By C. Leuch <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted: February 2001
Summary: Clark and Lois discover that soul mates often bond earlier than they might imagine in this waffy vignette.
This is just a little piece of fluff that popped into my mind one day and begged to be written. I decided to placate my muse just this once, and here is the result. DISCLAIMER: none of the characters are mine. Hope you enjoy! Feedback is welcomed and encouraged, as always.
A slight breeze blew across the plain, causing the leaves of the tree to rustle. The small, circular spots of sun that filtered through the lush green leaves danced around, creating a hypnotic pattern that was easy to get lost in. A small bird suddenly flew into the tree, resting gently on the swaying branches. Its song was beautiful, full of life and joy, sung for the world to hear whether it wanted to or not. The focus abruptly changed to the wheat field in the background, its stalks rippling like a golden ocean. The undulating waves created a low roar, audible even above the birdsong. Life was so beautiful…
Even whispered into his ear, the sound was a deafening blast. To his dismay, the exterior faded away, replaced by the plain, cream-colored wall of his high school classroom. The soft sound of nature was a mere memory as the voice continued to echo in his head. It was only relatively recently that he had discovered that he could do certain things that conventional wisdom said normal people couldn't do. He had always known deep down that he was not, in fact, normal, but the appearance of these abilities had been the final piece of evidence he needed. It had been frightening at first, but as he became used to his emerging powers, he had found a certain usefulness to them. Who needed a window to sit next to in a boring class? He could stare through the wall.
Over the course of time he had been able to mentally filter his hearing, too, blocking certain sounds in favor of others. Even as the teacher droned on in front of him, he could hear the wheat rustling in the fields half a mile away. But every now and things caught him off guard, and it could be painful.
Rubbing his ears, he turned toward the source of the interruption, and found a smiling face, framed by flowing golden hair.
Her smile faltered minimally as she batted her eyelashes at him. "I said, I can't wait to see the paper you write about ME."
He was thoroughly confused now, but flashed her the most sincere smile he could despite that. That seemed to be enough to satisfy her, as she grinned at him and then turned her attention back to whatever she was writing in her notebook. As soon as he was sure she wasn't looking, he let his face muscles relax and looked around the room, trying to figure out what she could possibly be talking about. The answer, as it turned out, was right in front of him. On the chalkboard behind the teacher, who still read in monotone, his nose stuck firmly into a book written by some famous dead author or another, was the assignment for the next day. Written neatly and framed in a box, were the words, "My perfect partner."
His perfect partner? He looked around some more and noted that the boys seemed to be very intent on the papers and books on the desk in front of them, while the girls, almost without exception, were smiling broadly at whatever boy had their eye at the moment. If girls were looking at their crushes in that way, then partner must mean…mate. Or future spouse. His eyes grew wide and he shot a glance toward Lana, realizing the hole he had dug for himself.
Ever since he could remember, Lana had considered herself his girlfriend. She hadn't asked him whether he actually wanted a girlfriend, she had just assumed he would. They had always been friends, and she was pretty, so he supposed that he wouldn't necessarily discourage it. But he hadn't been encouraging it either, instead choosing to be rather noncommittal when she hinted at a deeper relationship. That was, until today, when he had more or less let her know that he was writing his perfect partner paper about her. Great.
He turned back toward the front of the room, his mind churning. She WAS his closest friend, that much was true, and the closest thing to a partner that he had. But…there were things about him that she just didn't know, things that he was afraid to tell her. She told him every last detail of her life, often in annoyingly fine detail, and he felt somewhat guilty about not returning her trust. But secrecy had been drilled into him at a very young age, and he just didn't feel comfortable with changing that now. His parents had told him when he was still little about how they had found him, and that knowledge had started his isolation. If it were to get out that he was found in some sort of craft in a field, people would probably come and take him away, probably the same people that had created him and shot him off toward God knew where. He loved his parents so very much and would never want to leave them. They were the only ones on the face of the planet that knew he could bench press a farm tractor, that he couldn't get hurt, that he could do so many things that nobody else could, and they accepted him. Lana, on the other hand…
He sighed. He knew Lana well enough to know what her reaction would be upon finding out about him. First she would be furious that he had kept such information from her. Then, once her anger had died down, she would probably insist on a complete demonstration before taking things over, "helping" him with that manic zeal that she tended to get when she was immersed in something she considered important. And he didn't think he could handle that. She would accept him, yes, but then she would take over his life just like she always did. While he didn't mind that too much normally, for some reason he felt especially protective of his special abilities, and he wanted them to be his and his alone.
