|Story Parameters||MOVING ON|
|Author: RedKryptonClark aka RKC_EB||Story Details|
Description: This is a plot bunny that grabbed me when I heard Tom Welling talking about wanting Lana to come back to the show. Even though I loathe Lana, I am a mythos fan, and I would love something like this to happen on the show.
“The President of the United States is in Metropolis today to host a national summit on Health Care Reform, and where am I? Back at the one place that I couldn’t get out of fast enough seven years ago,” Lois barked in outrage as she slammed the door shut to Clark’s pick-up truck.
Clark peered at Lois through his thick rimmed glasses which he shoved up his nose. His irritated girlfriend tossed her long brunette ponytail over her shoulder and glared at the front entrance of SMALLVILLE High School as if it was personally responsible for her predicament.
“Come on, Lois. It’s not every day that a town celebrates its one hundredth Birthday,” Clark countered brightly.
Lois flashed him one of her signature “don’t even try screwing with me” expressions. “One hundred years of corn and cows might excite the townies, but this journalist really isn’t in the mood to be cornered into listening to a whole weekend of yawn worthy stories of surviving floods…near failed crops…and locus infestations.”
“Don’t forget, we had two meteor showers here as well,” Clark said, grinning.
Lois lightly slapped the side of his cheek. “Yes, Smallville, I know. And unfortunately we can’t exactly scrutinize that side of the Smallville’s history in excruciating detail now can we?” Feeling seventeen again she trudged towards the school’s front stairs. “Because you know, that might actually be INTERESTING.”
Clark stopped dead in his tracks, which caused Lois to turn around and face her partner. He shrugged. “Look Lois, if you really would prefer to be in Metropolis, I can handle this story on my own. It’s not like I couldn’t mostly write a whole article in my sleep about my hometown.” Clark climbed the stairs until they were eye level and gently twirled a loose strand of her hair between his fingers. “I want you to be happy, Lois. And covering the President’s summit would be a huge step forward in your career. I wouldn’t want you to be miserable when you could be really making a difference.”
Damn Clark for always knowing how to dish out the right mixture of guilt, sacrifice, and sweetness to stop Lois from complaining. Lois pulled the left side of her mouth upwards. “What good would it do me to leave now, Clark? Perry assigned the President’s story to Leohman. This is our assignment, and we ARE the most qualified reporters to cover this event. “ Lois gazed into Clark’s earnest eyes and she softened her attitude as her eyes fell onto his letterman’s jacket that he’d lovingly cleaned off to wear. The jacket which used to swim on him, now barely covered his massive muscular form. “At least I get to be here with one of the town’s heroes. Mr. All -American Kent.”
Smiling brightly, Clark grabbed Lois’s waist and pulled her against him and planted a large kiss on her lips. When he pulled away he smiled warmly at her. “I’m glad that you’re here, Lois. This isn’t exactly going to be easy for me, you know?”
She scrunched her eyebrows together in confusion. “You were big man on campus, Clark, what could be so wrong about coming back to the school where you reigned as king?”
He shrugged, took her hand and walked her towards the school’s front doors. As they walked inside the corridors that he knew so well, everything seemed smaller than he remembered. “I wasn’t always the King. In fact the first three years that I was here were some of the loneliest and most confusing years of my life.” A couple of current students lingered in the hallways. Clark leaned close to Lois and kept his voice low. “Every year it seemed that my powers manifested themselves. Teenage years are hard enough without worrying about what’s going on because you suddenly can now shoot fire out of your eyeballs.”
Clark led them past the Principal’s office and they stood in front of the wall of sports trophies. Lois bee-lined to Clark’s 2004 Regional’s Football cup and stared at the team photo where a very skinny Clark Kent sat front and center with a big grin plastered on his face.
She placed her hands over her heart and in a high voice gushed, “My hero!” She realized that Clark wasn’t by her side and saw that he’d moved down the hall towards an older case. His large hands plastered against the glass and he stared intently at a photo inside of it. Lois followed his gaze and felt her heart skip a beat. She snaked an arm around his waist and ducked under his right arm. Clark circled her shoulder and pulled her tightly towards him as he attempted to swallow a large lump that had formed in his throat.
“Remember when you got after me for joining football because you thought that I was just trying to fit in?”
Lois experienced a slight jab of guilt over being reminded of how hard she used to ride Clark’s nerves when they were younger. “Yeah?”
