Spoilers: Dominion (10.19).

Summary: Lois and Clark must accept the cruel reality of their separation as they try to get back what they had lost.

A/N: This first chapter was written for the LJ Community entitled 'Clois-Fest.' A community in celebration of all things Clois which will run through the month of August. This is my first story for that challenge. You can expect to see several more this month. So now, with the theme/prompt I chose for this story (Another Lifetime), Lois and Clark will sound familiar, but I wanted SV!Clois to be a bit different from what came before. I hope I accomplished that. I also wanted to thank Repmetsyrrah for putting the community together to show our continued support of our amazing ship! Clois forever! Note: In this AU story, the last three episodes of the series did not happen. Please read and review. Thanks, everyone! :D

~o~o~

Chapter 1: Home Again

Lois Lane had always considered herself a realist. Words like love and happily ever after were not in her vocabulary … until she had met Clark Kent. The one man who had taught her to believe in everything that she had long since given up on … things like love, commitment, trust and hope. But now it was back to reality. Clark was gone, no longer in her life and she had to move on for her own sanity, and the worst part of all, she didn't even know if he was alive or dead.

How long do you wait for someone to come back? How long before you just give up? Lois didn't know the answers, but the turning point for her was when she had sat down with Martha Kent. Martha had been her lifeline through it all for months. Martha had looked her in the eye one day and saw what the waiting was doing to her and told Lois to move on, to let go. It was the hardest thing Martha had ever done … giving up on her son. Hope was Clark's middle name. It just wasn't done, but she had told Lois to do it. Lois was like her daughter she never had. Martha couldn't lose her too.

Lois had listened to Martha's words and she knew they were true, but her head and her heart were two entirely different things. He still owned her heart and her soul, but she had to compartmentalize those feelings somehow, shove them way, way down deep inside her heart and keep them safe. Those feelings would make her stronger and enable her to move on somehow in some way.

Leaving the Planet was the hardest thing she had ever done, but she had to do it. There were other jobs, other ways to help people. She remembered Clark and her trying out for that silly morning show. It had been fun and she could do that and do a good job, but of course, it wouldn't be the same without him. Who was she kidding? Nothing was the same without him. Everything was different now … everything.

~o~o~

Meanwhile at Watchtower:

Oliver Queen and Clark Kent barely made it back to this world through a blinding light. They had left the Phantom Zone before it was destroyed, obliterated into nothingness. Unfortunately, before they could leave the Zone, Clark had been injured, almost killed, not only from a knife wound intentionally given to him by Oliver himself, but also from a blow to his head from which he had not fully recovered. Clark had been unconscious for hours and that head injury had delayed their return to the real world.

They both awakened at Watchtower headquarters on the floor dazed and confused. Tess was no longer there and neither was Lois. Oliver wondered what had happened to them.

Clark took in the situation and then he asked an obvious question. "Just how long have we been gone?" He asked his friend.

"I'm not sure," Oliver responded and then as he looked around the Watchtower, he suddenly realized that something was terribly wrong. The place appeared deserted, no one was around, the equipment was covered in dust, and there wasn't any power at all. "Something isn't right," Oliver said as he tried to get the computers up and running. "I'll be back in a minute. I'll go check the power source and see if we can't get the computers back up." He glanced at Clark. "Are you alright? You don't look so good."

"I don't feel so good either. My head is splitting. I don't understand. My powers are back but why won't my headache go away?" Clark was confused about a lot of things.

"I'll be back in a minute, and then we'll head over to STAR Labs for answers. Don't go anywhere, Clark."

"I won't," Clark responded.

Oliver left his friend alone while he went to find the power source. A few minutes later, the power came back on and the computers powered back up.

Clark slowly got up from the floor and logged on and tried to find out the current date. "Oh, no, this can't be right," Clark mumbled shocked.

Oliver came back then. "What can't be right?"

"Take a look," Clark said and pointed to the date.

"It's 2016!" Oliver exclaimed, not believing it. "But we just left barely two days ago."

"I know, but it's now almost five years later." Clark rubbed his temples feeling sick inside and what this could mean. "The Phantom Zone apparently has a different timeframe from here." Clark's eyes grew huge then. "Oliver, everyone must think we're dead!" He exclaimed heart pounding and so worried. His mother came to mind then.

"Oh, no, you're right. Tess and Lois must have given up on us or tried to get us back but failed somehow."

Clark was so confused. "Lois ... Lois Lane? But why would she be here?"

Now Oliver was confused as he stared at him. "Lois is your fiancé, Clark."

"My what? When did that happen?"

~o~o~

WTLX local Channel 6 news room:

After signing off for the late night news as co-anchor, Lois Lane was exhausted, which was fine with her. It kept her mind off of a certain super-powered man who had apparently died nearly five years ago. Most days were fine and she would actually make it to the end of the day and not think about him up in space in a place where he couldn't return to her. She had waited long enough. Five years was long enough. She had to live her life; she had to because she was going mad with waiting and wondering if he were even alive.

