“Follow me, Kal-el,” Raya said. They left the house and walked to a field far away from there. Raya was smiling the whole way, loving the fresh air on her face. She had decided to stay until Thanksgiving, despite her lack of understanding of that holiday.
“What is it you want to show me, Raya?” Clark asked, confused.
She smiled at him. “Do you feel the air?”
He looked even more confused.
“It has strength, the purest kind. When you feel it, you feel quietness, your body get ligther.” She closed her eyes. “You feel like flying.”
Clark looked astonished at Raya, her feet hovering above the ground. “You’re… You’re flying?!”
She nodded. “It is in you, Kal-El. You can do this, too.”
“Raya, I did it before. More than once. I just… I don’t know how, what activates it.”
Her feet were back on the ground. “You’re looking at it the wrong way. It’s not about its potential or a starting button, it’s about how you feel, how much free you feel. Give me your hands.” Clark extended his hands, which Raya held. “Now close your eyes and clear your mind.”
Clark closed his eyes, inhaling deeply the air around him. Raya released his hands. “Let the air guide you,” she told him.
He kept his eyes closed. After several seconds, though, he started knitted his eyebrows, sighing in defeat. “I can’t.”
Raya looked disappointed. “You just have to concentrate, Kal-El.”
“That’s the thing, I can’t. Lois’s problem, the Zoners, the memories of my father this time of the year. I stop thinking about one and start thinking about the other.”
“I understand it. But you have to try harder, it’s important that you learn this power to fight the Phantom Zone criminals. The sooner you send them back, the sooner you can finally start your training.”
Clark nodded. “I know.” He then closed his eyes again, taking a deep breath and trying to concentrate, until he heard a voice calling him. “Chloe is calling me. I gotta go,” he said, giving Raya an apologetic look as he left.
He reached the barn where Chloe was waiting for him. “I need to talk to you,” she said, impatience in her voice.
“Good morning to you, too.”
Chloe ignored his remark. “What’s happening to my cousin?” He tried to say something, but she continued. “And don’t try to deny it because I heard you talking to her on the phone the last few days.”
Clark gulped. “What exactly did you hear?”
“Lois saying she’s fine, that you didn’t need to worry about her. She’s been quiet the whole week, and when I talked to her it’s like she doesn’t even paid attention to what I say.”
Clark looked guilty. “Chloe, I’m sorry, I can’t tell you what’s going on with Lois. You’ll have to ask her yourself.”
She sighed. “I don’t get it. Why would she confide in you and not me?”
“Chloe, believe me, her problems are bigger than who she trusts or not. Just… Give her time. I’m sure she’ll tell you when she’s ready.”
“Fine,” Chloe nodded in defeat. “I have to go to work now. See you later.”
Lois was at her apartment watching a movie, barely paying attention to it. She was wearing her helicopters pajama. She stopped crying about three days ago, but the doubts of her new condition were still there. What did it mean not being human anymore? Would she looked different to other people from now on? Different to herself? Could she marry a normal guy and dare to dream to have children? Should she tell her father and sister about the new blood running through her veins?
She thought about running off, take a little trip somewhere, but she knew her worries won’t leave her mind. At least, Clark’s visits and phone calls kept her sane.
“With great powers comes great moping.”
Lois looked up, there was Clark standing next to the door. He looked at her with a small smile on his face, but his eyes were full of concern. “Clark… How long have you been standing there?”
“Long enough to know you’re still not fine.”
Clark came to sit next to her on the couch. “No, of course not,” he smiled at her. “I know this feeling. Isolated. But the same way it was hard for my parents to see me like that, it’s hard for me to see you like that.”
“Don’t worry, Smallville, the old Lois will be back sooner than you think,” she said, smiling back at him. “You can enjoy your day, I’ll be fine.”
Clark raised an eyebrow, smiling cockily. “Do you really think this is going to work with me? I came here to spend the rest of the morning with you, Lois.”
