Unfulfilled Wishes

A/N: It has been a long journey my friends. Not in the number of parts to this story but in time and writing. It took a lot out of me to write this story. If you found it even slightly entertaining, I hope you'll take a minute to let me know. I really appreciate all feedback, criticisms, etc. Thanks to all of you readers for your patience and encouragement. I'm sorry for your wait but RL is a real b****! Now for the final part of this story…

Epilogue

Shifting her weight back and forth from one foot to the other, Lois Lane looked around the corridor as she waited for an answer to her knock. She heard a brief rustling on the other side of the door. Squaring her shoulders, she lifted her chin slightly and forced herself to still. She curled her hands into tight fists and left them that way to stop her nervous flexing of them.

She didn't really understand her nervousness. Maybe it wasn't nervousness per se, more like nervous energy…a hopefulness that this meeting would go the way she hoped it would and that the last of her fears could be laid to rest. She had two people she wanted to talk to…no needed to talk to before she could finally and completely put the past behind her. This was her first stop. It was the more difficult of the two.

The door opened and the person on the other side started in surprise, eyes widening. "Lois! What a surprise! Would you like to come in?" they asked, stepping back slightly and opening the door wider.

Lois sailed past the shorter brunette. "I probably should warn you about opening the door without checking to see who it is through the peephole first but…" she let her sentence trail off at the look of amusement she got in return. She cleared her throat and tossed her hair back a slightly. "But I guess when you have super powers you don't have to be very careful."

A soft snort of laughter caught Lois off guard. "Actually, I thought you were my brunch. I was expecting room service."

That seemed to take a little of the wind out of Lois' sails. "Oh," she faltered slightly.

Fortunately, her hostess smoothed over the awkward moment. "Please, have a seat," she invited and closed the door.

Lois dropped lightly onto a nearby love seat and glanced over the plush surroundings…well, plush for the location. Smallville and the surrounding area didn't exactly have a Ritz Carlton. Nevertheless, she found it somewhat telling that her hostess had chosen to stay in Granville rather than one of Smallville's quaint hotels or bed-and-breakfasts. The suite was small but comfortable with a kitchenette with a mini-bar, small refrigerator, and microwave in one corner, and a love seat, two chairs and coffee table in the room where they currently were as well as a small closet with mirrored doors by the door to the corridor. There was a bathroom off to the right through one door and Lois assumed that the only other door, which was currently closed, must lead to the bedroom.

A throat cleared from the chair to Lois' left and she wrenched her attention from the room to the other woman. "Did you come by for something in particular, Lois?" Lana asked politely. Her curious expression held a hint of amusement that grated slightly on Lois' slightly tense nerves.

Putting on a somewhat strained smile, Lois grudgingly acknowledged that Lana Lang had only gotten more beautiful with time. Her dark hair, no longer in long waves but just above shoulder length with soft curls, was full and perfectly in place. Her nails were neatly manicured; her black, pin-striped, tailored pants suit was immaculate; and her brown eyes were brightly assessing and framed by perfectly sculptured eyebrows and long, dark lashes. Delicate, dainty, feminine, elegant…all those words came to mind when Lois looked at Lana. She was like a delicate piece of china that should be locked away in a curio cabinet, except she wasn't really as delicate as she appeared anymore. She was a powerful woman, a lot more powerful than anyone would think.

Looking back, Lois had always felt like such a tomboy around Lana in their younger days. Being taller, thinner and always getting herself into scrapes that she felt she could handle on her own, and usually did though not without her share of bruises and scratches, had a way of making Lois feel like an awkward young filly…all legs, clumsy and ungainly. In comparison to Lana, the words crass, bossy, loud, opinionated came to mind when Lois had thought of herself. She was well aware of what Clark had thought about her in their early years of acquaintance. "Bossy, stuck up, rude…"

Now, she was pleasantly surprised to find that was no longer the case. She no longer felt inferior to Lana in any way. While she may never be considered delicate, Lois was strong…instead of dainty, she was powerful. Though she had long ago found the humor and let go of Clark's previous opinions, she had also grown to realize that femininity could take many forms, and elegance…well, elegance was just overrated. Wasn't it? Part of it might have been the fact that she was sure of her place now with Clark, both at his side and in his heart, but part of it was also maturity. Lois Lane was quite sure of who she was and, while never perfect and always a work in progress, she was fine with herself…flaws and all.

