Chapter 32

Lana sat on Clark's side of the bed, running the palm of her hand over the duvet. Most nights in the last few years, the only thing she and Clark had done here was sleep. He hadn't woken up wanting to make love, hadn't woken her up in the middle of the night desperate to start anything. The few times he'd wanted them to have sex, his approach had been deliberate. He'd touched her arm lightly when they got into bed, or had moved to her side once the light was off and kissed her, letting her know what he wanted. She had never said no. Just knowing that he was ready to show her some affection, even if it was manufactured just to get sex, had been enough if it gave her the opportunity to be close to him. She'd always tried to make it good, and knew that he did as well, but it had all been by rote.

He'd moved inside her, kissed her, touched her but there had been little passion. She'd tried onto hold him when it was over, whispering softly that she just wanted him to hold her, to feel him against her for a little while longer, but had long since stopped being taken aback when he said no, before once again moving back to his side of the bed. No matter how gentle he'd been, it hadn't stemmed the hurt of knowing that her husband wanted space from her once the act was over, it hadn't made up for listening to his paltry excuses when he once again locked her out; and it hadn't stopped her from heart from breaking a little more, when he whispered Lois' name in his sleep every time afterwards.

All this time she'd thought that her marriage to Lex had been the instrument that had driven Clark away from her, that it had been the reason for why he hadn't wanted her back, but now she knew that wasn't it at all. She'd hurt Clark by marrying Lex, she'd hurt him by playing games; yes. But the simple fact was, regardless of all his declarations of love, when it came right down to it, he'd been scared when his dreams of being with her, had became a reality.

She'd been a challenge to him when he was a boy, and although his heart had instinctively known that it belonged with her, he'd felt trapped once she was his. So he'd looked for an excuse to break up, and once she was securely with Lex, he'd felt safe enough to purse her once again. It was the age old game of the hunter and the hunted.

If Lois had never existed, he would have come back to her one day. The only comfort she could take now was knowing that when she reversed the spell, that Clark would discover in his own time, and without her interference, that running and fighting was useless. He'd realise one day that his heart belonged to her, just as surely as hers belonged to him, and then he would be truly ready to commit one hundred percent.

Sighing heavily, she closed her eyes and allowed the tears to trickle down her cheeks. This period of her life was almost over. Clark was already lost to her, so there was no point in hanging on any longer. She had to wait for him to discover what she already knew to be true, and wait she would, no matter how long it took. However, that didn't stop the knife from slipping into her heart at the knowledge that soon her husband would once again be with Lois.

The last few years their sex life had been unfulfilling, but years ago it hadn't been. Clark had been so ardent, so passionate in his desire for her. He used to speed around the house, cleaning up everything swiftly, so that he could romance her into bed; and once there would take his time, touching, kissing and loving her. That however was all in the past, the distant past. But knowing that she'd have the memories of how he used to be with her and would once again be with Lois while she was aware of it, caused the knife to dig in deeper.

Wiping her fingers under her eyes, she looked around the room with sadness. It was time to transfer the memories to prevent herself from trying this ever again. She had all the supplies that she needed hidden in her art room, on the same high shelf that she'd kept the book previously. She'd kept them on hand in case she needed to act quickly; not that she knew what to do with half the stuff anyway. For 8 years she'd lived with the hope that she'd never have to resort to making use of them, the same way that she'd let the magic go believing it would no longer be necessary. Well living with her head buried in the sand had gotten her nowhere; it was time to do what she had to.

Getting up from the bed, she stepped out of the room, retrieved the ladder, returned to the spare room, and took down the box. Carrying it carefully, she returned to the kitchen, placed it on the table and opened it to find canisters and bottles of different shapes and sizes, sitting exactly as she'd placed them three years ago, shortly after Lois' return. She'd known then, just by the look on her husband's face, that one day she'd need this stuff. She'd gone to Metropolis, purchased what was needed, bought a bunch of other stuff that sounded good but with luck she'd never need, and had locked it all away.

Reaching in she picked up the first jar, read the label, turned it around to read the reverse side then placed it on the table, before taking out another bottle and doing the same. There were only a few things that she needed from this box to perform the spell, but holding these phials, which contained substances that were each unthreatening in themselves, but combined could do most anything with the right words spoken, gave her a measure of comfort.

She wouldn't have Clark, but she would have the power of magic and the book back. Even though she never intended to use either on him again, just knowing that she'd have them, made her feel less inadequate.

oOo

After her bath, Lois slipped into a pair of sweatpants and long sleeved t-shirt, called her favourite Chinese eatery and ordered dinner, grabbed a bottle of water from the fridge, and took a seat in the lounge room.

She'd thought and debated, ruminated and argued with herself, and even though lying about it chafed at her, she'd decided not to tell Oliver about the dreams, Kal or the Clark's.

If she told her fiancée about the dreams, if she opened that can of worms, all she'd be doing was giving validity that Kal meant something to her, and he didn't. She'd decided while cleaning the farm house this morning that she was going to put both the dreams and Kal behind her, and she meant to keep that. Dream Lois loved Kal, but she didn't. He hadn't impacted her life, hadn't stopped her from finding love with Oliver, and that was what it came down to.

Likewise if she told Oliver about Smallville and Clark it would serve no purpose. She'd just tell him they'd all had a falling out, and she didn't want to discuss it but would when she was ready. He'd respect her privacy on the matter, and she was thankful for that. If she told him what the men had said, then she'd have to discuss the dreams, which would just lead Ollie to believing they meant more to her than they really did. He'd also be hurt with the admission that the men, Martha and Chloe all believed this life was false, and that she was only with him by default, which wasn't true. Smallville said that J'onn and Dianna believed his story too, but regardless of what anyone believed, she knew the truth. The reason it had taken her time to love Oliver, wasn't because she'd been ruthlessly parted from her true love, but simply because she'd never been reckless when it came to matters of the heart.

At the knock on the door, she grabbed her purse, checked the peephole and retrieved her dinner, then made her way to the kitchen. Her hand paused in the midst of spooning out portions from the cartons onto her plate, when her mind's eye once again conjured up the photo that Clark had given her to look at earlier.

Leaning her hands on the bench top, she hung her head and looked fixedly at the plate. The photo had shocked the hell out of her. When her eyes first landed on the picture, her heart had battered hard against her rib cage, and the breath had caught in her lungs. Her mind had automatically called forth times when she and Kal had looked at each other just like that in her dreams, and the jolt she'd felt at seeing it while she was awake had been staggering.

