by kathe

Summary: Chloe has a crush on Clark. It's not for the reasons you think.

She wondered if one day she might wake up and not be in love with Clark anymore. It could happen, right? It wasn't that there wasn't anything not to love about him -- he was beautiful, and kind, and all around charming, and he saved her life -- she should be in love with him. Geek girl in love with her best friend; it was practically written into the Social Code of adolescence. There was one in every school, and she was it.

But recently she had started to wonder why she held out for Clark while he was obviously oblivious to all of her knowing looks and wistful sighs. And she had had to wonder why she never really did anything about these feelings that she had for him. Chloe Sullivan was anything but meek, but when it came to all things Clark, her reserve came up and there was a line that she could never cross.

Perhaps it was the friend thing. She knew somewhere deep inside that if she ever did cross that line with Clark -- a hand lingering a little too long, a playful tackle that was a little less than sisterly -- that there was a very good chance that she might lose Clark forever. Then again, maybe she really didn't want him to notice in the first place.

That's what troubled her -- and that's how she arrived at her current state of thinking. Clark was her safe area. She could love him and never have him, and it was written in stone that way. But it allowed her to have something to focus on, someone to obsess over in the way that everyone does in high school - and sure, the extended angst of it all was slowly starting to drive her nuts, but she was in good company. Pete was doing the same thing with her.

Their little trio had developed into a nasty little triangle. Chloe to Clark, Pete to Chloe and no one was any the wiser about any of it till Pete got whammied by good ol' Nicodemus. It got even better, because since Pete couldn't remember what he had said, fever or no, Chloe was the only one of the three of them that knew the whole score. It was eating away at her. But she also knew that while Pete may harbor feelings for her, he would never act on them, the same way she would never risk anything with Clark. They were safe for one another -- and if in the event that she got together with either of them, however unlikely, she knew that it would be horrible for everyone concerned. She knew that she would dominate Pete, and that Clark would stifle her.

Like this, though -- this Unloved Triangle as she thought of it -- they could love one another, comfort one another, and never have to really worry about the big scary world of people out there that could break their hearts. Chloe knew she was better off just loving Clark until the day, hopefully, when she would wake up and she wouldn't feel anything for him at all other than that the sisterly concern she pretended at. She knew it could happen, it had to, or otherwise she would be stuck in this never-ending loop for the rest of her life. She had to hope for a force of will strong enough to break years of conditioning -- a stroke of fate to break it, or the outside chance that someone would come along that she would want to take a risk on.

No one had bothered to ask her what her deepest desire was. Those that knew about the Minty Incident probably already thought that she had gotten it, but they were wrong. She wished for the cycle to break - wished that she would be strong enough to break it and risk her heart on the unknown.

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