"Actually, I came by to see what your plans are," she stated, folding her hands in her lap.

Lana's brow wrinkled in confusion. "My plans? I'm supposed to be meeting with the accountant that handles my business in Smallville in about an hour and a half."

Lois stifled the chuckle that threatened to erupt but didn't quite succeed in hiding a smile. "I'm sorry, I guess I haven't been speaking very plainly lately. What I meant was, what are your plans for the future…more specifically, towards the Justice League and my husband, Clark?"

For a split second, Lana's mask of perfection slipped and her surprise was as plain as the nose on her face. But then she seemed to come back to herself and she let out a soft chuckle. Lois' possessiveness towards Clark hadn't escaped her notice…a far cry from her behavior last night. "Wow. As impossible as I thought it could be, it seems that you've gotten even more direct in the years since I saw you last. You've always been, um, forthright, but I've never heard you be quite so blunt."

Lois felt her cheeks flush slightly and she started to apologize but before she could say anything there was a knock at the door. "Room service!" came a male voice through the door.

"Excuse me a moment," Lana said, moving to let the man from room service inside. "Just place it over there please," she instructed politely with a wave towards the sitting area. She handed him a couple of bills and closed the door behind him.

Turning back to her guest, Lana gestured towards the food. "Would you like anything? There's more than enough here for the both of us. I have some fruit, croissants, cheese slices…"

"No, thanks, I had breakfast," Lois said. Well, if you counted half a bagel after spending a glorious morning in bed with her husband as breakfast… "But if you have an extra coffee cup, I'll take some…please."

After a moment of Lana fixing her plate as well as Lois getting her coffee, they sat back down across from each other. Lana moved a section of bangs from her eyes and Lois raised an eyebrow in question. Lana hid a smile behind her coffee cup. "Let me see, you asked what my plans were…specifically, my plans regarding the League and your husband." She took another sip of her coffee and sat the cup down. "Lois, before I answer that, does this have anything to do with your behavior last night? I got the strange feeling that you were trying to set me up with Clark. Am I mistaken?"

Lois couldn't quite meet Lana's eyes, brushing at a non-existent speck of lint on her skirt. "Yeah, weird huh? Guess I had one too many beers."

"Hmm," Lana said non-committedly. She waited until Lois looked at her again and then smiled reassuringly at the taller woman. "Lois, I'm no threat to you," she began. When Lois' eyebrows only rose higher, she sighed. "Ok, my plans, let me see…you are definitely a general's daughter... When I leave here, I have plans to go to Gotham. Bruce is expecting me and his friend Lucius Fox, along with a couple of trusted scientists, are planning on running a few maintenance type tests on the suit…and me. They are worried about…'negative side effects due to prolonged exposure'," Lana said, her fingers making invisible quotation marks in the air.

"And then?" Lois pushed, wanting to be sure of the other woman's intentions, especially if she was going to be a permanent part of the League…and by extension, her husband's life.

"And then…I don't know! I don't really have a solid plan yet," Lana admitted with a shrug. "If everything checks out ok with me physically, Oliver has said that he wants me checked out mentally by Clark's friend from Mars. Supposedly, he has the ability to read minds and everything. If I pass that test and still want to be a part of the League, it's put to a vote by the other members whether or not to become an official member."

She ate a bite of melon and chuckled. "I hadn't realized that it had become so formalized but apparently, they want to be sure that any concerns about new members of the League are addressed. So far, I've only been used on the side and the only ones who officially knew I was helping were Oliver and Bruce. I can't imagine that Chloe will be overly thrilled that her husband has been keeping that from her, but Oliver said it's not uncommon for a couple of members to put a potential new member through some tests before bringing them forward to the rest of the team. I think it probably has something to do with keeping the identities of everyone safe…and with me in particular, my history with Clark."

