A/N: Put Smallville DVDs, a mutant cold and cough syrup together and this is the result. That's really the only explanation I can come up with of where this came from…

Persistence of Vision

It had been a subtle transformation throughout the years, insignificant details overlooked in the hectic day to day existence. With all the little things that had been so easily disregarded, it wasn't any wonder that no one had realized what was happeneing until it was too late, but once the ability to see the truth had presented itself, the pieces had fallen together with a naturalness that bordered on the timeless adage meant to be.

No matter how it was looked at, the truth was undeniable- and more than a little painful.

Pulling the red jacket closer to her petite frame, she carefully stepped into the caves, heart aching with each step closer to her ultimate goal.

If she was completely honest with herself, the signs had been there from the very beginning, seen clearly to anyone who took the time to simply observe.

No matter how much she wanted to deny it, she had seen the electricity generated between the polar opposites years ago, before she jumped back into a childish fantasy once again. Even when the two claimed nothing but disdain was between them, they had still gravitated to the other. The words she had spoken almost five years ago, in this exact spot, reverberated harshly in her head.

The best ones always start out that way.

Somehow, only a short time later, she had managed to forget those frighteningly accurate words, attributing them to a mere lapse in judgement. So, she pushed them aside, burying her uncertainties away in the darkest recesses of her mind.

As the child she so vehemently denied being, Lana continued to desperately cling to a hollow fantasy, believing her perfect world wouldn't be disturbed if she ignored all the indications.

She had blinded herself with the everyday drama of living in Smallville, until one day she actually began to believe all the denials she force fed herself. Slowly though, her words from long ago began to echo in her mind, demanding to be heard- refusing to allow her to hide any longer.

For a moment, she held to her chest the comforting belief she was the only one to see their connection. Quickly she had rationailzed, it was only the new sense of suspiciousness that being with Lex had ingrained within her, but as time passed she began to recognize the same acknowledgement in others.

Jimmy's sparkling eyes, the confused furrow of Chloe's brow, right down to the knowing smile of Martha Kent all called of one thing; they had reached the same conclusion. Maybe that was the reason no one had ever questioned the abrasive brunnete's place in the gentle farmboy's life.

Lana sighed to heself, longing for the days when she had been the center of Clark Kent's universe. Sure, even now, she still held a promenient place in his mind, but his heart was a different matter- even if he had yet to fully understand the true nature of his feelings.

From the looks they so often sent one another, she doubted they realized what was growing stronger between them on a daily basis. It was only a matter of time before they began to see what everyone had already taken notice of.

Even though she knew it wrong, Lana silently revelled in the fact they were still oblivious to their feelings. Still, there were times she could begin to see a spark of awarness creeping into the intense blue eyes she loved so much.

Stomach clenched, heart pounding loudly in her ears, she would wait with abated breath until the vacant expression covering his handome features disappeared. Then as if nothing had happened, the fog in his eyes would clear and she would be treated to one of his famous Kent smiles.

She had been able to shrug the rare occurrences away with a light laugh, but lately those moments had become longer and more frequent, the blinding smile that always followed now holding a hint puzzled discontent. It was a startling contrast to the joyous smile she had received from him seven months ago in the cool, dim cave.

Every detail of that day would be forever etched in her memory, right down to the pink nail polish she wore.

Clark's giddy smile flashed through her mind. He had been more than excited to share this hopeful piece of his future with her, the one cave drawing that meant more than the rest, both naively believing the graceful symbol on the smooth rock referred to her.

When he had eagerly told her of the legend, his eyes sparkling with love, she had studied the symbol. Looking at it carefully, a distressing thought had quickly flashed through her mind, making her wonder why she felt no connection to the symbol that Clark claimed was meant for her. Before she had the chance to analyze the disturbing train of thought, Clark's lips on hers quickly dispelled any notions of unease.

Months later, she couldn't help but wonder if maybe he too had felt the same sense of ineptness when she had come into contact with the beautiful painting. After all, in the time they had been together, he had never attempted to give her the bracelet meant for his mate.

Hesitantly, she reached a hand towards the picture she had once held claim to. Feeling as if she was trespassing, Lana yanked her hand back quickly. The privilege of gently brushing the soothing painting in awe wasn't hers. It never had been, no matter how much she wished otherwise.

It would be so easy to allow herself to believe her rightful place by his side had been stolen from her, ruthlessly torn away, but it wasn't the truth, and after so many years of deluding herself, it was time to look at the world as it really was.

She had been the one who was in someone else's rightful spot, selfishly shielding herself from the world in a love that wasn't meant for her. Throughout their turbulant relationship, she had always wondered why it seemed like the world was pitted against them.

Now that she knew, she wished she didn't.

She wasn't his mate, destined to spend eternity linked to his very essence. There was no spiritual bonding of their souls, there never would be. The universe had known this elemental truth and done it's best to restore order.

After all the times fate had tried to pull them apart, it was ironic the only thing that could truly end their ill fated romance was the cold light of day. With nothing to fight against, their love was struggling to withstand the simple tasks of everyday life as an unwelcome distance began to grow between them.

With startling clarity, Lana finally understood her story with Clark was not the epic romance they had decreed it. No, it was something much simplier; a drawn out prologue to an extraordinary story. Sadly, she wouldn't be the leading lady to his hero. The job was already taken, even if the two most important characters had yet to realize it.

Her role was quickly coming to a close.

She was merely the girl that would always hold a place in his heart; one that would slowly dwindle away with time, reduced to a faded memory of overdramatic declarations of love and immature expectations. No doubt, she would get a fleeting mention of their adventures in the strange town of Smallville.

Lana smiled sadly, it was far from the role she had envisioned for herself in the life of Clark Kent.

As Lana took one last look at the painting she knew what was expected of her. When the time came, she would reluctantly step aside and learn how to be content being forever known as the one before the one.

A/N:For some reason, I felt the need to redeem Lana in my eyes, not sure if I did…hope you enjoyed.