Just Feelings

Part I

He had kept his word. He had found her. His best friend, the girl he'd known most of his life. And he was bringing her back to her husband and to her cousin, the woman he had missed more than he ever thought he was capable of missing anyone.

Chloe walked into Jimmy's room, Clark on her heels. She was frantic. She wanted nothing more than to see Jimmy, to see his face, to see his smile, to hear his voice. But when she walked into that hospital room and took the two, maybe three strides to his bedside, she knew she had to settle for his bruised visage. She didn't even notice that Oliver Queen was sitting in one of the chairs or that Clark was looking around the room, confused.

"Oh, God," Chloe whimpered. She had mentally prepared herself for this moment, but she couldn't have been less prepared.

"Chloe!" Oliver jumped out of the chair at the sight of Chloe, but he didn't move any closer as he watched her with Jimmy.

Clark took a step towards her. "Chloe, it's all right. He'll be all right."

Chloe reached over to Jimmy, placing her hands on his chest, all the while suppressing the breakdown she felt was imminent.

"The doctors say he's getting better by the minute," Oliver finally said. He moved closer to them. "He'll be taking snapshots before we know it."

Chloe and Clark looked up at Oliver, finally acknowledging his presence. "Where's Lois?" Clark asked instantly.

"I finally convinced the woman to go to the apartment and sleep, make use of that comfortable bed instead of those chairs," Oliver answered, his head nodding towards the two chairs at the corner of the room next to the window. A blanket was folded neatly on one of them.

"You couldn't get another bed in here?" Clark asked, almost annoyed.

"Look, Clark, you know I rented her that apartment a couple of blocks away, but she just refused to stay there," Oliver defended himself.

"She slept here every night?" Chloe asked in disbelief.

"She said she needed to be here in case something happened. She wouldn't forgive herself if she weren't," Oliver explained. "She'd go to the apartment every morning to shower and change, but then she'd be right back here. You know Lois. There's no arguing with her when she's set her mind to something."

Chloe smiled fondly at the thought of her cousin. "I'm gonna give her a call."

Oliver frowned, "She doesn't know you're back?"

"We thought it would be best if I just came," Chloe responded.

"Well, maybe Clark should -" They both looked up when they heard the hospital door shut. Clark was nowhere to be found. "It's about time," Oliver finished.

Part II

Clark arrived at the door of Lois Lane's temporary apartment. He knocked softly. No answer. He knocked again. Still no answer. Clark narrowed his eyes and focused on the door until he could see past it, until he could see the living room. He scanned it slowly, and there she was, on the couch, curled up, a blanket half over her. She looked incredibly peaceful, her eyes closed, and her breathing, Clark noticed, even. He smiled to himself and stared back at the door. He turned the doorknob and, finding it unlocked, quietly entered the room and walked over to Lois' sleeping form. He looked down at her face. For someone who slept in a pair of chairs the past couple of weeks, she looked lovely, but because she was someone who slept in a pair of chairs for weeks, she was now in a deep slumber. She didn't even budge at the sound of Clark's footsteps or at the presence of his looming figure.

And Clark didn't even realize that he had been holding his breath until he finally breathed out in a kind of sigh. He bent down so that his face was at level with Lois'. He looked at her, his eyes glowing with a tenderness that only the deepest feelings could radiate. "How did I never notice?" he whispered. He took his hand and gently caressed Lois' cheek. "You're perfect." He continued to stroke Lois' soft skin, smiling.

Lois finally started to drift back into waking life. She moved her face slightly at Clark's touch.

"Lois," Clark whispered.

Lois shifted again. She was almost fully awake but not quite. "Clark?" she wondered, half-dreamily. Her eyes fluttered open, and even then she seemed to squint at him. "Clark," she said, realizing he was really present. To Clark's surprise, she reached out to touch his face. It made his heart stop. "I had the worst dream," she continued slowly, taking her hand away. She was at the point between waking and sleeping, when it takes a moment or two to realize reality and consciously come back to it. "I dreamt that some monster crashed Chloe's wedding and took her away from us and that someone took you away - " Lois suddenly stopped herself short, taking in her unfamiliar surroundings.

Clark could see in her face that she had realized the reality, and his heart sank when she moved away from him and sat up.

