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Thread: Evening Star

  1. #1
    Forum Whiz Briee's Avatar
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    Evening Star

    Title: Evening Star
    Author: Briee aka Kaeleigh
    Rating: R
    Disclaimer: The prompt word is ScifiAbby's, the idea is mine, and the rest is not.
    Author's Notes: This story was done as part of a contest at DI and I thought that I would post it here, so enjoy!
    Okay, this story is unlike anything that I've ever written before, so I hope that it lives up to the expectations of its Holiday Fic Recipient. (Also, this was also my first smut story, so if it sounds weird, sorry, I'm not very good at writing that yet.) It's also a little more mushy than some of mine, so I hope that it is enjoyed. And, this story idea was written before the last episode of Smallville came out working from spoilers, so this story turned out to be AU.

    Dedication: To ScifiAbby, this story is, from beginning to end, yours. I hope that you enjoy it and I wish you a very Merry Christmas!

    Summary: It wasn't their fault, what had happened. It was the loneliness, it was the eggnog, the story. But it wasn't them.



    Clark cast a furtive glance around him as he walked down the steps that lead to the Daily Planet basement, and toward the petite blond who was engrossed in the paperwork on her desk. Checking both lengths of the hallway and sighing in relief that it was free of the person he was still unable to face, he walked more confidently up to her. "Hey, Chloe."

    A welcome smile erased the agitated frown that had been there only moments before. "Hey, Clark, shouldn't you be trimming the tree with Lana right about now? What are you doing here?"

    He took off his jacket and sat down, hoping he was giving off an air of nonchalance, "Oh, you know, just visiting my best friend." His eyes darted to her face to see if she had bought his non-answer, but she had already turned her attention back to her work. "So, uh, why are you here on Christmas Eve? I thought you'd be out celebrating with Jimmy or...Lois."

    Chloe rolled her eyes, tucking a blond strand of hair behind her ear. "Yeah, believe me, I would love to be decking the halls with Lois, or grabbing a cup of cocoa with Jimmy, but unfortunately, our new editor decided to pull a Houdini and disappear on us a couple of days ago, thus creating the chaos that you now see."

    Clark looked around the basement. He'd been too busy looking for someone else to notice that the low-level newsroom, which was usually on the empty side anyway, was crawling with reporters today. In fact, it seemed that the only person not currently at their desk was Lois. He resolutely steered his thoughts back to safer waters, "So, what does that mean for the Planet?"

    Chloe sighed, rubbing her tired eyes, which only made them more blurry. What she would give for a Christmas miracle to magically finish her work for her. Just a small miracle to let her enjoy some part of Christmas before it was over. "It's a complete rejuggling of power, from copy boy to editor, to fill his shoes, at least until the new owner of the Daily Planet hires another Editor in Chief."

    "Who's the new owner?" He asked, curious.

    She shrugged, "The wizard remains firmly behind the curtain for now. There's supposed to be a big reveal right after New Year's. Until then," she looked back at the screen, the words running together because she'd been staring at it for so long, "everyone is covering two or three jobs outside their own departments to make sure that the Planet keeps running."

    Clark noticed the form on top of her desk, "Is that the crossword section?"

    "Yeah, one of my many duties before I can hang up my cub reporter's hat for the day. I offered to take the 'Santa' beat instead," she laughed, and at his confused look explained, "every year on Christmas Eve the Daily Planet runs the 'Santa Watch' with every edition that's printed. Basically tells the places around the city where Santa's been sited. You know, orphanages and charities, the bigger department stores, things like that. It's your basic puff piece and you know how Lois hates things like that. I offered to take it and she told me that I could stay in and find a four-letter word for merry, but that she wanted to get out today."

    She looked thoughtful while Clark tried his best not to squirm, "You know, she's been like a caged tiger prowling around the apartment for the last two days."

    He froze, "Really?"

    "Yeah, something's up with her, but she won't tell me what it is." She laughed ruefully, "And it's not like I can call her on keeping secrets, not with the ones I've been hiding."

    He reached out a hand and covered hers, "For what it's worth, I think you should tell her. Lois would accept you, she wouldn't abandon you."

    Her hang clung to his as an old vulnerability flashed in her eyes, and she smiled tremulously, "Since when did you get to be so insightful?"

    "It's easy to find answers for other people." He cast a glance at the empty desk beside Chloe's.

    She frowned, noticing the worried look in his eyes for the first time, "Clark, what's going on? As much as I appreciate the pep talk, why are you really here?"

    He brushed away her concern, "It's nothing, Chloe. Just needed a little down time, you know?"

    Chloe raised an incredulous eyebrow as she took in the chaotic basement. "And you came here?"

    He smiled a little sheepishly, "Yeah."

    She bit her lip and watched him. "Okay, it's Christmas Eve, I've got an insane amount of work to get done, so I don't have time right now to pry open the high security vault where Clark Kent keeps his feelings hidden. So, rain check on what's really wrong and you're welcome to hang out here."

    "Thanks, Chloe-"

    "But," she interrupted, inspiration hitting, she reached over and pulled a large pile of papers off her desk and dropped them in his lap, "if you're going to stay, you can help me work."

    "Work?"

    "Uh-huh, cross reference the pile with the green sticky notes to see if it has any of the same corresponding dates as the pile with the red notes. Then go through the list of words and find a word in the definition that goes with it for the crossword section." She laughed at the disgusted look on his face, "It can't all be superhero work, sometimes the mild-mannered reporters have to take over. Besides, as much as it sucks to be here the day before Christmas, this part isn't so bad. We're doing a Christmas-themed crossword puzzle, so it's not as if we're looking up a five-letter word for obfuscation or something. And a few actually have pretty interesting meanings. Take the word cheer, for instance-"

    And the memories that he'd been trying so hard to forget, slammed into him and he was helpless to stop it.

    He opened the door to find her standing on his back porch, the dusting of white on her shoulders suggesting that she had stood outside in the snow for a while before she has decided to come up the steps and knock.

    He watched her swallow and smile nervously. "Hey."

    He braced his forearm against the door. "Hey."

    She lifted a glass bottle he hadn't noticed she held, "In the mood for a little holiday cheer?"


    "Clark? Clark! I know what planet you're from, but which one are you currently on?"

    He focused back on the wide blue eyes of his best friend and swallowed, "Yeah, Chloe, I'm listening."

    She looked doubtful, "As I was saying, the words have meanings that you don't always associate with it. Like cheer," she cast a measuring glance his way, gaging whether or not he was really paying attention and he nodded, not daring to let his mind wander again, "it means to clap and to encourage, but it also means 'to restore hope'."

    "No, he didn't. He wasn't a star anymore but he still wasn't a human, either. But most importantly, he didn't realize what he already had. He never knew that even though he was separated by differences, he had always belonged because he was loved. He never needed acceptance from others, Clark. He had it. He'd just given up hope in himself that he could be loved for what he was, completely. What he needed all along was someone to restore his hope that even though he was in the sky, with love, that's just a heartbeat away."

    Seeing that she was once more getting the blank stare from those baby blues, she sighed. "Never mind. I'll keep the geek facts to a minimum and you work on the words on the first two pages and maybe we'll get out of here before Christmas becomes New Year's."

    Grateful to have the mind-numbing work to keep his own thoughts at bay, Clark worked diligently through the words, stopping occasionally to cross-reference the lists she had given him. The roar of the basement as people bustled through to their own work also helped keep him from dwelling on the dilemma he couldn't tell his best friend.

    "And there was one that she would tell us about the Abendstern."

    His curiosity getting the better of him, he asked, careful not to put too much interest in his voice, "Chloe, have you ever heard of a German fairy tale about the 'Abendstern'?"

    She stopped what she was doing and said slowly, "No. Clark, did you come here to ask me about German fairy tales?"

    "No," He denied, shaking his head and went back to the crossword list. Looking back up, he said, "It's just that Lois told me that it was a story her mom told her when they were in Germany."

    "And what? You're looking for Christmas gift ideas or something?"

