A Conversation Best Overheard

By Anonpip <anonpip@gmail.com>

Rated G

Submitted April 2007

Summary: Lois overhears a conversation between Clark and his parents.

Author's Note: This is my first attempt at an L&C story, so please be kind. I haven't even see all the episodes yet as I have yet to get a hold of a copy of Season 4.

This story takes place around the time of Whine, Whine, Whine. Not that I had any issues with how the show handled this, but this idea just popped into my head one day.

Many thanks to my beta, Marisa, who gave great advice and assured me that what I feared may be nothing more than random bits of text sitting together on my screen did actually constitute a story.

Please provide feedback — good, bad, or indifferent. I would really appreciate it.

All characters are the property of Warner Bros, December 3rd Productions, ABC, and anyone else who may have a legal claim on them. The story, however, is mine.


I admit, I may have been acting somewhat impetuously. I hadn't planned to do so, but I guess you can't really plan ahead for that, can you? But I was feeling frustrated, very frustrated. The way I saw it, I had four options:

1) Let things remain as they were and continue to be single — a lonely if safe choice,

2) Take my relationship with Dan to the next level — he is fun and I have fun when I'm with him, but something about him makes me think that over the long term I'd find him annoying,

3) Try yet again to start something with Superman — yes, I know I said I was over him, but come on, he's Superman. On the other hand, he's Superman. I'm not sure a relationship with him is even possible and it would certainly be difficult. Or,

4) Continue in this sham of a relationship with Clark. As much as I wish it wasn't, it's clear this is the option I'm most interested in pursuing, and yet he hasn't really done a good job of quelling the worries I've had about that so far.

I mean, he's always running off with either a very lame explanation or none at all — and that was annoying enough before we started dating, but now… Well, as Dan said, it shows how important I am to Clark and it's not nearly as important as I'd like to be. But when he's not running off, he's …well, wonderful really. Somehow, when he is around, I feel like I'm the most important person in the world to him. I've always felt like that; but recently it's like he's opening up more. When I look into his eyes, I see such caring in them. He looks at me with that same engaging, smiling Clark look, and yet his eyes are softer than they used to be. He just makes me feel cared for and … well, loved.

I do learn from my mistakes, though. I know I fell for Lex as he made me feel cared for— and I don't want to do that again. But the thing is, that's not the only reason I want to be with Clark. With Lex, I felt lucky as it was like being chosen by a celebrity. I felt like he could have any girl in Metropolis and he chose me. I have no such illusions about Clark. Most women in Metropolis don't know who he is, and so, while I'm clearly not his only choice, it's not the same. And yet, Clark is so clearly willing to be alone rather than in a relationship with someone he doesn't care about. I guess I feel less like Clark chose me because I was the best option and more like he chose me simply because he wants me, if that makes any sense.

And that in a nutshell sums up who Clark is — this strong-willed man who won't compromise on things important to him with the softest brown eyes I've ever seen. He has integrity and compassion. He's the kind of man that Superman would be if Superman were ordinary. Well, perhaps, "if Superman didn't have powers" is a better way to word it. Clark isn't ordinary. That's just the point, isn't it? If he was, I wouldn't want him so much.

So, I made a move that was typical Lois Lane. No thought involved, I decided that what I want is to be with Clark, so I went to see him. This, in and of itself, was not that impetuous. Clark and I stop by each other's apartments unannounced all the time. However, when I arrived, Clark wasn't there. The right thing to do, clearly, would have been to turn around and go back home. But I really wanted to talk to him, and so that didn't even feel like an option. And in that case, what I should have done was waited on the porch. But, no, I had to go and decide that since I knew where Clark's spare key was, this was the right time to use it.

Once I got inside, I was at a loss for what to do. I turned the TV on and watched LNN for a few minutes, thinking that the news would distract me. But it wasn't very effective, and after less than 5 minutes, I had turned it off and taken to pacing the living room. When I started to get dizzy from pacing in circles, I ended up moving to Clark's bedroom just to see new walls. It was on my second circuit of Clark's bedroom that I spotted it. I'm not sure why Clark would keep a Double Fudge Crunch bar on his bedside table, but I certainly had felt a need for chocolate, so I took it.

Now normally, no matter how much I like chocolate, I manage to eat the candy bar in a lady-like manner. I guess it was my nerves or something, but I ate the entire candy bar in three to four bites.

Which is why, when the front door opened and I heard Martha Kent's voice come through the apartment, I didn't walk into the living room to say hello. I was sort of embarrassed that my cheeks were puffed full of chocolate. I fully intended to make my presence known as soon as I had swallowed.