Suddenly, a young man came up behind her and kissed her cheek, startling her. "Andy, I told you not to do that at work."

"You say that Lois, but I know you like it."

She narrowed her eyes at him. "Just don't do it again," she responded not in the mood.

Andy raised his hands surrendering. "I promise not to kiss you at work ok?"

Lois felt bad. "I'm sorry, Andy, it's just been one of those days. I'm exhausted and I just want to go home and rest."

He shook his head at her, but she needed to hear this. "You really need to let the reporters do all the leg work, Lois," Andy told her which got more narrowed eyes from her. "Let me finish. If you keep this up, you'll run yourself out of a job. The camera picks up everything."

"What are you saying?"

"You know what I'm saying. You yawned on camera earlier this evening. You recovered pretty well, but I'm sure the producers saw it, but it shouldn't have happened."

Lois winced at that true statement. "Alright, alright, I'll cut back cut on the stories. It's just, well, since …" She hesitated.

"Since what?"

She took a deep breath. "Ever since 'The Blur' disappeared, the crime has gotten completely out of control. The police are overwhelmed with the crime, the city doesn't have the money to add to its forces, and things aren't getting any better. It's as if the world is spiraling into some kind of darkness with nothing to stop it. Not to mention, Lex Luthor announced his presidency just today," she continued then shuddered at the mere mention of the man's name.

"I hear what you're saying Lois," he agreed as he watched her closely. "I've read your articles about The Blur, and I have to say, you were his one true believer for a long time."

Lois began to feel uncomfortable and ducked her head. "Well, that was a long time ago. I just wish …" She hesitated for a moment. "I wish he would come back … that's all," she admitted and tried to keep her composure.

"I wish he would too. We need him around here," Andy admitted as he watched her for a moment trying to read her. He'd heard the rumors about them. "Are you ready to go? I can give you a lift. It's pretty late, almost midnight."

"No, I'm fine. My car is right around the corner."

~o~o~

Once Lois had said goodnight to the late night staff and left the building, the security guard had offered to walk her to her car, but she told him she was fine and wished him a good night. Once arriving at her car, the car keys in her huge bag were being elusive, and Lois wasn't watching her surroundings, when a man came out of a darkened alley, shoved her against the car, breathed against her neck, and told her to give him the keys. Lois screamed. She didn't know if he had weapon or not, but instinctively, she screamed for help. Maybe the security guard would hear her, but she hadn't seen a soul after she had left the building. She screamed again.

The would-be carjacker was not happy with her screams, so he covered her mouth with his dirty hand. Lois bit down hard on his hand, and then she felt a sharp object at her back. She screamed again.

Suddenly, everything happened in slow motion. The man was pulled off of her and flung into the air and landed on the ground unconscious and then he was tied up in seconds. Lois's rescuer's back was to her then he slowly turned to face her. He was standing under a street lamp and she could see him clearly … the breath of his shoulders, the red leather jacket, that apologetic quirk to his lips, but then her eyes suddenly lost their focus. She was going to faint, but the last thing she remembered saying in her mind, it is him; he came back.

~o~o~

Lois slowly opened her eyes and he was hovering over her. She whispered to him, still unbelieving even though he was inches from her face, "Clark?"

He smiled that smile Lois loved so much. "Yes, Lois. Here, let me help you up." Clark helped her to sit up. He held her steady for a moment too long, Lois thought. They were inside the lobby of her building on a sofa. The police were standing by the door talking to the security guard. The carjacker was in handcuffs with a policeman beside him.

Her eyes roamed over his face, still unbelieving as she stared at him. "You're really back; I can't believe this."

His eyes took her in. She was still just as lovely as ever. He wanted to pull her close, but refrained. Instead, he said, "Lois, we should talk. So much has happened."

She pulled herself together and tried to think. She had dreamt of this moment, of seeing him again, being in his arms again. She hadn't been unconscious at the time, but being in his arms again would have been heaven. It took all of her faculties not to pull him close.

"Did you hear me, Lois? Can we go to the farm and talk?"

"The farm, but …?"

"But what?"

"The farm was sold not too long ago. Your Mom couldn't take care of it any more, not without you."

He sat down next to her, somewhat relieved. He thought she was going to tell him that his Mom had passed away or something.

Lois watched his face closely. "Are you alright? I know you loved it there, but Martha really had no choice."

"I know," he replied as he turned to stare at her. He glanced at her left hand and no ring was there, which was also a relief to him. "Where is she now?"

"Well, she lost the last election but decided to stay in Washington." He didn't appear to have heard her. He was staring at her hand. Lois caught his look and covered her hand. "It's at our apartment, I mean, my apartment."

"We really need to talk. I'll finish up with the police and then we can go."