    Relieved that she had given him the perfect excuse, he nodded emphatically, "Yeah. You know how hard Lois is to shop for."

    She gave in with a shake of her head and pushed her work aside, "All right, I'll play elf to your Santa."

    "Thanks, Chloe." He smiled brightly at her.

    She shook her head, wishing for once that she was able to resist that Kent charm. After twenty minutes and three search engines, she turned back to her best friend, "Clark, you must have misunderstood her. There's no books with that story in it; in fact, there's no record of the story at all."

    "There's got to be some mistake." Getting up, he came and looked over her shoulder at the screen.

    "The only thing I could find was the translation. It means evening star. I'm telling you, Clark, there is no kind of story at all. Are you sure that you didn't get the name wrong?"

    "I'm sure."

    "Well," she said, puzzled at Clark's agitated behavior, "it's not like it's the only thing that you could get her for Christmas. I mean, the other day she was drooling over this foot massager. I'm sure that she'd love that."

    But Clark wasn't listening. He murmured to himself, "No, it has to be real. It was the whole reason that we-"

    Her eyebrows raised, "The whole reason what?"

    "I've got to go." He grabbed his red jacket and started for the door.

    Chloe watched his retreating form in frustration, "Sure, Clark, you go ahead, I'll just live here. Might as well look for a change of address form right now."

    There was a flurry of papers around her and for a wild moment, she wondered if Clark had sneezed again. Then she looked down at her desk and gasped. The paperwork was neatly stacked and sorted and the crossword section floated down with a sticky note on it.

    "Thanks for giving me the answer I needed. Merry Christmas, Chloe," she read aloud and smiled, shaking her head. "That's my hero."

    ~*~

    I'll try to post another update tonight and again tomorrow, until then enjoy and let me know what you think!

  2. #2
    Board Master rooting 4 clark's Avatar
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    Great start! I wonder what got Clark so riled up when Chloe told him what the German word translated to,hmmm? Also, nice work with Clark on the crossword puzzle,lol! PPMS!!

  3. #3
    Posting Pro larryvw1's Avatar
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    Great start sounds intriguing

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    Forum Whiz LightSeeker's Avatar
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    I can't wait to see where you are going with this. PPMS.

  5. #5
    Forum Whiz TaraLittle's Avatar
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    Souns Interesting!!!!
    Hmmm.... I wonder what happened between Clark & Lois??? PPMS!!!

  6. #6
    Forum Whiz Briee's Avatar
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    Originally posted by rooting 4 clark
    Great start! I wonder what got Clark so riled up when Chloe told him what the German word translated to,hmmm? Also, nice work with Clark on the crossword puzzle,lol! PPMS!!
    Thank you. As far as what's got Clark so riled, well, you'll have to wait and read to find out.


    Great start sounds intriguing
    Here's hoping the next part keeps you as intrigued!


    I can't wait to see where you are going with this. PPMS.
    Read below and a little more will be revealed!


    Souns Interesting!!!!
    Hmmm.... I wonder what happened between Clark & Lois??? PPMS!!!
    Well, I can't just tell you, that would ruin the surprise, but I can give you an update!








    Clark supersped back to the farm, a decision forming in his mind. Stopping once he'd reached the white picket fence, he hit the redial on his cell and waited for the voice mail to pick up. "Lois, it's me, we can't keep on like this. I know what we said, but it's not working. We have to talk. I want you to come by the farm tonight." It was similar to the other twenty messages that he'd been leaving for her for the last day, but now he added an incentive that he knew would have her returning his call, "Or I could call Chloe and talk to her about it."

    He shut the phone and walked into his house, knowing it would only be a matter of minutes before she called back. He came into the living room and hung up his coat, counting down, "Five, four, three, two, one."

    As if on cue, his cell began to ring. Smiling, he answered, "Hello."

    "I thought we agreed that we never needed to mention that again," came the panicked reply through the phone.

    "We never agreed to it, you just said that we should." It was so easy to fall into the old habit of arguing with her.

    Her own exasperated sigh made him shake his head. "That's because it's the right thing to do. What do you think talking about it will do? Change it? Turn back time?"

    He sighed this time. "Listen, Lois, I just want to talk."

    "We tried that."

    "No, we tried arguing, and blaming and pretending that it never happened. We can't even be around each other now. Do you really want to stay like that for the rest of our lives?"

    "No," the first sounds of regret came through her voice, "but I don't think we can just get together and exchange Christmas presents and act like it never happened. Too much has changed, Clark."

    "I know," he answered quietly, "please, Lois, I just want to talk to you. If we can't work things out, we won't mention it, I promise."

    He could hear her hesitating and thought she was going to refuse, but then she said softly, "Okay. Tonight."

    "Tonight," he echoed and hung up. At least she was willing to try to talk about it now. That was more than he had gotten the last time he had tried to talk to her.

    Clark stared at the door with the pale blue paint, discovering to his shock that his hand was trembling as he knocked on it. Not waiting for an answer, afraid that she wouldn't open it once she knew it was him, he opened it, and stopped when he saw her standing at the counter, staring back at him in shock. "Hey."

    "Hey," he answered back.

    "So, uh, awkward, huh?" She knew that she was babbling, but she couldn't stop herself. It was the first time they'd seen each other since it had happened, but she knew he would come looking for her, he had promised her that he would. She kept talking, afraid that if she stopped the silence would be filled with what had happened between them or worse that he would say things that should be left unsaid. "I mean, not awkward as in we'll never get through this and have to avoid being in the same room for the rest of our lives. Just awkward as in we need a little time-"

    "I told Lana," he interrupted.

    Her words stuck in her throat, choking her, "Wha- what- why would you do that?"

    "Because she needed to know."

    "She needed to know or you needed not to feel guilty anymore?" She challenged, knowing Clark's penchant for guilt.

    "It was the right thing to do," he insisted quietly and saw her shoulders slump. He moved closer to her, wanting to offer comfort, but she backed away from him.

    "What happened?"

    "We talked. I told her everything. We agreed that we need some time apart. That if other things hadn't been wrong first, then this never would have happened. She's going to stay with her aunt in Metropolis for a while." He said the words matter-of-factly, pushing back the pain he felt that he had hurt her and once more messed up his life.

    "I'm sorry, Clark," Lois said, approaching him for the first time. He could see her sympathy and her regret. "This is my fault. I should have never brought that to your house."

    She seemed to regain her momentum and began pacing the length of her apartment. "I still can't believe that we- that I," she stopped abruptly. "The eggnog, there had to be something in the eggnog, that's it. We'll go find out who was selling it and then we'll know that what happened wasn't us."

    She was already heading for the door when Clark grabbed her arm to stop her. They both froze at the contact and his hand dropped awkwardly from hers, "I already thought of that."

    "What was it? Another nut job trying to get spread a little love at the holidays?" She guessed eagerly, warming to the idea. This hadn't been their fault at all, it was just more of the weirdness of Smallville. "I swear, I am never going to buy anything from a Smallville fair, carnival, or festival again! Small town hospitality, my as-"

    "Lois!" He shouted, stopping her tirade, "I went yesterday after you...left. I found out who makes it, she gave the recipe to me. There's nothing in the eggnog except for some extremely strong alcohol and a few, decorative flakes of meteor rocks."

    "Meteor rocks?" She latched onto that, not willing to give up her theory just yet. "Chloe has always said that the meteor rocks were responsible for all the weirdness in Smallville, maybe this-"

    "Lois, there wasn't enough there to affect either of us," he finally admitted to both her and himself. The small amount of Kryptonite in it hadn't been able to take control. "All that eggnog did was lower our guard, what we did, we did because we wanted to."

    The quiet hung in the room and their gazes darted from each other to the room.

    "Then it was a fluke," Lois spluttered, unable to think that it could have been anymore than that, "Just- just a moment that got out of control, that's all."

    "A moment that got out of control, that's it?" He asked, his jaw setting stubbornly.

