By Saskia <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted: September 2007
Summary: A year after a very tragic event, Clark slowly comes to terms with it. Warning: not your happily ever after, not even remotely so!
For some time now, I haven't been feeling the greatest. I've finally taken the time to put some of my feelings on paper and turned it into a story. My spirits are simply low and with a vivid imagination, this is what I came up with.
I have four people to thank. First of all Jose, for encouraging me to keep on writing and for reading this over and providing me with his opinion. Secondly, to Mrs. Mosley for being my beta reader. She went beyond the call of duty to help me write this and I really appreciate all her help! If I ever need more ideas or get stuck, I know who to turn to. ;) And finally, to Xanabee for her support and friendship. She often had to listen to me vent and greatly sympathised with me. Lastly, to my GE Larissa, who helped prevent a few embarrassing mistakes. Thank you all! :)
All that crap from The Family Hour never happened for the purpose of this little fic. I do not own the characters, I merely like to play with them.
Oh, and I must say that I played a lot with my toys. While I enjoyed writing this, it may not be for everyone to read. Broken toys sometimes can't be healed.
I have also been told to give a tissue warning. *hands over a box to all her readers*
The world around him looked as bleak and empty as Clark Kent felt. Rain was coming down hard, wind blew around him and it was rather cold. So, in short, a perfect day for this particular visit. No one else was fool enough to go out in this weather, so it really was a private moment.
He came down here once a week now. Just to talk to her. He knew he wouldn't receive comments back, but it made him feel better. Only slightly so, but it was what mattered, he supposed.
The visits had been far more often in the beginning. Any time the pain became too much, he'd come here. Always alone, and time of the day didn't matter. He could talk away his pain, worries and grief while he imagined what she'd say to him. At times, he'd thought she'd really been there to hug him, or kiss him on the cheek… but it was all in his mind because he hadn't been willing to say goodbye yet. Or maybe he'd simply not been able to accept the reality of the situation.
It just wasn't fair.
Come to think of it, life plain wasn't fair.
Especially to him.
In a cruel way, even.
He'd been doing his best for this entire planet for years now, and what did it get him? Nothing! All he ever wanted in return was a simple, quiet and happy life. Simple? Yeah, right. Quiet? Never. And happy? Well, not any more. He'd had it for such a short time. A little over a year ago, it had all been taken from him.
Clark grabbed on to his umbrella more tightly, securing it above his head once more. A few quick paces, a turn to the right and there it was.
The grave might be something tangible, but she was a person to him forever. Wherever she may be now, she was still very real to him. A sane moment in his insane life.
The weather made him feel even more depressed today. With sunlight shining down on her grave, he could believe she was at peace now. At ease with her situation. But in the near storm he couldn't believe even that.
He kneeled down in front of the stone, tracing her name with his finger.
"Oh, Lois," he whispered, trying to smile. He wanted her to know he was there for her, that he was doing all right and getting a move on with his life. Most likely she knew just how miserable he was, how lousy life was without her in it. But he could pretend sometimes.
Not today, though. He didn't possess the willpower to turn his lips into a smile, let alone stop the tears from running down his face.
"I miss you so much, honey."
Why did she have to die so early? And why couldn't he just have been in time to save her? That was what he was supposed to do. That was what Lois always counted on. But he hadn't, and he'd failed her.
Even now, after a year, he hadn't stopped blaming himself. If he'd only heard her screams earlier… if he'd flown a bit faster… if there hadn't been an avalanche in Austria… if she'd listened to him and had stayed put… if only… There were so many possible scenarios, but however hard he tried, the result was still the same.
Lois Lane, his beloved wife, was gone. Dead. Irretrievably so.
At least he'd made sure her funeral had been perfect. Most of it had passed by in a blur, but he knew she'd have liked it. Simple and sober, with everyone in attendance she cared about it. Actually, far more people had turned up to pay their last respects. Lois had had more friends than she'd ever realised.
More enemies, too.
He hadn't felt any satisfaction over the conviction of her murderers. They'd gotten a life long sentence. He'd contemplated murdering them himself, but in the end, he couldn't bring himself to do it. The best option he had was to advocate for the death penalty, yet neither he nor Lois had ever believed in that. What he actually should do was talk at schools to make teenagers see that a life of crime held no future for anyone. It was an option he'd store away for later.
But no matter what he did, it wouldn't bring Lois back.
Nothing ever would. He was reminded of it every day.
In the morning, he woke up alone in the big bed. He still made too much coffee for himself. It was her car he drove to work in the morning. Her desk was now occupied by another reporter. Her picture stared back at him from his own desk. There was no one to discuss stories or leads with anymore. In the evening, he went home to an empty house. There was no one to talk to about his day. At night, he got into that same empty bed again.
Superman missed her too. Who was there to rescue on a weekly basis now? Apart from a stray cat or two, that was. Who was there to tell him not to obsess over the lives he hadn't been able to save or the disasters he hadn't been able to prevent? Who would make him focus on all the good things that he *did* do? Who would actually make Superman continue to do his job?
It was relief and gratitude that kept him going. Those moments he rescued someone, he felt like he had a purpose after all. Giving up all together had been on his mind often during the last year. Heck, he'd even given it a try. But after a week he'd gone mad with all the cries for help. His conscience wouldn't let him ignore it, and in the end he was glad to be able to leave the house for some time.