“I didn’t do it for me. I did it for him. I desperately wanted to BE him.” Clark’s eyes rested on the 1979 Regional’s Football trophy with a faded team photo beside it. His father, Jonathan Kent sat front and center. His happy expression mirrored his sons from three cases over. “We bitterly fought over my decision to join the team. Dad was sure that I’d let my abilities slip and that I’d cheat, or accidentally hurt someone.” His fingers splayed out on the glass trying to touch his father’s face. “I wanted, so desperately to be like him; to be respected by the team. When I played, I wasn’t…what I am. I was one of them. I felt like I belonged and wasn’t just an outsider looking in.”
Clark’s lips pressed very tightly together. Lois could tell that he was struggling with maintaining his composure. She nuzzled his chest. “You’re not an outsider now, Clark. And I know that Mr. Kent would be so proud of the man that you’ve become. I know that I am.”
Lois’s words broke through the wave of grief that threatened to plunge him into a dark mood. “I’m not alone, because I have you.”
Fingers knotting up Clark’s letterman S, Lois planted a large kiss on his lips in order to breathe life back into his deflating mood.
“Still managing to land the hottest girl in the school, huh Clark?” A voice quipped from down the hall. The couple released from their embrace and Clark’s face lit up like a firework.
Lois studied the short, African American man as he and Clark hugged and clapped each other on their backs.
“Pete, I’d like you meet my girlfriend, Lois Lane,” Clark said, holding an arm out towards Lois, inviting her into the reunion. “Lois this is Pete Ross, my oldest and best friend from school.”
Pumping his hand, Lois said, “I don’t think that I remember you from Smallville High.”
“I moved Junior year…wait, isn’t this the same Lois who you lived with during High School, Clark?”
Before Lois could make a snarky comment, Clark interjected, “What have you been up to Pete? Still working as a roady?”
“Nope, I straightened out after that. Went home with my Mom and returned to school. I buckled down , got double criminal law and poli-sci degrees and am now in law school,” Pete proudly stated.
Clark grinned. “Wow, that’s great! You going to follow in your mom’s steps and become a judge some day?”
“Actually I was thinking more of following in YOUR Mom’s footsteps.”
An impressed smile crossed Clark’s face. “Politics, eh?”
Pete shrugged. “We all need to find our ways to make the world a better place.” He glanced briefly at Lois and in a guarded way added, “We use what gifts are given to us to help those around us.”
Lois realized that Clark had completely relaxed and for the first time today seemed truly happy about the big town reunion. Her partner turned to her and said, “Pete was the first person who I ever told the truth to.”
The shorter man’s eyebrows arched skywards. “Well well, welcome to the exclusive club, Lois. There aren’t too many of us out there who know.”
“No. It’s definitely one party that I’m happy to have been invited to,” Lois stated.
Clark flashed Lois a very dopey, love-sick, happy smile which Lois promptly chose to ignore. To his old friend, he asked, “You been in the gym yet? Anyone here that we know?”
“There is one person. She actually sent me out here to see if you were around and tell you that it’ll be alright to see her…she’s cured,” Pete answered, his eyes searched Clark’s face for his reaction.
“Who’s he talking about , Clark?” Lois asked, feeling the joy that Clark had just discovered suck out of the atmosphere.
Clark’s voice was emotionless. “Lana.”
Lois felt her stomach drop to her feet. The last time that Lana returned to town Lois left Metropolis rather than deal with facing her and getting her own heart stomped on. As if reading her thoughts, Clark grabbed her hand and gave it a reassuring squeeze.
A smile spread over Pete’s face. “She’s anxious to see you – both of you.”
Lois’s hand twitched inside his and she was beginning to sweat. Clark asked, “Can you give us a few minutes and we’ll meet her inside?”
“Sure, Clark. Man it’s good to see you,” Pete said and raced off towards the gym.
Clark turned and stared deeply into Lois’s eyes. “Are you alright?” Lois tried to articulate a snarky comeback but was cut off. “You know that there will never - and I mean NEVER - be any going back for me, right?”
“I know and there’s no way in hell that I’ll ever LET anyone else near you.” Clark smirked as Lois dropped his hand and wiped her damp palms on her jeans. “You know, it didn’t even occur to me that she’d be here today. She and I used to be friends of a sort, I really shouldn’t be upset or nervous about seeing her.” She couldn’t face Clark. She admitted, “But I am. This just feels awkward, you know? God I feel like a moron; who feels like the outsider now?”