She'd seen two people gazing at each other in the photo, and although they were both slightly in profile, it had undeniably been her and Clark; and by the same token, her and Kal. However, after the first hard sucker punch, she'd been able to breathe easier. The photo had to be Smallvilles, and it had to be him and the Lois from his world. Clearly the Lois there was more comfortable showing affection in public than she was, since no one would ever get a photo of her like that. She kept her feelings to herself and only showed them to Oliver; public displays just made her uneasy. Ollie could hold her hand, put his arm around her waist, on her back, on her leg when they were sitting down if he wanted to while they were in public; but kissing and wearing her emotions for the world to see was out. She felt like an exhibit at the zoo, and to her mind, that wasn't romantic.

For Smallville's sake she hoped that he did get back to his Lois, and for Clark's, she hoped that he didn't look at that photo continually as he'd done with Lana's years ago, and subsequently convince himself that he'd only be happy with her.

Blowing out a soft breath, she shook her head and finished spooning out her dinner, before taking a seat at the table to eat. It was New Years Eve, and she was at home alone, eating Chinese food; what a come down. This time last year she'd been celebrating with Oliver at a party, this year she'd be lucky to be awake at midnight. It was only just on 7 and she was tired. Then again she'd certainly had a lot thrown at her today. After dinner she'd just go to bed. She'd call Ollie first to wish him an early happy New Year then she'd sleep, and hopefully wake up tomorrow morning feeling more the thing.

oOo

After leaving the farm Smallville flew in the direction of the fortress, changed his mind and turned for Metropolis instead. It was dark, so no one should be able to see him, but even if they could, he didn't care. Soon this would all be behind him, so anyone seeing him was immaterial. Right now, he wanted to see Lois one more time.

Hopefully she wouldn't be on a plane headed to Star City, he knew that she was going home to Oliver, but if everything changed first then it wouldn't be half as bad as knowing that his fiancée was with another man.

The one thing that had been easier for him during this whole ordeal was the knowledge that his fiancée hadn't been with Oliver physically, while he had been aware of the true nature of affairs. Clark hadn't been so lucky. His twin had loved Lois, and knew that she was with Oliver, but he had thankfully managed to escape that. It was bad enough knowing that it had happened, but at least he'd never been in the position of knowing it was happening.

Stopping above Oliver's apartment, he x-rayed down and let out a huge sigh of relief at finding Lois there alone. He watched for a few minutes, saw her get up to open the front door to retrieve her dinner before making her way to the kitchen.

He continued watching, and when she stopped to stare intently at her plate, he couldn't help hoping that she was thinking about him. Keeping his eyes fixed on her, he spoke softly "Lo I know that you can be stubborn and decisive when necessary, but please baby, don't write me off. Don't push Kal out of your life, I am real Lo, and I'm coming home; please be waiting for me when I get there." He didn't know if she could hear him, didn't know if she was trying to block him out; but decided that it wasn't important. Soon their lives would be restored, this hell would never have happened, and ultimately that was what mattered.

After a last look at his love, he turned and flew quickly to the fortress determined to get there before anything happened. He didn't know how much time they had left before things began to change, but he wasn't taking any chances. Chloe and his mom thought it was preferable for him and Clark to be together, and he was willing to heed their advice.

Stepping into the fortress minutes later, Smallville knew that he was going to find his twin here. He didn't have any proof, just a gut feeling. However, since Clark had referred to his apartment as a sanctuary more than once in his journals, it didn't take a lot of brain power to figure out that this would be the place that he'd run to when he wanted to hide.

He understood why Clark had done so, but couldn't help feeling sad that his twin had sought solitude, to human comfort. Only last night Clark had walked out on the woman he'd married, after staying with her for years despite his misery. He'd had doubts but still enough faith that everything was going to be resolved, and today he'd felt like he'd lost it all when Lois turned away. So he'd run to the one place that had brought him comfort and a sense of reality, the one place where he could still pretend that Lois was his.

He walked directly to the apartment, stopped outside the door and heard the music. It was the same song that he'd heard the first time he'd found the apartment, but listening to the words this time, he hurt all the more for his twin.

I like dreamin'
Cause dreamin' can make you mine
I like dreamin'
Closing my eyes and
feeling fine
When the lights go down
I'm holding you so tight
Got you
in my arms
And it's paradise 'til the morning light

Through each dream how our love has grown
I see us with our children and our happy home
Little smiles, so warm and tender looking up at us
Blessed by love, the world we share
Until I wake and reach for you
And you're just not there

I like dreamin'
Cause dreamin' can make you mine

Shaking his head, he smiled slightly; dreaming would have to wait, reality was going to be here soon and Clark needed to be ready for it. Pushing the door open, he stepped inside, closed the door softly at his back, then walked to the alcove between the lounge and bedroom to find his twin lying on the bed, with his eyes closed.

Clark had lived without hope for so long, that Lois turning away had just been another disappointment, in a long line of disappointments. He might not completely understand how his twin was feeling, but he could make an educated guess. Hopefully what he said now, would begin to restore belief once more.

Moving silently into the room, Smallville reached over and switched the player off.

"Turn it back on."

"No."

When his twin reached out to turn the player back on, Smallville pushed his hand gently away from the button "Clark you've listened to this enough, you've lived with dreams long enough; no more."

"They're all I have now."

"No they're not, J'onn came back to the farm a little while ago, Lana's going to reverse the spell; she's given up Clark." When his twin's eyes opened and lifted to his, he saw the dullness, the lack of life and felt his heart stir with pity "It's true, she's accepted that she's lost and she's giving us our lives back; all of us." At his words, optimism once again began to bloom in Clark's eyes.

"Really?"

"Yes." He smiled and saw a tiny smile appear on his twins face "You'd given up hadn't you?"

"I didn't want to, but I know that Lana and Lois can both be inflexible in different ways, and I just..." He trailed off and shrugged uncomfortably.

"I know, but it's going to be ok."

"Did J'onn say how long?" Clark asked before sitting up to reach for his shoes.

"No." Smallville took a seat on the bottom of the bed, and brought his twin up to date on everything that had been discovered and discussed at the farm since he'd left earlier in the day.

Clark frowned lightly, nodding at various points throughout the narration "Mom's right, it does make sense why the reversal takes longer in both preparation time and making it happen. But although I like the idea of Lana not trying again, I'm not comfortable with her remembering that we were married."

Smallville grimaced lightly "Yeah that's the rub, but what choice do we have? If we do it, no one including Lana is going to remember, and I don't imagine you really wanna go through all of this again?"

"No by god, but ..." Clark shook his head and scrubbed a hand over the base of his neck "We've really don't have a choice, have we?"

"No." Smallville replied simply "But like Chloe said, Lana will have the memories of this life, but it's not something that she's going to look back on with fondness."

"True." Blowing out a deep breath, Clark shrugged off his feeling of unease "And Dianna figured out the reversal too huh?"

"Yep, so even if Lana had remained obstinate, we could have done it ourselves without her aid. It's good that we don't have to, especially since we'd also need to find a spell to remember this life to stop her from doing it again, but it's still a nice little ace to keep up our sleeve." He replied confidently, causing Clark's smile to grow in consequence. "Plus as I mentioned before, J'onn found the first spell Lana did, and showed it to me. We don't need either spell, but what the hell we have them anyway." Smallville grinned and waved the book.

