Wherever You Are…

By Crystal Wimmer <jcwimmer@aol.com>

Rated: G

Submitted: June, 2003 (but it was written many years ago)

Summary: This is an in-between story from the time between the episodes "Big Girls Don't Fly" and "Battleground Earth" — it was inspired by a Winnie the Pooh song.


Lois stretched once more on the small couch. She still couldn't stand sleeping in her bed. She couldn't see out the window from there. She had pulled the couch over to the window, and she rested there, looking out at the overcast sky. It was dark enough, but she couldn't see the stars for the clouds.

A tear made it's way down her cheek… she needed to see the star, tonight. It had been a horrible day of excuses and aggravation. The crime wave that had begun when Clark left had grown worse by the day. She was busy, that much was certain. There was so much to be done to keep up with the waves of robberies and assaults that Superman wasn't here to stop.

"I need you, Clark," she whispered into the silence. "I need your strength."

Another long night. Finally frustrated with her inability to see the stars, his star, she turned on the television. Using the remote control, she flipped through the channels without destination. She was too tired for this, she knew, but she couldn't stand silence. She didn't have the energy to go deal with the stereo, so instead she searched for something soothing on the television.

Finally, Lois found a neutral station. She decided that the network must be doing a free weekend of advertising because she certainly didn't pay for the children's channel. She didn't generally like cartoons, but the pastel nature of this one was calming. She settled back onto the couch, holding her pillow tightly against her as the little bear and his friend sung about "forever".

She didn't really watch the cartoon, but rather allowed her mind to wander over the last few weeks as it played quietly in the background. She drifted somewhere between sleeping and waking, until she began to see her life drifting before her.

*Come out moon, come out wishing star…

Come out, come out

Wherever you are.*

She wished that she could see the star. He had shown it to her before he left… letting her know where he would be. He had told her that she could manage without him, that they would get through this… but he hadn't sounded as certain as she would have liked. She knew how hard this was for him. He had lived his life alone, and now that they had one another, he'd had to leave. He was alone again… she could feel it… and that hurt her more than her own loneliness…

*I'm out here in the dark,

All alone and wide awake.

Come and find me.*

Clark settled back against the wall. Zara hadn't turned the lights on, out of fear that they would not have adequate power to return to New Krypton. Reaching to his neck, he fingered the small silver ring that reminded him of his future. It was his future, he insisted… there could be no other alternative. If he didn't make it back to be with Lois, there was no point… and he refused to believe that there was no point.

He still had his doubts as to whether or not this was worth it. He knew what Zara had told him, and he had no reason to doubt her, but that didn't mean that he was entirely comfortable with the concept of this trip. He had only been without his powers for a few isolated days on Earth, and he didn't like it. Perhaps that was arrogant, but he didn't *like* being like everyone else. He loved to help others, to be the one they thanked… to know he made a difference.

While his status as a ruler was by birth, and he knew his return would make the New Kryptonians stronger, it wasn't the same as actually *doing* something… something to earn their trust and make them grateful. He knew what he was giving up… he knew all too well, but they didn't.

*I'm empty and I'm cold,

And my heart's about to break.

Come and find me.*

Lois shifted, looking out the window once more. Still overcast. With a sigh, she tried to frame a story in her mind… outlining it mentally for future reference. This type of exercise normally put her right to sleep, but her mind was still too active to rest. She organized her thoughts for the story, even put together a few new ideas in her head, but still was no closer to sleep.

Sleep was a mixed blessing… It was the one time she could spend with Clark… A combination of memories and dreams that came together to give her some comfort. On the other hand, she had to wake up sometime, and the loss she felt then was so acute that it was actually painful. It was just so hard to be without him.

Over the course of three years, Clark had insinuated himself into every facet of her life. He was in her work, her recreation, her heart. There was no area of her life that she could retreat to and seek normalcy… not even her writing. She thought of trying to work on her novel somewhat, but there again it was entwined with him… Wanda Detroit was no longer a figment of her imagination, but rather a memory that she and Clark shared. She needed him.

*I need you to come here and find me,

Because without you I'm totally lost.*

Clark finally stood, and wandered over to the observation panel. He vaguely wondered how thick the glass must be to hold out the vacuum of space, but didn't dwell on the thought. After all, the clear material might not be glass at all, although it certainly felt cold to the touch, as glass did.

Resting his head against the panel, he did his best to control an outbreak of tears. Crying wasn't something he did easily or often. In fact, he could only remember a couple of times that he had actually cried, and those points in his life he would prefer to forget. But, since leaving Lois, there was an instability to his emotions that he wasn't used to. Perhaps it was the lack of super-power as he left the yellow sun so far behind, or perhaps it was just leaving Lois… his stability… he wasn't sure.