They let that hang in the air for a moment until the silence became a little more than uncomfortable. Lois cleared her throat and was about to break the silence when her hostess did it for her. Lana sat back a little, her legs crossed at the knees, her head tilted in thought as she looked at Lois. She held her coffee cup with both hands.

"I'm sure all you'd have to do is say the word, Lois, and I'd be out faster than a speeding bullet," Lana pointed out, her tone mildly curious and, if Lois' ears weren't fooling her, slightly pleading. "According to Oliver and Bruce, and Clark himself, you are his whole world…the reason he is who he is and the reason he does what he does."

"He told you that?" Lois asked, her voice quietly disbelieving.

Lana smiled. "Not in those exact words but yes, Clark did tell me that. Lois, you have nothing to worry about from me. I am absolutely no threat to you. I was Clark's past; you are his present and his future." She leaned forward and sat her cup on the coffee table, looking Lois dead in the eyes. "I have always liked you, Lois, and while I know we were never really close in the past, I do hope that we might become friends in the future. You make Clark happy, and as his friend, that makes me happy…for both of you. So do you think there is any way I might get the ok from you to join the team? Because I'd really like to join the fight with the good guys against the bad."

Lois studied her for a moment, trying to ascertain her sincerity, but Lana didn't blink. The reporter's instincts were crying out that she was genuine in all that she said. "Why is it so important to you? You can help in your own way; why do you want to join the Justice League so badly?"

Lana looked down in thought. "Ever since my parents died in the meteor shower, I've been looking for something…something I couldn't name or even recognize I needed until Clark and I were finally forced apart for good." She looked up into Lois' questioning expression. "Acceptance…belonging…a family. I realized a little bit ago that was why I had joined the cheerleading squad, all the boyfriends, the reason the Talon meant so much to me, the reason I hated every time Clark kept me in the dark, or Chloe for that matter, about his secret. It's also why Lex was so easily able to get to me. He swore he was willing to be up front and honest about everything, that he would always make me feel like I belonged…with him."

Sighing deeply, the shorter brunette sat back again. "Then there was the phantom that I thought was Clark…I've made a lot of mistakes in my past. I became…a distorted image of myself, a monster. I can't undo any of them, but I can learn from them and try to make amends by using the gifts I have to do the most good. I believe that I can serve others best as part of this team. Plus, it will serve the purpose of filling a very real need in my life. I will be a part of something, something good, something bigger than myself. This team is greater than the sum of its parts. I just want to be a small part."

Lois stood up and placed her cup on the cart that held the brunch. "I should go and let you get ready for your meeting with your accountant."

Lana jumped up and for the first time in years, Lois saw a real measure of self-doubt. "Does this mean that you believe that I'm no danger to you and Clark?"

Looking Lana in the eyes, Lois tossed her head slightly, blowing some of her bangs out of her eyes. She gave a shrug and a smile. "Of course, I knew that," she told her. "I just wasn't sure if you knew it."

The two women smiled at each other. "So does this mean that you're ok with me becoming part of the League?" Lana asked.

"Honestly?" When Lana nodded, Lois' smile softened in reassurance. "I think the League would be lucky to have you."

Lana's eyes shot to hers. When she saw the sincerity in Lois' face, tears started to form. "Thank you, Lois. That means a lot coming from you," she said barely above a whisper.

Clearing her throat, Lois grabbed her purse and threw the strap on her shoulder. "Yeah, well, there's way too much testosterone in that club anyway. We need more estrogen to help balance it out," she quipped.

They moved to the door but Lois stopped as she started to reach for the handle. "Any idea what part of the world you might want to make your home?" she asked, simply curious.

Lana shrugged lightly. "Nothing definite yet, but maybe a couple of ideas."

