By Erin Karper (EKARPER@LOYOLA.EDU)
Summary: Lois gives up on Clark and has a talk with Superman.
Lois sat in the city room, staring at her story. *It's supposed to be our story.* She'd never thought that she, Lois Lane, would ever want to share a by-line with anyone, but now "Lane and Kent" seemed natural, expected. But here they were, supposedly wrapping up their latest expose over some bad take-out, and Clark had once again tossed off some lame-ball excuse and dashed out, promising to come back with Thai — *my favorite, but did he go to Thailand for it?*
Lois smiled as she remembered the first story they'd written together, and the Chinese food Clark had brought her then. He'd been so sweet then, so endearing, so _farmboy_. And she'd been so mean to him! But he'd paid her back (in spades) for scooping him, and they'd become partners, friends, and now —?
*Now what?* She and Clark were a disaster romantically; she just had to accept that. Every time they dated, or tried to date, disaster struck. Sudden stakeout assignments from Perry, panic attacks, Mayson's death (*fireworks on their first kiss? Lord!*)_ and now every time they talked *or she tried to talk* he suddenly ran out on her with a thousand apologies.
*Face it, Lois, you just weren't meant to do this with him…* But she wanted it to work, she was trying, it was just that — what did he want her to do? Was he so afraid of her that he kept running out? _Why_ was he doing this?
It had gotten so she couldn't handle it anymore; she'd turned to Daniel in desperation. He was always there; listening to her babble, sending her weird presents, acting like a puppy that wanted very badly to be petted. A lot of the things she missed about Clark — *he's so distracted lately…*
*I'm missing something; what is it?* Daniel was sweet, but he was still hung up on Jenna, and well, he just _wasn't_ Clark! She was still looking for a way to let him down easy, looking for something to happen. *What was wrong with her? What was wrong with _him_?
Lois blinked at her screen saver, her anger mounting. Now she couldn't even trust him as a partner, let alone anything else! He just kept running out on her! This was it. If and when he dragged his no-good lousy… She was so busy grumbling to herself that she missed the loud woosh that accompanied Superman's entrance.
"Lois? What's wrong?
"Superman! Oh! Hi, I'm sorry, it's just that well, you surprised me. You usually don't drop by the office."
"Well, I was in the neighborhood and thought I'd drop by," he said, crossing his arms.
"I haven't seen much of you lately," she said, fiddling with her keyboard.
"I've been busy."
"Yeah, everyone has."
"Have they? I'm sorry, Lois."
"Everyone says that to me. I'm tired of people being sorry."
"Well, it's really hard sometimes; you want to be in so many places at once, do so many things."
"You, you I can understand running off. That's what you do, who you are, what you have to do. But when Clark does it —"
"When Clark does it you think he's betraying you, that he takes off only the minute that you want to talk about your relationship."
*Damn, he's psychic, too!* "Yeah, that's it, did Clark tell you?"
"Lois, what if Clark had good reasons for running off, just like I do?"
"That's ridiculous! You go off to save people from volcanoes and Clark goes to get his Cheese of the Month shipment!"
"Lois, do you remember when you told me you'd love me if I had no powers at all?"
"Yes, but I don't see what that has to do with me and Clark."
"What if I have a normal life somewhere, Lois? What if people think I'm just an ordinary guy? What if I have to make excuses every time I run off?"
She played with her pencils, unable to look at him, but she could hear that he was pacing.
"I — don't understand what that has to do with anything. You're Superman, and Clark is Clark."
"Lois, I —"
"I don't want to talk about this anymore. You're not the one I need to talk to." She put her head down on her desk, hearing the crackle of the Double Fudge Crunch Bar wrappers under her paperwork.
She felt a hand on her shoulder.
"Lois, it has everything to do with it. Because —" and her face was turned up. Somehow Superman had put on Clark's suit and tie, and was leaning over her desk. This was not possible…
"Because you see, Lois," he said, slipping on a pair of glasses, "I'm Clark Kent."
The kaleidoscope of her thoughts turned and snapped into a new pattern. Her mouth fell open in anger and surprise *Duh, Lane! Duh! How galactically stupid are you?*
Taking advantage of her silence, he continued: "But you see, Lois, I wanted you to understand that Superman is what I can do, Clark is who I am. But sometimes I can't be both. I guess it's been wrong of me to try and make you love one without the other. So here is all of me."
She reached up and took off his glasses, then pushed them back on. How one little thing could make her so blind! *Blinded by _what_, though?*
"And this — this isn't all a bad dream after Ralph's Pagoda food again, is it?"
"No, Lois. This is the truth. Finally."
"Well, I —"
He stood there with that endearing Clark look on his face, leaning on the desk without the Superman style arm-crossing. And she knew. It was so foolish, really, what she knew. And she was furious and joyful simultaneously and really crying now because the rational voice in her head had just gone on vacation. There were arms around her, whoever's arms they were, and she was glad they were there. "So we're okay, we're fine; baby I'm here to stop your crying. Chase all the ghosts from your head, I'm stronger than the monster beneath your bed. Smarter than the tricks played on your heart; we'll look at them together and we'll take them apart. Adding up the total of a love that's true; multiply life by the power of two."
—Emily Saliers, _Power of Two_
Thanks to Rich Sigler for saying "this is how I'd like it to be" and explaining crisis to this newbie, and to Rhen for commanding me to write it!