Lois shrugged. “Whatever.”
“Chloe is really worried about you, you know? When are you gonna tell her?”
“I don’t know. I need to sort things out first.”
He nodded. “What about Oliver? Shouldn’t he be here and support you?”
“Oliver has no obligation to me, we’re not dating.”
He looked puzzled. “I thought you two…”
Lois shook her head. “No, we’re trying the friends thing first.”
“Oh,” Clark felt a hint of happiness taking over his lips. He then cleared his throat. “He’s still failing at it. He’s not here when you need him the most.”
“Well, I won’t hold it against him. To be fair, I didn’t even think about Oliver until you mentioned his name.”
Clark frowned. “If you don’t like him that way, why do you keep going out with him, then?”
“He’s a great guy, handsome, smart, I really thought it could work, that I’d be more interested. I’ve never been in love, not the way you’ve been with Lana or your parents have with each other, so I don’t know how does that feel, but I’m sure I don’t feel it for Oliver. At least not yet.”
Clark kept staring at her, letting her words sink in.
“How does it feel to be in love?” She asked.
He looked surprised at her question. “Err… It’s hard to explain. You just do.”
She raised an eyebrow at him. “You can try harder than that.”
“Okay, I’ll try,” Clark said, sighing. He took a deep breath. “You enjoy being with that person, you think about her every time you can, and even the times you shouldn’t. You do anything to see the smile on her face.” Lois smiled at that, receiving a smile back from Clark. “Your heart beats faster seeing her, you memorize her scent and lips, waiting for the day you…”
Their faces were only inches apart, his eyes traveling between her eyes and lips. Lois was doing the same. Both of them were feeling each other’s hot breath. Clark started to lean in as Lois started to close his eyes. Their moment was interrupted when the front door was opened.
Lois suddenly got up, her body completely tense. “Chloe!”
Clark was breathing heavily, barely believing what was about to happen.
“Hey, Lo –“ Chloe then saw that someone else was in the apartment. “Clark, hi.”
Clark waved to her, shyly.
Chloe looked back at Lois. “So, I’m on my lunch break and I thought I should come over here and keep you company. But I see someone thought it first.”
Lois went to the kitchen as Clark stood up. “It’s okay, Chloe. I’m already on my way out,” he said. “I just came to see how Lois was doing.”
Reaching the door, he said goodbye to Chloe. Opening it, he look at Lois, who was pretending to be focused on what was in the fridge. “Bye… Lois.”
“Bye,” Lois replied, waving her hand, refusing to look back at him. When she heard the sound of a door closing, she turned to look at it, releasing the breath she was holding.
Chloe, who had already sat on the couch, frowned. “Anything wrong?”
Lois gave her a tight-lipped smile. “No, nothing.”
They almost kissed. They had almost kissed when he was talking about love. What did it mean?
Before he looked further into the answer of that question, there was something he needed to do first.
Clark entered Oliver’s penthouse looking for him. The man in question was lifting weights. “Oliver.”
Oliver stopped what he was doing and stood up, smiling cockily at him. “What are you doing here, boy scout?”
“Why haven’t you visited Lois those last days?”
Oliver frowned. “I’ve been busy. Why does it concern you?”
“Lois just found out something. She needs her friends right now, people she can count on.”
“What happened to her?” Oliver asked, worried.
“Just talk to her. It’ll make her feel better.”
Oliver looked guilty. “Is she mad at me?”
Clark hesitated. “No. She doesn’t even know I’m here.”
“I’m glad. I hope my absence haven’t screw things up between me and her.”
Clark looked the other way. Although he was never against Oliver and Lois having a relationship, things had changed. He could only hope now that him looking out for Lois wouldn’t come back to haunt him later.
“Come in,” Lois said after hearing a knocking on her door.
“Hey. Are you busy?” Oliver asked. Lois was at the kitchen with a completely mess around her.
“Oliver…” Lois jerked, she didn’t expect to see him. “Uh… Just making a pie for tomorrow’s Thanksgiving.”
