thinks it's because he knows how she's beginning to see the world. His smile is tight, his eyes dark, and his fingers slide into her without much fanfare. As he fucks her, she thinks it's something that would've happened years ago if he hadn't been so blinded by Clark and Lana.

She doesn't care about him or the fairytale life he paints as his cock slides into her. Life without danger doesn't exist, even in her world, and he can't make it happen no matter how hard he tries.

Clark and Lois peel off into a single, justice-seeking clump of hormones and sweat equity, neither one noticing that she's absent more than she's there. Lex's shaping of the world is more acceptable and attainable than their perfect vision of truth and justice and the American Way.

His cock is more real than their words, spread in ink on a few papers across the city.

When she grows to need Lex, her life becomes a strange, winding road of paths she's never intended to take.

She saves Lex, and life goes on, but she's a little less clear on what's wrong and what's not. It doesn't matter, because she's found her purpose in the world and it doesn't include Superman, just the gray areas in between perfect and acceptable. Clark never learned that, but Lex is a good teacher.