A/N: I own none of the characters and I make no profit. I should be so lucky. This is just a quick little one-shot that's been lurking in the recesses of my brain, and, once again, the cold medication brought it out of hiding!

Perspectives on Destiny

Lois yawned as she stumbled sleepily toward the kitchen sink. She was staying overnight at the Kent Farm – much to Clark's chagrin – at Martha's behest, and she'd been very soundly asleep in bed before she'd awoken in the middle of the night in desperate need of a glass of water. In search of that very thing, she'd made her way downstairs and into the kitchen.

In the dark, she relied on her sense of touch and the memories she treasured of everything having to do with the farm to find both the cabinet with the required glasses and the sink. Then, as she pulled up on the tap and filled the glass in her hand, she took a deep gulp and glanced idly out the window. Instead of her eyes meeting nothing but darkness broken by faint rays of moonlight, as she'd expected, she saw a bright light shining through the loft window. Frowning, she leaned forward to get a better look.

As she watched, Clark strolled slowly past the lit window, and Lois sighed. She wondered if it was a testament to how well she could read his body language or how well she could anticipate his moods (though she shuddered to think it was either), but she could tell he was depressed. If she had to take a guess, she'd bet he was brooding over his love life in general and the flame that wouldn't die (otherwise known as Lana Lang) in particular. Not that there were any recent developments in either area that would lead her to that conclusion; it was just a safe bet in her book that if Clark was depressed, the safe money was on his love life as the cause.

Shaking her head sadly, she made her way to the back door and quietly pulled it open. The cool October air startled her, slapping the last of the sleep from her eyes and causing her to shiver. Wrapping her arms around her stomach, she hugged herself in order to conserve body heat as she stared silently at the illuminated rectangle in the side of the barn. When she'd walked outside, she'd planned on making her way immediately to the loft with the intention of doing whatever it took to break Clark out of his sullen mood. Once she closed the kitchen door and the soft sounds of the country evening surrounded her, however, she paused and drew a deep breath as she lost herself in quiet contemplation.

Her immediate reaction, whenever she caught Clark brooding over his love life – and the illogical certainty she knew he felt that he was somehow destined to die alone – was to deliver a good hard smack to the side of his head. Not that she'd ever indulged herself and actually done so, but she'd certainly entertained more than one detailed fantasy along those lines.

She knew Clark was actually a pretty intelligent guy, so she honestly couldn't understand how he could be such an idiot so much of the time. How could he genuinely think he was doomed to a lifetime spent alone? Lois didn't think she'd ever met a man in her life more suited to settling down with the girl next door and raising dozens of fat babies than Clark Kent. She scowled as the very thought caused her to get slightly nauseated – but only because she couldn't stomach the idea that any girl could actually find that "aw, shucks" farmboy thing he had going on attractive, of course. Still, even though it really wasn't something she personally found appealing, she couldn't deny that there were girls out there who found that sort of thing irresistible. Not sane girls. But girls.

With an irritated harrumph, Lois took a couple steps forward and lowered herself onto the top step, keeping her glare focused firmly on the barn. Taking a sip from the glass of water she still had in her hand, she spared a moment to wish she'd taken the time to brew something stronger and sighed. The most irritating thing about Clark, she'd concluded over all the time she'd known him, was that he never saw in himself what was so obvious to others – things Lois would rather die than confess to him.

He was, for all of his multitude of flaws – a genuinely kind, honorable, and in many other ways absolutely wonderful guy. Again, not her type of guy, and just to further drive that point home (in case her internal voice was in danger of forgetting), she reminded herself that he was about as far from an irresistible bad boy as one could get, he spent more time brooding than any three people she knew, and he had a horrific fashion sense.

But she had no doubt that he would find love one day. He'd find someone who'd see that, underneath all of his more pronounced annoying qualities was a guy who was worth fighting for. And she'd hold him tight and never, ever let him go.

Yes, she was sure that, if there was such a thing as destiny, his was to find happiness in love some day. It was a destiny she would never know for herself. And she envied him that.