Clark nodded eagerly "I know we're going to destroy the book, but just knowing that we could have done it if need be, makes me feel less ineffective."

"Me too." He replied, slapping his twin on the back.

"I was thinking about that before..." At Smallville's curiosity "About how I can understand why Lana did what she did." When his twin's face hardened, he quickly shook his head "No, I don't mean that I sympathise with her, but if I had the opportunity to go back and stop myself from marrying her to get Lois back; even knowing that it would upset Lo's engagement to Oliver, I'd do it."

"There's a big difference Clark." Smallville replied firmly "You'd do it to get your life and fiancée back, so would I, but that's not what Lana did. She stole our lives Clark; she didn't do it to get back something that was taken from her in the first place." He raked a hand through his hair and asked pointedly "If Lois hadn't been yours previously, but you loved her and were unhappy with your life or marriage, would you really be willing to selfishly take her from Oliver, overturning her life in the process, just because you had the power to do it?"

"No." Clark replied quietly "I can't lie and say that I wouldn't be tempted, but no."

Smallville inclined his head minutely "No, and that's the difference. I'd be tempted as well, only a saint wouldn't be, but don't waste your empathy on Lana because she doesn't deserve it. Her motives were guided by pure self-interest; not a desire to set things right." He shook his head and let out a soft breath "She could have reversed the spell any time these past years when she knew that you were unhappy; instead her solution was to look for ways to cover up what she did with even more magic after my arrival."

Clark nodded "Yeah I know but..."

"No buts, mom and Chloe knew that you loved Lois from the time she first came to the farm after travelling, they also knew that you were miserable. I've read your journals so I know exactly how discontent you were, and more; I know that when you and Lana had sex, you thought of Lois..." He broke off at his twin's flush.

"We didn't have sex very often." Clark put in mortified.

Smallville's lips lifted in a half smile "I know that too, but everything I've just mentioned had to have been reflected in your marriage. They say that quite often the husband or wife is the last one to know, and I daresay that's true in some cases, but considering Lana had wilfully disrupted your life, she must have been conscious of what was going on, and how you felt. Or do you really believe that she was so blindly ignorant, that she didn't?"

"She knew."

"And yet she still held onto you anyway. That's not love Clark; it's egotism. Remember J'onn told us, that Lana told an unconscious Lois, that she was taking us back, and wanted Lo to see how happy she was going to make us." He nodded "Well she didn't make you happy Clark, and I know from reading your journals, that you didn't tell her that you were. You pretended, you covered up, but you didn't lie outright and say that you were happy." Smallville paused and looked his twin direct "When was the last time you told Lana that you loved her?"

Clark shrugged "I don't know, 5 years ago, 6."

"5 or 6 years ago, well considering that once upon a time we could barely open our mouth in her presence without telling Lana how we felt, isn't it strange that she never made an issue about that; or did she?" He asked pointedly.

Letting out a deep sigh Clark shook his head "No she didn't. She still told me that she loved me, but she never asked me why I didn't say it to her anymore."

"If she had asked what would you have said?"

"I would have told her that I was sorry, truly sorry but no, I didn't love her." He lifted one shoulder helplessly "Then I would have asked her for a separation."

"And that's why she never brought it up." Smallville replied softly "She knew what you were going to say, but didn't want to hear it." He hesitated for a moment "It wouldn't be easy for anyone to hear that, so I imagine it would have been a damned hard for her to ask. But considering what she'd taken from you, she should have had the decency to face it, rather than holding onto you out of selfish love."

"You're right." Clark agreed softly "The morning after you told us what was going on, I was driving to the farm and came to same conclusions that you've just pointed out. In the end I realised that what I found the hardest to forgive, is that Lana had done nothing to make things right. Not even confessing the truth at any point over the past years and taking my anger about it on the chin."

Smallville nodded "Exactly."

"Well it'll all be over soon, so I'm just grateful for that." Clark smiled shakily, raking his hands through his hair. He hesitated briefly before continuing conversationally "Do you know that in mythology, if a person sees their doppelganger it's an omen for death? If you see your double you should run away fast, otherwise they'll take over your life, and you'll disappear as if you were never born." Smallville listened quietly, but wasn't fooled by his twin's casual demeanour "I know you're not my doppelganger, but it's kind of eerie to think that soon I'm going to disappear..."

"No you're not." Smallville interrupted quietly and kept his eyes firmly on his twins "You're not going anywhere and neither am I. All that's going to happen is that we'll be merged back together, and once again be one man. You're real Clark, everything about you is real, it's only this life, and the circumstances surrounding it that are false."

Blowing out a soft breath, Clark nodded "I know that logically, but the whole doppelganger thing sounds pretty bloody scary."

"Yeah it does." He agreed readily.

"Anyway, meeting you hasn't brought me bad luck, or portended any kind of omen; it's saved my life. So even if I was going to disappear, it would have been worth it." When his twin's mouth opened, Clark shook his head and smiled lopsided "Don't worry, I know that's not going to happen and I'm glad, but if that was the price that had to be paid, then I'd willingly do it if it meant getting our lives back."

Smallville smiled lopsided "I'd say that you're damned heroic to be so unselfish, but it smacks of conceit no matter how I try to phrase it."

Clark let out a shout of laughter, and grinning pointed to the little table "Um, I took your wallet..." at his twins lifted brows; he flushed lightly "I wanted to show Lois the photo."

"I had a feeling that you went to see her." When his twin's face flushed deeper, Smallville shrugged "I don't blame you because I would have done the same thing. I wouldn't have just accepted that I'd lost without talking to her myself."

Clark smiled gratefully and nodded "Well it didn't work. She was nice and kind but..."

"I know she was the same way with me after she stopped being aggravated, but no matter how sympathetic she was, I still felt gutted when she said that she didn't love me." He put in quietly, to which Clark nodded once again "So what'd Lo say when she saw the photo?"

Clark raked his fingers through his hair and sighed "Nothing at first; she was quiet for a minute, I heard her heart thump so hard that I was surprised it didn't break her ribcage, but in the end it made no difference." He smiled sadly and the pain in his eyes shone clear "For a moment I hoped that she'd believe, but when she said that she didn't love me that way, then pointed out that if the Lois in the picture was 'her', then it was a 'her' that was now gone; I knew that she was right." He swallowed hard and finished quietly "Lois' hasn't changed, but at the same time she's no longer the woman in the photo, and we're no longer that man."

"You're right." Smallville agreed with a slight inclination of his head "But soon we all will be. When I was talking to Lo earlier, she said that she wasn't interested in living in the Twilight Zone; meaning that she didn't want to live life through her dreams. What she got wrong is that this world, the way it is now is the Twilight Zone, and the life we had together, the one that's represented in the photo is the real one." He sighed heavily "Lo can't accept that and I don't blame her for it."