Two large, warm hands gently massaged her shoulders. “When we’re young, we want different things than we do when we’re adults, Lois. I…” Clark searched for the right words. “I never really knew Lana growing up. She never really understood me and what I needed in life. You’re my everything, Lois. I NEED you like I’ve never needed anyone else. I’m a better man because of you, I never want to go back to that person who I was when I used to walk these halls.”
Lois turned around and smiled at him. “Oh I don’t know, Smallville. I used to give you a lot of crap, but that guy wasn’t so bad. Although admittedly he’s not the person who I fell for, you are.” Exhaling, she arched a brow at him. “Like the General always says, ready to face the firing squad?”
“With you at my side, I can face anything.”
Rolling her eyes, Lois shoved Clark down the hall. “You are so corny.”
“Well I am a former Smallville Crow, corniness goes with the territory.” Clark laughed when he received a hard punch on his forearm for his bad pun.
Seeing Lois relaxed, Clark followed suit. Together they headed towards the gym, ready to face whatever waited for them on the other side of the doors.
Lana perched herself on a bench seat in the gym and stared intently at the footage that played on her phone. She had tapped into Smallville High’s security feed and found herself obsessively looping Clark and Lois’s arrival and their conversation on the steps. The video had no audio so she was forced to try to interpret what went on between the couple on her own. What she discovered was probably even worse than if she did hear them speaking; she saw two people who appeared to be extremely comfortable together. She doubted that they realized that they walked perfectly in synch together and even dipped their heads in the same ways.
Clark looked nervous and slightly concerned. Lois hadn’t changed much, a blur of motion, using her hands to accentuate her points. Everything seemed as usual until they got to the steps. The comfortable way that Clark twirled Lois’s hair in his finger, the way he grabbed her by the waist and crushed her against his body, and their kiss…it was…natural. And even from all of the way across the building, Lana sensed the heat radiate off of them when they connected. Lana found it difficult to fully read Clark since sunlight was reflecting off of his glasses, but he seemed relaxed and at ease. Throughout their youth, Clark had always been uncomfortable with himself and uncertain of everything. Lana felt a pang of jealous annoyance knot her gut up, she had to suffer through Clark’s growing pains and Lois was reaping the benefits of him as he matured into a man.
Suddenly the gym doors swung open and laughter wafted over the crowd of Smallville alums that milled across the ball court. Lois’s arm was looped through Clark’s and they both had large smiles on their faces. Without even hearing a word that they were saying, Lana could tell that they were snapping their conversation in perfect rhythm. She’d forgotten that they’d done that in the past. Clark and Lois had always been in synch together even when they both insisted that there was nothing between them. A part of the crowd burst into noisy greetings and Clark found himself swarmed by former football team mates. Lana gulped and slipped her phone into her pocket. She stared so hard and long at the top of Clark’s head that she failed to realize someone had taken position on the seat beside her.
“Lana, welcome back to Smallville.”
Lana’s eyes grew wide and she plastered a smile on her face. Nervously she twisted a ring around on her finger. “Lois…it‘s good to see you again.”
The petite brunette looked over Clark’s partner from head to toe. Gone were Lois’s overly dyed locks , her hair was now a more natural brunette that complimented her rosy complexion. Her hair was smoother and Lana noticed an overall more polished flare to her appearance. Maturity and a high profile job had done wonders for helping Lois to define her appearance. Confidence radiated from every pore of Lois’s body which only made Lana feel smaller.
“So what have you been up to?” Lois asked with genuine interest.
Lana smiled. “I actually have just returned to Smallville...to live here permanently.”
“Really?” Lois asked. “That’s great, what are you going to do here? Take the Talon back by storm?”
“No, I’m actually re-opening my Aunt Nell’s flower shop. There hasn’t been a decent one here since it closed,” Lana answered. “So if you ever have a dire need for flowers, you know where to come!”
“Sounds great, Lana,” Lois replied. The two suddenly fell into uncomfortable silence. Clark’s hands could be seen making broad gestures over the rowdy crowd of other former jocks as they relived their glory years.
Lana cleared her throat. “So you and Clark are still partners?”
“Yes, we’re out of the basement too. Ever since Superman’s come to town, and I’m his go-to girl for news, we’re the hottest writing team in town,” Lois commented with a wink.
The knot in Lana’s stomach tightened. Before Lana could ask another question, Lois leaned in and took Lana’s hand in hers. In a very low voice she said, “Lana, he’s happy. What he does…it isn’t easy. Every day we’re conscious of keeping all aspects of his life separate from a public standpoint. Yet, when we’re alone – it’s just easy.”