Except that while I hadn't really caught what Martha said, I heard Clark's words in response quite clearly, "No, Mom, I mean it. Lois really hates me."

And that is how I ended up here, now, in Clark's bedroom, listening in to a conversation I know I shouldn't be. I mean, I know I should walk out there and announce my presence now before things go any further, but I can't. I told you I was being impetuous.

Why would Clark think that I hate him? Particularly given that the sole reason I'm in his apartment now anyway is that I want to tell him that I love him.

"I'm sure she doesn't hate you, honey," Martha is assuring Clark and again I consider going into the living room and announcing my presence in the apartment.

"She does, Mom. And she should. I keep running out on her and not telling her why. How could she not hate me?" Well, maybe I'll stay for a moment, just to hear why he keeps running off on me.

"Clark, I'm sure you're overreacting. I imagine that you running off upsets Lois, but it doesn't mean she hates you." Martha says.

Clark sighs loudly, loud enough for me to hear him anyway, and sadly exclaims, "I just don't know what to do, Mom. I want to tell her, but…"

"But what, son?" So Jonathon is there, too.

"You should see the way she looks at me when I put on the suit." The suit? But Clark wears a suit all the time, or at least a sports jacket and tie. If I looked at him differently in a suit that would be the normal way I look at him. Besides, that doesn't even make sense. I sort of prefer the way Clark looks when he's not in a suit and more relaxed. He still has the vulnerable look to his face, this softness. And yet, his body … well, soft is not the word that I'd use to describe Clark's body.

"Clark, Lois agreed to go on a date with you, as she likes you for you. You must know that," Martha says.

"I do, but…I can't help remembering what she said just before she married Luthor." Clark says, his tone soft. I wish I knew what he was talking about, but I said lots of things just before I married Lex, and most of them were things I wish now I hadn't said.

"What?" Martha asks, "That nonsense about loving you like a brother? Clark, I doubt that was true when she said it and she clearly doesn't mean it now."

"Not that, Mom. She told Superman that she loved him. That she would still love him if he was an ordinary man living an ordinary life." Clark's voice sounds so sad, I want to hold him. Although, I am a bit surprised to hear those words from Clark. Superman told him what I said? I'm not sure how I feel knowing that Clark and Superman share confidences about me.

It's funny, though — I was right. Isn't that what I was thinking about Clark earlier? That he would be like Superman if Superman was living an ordinary life?

"Oh, Clark," Martha replies softly, "You can't blame Lois for not knowing. Wasn't that the point?"

"I know that and I'm not upset that Lois doesn't recognize me, I just wish…"

"You wish what, son?" Jonathan prods him and I'm glad he does. What does Clark mean that I don't recognize him? Of course I recognize him!

"I hate lying to her, Dad," Clark starts and I stand up a little straighter. He's been lying to me? About what? That dirty…

"Clark," Jonathan's voice is sharp, "We've talked about this. No one can know."

"Or I'll be dissected like a frog. I know, Dad," Clark replies, his voice full of pain. Somehow this conversation has veered way off into never never land. I have no idea why the Kents think Clark would be dissected if he stopped lying to me. Besides, right about now, taking a knife to him sounds like a good idea because he started lying to me.

"Don't look at me like that, Martha," Jonathan says, so I'm guessing Martha is not looking at him kindly. "I know you think it's a scare tactic I used when Clark was a kid, but it's not. There are people who will want to know what makes Clark Clark." Jonathan says firmly. What makes Clark Clark? What the heck does that mean?

"Dad!" Clark cuts in, "That's not it. I admit that when I first decided, I worried that if Lois knew, she'd use it as a story, but not anymore. I know she wouldn't tell anyone."

"Then tell her, Clark," Martha advises.

"Martha!" Jonathan exclaims and then softening his tone, continues, "I know how you feel about Lois, Clark. And I'm not saying you can't trust her. But the truth is that some people fall in and out of love multiple times in their lives. You can't go around telling people just because you love them. Think about what would have happened if you had told Lana."

There's silence in the room for a moment. I wonder what happened with Lana. Wasn't she Clark's high school girlfriend?

"Lois isn't Lana, Dad. I did love Lana, and you're right — I had wanted to tell her and in the end given how she responded to what she did know, I'm glad I didn't. But Lois isn't like that," Clark pauses and I expect Jonathan to pick up the conversation again, but before he can Clark starts talking again, "And what I feel for Lois isn't the same as what I felt for Lana. I loved Lana, but Lois — well, I don't even know what to say except to say that it feels like I'm being trite if I describe my feelings for Lois as love. They are so much more than that."

