By Kaethel <Kaethel@wanadoo.fr>
Rated PG 13
Submitted August 2002
Summary: After spending their first real date in Paris, Lois and Clark are reluctant to let the evening end and return to the loneliness of their apartments. Will they resist the urge to be together without wasting any more time? Do they even want to resist it? Find out in this epilogue to Wendy Richards' "Carbon Copy."
This came out of a teasing battle between Wendy and me on irc: throughout the posting of Carbon Copy, I nagged and begged her to write smoochies — she always replied with a "but they can't because…" usually followed by a point where CK played a major part (now you see why I was miffed at CK throughout the posting of her story <g>). When she showed me the wonderful date she'd written, I bugged her again to expand the scene and show us what happened once Lois and Clark got back to Metropolis. And when she told me she wanted to end the story in Paris, I found the courage to ask her if she'd mind me writing a little epilogue, a la ten-ton-truck. ;)
I'm immensely grateful to her for allowing me to have a little fun with her characters as well as agreeing to beta- read this little thing for me. I'd rarely been this nervous to send her something, but this time it was particularly frightening, since I knew I was playing with her characters, so I really didn't want to mess up. So thank you, Wendy, for reassuring me and even encouraging me to post this epilogue to your fanfic. :) Thanks also to the readers on the MBs for their encouragement and to Tricia for being such a wonderful GE. :)
Feedback is very welcome at Kaethel@wanadoo.fr.
Lois had dreaded this moment all evening. She'd tried to put it to the back of her mind and enjoy her date with Clark, but the approaching prospect of this very minute had kept scaring her nonetheless.
She was going to have to say goodnight to Clark, watch him leave, and wait until Monday morning before she saw him again…although maybe they could see each other tomorrow? She didn't think she could bear to spend a whole day without him. She glanced down at their entwined fingers, and she sighed, surrendering to the obvious. She probably couldn't bear to spend a minute without him.
How had she managed to spend all this time hiding from the deep feelings she had for Clark? Hiding from herself, in fact.
She looked up at him and wasn't surprised to see his warm gaze on her. Her lips turned into a shaky smile and her steps slowed to a halt. Ever since the first *real* kiss they'd shared in Paris, she hadn't been able to control the trembling of her legs, and she feared that her knees wouldn't hold her if she let go of her death grip on Clark's hand.
The evening had been magic. There was no other word to describe what they'd lived. He'd let her into his private universe, showing her the world as only he could see it. She'd snuggled up to him on their way to Europe, enjoying the feel of his arms holding her close and the knowledge that she was with her best friend, really realising for the first time that there was no secret standing between them.
And then he'd told her to take a look at the dark blanket of the ocean beneath and ahead of them. At first, there had been nothing but a black, undulating mass. But within a few seconds, the twinkling lights of the west coast of Europe had come into view, tainting the sky with a rosy, warming shade.
The flight back had seemed incredibly shorter, probably because of the panic bubbling up in the pit of her belly as they approached Metropolis. And now she was home. Now they were back in familiar surroundings, but her relationship with Clark had changed so much — and so quickly — that she felt as if propelled into another world.
And now, as his hand cupped her cheek in a tender gesture that was so new and to which she was quickly getting used, the sounds of the street faded to soft, distant murmurs. She was acutely aware of him, in ways she'd never been of any other man, and she knew that the love she felt for him was stronger than she'd even suspected.
He leaned down, slowly, letting them both savour that instant of expectation before his lips covered hers. He kissed her softly, lovingly, as if for the first time, and she shivered against him. She couldn't hold back a moan of protest when he pulled away. Her breathing was laboured, her eyes watering, and the fading memory of his taste was driving her crazy.
"Come inside, Clark," she said in a strangled gasp. "It's still early," she added upon realising how pleading she'd sounded. "And I don't want tonight to end just yet."
For a split second, she thought that he'd turn down her offer, and she almost resigned herself to a refusal, actually relieved to escape a temptation that was growing inside her, tugging her to him and making her reluctant to ever let him go. But he smiled at her, and his thumb stroked a loving path across her cheek before he captured her lips into another sweet kiss.