    She nodded, relieved that he seemed to be accepting what she was saying, "Exactly. It was just a moment of weakness. I just got dumped, you said yourself that you were having problems with Lana, we just made a mistake."

    A mistake, that's what she thought of that night, nothing but a mistake that Lois Lane would shrug off and never be bothered by again, and the arguments he had died inside him. He was finally ready to start dealing with his life and his consequences and now Lois was the one who wanted to hide. "And what do we do about that night?"

    "Pretend it never happened," she whispered, shaking her head, "and never talk about it again." She went past him, leaving him in her apartment, lost once more.


    ~*~

    That had been yesterday and Lois didn't think that she had stayed in the same place for more than fifteen minutes since. She was terrified that he would catch up with her and try to talk to her. She didn't want to talk about it. She was terrified to let herself remember that night. Didn't he realize that there was nothing that could undo what they had done? Talking about it would only lead to more arguments. It was better to leave it alone until they were able to forget it.

    She listened to the bells ringing and took a sip of her coffee, relaxing for a moment on the city bench she was sitting on.

    She had gone like a crazy woman around Metropolis this morning, dragging Jimmy along with her and getting more inane quotes from the different Santas and more pictures than anyone could have ever wanted. Anything to keep from going back to the Planet and having to sit across from Chloe and pretend that everything was fine. Jimmy had kept up with her until she'd suggested that they could get a picture of every Santa with the Salvation Army and then pick the picture that was the best then he had asked her if she was planning on dragging him up to the North Pole next to try to capture the original. She'd finally relented then and sent him back to the Planet. It was after he left that she'd gotten Clark's latest voice mail, assuring her that he would go to Chloe if she didn't call him back. The rat.

    He'd know that she would call. There was no way that she could face Chloe knowing that she knew. Lois realized that eventually Chloe would find out, either Lana or Clark would confide in her, but every moment that she could delay the Spanish Inquisition that her cousin would put her through the better. She would want to know why and what Lois was going to do now and how she felt about it.

    It was a mistake. That was the mantra she had kept repeating since she'd woken up yesterday. She wouldn't let herself think about it all, just that it was a mistake. She'd known that from the first. But even knowing that they would regret it hadn't been enough to stop her or to make her leave.

    ~*~

    Lois watched the fire burning, the only light in the darkened living room except for the Christmas tree. She felt so warm and safe, the confusion of life melting away for now, lulled into warmth by the fire in front of her and the heat of the body behind her. And speaking of the body behind her, she thought, smiling as she felt his lips trail kisses across the ball of her shoulder and up her neck. "We are so going to regret this tomorrow."

    "Probably," he agreed, nuzzling the sensitive skin behind her ear, and was rewarded when she arched, pressing herself fully against him. His smile was wicked against her skin.

    She closed her eyes, as the now familiar but still new sensations flooded through her. She'd never thought it could be like this, not with him. It took all she had to offer half-heartedly, "I should go."

    She was so tired and warm and never wanted to move from his arms again. She'd never felt anything that felt so right before, but reason was beginning to snip at the edges of the alcohol and the orgasmic glow and she was sure she didn't want to be around Clark when both faded.

    He pulled back, leaning up on his elbow and she moaned softly in protest. His hand came up and brushed her bangs back from her forehead. "Don't leave. Just for tonight, stay with me."

    She turned her head and kissed his palm, and promised. "Okay, I'll stay."

    Nodding, he pulled her back against him, needing to feel every inch of her skin that he could. Wrapping the blanket more securely around her, he looked down to see her eyelids fluttering shut. "Sleep," he said, laying his chin against her head, wondering if she'd noticed that the blanket they were wrapped up in was the one she'd given him when she'd found him on the side of the road three years ago.

    "Lois?"

    "Hmm?" It was more of a sound than an answer, but he would take what he could get.

    "I won't regret tonight."

    A soft murmuring had greeted his ears as she gave in to sleep and he watched Lois mumble in her dreams, unable to keep quiet even then. He smiled, this thumb tracing a path across her bottom lip and promised, "I won't regret it."


    ~*~

    I'll update again tomorrow morning. In the meantime, share your thoughts!

  7. #7
    Forum Whiz LightSeeker's Avatar
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    That was absolutely amazing!! It was so beautiful and sweet! *sighs*
    If only Lois would stop saying that it was all a mistake and tell Clark how she really feels. I can't wait to see what happens when Lois meets Clark at the farm. PPMS!!

  8. #8
    Forum Whiz TaraLittle's Avatar
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    That was great!!!
    This is really good for your first smut story!!!
    How could you stop there!!??
    I can't wait to see what happens next!!!
    PPMS!!!

  9. #9
    Forum Whiz megsy's Avatar
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    Awesome! PPMS!!!

  10. #10
    Board Master rooting 4 clark's Avatar
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    Loved this part! The way Lois doesn't want to face Chloe and how Lois and Clark said they wouldn't regret it in the flashback. PPMS!!

  11. #11
    Forum Whiz Briee's Avatar
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    Originally posted by LightSeeker
    That was absolutely amazing!! It was so beautiful and sweet! *sighs*
    If only Lois would stop saying that it was all a mistake and tell Clark how she really feels. I can't wait to see what happens when Lois meets Clark at the farm. PPMS!!
    Lois is afraid, terrified even. Clark is her best friend and to change that relationship is the scariest thing that she could imagine. I'm glad that you liked that part. Like I said, I was unsure about this story, but that part I actually liked writing. As far as when Lois meets Clark at the farm....well, we have to get something out of the way first. Read on....


    That was great!!!
    This is really good for your first smut story!!!
    How could you stop there!!??
    I can't wait to see what happens next!!!
    PPMS!!!
    LOL, thank you. I have to say, I'm horrible at writing smut. I have a hard time making it sound realistic, but I'm glad that you liked it. And I promise (good or bad) there will be more smut coming up, but unfortunately there's something we haven't dealt with yet...Lana.


    Awesome! PPMS!!!
    Thank you!


    Loved this part! The way Lois doesn't want to face Chloe and how Lois and Clark said they wouldn't regret it in the flashback. PPMS!!
    The flashback was fun to write, I'm glad that you liked that part!

    And now another update!!!





    But tonight had ended all too soon and the world of reason had returned with a vengence.

    The morning light had come streaming in the living room windows, a shaft of weak winter sunshine hitting her in the face, stealing her from the last of her dreams, in more ways than she realized. She stirred, irritated by the disturbance to her sleep. Consciousness never came easy to Lois. She kept her eyes closed, turning her head into the pillow, not ready for Chloe's disgustingly cheery voice reminding her that the newspapers didn't stop printing just because it was early.

    "Ugh," she said, deciding that she could be late today, she didn't care. After yesterday, she'd earned it.

    An arm tightened around her waist, pulling her closer to the body behind her that was giving off heat like a furnace and her eyes popped open, immediately slamming shut again at the overbright light.

    "What is it?" The sleep-roughened voice in her ear sent waves of panic and awareness through her.

    "Oh, no." It was a dream, just a alcohol dream out of an eggnog bottle, it had to be.

    "Lois?" Concerned now, Clark sat up looking down at Lois, who was shaking her head and mouthing "it's a dream" over and over again. Smiling, he kissed her shoulder, looking forward to introducing her to reality. "It's not a dream."

    Jerking away from Clark, she stumbled out of the tangle of blankets and limbs, landing naked on Martha Kent's living room rug. Seeing Clark's appreciative smile as it ran over her form, she screeched and grabbed the first thing she could find, which turned out to be a sock. Throwing it down, she snagged the flannel that was in a pile of their clothes beside her on the floor. With the shirt wrapped firmly around her, she felt a little more in control.

    If it had been any other situation, she would have laughed at the look on Clark's face, his lower lip stuck out, like a little boy who'd been denied a treat. "Why don't you come back to bed?" He patted the couch cushion.

    "You're still drunk," she accused, a lingering headache testifying that she'd more than she should have, and searched for her underwear, which she found hiding under his jeans. "I can't believe I did this. I can't believe we did this."