"Do you think if Lana hadn't messed with her head that she would have believed?"

Smallville nodded, shook his head minutely and shrugged undecided "I don't know. If anyone tried to tell me that my life with Lois, my life as Superman, that everything I knew was real wasn't; I wouldn't believe them either."

Clark sighed heavily and nodded "No, and it's pretty arrogant to tell someone that you know how their life should be, better than they do. If you'd arrived at any point before things began to deteriorate in my marriage, I wouldn't have been glad to see you. Nor would I have welcomed knowing that Lana wasn't supposed to be my wife." He shrugged lightly "You know what we were like, so it's pretty easy to guess that not only would I have been disinclined to help you change anything, I also would have seen you as the bastard who'd come here just to wreck my life."

Smallville gave a small huff of laughter "Yeah, it's amazing the difference a few years can make huh?"

Clark rolled his eyes heavenwards before looking around the room with new eyes "I was going to live here..."

"Well now you don't need to, because you'll have the real thing again and Lois will be there waiting for us." Smallville smiled, causing his twin's smile to grow once again. Standing up, he walked to the little table, picked up his wallet and opened it to look at the photo for a moment, before putting it in his back pocket "I'd better keep this safe. Lana was a nosy body, and you have very sticky fingers."

Clark grinned and standing headed into the lounge room "If I remember correctly, whenever Lo gets her sticky fingers on our wallet, she just calls it community property and helps herself."

Letting out a shout of laughter, Smallville grabbed the book from the bed, and followed his twin into the lounge room "Yeah, and what does Lo say when we get our hands on her purse?"

"Excuse me; but what'd you think you're doing?" Clark finished with a laugh.

Chuckling at the precise tone of indignation his fiancée had subjected him to numerous times, Smallville tossed the spell book in the air "I'm looking forward to hearing that from her again."

"I'm looking forward to eating her awful treats, I know it's dumb but I'm glad that she's never made them for Oliver." Clark shrugged awkwardly.

"It might be dumb, but I felt the same way when she revealed that little nugget." Smallville replied, and didn't bother to suppress the smug smile that stretched his lips.

Seeing the uppity smile on his twin's face, Clark allowed his own to shine through "Yeah." Taking a seat on the edge of the kitchen table, he titled his head curiously "You know how Oliver tried to steal Lois from us?" Smallville nodded abruptly "Well I remember when Oliver came and told me what he'd done, I was furious until he asked me point blank; if Lois had been with him, and came to me would I have let our friendship stand in the way of taking her. Well I can now understand how he felt, because..."

"Because you tried to steal her from him today, just as I did?" Smallville stated softly; at his twin's nod, he nodded in return "Yeah well, I can tell you right now that if Lana wasn't going to reverse the spell, or if Dianna never found the solution, I would have tried again and again and again, until I'd succeeded."

Clark looked down then up at his twin again "Yeah. I had given up, but I think that eventually I would have tried again too."

"You would have." He replied without hesitation "We are the same man Clark, and I know that you wouldn't have been content to live with dreams, and memories, no matter what you thought or how defeated you felt after talking to Lo earlier."

Rubbing a hand around the back of his neck, Clark nodded slightly "Oliver only tried once, but we wouldn't have been so polite."

"No, but we also know that Lois Lane is meant to be with Clark Kent and vice versa; no substitutes accepted." Smallville shook his head lightly "Oliver and Lana were just short detours on the path to Lo and I finding each other, they were never ever meant to be more than that."

"I made them more than that." Clark put in softly.

"No you didn't; Lana did." Smallville corrected firmly "She's the one who did this Clark, not you. Yes we gave her the opportunity to do it, but it was still her. Instead of just accepting that our love for her wasn't real, she thought that she knew better than we did about how we felt. So she specifically went back to the time when we were vulnerable, when we were full of doubts about our heritage, about everything but not about our feelings for her." He gave a small snort of contempt "Lana could suck us in back then without any effort whatsoever, and she knew it."

Clark nodded heavily "Like taking candy from a baby."

"Exactly! The only reason Lois is with Oliver now is because Lana tied you to her, thereby securing your future and derailing Lois'." He looked at his twin and reminded him "Don't forget that I...we pursued Lo, we courted her, and got her to notice us. However, in this timeline, we never got that opportunity, and Oliver did." Smiling he cocked his brow at his twin "But soon all that's gonna be rectified."

Smiling in return, Clark scrubbed his hands over his face in relief "Well you've been here for at least 40 minutes, so hopefully it won't be much longer."

Smallville looked at his watch and frowned "I left the farm just before 6.30, stopped by Metropolis and found Lois alone in her apartment..." At Clark's smile, he inclined his head "Yeah, I was pretty happy about that too. Anyway, I stayed for a few minutes then came here, and now it's almost 7.30. J'onn was at the farm for half an hour before I left, so altogether it's been almost one and a half hours since Lana decided to do it." He shook his head impatiently "I want her to do it right, but it's taking longer than I expected."

"Yeah, but don't forget what mom said..."

"I know; reversing things takes longer." Smallville repeated unhappily "I promised mom that we wouldn't get impatient, and J'onn said that if nothing's happened by 8.30, he'd go by and check that Lana hasn't changed her mind, but still..." he trailed off, shifted his shoulders uncomfortably, then quickly reminded his twin "Don't forget Clark, we don't know if you're going to be affected or not, but when the pain starts it's going to hurt like hell, so be prepared for it just in case."

"I will, do you think we should destroy the book now?"

"No way, we'll wait until the pain starts because then we'll know that Lana hasn't changed her mind. Frankly I don't trust her, so I'm hanging onto this until the very last minute just in case it's needed." Smallville replied and threw the book up into the air, intending to catch it once again.

However, unlike the last time, the pain didn't start gradually and grow worse. This time it slammed into him, driving him into the wall, indenting the technosiding with his imprint, until he fell like a limp doll onto the floor. He lay winded on the ground for a minute, before opening hazy eyes to look around the room. After blinking several times he managed to focus, and found Clark on the opposite side of the room in a likewise position.

He looked around, saw the book lying carelessly in the middle of the room, and attempted to use his heat vision to burn it, but nothing happened.

"Clark...Clark..." When his twin looked up, it was clear by the strain on his face, the deep lines carved into his cheeks and forehead, that the agony running through his body was equally affecting his twin.

"The book Clark, destroy it."

Focusing on the book, Clark also tried to use his heat vision and once again nothing happened. With effort the men began to climb to their feet when another burst slammed them back down causing them to scream in anguish. When the pain in their bodies lessened a fraction from excruciating to unbearable, each got to their hands and knees and began crawling towards the book, but every movement was torture. They tried using super breath to push the book to each other, but it was impossible as neither had the strength to blow or inhale.