"What are you doing here?" Lois asked. She had been caught so off guard that she didn't even think of why Clark was indeed by her side instead of in Metropolis continuing his search.

"I came to get you," Clark responded softly. At this moment, he wanted nothing but to be at his gentlest with Lois. "It seems so long since I saw you," he added with a smile.

She smiled weakly. "Yeah, it has," she agreed. They looked into each other's eyes for a long moment, too long of a moment for Lois. Her smile faded as a sudden realization came to her. "What time is it?" She stood up and walked past Clark. "I need to go back to the hospital," she added, disappearing into the bathroom.

"That's where I was taking you," Clark explained, standing up and following her.

Lois reappeared at the door, toothbrush in hand. "Why? What happened?" Her eyes were wide, panicked. "Don't tell me, the one time I pass out here, something happens to Jimmy?" She moved towards Clark. "Is he okay?"

Clark smiled. "He's fine, Lois. There's just someone else who wants to see you."

Lois frowned. "Who?"

Clark's smile widened.

Lois' frown slowly faded, her expression at its most serious. She breathed, "Chloe." It wasn't a question. She saw the truth in Clark's eyes. "She's back."

Clark stepped towards her. "Yeah, Lois. She is, and she's fine. She's at the hospital with Jimmy. We were hoping you would be there."

Lois exhaled. Clark saw her clench her jaw and then bite her lower lip. He was certain that these acts were attempts to prevent the tears that had already formed in her hazel eyes from falling onto her flushed cheeks. She looked away and blinked several times. Not now, she thought to herself as she fought the tears.

Clark silently watched Lois' every move, every detail. He hated seeing her like this, but it moved him like nothing else. "Let me take you to her," he said quietly as he moved towards her, closing the gap between them.

Lois looked back at him. "Yeah. Let me…um…just finish brushing my teeth." Lois disappeared back into the bathroom, but this time, she closed the door shut behind her.

Once inside, she was safe. She leaned against the door and unleashed. She couldn't stop the tears, and here, she didn't have to. The door was her guard, but just in case, she put a hand over her mouth to stifle the sobs.

Clark watched the door on the other side the second Lois closed it. He didn't moved, and focusing, he drowned out all the other noises, around him, cars honking, apartment doors slamming, and heard only Lois' sobs on the other side. His instinct was to go to her, to knock on the door, convince her to let him in and let him hold her.

And he found himself at the door, ready to knock. His lips were forming the first syllable of her name. But he thought better of it. He had done something good. He had brought Chloe back, partly for Lois, but he knew that all was not well. There was more to be done before Lois would give up the guard.

Part III

Lois and Clark walked through the hospital corridor, Clark struggling to keep up with Lois' pace. The anticipation of seeing Chloe made her almost run to the hospital room.

"So this Brainiac guy is completely out of her system?" Lois asked as she hurried through. On the way there, Clark had given her a summary of what had occurred in Metropolis as he searched for Chloe. She had almost all the details but still had a million questions.

"Yeah, it looks like it," Clark responded.

When they arrived at the door and opened it, the first thing Lois' eyes sought and discovered was her cousin. Chloe had pulled a chair closer to Jimmy's bedside and was lying her head on the bed next to him, her hands engulfing one of his.

At the sound of the door opening, Chloe lifted her head. A warm, wide smile spread across her mouth as she saw Lois. It seemed as if tears immediately welled up in her eyes. "Lois." It resembled Lois' whisper of Chloe's name earlier.

The cousins approached each other and embraced fiercely. "Boy, aren't you a sight for sore eyes," Lois said, not letting go.

Clark simply stood apart, watching the cousins as they held each other tightly, as if they thought the other would disappear if she let go too soon. Eventually, though, they did let go, their arms still on each other's shoulders. They couldn't believe they were in front of each other after two long, arduous weeks. "If you ever disappear on us like that again, I'll never forgive you," Lois told Chloe through her tearful eyes.

"Trust me, Lois, this is exactly where I want to be for a long time," Chloe answered. Then she glanced at Jimmy on the hospital bed and added, "Well, not exactly." Lois followed her gaze, and then Chloe looked back at her, smiling again. "Oliver told me that you slept here every night. You didn't have to do that, Lois."