He needn't say anything. She'd expected him to find a reason, whatever reason to turn down her suggestion. Her heart clenched as she remembered the disappointment she'd felt the previous night; she'd wished so hard that they wouldn't waste one more night, that Clark wouldn't send her home, and the longing in his eyes, along with the promise of their upcoming date, hadn't made up for her frustration.
And now there was nothing standing between them anymore. Nothing to keep them apart. CK had gone home, and she supposed that Clark had needed some time to adjust to the new situation the previous evening. He'd sounded so lost after his alter ego's departure, and when he'd confessed that he sometimes felt like an outsider to the world, living in circles where he couldn't completely belong, she knew that she couldn't say much that would help him.
She couldn't fill the void left by that alternate version of him; all she could do was tell him how much he meant to the world, and most of all, to her. He was the most caring, decent and human person she'd ever met. It wasn't the powers that made him who he was. It wasn't the strength, the speed, or even the ability to fly. She might have been blinded by the flashy costume, but her attraction to Superman hadn't been in any way related to his amazing abilities. But he wanted to use his capacities to help and make the world a better place, and this was the only thing that mattered.
She should have noticed that Clark had the same innate goodness in him as Superman; why had it taken so long for her to fall in love with her partner? Why hadn't she seen him for who he really was? Superman was a part of him, but it was Clark Kent who wanted to help. The superhero was just a means to an end, not much more, as far as her best friend was concerned. And yet, he was what people saw, and what gave them hope. He was also what allowed Clark to have a private life…and be with her right now.
She led him up the stairs to her apartment, her heart thudding. He'd chosen *her*; he could have anyone in the world, but he'd chosen her. More than that, he'd waited for her while she made a fool of herself with Lex Luthor.
And now that all the barriers between them had vanished, she felt naked and vulnerable…and safe. The paradox was confusing: a part of her desperately wanted to be with him while a small voice kept warning her about the dangers of love. She mentally pushed it away, secure in the knowledge that Clark was different from all the men of her past. Now that his secret was hers as well, he wouldn't hide anything from her.
She took a deep breath as she let herself into her darkened apartment and tried to ignore Clark's presence, so close behind her.
She turned around with the firm purpose of acting normal, of asking him if he wanted a mug of coffee or to watch some movie — anything to keep her mind off their relationship — but one look at him stifled her intentions. His hand reached for her waist and effortlessly pulled her to him. Her arms automatically wrapped around his neck and her lips parted in invitation.
Maybe it was the quiet surroundings of her apartment, or the warm afterglow of their date, but his kiss felt more intimate, igniting a thrill of pleasure in the pit of her belly. His hands roamed up her back, pulling her closer, and she surrendered to the moment, letting all conscious thought slip away as she revelled in the simple joy of kissing her boyfriend.
Her consciousness returned an instant later when she felt Clark's hand on hers and saw the hesitation in his eyes. It was only then that she realised she'd been fumbling with the buttons of his shirt, and his touch had stilled her frantic fingers.
"You know, I knew it would be difficult to say goodnight to you," he murmured teasingly.
"Do we have to? Say goodnight, that is." She couldn't believe what she was asking him. It wasn't like her to jump into bed with a guy on their first date. Heck, the men she'd dated in the past would have considered themselves lucky to be granted a goodnight kiss. But here she was, practically begging him to take things further. Their relationship was so different; *he* was so different. She forced herself to pull away from him; being held in his arms wasn't doing any good for her self-control. "I'm sorry," she finally managed to stutter. "It was a stupid thing to say and —"
"No! Lois, it's not stupid. It's just…*don't* think I don't want it, because I've never wanted anything so much in my life. But it's a big step, and I want you to be sure."
She took his hand and led him to the couch, sitting close beside him and lacing her fingers with his. He was right: making love was such a big step, and each time she'd taken it, cold mornings of loneliness had followed. But somehow, everything seemed different with Clark, and something told her that when they'd reach that point, he wouldn't lose interest in her like her previous boyfriends had.