So was she his perfect partner? No, probably not. She was a friend, and that was fine, but he just didn't feel anything deeper toward her. The truth was that he had never really had romantic feelings toward anyone, but he had never really let that bother him — he was only 14 after all. There was plenty of time for that in the years to come. Still, if he WERE to have romantic feelings for someone, what kind of person would that be?
His train of thought was derailed by the sound of the bell, signaling the end of classes for the day. The teacher pointed toward the assignment of the blackboard, his voice lost in the bustle of students toward the door. Clark made sure to lose himself in the crowd, just this once trying to avoid Lana. If she cornered him like she did most every afternoon, he would probably end up at her house, sucking down a rootbeer float and hearing all the latest gossip that she had gathered throughout the day. While normally the thought of doing that was pleasant, this particular afternoon he felt the overwhelming need to go home and think. And, in any case, he had a paper due the next day to write. Lana should understand. Should. But he wouldn't count on it.
He slipped out of the building inconspicuously and began walking in the direction of his home. The school was on the edge of town, and it was only a few miles to his parent's farm from there. Most kids in similar circumstances took the bus, but he had always just liked to walk. In the wide open spaces, along the rarely traveled gravel roads that led to his house, he could always find peace. This day was no exception. He made his way along, the hot sun beating down upon him, making him feel almost drunk. His eyes shifted up to the clear blue sky, focusing on particles naked to the human eye moving in the breeze, lazily floating up and down, swirling around in little whirlwinds from time to time before continuing along again. From the roadside ditches, he could hear insects indulging in an afternoon meal, their munching setting a steady rhythm. The slightest rustle of a grasshopper was clearly audible, and the soft hum they made with their legs brought memories of summer nights spent with his parents, on their farm, nestled on the great Kansas plain. While his senses reached out to the natural world around him, his mind pondered the question asked by his English teacher. Who was the perfect person for him? If he could have anyone in the whole entire world, who would it be?
A large tree loomed in the distance, alone against the blue sky and golden fields. Clark headed toward it, certain that it would be the perfect place to ponder his paper. Reaching the large oak, he pulled a well-used notebook and pencil out of his backpack. Papers protruded from the notebook in odd places, some containing homework assignments, most delineating where a story began. Writing was his passion, the one thing he felt he could truly lose himself in, especially as his powers developed. His notebook was his dairy, his portfolio, his idea book. Whatever happened to him physically, he always knew he could turn to his notebook and let his thoughts and feelings flow, offering him at least some link to sanity in a world that seemed to grow more confusing all the time. Lana might be his closest friend, but his notebook was his greatest confidant, more so than even his parents. That book was the essence of himself, and he hoped someday that his writing would be his career. But until then, he was just a student with a job to do.
Clark leaned against the tree and slid down, tucking his knees against his chest as he sat on the cool grass. His perfect companion would be intelligent, of course. He couldn't imagine spending an eternity with someone that he couldn't hold an intelligent conversation with. That was one of Lana's biggest failings, as far as he was concerned. She was so shallow sometimes, concerned only with the superficial. Clark was always thinking of those around him, how he could help, how he could make the world a better place; Lana would do so only if it would increase her status. He hesitated to use the word selfish to describe her, because she could be quite generous with him from time to time, but that was the exception rather than the rule. What he wanted was someone who would be able to look at others and not take them at face value. Too often in school he saw people who were picked on just because they dressed or looked differently, and he took pity on them, mostly because he knew what it was like to be different. It was true that he was considered to be "popular" by most standards, and as nice as it was to feel accepted among his peers, he knew it had nothing to do with who he was and everything to do with who he knew. When the time came for graduation, he suspected that he wouldn't talk to them anymore, and that would be it.