    He stood up and she gulped, her eyes traveling down his naked body as he moved towards her. Before he could come any closer, she shoved his jeans at him, "Here. Put these on."

    Seeing that reasoning with Lois was out of the question, he put on his pants. "Lois, what's wrong?"

    Unable to meet his gaze as they pulled on their clothes, she looked around the room. The Christmas lights which has seemed so beautiful and hopeful last night, looked garish in the light of day. The fire, which has been burning high in the fireplace had turned to ash, leaving not one ember burning. The decorative glass bottle and the two empty glasses were the damning statement the room seemed to offer as why its picturesque scene had been mutated. Night was gone and the dream of whatever there was then was over.

    When she heard the zipper she turned to face him, but half-naked Clark wasn't any easier to resist. Unwillingly, her eyes traveled the length of his torso, watching the muscles of his stomach contract with every breath he took. "Lois?"

    "I can't deal with this right now." She headed for the door but he was there beside her before she could get to it.

    "Don't go."

    Lois looked up at him helplessly. Didn't he realize what they had done, what they had ruined? It was over. The best friendship she'd had in her life, gone with one reckless night. Things would change now; everything would be different. "I can't, not right now."

    Shocked at the anguished look on her face, he stepped back allowing her to pass him. She had opened the door wide when he told her, "I will come after you."

    "I know," she said, not daring to look back at him. She knew that he would give her time, and then he would want to talk. But she couldn't, not now. Running down the steps, she got into her car.

    He supersped up to the loft, not caring at that moment if she saw or not, and watched as the car spun out, the driver speeding as if somone were chasing her. Some thing was chasing her, he conceeded, what they had done last night. That was what had sent her running from his arms this morning.

    Frustrated he turned and picked up the stapler off his desk, throwing it across the loft. It bounced off the shelf with a resounding crack and all of the shelves collapsed on each other, causing him to sigh angrily. He walked over to the mess, not sure if he was going to clean it up or throw it out the loft window, when a familiar acid-like pain brought him to his knees. The radioactive pieces of his home world glowed at him and the warmth that he'd been feeling since last night vanished, along with any other feeling in his body.

    Slowly, he crawled towards it, the skin of his fingers becoming translucent and the veins becoming a bright, poisonous green. He shut the lid to the lead box, and collapsed beside it, drawing in huge cleansing breaths as his body recovered from its attack. But as his senses returned to normal, so did his memory of last night, and now there was no comforting warmth to sooth over his doubts and he slid back onto his heels, running a rough hand across his face. "Oh, my God."

    Walking back into the farmhouse, that still smelled of eggnog and...sex, he admitted, feeling the heat rising in his face, he looked around the room for what could have caused it. His search lead him to the glass bottle and a red flake inside it caught his attention. As he got closer, he recognized the very faint warm feeling for what it was, a weak reaction to red kryptonite. Closing his eyes, he backed away. A car door slamming shut caught his attention and he heard a familiar light voice.

    "No, Nell, I made it back fine, the roads were cleared. I didn't have any problems."

    Lana.

    ****.

    He hadn't even thought of her, not until this very moment. Doing the fastest super clean-up he could, he cleaned the entire living room, leaving the red blanket in the trunk in his loft and hiding the eggnog under the sink.

    Lana walked into the kitchen, a happy smile on her face. "I expected you to be up and gone already. Did you sleep in?"

    He winced a little, "Not exactly."

    She came towards him with her arms outstretched. "I know it was only one night, but I missed you so much."

    It felt wrong. The way his knees had to bend to brush a light and awkward kiss across her lips. The arms that wrapped around him felt too slender, girlish. And the sweet smell of vanilla was almost too much, making him yearn for a cooler melon scent. He pulled away.

    She looked puzzled, "Is there something wrong, Clark?"

    "No, there- there's just something I have to check on in town."

    Lana laughed, "Not that the female population of Smallville wouldn't appreciate it, but you might want to put on a shirt first."

    Looking down, he realized that he was still barefoot and shirtless, he smiled weakly and supersped upstairs, taking a quick shower. When he came back down, she was making breakfast. "Want some?"

    "No, I have to go. I'll be back soon."

    Because she looked confused and because he knew she expected it, he leaned down and quickly kissed her. Straightening, he grabbed his truck keys off the counter and drove to the Talon.

    He walked inside, scanning cautiously for any signs of Lois. He had to know for sure before he could even think about what he- she- they had done. He found a bulletin board which had a list of people setting up booth's for the Winter Festival. At the bottom of it he found Ruth June who was listed as having homemade eggnog to sell.

    Clark cast one last look upstairs and then went down to the florist shop. Ruth was the woman who had bought the store from Nell when she'd sold it. Whatever he'd been expecting the person behind the counter wasn't it. She looked like a grandmother out of a children's story. She didn't seem the type to mix up love cocktails or drug the masses for her own dark purposes, but this was Smallville and stranger things had happened. Approaching her, he asked, "Ruth June?"

    She looked up. "Can I help you, young man?"

    "Yes, my, uh, friend got a bottle of your eggnog the other day and I was wondering if you could tell me what was in it."

    She laughed, sounding like a scolding Kingerdarten teacher, "Now, you wouldn't want me to give my secret recipe away, would you?"

    He tried a different track, "Well, it's just that my mom is coming in for Christmas and I know that she would want the recipe. It's the best that I've ever had."

    "Who's your parents?"

    "Martha and Jonathan Kent."

    "Oh, my," an aged hand fluttered to her chest and she looked at him with sorrowful eyes, "I knew your parents. Your father used to come in here all the time when Nell still owned the store, buying tulips for your mother. I never saw a couple more in love than the two of them. I was so sorry that he passed away."

    Clark nodded the sadness that never quite left him, squeezing at his heart.

    The older woman wiped at her eyes. "Well, I think someone who represents the state of Kansas can be trusted with my recipe." She took a small notepad out and wrote it down, and gave it to him.

    His eyes widened at the amount of alcohol used. "Wow, that, uh, must make it pretty strong."

    She laughed, a mischevious glint in her eyes. "Well, it is the time to celebrate."

    "What about the red flakes in it?"

    "Oh, those are just a few little bits of red meteorites. I never use more than a pinch for an entire bottle, don't want to make people sick, now do we?"

    He shook his head and left the shop, his gaze going once more to the apartment over the Talon. Unable to face the ramifications of what had happened, he turned and got into his truck.

    He went straight up his loft and pulled the red blanket from the trunk. Unable to stop himself, he leaned in, breathing in the scent of Lois's perfume which still clung to the blanket. For a moment he allowed himself to remember everything free of guilt. The way her legs had wrapped around him, the taste of her kiss, the softness of her skin under his hands. Swallowing hard, he stuffed the blanket back into the trunk and shut the lid. He turned, going down the stairs and resolved not to think about it. Not yet, not until he could come up with something to make this better.

    But for the rest of the day he avoided Lana, feeling guilty for what he had done, and for the fact that he couldn't stand to be near her. Every accidental brush felt like a mistake. Every smile felt so forced. And everytime he looked at her, the words echoed inside his head.

    I slept with Lois.

    "I slept with Lois." The words that had thundered inside his head came out so quietly that he wondered if he had actually spoken them at all. But the look on Lana's face told him he had.

    She just stared at him, disbelieving, with large striken eyes.

    "She came by last night with a bottle of eggnog. There were pieces of red kryptonite in it," he tried to explain, failing miserably.

    Lana's voice trembled with hate. "She planned this?"

    "No, no, Lois doesn't know about kryptonite. She just bought it at the Festival and came by. We had a few glasses and then things got out of control." He ended, looking down at his hands.

    "I thought that the reason that we couldn't be together was that you were afraid you couldn't control your powers. Or was that just an excuse?"

    "No, it was the truth, Lana. But when I'm on that I don't have any boundaries." The explanation sounded weak to his ears. No, he sounded weak.