I have stopped breathing — I mean I have really stopped breathing.

"But the truth is, I'm not sure I want to tell Lois. I know it's unfair to test her, but I want to feel like Lois feels something for me that's even a fraction of what I feel for her. And I want her to feel that for Clark. Not Superman."

Martha's voice is soft when she speaks next which I guess makes sense, but also seems incongruous to the bombshell she drops, "But Clark, you are Superman."

"No, Mom, I'm not," Clark sounds so anguished that I forget to wonder why Martha had said that he was. "I'm Clark. Superman is just what I can do."

And at that moment, the floor gives way beneath me. Strange — you'd think that would be similar to the feeling of flying with Superman, but it doesn't feel like that at all. It feels scary and awful and not at all exhilarating.

I probably should put my reporter mind to this task and try to make sense of the fact that Clark is claiming to be Superman, except that it is crystal clear as soon as he says it. First off, it's Clark — Clark wouldn't lie. But the thing is, even aside from that, the instant he says it I have this realization of just how similar Clark and Superman look. I mean there are some technicalities I'm not clear on — have I never seen them in the same place at the same time before? But overall, I don't have any reason to doubt him.

"I just don't know what to do," Clark says again. "I want to tell her, but I want to know she loves me for me. And I don't even know if it's fair. Even if Lois loves me for me, she'd still be having a relationship with Superman. And that isn't enough for her — I've proven that effectively. I can't go out with Lois for an evening and ignore all the calls for help. When I'm with her, I want to focus on Lois, and yet, I don't know what the answer is. I'm not sure what to do. Lois wouldn't want to be with me if she knew I could help and I wasn't and yet shouldn't I put her above everything else?"

"Clark, you always knew this wouldn't be easy." Martha says softly.

Clark sighs yet again, saying, "I know. I just didn't realize it would be impossible," with such anguish in his voice that for a moment I consider letting them know I'm there so I can offer Clark some comfort. But then I realize how ridiculous that idea is. I've been eavesdropping way too long to admit it now without everyone being very uncomfortable.

It surprises me a bit to realize that offering Clark comfort is even on my mind. Shouldn't I be angry at him? He's been lying to me for the past two years! But somehow, he sounds so sad; I'm having difficulty keeping up any kind of anger.

"I wish we could tell you what to do, Clark, but I think this is one decision you need to make on your own. Or with Lois." It's clear from the tone in Jonathan's voice that he's forgotten that he doesn't want me to know Clark's secret — he's too concerned with Clark's happiness.

A moment passes in silence before I hear the sound of a chair scraping along the floor. "Let's go," Martha says with authority in her voice.

"Where to?" Clark asks sadly.

"I'm taking us out for ice cream. I think we could use some comfort food," she announces. "No, Clark, I insist," she continues before I hear any word of complaint from Clark.

A few minutes later they have left the apartment and I am still in Clark's bedroom not sure at all what to do.

I'm not sure how I got from there to here. One minute I was standing in Clark's apartment alone and the next I'm back at my place — sitting on my couch with tears streaming down my face. I feel so many things all at once and I'm not sure what to do. I'm angry at him for not telling me, but more than that, I feel guilty as I understand why he didn't tell me — I understand in a way I didn't before how much he doubts my love for him and I understand why. My hero worship for Superman blinded me to how much Superman and Clark have in common and no matter how much I've come to love Clark, I still had some small hope for Superman. Even when I knew I wanted Clark more, the truth was, I hardly pushed Superman away.

And I understand why Superman was so cold to me that night, why he looked so tortured the night I declared that I loved him for who he really was aside from the cape. I broke his heart. I broke Clark's heart. And while I didn't mean to do it, it's still my fault — my fault for not seeing what kind of man Clark really is — someone who desperately wants to be normal and yet cares too much about others to ignore all that he can do.

I don't deserve him. And knowing that how can I be angry at him for "testing" me? If I hadn't given him reason to doubt me…

"Lois?" The voice is strong and unmistakable. I look up and see Superman floating outside my window. He catches sight of my face and comes in closer. "Are you all right?" His eyes look concerned. Even while his posture is still firm and stiff, his eyes are soft. Clark's eyes.