When an intense throbbing began in his feet, moved into his ankles and calves climbing ever upwards, Smallville attempted to move faster "Fuck! Clark is it moving upwards in your body?" His twin panted hard, and nodded his head limply "One of us has to stay conscious until we destroy..." Gritting his teeth Smallville continued moving forward slowly "This is our only chance; once this reaches our heart it'll be too late to..." He stopped talking and concentrated on reaching the book, while the pain writhing through his body continued to move steadily towards his heart.

Understanding what Smallville was trying to say, Clark blanked out the pain and dragged himself forward. His apartment wasn't big; the room was only medium in size, usually it took him no effort to cross it, but right now it seemed to be as vast as the Grand Canyon. It was taking all his effort just to stay conscious, while every movement felt like Kryptonite knives were digging deep into his body.

He tried not to think of anything but reaching the book, but the tongues of fire licking through his body made it difficult to do so. Every internal organ felt on fire, the muscles, tendons and sinews in his legs and arms pulsed, his belly throbbed and burned simultaneously; and it all seemed to be never ending. He'd never felt anything like this; how the hell could he have been prepared for this? Either Smallville had down played it, or he'd just been too damn cavalier about it. Stopping for a moment, he licked his lips and closed his eyes bringing Lois face to the forefront of his mind. It was worth it, it was worth ten times of this knowing she was at the end of it all. Clenching his teeth, he continued moving forward.

Smallville wasn't sure if he was going to make it, black dots were appearing in his vision, his lungs felt heavy making breathing difficult, and the pain seemed to have claws. He tried to concentrate, tried to hold on but this seemed so much worse than the last time. The book still seemed to be an ocean away, and all he wanted was to give into the darkness that called out like a siren song. When blackness began to creep around the edges of his vision he knew that he was losing the battle to stay conscious, but refused to accept defeat. If he gave in, he'd lose Lois again and that was intolerable. He couldn't, he just couldn't take coming back to this timeline again, only to find that his fiancée was no longer his. Straining against the inferno that seemed to be eating him alive from the inside out, he continued to move forward inch by inch.

Clark looked at his twin, found that he was still trying but flagging fast, and stretched out his arm. When his fingertips touched the corner of the book, he wanted to shout out in relief. Pushing aside everything but what he had to do, he threw himself forward, screaming at the torture that ripped through his body. Panting with exertion, he managed to grasp the book and dragged it forward but was once again unable to use his heat vision to burn it.

Deciding to just rip it apart, he pulled and tugged but found his strength was also gone "I can't do it..." Not getting any response, he looked up to find that Smallville was lying face down unmoving. When black dots appeared in his vision, he rubbed his eyes, then looked around for a knife or anything that was sharp enough to cut, swearing colourfully when he saw a pair of scissors sitting in a holder on the desk.

He'd never make it, his vision was getting darker, and it was becoming harder to concentrate. All he wanted was to rest, just lie down and sleep until this was all over. Rubbing his eyes once again, he looked around the room aimlessly, trying to remember what he was doing when he saw his twin lying face down a few feet away. His mind sluggishly prompted, he frowned harder trying to think past the pain and confusion, when he saw the book lying on the floor beside his leg and recalled vaguely that it had to be destroyed. Reaching down he picked it up, but found it hard to see as blackness at the edges of his vision began moving inwards. Blinking and squinching his eyes together, he grasped the book in both hands, ignored the darkness that had swallowed up his eyesight and continued attempting to rip it apart, pulling and tugging all to no avail. He wasn't even aware when the burning pierced his heart; he didn't have time to scream or cry out, just fell forward and slammed into the floor giving into the welcome oblivion of nothingness.

oOo

Consciousness returned slowly, his eyes moved back and forth behind his lids before flicking open to stare upwards at the huge spears of ice. Moving his head carefully but not feeling any pain, he looked around but all he could see was ice. Sitting up, Clark looked around; as far as the eyes could see, there was only ice. There was no apartment where last there had been one, there was no furniture, no book, no twin lying near him, but he knew that everything wasn't ok.

He remembered fighting to stay conscious, feeling disoriented, trying to concentrate on the book, but he didn't remember destroying it. Worse, he knew that if everything had been reversed correctly, he wouldn't remember there had been an apartment, a book, or his twin; and he wouldn't remember being married to Lana. She was supposed to remember that, but he wasn't. J'onn said that Lana would reverse everything, well she'd obviously done so because there was only one of him; but the one that was left behind remembered what it was like to be both Smallville and Clark.

Whether Lana had done this deliberately or by accident he didn't know, but felt that it wasn't intentional. Not for his sake, but for hers. She wouldn't have wanted him to remember what she'd done, and consequently still feel so much anger towards her.

He scrubbed his hands over his face and pushed himself up to his feet; he was going home. Right now this was what he had to live with. He would begin looking into how to set things right tomorrow, but for now he just wanted to be with Lois.

He closed his eyes and prayed that Lois was waiting for him, was expecting him. Hopefully his double memories were the only thing Lana had screwed up, and Lois wouldn't still be engaged to Oliver. If she was, he'd track down Lana tonight and make her fix it pronto, but for now he was one man, and that man wanted to go home and be with his love.

Spinning into the suit, Clark shot out of the fortress and headed straight to Metropolis. He flew past Oliver's apartment, found it dark and empty then flew to his own. Closing his eyes once again, he sent a last quick prayer to the heavens and x-rayed down. When his eyes blurred, he slashed his palm across the lids impatiently, and looked down once again to fasten on Lois. She was there, in their apartment and she was wearing his ring.

Swooping down, he flew in through the open balcony windows and scooped Lois up in his arms, locking his mouth securely to hers. Her hands lifted to run fingers through his hair, before pressing onto the nape of his neck to force his lips harder against hers.

He lifted his lips from hers for less than a moment, before sealing their mouths together once again. Their tongues twined and rolled, stroked and plundered against each others, lips lifted, changed angles but never parted completely.

When he finally freed her mouth, his arms tightened around her slim waist, his cheek rubbed against the top of her hair, the tears fell freely down his cheeks, and he heard the sobs that poured out of her throat.

His hands stroked her quietly, soothingly while his heart settled into peace.

Lois pulled back and cupped his face in her hands "Where have you been?"

He lifted his hands to cup her face in return "Tell me you love me."

"You know that I do; honey where have you been?"

He pressed his forehead against hers and looked into her eyes "Say it Lo please."

"I love you."

He closed his eyes before looking into hers once again "You don't know how much it means to hear you say that."

"I'll tell you as many times as you like, but please just tell me where you've been."

"How long was I gone?"

"Almost 3 days, you were in China, then you left, and then you just seemed to disappear." She pressed her face hard into his chest "I've never been so scared."

