Quiet Regret

By Matrix

Rated: PG

Submitted: March, 2007

Summary: Clark comes over to Lois's apartment one night to reminisce…

All characters and settings are the property of DC Comics, Warner Bros., and whoever else can legally lay claim to them. No copyright infringement is intended. This story was written purely for fun, not for profit, but the story is an original idea and belongs to me. A thank you to the writers of Lois & Clark — without them we wouldn't have this wonderful world to play in.

Thank you Sue — not only for the beta but for brainstorming with me, especially on the title. And I forget to thank my GE sometimes (sorry to any of you who I have forgotten) — so thank you Nancy.


Clark opened the unlocked window to Lois's apartment and floated silently inside, changing out of his suit as he went. The moment he entered her living room, he could feel her there.

He could hear her laugh as he told her a joke to lift her spirits as they sat together on her loveseat one evening. He could see the curious twinkle in her eyes when a revelation came to her about a story they were working on while they shared a bowl of chocolate ice cream at her kitchen table.

He could see her pain as she held her front door open for him to leave and told him that he had broken her heart.

Clark wished now that he hadn't wasted so much of his time with her on stupid insecurities. Why hadn't he told her who he was sooner? Why had he waited so long?

It didn't really matter now.

He walked silently through her living room, taking in every detail, imagining what she looked like standing next to her window — waiting for him to come through it… sitting on her loveseat — beckoning him to join her… leaning over her fish tank — telling them about her day.

Clark walked over to her tank and bent down, peering into the depthless backlit water. A small yellow and white fish swam past the glass in front of him and paused to look at him. The poor thing was probably hungry. Clark picked up the can of fish food and sprinkled a few bites into the tank before moving into her kitchen.

A less than pleasant aroma hit his nose and he realized that there were dirty dishes still in the sink from a couple of days ago — before he had flown Lois to Kansas.

Clark gathered the dishes and perfunctorily washed and dried them before putting them away in the exact spots where she kept them.

He levitated slightly to put her measuring cup away in the cupboard above the refrigerator. Someone else might have wondered why she would keep a measuring cup in such a hard to reach, out of the way location. But not Clark. He knew why — had tasted why — and the thought almost brought a smile to his lips. Almost… but not quite. He wondered just briefly what she'd had it out for.

Lowering himself back down to the floor, he glanced in the direction of her bedroom.

Part of him longed to go in there, but the other part of him recoiled. He couldn't go in there — wouldn't go in there.

He had to go in there.

Clark walked silently, almost mechanically into Lois's bedroom. Everything was just the way she had left it when they had left to go to Kansas.

The sweater lying on her bed caught his attention. It was the sweater she had worn earlier that day — the day they had left. In her hurry to pack, she must have forgotten to put it in her bag.

Clark picked it up and the motion stirred up the air, wafting her soft scent. He inhaled the flowery mixture that reminded him of cucumbers and honey. It was the sweater she had worn when they had gone to the park a few days ago.

The park had been wonderful. They had walked, hand in hand, hardly speaking and yet saying volumes through their body language. He could still feel her thumb as it had lazily caressed the backside of his hand. He could feel the weight of her head as she laid it down against his shoulder while they walked.

He could still feel the mist from the fountain when they had stopped by the spot where Clark had first proposed to her.

Clark held the sweater against his chest tightly, wishing that he was holding the woman whose body had once occupied it.

He hadn't even been given the chance to hold her in his arms one last time — to say goodbye. Bad Brain's disintegration of her had robbed him of even that much. Clark couldn't even look into her face one last time and tell her how much she would be missed.

Something wet struck the skin of his hand and he looked down, dazed to see a water droplet trickle slowly down his hand. He reached up and brushed a few other tears away from his eyes before surrendering and burying his face in her sweater.

Why, Lois?

Why didn't she stay at his parents like he had asked her to? Why couldn't she have listened to him, just this once?

Why couldn't he have gotten back sooner? Flown a little faster?


His body shook with soundless sobs and he lowered his head down gently to lie against her soft pillow.

She had lain on this pillow only a few nights ago, in this very spot, dreaming of their future together. He could smell the familiar scent of her shampoo on the pillowcase. He closed his eyes and pretended that it was her hair that he smelled.

She was there — lying next to him. She turned and smiled her gentle smile, her mouth curving up ever so slightly on one side. Clark choked on a soft sob and opened his eyes, unable to face the vision.

A black and white teddy bear lying on her bed next to him caught his eye. He remembered it. It was from their first visit to Kansas almost two years ago. He had won it for her at the county fair. That was probably the first time he had felt like they were becoming something more — that there was a chance that Lois could feel something more for him.

His heart twinged and a few more tears spilled out as he thought about how long she had kept it. She had kept it when they were only partners, barely friends, and yet she had still kept it.

No one would have figured Lois as the sentimental type — but Clark knew the truth. He had known her better than anyone.

She had been his partner, his best friend, his fiancee, and… his hero. He had saved her many times as Superman, and he had always been her hero. What she didn't know — what he hadn't ever told her — was that she had saved him, too. She knew his secret and had loved him for who he really was. Being with Lois was the only place he really felt like he knew where he belonged.

He took the small bear in his arms and clutched it against his chest, wishing it was her instead. Clark wanted to just curl up here in her bed and sleep — sleep and never wake up.

Her pillow was becoming damp with his tears and he lifted away from it, wiping his eyes. He didn't want to wash away her scent by crying on it. But it felt good to cry. It was a release. Perry and Jimmy had told him what had happened to Lois — they had shown him the tape — but he had been there as Superman.

Superman wasn't engaged to Lois, wasn't in love with her. Clark was. So he had held in his feelings, held back his tears. Even when he had flown to the spot where she had died — he had held everything in. There had been people around and he hadn't been able to grieve.

It felt good to let it out.

Clark got up from her bed and stood in the middle of her bedroom, unsure of where to go or what to do next.

That's when he heard it.

The alarm at STAR Labs was blaring. Dr. Klein was calling him.

He gave her bedroom one last wistful glance before spinning into his suit and heading for the window.

Clark could grieve, but Superman had a job to do.


Author's Notes:

An additional thank you to the writer's of "Don't Tug on Superman's Cape" from which I borrowed against the idea to write this vignette…

Apparently Babbles (my muse) was in a morbid mood yesterday… my apologies…

I always felt a little unsatisfied by the emotion in the episode "Don't Tug on Superman's Cape". They pretended to kill Lois off and then they only allowed us to see Superman at that point. Superman was the one who found out the news and he was the one who went to see the spot where she had died. Of course he couldn't really show as much emotion as Superman — he had to hide it. But I felt that privately, Clark would have been devastated. I always thought it was so sad that he would feel like he had been cheated out of holding her one last time — telling her goodbye.

Anyway, that was my take on what we didn't see…