    "How could you do this to me? After everything that I've gone through for you? How could you just throw it all away like that?" Her angry words cut at him but he made no attempt to defend himself. He had no defense.

    She turned her head, making no attempt to hide the angry tears of betrayal flowing from her eyes. "I don't know what to do here, Clark. Maybe it would be better if we weren't together right now." She turned her head, waiting for him to beg her to forgive him for what he had done, but he only looked down at the ground. "I think I should go stay at Nell's."

    It was on the tip of his tongue to deny it, to tell her that his feelings had never entered into it. That the betrayal that she felt wasn't his fault, it was just a horrible reaction to a drug, but out of nowhere his mother's voice rang in his head.

    "Every time you've been affected by red kryptonite it hasn't changed who you are; it's just stripped away your inhibitions. I think you need to start being more honest about how you feel."

    "So you're saying that I want to kiss Lois?"


    He'd wanted to do more than that. He had wanted her to help find himself again. Find the part of him that he had pushed away and bring it to the light. He'd wanted her to help him learn to accept himself, completely. At every touch he had wanted more. Every kiss, every sigh, he had collected as proof that he was accepted.

    "He never needed acceptance from others, Clark. He had it. He'd just given up hope in himself that he could be loved for what he was, completely. "

    With a resolute nod, he realized it was time that he was honest with himself and Lana. "I think that's a good idea."

    She raised her wide, hurting eyes to his, whispering, "What?"

    "The thing about red kryptonite, Lana," he said, his voice firm despite the slight tremor he could feel in his body, "it never makes me do what I don't want to do. It's been the driving force behind a lot of bad decisions in my life, but the reasons I did those things were always mine."

    "What are you saying?" She looked as afraid as he felt.

    He steeled himself to say the words that would hurt her. "I'm saying that I wanted to kiss Lois."

    She looked as though he'd slapped her.

    "I'm saying that if everything between us was as perfect as we tried to make it be, then this never would have happened."

    "So, this is my fault?" She asked angrily.

    "No, it's not. It's mine." He clenched his jaw and inhaled, "Lois didn't make the first move, I did. And if all the doubts that I've been denying weren't there, it wouldn't have happened. I would have left her and gone looking for you. It shouldn't have been so easy."

    "It was easy?" Lana drew back from him as though his words were causing her physical pain.

    He moved toward her, this girl that he'd never meant to hurt; that until last night, he had never realized he didn't love like she deserved, and like he deserved.

    She shook her head, holding out a hand, "No."

    "I'm sorry." He ached to hold her, to undo the hurt he had caused. "I never meant for-"

    "But you did," her accustory words were the only things left between them and he nodded, accepting his actions, no longer able to run away.

    "I did."

    She turned, a deathgrip on the counter, her shoulders shaking slightly. The misery he felt inside swamped him, miring with the millions of other emotions that were going through him. He waited until she made her move. He had said what he had to, he would take whatever she gave.

    "I think it's better that we don't tell anyone about-- about what's happened until after the holidays," her voice was thick with tears. "I don't want to face them yet."

    "Okay," he agreed.

    She shot him a look, as though she couldn't believe how easy he was giving in and he couldn't resist the urge to try to apologize again.

    "I'm sorry, Lana, I never meant for this to happen. I never thought in a million years that it would." Even if he had realized how attracted to Lois he was, he never would have done anything about it while he was with Lana. He never would have crossed that line and hurt her like this intentionally.

    "I know," she said, remorse in her tone, "that's what makes it harder. When you're exposed to that, you reach for what you really want. Before, that was always me. This time it wasn't and that says more about how you felt than anything."

    He couldn't watch as she turned and walked up the stairs to pack, he could only sit on the couch where his life had changed only yesterday and forbid his mind to think of anything. At the sound of her footfalls descending, he looked up to see her carrying two small suitcases.

    "That's it," she said, sounding lost, "I thought there would have been more."

    Having no clue what he could say to make it better, he stood there in helpless silence.

    She walked to the door, but her hand hesitated on the knob. "Clark, how do you feel about Lois?"

    Panic swept through him, he didn't know how much more they could take. "I don't know."

    She turned around, disbelief on her face, "You don't expect me to believe that, do you?"

    "Honestly? I don't know whether it matters what I want or not. As far as what I...feel, confused. I'm confused."

    A sad smile tilted the corner of her mouth, "It's been a long time since I felt confused over anyone like that. It feels like such a long time ago when we were confused over emotions, not secrets," her ragged breath told him how fragile her control was, "I wonder what happened to it."

    "I don't know." They had bent the simpleness of their love with secrets and lies, each adding to the pile until the love they had once shared was so discolored by it that it wasn't the same. He had a hard time remembering if he had ever felt confused over Lana. It seemed to him that he had always loved Lana, and now he wasn't sure what there was.

    "Me, either." Her voice was as soft as he had ever heard it. "Goodbye, Clark."

    He could only stand there while his first love walked forever away from that part of his life.

    ~*~

  12. #12
    Forum Whiz TaraLittle's Avatar
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    Great update!!!
    I do feel sorry for Lana, but I think there is a little part of her that understands.
    Poor Lois is scared that the whole friendship with Clark is going to change.
    PPMS!!!!

  13. #13
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    great update, love how you are sorta writing this story almost backwards, giving us the ending and working your way up to that point. Its an interesting way to write

  14. #14
    Posting Pro larryvw1's Avatar
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    Very nice, great update , yes most intriguing

  15. #15
    Forum Whiz Briee's Avatar
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    Originally posted by TaraLittle
    Great update!!!
    I do feel sorry for Lana, but I think there is a little part of her that understands.
    Poor Lois is scared that the whole friendship with Clark is going to change.
    PPMS!!!!
    Thank you. Yeah, I didn't want it to be a childish or dramatic break-up. I wanted it to be very clean, and very grown-up. Let the end be what their relationship wasn't--honest. And yeah, Lois is scared, but is there anything more convincing then a determined Clark Kent? LOL


    great update, love how you are sorta writing this story almost backwards, giving us the ending and working your way up to that point. Its an interesting way to write
    Thank you. I like writing like that (not for every story, of course) but it's fun for me and I hope fun for you guys to read. (I've always like movies like that and wanted to try it.)


    Very nice, great update , yes most intriguing
    Thanks, larry, I'm glad that you like it.


    Okay, everyone, I was going to break this up and post half tonight and half tomorrow, but I decided that as a late Christmas/early New Year's gift, that I would post everything together. It's been fun for me to write and I hope everyone has enjoyed reading it.

    And now here is the end--



    He'd waited until the next day to go and see Lois, but it hadn't done him any good. Their roles had switched. Now he was the one who wanted to face everything head on and she was the one who wanted to hide everything. The clock on the mantle shook him from his thoughts as it chimed the arrival of eight o'clock. Clark sighed, it was Christmas Eve and he was alone. His mom's plane wasn't going to come in until tomorrow and Chloe was spending tonight with her dad. He wondered whether or not Lois was really coming tonight. She had said that she would, but he didn't know which fear would be more deciding, the fear of Chloe finding out or the fear of facing him. He shook his head; he never thought Lois Lane could be intimidated by him.

    There was a knock at the door and he went to answer it. There was Lois with a couple of packages in her hands, one that looked like-

    "Uh, yeah," she awkwardly handed him the red and gold flannel, "your shirt. I thought that you might like it back."

    He accepted it without comment, the rapid beat of her heart telling him how nervous she really was. She walked inside, but wouldn't go into the living room, instead leaning against a post in the kitchen.

    The silence was suffocating and Lois knew that Clark would leave it up to her to take the lead. Squaring her shoulders, she jumped in, ready to have this over with, "So, uh, do you remember much? Anything? It's probably just a blur, right? It was the-"

    The corner of his mouth kicked up in a bittersweet smile, "Highlight of my life."

    She swallowed, they couldn't be that anymore, at least, not right now. They couldn't use teasing and friendship to pretend this away like they had done everything else. "Don't."

    "Okay." He nodded. "Everything. I remember everything."