"I came to see you today," I say softly and he looks confused. "I came to tell you that I'm in love with you." In an instant I remember that he doesn't know I had heard the conversation with his parents. As he processes my words and thinks I'm declaring love for Superman, his shoulders slump and his eyes grow dim. If I had any doubts left, they are gone now. Where a minute before, Superman had stood in my living room, now the man before me is just Clark in blue spandex — a very hurt Clark in blue spandex.

If I was more in control of my own emotions, I could probably handle this conversation better, but now all I have are random thoughts swirling around my head. So while I mean to reassure him, say something that will clear up the confusion, instead what I say is, "You lied to me."

His eyes, which had been studying my carpet, come up to meet mine. For a minute neither of us says anything. Then he stands up straighter and folds his arms across his chest. All traces of Clark are gone except his eyes, which still have a shadow of the hurt I inflicted there moments before. "I'm not sure what you mean, Lois," he finally says, his voice soft.

I don't respond and we lapse into silence.

"It turned out I was right," I finally say to break to silence. At least I think that's why I say it.

Clark just looks at me, confusion and pain the only clear emotion coming from his eyes. And while I am feeling guilty for hurting him again, I still can't seem to bring myself to tell him about being in his apartment earlier — about eavesdropping on what was clearly intended to be a private conversation. And instantly, for no good reason, I feel angry at him.

"It wasn't my fault, you know," I accuse, "It wasn't my fault that I couldn't see you."

"You couldn't see me? Lois?" Clark moves a step closer to me, looking concerned, likely for my sanity. But then he seems to remember that I told Superman that I am in love with him and he steps back.

"You are flashy and wear bright colors. You are designed to stand out." I clarify, well… maybe not.

"Lois, I'm having trouble following pretty much every part of this conversation," he says, smiling slightly.

"Before I got engaged to Lex, I told you that I would love you even if you were an ordinary man, even if you were living an ordinary life. You didn't believe me then. I guess that makes sense now, but it turns out I was right. I would still love you if you were an ordinary man living an ordinary life. It's not my fault it took a little time to really see you. Clark Kent doesn't stand out the way Superman does. But that's not my fault — it's the way you wanted it."


"I came to tell you that I was in love with you today." I repeat my words from earlier.

"You said that before," he replies, and for an instant the hurt is clear in his eyes again.

"I went to your apartment. You weren't there when I got there and I was planning to wait for you. I didn't mean to overhear the conversation with your parents, but somehow it happened."

"You went to my apartment?"

My emotions are on a rollercoaster right now and while a minute ago I was feeling angry and before that, guilty; suddenly I feel completely calm. "I did — I wanted to tell you that I was in love with you and I want to stop playing games and just be with you. Except that I'm still a bit upset about the way you take off without any notice for the stupidest reasons. I mean, really, Clark, what am I supposed to think? I want to be as important to you as you are to me. And from listening to you talk to your parents, maybe I am. But then why do you just take off with no reason so often?"

I had started pacing as I talked, finally stopping to look at him. And taking him in, Clark, standing in front of me dressed as Superman, I realize what an idiot I have been. "Oh." Of course he disappeared without any notice — Superman wouldn't be able to know when he was needed ahead of time.

I take a step forward to put a hand to his cheek. Whispering, I can't help but let the words I'm thinking just come out, "Last year, I fell in love with Superman because he is selfless and kind. In the last few months, I've fallen in love with Clark Kent for the same reasons… but also because he's the gentlest man I know, because I feel a feeling of contentment when we're together that I've never known before. But somehow, even though I've managed to fall in love with you twice now, I've managed to do it again."

Clark still looks confused and nothing more than another softly worded "Lois?" answers me.

"I would have said before now that you were selfless — that you'd do almost anything to help someone in need. Because that's what selfless really means when applying it to a person. We don't really expect people to put their lives in danger for others; just do things that they probably shouldn't do. Like say, tell off a gangster for making untoward comments about their friend, never realizing it would mean they would get shot." I pause as I consider this. "You weren't dead at all. I thought you were dead, but you weren't."

I should be angry, I suppose, but given my recent revelation it's hard to maintain any anger for the man standing in front of me. "But Superman did more than that. He flew into outer space to redirect the Nightfall asteroid, even though it could kill him, because it would save lives here. He does amazing things all the time and there are things you couldn't have known you could do until you did them — like flying into a fire, redirecting lava flows, stopping avalanches. And somehow that was amazing when it was Superman, but somewhat expected. As real as he is, he's never seemed all that real. He's the stuff of fairy tales. But you, Clark, are very real. And somehow the knowledge that you did all those things — Clark Kent did all those things, makes me love you even more.