"Neither have I." He pressed his lips against her forehead, sat on the couch and held her close "I have a lot to tell you."

Lois crawled into his lap, pressed her face into his neck and sighed "Call your mom first; she's been worried sick."

He nodded, reached for the phone and when his mom picked up the receiver and began to cry at the sound of his voice, he promised himself silently that he would find a way to correct everything properly so that no one would have missed him. As soon as he hung up Lois whispered "Chloe" and dialling once again, he spoke to his friend for a few minutes, once again promising himself anew at hearing the anxiety and tears in her voice.

After pressing a kiss to the top of Lois head, Clark quietly began to explain what happened. Lois' head lifted abruptly, she frowned, glowered, her eyes shot sparks, the rage became visible before she pushed out of his lap to stalk around the room.

It was several minutes before he could calm her down. He held her tight, rubbed his hands over her back and nape of her neck, attempting to relieve the knots and strain as she all but continued to tremble with fury "I'm here baby, she didn't win; I'm here."

"That selfish bitch!" Lois spat out.

"She returned me to you Lo, the same way that she returned you to me last month."

"She had no right to play with your life like that." Lois replied softly, but the softness didn't fool him. The angrier Lois got the quieter her voice became. When annoyed she yelled loud and long, frustration equalled screeching, pissed off was when she roared, but true anger made her so furious that her voice became almost hushed.

Trying to keep her calm was hard, especially since he felt the same way. However, he didn't want her to demand that he track down Lana tonight so that she could kick the woman's ass; tonight he just wanted to be with his fiancée.

"No Lo she didn't, but if Lana hadn't used deceit, I would have had no way out of a marriage that I felt trapped in. I would have been in love with you, and married to her and that doesn't bear thinking about."

"Don't make excuses for her Clark, if Lana had wanted to marry you, she could have done. She was far from ignorant about how you felt, so even though you only asked her once that she remembers, she knew very well that all she had to do was bat her eyes, and you would done anything she asked at any point in time before she married Lex." Lois gritted out then continued before he could speak "Her biggest problem is that she enjoyed screwing you around and stringing you along too much to give a rat's about anything else. She's a bitch, who likes to play the martyr; pure and simple. She always has been and always will be, and that won't ever change, because it IS her." Lois finished contemptuously.

He nodded lightly "I know Lo, I figured Lana out a long time ago." He cupped her face and looked into her eyes "I'm not making excuses for her babe, I wouldn't do that, but I am grateful that she didn't marry me." He corrected quietly.

Lois heaved out a deep breath "The only reason she wants you back now is because you don't want her. She's a prick tease Clark. I bet that if you still wanted her, she'd still be making up tragic bullshit reasons for why you can't be together, but ensuring to give you the come on with the appropriate wet eyes, so that you could see how devastated she was about it all."

"She did love me Lo, even though I was unhappily married to her, she still wanted me."

Lois snorted in disdain "Exactly, but I bet if while were you were married, you were still the submissive pantywaist who said 'yes Lana, no Lana, three bags full Lana' she wouldn't have cared less how you felt."

Clark's lips quirked "I wasn't a pantywaist, just a pushover."

She smiled slightly in return "It the same thing." When his mouth opened she pressed her finger to his lips "You were extremely gullible, and she was a rotten bitch of a cow that took advantage of you; let's just leave it at that."

"Ok." He nodded in agreement and led her back to the couch. Lois cuddled into his side and rested her head on his shoulder "How does it feel having those memories in your head?"

He sighed, rubbing his hand up and down her arm "Bloody awful, I remember what it was like being Clark, feeling trapped in a marriage that I detested and just wanting my freedom. I remember when the dreams started and how much I hated them at first, seeing a life that I'd never have. Falling in love with the woman in my dreams, then waking up beside Lana and knowing that I was already tied down." He tilted her chin up "And I remember when you first came back from travelling, I walked into the kitchen of the farm house totally unprepared for what was going to happen." He bent his head and pressed his lips softly to hers, once, twice before lifting his mouth "I saw you and...god baby, I knew that you were the woman I was meant to share my life with; even worse was the realisation that I'd lost any chance with you because I was already tied to Lana."

She lifted her hand and stroked his cheek "It's over with Clark, you didn't lose me; I'm here and so are you."

He swallowed hard and pressed his forehead against hers "I can't tell you how much it hurt to know that I'd never have the freedom of being with you, to know that the dreams were the closest I'd ever get to showing you how I felt. When you came to stay with mom the second time and Oliver turned up..." he let out a soft shaky breath "I knew that he wanted you back, and when mom told us that you and he were dating, I..."

She reached up and pressed her lips to his jaw "I'm not; I haven't dated Oliver in 8 years."

"I know, my Smallville side knows it logically, but my Clark side remembers everything too." He swiped a hand impatiently over his eyes "When I...Smallville I mean, when I found out the truth, and then realised that my fiancée was living with Oliver I thought that was bad. When you told us you were engaged I felt sick, but god Lo; when you told me to forget about my life, forget about you, and left to go home to Oliver..."

"I'm sorry." She whispered consolingly.

He shook his head and squeezed her tighter to his side "You have nothing to be sorry for, you didn't know baby. I understood why you couldn't accept, and I knew that it wasn't your fault but I swear when you turned away from me, I thought I was having a heart attack."

Lois pressed herself closer against him, snugging her arms around his waist "I don't know what to feel angrier about. That Lana changed your life by marrying you, or that she messed with my head so much that I wouldn't believe even though I'd had the dreams."

Clark picked Lois up and cuddled her into his lap "Believe it or not that actually made things easier." At her frown "You shouldn't have remembered me at all Lo, you shouldn't have had any recollections of our life or our relationship but you did."

"But it wasn't enough, if it was I would have believed you, or at the very least I wouldn't have left after you told me everything." She put in softly.

He squeezed his eyes tight "I understood; J'onn told us that you wouldn't accept Lo, he said..."

"Do you really feel like that?" She interrupted quietly.

"Yes."

"Do you?" She pressed.

He lifted her up and sat her carefully on the couch, then pushed himself up to stride from the lounge room to the kitchen, and stopped to stare hard outside the window. He picked up a glass to get some water but when it shattered in his hand, threw the shards into the sink, before spinning back around to find Lois staring at him. She hadn't moved, hadn't made a sound, just calmly kept her eyes on him, and that aggravated.

He was well aware that Lana had messed with her head, he was savvy enough to grasp the situation fully, and he'd already dealt with this. He'd talked to his mom, he'd talked to himself, so he didn't need or want Lois to push the issue by trying to psychoanalyse him. He took two steps forward intending to re-join her on the couch, but instead stopped at the alcove to the lounge room, and leant his shoulder casually against the wall determined to show her that he was perfectly fine; thank you very much.

She continued to look at him without speaking, he stared back but after a few minutes, the silence began to grate. Nodding shortly, he calmly replied "Yes, I understand."