    "Everything," she echoed. The problem was she remembered everything, too. And as she looked into those blue eyes, the memories they had fought against could be denied no longer.

    ~*~

    Clark came in the back door and saw the blinking light on the answering machine. He pressed the button on his way to the refridgerator. He reached for a drink when the sound of his girlfriend's voice stopped him.

    "Clark, it's started to snow pretty heavy here in Metropolis and Aunt Nell wants me to stay here tonight. I tried to tell her that you would have no problems coming to get me," he could hear the smile in her voice, "but she insisted. So, I'll stay here tonight and I'll see you in the morning."

    The machine beeped its ending and Clark looked down at the auburn dog that was wagging his tail at him. "Well, Shelby, it looks like it's just us for dinner tonight."

    He heard a whimper and looked back to see Shelby with a paw over his face. He rolled his eyes. "You've been spending too much time with Lois."

    The dog barked twice and wagged its tail. Clark shook his head and went back outside to get some wood for the fire. It was hours later, after the fire was burning bright and Clark and Shelby were parked on the couch, that the snowstorm that had hit Metropolis finally made its presence known in Smallville.

    Staring into the hypnotizing flames, somewhere between dreams and waking, it took him a few seconds to hear the knocking on the back door. Puzzled, he stood up and looked through the frosted pane. There, standing under the Christmas lights, was Lois.

    He opened the door to find her standing on his back porch, the dusting of white on her shoulders suggesting that she had stood outside in the snow for a while before she had decided to come up the steps and knock.

    He watched her swallow and smile nervously. "Hey."

    He braced his forearm against the door. "Hey."

    She lifted a glass bottle he hadn't noticed she held, "In the mood for a little holiday cheer?"

    Usually he would have questioned what she was doing here so late at his house, but there was a fragileness to her smile that she rarely had and the bottle trembled in her hands. He opened the door wide. "Actually, I was just thinking this is perfect weather for eggnog."

    He caught her smile of relief as she walked past him. "Yeah, well, this isn't your grandma's eggnog, Smallville. I was promised that this packs a punch."

    She set it on the counter and watched as he opened the cabinet and pulled down two glasses. She took a shaky breath and looked at the bottle she'd bought at the local Winter Festival or carnival or whatever it was, a few days ago. The bewildered older woman had been subjected to a complete inquisiton and had repeatedly assured Lois that there was nothing more to this eggnog than some rather stout alcohol and a few decorative red flakes. Finally convinced, she'd purchased the bottle, intending to surprise Grant with it as part of their Christmas celebration. But that was no longer a possiblity. Tears rose in her eyes at the very thought of him. Then she'd considered using it to toast the holidays and get a little saused with her cousin, but after Chloe's narrow escape from becoming Christmas confetti thanks to that bomb, she'd emerged holding Jimmy's hand and had asked Lois if she could bag on their plans, saying that they had a lot to talk about.

    Jimmy had announced that they could go back to his place to talk and Lois had waved them away, picking up the load of work on her desk to prove that she'd keep busy. But the minute they were gone, she'd thrown down the papers, snatched up her coat and left, unable to be there for even one more minute.

    So, she'd driven back to the tiny apartment she called hers and had sat outside in the car, watching people go in and out of the small coffee shop, all the couples, the families, the friends. Everyone smiling and laughing, secure that they had somewhere they belonged. She didn't. With a jerk, she'd started the car and without even realizing where she was going, she found herself turning into the driveway under the wooden sign that read "Kent Farm."

    She'd stood outside in the snow until her fingers were numb, watching the twinkling lights on the farmhouse. There, with the snowy night as a backdrop, it looked like something from a Christmas card and she had looked on in envy. Christmases like that didn't happen to her. If she had any sense, she would have left; instead, she found herself facing the back door.

    It had taken all the courage she'd had to knock.

    "Lois, are you coming?" Clark asked, one eyebrow raised.

    "Yeah," she said, clearing her throat and walking into the living room. The picturesque scene continued in here, a cheery fire crackled in the fireplace, the Christmas tree by the window with all its colored lights, and a blanket on the couch just perfect for snuggling--crap.

    Lana.

    She hadn't even thought about her, all she'd been able to think about was finding a place where she belong and hadn't remembered until now that her favorite farmboy was no longer flying solo.

    Clark watched as Lois froze in the middle of the room, then started swiveling her head around as though she were checking for leprechauns behind the sofa. Chuckling at her comic pose, he said, "If you're looking for Shelby, he's still in the kitchen."

    But it was panicked eyes that met his and he put down the glasses as she started to babble. "Clark, I didn't mean to interrupt your evening. You know what? We can do this another time. You and Lana probably have some pre-Christmas celebration going on. I mean, we've still got a few days before Christmas, right? And I-"

    "Lois," his hands landed on the glass bottle that she had a deathgrip on as he tried to her get to listen to him, "Lois! Lana is in Metropolis with her aunt tonight, it's just us."

    Her grip eased. "Oh," she said and they awkwardly sat down on the couch. Clark poured out two glasses and handed one to Lois.

    She took a deep sip and coughed, her eyes watering. She wheezed out, "Wow, that woman wasn't kidding. This stuff is stout."

    Not entirely sure what made him do it, he took a sip of the eggnog and smiled placidly at her. "You must be losing your touch, Lois. Being a reporter doesn't leave much time for heavy-lifting drinking, does it?"

    Her eyes narrowed at his clear challenge, but before she could respond he took another drink and coughed as she'd done before. "Are you all right?"

    Clark could feel a slight warmth spreading through him. Relaxing fully against the cushion, he replied, "Never better."

    Lois chuckled, "And you called me the lightweight?"

    But by the end of her first glass, the alcohol was making her head feel pleasantly fuzzy and it was only with the dimmest recollection that she realized she hadn't eaten anything since a stale bagel that morning. Oh, well, everyone was allowed to overindule a little at the holidays, right? She sighed, rolling the glass back and forth between her hands, "So, Smallville, how goes life?"

    "It's as close to perfect as I ever thought I'd get." The slight doubts and worries were ignored with a practised and almost unconscious ease.

    She watched him for a moment, and then, knowing it was the eggnog, but unable to stop herself, she asked something she normally would have decided was none of her business. "You know, for as long as I've known you, Smallville, you've held yourself apart from everyone. But at the same time, you've tried so hard to fit in, at school, with football. Why is it that now that you're living on the farm and given up any hope of doing something different, that you've deemed it so perfect?"

    "Because Lana's....here," he trailed off slowly, realizing how that sounded.

    She smirked affectionately, "Ever the romantic, huh?"

    She turned her gaze from him, taking another sip of the thick liquid, feeling the fumes coat her throat.

    Clark, too, took another sip, and again felt a strange trace of hit in his veins, one that made him forget why he had to hide everything that he really felt. "I just never felt like that, like I belonged, I mean. There was always this part of me that I couldn't share with the world."

    "And you wanted to."

    "Doesn't everyone want that?" He deflected.

    "Maybe," she conceeded. She stood up and went over to the tree, watching the lights flickering in the glass bulbs. There were homemade ornaments done with glitter and glue, there were ornaments made out of popsicle sticks and bearing inscriptions like, "Clark, 1st Grade," and then one caught her eye. It was clear glass, and looked so thin and fragile that it was almost as if the frosted scrolling hearts rested on air alone.

    Clark came to stand beside her, following her line of sight to the ornament. "My dad got that for my mom a long time ago."

    "It's beautiful." Her fingers itched to touch it, just to see if she would really find the resistance of glass. She shook her head, laughing lightly, "I think I'm getting a little buzzed."

    She closed her eyes and sighed, and caught the faintest tinkling of bells, as though from a dream. "Do you hear that?"

    "What?"

    "That sound, there," she pointed at the tree as she heard it again and realized what it was. "It's the Christmas lights."

    Clark wondered if Lois was more than just tipsy, "I don't hear anything, Lois."

    "Close your eyes," she commanded.