"I guess I never really thought of Superman as real before now — as someone who has friends and family and basically has things he could lose when he takes these risks. But you do, Clark. Perry and Jimmy would miss you. Your parents would be devastated. And so would I. And you know that. And I could tell when you were talking to your parents how important all that is to you. And somehow still, you insist on going out to make the world a better place."

Clark has stared at me the whole time I was talking, and now takes a deep breath and asks quietly, "You know? You know I'm Superman?" then looking down at himself, noticing that he's wearing the suit, he amends that to, "You know I'm Clark?"

I nod my head, not sure what to say.

"And you're not angry?" he asks, incredulous.

"I'm a little angry," I admit, "and also a little sad. Actually a lot sad. And guilty. I wish you hadn't lied to me, but as much as I want to blame you, I can see why you did. I heard what your dad said, and I suppose he's right — Trask showed us that, didn't he? Even Mason is afraid of Superman. If they knew who you were, it would be so easy to use someone you care about as bait. So, I can see why you didn't tell me when you were shot that you hadn't died; and I can see why you didn't tell me when we first met. And while I want to say I don't, I do also see why you didn't tell me later. I want to be angry with you for wanting to 'test' me, but I can also see why you might be worried that I'd love you for Superman and not for Clark.

"I'm sorry, Clark. I'm so sorry that I ever caused you to doubt just how amazing I think you are. Even back then, when I told you I didn't think of you that way, it was you I missed when you weren't around. Superman didn't come around much then either, and I realized that, but I didn't miss him nearly as much. Part of it was likely hurt pride, but part of me knew that I didn't miss Superman as he was just a silly crush — a big one perhaps. But you were my best friend. You were the one I wanted to spend my evenings with. You were even the person I thought of as I walked up the aisle— and it was those thoughts that made me tell Lex 'no' when it came time to say 'I do.' It just took me a long time to figure out what that meant."

"You said no to Luther?" Clark asks, still confused.

"Weren't you there?" I ask.

"No, I was…I wasn't there." Clark says as he shakes his head as though to clear it.

"But I saw you afterwards. When we walked out of the church, I asked Perry where you were and you were right there. You stood with me and watched Lex jump." Suddenly another thought comes to me, "Why didn't you catch him? I always thought that Superman didn't save him because he wasn't there, but you were right there. Why didn't you catch him? You don't usually let anyone, even criminals, get hurt."

"I couldn't," he says simply.

"But you were there with me — what do you mean you couldn't?"

"I…I just couldn't, Lois."

"That doesn't make any sense, Clark." I can feel myself getting frustrated, and my hands are flying around as I speak. "Why wouldn't you be able to? You were right there!" I insist.

Taking a deep breath, Clark moves closer to me and takes one of my hands in his. "Luther had me trapped in the wine cellar in a cage with kryptonite bars. I had just escaped when you asked Perry about me. I tried to save him, but I'd been exposed to the kryptonite too long. I didn't have the strength."

I feel all the breath go out of me. While some part of me knows this happened nearly a year ago, it almost feels like too much on top of all the other things that came to light today. "You…He trapped you in a cage? Lex tried to kill you?" I can actually feel my chin quivering and before I know what's happening, I'm crying again.

In an instant, Clark is beside me, wrapping his arms around me. "It's okay, Lois. I'm okay now. It's okay."

I put my arms around him, holding him as tightly as I can. "Clark, I love you," I say into his chest.

I feel him kiss the top of my head and then whisper back, "I love you, too, Lois. So much. So much that I don't know what to do about it. I want to offer you everything you've ever wanted, but I can't. I can't even offer you a normal relationship — all I can offer you is time together when there aren't emergencies and cries for help. All I can offer you is what I've been giving you, and I know it's not nearly enough."

I pull away slightly to look up at him, the confusion of the day clearing in the face of the answer to this one statement. Because suddenly, all my concerns melt away and I know exactly what it is I want. "All you can offer me is you, Clark, and that's all I really want. I don't care if I can't have you 24-7 or if I can't count on you always being there. It was the not knowing where you were going that was hurting me. Now that I know, now that I understand, it won't bother me. I want you, Clark — however much of you that you can give me."

"Oh, Lois," he whispers as he leans down and brushes his lips against mine. He pulls back just a second and then kisses me again, pressing more firmly, caressing my lips with his and making me forget everything we've just talked about, everything that isn't in this moment.

I've never been a believer of fairy tales, but I can't help but think that we're going to live happily ever after.