"Are you kidding? Jimmy helped me more than I helped him," Lois shrugged. "Otherwise I would have been stuck in that apartment over-thinking everything. It would have driven me insane. At least here I had doctors and nurses to drive insane."

"Still, it mustn't have been too comfortable on those chairs," Clark interjected. "It really was…" he struggled to find the right word, and then, "…sweet, Lois."

"Please, Smallville," Lois rolled her eyes, "I'm not sweet." She turned back to her cousin and added, more seriously, "Jimmy's family now. And I knew you'd come back. I knew Clark would bring you back." She looked at him again. This time there was nothing but gratitude in her eyes, which didn't go unnoticed by Chloe or Clark, the latter of whom seemed to swell with pride.

"Chloe…" They turned towards the hospital bed. Jimmy was stirring.

Chloe rushed to his bedside. "Jimmy!" She looked lovingly at his face as he struggled to open his eyes.

"Chloe," he said more clearly. His eyes were beginning to open, blinking incessantly as they struggled against the light.

"Oh, my God, Jimmy!" Chloe exclaimed. "It's okay, I'm here. I'm here, and I'm never leaving you again." Jimmy was still unsure of what was going on, but when he felt Chloe's arms around him, her head on his chest, he didn't say any more.

Lois and Clark had also made their way to Jimmy's bedside, Lois behind Chloe, and Clark on the other side of the bed. They smiled and watched the couple in their embrace. At the same exact moment, they looked at each other, their smiles only brightening. As she looked into Clark's eyes, Lois could swear that she never loved looking at anyone more than she loved looking at Clark. Clark, for his part, didn't remember ever loving anyone's attention, anyone's eyes on him more than he loved Lois' eyes on him. They, and she, took his breath away.

Finally, Lois said, "I'll get the doctor." As she walked past Clark towards the door, he grabbed her hand. At the touch of his hand on hers, Lois involuntarily closed her eyes, as if the shock of his touch overwhelmed her. It was an all-too familiar scene, and so it was absolute bliss intermixed with intense pain. In that second that her eyes were closed, she seemed to have a flash of the moment that this one resembled, and it was too much for her. She opened her eyes again and turned to him. They exchanged silent messages, neither knowing what to say to the other. And because there was too much between them, too much left unsaid and too much that didn't need to be said, Lois retreated by taking her hand away, her eyes still on him. "Thank you for bringing her back," she said.

"You don't have to -" he started.

She interrupted, "Yes, I do. I didn't thank you before, but better late than never, right?" She smiled more lightheartedly. "You kept your promise, Smallville."

"Well, I had help," Clark explained, but the moment he said it, he regretted it. He only intended to take the spotlight off of him, but instead he simply reminded them both of something they would have liked to have forgotten.

Lois' face fell, but only for the briefest second. Her smile instantly returned. "Right. Lana," she said matter-of-factly.

"And Oliver," Clark quickly added.

Lois simply nodded. As much as it pained her to remember, Lana had been back. She had worked with Clark, however closely. Ugh, don't think about that! she reprimanded herself. As far as she was concerned, if Lana had anything to do with Chloe's return, Lana was on her list of favorite people. "I'll get the doctor," she repeated. And with that, she walked away from Clark and closed the door behind her – an all to familiar scene indeed.

Clark stood where he was for a moment, watching her leave, watching the door shut after her. It pained him knowing that he had hurt Lois again. What is your problem, Smallville? he thought to himself. When he had grabbed Lois' hand, he had every intention of reminding her of the way he had "asked" her to dance with him on that night seemingly light years ago. He had wanted to feel the rush of feeling her skin. He had known that seeing her would bring back the feelings that he had forced himself to push aside in order to focus on finding Chloe, but he hadn't realize that those feelings would be tenfold. He had felt Lois' absence in the very depths of his being. It had made him feel sick, homesick, but he hadn't even realize the extent of how much he missed her until he saw her again.

Clark now knew what Chloe meant when she had told him that she felt a weight had been lifted off her. It was exactly how he had felt when he saw Lois' sleeping body on the couch. She had taken the weight of missing her away. And when he touched her hand just now, when he grasped it as if his entire life depended on it, as if it were the only thing he knew how to do, it was as if he was breathing for the first time in a long time, and, at the same time, completely out of breath.

