Not of a Hero

By David <>

Rated: PG

Submitted: May 2006

Summary: She knew she would stay if he needed her. Her friend, who she loved.

Some time ago, a certain someone suggested a story for their birthday…

Lucky for me, she didn't specify which birthday! <g>

So, belatedly… Happy Birthday, Sorcha! :)

As always, thanks to my outstanding BRs Sara and Nicole. Really couldn't have done it without them. And a massive thank you to Rachel for dropping everything at the last minute and helping me out. :)

(I'm sure she's probably tired of hearing this joke, but… <g>) And a huge thank you to LabRat, my very own Super-GE.


{*"Now that the world isn't ending,

It's love that I'm sending to you.

It isn't the love of a hero,

And that's why I fear it wont do."*}

— Hero, Nickelback



He could hear her yelling out his name, her voice a distant echo over the crack of the gunshot. He waited, expecting to feel the thud of the bullet as it struck him… but it didn't come.

The world slowed as he spun, shrank to a point as he watched the water swallow the man. The man who'd given definition to the faceless nightmares that had haunted his childhood. The man who'd tried to shoot him in the back… kill him… because of who he was…

What he was.

He watched over the shoulder that suddenly appeared as her arms closed around him.

Watched the man's face slowly disappear into the pond.

Watched until the ripples faded.

Watched until he was shaking so hard he could barely see. Until she turned him away, pressed his face into her shoulder and held him to her.

He watched until he couldn't, and then buried himself in her arms and let himself cry.


Lois could already see the bruise forming on his jaw. The angry purple welt was highlighted with every flash of blue and red through the kitchen window. She pressed a cool cloth against it, a heavy ache throbbing in her chest as he flinched. Her friend. Her friend who'd almost died.

Clark had barely said a word since they'd arrived. He hadn't spoken at all since she'd led him away from the small crowd gathered outside. He sat, stiff in the chair she'd guided him into. And she ached for him. Her friend, who she might have lost anyway.

Lois dropped her eyes, watching her thumb run over his bruised knuckles. He'd refused to talk about anything that had happened before she and Rachel had arrived.

He'd barely said a word… barely made a sound. Even his tears, spilt against the skin of her neck, had been silent.

She was surprised at how much she needed to hear the soft rumble of his voice. Her friend, who she couldn't lose.

She pulled in a breath. "Clark?"

"Lois?" His fingers tightened around hers.

"Are you okay?" she asked, her voice quiet.

"No," he whispered, his voice heavy. He was watching her when she looked up, his dark eyes etched with sorrow. She held them for a second before she looked away.

If she could read the grief in his eyes, could he read the fear in hers?

"Okay," she said. "That's okay." And she held his hand in silence until long after the lights in the window faded.


The barn didn't look different in the morning.

The burnt patches on the floor and around the doors weren't that noticeable, and the sun, shining through the hole that was once a part of the wall, wasn't that much brighter.

It was almost like nothing had happened. Almost like it'd been when he'd been a boy. Almost exactly the way it'd been when he'd left for college. Nearly identical to when he'd arrived in town a few short days ago.

Almost like it'd been before a monster had tried to kill his family inside of it.

Almost… except for the way the light reflected off the shards of glass that crunched under his shoes. Except for the splinters of wood and the smell of smoke and the way the air hung heavy around him.

Almost the same, but not nearly close enough.

He felt the jolt all the way through his sore muscles as he nailed in the first plank. He'd need to go into town for supplies before he'd be able to paint over the scorch marks or mend the railing over by the pond, but he could at least get the barn boarded up before his father had to see it again.


She watched his slow approach from the porch. He looked… beaten. The spark that'd been in him, the sense of ease that had lit him up only a day before was gone.

He paused when he saw her, conjuring a tired, wisp of smile that turned into a frown when he saw the packed bags at her feet.

His face cleared. After a pause he nodded his head. "You're leaving," he said, and it wasn't a question, but she still felt the need to answer. To justify herself.

"Perry will want one of us back there to write up the story…"

The excuse sounded weak, even to her own ears. She knew she could fax the story in if she had to. She knew that nobody else would get the exclusive…

She knew she could stay.

She knew she would if he needed her. Her friend, who she loved.

But he needed more than what she could give. He needed someone who could restore his faith in humanity. In the world. Someone who could help him find that spark that made him who he was. Clark.

"I'll come with you," he said.

She opened her mouth to protest but stopped at the look on his face. The plea in his eyes.

"Okay," she said, and she hoped she'd be enough.