Lois pursed her lips and nodded "What was my engagement ring like?"

"Bloody ugly."

She nodded again "Oliver usually has good taste."

"Well this time he didn't." Clark crisply announced "The ring was too damned showy, completely unsightly, and it was all wrong for your hand."

"I must have liked it though." She prompted softly.

"Oh yeah, you couldn't stop waving your hand around determined to make everyone comment on it." He fired back tersely "Well for your information, we all thought it was hideous."

Sighing heavily, Lois shook her head, got to her feet and stepped towards him. Straightening up, he crossed his arms "And I think that's more than enough conversation about Oliver Queen, and your damned engagement to him."

"Ok, so let's talk about what I said when you told me that you were Kal."

"Let's not!" He shot back.

When she ignored him and began talking he knew that she was deliberately goading him, trying to make him face what he didn't want to and felt his temper ratch up at her persistence "I told you that if you ever disappeared that I'd find you and bring you home..."

"I wasn't lost." He cut in brusquely.

"No you weren't, but I promised that I'd never let go, and yet that's exactly what I did." She continued softly.

He felt the anger, the pain of her rejection and wished that she wouldn't keep pushing "That's enough." He replied just as softly.

"I said that I didn't love you, I told you that I loved Oliver, and then I left." She pressed on regardless.

His jaw tightened, his heart began to pound "I said that's enough."

She took a deep breath, looked him dead in the eye and pushed "I was dreaming of you but sleeping with Oliver, having sex with Ol..."

Her words drove the spike into his heart and he couldn't take anymore "FUCK!" Spinning around, he stepped forward, and slammed his hand onto the kitchen table, reducing the wood to splinters "Goddamn you Lois." Spinning back around, he strode forward, stopping an inch in front of her "I told you every single detail of our relationship, details that only we know about. I told you that I was Kal, I begged you to listen to your heart, but no, that wasn't good enough for you."

"You expected me to throw my life away on a dream; for a man that I didn't love." She challenged quietly.

"You DID love me; you were just too much of a coward to face it." He shouted back "Why the hell couldn't you trust me?"

"I'm not big on trust."

"Oh no, Lois Lane has to have proof before she believes. What the hell kind of calamity would befall her if just once in her life she took something on faith? But wait, not just any proof will do for Ms Lane, no it has to be up to her standards. A photo can be digitally created after all, so it was no wonder that she wouldn't accept that." He finished sarcastically "So why don't you tell me what would have been enough to satisfy you Lois, I'll make sure to keep it in mind for next time?"

Instead of answering, she shook her head minutely and accused "You didn't demonstrate your powers."

"No, I didn't do that." He snarled in return.

"Why not?"

"Because I knew that it was useless."

"You didn't even try." She criticised softly.

At her words his heart jointly twisted and felt enraged "I fucking tried Lois; so don't you tell me that I didn't." He shouted before spinning and walking to the other side of the room, only to storm back once again "You don't even remember it but I do, so don't you dare stand there and tell me that I didn't try. You just couldn't wait to give me the heave ho, and run back to Oliver."

When she reached out and touched his arm, his muscles automatically contracted "Yes, I still left you for Oliver." She repeated quietly. At her words, tears filled his eyes, spilt down his cheeks, and the hurt he'd felt, that he thought he'd dealt with burst out of his heart. He fell to the floor taking Lois with him, cuddled her into his lap, buried his face in the side of her neck, and cried out all anger, pain and heartbreak he'd felt when she'd turned away from him.

Her arms wrapped around his shoulders, her hands ran over his back soothingly. After his tears were spent, he sighed, keeping his nose buried in her neck breathing in the scent that was hers alone and crushed her gently closer to his chest. When he felt calmer, he lifted his head, raked her hair back with his fingers, and captured her eyes with his "Why?"

Lois smiled regretfully, wiped his cheeks and leaning forward pressed her lips lightly to his "Because I knew that if you didn't face your anger about it, you'd stew and seethe quietly and eventually resent me for it." When he shook his head, she nodded "Judgement becomes skewed by emotion hon. I know you, so I could tell that you were furious and hurt, even though you said that you understood. Everything might have been ok for a while, but when you saw Oliver; or worse when you saw me and Oliver talking or laughing or doing any number of innocent things, you'd be suspicious. It might have gotten to the stage where you'd question me about everything I said and did, then one day that dark cloud would have burst, and that would probably be the end of us."

"I swear that I'd never drive you away by blaming you for something that I knew wasn't your fault Lo."

"I know that you wouldn't have wanted to." She affirmed quietly "I know that you would hated yourself for doubting me, but when I couldn't take anymore, I would have hated you for doing it and left."

He swallowed hard at the honesty in her voice, and finally admitted what he knew was true; despite all the arguments he'd used in reasoning it out to himself "I did feel betrayed when you..." He trailed off, and closed his eyes to press his forehead against hers and tried again "...I can't bear the thought of you with anyone but me Lois, and knowing that you'd left me to go to him..."

"Oliver." She filled in softly "He's done nothing Clark, nothing to earn your antagonism, or your bitterness."

He swallowed and nodded "When you left me to go to Oliver, you tore my heart out Lo."

She cupped his jaw and pressed her lips lightly against his "Clark..." His eyes opened at the firmness in her voice "I wish that I could say it wasn't me but it was, it was just a different me to the woman I am now." Sliding one hand down over his chest, she left it to sit against his heart "You know that I love you Clark, and you know that I would never leave you for anyone else, but that was another life for me and for your Clark side as well." He nodded fractionally "He was hurting for a long time, boxed into a marriage he no longer wanted, and although I didn't cause that, I'm still bitterly sorry that it was so. However, it's the Smallville side that I'm sorry for wounding when I refused you; do you understand what I mean?"

He bobbed his head again "Yeah I do. In that timeline, we both knew that we hadn't given you any reason to love us Lo, but because our lives were so different, so were our perspectives. Clark hoped and wished but he'd gotten used to disappointment, so was more practical minded. Whereas Smallville knew that only a few days before that you loved him, so he believed that regardless of everything, that you'd remember."

She smiled sadly "It couldn't have happened honey, not in that timeline; dreams or not."

"I know Lo, I really do." He rubbed his hands up and down her arms "You told me that dreams are nice but you prefer reality, because even though it's messy or sad or heartbreaking it's real, and you're right. I told Clark; Smallville told him...oh hell you know what I mean..." She grinned and bobbed her head "Well I told Clark that if anyone tried to tell me that my life with you wasn't real, that I wouldn't have accepted it; and I wouldn't have Lo. No matter what they said, or what proof they gave, I would have told them to piss off." Standing, Clark picked her up and sat down on the couch with Lois curled up next to him "But..." When her brows flew up, he smiled confidently "...but that's not to say that I was going to let you go. If that was the timeline that I was stuck with, then until it could be reversed I wasn't just going to sit on my ass and let you ride off with Oliver. I was going to get you back by fair means or foul."