How was it possible? How was it possible to feel two seemingly contradictory things at the same moment? To feel hopeless and full of hope at the same time? To feel strong and weak? To feel like you were being driven crazy and also like you were being centered all at the same time? When he touched her hand, Clark had a flash of the past and at the same moment, the future. Holding Lois' hand, he was holding his future.

And she let go. She let go because weeks before, he had let go. You don't deserve her. He half believed the voice that persistently whispered this, especially in his darkest hours, and when he allowed himself to even think about it for longer than a minute, he believed it fully. He didn't deserve Lois. He had not acted as if he had.

But surely, at some point she must have felt that he did. Hadn't she told him that he was destined to be more than a farmer in Smallville? Hadn't she said that he had a long career ahead of him at the Daily Planet? She must have believed in him at some point. When they were trapped in the Phantom Zone, hadn't she wanted to stay with him? Hadn't she let him comfort her? At Chloe's wedding, hadn't she looked at him the way he knew he must have looked at her? Hadn't she danced with him? Hadn't she almost kissed him? And just now when he took her hand, hadn't she paused before turning to face him? What did that mean? Did it mean the same thing as what it meant when he paused before attempting to wake her earlier? And when she finally did face him, why didn't she say anything right away? Why had she just looked at him? Were they the same reasons he had? Was it because even though there were a million things he felt he wanted to say, all he needed to do was kiss her?

No, he hadn't acted as if he deserved Lois, but maybe, just maybe she felt that he had, and that meant something. Lois cared for him. She had had romantic feelings for him; there was no mistaking this fact. Even Clark, as dense as he could be sometimes, saw it, even if it was just for a moment. It was a moment he refused to forget. Not this time, Lois. No easy way out. Not for either of us. Whatever she felt for him two weeks ago, whatever it was that made her even consider him as someone she could be with, Clark wanted to find it again. He hadn't acted as if he deserved Lois Lane, but he would do everything in his power to try to.

Part IV

Two weeks passed, and Jimmy was back at the Talon with Chloe. She had filled him in on the whole Brainiac-Doomsday extravaganza, and they were both fully aware that the danger was not over. Jimmy was slowly recuperating, but he was still not fit to attend a honeymoon. Chloe didn't mind this. She was simply glad that her husband was out of the hospital and that she was with him, where she belonged.

She was also glad to hear that Lois finally found an apartment in Metropolis and was busy moving in. Chloe had offered to help, but Lois didn't want to take away from her alone time with Jimmy, and she refused Oliver's offer to hire moving guys. Lois would move all by herself. Besides, she didn't have too much stuff. That didn't stop Clark Kent, though, from volunteering his help, and since they were friends, she told herself, she accepted his offer. It was more awkward to refuse than to accept.

Lois was unpacking one of her boxes when Clark walked through the door carrying the last of them from the car. He dropped it next to the couch.

"Watch it, Smallville," Lois warned. "There are some valuable records in there."

"Sorry, I didn't realize that 90s power ballads were considered valuable." Clark smiled.

Lois looked at him, annoyed. "Are there any more boxes downstairs?"

"No, that's it."

"Great. Thanks." Lois noticed that Clark started to unpack one of the boxes. "That's okay. I can take it from here."

"I don't really have anything to do today, "Clark said. "I can stay and help."

Lois started to walk towards him. "It's a Saturday, Clark. I know that you aren't exactly making room on your social calendar, but I'm sure you have some semblance of a life."

"Well, I don't really mind spending it with you," Clark responded, not realizing the implications of his words. Noticing Lois' quizzical look, Clark stumbled, "I mean, Saturday, spending Saturday – today – with you…moving. Helping you move."

Lois smiled. She loved when Clark became tongue-tied. "No, really, it's okay. I got it," she insisted, taking the books that he had just removed from the box from his hands. He watched as she placed the books onto a bookshelf against the wall.

"Are you trying to get rid of me?" Clark asked lightly.

"No. I just don't want to take up more of your time."

Clark smiled. "You're not, Lois."

"Okay, whatever," Lois shrugged and proceeded to unpack.

"Lois…"

"What?" She didn't look up.

Clark paused, gathering his courage. "Something feels different."