What was his life worth without her? He'd come to the same conclusion time and time again. Nothing. But what could he do about it? It wasn't like he could commit suicide. Not that he would take a coward's way out, but at times he was tempted.
But he wouldn't and couldn't do that to the people who still cared and loved him. Admittedly, he loved them too. There were his parents, who still needed him. There were Lois' parents, who depended on him too. Perry and Jimmy.
It was said that life went on; over time the pain would go away. But how much longer did he have to wait for that to happen? The loss of the love of his life still hurt every bit as much as a year ago.
Clark felt very alone most of the time. An aching heart and an empty home had ensured that. He had friends and family to visit or call, a day job to keep him busy and a second 'job' to occupy some of his time, but at the end of the day, he was all alone. He had no one to share his life with anymore. He also knew there would never be anyone else.
If only he could forget about the pain, that might make things more bearable.
He shifted a bit and let out a sigh.
"It's just so hard without you, Lois. I wish you could tell me one last time what to do. That we could say goodbye properly." He thought about the last words they'd said to each other. He'd told her to stay put, to not endanger herself without him nearby. She'd scoffed, saying she wasn't stupid and could take care of herself. The same old discussion. He'd known she would go anyway, the minute he flew off to Austria. That was how she worked and he'd merely rolled his eyes when he'd seen her dodge away. He hadn't even kissed her then, or smiled at her one last time. But how was he to know that was the last time he'd see her alive?
Guilt washed over him once more. He closed his eyes, took a deep breath and shook off that feeling. Not today, he wouldn't allow the self-pity. He'd come to tell her something important and he'd better get a move on. The weather wasn't improving one iota.
"I know you would want me to move on with my life. To be happy again. I'm not sure if I can. But the past year, I haven't even given it a single try. I've been too wrapped in my hurt to see what was going on around me. But I am going to try better now. I've decided to sell our home and your car. They are simply too much of a reminder. I'm moving in with Jimmy for a while until I find a place for myself again. He doesn't mind at all, and is glad to look after me. It will do me some good as well, having someone to talk to at night and not constantly moping about."
Yes, he did know he could have done that sooner. Or any of it, really. But he hadn't been ready to say that much of a goodbye. Until recently, it had felt like a betrayal to Lois. But if she wanted him to do the best he could, then she would approve, he thought.
Another option had been to leave Metropolis entirely. Start afresh somewhere else. The prospect of starting a new life had been too daunting. Make new friends, get a new job, be more protective of his secret again. There was also the practical problem of explaining why Superman had relocated to that place at the same time.
Clark also couldn't leave his current life behind. He still found satisfaction in his job. His writing made a difference to the world, even though it had a harder edge to it now. For Lois, he would also do his best to win a Pulitzer one day. He knew he was the only person alive she'd want to win the grand prize if it couldn't go to her.
It would also please Perry. His chief had had to put up with a lot from him lately. After her death, he'd been too busy grieving to care much about his job. Perry had unsuccessfully tried to partner him up with co-workers under the pretence of them needing guidance. It had felt like replacing Lois, and they didn't have the same drive as she so he'd quickly discarded all of them. He preferred working alone now, to Perry's despair at times.
He returned to his conversation with Lois. Not that she ever again would respond, but he didn't know what else to call his time with her.
"It will be hard, and it will break my heart to sell your belongings. Of course, I will keep some of your things for my own memories. Like that pillow you'd bought a month or so before your… murder. I know I said it clashed with the couch, but it rather grew on me. Maybe it's because of all the times I used it to weep into, but I am keeping it. Who knows, I might find a sofa that goes with it." He let out a soft laugh at that. "I'm going to miss it all. It was our home, our stuff. How can I not miss that? After all the hard work we put into making it perfect for us. But the reminder is just too hard for me.
"Anyway, I am going to try now. Really, I am. I know it will be hard, but I don't believe it can get any worse on me than it already is. All I want now is to live out my life quietly. I will always miss you, and I will always only love you, my dearest."
He made it sound like he was saying goodbye to her.
He could never do that. He would still visit her grave. Maybe in time it wouldn't be so frequent anymore, but for now, he would keep up his weekly visits. He was already changing so much in his life; he couldn't bear to live without that.
Besides, Lois needed to know how he was coping with all the changes. He was the only one who could tell her. She had a right to know what he was up to and how he was healing. He guessed that this was his way of moving on and putting her death in his past instead of his future. It would be her wish too, move on but never forget.
The rain shower had changed into a drizzle by now, so Clark took down his umbrella. He reached under his shirt — he always left his Superman suit at home when he visited her. It was a private moment he did not want disturbed by any means — and pulled out a golden necklace with a wedding ring on it.
Her ring had been buried along with her. Seeing his ring on his finger so often hurt. Besides, every time he became Superman, he had to store it away. It was much easier to keep in on a necklace where it rested near his heart.
Of course, without that ring women gave him more attention than he wished for. Clark had no desire for another woman in his life. No one would match up to Lois, and he wouldn't accept anything less than she'd been.
They would have celebrated their third anniversary soon.
Clark kissed the ring, and then placed a kiss on the stone.
"Until next week, Lois," he whispered once more as a final stray tear moved slowly down his cheek.