A/N: None of these characters are mine, and I make no profit.

This is a companion piece to my first ever songfic, The Man in Love with Lois Lane, which is from Clark's point of view.

If Only

Lois didn't know what it was outside that had awoken her, but she crawled slowly out of bed and crossed over to the window so she could peer through the blinds to the street below. Everything was quiet outside, at least as much as it ever was in Metropolis. The occasional car sped past, a few late-night stragglers were making their way home, but she saw nothing that was likely to have disturbed her slumber.

Leaning closer to the window and tilting her head to get a better view down the street, Lois's eyes narrowed as she thought she caught sight of a familiar figure strolling away. Shaking her head, she chastised herself for such foolishness. There was no reason for Clark to be passing beneath her window in the middle of the night. He was no doubt safely home in bed, dreaming of better things than her.

Her stomach fell, however, when the thought occurred to her that he actually might be dreaming of her.

I look in the mirror, with you in my arms
And I see a reflection
Of the smile that says you believe in love
And just for a moment, I drifted away
But I couldn't stay darlin'
A hint of love, a bit of fear
I'm trying to say

It was a very bad sign, that she was beginning to imagine seeing him where he wasn't present. With a scowl, she wondered if she wasn't even allowed one night free of the remorse that twisted her stomach when she thought of her partner. No, apparently the guilt she carried had no intention of allowing her a measure of peace.

Lois impatiently brushed the hair back from her forehead as she stared with unseeing eyes at the world outside her bedroom window. She knew she should return to bed, but, having been reminded about her ineptitude when it came to dealing her Clark, she knew there wasn't much possibility of get back to sleep. Instead, she curled up on her window seat and nibbled thoughtfully on her thumbnail as, once again, she mulled over the situation in which she found herself.

She knew Clark thought she hadn't noticed the way he felt about her, but he was wrong. She knew; she'd have to be blind not to have picked up on it at some point. Though she'd had her suspicions about his feelings for her for a while, it was only recently that she'd stopped trying to fool herself into believing that it was all simply the product of her overactive imagination.

If only she could have remained in idyllic ignorance.

If I were you, I wouldn't be here
If I were you, I would stay right where you are
I wouldn't come near this broken heart
Just turn around and leave here
And find someone who won't hurt you
Make sure that she still believes in love

'Cause I think my heart has given up
If I were you, I wouldn't be here

The truth was, she didn't want him to love her. She didn't want the responsibility of having his heart in her safekeeping, and she sure as hell knew he didn't want to have to be responsible for guarding hers. The problem, of course, was that there was no way that she'd ever be able to convince Clark of the truth of this fact.

One of the most aggravating – and (she had to admit) most endearing – things about her partner was that he truly believed in love. He heard stories of people living happily ever after, and he honestly felt, deep down inside, that such a thing was possible.

Lois knew otherwise.

I'm tryin' to protect you
From the lies that your heart tells
Even though it says that you want me
All I see is pain and misery
Seasons may change
But I can't forget the days of old
My heart ached when he walked away
I said I'd never love again

Love didn't last forever. Well, actually, that wasn't quite true. She supposed that love could last forever; when she'd seen Mr. and Mrs. Kent together, for the first time, she'd come to see that such a thing was possible.

Just not for her.

Oh, Lois had grown up wanting love as much as the next girl. She'd had her fantasies of the man she would love someday, the man who would love her in return. She'd never longed for a knight on a white horse, certainly (she would never wish for something that prosaic); no, her dreams had always been far simpler.

She'd simply dreamt of someone with whom she could share her adventures, both great and small. A man to curl up next to on endless nights, when there was nothing more pressing weighing on her mind than which old movies she should watch until the first rays of dawn crept through her window. Quite simply, she'd wanted someone she could love without fear, and, just as much, she wanted someone who would love her in return. Unequivocally.

She wanted someone who could promise that he would never, ever, break her heart and leave her behind.

If I were you, I wouldn't be here
If I were you, I would stay right where you are
I wouldn't come near this broken heart
Just turn around and leave here
And find someone who won't hurt you
Make sure that she still believes in love

'Cause I think my heart has given up
If I were you, I wouldn't be here

To her credit, she'd tried to hold on to that dream for a long time. She'd managed to entertain the fantasy far longer than she should have done, in fact. But how many times did a girl have to get burned before she learned not to stick her hand in the fire? How many times did her heart have to be broken before she stopped giving it away?

For Lois, she'd taken that foolish risk one time too many. And now, much though she might wish she would fall in love, could love someone as freely as she'd once dreamed, she now knew it was simply not meant to be.

Yes, she knew there were people out there who were destined to find love one day. In fact, she wouldn't be surprised at all to discover that Clark Kent was among the privileged few. She was certain, however, that Lois Lane was not.

Days go by
And I feel that you can make me happy
Time goes on
And I feel that love is at my door
And though I tell myself that you're the one
Who said those words before
No, it hurts too much
I can't trust in love
Again
Again

But, oh, if only she could convince her heart to take that chance, just one more time. What Clark didn't know – and what she never dared tell him – was that he was wrong about her. She knew how he felt about her, and that was painful enough. What was worse was the knowledge that she was beginning to feel the same about him. And there wasn't a damn thing she could do about it.

If only she could convince him that he shouldn't love someone like her, that he should give his heart to someone with whom there was at least the chance he would be happy. Then, maybe she could stop dreaming of what might have been, if only…if only she were someone stronger, someone braver. Someone different.

Someone destined to find that kind of love, someone capable of giving Clark the love he deserved.

If I were you, I wouldn't be here
If I were you, I would stay right where you are
I wouldn't go near this broken heart
Just turn around and leave here
And find someone who won't hurt you
Make sure that she still believes in love

'Cause I think my heart has given up
If I were you, I wouldn't be here

She just didn't know how to tell him that he deserved far more than her poor battered heart. She'd tried in a hundred different ways to push him away; she'd even considered requesting she be partnered with somebody else. Her resolve had gotten her as far as the Editor in Chief's door. But then she realized that Clark would never understand why she had to do it. She thought about how hurt he would be, should she succeed in her goal, and she simply couldn't go through with it.

So, instead, her cowardice had doomed them both to this. She wished she were brave enough to give him the bald-faced lie that would release them both. If only she could tell him that she didn't love him, would never love, him, could never love him, then maybe they could both find peace. But she just couldn't do it.

With a sigh, Lois rested her head against the pane of glass and closed her eyes. It seemed that guilt would be her only companion for more nights to come. If only she were strong enough to walk away from him. If only she were brave enough to let herself really fall in love. If only her heart hadn't been shattered long ago, then maybe there would be enough of it left that she could give it to him.