“Err… Can’t wait to prove it,” Oliver said with uncertainty. He then cleared his throat. “Clark told me you –“
“Clark talked to you?”
Lois looked confused. Did he really go talk to Oliver after what almost happened between them?
“Anyway, I’m sorry I’ve been absent, Lois. I want you to know I’m here for you.”
Her mind was still focused on the mixed signals Clark was sending her.
“What happened to you?” Oliver asked, concern on his face.
His question snapped her out of her thoughts. “I… Uh… My powers are now permanent,” she replied, remembering the other problem she was trying not to think for awhile. “I’m full kryptonian now.”
Oliver saw the sadness on her face, feeling for her. “How are you taking it? I mean, wasn’t you getting used to it?”
Lois shook her head. “I expected it as a temporary thing, like when you try a new hair. This is not who I am!”
“If it's any consolation, I saw your ‘human’ pictures, and you look as hot as ever,” he told her, smiling shyly.
Lois blushed. “You don’t know how that feels.”
“Not exactly, I don’t.” Oliver took a syringe out of his pocket, Lois frowned at it. “This contains a drug called RL65, which contains healing properties. I’ve been working on this the past few weeks, that’s why I’ve been absent.”
“Ollie, those drugs always have side effects. You shouldn’t use it,” she said, concerned.
“I realize it now, thanks to you. I’ve been trying to be someone I’m not.”
She looked puzzled. “Why’s that?”
“It’s hard for a guy to see the girl he likes and her best friend with all those powers and do not feel envy. I just wanna feel invincible like you guys.”
Lois shook her head. “Trust me, I’ve never felt this vulnerable in my whole life.”
“I believe you. That’s why I’m going to the lab and end this.” He put the syringe back in his pocket and turned to leave.
“We need to –“ Lois then looked at his determined face, realization dawned on her. This was not the best time to talk about them. “Are you coming to Thanksgiving dinner at the farm?”
“Yeah, I’m looking forward to it.”
Lois smiled at him. “I’ll see you there, then.”
She watched as Oliver left the apartment. She was growing really tired of all those issues raising in her life. That vacation idea was becoming more and more interesting.
“Clark, what are you doing here?” Chloe asked. He was sitting at her desk at the Daily Planet waiting for her.
“I… I came here to ask you how your talk with Lois went.”
Chloe sighed. “Whatever you said to her, it only worsened the situation. She was even more distant, I was practically talking to a wall.”
Disappointment washed over him.
“Are you okay?” Chloe asked.
Clark nodded his head nervously. “Yeah. Just thinkin –“
Both Clark and Chloe looked at the person calling her. Lana. She and Clark exchanged uncomfortable looks.
“Lana, hey,” Chloe spoke, trying to ease the tension in the place.
“Lana,” Clark greeted.
“Hi,” Lana greeted back.
“Us girls were just gonna get some lunch,” Chloe said.
“That's great. Uh, have a good time.” Clark started to leave. Despite of his growing feelings for Lois, he wasn’t sure if he’d ever feel comfortable around Lana.
“So, how does that feel working around the house with Mrs. K?” Lois asked.
“Martha is a remarkable woman, she reminds me so much of Lara, Kal-El’s mother,” Raya said. She had decided to pay a visit to Lois, trying to cheer her up.
“You’re preachin’ to the choir, sister. Everyone in Smallville knows the amazing person Mrs. K is, even the Luthors. I mean, one is in love with her and the other wish she was his mother. If they weren’t such disgusting people, it’d sound almost poetic.”
Raya chuckled. Her face then turned serious. “I met Lionel Luthor today. There’s something about him that makes me uncomfortable.”
Lois tilted her head. “That’s Lionel.”
“Martha invited him for Thanksgiving. Why?”
Lois gave her a small smile. “Who do you think Clark got his benevolence from? His father was way more distrustful.”