“Easy?” Lana barked a laugh. “Nothing is easy with Clark.”
Lois flashed her a small pitying smile. “It is easy, when you’re with the right person.”
Lana yanked her hand away and attempted to wipe all emotion from her face. Suddenly she felt a presence at her side and found Clark and Pete standing beside her.
“Hi, Lana,” Clark said, bent over and gave her a quick hug.
“Did you tell her yet?” Pete demanded. The man looked like he was going to burst from the seams from excitement.
“Tell me what?” Lois asked.
Pete grabbed Lana’s left hand and showed them both a diamond ring that Lana had been hiding from Lois. Both Lois and Clark’s eye brows shot straight upwards in surprise. Clark asked, “You’re getting married again, Lana?”
Feeling like a kid who just got shoved on stage to perform a routine that she hadn’t practiced for, Lana forced out a smile. “Yes.”
Light dawned on Lois. “To Pete?”
“To PETE???” Clark parroted back in complete disbelief.
Pete’s happy smile soured. “What I can’t land myself my own gorgeous woman?” As if to prove the point he pulled Lana off of the bench and wrapped his arm proudly around her shoulder.
Complete and utter confusion marched over Clark’s features as he attempted to find words to explain his outburst. Lois came to his rescue and wrapped her arm around her speechless boyfriend. “I think that Smallville’s just surprised. I mean, we hadn’t even heard that the two were dating.” She flashed a giant smile in their direction and loudly cried, “Congratulations!”
Clark grabbed Pete’s hand. Once the initial shock had worn off, Clark rapidly pumped Pete’s hand. With a giant happy smile on his face, Clark said, “Pete, sorry, I was a bit shocked is all. I couldn’t be happier for the both of you! I can’t think of anything better than two of my oldest friends getting married! How about that? We‘ve all found happiness!”
Lois studied the couples reactions. Pete lit up like a Christmas tree and Lana’s smile froze on her face. She asked, “How did this happen?”
Pete jumped in. “I was in Metropolis finishing up my paperwork to apply to law school there when I saw Lana talking to an exotic orchid dealer across the street. We got coffee and then one thing led to another.”
Clark noticed that Lana seemed very uncomfortable. “And when did this happen?”
“When was it dear?” Pete asked.
“Two months ago,” Lana replied in a distant voice.
Clark’s eyebrows shot upwards. “Two months? Wow. That is one whirlwind romance!”
Pete shrugged. “I’m all about taking big risks and this one paid off. We couldn’t be happier.”
Lois noticed that Lana’s smile morphed into one of resignation. “Absolutely.”
Tapping Clark lightly on the chest, Lois asked Pete, “Clark just told me that you used to play basketball and won a couple of championships here. Would you like to show me the trophies and share some war stories?”
Pete looked surprised, delighted, and proud. “Mind if I steal your girl for a few minutes, Clark?”
Clark studied Lois for a second and realized that her reporter instincts had kicked in and knew that if they were going to get to the truth on this story, Clark needed to talk to Lana alone. “Go ahead, Pete.”
Lois grabbed Pete by the shoulder and wheeled him away yammering non-stop about last night’s game.
Left alone, Clark scrutinized his former girlfriend. She wiped her hand over her forehead and then rubbed her wet palms on her jeans. Her fake smile faltered.
“You don’t seem like the happy bride-to-be, Lana.”
Her large brown eyes gazed up towards Clark. As she looked him over, a part of her barely recognized him and it wasn’t just the glasses. This wasn‘t the Clark Kent who she grew up with. Although she had seen traces of him in her youth. Whenever she saw him, he always scared her and she never understood why. “I just…I do care about Pete, Clark. You don’t need to feel sorry for me too. I can already see that Lois does. But it’s not necessary. I was so happy when we met up again. He’s changed since we last saw him, he’s really focused on wanting a career in politics. He’s got ambition and he’s a good man.”
“Isn’t love important?”
“Everyone’s only allowed one great love in their lives. I’ve had mine. I now just have to accept happiness wherever I can find it,” Lana replied. As soon as the words were out, she loathed her own self pitying.
“How can you be happy if you’re miserable?”
She watched Clark shove his glasses up his nose. His fists were both balled up on his waist. Clark didn’t even realize that he had just shifted into Superman mode, asking those kinds of questions that make a criminal want to run home and rethink his life choices.
