Disclaimer: Smallville and all related elements, characters and indicia © Tollin-Robbins Productions and Warner Bros. Television, 2002. All Rights Reserved. All characters and situations—save those created by the authors for use solely on this website—are copyright Tollin-Robbins Productions and Warner Bros. Television. Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster.

Author's note: The title is from my favourite Dance Hall Crashers song, "Next To you". I've been waiting a year to use this song properly for a story, and even though this doesn't quite fit what I've had in mind, it works well enough.

Next To You
by käthe

In Chloe's mind they went about it backwards.

First they were acquaintances, then what other people called Mutually Tolerated (and Enjoyed) Adversaries. Somewhere along the way she and Lex became friends, or at least that's how they thought of themselves. Other people's interpretations didn't hold much weight anyway.

He knew most of her secrets and she knew *some* of his, but not all, mainly because she didn't have a death wish. But in the end they each knew all that mattered.

Then came the night that she barged into his office after hours ready to scream, "Hey, dumbass! Exactly what the hell were you thinking pissing off the FCC?!" Instead she ended up screaming "Hey, dumbass! Don't you know that I -- " Not love exactly, because they didn't do love.

After all, Chloe had seen Lex work his way through the most eligible and devious women of their generation. And he had watched her go from small town mutants, boys with Vespas, and police station contacts (though she still held on to a few of those) to frat boys, musicians, professors and colleagues. They both had the battle scars and weariness to show for it all. No, they were too cynical for love by that point.

Eventually they figured it out. They just *were*. Everyone they had in common had dropped away over the years, and they were left behind -- or just left. With each other.

It was easy, but no less meaningful or sweet (and hot) because of the simplicity.

One day someone asked how it all came about. Chloe answered that it just sort of evolved.

Later, when she told Lex about the exchange, he simply smiled and said, "Well, there's no one else I would rather do."

Chloe scowled, then laughed and finally kissed him soundly. "You just have charm oozing out of every pore, don't you?"

Other people were free to interpret the Sullivan-Luthor Alliance as they liked.

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