"Well, it is a little cold. I'll turn up the heat."

"It's not that. I mean..." he trailed off. He didn't know how to say the words, or rather, he just didn't know how they would sound out loud. He finished, "…between us." Lois looked up at him, but it only served to heighten his resolve. "We haven't really talked these past couple of weeks." He was right of course. They hadn't had a real conversation since Chloe came back. Their interaction had been relegated to office talk and casual "how are you's."

She busied herself with unpacking. "Well, it's been pretty busy, catching up with Chloe, moving."

"Yeah, I understand that. But there's more to it, I think."

It was a conscious effort not to look up at him. "What do you mean?" she asked casually.

"Lois, I know that…" Clark clenched his jaw. It hurt to even say it. "I know I hurt your feelings." Lois finally looked at him, frowning, seemingly confused. "At the wedding," he explained, moving closer to her. "I left you…behind."

Lois rolled her eyes and continued her work. "You didn't hurt my feelings, Smallville. That would mean that I had feelings."

Clark smiled. He couldn't help himself and asked jokingly, "So you don't have any feelings?"

"Not the feelings you're referring to."

"Lois, things have been tense lately. Between us. Don't you feel it? I was afraid it would be, but when I knew I was going to see you, I had hoped it wouldn't be." He paused. "I missed you."

Lois turned to him suddenly. "You missed me?" she asked quietly.

Her moment of softness gave him courage, and he replied, "Of course. How could you think I didn't?"

"How could I think you did?" She walked past him again, randomly organizing her belongings on this shelf and that. "You had other things to think about."

"If you mean Lana - "

"I mean Chloe."

"I know that tone."

"You don't know my tones," Lois snapped, turning to him.

"God, Lois!" Clark finally exclaimed, exasperated. "I'm trying to have a sincere conversation with you. We almost kissed for crying out loud! I'm not exactly sure what that means, but I can't ignore it. I -"

"It didn't mean anything!" she interrupted him.

"You're lying, and you know it."

She was beginning to be frightened. She didn't like where this was heading. "I think you should go," she finally answered.

"Lois, I'm trying to deal with this, and you're making it impossible by trying to avoid it altogether."

"So it's my fault?"

"So you admit it?"

"Admit what?"

"Admit that there's something to be at fault for?"

Lois thought about it for a moment. She shook her head. She wasn't about to let Clark Kent win this battle. "No. But if someone was at fault for something, it wouldn't be me."

"We almost kissed, Lois."

"I would appreciate it if you stopped saying that."

"If you can honestly tell me that you didn't want to kiss me that night, then I'll never mention it again. Did you want to kiss me that night?"

Lois didn't answer. She searched Clark's face and saw that he was daring her to say "no," his eyes full of a fire so intense that she had to look away. Why didn't she just deny it? She was thinking of denying it, but for some reason, she couldn't get the words out.

"Look, Smallville," Lois started with some difficulty, but she quickly regained her composure and looked up at him. "I would rather not remember that night. It was a nightmare. But what happened between us, or rather what almost happened but didn't, happened for a reason. It was a fleeting moment. We were both caught up in the romance of the whole thing. That's what happens at weddings. People get caught up in moments that they can't walk away from, moments that sweep them off their feet or whatever, but those moments pass, and so did ours." She repeated with more emphasis, "It passed."

"You didn't answer my question," Clark pointed out.

"You first, Smallville," Lois dared. She was getting angry now. "Did you want to - "

"Yes," Clark interrupted. "Yes, I wanted to kiss you. I wanted to kiss you the moment I saw you standing on the stairs."

Lois was taken aback. She had never seen Clark Kent this bold, this confident, this sure of himself. She had seen glimpses of this unwavering certainty, but here it was complete. And it scared her. "Well, you didn't. And the moment passed," she repeated. She had to, more for herself than him. "I think we're done for today. Thanks for helping me move these boxes." She walked towards the door.

