Nefertiri's Handmaiden

Disclaimer: I don't own Smallville and I don't own Clark Kent or Lois Lane or anything else that is DC/Warner property. But dear God, I wish I did.

Note: Jonathon Kent always called Martha "sweetheart." When will Clark find his "sweetheart?"

Jonathon had called Martha 'sweetheart' for as long as Clark could remember. "Martha, sweetheart, could you. . ." and "Sweetheart, what did. . ." "Sweetheart:" it was an endearment that slipped from his lips without any thought.

Martha had loved it – little reminders of how much Jonathon loved her all through the day in the most ordinary of moments. Clark had found it oddly comforting whenever his dad had said it. It was a sign that everything was okay, that Mom and Dad were still good. It was a sign of the kind of simple, true, long-lasting love that Clark had always longed for.

He wondered when he would find his sweetheart.

For a long time he had thought that Lana was his sweetheart, and that he just wasn't the type to say 'sweetheart.' Never, in all the years of pining for her and even the short time they had been together, had he called her sweetheart.

For a little while he thought that his sweetheart might be Alicia. She was sweet and she loved him and she never judged him. But he could never actually convince himself that she was her.

For a half a second there was Kayla, but she was torn from his life too soon to be sweetheart.

He had stopped trying to find his sweetheart. Maybe he would never love anyone the way Jonathon had loved Martha.

So when he thought he might love Lois, he kept his mouth shut. In the past, defining it as 'love' out loud had come back to haunt him.

When she accepted his offer of a date – You can pick me up at 7, Smallville. Don't be late. – with a beautiful smile and those pretty eyes sparkling, he told his stupid heart to shut up. It was just a date. Don't get too involved too quickly. It'll break your heart.

It had been the best date of his life. It had been so easy with her. Natural. Fun.

She'd thought so too, apparently, and graced him with a light kiss on the lips before stepping into her apartment and shutting the door behind her.

He'd literally floated all the way home.

They'd continued to see each other, progressing from formal dates to informal couple's nights on her couch watching movies or going for lunch with no warning. Easy kisses exchanged in greeting or farewell like the ones Jonathon and Martha had shared. The kind of we're together and that's the way it should be things that he'd never really experienced before, not even with Lana.

His heart had begun to hope, but he'd stifled it. Don't ruin it, stupid. Not until you're sure.

There were no serious words between them. They were both too afraid.

It happened, in the end, without him even noticing it.

He was sitting in the kitchen at the farm one morning when she stormed in with a copy of the "Metropolis Star." She was furious.

"That bitch! That lousy Linda King scooped me again! I'm so sick of it! I'm going to-"

She ranted on and he watched with a smile. She was beautiful when she was angry. She was beautiful all the time. When she started to get a little too worked up, he stepped up to her, placing his hands calmingly on her waist.

The words slipped from his mouth without even thinking.

"Lois, sweetheart, calm down."

She looked about as shocked as he felt that he'd said it.

His heart started thudding wildly. It had felt so easy to call her that.

Oh. My. God. She was her.

"What… what did you just call me?" she asked slowly.

Suddenly more calm than he'd ever felt before, an effortless grin split his face. He answered with confidence and ease. "Sweetheart."

She looked shocked for a moment more, then she smiled too. "You've never called me that before."

He nodded. "I know."

She looked thoughtful. "I never thought of myself as a 'sweetheart.' But. . . I like it."

He hadn't thought it was possible, but his smile widened. "Me too."

She stood on her tiptoes to kiss him, weaving her hands in his hair. When she pulled away, the rest of the words poured from his mouth before he could stop them. "I love you, Lois."

He'd thought she would be terrified or angry or something. She wasn't. "I love you, too, Clark." She kissed him again.

His heart was singing.

She was his sweetheart.