By Shawn V. <Kirshnera@aol.com>
Submitted September 1999
Summary: After an upsetting encounter between Lois and Superman, Clark clears things up with Lois about her and the big guy's relationship. Then they clear some things up about their own relationship…
NOTE: This is a short, WaFFy story, set mid-first or early second season.
"Hey would you say whatever we're blanket friends. Can't stop what's coming, can't stop what is on its way."
~~ "Bells for Her," Tori Amos.
Lois Lane felt a little light-headed as she walked into her apartment on a rainy New England evening, but she supposed that was still the after-effects of free-falling off of a seventeen story building. At least the nausea had passed away relatively quickly.
She shuddered as she recalled how the icy-cold butterflies started in her stomach when she was near the edge. Then, when she had been so close that she knew she was going to fall, how she'd reached out for anything, grasping air, and the panic raced through her body, erupting into a hysterical scream. After that, she'd been able to feel nothing … there was nothing solid around her, just the wind's teasing pressure, and the lack of control had made her sick with fear. And she'd almost wished that she would hit the ground, just so that it was all over with.
Then there had been the hard feeling of strong, warm arms around her, and a sudden stop. Superman. She'd wrapped her arms around him as she always did, hanging onto him as tightly as she would a life preserver in a stormy sea. It wasn't that she'd been afraid he would drop her— she trusted him enough not to be worried about that— it was just that he felt strong and safe, and if she hadn't held on to him, she would have been trembling like a leaf.
On the ground, she'd felt better, but her stomach had protested the abuse, and she had been afraid of losing her lunch right in front of Superman and everyone, and that would have been just too embarrassing for the imperturbable reporter. Fortunately, she hadn't been forced to deal with that.
And now, she tried to put the whole thing out of her head. It was one of those experiences that was too awful for people to remember, and she knew that by tomorrow she'd think it wasn't such a big deal. That was the way she'd always heard that childbirth was supposed to be. Hell when you're going through it, but hazy when you're looking back on it.
She collapsed on the couch, dropping her shoes on the floor, and closed her eyes.
She might have fallen asleep if not for a sharp rapping at her window. "It's unlocked," she said, not bothering to look. After all, what or who could it be besides Superman?
"What's going on?" 'Why is he here?' she wondered.
"Oh … nothing much. I just wanted to see if you were okay." 'Lame, Kent, lame. Better back it up.' "Ah, you seemed a little shaken up earlier."
He'd noticed? Great. So much for her tough act. "Yeah, well, you know. It's like how you get shaky after a big presentation or something … nothing unusual."
"Oh. Well, I…" He trailed off.
Lois sat up. "Do you want some coffee or something?" 'Let's not waste the opportunity, hm?'
He *should* be going. After all, Superman was just checking to see that she was okay … even if he *knew* that she was more or less fine … and had been that way the last seven times it had happened to her… But Clark Kent *was* rather a hopeless, pathetic fool in love, and that might have influenced the decision to visit. How could he turn down a reason to see Lois? And now, how could he turn down a reason to prolong that visit?
Besides, coffee was nice, he told himself.
"Okay, I'll just be a second. Have a seat." Lois got up and went into the kitchen. Suddenly, she wasn't as tired as she had been when she'd walked in the door.
Clark Kent would have offered to make the coffee. At least he would have walked into the kitchen with her. But while Clark Kent was a regular fixture who knew his way around Lois' kitchen, Superman was a guest. And so both of them were restrained to the living room.
In a minute, Lois returned and sat next to him on the sofa.
"So, uh, how was the rest of your day?"
"Oh, not too bad," she replied. "Not very productive, I have to admit, but nothing awful happened."
"Oh, well, that's nice."
"Yeah. What about you? Anything exciting?"
"No … not really. The usual stuff, you know… What?" He'd just noticed that Lois was grinning at his statement.
"It's just … the usual stuff…"
"Doesn't seem so usual to me…"
"Well … I'm not your usual guy."
Not your usual guy… didn't that sound vaguely familiar? Had he said it before … during an interview, perhaps? Maybe it was just one of those creepy deja-vu things.
"No, I guess you're not," she said, brushing the odd feeling off. "But then who's to say what's normal?"
There was a short pause.
"Thanks for saving me today. It's getting hard to count how many times over I owe you my life…" It was late, she was tired, and her brain was thrilled to realize just how close she was sitting to the man she loved. But whatever the reason, a sweet, sentimental note had crept into her voice. "I don't know what I'd do without you."
