By Jill Tanz <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted December 1998
Summary: What would have happened if the telephone hadn't interrupted Clark at the beginning of the episode "And the Answer Is"? This story gives you a chance to find out.
This fic was inspired by "And The Answer Is … ". When I saw this episode, I knew I would never be happy until I rewrote it with a more satisfactorily WAFFy ending. All characters are, of course, property of DC Comics, Warner Brothers, etc and any copyright infringement on my part is completely unintentional, so pretty please don't sue me. It is my very first fanfic, and I would very much appreciate any feedback, be it positive or not-so-positive <g>. Jill Tanz AlienDove@juno.com
Clark paced the floor of Lois' apartment, practising the single most important speech of his life. He held a photo of Lois in his hand and tried out different versions of the same critical revelation as he waited for her. No matter which way he said it, it didn't sound right. It reminded him of their first date; of all the outfits he had tried on before finally deciding on the charcoal suit. But this was no mere fashion dilemma. What he said in the next few minutes could make or break his relationship with Lois. It seemed that today was the climax of the novel that was his life.
As he was in mid-sentence, she walked in. Just the sight of her took his breath away, as it did every single time he laid eyes on her, starting with that first day at the Planet. She eyed him quizzically. He sighed inwardly. Those Eyes. it was as if she looked right into his soul. She was just finishing up getting ready to leave for the Planet. Her hair was shiny and smooth, and she wore a deep red lipstick that complemented her outfit. Her earrings glittered, but they could not compete with her eyes. Clark thought she'd look perfect even if she just rolled out of bed and got in the car. He snapped out of his daydream and decided to go for it.
"Lois, I've got something to tell you."
"It's not good news, is it?"
"Well, I dunno … maybe."
"No, it's not. I can tell by your face," she said, heading for the couch.
"Lois, maybe you better … "
Lois took a seat on the couch.
"Oh yeah, this is good news," she said.
Clark took a deep breath. His head was spinning with the thought of what he was about to say. It had to be perfect. He waited a few seconds before he spoke again, trying to harness his emotions and control his words.
"You know how you're always complaining that I seem to run off every time we start talking about something important?"
"I recall mentioning it once or twice," she said with a smile. Clark smiled slightly at her attempt to lighten the moment. She had obviously picked up that he had something very important to say and that he was nervous as hell.
"Well, there's a reason for that and it has nothing to do with my having a fear of intimacy or being afraid of falling in love or anything like that."
Clark paused to gather his thoughts so that he could avoid spitting them out in a senseless jumble. The few seconds that took seemed like forever to Lois. She was on the edge of her seat.
"I think I should just tell you this as simply and honestly as I can." Clark heard himself say the words he never thought could possibly come out of his mouth.
"Lois, I'm Superman."
Silence. Clark waited for what seemed like an eternity for some kind of reaction from Lois. He couldn't believe he had said those words. He felt so vulnerable, so naked and exposed. Every second that passed that Lois did not speak seemed like an hour. Clark could almost see the gears turning in Lois' head as she took in the meaning of his last sentence and tried to process it. His eyes searched hers for some indication of what was going on in there. What he saw confused him. This was not a typical Lois reaction.
Finally, she spoke, "Clark, as funny as that is, you still haven't explained your little running off problems. Enough with the ice breaking humor, what did you really want to say?" Lois scoffed good-naturedly.
She wasn't taking this the way Clark had expected at all. 'I don't believe it, he thought. Am I going to have to demonstrate?' He could not even imagine having to say it again. Once had been bad enough. She looked at him expectantly.
"Lois, that is what I wanted to say. I am Superman. Superman is me. We are the same person. That's why I'm always running off to check my mail, or return a library book." Clark looked into her eyes, pleading for her to understand. "I'm really just doing my job. My other job."
Lois sat and stared at him. She waited desperately for the punch line, but in vain. She tried to force some words out of her mouth.
"But … Clark … I … uh, you … Superman is, he's… "
Lois' brow furrowed, and her eyes darted around in their sockets. Her jaw went slack as she tried to force sensible words out of her lips.
"He's … he's … well, he's … um … uh… " She stood up, her hands gesturing frantically as if trying to convey what her mouth could not. Her feet paced the length of the couch.
"Well, he's not- you're, you're not like… "
Finally, she gave up and collapsed back into the couch with a great sigh of defeat.
"You can't be serious. This has got to be a joke, right?"
She still couldn't believe what she was hearing. Her breath came fast and her heart pounded so loudly she thought even Clark must be able to hear it.
Of course, Clark could hear it, and it made him nervous. Her pulse rate was over 160!
Lois was still in shock. This could not be real. She didn't believe it. No, she wouldn't believe it. This had to be some kind of joke, like that godzilla doll at the dump, or.