"Well, with the Talon here and the second one on its way to being opened, you could always come back to Smallville, or even Granville. I'm sure either town would be thrilled to have its own hero."

Lois' suggestion touched Lana because she recognized it for what it was…an invitation to be a real part of her life, and by extension, Clark's. She was offering friendship. "Thanks for the suggestion, and the welcome, but while Smallville will always be my home town, it is my past. I'm trying to move into the future. I was thinking about Europe actually."

"Europe? That's a lot of ground to cover. Any particular part?" Lois asked.

Lana's smile warmed and took on a bit of a nostalgic look. "I've always had a thing for Paris, but I don't know anything for sure yet. I may not get a choice in my home base. I'll go wherever the League and I feel I can be the most useful."

"When do you leave for Gotham?"

"Tomorrow evening, barring unforeseen circumstances," Lana answered.

Spontaneously, Lois pulled the smaller woman in for a hug, startling Lana. She took a deep breath. "I would say we should have lunch before you leave, but Clark and I are covering a press conference that's scheduled for late morning tomorrow." She pulled back and smiled at Lana. "But call us the next time you come through Metropolis or Smallville. We'd love to see you."

Lois pulled open the door to the suite and turned to look back at her one time rival as she stepped into the hallway. "And, Lana, please keep in touch," she told her.

Lana's smile was warm and grateful. "Thank you…for everything, Lois."

* * * * * CK/LL * * * * *

Digging in his right pants pocket, Oliver Queen pulled out a cell phone and looked at the display. "Nope, not this one." He pulled a second phone out of the left jacket pocket of his suit. "No, again." He sighed. He really did have too many phones. He pulled out the third and was baffled when its display too was dark. "What the…?"

Then as the phone rang yet again, he heard his wife call from the bathroom. "Aren't you going to get that?" she asked.

"Yeah, sure!" he called back. "Just as soon as I figure out which phone is ringing," he muttered to himself. A light bulb went off in his head and he dove for the cordless phone that sat on the night stand beside the bed. "Bingo!"

If it rang again, it would go to the answering service. "Hello?" he answered, slightly out of breath.

"Oh god! Is now a bad time? Cause I can call you guys back," came Lois' voice over the line.

Oliver grinned into the phone. "Legs! No, you didn't call at a bad time. I just couldn't figure out which phone was ringing."

Her chuckle came across the line loud and clear. "That's what happens when you have too many, Ollie," she teased.

"Yeah, well, some people have too many shoes, others too many handbags, I happen to like phones," he joked. "Listen, Lo, Chloe's in the shower at the moment. We're on our way out to a business banquet for Queen Industries. Any way I could get her to call you back in say…" he looked at a nearby clock. "A couple of hours, 3 tops?"

"Actually, this won't take very long…and I really called to speak with you," Lois said.

"With me?" Oliver was dumbfounded.

Whenever Lois called, if he picked up, they chatted for a second and he got Chloe. The only time she ever called to talk with him was about League matters, which wouldn't be on this line, or if it was one of their birthdays. They still did the beer pong thing every year but occasionally, it was over the phone or computer, and usually it was kept to an hour or two. He still considered her a good friend but the distance was there.

"Yeah, Ollie, with you. You ok with that?" Lois asked, trying to keep a light tone.

"Sure, Lois, what's up? Everything ok?" he asked nonchalantly.

"Yeah, everything's good. Listen, go somewhere where you don't have to worry about us being interrupted for a minute ok? Because what I have to say…it's important."

Oliver stepped out of his bedroom and down the hall to his study. Closing the door softly, he frowned in concern. "Lois, what's going on? This is kind of starting to spook me. You sure you're ok? Everything good with Clark?"

"Everything's fine, Oliver. I just wanted to talk to you for a minute…about us." Lois' voice was warm but a little nervous.

"Us?" Oliver blinked in confusion and his eyebrows shot up in surprise. "What 'us'?"