Clark gazed out at the field of stars before him, and wished that Lois was here to see it. It was so beautiful out here… it hurt not to share it with the other half of his heart. He hadn't done much on this trip except for mope… Zara and Ching were operating the craft, and they didn't need his fumbling attempts to assist. He had spent some time with a computer, trying to learn the Kryptonian language, but it didn't hold his interest. He needed Lois to get him out of this mood… this self pity… but if he had her, he wouldn't feel this way.

*I've hung a wish on every star.

It hasn't done much good so far.*

Lois finally drifted to sleep. Her dreams of Clark were a mixture of memory and illusion, real and unreal, and underscored with a feeling of pain that she couldn't understand within the limited scope of sleep. It was like that feeling that you were falling… knowing it wasn't real, and yet unable to stop it… but it was all she had.

*I can only dream of you,

Wherever you are.*

Clark jerked awake as he felt his knees begin to give way. Shaking himself slightly, he left the viewing panel to return to his room. The small area contained only a palate, and a box of belongings that Lois had sent with him. He sat next to the box, surprised with his fatigue, and began to sort through it s contents. He glanced at the pictures, and finally settled on the tan sweater that she had sent with him.

He remembered the flight to Bangkok like it was yesterday. Lois had been complaining about the quality of the local Tai food, and he had laughingly scooped her into his arms and taken off. She had still been giggling as he fed her noodles from his plate. She had been so beautiful that night… she always was… and the sparkle in her eyes had been wonderful.

They had eaten, and talked, and laughed into the wee hours of the morning, their time. She had been drowsy when it had been time to fly back, and it wasn't until he had taken her in his arms for flight that he realized her skin was chilled. She had said it didn't matter, that she hadn't noticed, but he had insisted on her wearing his sweater for the flight home.

Clark laid down on the hard pallet, and closed his eyes. God, he missed her. He could almost feel her, smell her. Absently he realized that it was the sweater… carrying her scent. He tucked the material near his face and held onto it as he fell asleep.

*But when the morning comes,

And the sun begins to rise,

I will lose you.*

Lois snapped awake. She wondered for a moment if she had heard something, but decided instead that it was just the abrupt end of a dream. She knew she had dreamt of Clark, she could fairly feel his presence, but she couldn't remember the dream.

The same cartoon was playing that had been on the television before, so she knew that she hadn't been asleep for long. With a sigh, she stood and went to the kitchen. Her eyes felt gravely and swollen from tears, and her throat hurt from crying in her sleep, so she decided to make some tea.

She boiled water, and reached into the cupboard for some tea. Her fingertips connected with a little silver tin of Lapsang-Souchong… another treasure Clark had brought her from the East. She sighed as she realized that even here, even at two in the morning when she only wanted a cup of tea, he was so deeply insinuated into her life that she couldn't get away from him. How would she live without him.

*Because it's just a dream,

When I open up my eyes

I will lose you.*

Clark woke with one had clutching his old tan sweater, and the other holding tightly to the ring around his neck. He sighed as he relaxed his body, uncurling from the fetal position. He ached all over, and not just from the unaccustomed feeling of sleeping on solid ground. He estimated that he had slept an hour or so, but he couldn't be sure. He knew he felt worse now than he had before sleeping.

He sat up slowly, resting his back against the wall in his room. He was still tired. It didn't seem to matter how hard he tried, he couldn't seem to get used to fatigue like this. There was no comfortable position to sleep in, and his mind didn't ever rest, even when his body needed to. Losing his "super" abilities was harder than he had imagined it would be.

Still, he felt he could deal with the physical discomfort if he only had Lois to comfort him. In a way, that surprised him. He had always thought of his mother in conjunction with comfort, and it wasn't that he didn't miss her, but he really felt Lois's absence more acutely. He had difficulty believing that he could survive this indefinitely. He had to get back to Earth… back to her.

*I used to believe in forever,

But forever's too good to be true.*

Lois sat with her tea, watching the end of the movie. She didn't want to go back to sleep… she knew what awaited her there. On the other hand, she needed to work the next day, and she was tired of Perry's constant worry for her. She knew she didn't look her best.. she knew about the circles under her eyes and the weight she had lost… being reminded daily wasn't necessary.

With another sigh, she put her empty cup down and laid back down on the couch. The clouds had cleared a bit, and she was able to see a few bright stars in the sky. She couldn't she *his* star, but just being able to see some stars made her feel a connection with him. She closed her eyes to rest. Even if she couldn't bring herself to sleep, she needed to rest.

*I've hung a wish on every star.

