Author's Notes: So, here's is my take on the follow-up to Doomsday, which has been the hardest thing I have ever written. I would describe this story as a rollercoaster ride. Being a new writer, this piece had me going places, emotionally speaking, I've never gone in my writing before. I hope that means I'm improving! That being said, I hope you guys like it. Look for updates every Monday. I have to give huge thanks to my amazing beta, HanaKT, for coming to my rescue, yet again, and for agreeing to beta my multi-chapter story. You are awesome. Thanks, Hana. *hugs* Please R&R. Thanks!

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Chapter 1 – Realizations

The confessions Clark made to Chloe only a few short hours ago began to weaken his resolve to save humanity. That was his mission in life. He understood that, but he'd come to realize that it was not an easy task, far from it. The past twenty-four hours had been a hellish nightmare. There was no other way to describe it.

A kind and vital young man, who wouldn't hurt a living soul, was dead, and it was all his fault. The tears began to fall then, but he welcomed them. He had made a terrible mistake, believing that all men were capable of being saved. He knew he couldn't have known that Davis would kill Jimmy, but even knowing that still didn't lessen his guilt, his responsibility to save everyone.

So, here he stood at the end of the world. The Fortress was cold, dead and void of any life, just the right place for him now. He felt like he was the last person in the world who could save anyone. But there was a part of him that couldn't help but feel he had done something right. He had killed the beast, he had saved hundreds of lives, but he couldn't save Jimmy. What was he supposed to do now?

"Father, are you here? Jor-El?" Clark sighed. Why had he come here? He turned to leave.

"My son." Jor-El responded. His voice was very weak and low, but Clark heard it.

"Father?"

"I'm here, Kal-El."

It felt so good just to hear his voice. "Father, I've made a terrible mistake and I don't know what to do, where to turn."

"Kal-El, I know what happened. Doomsday has been destroyed. You did the right thing."

'But at what cost, Father? Jimmy is dead, and it's all my fault. If I had just listened to Oliver, then Jimmy would still be alive. How do I live with myself? How?"

"Kal-El, you will learn that humans are not perfect. They have flaws and weaknesses. You can't pick and choose who you want to save. I believe and I know you still believe it too, that they are a good people. They are all worth saving. You must never forget that. I also believe that in time, you will come to understand what happened, and why."

Clark listened to his father, and maybe he was right. Humans were flawed, but they were also loving, caring, trustworthy, brave and wonderfully special. It was hard to find the words to describe them. He began to see how horribly wrong he was to think that he couldn't accept those flaws within himself. He wasn't perfect either. He had made mistakes, he'll probably make more in the future, but that didn't mean he couldn't learn from them, do things differently. Now his heart didn't feel quite so heavy.

"Thank you, Father. I'll think about what you said, and try to understand what happened. I can't change it, but I can accept that it did happen. Now I need to mourn a very special young man. Goodbye, Father, and thank you."

"Goodbye, Kal-El."

Clark looked up at the sky. It was so blue and the sun was shining. He lifted into the air and headed back to Metropolis.

##

As he was flying back to Metropolis, at the edges of his thoughts was Lois. She was always there in his mind, smiling at him, teasing him and making him feel ... what? He shook his head at his musings, but she wouldn't leave him alone. It was so clear to him now, like the sun coming up in the morning, so bright and warm. He couldn't remember when she had become essential to his life and well being, just like the sun, but she had. He had finally come to realize what those feelings were. I still can't believe it took me so long to accept the truth. I love her. Yes, I love her. She's head strong, bossy, rude, but she's also caring, brave, and truly unforgettable. She's the one woman in the world who knows the real me, the real Clark Kent, not the alien, not the guy with all the superpowers, just me. I'm flannel guy, I'm Smallville … her Smallville. I know she loves me too. Oh, she tried to deny it in more ways than one, but I know it's there. It's fleeting sometimes, but it's there nonetheless. We've had our moments, moments I'll never forget.

One moment in particular comes back to my mind almost every day now. After I had jumped in front of a bullet to save her, she was crying for me, she was worried about me. I'd never seen her so upset before, except that night when she let me comfort her after her breakup with Oliver. She needed me that night. She let her guard down, and she let me inside. It took her a long time to let those feelings out, but I was there for her. I didn't want to be anywhere else.

