Title: One Step at a Time
Author: Nadia Mack
Spoilers: Nothing Really
Rating': PG
Summary: They dance around words a lot, but what would it be like to see Lois & Clark actually doing the real thing. Why don't we find out... wink

It was nearing the evening when two people in the living room were attempting what looked like dancing.

"I think I'm getting the hang of it"

He accidentally steps on her.

"Clark!"

"Sorry, mom"

He steps on her again.

"Ouch!"

"Ugh! I'm sorry"

Across the room stood Lois Lane by the doorway.

"Come on, Smallville give your mom a rest before you annihilate her feet."

Lois watched with great amusement. The last 30 seconds has been the funniest seconds of her life. Watching Clark Kent try to dance is like being in front of a live stage show of Ellen DeGenerous, she could not stop laughing. She did feel great sympathy for his mom though.

Aggravated by her sudden interruption. "I got to learn this for prom," he explained, his annoyance still evident in his voice. "People are expecting me to dance, and I don't want to look like an idiot when I'm doing it"

"Which you'll have no problem accomplishing, believe me," she mused.

An idea popped into Martha's mind. She knew it was risky, but it had to be better than this. She loved her son, she really did with all her heart, but she had things to do.

"Lois, would you mind helping Clark?"

Lois points to herself. "Me?" She chuckles. "How hard did he hurt your foot?"

Mrs. Kent smiles. "Please, Lois, Clark needs the practice and I think he'll benefit more from you"

Lois contemplated the thought even though she knew she'd agree, especially if it was Mrs. Kent asking, but it didn't hurt to give them a hard time about it. Then finally...

"Well, with a compliment like that, how can I refuse?"

"Great," Martha exclaims, relieved. She turns to Clark and whispers, "Try not to kill each other"

He sighs. "I promise that I'll try." He watched his mother walk out of the room before his attention went back to Lois. "What are you doing?"

"Picking the music," she says as she's going through the selections.

"Ummm… we've got music"

"No offense, Smallville, but I doubt the Senior Class of the 21st Century takes dance pointers out of Frank Sinatra, whom mind you, I have nothing against"

Clark eyes her wearily. "You're actually taking this seriously?"

"Don't look so surprised. You're mom asked me to help, so I'm helping." She finds what she's looking for. "AHA! Perfect"

"Should I be afraid?"

"As long as you don't decapitate," she gestures to the bottom half of her body, "... my feet, you'll be fine. I don't think your parents offer work comp."

That got a smile out of him.

Lois moves closer to him. "Okay, now show me your frame"

He blinked. "My what?"

"Your frame"

He stares at her blankly before straightening his back. Lois shakes her head, her face fighting the laughter. Clark immediately slumps his shoulders down in obvious embarrassment as well as annoyance.

"I can't do this with you." He tries to walk out before Lois took a hold of his hand, insisting that he stay.

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry," she repeats sincerely. "It's just - you're too serious all the time. Relax yourself," she explained. "There's no one else here but you and me, all right. You don't have to be nervous"

"Easy for you to say, you're not the one tripping all over the place"

"Look, when I say frame, it doesn't mean you pose like a model." She takes a step back and raises her arms slightly curved in front of her. "This... is my frame, see how my arms are parallel to the ground?" Clark nods, still unsure of what she was trying to point out.

Arms still raised. "Okay, good - now you do the same"

Clark reluctantly raises his arms as well. He watched her eyes look at his frame, and it finally registers to him that the Lois Lane he normally sparred wit with was nowhere to be found, in its place was a person in deep concentration and determination. It's a side he's never seen from her. It surprised him.

She gently lifts his elbows a little higher and shoves her foot between his feet, signaling to give it a little more space. When satisfied, she walked up to the stereo and turns it on. Then she walked back, facing him, her body a little closer than it was before.

He looked at her and saw the reason behind the frame.

"Oh," was all he could utter.