That wasn't the measure of a true friend, and a true friend was what he wanted. A true partner.
He supposed that he would prefer to spend his life with a kindred spirit, someone who had something in common with himself. It was true that there was probably nobody else who could do what he could do, but there were other things that they could share besides physical attributes. She could share his passion for writing, for instance. What fun it would be to be able to write a story with someone, to investigate and plan, and eventually to pour their hearts out to create a piece of literature, together. She, like himself, would also be the type that enjoyed the freedom and beauty of the world, someone who would take the time to look up at the sky every now and then and just watch the clouds float by.
At the thought, he leaned his head back and gazed upward, catching sight of the white, puffy clouds that glided along on the wind far above him. He held his hand up, wondering what it would be like to rise up and touch them, to float along with them and observe the wonder of the world from far above. The things a cloud must see, he thought. He had never flown in an airplane before, so he could only guess, but he imagined that people looked so small and insignificant when viewed from that far up. The golden fields that stretched seemingly to infinity all around him outside the shade of the lonely tree he sat under must seem like part of a vast patchwork quilt. Someday, he vowed, he would venture away from Smallville and then he could see such things.
He allowed his eyes to close as he took in a deep breath of air, the fragrances of late fall filling his nose. For a moment he imagined that he was still looking up at the sky, the clouds expanding and contorting above him. But as his mind's eye lowered its view, he was confronted with the skyline of a large city, its dark buildings rising up in stark contrast to the blue sky that surrounded it. He was in a yard somewhere, a small stretch of yellowing grass trapped between two fairly large houses, houses that his parents could only dream of affording.
In his dream, he began to walk toward one of the houses. For some reason, the thought of entering the building filled him with trepidation. Feeling anything besides an overwhelming sense of belonging when entering someplace that he knew instinctively to be his home, at least in his dream, was new to him, and he couldn't help but wonder what caused that emotion. The interior of the house offered no immediate clues, seeming as normal as any other house he had been in.
After taking a few steps further into the house, he caught sight of something that made the strange feeling of apprehension grow. In a chair sat a woman holding a glass with a brownish liquid in it. She didn't pay any attention to him as he walked past her, instead mutely staring at some point on the wall in front of her, lost in a daydream of her own.
He continued past her, ascending a flight of stairs as he made his way to a room somewhere on the second story. The world of his daydream was becoming more real by the second. He could almost hear cars passing on the street outside the home and a radio blaring in one of the neighboring rooms. Even the smells seemed more real, with the vaguely musty smell of a house interior coming to mind.
As he entered the room, the ghostly anxiety that he had been feeling seemed to fade away, replaced by a comfortable sense of home. The room felt like someplace very private, almost as if it was a haven from the harsh realities of the outside world. It seemed so ordinary a place at first glance, but small details alluded to a deeper personality to the room. Bookshelves against the far wall contained a well-rounded collection of literature, including works by authors that most people his age would have no interest in reading. Tolstoy and Dickinson mingled with Keroac and Twain, comic books and nonfiction. On the neatly made bed sat a lonely, well-loved stuffed bear, resting against the pillow as if placed there very carefully.
Turning away from the details of the room, his gaze was suddenly drawn to the mirror above the dresser. To his surprise, the face staring back at him was not his own, but was that of a beautiful teenage girl. He moved closer, trying to get a better look. The slight bounce of her dark hair that accompanied the movement caused his heart to skip a beat. What was it that felt so very right about looking into those chocolate colored eyes? He knew that he could do it over and over again without ever tiring. What was it about this person that made him want to reach out and cup her face in his hand, to comfort her and help her chase away her demons? He could see laughter hidden beneath her remarkable face, a smile only a quip away, yet he sensed a deep pain buried deep inside as well. He wished that he could be the one to draw that smile out of her, to make her feel happy and safe in a world that she probably found to be frightening and unkind. Was that a sign of love? Was that what made for the perfect partner?