    He sighed, but complied. After a moment, her hand slipped in his and he jerked at the unexpected contact. They didn't touch. That was their unwritten rule, they stayed out of each other's personal space. Her hand contracted on his and he forgot why they'd decided that in the first place.

    "There, did you hear it?"

    "No." He'd been too busy thinking about her palm against his that he'd missed it. He heard her irritated sigh and smiled to himself, intentional or not, it was always good to get under Lois's skin.

    "Try again," she said crossly. There was a heartbeat's moment and then her hand squeezed his and this time, he heard it. So small that it sounded like the tinniest bells ringing.

    "I hear it," he said, opening his eyes, "I guess it's always been there, but I'd never noticed it before."

    She watched the tree with all its flickering colors. "That tiny pop of electricity that lights up the world for just a moment." She turned to face him and realized how close they were. Her eyes flickered to his mouth, then back up to his eyes and she forced a laugh, stepping back. "I guess the holidays turn me into Robert Frost."

    She backed away and went to the couch. He moved over to the fireplace and stoked the fire, adding another log, giving an extra layer of warmth and light to the room. Lois smiled, that was Smallville, always trying to take care of everyone. She poured them both another small glass and handed it to him when he came to sit next to her.

    She studied him for a few moments, the light from the fire playing across his features. There were times, not that she would admit to it, of course, when she saw what everyone else saw in him. The great body and gorgeous face, but the thing that appealed to her most was his goodness. People didn't come like that anymore. Everyone had an angle, did what they did because they would get something out of it. But Clark, with all his small town values, didn't. He wanted to help. And though she was the biggest adovactor of letting people live their lives the way they wanted, she wanted to help him.

    "You know, Smallville, when my mom was alive we moved around a lot and Lucy hated it. So, she tried to turn it into an adventure. You know, exploring the parts of the world the General was stationed at and things like that. And one of the things she would do was learn the local legends, like fairy tales, folk stories, and she would tell them to us when she tucked us in at night."

    Clark settled back against the couch, the sound of Lois's voice oddly soothing.

    "And there was one that she would tell us about the Abendstern."

    "What's the Abern-"

    "Abendstern," she corrected, smiling at him, "it means 'evening star.' In the story, the Abendstern sits high up in the sky, looking down at the earth. He was one of the brightest stars in the sky, and people all over the earth counted on his light to guide them through the night. The longer the Abendstern looked, the more he grew to love the people he watched over. But still, the star was unhappy."

    "Because he was separated from them," Clark guessed.

    "Yeah, for as many wishes that had been wished on the star, he had always had only one: he wanted to be part of the world he watched over. He felt alone and separated from those he cared about. Eventually, his wish became so big that he was able to fling himself from the sky. But as he came closer to the thing he wanted, he felt himself begin to change. The light that he had provided for so long to so many began to fade, and he fell to earth."

    "So he got what he wanted," he said, thinking of his own situation and the almost happiness that he had.

    "No, he didn't. He wasn't a star anymore but he still wasn't a human, either. But most importantly, he didn't realize what he already had. He never knew that even though he was separated by differences, he had always belonged because he was loved. He never needed acceptance from others, Clark. He had it. He'd just given up hope in himself that he could be loved for what he was, completely. What he needed all along was someone to restore his hope that even though he was in the sky, with love, that's just a heartbeat away."

    There had been moments, since the very first day he had met her, that he had thought of what kissing her would be like. He'd kissed her in disguise, he'd kissed her when she wasn't herself, but he had never been able to see just Clark Kent kissing Lois Lane. He'd thought it would be so difficult, so impossible, and it turned out that it was so simple: all he had to do was lean forward. Lulled by the warmth inside him at her words, he softly brushed his lips against hers. A gentle meeting of lips to express his gratitude for her acceptance. That was all it was meant to be. But at the first taste of her kiss, he found himself wanting more. His hand pushed back the strands of hair that had escaped her bun, cupping her face.

    He was once more transported to a rainy alley, only this time there was no flashes of camera light, no confining leather preventing him from holding her as close as he wanted to, no interruptions. Just the sweet oblivion of her lips.

    Lois felt like she was drowning in a million different sensations as his mouth moved over hers teasing, tasting. She had known he was going to kiss her but she couldn't make herself brake this moment. In her mind she could picture them, like shattered mirrors, little moments that had had such possibility that she had carelessly broken in her fear. But not this one. This one she would take and see where it would lead her. There were reasons, she knew, that they shouldn't do what they were doing, but the alcohol had wiped them away, blurring everything but this moment.

    Her mouth opened under his and their tongues touched and teased, battling gently until Lois broke away, gasping for breath. Clark's chest heaved under her cheek and she noticed distractedly that her hair had been released from its clips and she was halfway in his lap. She looked up into those deep blue eyes, wondering what he was thinking when he smiled at her and tipped her head back with his hand, guiding her mouth back to his. Eagerly she met him halfway, his kiss like an addiction she had no desire to be without. She could feel the play of his muscles under his shirt and impatient to feel his skin against her own, she brought his hand to the buttons on her blazer, and set to work on his shirt.

    Their clothes seemed to melt away, her shirt sliding from her shoulders to find a new home on the floor, the buttons of his flannel shirt slipping easily from their fastenings as though giving their consent to what was happening. At the sight of her black lace bra, he swallowed, hesitating for the first time. "Lois-"

    "No," she stopped him with a quick kiss to his lips, then took her time, kissing the line of his jaw, the column of his throat, teasing the corner of his lips with her tongue, driving him as crazy as she felt. She wanted to be wild and reckless; for once, she wanted to be as reckless with her body as she had been with her heart. "No more thinking."

    He turned his head, trying to kiss her, but she dodged him, laughing softly. He growled low in his throat, his hands cupping her face, his lips capturing hers in a deep kiss. Groaning, she shifted, bringing her leg over him, settling herself in his lap. Feeling his erection under her thigh she smiled wickedly, "Is that a yule log in your pants or are you just happy to see me?"

    Clark, his frustration building, didn't know whether to laugh or strangle her, so instead he rolled his hips up into hers, enjoying the sense of power he had as Lois's eyes drifted shut with a moan and she moved her hips to meet his. He whispered against her throat, "I am very happy to see you."

    His hands inched up the black dress pants she wore, across her lower back up to the back of her bra, fumbling with the clasp until it released. Impatiently sliding it off her shoulders, he threw it down, and cupped her breasts. Gently he kneaded the satiny skin, careful to watch for any signs that he was hurting her. But there was nothing but pleasure on her face, and he relaxed, becoming bolder with his touches.

    Lois gasped at the heat of his hands against her skin. But it wasn't enough, as good as it felt, she bit her lip as his thumb flicked across her nipple, she wanted more. Threading her fingers through his hair, she guided his mouth to her. At the feeling of his mouth suckling lightly at her breasts, her hips began to move against his, matching the rhythm he set. The friction of her grinding against him was more than he could handle and he was afraid if she didn't stop, he would come right then. Grabbing her hips, he stopped her movements, dropping his head against her breasts.

    "Too much?" She questioned and watched his dark head nod. Pushing at his shoulders, she shifted until he was against the back of the couch. Watching the muscles in his stomach contract with every breath as he tried to get himself under control, she felt the tug of desire deep inside. Instanteous attraction was something that had happened few times in her life, and the first time was in a corn field nearly three years ago.

    And after all this time, finally, she didn't have to hide it anymore. Lightly her fingers traced the dips and curves of the muscles in his arms. Such strong arms that held her so gently, that lead to those broad shoulders that always seemed to carry the weight of the world on them. Leaning forward, ignoring his sharp intake of breath as her breasts brushed his chest, she pressed a kiss to those shoulders, holding him close for a moment, then returning to her exploration. She bent and kissed the flat brown nipples, using her tongue to draw circles around them until they beaded.

    His hands reached for her, but she pushed them away, shaking her head. Nodding once, he dropped his head back against the cushion, trying to keep a tight hold on his control. He couldn't afford to lose it, he couldn't take the chance that he could hurt Lois.

