By Julie Bixby (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Dory Weiss (Phish123@aol.com)
Summary: Identifying with the characters in the movie The Princess Bride, Lois and Clark discuss their relationship.
The night "Contact" aired I couldn't sleep, so I started this around 3:00 a.m. as catharsis. It sat in my Latin notebook for a week, until LCWS and my *very* helpful co-author got me back on track. Continuity-wise, this one comes after "Ordinary People." I've tried to stay true to Lois and Clark and their relationship. I must warn you, though, that the story is based heavily on _The Princess Bride_ and some of the dialogue might be esoteric. This is my first fanfic and Julie's first cooperative work, so we would really appreciate any feedback. Hope you enjoy! DW
When I offered to help Dory with her story, I really didn't intend to end-up as full-fledged co-author. But things just seemed to… "work" (to borrow a phrase from Lois :-). We may not be Lane & Kent, but we sure did our best to be Weiss & Bixby. I'd like to dedicate this fanfic to Deena Cross, the Gorn, and all the other FOLC who have been twisting themselves into human pretzels trying to maintain some semblance of character continuity throughout the "proposal arc" we've had so far in Season 3. Hope this helps! JB
There was a knock at the door.
Clark Kent bounded up the steps of his apartment to his front door. Without even using his x-ray vision, he knew who would be on the other side.
Indeed, when he turned the knob and pulled the door open, there she stood—Lois Lane. Lois was the other half of the reporting team of Lane and Kent, and—Clark hoped— someday one-half of the team of Lane-Kent and Kent. "Hi, Lois."
"Hi," she replied with a hint of a smile as she let herself in. There also was a touch of—what? Uncertainty? Nervousness? Clark had invited her over to "unwind" from their ordeal on Spencer Spencer's island. Not *all* of it had been an ordeal, Clark mussed, but those first few hours on the beach had been miserable ones for Lois, and he had had great fun teasing her about it. Now, though, he wanted to make it up to her—just, as she had said, like a "regular" guy.
"So, what are we having tonight?" Lois asked as Clark motioned her towards the dinner table and pulled the chair out for her. She gave him an appreciative look as she sat down, and he proceed to unfold her napkin and place it on her lap. The action brought his face closer to hers and he breathed deeply of her perfume. *Later, Kent* a voice inside him said. He straightened.
"Tonight we are having a veal cutlet with vegetable saute. And for dessert, a chocolate mousse."
"Ah, trying to win me over with chocolate now, hmmmm?" Lois asked him playfully.
"But of course. Don't you know that the way to a woman's heart is through her stomach?" he teased in return.
He brought over two plates full of food, set the slightly smaller portion before Lois, then sat himself down in his own chair. "Dinner is served." ***********
"That was delicious, Clark," Lois told him when the meal was finished. She had spoken little throughout dinner— small chat, mostly, and Clark couldn't really blame her.
Anytime they started a meaningful conversation it seemed like he was pressed into service as his caped alter-ego. Fortunately, tonight that hadn't happened—*yet*, Clark amended. The night was still young. Plus, although Clark had told Lois that he wouldn't push her for an answer to his proposal, the question still hung heavily between them. And, in the mean time, he had no problem with *nudging* her towards thinking about it—and he had just the movie in mind.
As Lois walked over to the couch, Clark headed for the VCR, then joined her. He draped his arm carefully around Lois, who pressed herself tightly against his side. Lois glanced up at him and gave him a soft kiss. Clark couldn't help but respond with a deeper kiss. "I think you'll like this movie, it's one of my favor…" his voice trickled off and he got *that look* on his face. "Lois…" he began to apologize, but she quickly cut him off.