"Alright," she replied, still in bit of a daze.

He came back to her after a minute. "I told the officers that you would come into the station in the morning and give them a statement."

"Thank you, Clark, but before we leave, I have to tell you something." She paused. "I'm seeing someone."

Lois's words registered in his mind, but his heart refused to accept it or to believe it.

"Did you hear me, Clark?" She asked as she stared at him.

The words finally sunk into his brain. "I heard you, Lois."

"Come on, we really do need to talk."

"Alright," he responded but just stood there staring at her.

"Aren't you going to carry me to my apartment?"

"Umm, ok, sure, here we go," Clark responded then he remembered that Oliver had told him that Lois knew his secret. I really told her about myself?

~o~o~

Lois and Clark's apartment, moments later:

Lois sighed as she watched him standing in the middle of 'their' living room not saying anything. She had to wonder again why she had never moved out or found another place for herself, but she just couldn't do it.

"Take a seat and I'll make us some coffee. You do have a few minutes to talk, right? I mean no emergencies you have to handle or anything?"

Clark was finding her knowledge about him disconcerting to say the least. He listened to the sounds in his head for a few moments. "We should be alright for a while. It is pretty late."

"I'll say it's late. Maybe too late," she mumbled under her breath.

Clark heard her remarks and frowned. He came over to her and tried to explain his actions. "I'm sorry about all of this."

"You're sorry? You should be. If not for me, you wouldn't be standing here staring at me."

He closed his eyes and sighed. "Lois, you should know. I don't remember anything, not my instructions to Tess, not ... ummm, our engagement, this apartment, none of it."

"What are you saying ... you have amnesia? How much do you remember?"

"Well, I remember ... sending you away to Africa. That's the last thing I remember."

"Please tell me you're joking? Clark, the last year we were together ... we got engaged, you told me about yourself, we ... umm, made love for the first time, and ..." She couldn't finish her sentence.

He touched her arm. "I'm so sorry, but my memories will return soon, I hope."

"And what am I supposed to do while you try and remember our life together? Put my life on hold for you?"

"No, Lois, I know you've moved on, found someone, and I can't blame you for that, not at all. I just wish ..." He hesitated.

"What do you wish?" Lois couldn't help how wistful her voice sounded to her ears.

Clark's reply was just as wistful as he stared into her eyes hoping to show her his feelings that they were still there. "I wish I could change it, make it like none of this had happened, but I see that's not possible. Too much has changed, nothing is the same."

Lois had to tear her eyes away from his hopeful expression as she turned from him and went to make some coffee. "Well, five years will do that to a person." As she watched him come closer, she bowed her head then told him about her life since he left her. "I'm not at the Planet anymore."

"I know, I read up on your ... new profession."

She crossed her arms not liking his tone. "And you have a problem with it?"

"Of course not, Lois, you've done well for yourself."

"I had no choice, Clark, being there at the Planet everyday and you weren't? I don't know. It was alright for a while, but then all I could see across from my desk was you ... knocking over a coffee cup, quirking that smile you always gave me when you were teasing me, or ..." She stopped, turned from him and wiped at her eyes with a kitchen towel.

Clark felt horrible. He knew how much being a reporter meant to her. "I'm so sorry, Lois. This is all my fault."

"No, Clark. It was my decision to leave the Planet, my decision to take that anchor's job, and it was my decision to start dating again."

His heart constricted as he stared at her unbelieving. "How long?"

She knew what he was referring to. "About six months."

"Do you love him?" He held his breath and waited.

She sighed as she stared at him. "I thought I did, but now ...?"

"I know," he said and realized he couldn't give her up, not now, not ever and apparently she felt the same way about him.

Lois couldn't tear her eyes away from him as she watched him come closer. She held up her hand to his chest to stop him from coming any further. "Don't Clark."

He looked down at her hand then he took it and kissed it. "I love you, Lois, just please, give me a little time to remember. That's all I ask, just a little time," he whispered and then he became bold as he reached up to touch her cheek.

Lois was lost as she closed her eyes and tried to think, but all she could think was he was home; he was home where he belonged. Clark came closer, leaned down and then he kissed her. She couldn't seem to stop herself as she kissed him back.

Then suddenly and inexplicably, Clark began to remember ... kissing Lois in the alley hoping that she would know him, rescuing Lois numerous times, proposing to Lois and her answer, making love to Lois for the first time and countless times after that, and of course, finally telling Lois that he loved her for the first time. His head was spinning as he ended the kiss. He touched his forehead, closed his eyes for a moment and then his eyes lit up as he inwardly smiled rejoicing with his memories.

She held him steady. "Clark, are you alright?"

He smiled at her. "I'm perfect."

TBC!

~o~o~

A/N: Yeah, you are, Mr. Kent! *giggles* Thanks for reading, everyone. I hope you enjoyed it. There may be more to this. Thanks for reading. Reviews are love.