Her tone was not lost on Superman, nor was the soft half-smile that made her look so gentle and inviting. He smiled in return, and took her hand in his. "You'll never have to find out, Lois, I promise."
Lois' heart almost stopped beating at those words. Those were *commitment* words. Could he possibly mean … Was this it? Was this what she had dreamed of for so long? "Superman…" She leaned toward him, hardly realizing that she was doing so.
He was quick to reciprocate, and in an interminable instant, their lips met. He lifted one hand and traced her jaw with his finger as his tongue pressed into her mouth, tasting her hungrily. She was soft, she was sweet … and she was Lois…
Lois' arms slipped around his body, under his cape, pulling him closer. A moan escaped from somewhere deep in her throat.
The sound was magnified a thousand times by acute hearing attuned to the woman in his arms, and exploded into his head. It was the sound he'd always ached to hear from her— the sound of pleasure— and his response to it was immediate and powerful.
But somewhere in the part of his brain that was still working, he realized that if he didn't stop, and stop *now,* he wouldn't be able to. And if he didn't, Clark Kent's life would be completely worthless.
And so, abruptly, he pulled away.
Lois looked at him, her eyes dreamy and her smile dazed.
Superman closed his eyes for a second. 'Don't look at me like that, Lois… Not at Superman…'
"Superman? What's wrong?"
"Lois … I … I have to go." He stood up and turned toward the window.
"Is it an emergency? Is someone in trouble?"
He glanced back at her. He couldn't lie. And he knew his eyes were revealing to her that there was no one in trouble … that he was just escaping. He knew what that would mean to her. "I'm sorry," he said softly, and flew out of the window before he could see her face fall.
Numbly, she stood and walked over to the window, shutting and locking it. He was gone. Not because someone else had needed him, but because he didn't want to be with her. No more teasing, no more second-guessing. He'd shown her exactly where he stood now…
She knew she was going to cry, and she didn't even try to stop it.
"Why are you ruining my *life?*" Clark angrily asked the blue-suited figure in the mirror. "Every time you get close to Lois, *I* get a little worse in her eyes. Stop encouraging her! For God's sake, stop acting so damn stupid! What right do you have to stab me in the back?" His voice got suddenly quieter. "I love her… I love her so much, and it seems like no matter what I do, she doesn't feel the same way for me. You're all she cares about, all she thinks about … and I'm about ready to…"
He was interrupted by someone knocking. Superman disappeared and Clark went to answer the door.
"Hi, Clark … you have time for a movie?" Her eyes looked a little red, and her smile a little forced.
"Sure … come in."
Lois walked past him and sat down on the sofa, putting the movie she'd brought on the coffee table. This was much better than crying herself to sleep, she reasoned. And besides … she really wanted to see Clark … no, needed to see him. Calling or visiting Clark was by now almost an automatic response to anything that went wrong in her life, and this was no exception.
Clark shut the door and turned toward Lois. It was obvious she'd been upset about what happened with Superman, but he was surprised to see her here. She was looking to Clark for comfort? Perhaps the whole situation wasn't playing out as awfully as he'd thought. He walked down the steps and sat next to her on the couch.
Ever so slightly closer to her than Superman had been.
"I brought 'First Knight.' Do you want to watch that?"
"Sure, that sounds great."
She stood up, put the movie in the VCR, then settled back down next to Clark. She picked up the remote and started the movie. "Oops, it's not rewound," she said, and stopped it.
"What's wrong?" He had to ask the question, even though he already knew the answer. He had to bring up the subject. Since it was his fault she was hurting, it was his job to try and make her feel better.
"Something's wrong, isn't it? You look upset."
"Do I?" Her voice rose a little.
"Well, that's just… I mean…" She sighed. "I don't…"
He picked up the remote and shut the television off. "Hey," he said softly, daring to put his arm around her, "you can tell me."
"Clark…" She sighed again, unconsciously cuddling up to him. "Have you ever been in love? I mean, really in *love*— blind, stupid, crazy love."
"Yeah," he admitted quietly.
"Yeah, me too. Me too." She gave a rueful laugh. "Isn't it wonderful? I mean, here I am, Lois Lane, top reporter— one of the top reporters, anyway— in the world, rough, tough, daring … and head over heels in love with a guy who doesn't even care. You know, I thought for a minute … more than a minute, actually … that we had something. I thought, maybe … maybe this was different. Maybe this was *real.* Maybe I wasn't insane to fall for him. Maybe just this once, I'd finally gotten it right…
"But I guess my relationship record still stands. I guess I was insanely arrogant to think that I could love him, and that he would love me in return. I guess…
"Clark, he came to my apartment and said to me that he was always going to be there for me … maybe I just warped it to what I wanted to hear, but that sounded like such a wonderful promise… And then, he kissed me. I didn't start it, not completely, and he made no attempts to stop. Well, not right away.