Clark followed her. "I'm not gonna go. Not yet, not until after I say what I've wanted to say since I saw you again." He paused and then continued when she didn't protest. He spoke slowly, deliberately, "When I watched you walk away from me at the hospital the night of Chloe's wedding, I didn't know exactly what I felt. I felt everything all at once, dealing with Chloe disappearing and Lana reappearing and Jimmy…" He paused, the picture still very much alive in his memory. "And then you. Seeing your eyes like that, completely lost. And I felt helpless. I hated that there was nothing I could do for you. And so I watched you walk away, and I couldn't move when you turned back to look at me. I wanted to say something, anything, but I didn't know what. While you were away, I was the one who felt lost. I was trying to find Chloe, and I didn't have you to keep me sane."

"Me? Keep you sane?" Lois interrupted. "I thought I drove you crazy," she laughed, trying to lift some of the heaviness of the moment.

"It drove me crazy not to be near you," Clark told her seriously, and her smile faded. "I called you everyday, and most of the time I'd just get your voicemail. And when you'd call back, you were so…far away, like it wasn't really you. And then I realized what you were doing, and why you were doing it."

"What are you talking about?"

"You think feelings are put away forever, and then someone shows up, and the feelings come back. And you don't know if it's just the memory of those feelings or if it's the feelings themselves. You knew this. You experienced this. And when Lana came back, you knew what I had to do. And you walked away. You walked away because you knew that I had to deal with this on my own."

"And did you?" Lois asked him, her arms crossed.

"What do you think?"

"It doesn't matter what I think. What matters is what's true."

Clark took a step towards her. "I realized that I didn't just put away those feelings. They had faded away, slowly. And when she was helping me find Chloe, all I could think about was how much I wanted you to be by my side. I thought about you everyday. About what it would have been like if I had kissed you that night. I missed you so much, Lois. It actually hurt."

It took all of Lois' strength not to cry in front of Clark. She couldn't believe that she was able to look at him as he was speaking to her. After a moment, she shook off the imminent tears and responded, "I'm sorry that your missing me hurt. But I thought a lot about you, too, while I was away." She paused. "I'm glad you didn't kiss me. I'm glad that moment passed. It would have ruined everything. You know, in addition to the scaly monster." Clark looked hurt, but she continued bravely. "I thought about us, our relationship, and I came to the conclusion that what I love about us is that we're uncomplicated. We have an uncomplicated relationship, Clark. We're friends, and we work together. Let's just leave it at that."

Now it was Clark's turn to be taken aback. "You want to be friends?"

"And coworkers," Lois added helpfully.

"I can't be just friends with you, Lois."

"I know we're not the best of friends, Clark, but we can be friends."

"It's impossible now."

"How is it?"

"Because I would be lying."

"So you don't want to be my friend?"

"I can't be just your friend."

"Why not?"

Clark looked straight into Lois' angry eyes. "Because if I were just your friend, I wouldn't want to kiss you every time I see you. I mean, every time. If I were just your friend, I wouldn't want to touch you the way I want to touch you. It's not the relationship that's complicated or uncomplicated, Lois. It's the feelings. We'll always be friends. We can even be coworkers at the same time, but the feelings will still be there."

Hearing Clark say that he wanted to kiss her every time he saw her, that he wanted to touch her the way she had often thought about him touching her, had weakened Lois' resolve, but by the time he was finished speaking, she had regained control of the situation. "Speak for yourself, Smallville," she said lightly. Lois walked around him and started to arrange some of her CDs.

"Fine, Lois. If that's the game you want to play - "

Lois turned on him, angry. "You think I'm playing hard to get?"

"No," Clark quickly answered. "I don't think you're playing at all. You are hard to get. You don't let anyone in. You've built these walls up that make it impossible for anyone to see you, I mean, the real you."

"Don't. Don't talk to me like you know me like that."

"I do, and that's what terrifies you. You want to let me in, and you have, and you ended up hurt, and I'm sorry. But don't close yourself to me again, Lois, please." Clark's eyes pierced at Lois' heart. She almost gave in. Almost.

"Wow, Smallville," she responded. "You come in here and act like you know what I'm feeling and how much I feel it. You tell me that the reason I went to Star City with Jimmy was so you could deal with your feelings, or non-feelings, for Lana, because I couldn't be here to watch you with your ex-girlfriend. For your information, I didn't go with Jimmy to run away from you."

"I didn't say that," Clark defended himself. "I didn't think that at all, but you didn't call me except to return my calls. And when you did, it was short, five-minute conversations. You asking me how I was doing, if I was making any progress in finding Chloe. But you never asked me about Lana."