She huffed out a small laugh and shook her head "You would have driven me insane, until I waved the white flag in surrender just to get some peace."

He shrugged unconcerned "I would have done anything, except let you go or let you marry Oliver."

"I can somehow see you waiting for the moment the minister asked if there were any impediments to the marriage, and then proceeding to make a commotion." She commented dryly.

"Hopefully things never would have gotten to that point, but if I had to; then yes." He replied bluntly.

Leaning forward she pressed smiling lips against his "Troublemaker."

"You're mine baby, and no one's going to take you from me while there's breath in my body." He assured her softly.

"Which you?" She asked teasingly.

"Smallville..." He replied firmly "...but it wouldn't have taken long for Clark to join me; I can guarantee that."

"Uh huh, and let's just say it worked; who would I have been with. I couldn't have taken up with both of you so..."

He grinned and told her Clark's solution. Lois let out a shout of laughter and smacked his arm "Share me; gees the last time someone asked me out you got all pissy, but now that it's two Clark's who wanna share me then it's ok."

He beamed back at her unrepentant, before pressing his lips to the corner of hers "You know that I'm teasing. Not about getting you back, I meant every word of that, but I'd never share you, not even with another man who was created from me." He slid his lips to her ear and whispered quietly "Never." Slipping his arm around her waist he hugged her to him one armed "But just having you with us would have been enough while we found a solution."

Nodding Lois cuddled into him "So what'd you remember from being Clark?"

He picked her up, sat her in his lap and smiled slyly "Loving you and thinking that I'd give anything just to be with you."

"You wanted to have sex with me." She teased running her finger down his chest.

His smile grew to match hers "Oh I definitely wanted to know if it would be as great in real life as it was in my dreams. Of course when I met my other self; Smallville I mean, he confirmed that it would have been even better than I imagined."

She licked her lips and drawled "Well you have been gone for three days..."

"So I have and I think it's about time that my Clark side found out what making love with you feels like."

"You already know." She reminded him pointedly.

"Baby don't spoil my surprise, I've been waiting years and now I wanna see if it's as good as it was in my dreams." He reproved before scooping her up in his arms and striding to their bedroom.

oOo

Clark lay on his back, with Lois on top of him, and let out a deep heartfelt sigh. She lifted up to look down at him and grinned "Well either those dreams were really hot, or they gave you added stimulus."

"I was satisfying both my Smallville and Clark sides." He smiled, gently running a finger down her nose "The dreams had nothing to do with giving me inspiration, it was all you Lo." He lifted his head and whispered "I just had to ensure that Clark got to see how great it was."

She gurgled out a laugh, leaning down to press her lips to his "It took four times to show him?"

"Nope, he was just greedy and insisted we keep going; I tried to stop him but it was hopeless. However, please remember that I did stop long enough to let you eat dinner, and have a shower before carrying you back to bed." He beamed a grin.

"So generous." She chuffed softly "You all but grabbed my fork and began to feed me, then urged me to hurry up and chew faster. After that you basically chased me into the shower, before proceeding to plaster me against the wall to have your wicked way with me, and while I was still recovering from that, you carried me back to bed."

He chuckled and shook his head "I don't know where you get your crazy ideas from woman; it was you that wouldn't leave me alone." She snorted softly in reply. Rolling her under him, he lifted up on one elbow, stroked the hair away from her brow "I love you Lois."

She smiled and smoothed down his hair "I love you; both Clark and Smallville."

He looked over his shoulder and turned back "We missed twilight."

"Mmmm."

"I promised myself that when I got you back, I'd hold you in my arms while night fell around us, but we missed it. However, that doesn't mean that I can't hold you while we listen to some soft music." Pressing a kiss against her cheek, he crawled off the bed and zipped over to their cupboards to pull out robes. After wrapping Lois in hers, he pulled on his own, raced to the stereo and switched it on to a light music station before coming back to scoop her up into his arms. Taking a seat in one of the armchairs, with Lois curled in his lap, Clark wrapped his arms around her waist, and set his cheek against the side of her head.

They sat quietly, not moving or speaking. When Lois' hand lifted to stroke his cheek absently Clark's eyes closed "You'll never know how much I love you baby." She lifted her head, his eyes opened and sought hers "I can't even tell you how much, because no matter how I try to say it, words just don't do justice to how I feel."

"I know, because I love you the same way." She replied softly, tracing his lips with her finger "You said that you wouldn't give up until we got our lives back." He nodded silently "Thank you." Leaning forward she pressed her lips against his, before burying her face in the crook between his shoulder and neck.

They continued to sit quietly for a time until she began to yawn and couldn't stop "I'm sorry, I haven't slept much since you've been gone." She told him sleepily before curling into him.

"I'm here Lo, so you can sleep now ok?" She nodded drowsily, and standing he carried her back to bed, tugged off their robes, and lay down spooning around Lois. However, it didn't feel close enough, tucking her in closer against him, he frowned unsatisfied. It still wasn't close enough. He floated up and across slightly, floated back down until he was facing her, and cuddled her tight against him.

"Clark."

At her sleepy murmur, he grimaced and loosened his hold minimally "Sorry baby, I'm just trying to get comfortable; did I hurt you?" She shook her head sleepily. Sighing quietly in relief, he shifted a tad closer, a little more and a little more, until not even a sliver of paper could come between them then looked at her face, soft in sleep.

Tomorrow he'd begin looking for ways to making all right. He'd find a way to merge his two selves back together properly, so that he no longer felt like two people. He wouldn't be satisfied until Clark and Smallville were no longer separated in his head. He wanted all the memories of being married to Lana gone, he wanted all the bleak years of being Clark wiped out, he just wanted to be Clark Kent again. The Clark Kent he had been before Lana had messed with him.

He'd do whatever it took, but tomorrow he was going to find a way to ensure that any power Lana still had was taken away. If she had the memories, hopefully she'd keep to her decision and not try anything further, but if she had the book then she'd have the power and might be tempted, and he wasn't taking the chance by trusting.

It would take her time to find something else to try, which was the only reason he could relax for now. It had taken her a month between the last time and this. However, last time he'd been unaware that Lana was responsible for Jo being in his fiancées body. But with his memories, at least this time he had the upper hand, and he wouldn't be so generous as to give her any time to look for, nor try anything else. Tomorrow he'd x-ray every centimetre of her house until he found the book, then he'd steal it, and use it to fix his life, before destroying it once and for all.

For now he was content to be with his beloved once again. Lifting his hand, he lightly smoothed a finger over Lois' cheek marvelling that she was with him. He had her back; back in his life, back in his arms, and he was back in her heart. For now he was content, but come tomorrow, he'd be on the hunt.

The End