Clark turned on his heel and retraced his path across the loft. He'd been pacing for a while now, mulling over his failed romance with Lana, pondering – once again – just where it had all gone wrong. For so long, he'd wanted nothing more than to have her in his life. He'd worshiped her from afar, and then he'd both loved and lost her.

There were so many things he'd done wrong in his relationship with Lana, so many mistakes he'd made that he wished he could undo. But tonight, he wasn't brooding over the things he might have been able to change. He was wondering if their breakup had been inevitable, somehow.

He'd wanted to have Lana in his life so badly he could taste it. For years, he'd kept a firm hold on that dream, even when everything and everyone else around him had told him to let go. In part, he'd held on so long because he'd been so sure that he wanted to be with her, that the two of them were meant to be together. But also, or perhaps more so, he'd held on so hard because he'd been afraid to let go; if he let go of the feelings he'd held for Lana for so long – beyond doubt, without question – what would he be left with?

He had hoped that wanting something enough would be enough to make it real. She had been the girl next door, the object of his first love – that kind of absolute, unquestioning, almost mindless emotion that nobody ever has after than that very first time. He had certainly wanted to be with her enough; if every prayer he'd ever whispered were suddenly answered, she'd be his a thousand times over. And, as much as he'd desperately wanted to make it work between them, he'd been unable to do so. Eventually, even he had seen that the time had come that he had to let her go.

So now he found himself pacing in his aptly-named Fortress of Solitude, thinking of so many things – what might have been, what had come to pass, and what would never be. Beyond the hurt, however, was the feeling that this had been his best shot at ever finding someone to love, and he had lost it. He had no doubt that he would never love anyone like he had loved Lana. His love for her had always been easy. He'd never had to think about it, to fight for it. Regardless of how she felt about him, he'd always been reassured by the idea that his feelings for her were constant. They required no rationalization or effort; they simply were. Until they weren't any longer.

What bothered him tonight was the knowledge that, more than the loss of what Lana had been, he mourned the loss of what he'd thought she could be. He mourned, because he was suddenly certain he would never find what he'd really wanted, all along – someone he could truly love, someone who would love him back in return.

As he paced, a movement outside caught his attention and he glanced outside to see what it was. He watched as Lois shifted her position on the porch steps and gazed into the dark, clearly lost in her own thoughts. He wondered what she was thinking, but, then again, he always wondered what was going on in her mind. Stopping for a moment from his restless movement, Clark moved to the opening and rested his arm on the sill, gazing at the woman sitting silently on the porch.

Lois was many things (and he could probably spend an hour listing everything she was to him in particular) but uncomplicated wasn't one of them. Nothing about her – from trying to figure out the way her convoluted mind worked to trying to determine how it was, exactly, that she had a knack for getting him to face things about himself that he didn't want to see – was ever easy. She was the most confusing, exasperating, intriguing person he'd ever met.

Still, he had no doubt, for all her flaws (and he was more than willing to point out each and every one of them. To her face.), there was someone out there who would absolutely adore everything about her – even those things that drove him crazy. He tried to ignore his slight queasiness at the thought. Oh, she wasn't his type, certainly (heaven help him!). But, regardless, he had no doubt that there was a man out there who would see her for everything that she was and would find her passion, her pride, her stubbornness, and even her take-no-prisoners attitude irresistible.

Clark pitied that man, but he knew he was out there somewhere. He had no doubt about it, even though he knew that she did. Because a woman like Lois Lane was not destined to die alone. She would find someone brave enough to match her fearlessness and strong enough to stand in the center of the whirlwind that was the rest of her personality. She'd find someone who would see that, beyond the untouchable façade she presented to the world, there was a woman worth standing in the middle of a hurricane if it meant he could be by her side. Someday, she'd find a man who would see everything that was truly wonderful about her (everything Clark was certainly never going to admit to her that he'd ever noticed), and he'd hold her tight and never, ever let her go.

Yes, he was sure that, if there was such a thing as destiny, hers was to find happiness in love some day. It was a destiny he would never know for himself. And he envied her that.