Season 5, during "Vessel"
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the CW and DC Comics, not to me.
He kissed me.
Okay, if you want to get technical about it, I kissed him. Same as always, I guess. I’ve kissed Clark Kent quite a few times, but I’m always the kisser, and he’s always the kissee.
Well, almost always. There have been a couple of exceptions, I suppose. But this time, I was definitely the initiator. Clark was going to run off and save the world, or try to, without so much as saying goodbye. I stared at his wide shoulders as he walked away from me, and all of a sudden I couldn’t stand letting him go.
He wasn’t going up against your average, garden-variety meteor freak this time. He was going up against an insane alien dictator and his loyal robot sidekick, and there was every chance that he might not survive it.
And if he didn’t survive it, then the world probably wouldn’t either.
I watched him walking away, and my throat went tight, so tight I could barely force out his name. “Clark,” I said in a soft voice.
He turned quickly, almost like he’d been waiting for me to say something. Suddenly I realized he’d been walking at a normal human pace. Ordinarily he would have gone into superspeed, and been in Smallville by now. But he was obviously hesitant for some reason.
Maybe he was a little scared. I couldn’t blame him. He might be superpowered, but he could still be killed. And the artificial intelligence that called itself Milton Fine had almost killed him once before. Being scared was a smart response in this situation.
Or maybe he wasn’t scared, at least not for himself. Maybe he just didn’t want to leave me.
I guess that sounds kind of egotistical, but he’d already said as much. When I told him he had to go, he’d hesitated, glanced toward the car hanging halfway through the window, and then looked back at me. “What if something goes wrong? I don’t want to leave you here.”
“You have to,” I’d told him. And he’d apparently recognized the truth of my words, because he’d turned to go.
But now he was looking at me like he’d changed his mind, like he really didn’t want to leave me behind.
I understood that just because he didn’t want anything to happen to me, that didn’t mean he had romantic feelings for me or anything. We were close friends, after all. We’d always been friends. And I knew I mean a lot to him, in a friend kind of way.
I stared at him for a second, seeing the face I’d known since middle school. Clark had grown up a lot since we’ve first met—he’d put on ten inches or so of height, not to mention a whole lot of breadth in the chest and shoulders—and his facial features had matured a lot, the sharply cut angles of youth smoothing out into high cheekbones and a square jaw that belonged on a Greek god. But his pale green eyes were still the same, wide and open and almost painfully honest.
Looking into those eyes, I could see his anxiety for the world, balanced against his reluctance to leave me alone, and I was surprised to realize that his concern for the safety of a single friend weighed almost as heavily on him as his worry for the entire world.
It was a little startling to realize I meant that much to him. For the first time, I recognized I wasn’t just a friend to Clark. No matter what we labeled ourselves, there was something between us that was a lot more than mere friendship. Something that had always been there, and that would never go away, no matter how much we struggled against it.
I knew I had to let him go. But I couldn’t let him go without an acknowledgement of what we meant to each other.
I didn’t want to weight him down with a lot of emotional baggage right before he went off to battle Zod, though. So I swallowed back the words of love that threatened to bubble to the surface. Clark didn’t need me professing my undying love for him right now. He had other things to worry about.
“I don’t know if I’ll ever see you again,” I said instead, very softly, and went toward him.
I put my arms around his neck and stood up on tiptoe to kiss him. Before my lips had even touched his, his arms were around my waist, holding me tightly against him. He kissed me back, hard, like he’d just had some of the very same thoughts pass through his head.
One arm stayed around my waist, but the other lifted, and his big hand clenched a fistful of my jacket, holding me like he didn’t want to let go, like he’d never let go. He leaned into the kiss, his lips getting harder and more insistent. I could feel the barely leashed need in his body, and I was pretty sure we were only seconds away from falling to the floor and yanking each other’s clothes off and making love while the world crashed around our ears.
And God help me, I really wanted to make love to him.
But Metropolis was burning, being torn apart by rioters and looters, and the entire world was in dire peril. Clark was needed elsewhere.
And that’s the whole problem-- he’s always needed elsewhere. Clark was too important to belong to one woman. He needed to be free to leave at a moment’s notice, whenever trouble arose.
I wasn’t sure I was selfless enough to cope with that. I’m honestly not sure any woman could be that selfless.
I wanted to kiss him forever, but I knew I had to let him go, so I pushed him away. He stared down at me, and I brushed my thumb over the mole high on his right cheekbone, looking straight into his eyes. I wanted to tell him so many things—how much he meant to me, how many years I’d loved him.
And how I’d just realized that no matter how much I loved him, I couldn’t ever have him. Because he belonged to the world, not to me.
His lips parted, and he looked like he was about to say something. Or maybe he was just about to kiss me again, I don’t know. But the phone rang, and he turned his head to look at it, then glanced back at me.
I stroked my thumb over the mole on his cheek one more time, then stepped back, letting him go. He walked slowly over to the phone and picked it up. He didn’t say anything, only listened. Then he put the phone down and looked at me.
“That was Lex,” he said, looking grim. “I have to go.”
I nodded, struggling to hold back tears. Clark didn’t need my tears right now. He didn’t need to worry about me when the fate of the whole world hung in the balance.
“Go,” I said softly.
He looked at me, and I could see pain and confusion and raw emotion battling in his eyes.
He paused a second longer, then stepped out of the phone book and turned away from me. This time he didn’t hesitate, but leaped into superspeed and was gone, papers flying off desks in the wake of his departure.
I stood there, staring after him, for a long, long time.
Kissing him had given me new faith that he'd come back to me. Somewhere deep inside, I was certain I’d see him again. Clark had come through so many situations that would have killed a lesser man, and he was almost literally indestructible. I felt certain he’d survive this confrontation, too. At any rate, I somehow couldn’t conceive of a world without Clark in it. I somehow knew he’d come walking back into my life before too long.
And I knew he’d be expecting something more than friendship from me. I could see from the look in his eyes that the kiss we’d shared had knocked our pretense of friendship aside, replacing it with something far deeper. Something a lot more honest.
But I couldn’t become another woman who held him back from the world, and yet I wasn’t sure I could share him with the world. I wasn’t sure I was that noble. In fact, I was pretty damn sure I wasn’t selfless enough. I’d want to hold Clark back, to protect him from dangerous situations, to keep him safe. And I was grimly aware that Clark couldn’t play it safe. Because his destiny, his purpose, was to protect the world.
If I got involved with Clark, I was pretty sure I'd try to hold him back. And I couldn't do that to him. I couldn't be the one who stopped him from fulfilling his destiny.
When Clark came back, I’d have to pretend the kiss we’d shared hadn’t meant anything to me. I’d have to pretend I’d just kissed him in the heat of the moment. I'd have to put our relationship back on the friendship setting.
It was going to hurt. In fact, I loved him so much that I thought it might rip me apart.
But it was what I had to do.