It hasn't done much good so far.*

Clark finally fell asleep, sitting up against the wall in his room. His dreams were varied, with an overwhelming feeling of loss underlying them. He dreamed of his childhood, and his parents. He dreamed of Lois. Even in sleep, he realized that at some point he would have to wake. He didn't want to… he wanted to stay in the soft dream forever. It was all he had of her.

*I can only dream of you,

Wherever you are.*

Lois saw chunks of her life, images, in her mind. They were little clips, like those from a movie…

She saw Clark walking towards her, soaking wet. She felt the relief of knowing that Trask hadn't killed him. She felt the heat of him as he enveloped her in a wet hug, and saw the deep brown of his eyes. She felt his love around her, like a warm blanket, although she didn't recognize it at the time. She should have, she realized now, she should have known…

She saw him standing, arms open wide, after she had nearly made the worst mistake of her life. Desperately, she ran into those open arms, and clung to him. Once more, she felt his arms surround her, support her. She felt the relief of knowing that he was her friend, and more. She should have known…

She looked into his eyes, dancing with humor, as she lifted herself off his solid chest. She smiled at him, wishing that she could just stay there, absorbing his warmth and compassion. She touched his chest, and felt the wet, sticky champagne that she had spilled on him. He should have been upset, she thought, she had been so clumsy… but he wasn't. She should have known.

*I'll hear you laugh.

I'll see you smile.

I'll be with you,

Just for a while.*

She saw his eyes… dark with pain. She looked out the window before facing him, wanting to say something. So much time had been wasted… so much misunderstanding… so little had been gained. But she knew that everything up until now had led to this moment, this sharing… and this pain. She loved him. In some part of her mind, she had always loved him… first as a friend, and then as a lifetime companion… a lifetime that they might not share. And yet, in her heart, she had always known. And, now… she only knew that she was lost, so lost, without him.

*Oh, just for a while.*

Zara had stepped into the room when she had heard his distress. Clark was seated against the wall, sleeping fitfully. He held a sweater near his face, and it was drenched with tears. He had not cried when they left… not a single tear… although the pain in his features was evident. She wished that there were something she could do.

Taking a few steps toward him, she reached out to him. Her mind touched his briefly, stunned by the pain and confusion. Shaking her head to clear it, and gently touching his shoulder to allow the physical contact to complete the bond, she reached for his thoughts once more. Carefully, with a practiced skill, she drew him closer to Lois. She cleared the vague fog from the center of his vision, and allowed him to see his beloved. Then, as quickly as possible, she pulled herself back to allow them some privacy.

When Zara looked back, his tears had ceased, and he wore a small smile. She smiled as well, pleased that she had been able to give him this. For all he had given them, and would continue to give them, this was the least she could share in return.

*Come and find me.*

Lois felt Clark reach her. On a level that she didn't understand, she felt him touch her, and comfort her, as only he could do. With a quiet sigh she rested at last, secure in the arms of the one who truly loved her, even if it was only in her mind.

*I used to believe in forever,

But, forever's too good to be true.

I've hung a wish on every star.

It hasn't done much good so far.*

Lois awoke to the alarm clock. She stood, and walked to the coffee table to shut off the offending noise. Then, she walked to the bathroom, and grabbed her toothbrush. Another night, one less, was complete. She felt rested for the first time in weeks, and was grateful that Clark had shared her dreams.

She felt strangely content. For some reason, she felt that Clark was okay… that he had slept well in the night, and that he would soon be home. She knew it was wishful thinking, but she felt no need to stop the illusion. She just relaxed and enjoyed it. She had discovered in the first few days he was gone that the nights were the worst, and making it through this one had left her feeling stronger, and better, than she had before.

There was a part of her that looked forward to the night… the only time she could be with Clark. Sure, it was only memories, but it was enough for now. She would survive it… she had to… and she would be strong when he came back to her.

*I don't know what else to do,

Except to try to dream of you,

And wonder if you're dreaming too,

Wherever you are…*

Clark awoke on the floor, feeling unusually good. He had actually slept the night before, he was sure of it. There had been no interruptions, and no upsets. He had dreamed of Lois, he was sure, and he attributed his high spirits to that.

Touching the ring on his necklace, he smiled slightly, wondering what Lois must be doing. He pictured her wearing his Midwestern University sweatshirt, the soft one he had left for her, and getting changed for work. He thought vaguely that he wished he could have shared that type of domestic time with her, but he was confident that he would someday.

"I love you," he whispered, closing his eyes as he thought of her.

*Wherever you are…*


Wherever You Are was an original song and was sung by Winnie the Pooh in the videotape: Pooh's Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin

When I find the author's name, I will add that. For now, I have merely borrowed the song.