“I’m not miserable. Pete and I…we make sense, Clark.” Her eyes darted like targets to his. “He’s the only person out there who knows THE one thing that I do. It’s something that I’d never be able to share with anyone else. But I can share it with Pete. When we’re alone, we can talk over your daily exploits and easily slip into talking about being in High school together. I just…I…” She plopped down on the bench. Clark sat beside her so that she wouldn’t have to crane her neck looking up to him. Lana let out a small laugh. “Things are simple with Pete. He has realistic ambitions, he doesn’t hide things from me, and I don’t have to hide anything from him. He‘s an honest and good man.”
“Just because things are logical, doesn’t mean that they’re meant to be, Lana. Love shouldn’t be logical. You shouldn’t marry someone out of a sense of obligation,“ Clark explained. Lana watched as his face suddenly lit up from the inside. “When you find the right person, you don’t feel chained down but instead, you‘re free. “
With every ounce of her strength, Lana shoved back the rise of tears that threatened to the surface. “You feel that way with Lois.”
“I do. You know how I realized it? I’d struggled my entire life with trying to figure out how to fly. I think that I fought with it for so long because I knew that if I could fly that was the sure fire way of knowing that I’m not…one of you. Once I realized that I was in love with her – gravity was no longer my enemy. And neither was my heritage. She accepts me – all of me. And more importantly, it’s because of her that I am who and what I am.” His sincere eyes searched Lana’s reddening face. “I’m him, for her.”
Quickly averting her eyes, Lana stared at the crowd. She cleared her throat. “You know all of my life I tried to understand you and your gifts. I think that’s why I did what I did with that suit. Because I was always the target growing up, I didn’t understand what it meant to be the protector.” Her eyes grew liquidy, she turned to Clark. “I realized a few months in that being a hero isn’t about just being physically strong, but emotionally strong as well. I’ve never had that kind of strength. When I realized that, I realized that I could never be the one for you. You’re larger than me, Clark. Your life is larger than what I can handle. I was never strong enough for you…it’s why we never worked out.”
Clark didn’t know what to say, agreeing with her would only be like pouring salt into her wounds. She continued. “I can be strong enough for Pete though. I can grab onto something out of my messy life and make some good from it. I’m going to be a hero in a way that only I can, I’ll help to beautify the world with my floral arrangements and be the wife that Pete needs in order to get as high as he wants in politics.”
“Lana, that sounds a lot like you’re sacrificing yourself for other people. Don’t you want anything for yourself?”
She smiled sadly. “I can’t have the one thing that my heart most desperately wants. I see the way you look at her Clark.” She choked on the words. “The truth is, you never looked at me like that. I just have to accept that I’ll never be the one who activates that light in your eyes.”
Clark didn’t know what to say but could only pull out words straight from his heart. “I’m sorry, Lana. We tried to make things work – probably much longer than we should have. I don’t know why we were broken as a couple. Maybe you were right, you just weren’t strong enough for me or I just didn‘t understand what you needed from me. For a long time I thought that I needed a woman who I needed to protect – instead, I realized that I need a woman who can protect me. Lois saves me every day. With my job I see the ugliest things that humanity is capable of. It’s hard. Then I come back to Lois and she always makes me smile and laugh. She doesn’t let me brood or ever take myself too seriously. She reminds me of all that is good in mankind.”
“How long what?”
Lana locked on his eyes. “How long was it before you told her that you loved her?”
“Seven years after I first met her,” Clark snorted. “And I told her the second that I realized that I couldn’t imagine my life without her. I was given a second chance a few months back. I shoved aside all fear and doubt and let her completely into my life. I’ve never been happier or felt more complete.”
“You’re going to marry her.” It wasn’t a question.
Clark’s gaze blurred and a warm smile spread over his face. “Right now we‘re just enjoying what it‘s like to be in a committed relationship and enjoying dating. Neither of us have had very good track records in that department. But yes, someday I will ask Lois to marry me.”
“Feel free to come to my shop, I’ll give you a great deal on your bouquets and floral arrangements,” Lana choked out.
“We wouldn’t dream of going anywhere else. Remember Lana, we will always be your friends.” Even without super-hearing, Clark heard Lana’s heart break in that moment. With a warm smile he pulled her close to him and waited patiently until she began to weep into his jacket. He hated seeing his old friend in pain, but he knew one thing, the only way that she would ever heal would be to know that things really were over once and for all. After she accepted that, perhaps he hoped, that she really could find happiness with Pete.
To Be Continued...