    Satisified that he wasn't going to reach for her again, she slipped off his lap and kneeled between his knees. Her fingers played lightly on his stomach, loving how the muscles contracted beneath her hands. Dipping her head, she licked a circle around his belly button and left a trail of open mouthed kisses down to his belt. Suddenly the world tilted as he dragged her back into his arms, shifting them so that they were laying on the couch. His mouth latched on to hers with a ferocity that left her gasping, her arms circling him, her nails digging into his back. When the kiss ended, she asked breathlessly, "Too much?"

    "Not enough," he murmured against her mouth. Clark's hands went to her hips and found the zipper, and she worked hers between them, searching for his belt. Soon, the rug was decorated with the rest of their clothing.

    He watched as a rainbow of colors danced across her skin from the flickering Christmas lights and he found himself wanting to kiss every single inch that the lights touched. Never moving his eyes from her face, his hand glided over her body and dipped down between her thighs. Her head lolled to the side as she writhed under his light touches. She grabbed his wrist, stopping him. As much as she had loved what he was doing to her, she had a feeling that he would used it to distract her, to pull away from her and she wanted more than that. She wanted him, all of him.

    "No more waiting," she said, trying to pull him to her, but he resisted, still hesitant, despite the heat inside him urging him to continue. She stopped tugging at him and cupped his face, an understanding smile on her lips, "You're not alone Abendstern, and you don't have to be afraid."

    Finding that acceptance in her, he finally trusted himself. Leaning down he kissed her, and slowly slipped inside her, watching for any sign that he was hurting her. What he got was a sigh of pleasure and he brought their hands beside her head, and began to move. One of her legs was curled around his thigh, the other dangling off the edge of the couch, and she smiled against his cheek, the aching emptiness finally gone. With every thrust her toes curled into the carpet as she rose to meet him, and everytime he withdrew his hands squeezed hers, their movements building until her orgasm hit, turning the world into a million bursts of Christmas lights.

    ~*~

    "I'd never felt anything like that before," he whispered, dragging them both from their memories.

    She tried to play it off, as though she didn't ache to have to him hold her again. "Well, I'm glad that I could introduce you to the world of great sex, but that's all that it was."

    "I might believe that," he said, watching her reaction, "if there really was an Abendstern."

    Her eyes shot to his and she swallowed hard, "W-what are you talking about?"

    "I went to see Chloe today," he hastened to reassure her, "I didn't tell her anything, but I asked her about the story, as a Christmas gift to you. Lois, she looked for twenty minutes, there was no story."

    He saw her shoulders slump and she said quietly, "I made it up."

    "Why?" He asked, his heart thumping, so much depended on her answer.

    "I don't know," she admitted, "you've just buried yourself out here and you seemed so unhappy. I didn't want you to think you had to change everything in your life just to find happiness."

    The smile on his face told her exactly what he was thinking, that they could just ride off into the sunset. But it didn't work like that. "It was still a mistake."

    "No, it wasn't." He could feel his irritation growing. Why did she have to push him away every time he even thought about getting close to her?

    "Yes, it was. You just never want to admit that you've made one," she said, dropping the presents down on the counter.

    "Okay," he admitted, frustrated, "you're right. It was a mistake. It shouldn't have happened like that. It shouldn't have happened that soon. But that's it. The mistake was the timing, Lois, not us."

    "There is no us," she whispered, not looking at him.

    "Yes, there is. There's been an us from the very first day and we've fought it, every single time but that night. I'm not even sure what kind of an us that there is, but it's there."

    "No, it's not. See, I knew that this wasn't going to work," she whirrled around and headed for the door. Her hand was on the knob when he slammed the door shut in front of her. She turned and found him only inches from her. Swallowing hard, her heart pounding in her chest, she waited.

    "I've made every wrong decision that I could have lately. I can't seem to find the right thing to do anymore, but the one thing I do know is, if I let you walk out tonight, it'll be the worst mistake I've made yet. And I don't want to."

    Lois turned around to face him. Didn't he understand? Things that could be great didn't happen to people like her. She'd proven it over and over again, from Wes to Grant and even how her and Clark had messed up. "Clark, we can't."

    He grabbed her hands as she tried to move away. "What if we can, Lois?"

    She shook her head. "I don't know, Clark. I really think I should just go."

    "At least, let me give you your Christmas present."

    She nodded, giving in at last. Satisfied that she wasn't going to bolt for the door when he had his back turned, he reached under the tree and picked up a small package wrapped in plaid paper. He'd gone shopping with his mom over the summer and found it at some Christmas store that had been going out business. Grinning, he'd bought two roles and used it only for her presents.

    She made a face as she reached for it and he didn't bother to hide his grin. He had to say that his wrapping skills were getting a little better.

    He looked so proud standing there that she had to smile at the poorly wrapped gift she held. Lois turned the present over and over looking for a minute inch that wasn't covered in tape. Finally seeing no other recourse, she brought it up to her mouth and tore the end of it with her teeth, making a hole big enough to stick her pinky into. It was a flat, small jewelry box and her heart thumped loudly in her chest as she stared at it. Sliding the lid off, she saw a long silver chain that held a small medalion in a shape that looked vaguely familiar. For a moment a long red cape flashed in front of her eyes, but then all she could see was the silver necklace. It had a symbol on it that she recognized from Chloe's digital Wall of Weird but couldn't decipher.

    "Do you like it?" She could hear the nervousness in his voice and she looked up to see him shifting his weight from one foot to the other, like a little boy presenting his most treasured possession for her approval. And she couldn't find it in her heart to lie to him.

    "It's beautiful."

    He sighed, his relief palpable.

    "Isn't this one of the symbols from the cave?"

    He looked surprised then rueful. "Yeah, it is."

    "What does it mean?"

    Clark watched her thumb trace over the symbol he had etched with his heat vision this morning and felt an unexpected tug of vulnerability. "It means 'hope.' Because that's what you gave back to me and I didn't even realize that I'd lost it."

    Lois sighed, dropping her head, unable to resist much more and the consequences would be worse if she gave in, didn't he know that? "What do you want, Clark?"

    "I want to call you next week."

    "What?" Her brow furrowed, confused. What was he playing at now?

    He moved closer. "I want you to answer when I call. I want to ask you to go see a movie with me and maybe go slow dancing."

    She swallowed, but didn't move away, watching him with wide, nervous eyes. He reached his hand out for the necklace she still held in hers. When their fingers entangled, he squeezed them reassuringly and took the long silver strand from her and held it up, gesturing towards her. Lois hesitated then turned around, sweeping her hair off her neck. He slid the clasp shut and touched it, a gesture he had seen his dad do for his mom a thousand times, never understanding until now, the simple devotion in it. His hands closed around her shoulders and eased her back against him, whispering in her ear, "I want to see what kind of an us we are."

    Lois turned in his arms, a familiar fear in her eyes. He felt it, too. But it wasn't as strong anymore and he knew she was the reason. "But right now, I want to spend Christmas with my friend."

    He held out his hand, knowing the next move had to be hers. One hand reached up to trace the silver symbol that gleamed against her skin, and her other hand slowly reached out for his. "That sounds good to me."

    Exhaling in relief, he smiled at her, and they walked over to the couch. Lois arched an eyebrow at him, "Revisiting the scene of the crime, Smallville?"

    Clark laughed, it would never be dull. "Highlight of my life."

    This time it made her smile. She said confidently, "I told you it would be."

    He rolled his eyes. "You were right."

    "You know, Smallville, if you remember those words, we just might make this work."

    She said it as a joke, but the teasing light in his eyes softened until it was the warmth that she had been without these last two days.

    "I think we can."

    She rested her head against his chest, and he sighed, the heat humming in his veins no longer from kryptonite, just from Lois.

    She still played with the necklace, a smile on her lips. "Merry Christmas, Clark."

    He smiled, laying his head against hers. "Merry Christmas, Lois."

    THE END

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