Clark took this moment of silence as his cue to speak.
"I have wanted to tell you, for so long Lois. You have no idea how hard it's been, trying to keep half of myself hidden from. the woman I love. But now, it's as if a terrible weight has been lifted from my chest. I don't have to hide from you anymore."
Clark's eyes searched hers, waiting for that look of Comprehension and to know what she was thinking. Searching for … something, anything, that would signify acknowledgement at least. Then Lois' eyes met his and, in that instant, she could see the truth and the love shining through in his eyes; the eyes of a hero. Superman's eyes. Now she knew he was not kidding. This was no joke. Her reaction was the last thing either of them would ever have expected.
She burst into tears.
"Oh, Lois, please, no, oh, please don't cry," Clark pleaded, reaching out to caress her cheek. "I can't stand to see you cry. Just the thought that I've made you unhappy is unbearable. When you're sad and you cry. I just want to die."
Lois couldn't hear him now over the commotion in her mind. Her whole body shook with uncontrollable fits of sobbing as every memory of her life since Clark had been in Metropolis came flooding back with incredible clarity. The Cheese of the Month shipment, the doctor's appointment, the urgent need to return a library book, and their date at the fair when Clark had run off yet again to phone in the story … and Superman had arrived. Now it all made so much sense. Way too much sense. What kind of reporter was she anyway? How could she have been so blind?
Clark rushed to her side and took her in his arms, holding her head against his chest, running his fingers slowly through her hair.
"All right, Lois, it's OK, just, just let it all out… "
Crazy, jumbled thoughts continued to whiz around in Lois' brain. That time when Clark was killed by those regenerated mobsters; that was all an act? All those wasted emotions! God, what she had gone through for this man, this man who was two men. The anger started to bubble up inside her like lava inside a volcano. But then she remembered more. She remembered throwing herself at Superman. She remembered the pain of his rejection. She had thought she knew him. But how could she really know him? Now she saw what pain she must have caused Clark; why he couldn't believe her that night she had said she would love him even if he was just an ordinary man. She had only hours ago rejected that same ordinary man.
Clark reached over her to the coffee table and grabbed a few tissues out of the box. "Here." He handed them to Lois, who took them, but only stared at Clark, as if seeing him for the first time.
She felt so foolish and so ashamed, so cheated and lied to, so. so.confused. All those emotions melted into one in her heart, her mind, her soul, until she did not even know how she felt. The only thing she knew for sure now was a feeling of intense love for the man who held her in his arms. She could see from the intensity in his eyes that he felt the same way. That emotion had such deep roots within her soul that it could no longer be disguised or denied. Amidst the confusion, this was the one feeling that was still coming in loud and clear. Maybe that was all that really mattered.
They sat there on that couch, rocking and holding each other until her sobs subsided. It felt like a lifetime. Slowly, she turned her head around, and stared up into his eyes. They were like great oceans which seemed to swallow her whole and she let herself drown in the bottomless pool of his love. They did not speak. There were no words to describe the emotions that consumed them, merging their souls into one, as they were meant to be, life after life.
After a long time, Lois sat up. Gently, Clark stroked her cheek, as he had done so many times. Now the gesture had new meaning. She reached up, and lifted the glasses from his perfectly chiseled face. Without the obstruction of wire frames and plastic, there was no mistaking him. As he stared into her eyes questioningly, she pushed back his soft dark hair. Her eyes seemed to soak in the image, as if trying to capture it for all time. Her fingers traveled slowly down his cheek, over the strong jaw, down his neck, and over the muscles of his chest. Her fingers found the buttons, and she undid them one by one, to reveal the familiar S. Clark wondered what she was thinking, and feeling. Her eyes moved up from his chest, to rest once again on his eyes. There was such intensity and yet such gentleness there.
She bent her head to kiss his forehead, and then her lips met his. Clark felt a surge of adrenaline and his neck arched to meet her. All the energy contained within their bodies seemed to explode like fireworks as their lips met. Soft and tentative at first and, gradually less cautiously, they kissed. Then, with almost reckless abandon, Lois and Clark gave in to a tidal wave of love and affection.
This was a kiss like no other. Lois held Clark tightly. He was her life preserver in the middle of a vast sea of emotions. Clark's hands explored her body, as though trying to touch her everywhere at once.
Together they traveled to a place where everything was perfect and nothing mattered but the fact that they were together and in love. At last there were no walls between them; no secrets and no lies. It felt so good and so right. Lois and Clark could hear nothing but each other; see nothing but each other. It felt like escaping and finally coming home all at once. Their love was all-consuming. So slowly that neither of them even noticed it, they began to float towards the ceiling. A soft moan escaped Lois' lips. The long forgotten wire frame glasses dangling from her fingers slipped and fell, landing softly on the sofa, where they would remain for quite a long time.