Raya frowned at her. “The way Kal-El talked about his adoptive father, he seemed the perfect father figure.
“Oh, don’t get me wrong, Mr. Kent was a great man. He respected me as much as I respected him. But he wasn’t a perfect man, he had flaws, just like everyone. What made him to stand out was his love for his family, his desire to do what’s right. To be honest, I kind of saw myself in him.”
Raya smiled, nodding. “I can see it.”
“Did you enjoy anything here on Earth? Our handsome men, for instance.”
“They are really beautiful.”
“Girl advice, you can get anyone you want.”
Raya blushed. “You probably have all the men at your feat.”
Lois chuckled. “Nah, life is more difficult than that. Most of the relationships don’t work out, you may love someone but he doesn’t, he may love you but you don’t. It’s a long way until you find the right one.”
“It looks like to me you already had.”
“Oliver? No –“
“Not Oliver Queen.”
Lois stared at her, confused. What was she talking about?
“What do you think of Clark?” Raya asked.
Lois’s body tensed. “Uh, he’s a nice guy, a good friend. Why do you ask?”
“Err… Yeah. I mean, if you’re really into the whole Brawny Lumberjack vibe.” She gulped after Raya gave her a knowing smile. She then went to the rack to grab some DVDs. “How about we watch some movie? I have ‘Die Hard’ movies franchise, ‘Pride and Prejudice,’ ‘Just Friends’… Err… You know what, action movie that is. ‘Die Hard’ marathon, baby!” She raised her hands in celebration, her voice sounding a little high.
Raya just laugh. Clark and Lois would have to accept their feelings for each other by themselves.
Thanksgiving Day. Lois had just arrived at the farm with the pie she made. Or what looked like a pie. She placed it at the kitchen table. “There,” she said, a little proud of herself.
“Did you cook that on the barbecue?” Clark asked, not pleased with its look.
“It's a little crispy on the outside, but it's what's on the inside that counts,” she replied, annoyed.
“I'm sure it's delicious. Clark, would you put the hotplate on the table, please?” Martha asked.
“Oh, let me help you with that, Martha,” Raya spoke.
As Martha and Raya distanced from them, Clark spoke again. “We… We need to talk,” he was nervous, his voice was low.
Lois gulped, her body tensed. “Not here, Smallville.”
Clark nodded in defeat. Before an uncomfortable silence could take over the room, the doorbell rang. “I’ll go get it,” he said.
When he answered the door, there was Oliver with flowers bouquet in both of his hands, a medium one in one hand and a small one in the other. “Hey, Clark. Is Lois here?”
Clark stared shocked at Oliver. What he feared the most was happening.
“Oliver,” Lois spoke. She was a few meters away from the door. When Clark looked at her, she saw something she didn’t like to see on him. Hurt.
Without waiting for Clark’s permission, Oliver entered the house and approached Lois. “This is for you.”
Lois gave him a small and uncomfortable smile. “Big fan of flowers, huh?”
Oliver chuckled. “Call me old fashioned.” He then hugged Lois, taking her by surprise. “Thank you for yesterday.”
Clark kept watching them, breathing heavily. Lois tried to avoid his gaze, but couldn’t resist to look back at him. She had to do something. “Oliver, we need to talk.”
“Ok –“ Without waiting for his response, she grabbed his arm and left the house through the kitchen door.
Clark lowered his head after they left. Raya approached him. “Anything wrong, Kal-El?”
He flashed a fake smile. “No. Not at all.”
Raya looked suspiciously at him.
Outside the house, Lois had her eyes closed, taking deep breaths. Oliver looked worried. “What did you want to talk to me?”
She opened her eyes. “We need to talk about us. What you’re expecting from me.”
The smile he was wearing earlier disappeared completely. “This doesn’t end with a kiss at the end, does it?”
Lois gave him an apologetic look. “I’m sorry, Oliver. I really wanted us to work out. It’s just the way my life is going –“
“And you don’t feel I’m more than just a friend.”