"Oliver…when-when you and I…when we were…I mean, when I…god this is harder than I thought it would be. I guess because so much time has passed and I'm sure that you just assume that we're already past all this and we are but…" Lois started to ramble.

"Lois!" he interrupted. At her abrupt silence, he added, "You're babbling. What's this all about? What about us?"

Lois coughed lightly. "Well, don't take this wrong, but we were good together, right? I mean, we had fun and everything, didn't we?"

Oliver was silent for a moment, wondering where Lois was going with this. He dropped slowly into a chair and looked out at Star City, his eyes unseeing the world outside. His mind, however, took him back years ago, to the time he had forcibly shoved into the back of his mind when Lois had walked away from him…and eventually ended up with his best friend.

He saw her as that dark blonde who was sexy and seemingly self-assured. He saw her looking up at him with warm affection in her eyes. He refused to allow himself to see her face as it was filled with passion as they were intimate together…that would be crossing a line. But then he saw her face as he told her he was leaving Metropolis and that he probably wouldn't be coming back. He saw her face as she stormed into his penthouse suite in the clock tower in Metropolis when he did come back. His hand rose subconsciously to the cheek that she had slapped in her anger and pain. He saw her face as she found out the truth about him being Green Arrow, both times. He saw her kissing Clark, who was dressed in his costume. He saw her tear-filled eyes as she walked away from him for the last time, unable to handle sharing him with the rest of the world.

Memories washed over and through him like he was hit by a fire hose full force. Everything from their outings for Queen Industries, to their workouts together, to their flirtatious banter, to his trying to win her back yet again when he saw her budding relationship with Clark…all of it came out in seconds…and along with it all, came his self-doubts. These were not the same ones that had been conquered years ago about his right to be Green Arrow and fight the good fight. These were just as personal but of a different nature. He had told Chloe of them long ago but she had known that he would have to overcome them on his own. She could only help so much.

"Ollie?"

Lois' soft call came across the line and he sat up straighter, clearing his throat. "Yeah, I'm still here. Lo, have you been drinking some of that cheap vodka again? Because I know I've warned you about that stuff," he teased.

"Oliver!" she said, and he realized she was serious.

"Yeah…yes, of course we had fun together!" he said, trying to keep his tone light and friendly. "Where is this coming from?"

"I've been doing a lot of thinking lately, about the past."

"Yeah?"

"Clark and I ran into Lana at the homecoming game in Smallville night before last," Lois told him quietly.

Oliver flinched. "Oh. How did that go?"

Lois sighed and didn't answer for a long moment. "Interesting. Without going into a lot of details, it brought up a lot of things from the past and she told us about her helping the League and wanting to join." She left out the part about going to see Lana at her hotel yesterday.

Flinching again, Oliver was glad he was in a different city from Lois Lane at the moment. "She told you about all that, huh?"

"Yeah, but anyway, I got to thinking and I realized that…well, I got to thinking about that day when you told me you were leaving Metropolis and I asked you to stay. Do you remember that?" Lois asked.

"Remember that? Lois, of course I remember it," Oliver said disbelieving she could possibly think otherwise.

"Do you remember what you told me? When I asked you to stay and you told me that you couldn't because there were some things that were bigger than what you wanted and what you loved? Do you remember what I said? What you said?"

*Flashback*

"I hope that someday I can explain why," Oliver told Lois, her tears breaking both of their hearts.

"Don't expect me to be waiting around for that when you get back," she told him, turning away from him.

"I'm not coming back, Lois, at least not any time soon," he told her softly. He told her that he never wanted to hurt her and she pointed out that he did anyway. "This is the-the moment right? The moment that I'm gonna regret for the rest of my life, isn't it?" he asked, knowing it was true.

"Yes," she answered simply. Then she kissed him, pulled back, and whispered, "I love you." Then she walked away.

Lois' voice broke through their shared memories. "Then you came back and you asked for another chance…that you could make 'this'…us work and I told you I couldn't because I couldn't share you with the rest of the world."

"Are you going somewhere in particular with all of this, Lois?" Oliver asked, his tone harsher than he intended.