His eyes popped open as a faraway voice in his mind called out. He didn't know what the voice had said, but he suspected that it was meant for the girl in the mirror, the one he had dreamt about. His perfect mate. Did she even exist, he asked himself. If so, what was she like? Did she possess all those qualities that he had attributed to his hypothetical perfect mate? As much as it hurt him to admit, he doubted it. But even if she wasn't his destiny, he was sure that somewhere out there was the person meant only for him.
Reluctantly, he turned his attention back to his notebook.
Picking up his pencil, he hesitated briefly before the words began to flow.
(Fifteen years later)
Lois Lane Kent sneezed suddenly at the large cloud of dust that had greeted her upon opening the door to the small closet. Reaching into her pocket for a tissue, she lamented the fact that, even though her husband was Superman, he had never found the second or two of spare time it would have taken him to run through this place with a dust rag. Many of the boxes in the little storage area of his apartment looked like they hadn't been touched in years. She reached for the light switch and flipped it up, giving better illumination to the room. These were some of the last items to be moved from his apartment to their new townhouse, and she wondered what could possibly be contained in them. Obviously nothing important, judging from the thick layer of dust that still remained on top of them. Important or not, they would need to be moved, and since Clark was away on official "super" business at the moment, she would have to be the one to move them.
She approached one of the boxes and slipped her fingers underneath it, bending her knees slightly to get better leverage. With a grunt she picked it up, but as soon as she took a step away from the pile upon which it was set her fingers slipped. The box went crashing to the ground, its top opening in the process, sending paper flying across the floor of the small closet and out the door into the adjoining room.
Lois closed her eyes and groaned in frustration before flopping onto the floor. This was what she got for being impatient and not waiting or Clark to get back, she thought as she absently began scooping up papers and placing them in the box. She had expected to see old tax documents or financial records, but most of the yellowing and brittle pages she handled were neatly typed reports of some kind. They had to be at least ten years old, done in the days before word processors, the small globs of whiteout adding texture to the pages she handled. What could he possibly have written so long ago that was worth keeping, she wondered. Curious, she stopped and focused on the words on the paper in her hand.
"My Perfect Partner, by Clark Kent."
All thought of continuing her clean up were momentarily forgotten as a small smile spread across her face. The opportunity to view this little window to Clark's past was just too good to pass up, and she found herself thoroughly engrossed in the paper. As she read along her smile faded to a look of shock mixed with a profound sense of love. Somehow, someway, however many years ago it was that Clark had written that paper, he had been able to describe her exactly. It was as if every nuance of her being had been laid out into words, written in that style that was undeniably Clark's. Even back then his words had a certain simple grace to them, a style that mimicked the personality of the author in so many ways.
A solitary tear formed in Lois's eye, and she didn't bother to stop it as it rolled down her cheek. She hugged the paper to her chest and closed her eyes as her mind dwelled on the man that she loved with all her soul. Sometimes the love was so strong that it threatened to overwhelm her, but hidden in a dark corner of her mind was the fear of what could've been. So many obstacles had stood between her and Clark in their years of courtship, and if it weren't for blind luck, her own stubbornness would've kept them apart. What if scenarios haunted her from time to time, causing her to wake from her dreams and thank God for the man that now slept next to her at night.
What if she had actually said, "I do" to Lex? She had only been one word short of getting into bed with that monster. Even though he hadn't been there, it had been Clark that had saved her, his smiling face invading her every thought as she walked down the aisle that day. She had loved him even then, but somehow that had gotten lost in the next year of their relationship. What if she had told Dan yes instead of no? In her heart she knew that it was something that she could never have done, but that didn't stop the fact that she almost had anyway. It was so obvious to her now that she was meant to be with Clark, but she just wouldn't let herself see that for so long.