She stared at him, shocked. She then nodded shyly. Oliver nodded back, his head was lowered, but his pain was visible. He turned to leave.
“Oliver, don’t go, please. Stay for the Thanksgiving dinner, at least,” Lois spoke.
He finally looked at her, the sadness in his eyes hurting her even more. “I can’t, Lois.”
“I don’t wanna lose your friendship,” she said, teary-eyed.
Oliver gave her a warm smile and then kissed her forehead. “You won’t.”
Lois watched as he left, releasing the breath she was holding and fighting the tears that threatened to fall.
After several minutes, she finally headed back to the house. “Where’s Oliver?” Chloe asked.
“He left.” She hesitated, realizing Clark’s eyes and ears were on her. “We decided to be just friends.”
“Oh, Lois, I’m sorry to hear that,” Chloe said, hugging her cousin. Lois looked at Clark, his gaze was intense, but she couldn’t decipher if he was happy or sad for her after hearing the news.
An hour later, after Lionel, the last guest, arrived, everyone took their seats at the table. Clark and Lois, who was sitting next to him, kept exchanging glances and even occasional smiles.
He then looked at his mother, receiving a proud smile. “If I could have everyone's attention… Please. Um, I'd like to make a little announcement. Um... Our family has a tradition that goes back way before I was even born... Where everyone takes a moment to say what they're most thankful for in their lives.” Clark and Lois looked at each other, smiling. Raya took notice of this and smiled, too.
“Uh… I would just like to say that I'm most thankful for my mom and dad... Whose faith in me taught me to have faith in myself. Thank you.” Martha looked touched as Lionel looked guilty. Clark smiled at her.
Everyone applauded the speech.
“Let’s eat,” Lois spoke.
Clark carved the turkey. He watched as Lois and Raya chatted happily, Martha laughed with Lionel, and Chloe received a text from Jimmy. Lois noticed his satisfied green. “You look happy.”
“That’s because I am.”
“That was a great speech, by the way.”
Meanwhile at Luthor mansion, Lana and Lex were celebrating Thanksgiving in a large table, just the two of them sitting at opposite ends of the table, with a small group of waiters serving them. Lana looked miserable, while Lex was oblivious to it.
“You haven't said a word all night. Is everything okay?” Lex asked.
“Everything's fine,” Lana replied, flashing a fake smile.
Lex raised a wine glass and Lana did in turn. “Happy Thanksgiving,” he said.
They kept eating, the silence and distance dominating the room.
The next day, Raya was getting ready to leave. “I’m really going to miss you two. And Martha, and Chloe,” she said, tears starting to appear on her eyes.
“You still can stay,” Lois retorted. “I didn’t even take you to a Monster Truck rally. And I really need a flight teacher.”
Raya smiled at her. “You’ll learn by yourself someday. And when you do, make sure to teach Kal-El.”
Lois hugged her. “You got it.”
Clark rolled his eyes.
Raya looked at him. “You take care of yourself and Lois, Kal… Clark. Accept your destiny, be the one that the humans look up to.”
He nodded, giving her a smile. They hugged. “I’m gonna miss you, too,” Clark said.
Raya took a deep breath. “Time to go, I think. I promise I’ll come back to visit you, and when I do, I hope you two have worked it out.” With that, she flew into space, grinning from ear to ear.
Lois frowned. “What did she meant by that?”
Clark blushed. “I have no idea.” He cleared his throat. “Lois…”
“How about we go and do some exercising with my powers? Now that there’s no danger of heart attack, I can test my limits,”she interrupted him.
She was avoiding the almost kiss subject, and he knew that. He’d respect it, though. He’d give her space, give her time to think things better. He’d wait until the time was right. This, whatever they had going on, deserved that.
“Okay,” Clark nodded. “You’re faster than a speeding bullet. More powerful than a locomotive. Let’s see if you’ll be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.”
Lois smiled cockily at him. “Bring it on!”