She was silent for a moment. "Do you regret it? Any of it? You mentioned once something about regrets…"

Oliver sighed loudly. "Do I regret any of it?" he said, thinking and rubbing a hand over his eyes. "Yeah, if I'm being completely honest, I do have regrets. I'm sorry that I didn't admit to you about Green Arrow the first time you found out. I'm sorry that I didn't tell you about it when I had to leave that first time." He swallowed hard and blew out a breath. "I'm sorry that I hurt you, Lois." He let a beat pass. "Because I know I did."

A sniff came from Lois' end of the line and when she answered, her voice was a little watery. "Thank you, Ollie. Thank you for that apology." She took a deep breath and her voice was stronger. "But you don't regret how things ended up right?"

Ollie straightened in the chair. "What?! No…God no! Of course I don't regret how things ended up. I'm extremely happy with Chloe and our life together. I wouldn't want it any other way," he declared vehemently. "And as for you and Clark…well, no couple has ever been more perfect for each other. I'm really happy for you both. Despite all my wishes for you and I to work out all those years ago, I wouldn't change how our lives ended up for anything. I just think I might change a couple of things about the path we took to get here."

She snorted softly but then quieted again. "Ollie?"

"Yeah?"

"It was never about you, not really. When I said that I couldn't share you with the rest of the world, I didn't mean I couldn't share you with Green Arrow," Lois told him with quiet sincerity. "I know that I let you believe that was what I meant, and it was part of it but not the whole story."

Oliver was at a loss. What did she mean? "Lois…I…?"

"You didn't tell me about Green Arrow for a reason. Maybe you didn't completely trust me or maybe you were trying to protect me, but the bottom line is you chose to walk away from us that first time, Oliver, and it tore me to shreds. I mean I was a wreck," she admitted bluntly.

"But then you came back and I didn't know if you would have ever told me on your own or if you were just going to leave me in the dark again. Then I found out the truth and it was a moot point. That's one of the reasons that I didn't tell Clark when I first found out about him and the Blur. I needed to see if he would ever tell me himself." She took a deep breath and it came out on a long sigh. "But I'm getting off subject. The truth is…I was scared of getting hurt again. You left me behind once, Ollie, and I just couldn't stand the thought of you leaving me behind again. So I hurt you first."

Resting his forehead on his hand and his elbow on his thigh, Oliver allowed his eyes to drift closed. "Lo…" he said, his voice full of remorse.

"No, Oliver, let me finish. It wasn't just Green Arrow that might leave me behind, the hero, but also Oliver Queen, the billionaire playboy. You had the huge conglomerate, Queen Industries, you were running by day and playing a modern day Robin Hood in green leather by night and I just couldn't see where I would fit in that schedule and your list of priorities. In the end, I knew that you would try to make it work with me…you would have sincerely tried but something would have had to suffer. You had too much on your plate, not to mention your own insecurities and demons from your past about your parents and everything."

Oliver was amazed. Had she known him that well back then or was this hindsight? "Lois…"

But again, she didn't give him a chance to say anything. "But that's not the whole story, Ollie. I've never put the blame for why we couldn't work, why we didn't work, on you and Green Arrow and Queen Industries. I knew that if you were trying to do all of that, and you tried to make a real relationship between us work, that we would end up resenting each other or worse…" her words trailed off and she cleared her throat. "I couldn't live with myself if every time you left me alone to go be a hero, you were so full of guilt or wondering if I was ok with it, that it distracted you and you couldn't do the job. I couldn't live with myself if you had left one night and I was sitting at home, after having argued with you about being left behind again, and something happened to you…" Her voice broke but she cleared her throat again, harder this time, determined to finish. "I couldn't be responsible if you didn't come home one night."

His eyes stung and burned with the pain of tears at her words. Lois had worried about him. She had refused to try in a real relationship because she was trying to protect him. He was humbled, touched, and in a strange way, relieved at her revelation. Now that she was quiet again for a moment, Oliver found that he couldn't speak past the lump in his throat, and he tried desperately to pull himself together. Chloe would come looking for him any minute.

