Clark stared at Lois, trying to convey his feelings without speaking. Lois' eyes were bright. Those tears were because of him. He wanted to ease her pain, but he had to go.

"Clark, wait." She grabbed his sleeve to stop him from leaving.

"I have one more thing to say, then, you can go. I understand that you have to do this, but I want you to remember that I believe in you, always have, and I trust you."

"I know that, Lois."

"Then, you'll understand when I do this."

Lois leaned in and kissed him, ever so gently. Just a kiss, but her feelings were in that kiss, just as her words to him earlier.

Clark stood still for a second, then he pulled her to him, kissing her back.

Lois' heart soared. This feels right, she thought. Clark was thinking the very same thing. This is what matters. Everything else just falls away. Why did we let so many other things get in the way of this.

All too quickly, the kiss ended. Clark and Lois pulled away at the same time.

They stared at each other.

"Lois."

"Clark"

They spoke at the same time. They both smiled.

Lois took Clark's hands in hers, stared at them for a moment.

"Clark, remember what I said. We can get through this together, and I'm ready to take that next step if you are."

Clark couldn't remember a time in his life when he felt so free, willing to trust another person with everything in him.

"Lois, we do have a lot to talk about, and I promise we'll talk about this and everything else, OK?

"OK."

"Now, I have to go."

Clark turned to go. Lois' tears began to fall. But through her tears, there was something there that wasn't there before.

Hope.