"All of a sudden, he just pulled back. He jumped up and told me he had to leave. I asked him if he had to go save someone, and he just looked at me… He didn't have to go rescue anyone. He just … didn't want…" At that point, Lois broke off, sniffling.
Clark held her in his arms for a minute. "Lois," he murmured, his lips brushing the side of her head. It felt so natural, so impossible *not* to do … and Lois wasn't protesting. "Lois, I'm sure it's not what you think … not as bad as you think."
"Clark, you don't…"
"Shhh." He stroked her hair as she rested her head on his shoulder. "Yes, I do understand, a lot more than you think. Trust me. Superman … isn't quite who you think he is, but that doesn't mean he doesn't care for you."
"How … how do you know that?"
"I've known him longer than you have, and I know a lot of things about him … things he couldn't possibly tell you— not now, at any rate. But let me just say this. He *does* care for you, I know he does, but it's just not possible for him to be in a relationship that way, and there's nothing you or he can do about it."
"But why doesn't he tell me that?" she asked, lifting her head slightly.
"He feels guilty about it. Guilty that he led you on. Guilty that he led *himself* on. He knew it could never work, but he didn't stop."
So Superman was hopeless, but at least she knew he cared. Lois sighed as Clark gently kissed her forehead. She tilted her head to the side slightly as his lips moved across her ear, down her neck, then gently over her throat, soft, silken, comforting caresses.
Clark knew, of course, that he shouldn't be doing this … it was wrong, it was terrible, it was *taking advantage,* since she was on the rebound of a painfully broken up relationship. And it had been ingrained into his memory as a child that a gentleman didn't take advantage of a lady. Even if she was melting pleasantly in his arms. Even if she was the object of his every desire. Even if she was *Lois*…
"Mmmm … oh, Clark, don't stop… That feels so good…" Lois murmured as she felt him hesitate for a moment.
"Lois … I don't want to…" 'Say it.' "To take advantage of you…"
She laughed softly. "If you ever do, I'll be sure to let you know. This is not all about *you* deciding things for *me*. I can decide what I want and what I don't, what I like and what I don't … what I *need*…"
And just what *did* Lois Lane need right now? More than assurance that Superman cared, but assurance that someone else cared…
Her lips met Clark's in a tender kiss. It wasn't wild, wasn't passionate, but it was almost overwhelmingly sensual. It was the kind of kiss shared between two lovers when they have all the time in the world— slow but deep.
Reality faded away and all that was left was the sensation of his hands, his body, his mouth… He was gentle, tender, even loving … and definitely fulfilling. She'd kissed him once or twice before … never really on purpose … but the experiences were memorable nonetheless. This guy was damn good… And she couldn't help but wonder … how would Clark Kent, her partner, her *best friend,* be in bed?
With a numb shock, she realized that not only did she want Clark, but she also felt just as good … better, even … kissing him than she had felt kissing Superman. The difference was that Superman had started and stopped suddenly, while Clark … Clark was bringing her slowly and deliberately up to the boiling point.
She supposed she should feel a little guilty about being with Clark, especially knowing that Superman *did* care for her. Her fantasy man could turn out to be a plausible counterpart after all, despite all that had happened tonight, and for some reason, she was drawn even more to…
… to her best friend. Why? Why him? Why was the old "in love" feeling back, tenfold? What kind of crazy game was this?
'What?' That was undeniably Clark…
"*Are* you okay?" He pulled himself away from her to look in her eyes.
She almost laughed. "Okay? I'm…" She was what? Drowning? Insane? Changing her mind? " … I'm in love…"
Clark said nothing. He didn't know what *to* say. He didn't know what she meant by it. He could only pray that she'd elaborate.
"Oh, Clark … tell me I'm not crazy. Tell me you feel this, too. Tell me…"
He silenced her with a fingertip pressed to her lips. "I *love* you." His mouth greedily superseded his finger, and Lois didn't, *couldn't* protest.
"Such good friends…" she whispered. "I love you…"
"Can't stop loving, can't stop what is on its way And I see it coming, and it's on its way."
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