"So, I guess the bottom line is…I'm sorry too, Ollie," Lois told him softly. "Because I know that I hurt you too. I'm so proud of the man you've become…the hero you've become, and I hope that we can finally put that time behind us and look at it as a blessing that things ended up like they did. Cause Chloe doesn't have quite the temper that I do…and she's not as quick to throw things as I am."

Chuckling, Oliver wiped his eyes. "Oh, your cousin has a bad enough temper if you push the right buttons," he joked. Then he sobered, but his smile was still there. "But thank you, Lois. Thank you for calling and getting us to talk about all of this. I'm glad we didn't end up together but I'm ecstatic that you're still a part of my life."

"Of course you are! Anybody who doesn't know Lois Lane is missing out," she jested.

"Yeah, they are," he agreed, completely serious.

"Well, I'd better let you go. I know you're on your way out…and I can't sit here yakking to you all night long," Lois teased.

He laughed and stood up, stretching a bit. "Yeah, well, call any time, Lane. It's always good to hear from you."

"Ok, have fun tonight. Oh, and Ollie?"

"Yeah, Legs?"

"I vote she's in," Lois told him.

Not entirely sure he believed she was saying what he thought she was saying, Oliver allowed a moment to go by before he answered. "You mean Lana? Are you sure?"

"Of course I mean Lana! What else could I be talking about?" she asked him. Before he could say anything else, she added, "Bye, Ollie!" and hung up.

A pair of feminine arms snaked around his waist from behind as Oliver pushed the button to disconnect the call. "Who was that?" Chloe asked, squeezing him briefly.

Turning his head so he could smile down into his wife's face, Oliver felt his heart overflow with love and peace. "Lois," he answered simply.

Chloe's smile was immediate but it turned curious at the look in his eyes. "Everything ok?"

"Yeah, everything's just perfect," he answered, wrapping his arms around her and lowering his lips to meet hers.

* * * * * CK/LL * * * * *

Lois' smile was bright as she hung up the phone. All was finally right with the world. At that moment, her husband flew in through the balcony and into the bathroom. She heard the shower momentarily and then he breezed through again, and she noticed as the whooshing sound stopped and everything settled into place that the laundry basket was gone. Clark had breezed in and out in a matter of seconds and the only way she knew it was because everything had been blown around the apartment and her hair was fluffed by the wind.

"I hope he remembers to use the stain lifter and pre-soak setting if it's really a mess," she mumbled to herself. Then she frowned. "And he better remember not to wash the cape with anything light colored."

She had just put their dinner on the table when he breezed in again and stopped beside her at the dining room table. "Hey, sweetheart," he greeted her with a peck on the cheek. "I'm sorry I blew through here so fast but there was a mudslide in Chile that I had to take care of and the suit really needed to be washed before any stains set in." He went to the kitchen and grabbed two glasses of wine and the bottle to carry it in for her.

"Mudslide! Smallville, you better not get mud all in that washer and all over my things too!" she scolded mildly. He always washed his Superman suites at the farm in Smallville.

Clark grinned and winked at her as he held her chair out for her to sit down. "Nah, I made a slight detour through the Pacific to wash off the majority before I came here." As she opened her mouth, he held up a hand. "And I'm washing my suits separately so the colors won't run. I had a whole load of just Superman's suits. I'll get to your stuff as soon as those are done."

She came over and dropped into his lap, surprising him, but his arms automatically wrapped around her and pulled her close. Lois draped her arms around his neck and looked lovingly into her husband's eyes. "Yeah, well, Superman's been busy the last few days. Mudslides in Chile, earthquakes in California, wildfires in Nevada…seems to me he could use some time to relax and unwind."

Blue eyes turned playful. "Oh yeah? Any ideas?" Clark asked.

"Mmm. Maybe one or two," she said, allowing him to pull her closer. There was a minute or two of a fusion of lips and dueling tongues before she pulled away. "Our food is getting cold."