"Maybe I had more important things to think about than your Lana drama. It doesn't mean anything."

"Yes, it does! If we were just friends, Lois, Lana wouldn't have been an issue," Clark pointed out. "You don't see me as just a friend. You may have before, and you think you might be able to again, but too much has happened. I can't go back, and I don't think you can, either."

Lois scoffed. "Seriously, dial down the ego. Those two weeks without me razzing you seems to have given you a boost there."

Clark didn't miss a beat. "You do that. Seeing you and being with you. You give me all the confidence I need."

Lois' smile faded. She didn't like Clark's assured expression, not when she was feeling herself weaken. She walked past him. "You don't fool me, Clark. You're all super man now, but it's all just a front. This isn't really you."

"In a lot of ways, I'm more me with you than with anyone."

Lois narrowed her eyes, taking that as a challenge. "Really? And what would you do if I gave in right now?" Clark frowned, confused. As she sauntered over to Clark, Lois spoke her words deliberately, daring him to call her bluff. With every word, she was closing the gap between them and making him more than a little nervous. "What if I told you that yes, I wanted to kiss you that night, that all I wanted at that moment was for you to kiss me? What if I said that all I want you to do right now is to take me in your arms and make wild and passionate love to me?" Clark unconsciously moved back as she approached. He hadn't realized that he was backing right into the wall until he felt it against him. "What would you do if I told you that I want you, that I've wanted you for a long time, and that when you turned from me and went to Lana that night, it almost killed me?" Lois paused because though she was using these words only as a challenge, they rang with a truth she had never admitted aloud before. "What would you say then?" She asked. Her body was so close to Clark's that he could feel the warmth exuding from it. He could feel her breath on his neck. When he responded only with a gulp, Lois smirked. She had won. "That's what I thought…Smallville," she said in triumph.

But as she turned from him, he grabbed her hand suddenly and pulled her to him. "I wouldn't say anything," he responded huskily. And before she could protest, he took her face with his free hand and pulled it to his, kissing her with a passion stored up for ages. He brought his other hand to her cheek and deepened the kiss, turning her so that she was now the one pressed against the wall.

Not that she minded. Lois was kissing him as hungrily as he was kissing her. She hadn't realize that she could want him this much, that she could want anyone this much. Struggling to catch her breath, she pulled her lips away from his. He continued to kiss her neck, and as he did so, a million thoughts were running through her head, but the lack of oxygen made none of them coherent.

Clark, despite his superior lung capacity, was nearly breathless after Lois' kiss. He stopped kissing her and breathing her in long enough to lean his forehead against hers, their noses tenderly grazing each other's. They remained this way for a long moment before Lois looked into Clark's eyes. She started to say something, but no words came out. Clark grinned, his eyes gleaming, and Lois nearly melted. "What?" Clark asked.

Again, Lois tried to say something, anything, but when she opened her mouth to speak and found that nothing was coming out, she quickly shut it again. This pattern of trying to speak and not being able to continued, and Clark couldn't help but be amused. "Is Lois Lane actually speechless?"

Lois glared at him, a flash of anger in her eyes, and broke away from his hold. She walked past him. If he had seen her face, Clark would have seen that her anger had faded as quickly as it had appeared and in its place a secret smile she often saved for him when she knew he wasn't looking. Clark slowly followed her but stopped when she turned to him, a serious expression on her face. She had resolved to tell him that kissing her had been a mistake. He shouldn't have done that. Now things were going to get complicated, even more so than when there were just the feelings. But when she turned to face him and saw the look in his eyes, those puppy-dog eyes…and when she noticed his lips, slightly red from her lipstick…when she saw a slight smile forming in the corner of his mouth, all she could think about was how she never found him more sexy than at that moment, and all she could say was, "Damn." And she didn't know how she got from where she stood to his arms again so quickly, to kissing him again just as passionately as they had been a moment before.

They pulled away occasionally, just to breathe. But they couldn't not be kissing for long. Their lips seemed to need each other. They themselves needed each other, and soon, the heated passion became a tender one. Their kisses became deeper, and they knew that the other was giving all that he and she had. There was definitely no going back now because now it wasn't just the feelings.