<You were sure with the others, too.>
And she'd been wrong. Every single time, she'd been wrong. Not that there had been many men she'd been intimate with, but the memory was painful enough to make the mistakes all the heavier to bear. Waking up in the crumpled sheets of an empty bed, opening her eyes to see her lover dressing and fleeing his way out the door with the vague promise of calling her. A promise they never kept.
Granted, Clark worked with her, so running out of her life would be harder. Not that it had done any good when Claude had decided to ruin her reputation a few years earlier, but…but at least, she knew Clark enough to be sure that he was fair and discreet. He wouldn't reveal details of their private life to their work colleagues just to destroy her. He was her best friend, and she trusted him. And she wanted him so much that she was sorely tempted to push her doubts to the back of her mind and follow her rough desire.
"Clark," she started shakily, knowing that she was fighting a battle against old fears that could resurface any minute. "I don't want to push you into something you're not ready for, and if you want to wait, we'll wait."
"Oh, I don't want to wait!" he hurried to reassure her, his eagerness making her shake her head in amusement. Sometimes he was just a man, but this kind of attitude was never patronising when it came from him. It was just…sweet. And cute. And adorable.
"When I saw CK lying there, in so much pain, I thought I was losing him. And even if I didn't know that it was you, or rather that it wasn't you, it was as if something had snapped in me, exactly like that time when I thought you were dead."
He frowned pensively. "Is that why you're wearing this dress?"
"You remember it?"
"I don't think I could forget one minute of that evening," he replied, racking a hand through his hair.
Her hold on his hand instinctively tightened. "Me neither. I thought I'd lost you. I hadn't even had a chance to tell you how much you meant to me."
He blinked, obviously taken aback by her confession. "You mean…even then?"
"Yeah. I spent months in complete denial, but yes, my main regret was that I'd wasted so much time, either running after Superman or…or Lex, and then you were gone without knowing how much you meant to me."
He pulled her into his arms, rocking her in his embrace, the motion soft and soothing. "And I was too stupid to come to you and tell you the truth, then."
"We can't change the past. Besides, CK told me that his Lois was quite angry with him. I don't suppose my yelling at you was what you needed then. Face it, Clark, there was no right time to drop the news on me."
"But we're okay now?"
She dropped a kiss against his chest. "We most definitely are."
She remained silent for a few minutes, sighing contentedly when Clark stroked her hair. He was such a caring, tender man. Just the fact that he'd stopped their passionate encounter to be certain that she was sure of what they were doing told her more about him than any promise of everlasting love. He was happy with whatever she felt comfortable giving him, and if she preferred to wait, it was obviously not a problem for him. He was giving her a choice.
Did *she* want to wait? What she'd told Clark was the truth. Seeing CK almost lose his life and knowing it could have been Clark lying unconscious on that hospital bed and fighting against the poison running in his veins had re- woken instincts that urged her to seize the day.
"I don't want to waste any more time," she said, voicing her inner thoughts. "It could have been you lying on that hospital bed."
"It should have been me."
The guilt in his voice was unmistakable, and she hugged him tighter in response. "It's all right, Clark. He's fine now…in fact," she added with a coy, seductive smile, "I imagine he's making up for lost time with his fiancee."
Her partner chuckled and nodded in agreement. "He seemed pretty eager to get back to her."
"Can you blame him? His girl must be pretty terrific, from what he told me." A wink accompanied her comment, but the seriousness on his face stopped her laughter short.
"You have no idea," he whispered intensely. "You have no idea how much I love you. And how good it feels to finally be able to tell you."
"Oh, I think I do know. I tossed and turned all night yesterday because you wouldn't let us have that talk."
"I'm sorry about last night, Lois. I wanted tonight to be the perfect date. I wanted to do everything just right, take you home and say goodnight. Be reasonable."
"Clark Kent!" she scolded, unable to fight her urge to pull him down for a hard kiss. "You should know that reasonable is *not* something I do well."