Clark's hold did not loosen. "So? We can reheat it. We have a microwave…or my heat vision," he pointed out, his gaze letting her know that he was hungry for something other than food.

Lois grimaced. "Yeah, your heat vision doesn't work so good with Italian, Smallville. The pasta ends up rubbery." She disengaged herself from him and moved to her side of the table. "Besides, you may not think you have to eat but after helping with a mudslide, you should. You need the sustenance…and I'm starving."

Chuckling, Clark was content to let her go, for now. He looked down at his plate. "DiMaggio's?" he asked, picking up a fork.

"Of course. Nobody does Italian better…at least not in Metropolis," she answered with a shrug and a smile. He had just gotten a bite of his stuffed shells on his fork when she announced, "I talked with Oliver today."

"Yeah? How are he and Chloe doing? Everything ok?" he asked, popping the food in his mouth.

He was loading his second bite onto his fork when she answered. "Yup, they're doing just fine. I told him that I voted to let Lana into the League." She sipped on her wine before loading her own fork with her fettuccine.

Clark coughed and sputtered, not expecting that at all. Lois calmly munched on her food, waiting for him to get under control. "What…?" he asked hoarsely. He pounded his chest and drank some of his wine before trying again. "Excuse me, but would you mind repeating what you just said?"

"Not at all," Lois said graciously. Then she went on to tell him all about her conversation with Oliver, almost verbatim. "So then, just before I hung up, I told him that I thought she should be a part of the League."

Squeezing her hand across the table, he gave her a smile filled with warmth and love. "I guess going by Lana's hotel room and talking with her was a good thing then, huh?" he asked as his smile transformed into a mischievous grin.

Lois looked shocked. "You…you knew about that? How…I mean…?"

"Lana called me at the Planet," he answered simply. "She wanted to say goodbye and told me how great it was that you and I had talked and that you were ok with her being a full member of the Justice League, working alongside me and hoped we could all get together soon." Her eyes narrowed in suspicion and his grin widened. She knew he was holding something back, and he knew she knew it. "And she wanted to make sure that I hadn't sent you to talk to her for some reason, and she also wanted to make sure that you weren't on something with that complete about face in attitude…wanting to thrust us together one night and then staking your claim the next day."

A flush appeared on her cheeks, which she hid behind her wine glass. "Well…" Then she gave up trying to think of something to say to that and laughed at herself.

"Lois Lane, speechless," Clark teased. "That's never a good sign."

She smirked at him and raised an eyebrow. "Oh, I can think of at least one instance where it is definitely a good sign."

Now it was his turn to flush but he didn't look away, his blue eyes darkening. "Careful, Mrs. Kent, you might not get to finish your dinner before it gets cold."

"Not only speechless," Lois continued as if he hadn't said anything. "But also breathless."

Her eyes shot to his and her hazel ones took on a triumphant look as he fought for control of his heat vision. It only lasted a second but she never missed that look. Her eyebrow arched higher and suddenly, she found herself in her husband's arms, being carried to the bedroom. "And you're the only thing that can do that to me," she added as he laid her on the bed, their eyes never breaking contact.

"Lois…" Clark's voice turned tender as he closed his eyes and rested his forehead to hers. "I was so afraid you would pull away from me. I wish you had told me long ago about all these fears of yours. I'm sorry I hurt you."

"I'm sorry," she said quietly back, her hand running through his hair. "I should have, but I guess I didn't really know it was still an issue until it came up again."

He lifted his head to look down into her eyes. "It's funny."

"What is?" she asked.

"Oliver said he had wished on many times in the past that you and he would work out. I remember wishing the same thing more than once about Lana and me," he told her with half a smile. She waited patiently, knowing he had more to say but emotions were overwhelming her. "I'm so thankful that those wishes didn't come true."

"Me too," she whispered, leaning up and capturing his lips with hers.

It was some time later when they had to reheat their dinner in the microwave.