And then, after Lana had left me, Lois was there for me too, holding me close, comforting me. We both cried that night. I had to force her to leave, but she didn't want to leave me either. She went way beyond what any friend would have done. I don't know what I would have done without her that night. But now, she is gone. I have to find her. I have to let her know that she's not alone in her feelings. I'm there, too. I'm sorry Lois, sorry it took me so long to realize the truth. She has to come back home. She has to. He'd searched everywhere for her. He searched all over Smallville, Metropolis, and her apartment. He even went to the police. Detective Jones said he would send out search parties, but after that terrible night, there were a few other missing persons that hadn't been found.

He decided to try another tactic. Who was the last person to see Lois, and where was she when she disappeared? Why didn't he think of this before? Of course, the Planet was probably the last place that someone would have seen her. He headed there to talk to Tess. Maybe she had some idea of what happened to her. Before he went upstairs to see Tess, he stopped at his desk. Something wasn't right. It looked like his and Lois' desks were not in the same place. He panicked. He opened the drawer that held the Legion ring, the box was there, but when he opened it, the ring was gone. No, this can't be happening. Lois didn't know about the ring, but she could have put it on her finger without knowing the consequences.

Clark sat down at his desk and put his head in his hands. Lois, Lois where are you?

##

Clark mentally pulled himself together. He needed to think. Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Lois needs you. There must be a way. He had no idea what he would do, but he wouldn't stop until he found her.

He got up and headed to Tess' office to find answers. He knocked on the door. Her assistant wasn't around.

"Come in." Tess answered the knock.

"Tess, I need to speak with you. It's important," Clark said as he entered her office. Looking at her now, she looked awful. She was impeccably dressed, as always, not a hair out of place, but her eyes looked haunted, like she hadn't slept in days. "What happened to you?"

Tess sat staring at her computer screen, not seeing anything. "Oh, I don't know, maybe just the end of the world as we know it."

"What does that mean?" Clark didn't like the sound of that.

"Clark, I've seen things that will haunt me forever."

"Tess, just tell me what it is. What's going on?" Clark was getting impatient with her.

Tess looked at him then. "Tell me Clark. How does a person disappear before your eyes? I mean, poof, they're here one second, and then gone the next, just like that." Tess had awakened to see Lois vanish from her sight.

"Who disappeared? Who, Tess, tell me!" He had to restrain himself from grabbing her and shaking the answer out of her, but he already knew what she would say.

"Lois."

It was true then. Lois was somewhere he couldn't find her. "Tell me what happened, and don't leave anything out."

Tess got up and walked around her desk. "We had a fight. I guess you could call it a catfight." She chuckled at that. "It was just a misunderstanding, then it escalated. Lois and I wrestled all over the bullpen. A few chairs and desks were moved around. Then, out of nowhere, she picked up a ring from the floor, rolled it around on her finger, and then she was gone."

Clark's worst fear was realized. Lois could be anywhere, all alone, probably terrified, but knowing her, she could get into a lot of trouble. And then a thought came to him, more terrifying than anything else. I may never see her again. Clark felt physical pain in his chest at that thought. How could I have been so stupid as to leave the ring here? I should have locked it up somewhere. Stupid, just stupid.

"Clark, you know what happened to her, don't you? I can tell by your expression." She touched his arm. She could see he was hurting.

Clark looked at Tess. "Yes, I know what happened to her."

"Tell me, maybe I can help." Tess pleaded to him.

"You want to help me?" Clark found that hard to believe.

"Clark, I know that what I've done in the past hasn't helped anyone. It was wrong of me to try and force you or anyone else to do something that was morally wrong. I know that now, but I want to make things right, bring Lois home from wherever she is.

"Really? You hate Lois."

"I don't hate her. We've had our disagreements."

Clark raised an eyebrow at that statement.

"It's true, but they were purely professional arguments. We're both very strong women with strong opinions, and we've had our battles, but it's time to put it in the past. Please, let me help."

Clark sighed. He rubbed his eyes, suddenly very weary. "I don't know, Tess. Lois may be beyond our reach. She touched a ring that has the ability to transport her anywhere in time."

"You're joking, right? That ring was a time machine? That's amazing and unbelievable. If I hadn't seen it with my own eyes, I would not have believed it. It explains how she just disappeared like that."

Clark was thinking. How do I find her now? Lois, I'll find you, I promise.

##

A/N: Let me me know what you think. Click the blue button below! Thanks for reading, everyone!