She slowly became aware of the fact that she was not alone. Her eyes opened and she could see a dark, muscular form silhouetted in the doorway. His face bore a look of concern, and she couldn't help but smile.
"What happened here?" he asked, confusion evident in his voice.
Bless him for putting up with her stormy emotions, Lois thought as she loosened the grip on the paper and thrust it toward him.
Clark squinted slightly as he gripped the paper, but after a moment he began to grin sheepishly, his face turning a light shade of pink. "I had totally forgotten about this," he said distantly. "I wrote this for my ninth grade English class. Lana wanted me to write this about her, but I just couldn't. In my mind I knew that we weren't meant to be together, but I didn't really let myself believe it until after this strange daydream I had. It was so vivid — I've never experienced anything like that before or since. It was almost as if I could see…" He cut off abruptly and looked searchingly at her face. His eyes closed briefly and he took a deep breath, his jaw going slack and a disbelieving smile forming on his lips. When he opened his eyes again, the affection in his gaze made the rest of the world fade away. "You. I saw you."
Lois kept her eyes locked onto his, not ever wanting the moment to pass. Goosebumps began to stand up on her arms as her mind latched on to a distant memory, the remembrance of a daydream that had seemed so real that she could've sworn it was. She had been 13, and the sweet smell of country air had suddenly appeared on the breeze, a fragrance so fresh and clean that there was no way it could've belonged to the smoggy Metropolis air. The image of vast fields of grain had come to her mind, and all she could do was sit and watch, fascinated with how wide open and beautiful the country could be, and the sense of peace that had washed over her had almost been overwhelming. She remembered the chorus of insects that had met her ears, accompanied by the faint rustling of leaves. It had been a new experience for a girl who had never really been out in the country before.
For the longest time she had thought that her daydream had been entirely a creation of her mind, not even slightly based on reality, but on a family vacation they had taken when she was in high school, she had found unequivocally that it was all true. All the sensations that she had experienced only in that one daydream as a teenager had been experienced all over again, only in real life this time, and she had been left to wonder…
"This IS me, Clark," she said softly, tears threatening. "I had a daydream, too. The wheat fields of Kansas on a warm autumn day…" she let herself trail off as she looked away from her husband. Immediately he knelt down next to her, his hand cupping her cheek in that tender gesture that she had become familiar with long ago.
"We found each other before we even met." His voice wavered with the words, and she knew he was right. Whatever had happened, they had made a connection all those years ago. If nothing else told her that they were meant to be together, this certainly did. "Even then I knew that I loved you."
She looked up at his face again and smiled. Her hand moved up to brush his hair away from his face. She should've known then, too, but…
She shook her head ever so gently, banishing all the old what ifs back into their corner. What was past was past, and after everything that had happened, she and Clark had come out of it. Together. They would have each other for the rest of their days, just as it was destined to be.
"I love you too, Clark. I love you so very much." Her heart swelled with emotion as she lifted her chin and joined her lips to his. The kiss was soft and tender, lasting a blissful eternity. She could feel Clark smile as he pulled away.
"It looks like you need some help moving these boxes," he said playfully, taking an exaggerated glance around the small, dusty closet. Lois reached up and wrapped her arms around him, drawing him back into her. "Actually," she said, letting the playfulness slip into her own voice, "I had other things in mind for right now. It might involve strenuous activity, but I think we're up to it."
He raised his eyebrows at her, a challenging look in his eyes, before he let out a small chuckle and scooped her up. "I can certainly handle it."
Lois nuzzled up against him, trailing a line of kisses against his neck as he carried her toward the bedroom, all thoughts of moving banished to memory. She might not have known it when she was younger, but she certainly knew now where her heart lay. The fates had brought the two of them together and there would be no more speculation for either of them. There would only be their love, foreshadowed by a shared dream on a lazy fall afternoon.