"Makes a lot more sense now, doesn't it," she smiled. Clark returns it. She continued. "Okay, normally, it's the guy that takes the lead but since this is a crash course in 'dance 101' we're going to have to improvise"

Lois rested her right arm above his shoulder as his hand made it to her side. Her left hand intertwined with his own while not breaking their frame.

"Now, the thing about dancing is that it's all about the rhythm, regardless of the song. Once you get the rhythm down, you can do whatever you want"

"Is that a promise?" he grinned.

"You flirting with me, Smallville?"

He shook his head unconvincingly and quickly changed the subject.

"So what do I do now?"

She caught the change, but since this was about him learning to dance, she thought she'd give him a break and tease him about it later. She spent the next half hour explaining the basics of a waltz and the salsa. It's quite a jump, from traditional to Latin, but since this was a crash course, it made sense.

An hour later...

In Clark's mind he recited, 1-2-3, 1-2-3...

THUMP!

"Ow," Lois uttered loudly.

"Uh, sorry... again"

Waves her hand. "Don't worry about it, twice in the last 10 minutes, I'd say you're improving," she covered, trying to keep his attitude up.

"Thanks for the encouragement but you know this is a lost cause," he resulted in defeat. He falls back on the couch.

"It's all about practice, Clark. Everything else will come naturally. I don't recall the Wright Brothers succumb to failure after the first 'god knows how many' flight tests went crashing down, and now look at the world of aviation"

He looked at her strangely. She has been incredibly supportive and...

She notices. "What?"

"You rarely call me Clark"

"That's your name isn't it?"

"Well, yeah, but..."

"Look, you're thinking too hard. You look too stiff. Dancing is about freedom"

"Freedom? You can't be serious"

"It's all about having fun, that's what freedom is too, you know."

"Never looked at it that way," he admits.

"Free style dancing is easy, anyone can do it, even one as hopeless as you," she grinned. Clark rolls his eyes. "But when you're dancing with a partner to a song that implies that actual steps are involved," she began. "... you kind of have to see your partner as an extension of your arms."

To prove her point, she takes his arm, her back in front of him. She spins out, then spins back in to the original position she was at. Clark actually understood.

They spent another hour practicing, and Clark relaxed more and more with Lois in his arms. By sessions' end, it shocked him to realize how pleasant it was being around her, and how much he'd learned.

Sitting by the fireplace, exhausted, Lois sat up proudly. "Well, I can honestly say that there's hope for you yet, Smallville"

He laughs yet is grateful for the comment.

"I had a patient teacher," he replied genuinely. "Where'd you learn how to dance?"

She thought a moment before answering. "My dad and I spent some time in Puerto Rico a few years back, before then I thought I was a pretty good dancer, after checking out their clubs I felt so depressed," she recalled. "I practically dubbed myself the worst next to all of them." She couldn't help by smile at the memory.

"Can't imagine you being that... vulnerable"

She looked at him sternly. "I wasn't, the next morning I had daddy hire me a local instructor"

He shakes his head in astonishment. "Why doesn't that shock me?"

They both laugh.

Then there was silence between them.

Lois stared serenely at the fire that raged in its place while Clark gazed at her features with unsuspecting curiosity. There was a lot more to Lois Lane than he thought.

Almost like it was on cue, the music of Nora Jones's "Come Away With Me" begins playing on the radio. Clark thought for the moment before extending his hand towards her.

Lois looks at his hand briefly with curiosity until she realized what he was asking.

"May I have the pleasure of this dance?" he asks, his eyes staring intensely in hers.

Not breaking his gaze, she nodded.

"You may"

They both stood up, Clark slowly pulling her in his arms. Their bodies' close, their faces even closer. He gently took hold of her hand, resting it above his heart, and they danced. For how long, they weren't sure. They weren't questioning it. They were dancing freely with each other. No expectations, no promises, just a dance. And it was a dance he gladly led.

Unbeknownst to the two, Martha watched from the stairs with a smile on her face that could brighten any dark night. She stood for a moment before carefully making her way up the stairs.

One step at a time is all it took to see her son happy.

The end