"It's going to take a lot of getting used to," he murmured against her lips.
"I'll help you," she promised, then busied herself with the buttons of his shirt again. He remained passive, a blissful smile on his face, and she fought the urge to blush. Her embarrassment was only temporary, though, for she met an unexpected obstacle. She looked up at Clark, frowning. "I do have one condition, though."
He rolled his eyes, but his broad grin told her he was teasing. "I knew there were strings attached."
"You'd better give me a hand with that annoying suit of yours. I never thought I'd say this, but…Superman's getting in the way."
A few hours later, exhausted but sated, Clark stared at the woman in his arms with growing amazement. If, the previous night, someone had told him that he'd end up making love to Lois less than twenty-four hours afterwards, he would never have believed it. He'd dreamt of this moment for such a long time and fantasised about it for so many nights, but the real thing overpowered all his expectations and hopes.
He hadn't needed to tell her about his lack of experience — his nervousness had betrayed him; it had been her turn to ask if he was ready to take this step, and he'd been touched by her thoughtfulness. He'd admired her self- control, too, for it had taken all his willpower earlier to pull away and enquire about her desire to be intimate with him that soon.
In truth, his determination to take things slowly had started to waver when they'd kissed in Paris, and it had literally flown out the window once they'd been alone in her apartment. But he'd needed to ensure that she was conscious of what they were doing and the consequences.
Once again, though, he'd underestimated Lois Lane.
When she'd explained her theory about missed opportunities, he'd understood that his idea to make this evening with her the perfect date, as nice as it had been, had put unnecessary barriers between them. It didn't matter where they went or what they did, whether he took her to a fancy French restaurant in Paris, or to Giovanni's right around the corner. The only important thing was to be with her and enjoy the simple moments of their newfound love.
Granted, flying her to Europe wasn't something he regretted. Seeing the wonderment in her eyes as they'd landed on that deserted spot not far from the Eiffel Tower could have been enough to make the trip worth it. And as they'd drifted together among the clouds, he'd finally found that sense of belonging that had been so cruelly missing since CK's departure. He didn't need someone who was just like him to feel a real part of this world; Lois's love filled him with life, and he'd never felt more human than right now, lying in bed with the woman who'd completely changed his existence, safe in the knowledge that she loved him for everything he was.
Her soft breathing tickled his chest, her silky hair brushed his shoulder, and he sighed in deep satisfaction. His fingers played with the dark strands and his eyes roamed the bare back of his partner to the point where it disappeared under the sheets. She looked so peaceful lying there, her body half-sprawled on his, her warm curves pressed to him, the contact of her naked skin against his awaking desires he'd thought completely quenched.
Had they gone too fast? Somehow, he couldn't bring himself to regret their lovemaking, and judging from the relaxed attitude of his girlfriend as she slowly drifted to sleep, held securely in his arms, she had no second thoughts either. Maybe she was right; maybe he was too reasonable sometimes. In any case, he was glad he'd followed her lead tonight.
He traced idle patterns on her back and let out a satisfied sigh as he took in the changes in his relationship with Lois. CK had been right: sharing his secret with Lois lifted a heavy weight from his shoulders. He'd wanted to be sure that she loved him for his human side, but he'd only been procrastinating because he was scared of her reaction; deep down, could he believe that she was so shallow that she'd fallen for the powers and flashy costume?
She was right. Superman was as much a part of him as Clark, and their little escapade to Paris proved it. Flying with her was wonderful…though not quite as thrilling as making love with her. Maybe they could combine the two activities someday, he thought with a wicked grin, wondering what Lois would think of such a suggestion.
They were a couple now, a *real* couple, in every sense of the word. It was the revelation of his secret identity, along with their first date, that had changed everything between them; their lovemaking was just a consequence, albeit a very nice one. She'd shown him beyond words that she accepted him whole, and that she trusted him completely.
Just as much as he trusted and loved her.
And it was with confirmed faith in their future together that he let the pull of restful dreams tug him into unconsciousness.