"I know. Duty calls." Lois sighed and pulled away from him. Clark rose and quickly spun into the familiar red, yellow and blue suit. He bent down to kiss her softly. "Go ahead and start the movie—I'll be back before you know it." And, with a familiar swoosh, he was gone. Lois turned her attention to the TV screen, which was now flashing the credits for "The Princess Bride." "*This* is one of his favorite movies?" she queried aloud, looking at the spot he had just vacated. She settled back to watch. **********
Clark returned halfway through the film. He wished he hadn't had to have been gone so long, but he had learned to deal with the fact that not all of his rescues could be shortened into convenient time frames. Would Lois be able to learn to deal with that fact, too? Was it too much to ask her to share his life? He pushed these thoughts aside as he switched back into his regular clothes and rejoined Lois on the couch. She turned towards him, grateful that he had returned safely (with all of that Kryptonite floating around these days, one never knew). Yet she seemed agitated as well.
"Just look at him!" exclaimed Lois, as they watched Wesley and Buttercup run towards the Fire Swamp. "Dressing up, lying to Buttercup, making her believe that he's the Dread Pirate Roberts. He deserved to get pushed down the hill!"
"Whoa, Lois," replied Clark, "He *is* the Dread Pirate Roberts, remember? That's not lying. Wesley's just being … selective."
"I guess you would know about that," Lois muttered almost inaudibly, her eyes flashing. Clark heard her, of course, and he leaned over to whisper into her ear. "Well, on the other hand, Buttercup did forgive Wesley when he told her the truth about his identity. In fact, rumor has it she agreed to marry him."
Lois pushed Clark away and sat up, partly out of fun and partly to avoid where the conversation was heading. "Yes, Clark. But that's a movie and a fairy tale, at that. Of course they lived Happily Ever After."
Clark could see the uncertainty which had made its way back into Lois's eyes. It was the same uncertainty that always seemed to arise when they discussed their future, and he wanted, more than anything, to reassure her. "Lois, you're dating a 'strange visitor from another planet' who has superpowers and can grant your every wish. I also hear that he's helplessly in love with you and that nothing in the world could ever change that. To most people, that *is* a fairy tale."
"I know that, Clark." Lois had gotten up from the couch and was pacing back and forth across the center of the room, wringing her hands together, so Clark paused the movie. The past hadn't been kind to Lois. For years, Lois had been trying to protect herself from experiencing that kind of pain again. She had set goals, she had worked hard, and she had worked alone. Then Clark had arrived and messed all of that up. Somehow, within the last three years, he had found a way to crack the barrier she had built. Now, Lois was having to finally face her past in order to create a future. And it was hard.
"But Buttercup didn't grow up in a dysfunctional family. Her parents didn't hate and avoid each other, her sister didn't lock herself in her room, and she didn't work herself nonstop to avoid building personal relationships—not that I've been doing that much, lately. Besides, her father never inadvertently tried to kill Wesley, although my father didn't know you and I didn't love you and neither of us knew you were *you,* yet, when he built those cyborgs. And Wesley wasn't constantly running off to go save, or in his case, loot someone in the middle of every conversation!" Lois paused in her ramblings, looking very distraught.
"Does my running off really bother you, still?" Clark asked quietly.
"No," Lois sighed.
Clark walked over to Lois and gathered her into his arms to stop her restless pacing. He was bothered by the fact that Lois only seemed to see the problems they faced, instead of appreciating everything they had. "On the other hand … " Clark bent down and briefly kissed Lois, thinking that she had the most beautiful, fullest lips … "Your Wesley has come back to you from the dead. He has defeated enemies for you, he does want to marry you, and he would give his life for you."
"I know, Clark …" Lois began with a sad smile.
"Shhhh." He gently placed a finger to her lips. "I know that you are afraid of being involved—completely involved—with someone. So am I." Clark began to gently trace the contours of her lips with his finger, sending shivers up and down Lois's spine. "For a long time, I have been isolated and independent. I haven't needed anyone. Sure, I love my parents and want them around, but I haven't really been dependent upon them. And when I first met you, I wanted to be with you as well. But things change." Clark's finger began a slow, feather-light wandering down Lois's neck and collar, as his lips gently caressed the path his finger had taken. He lifted his head to look directly into her eyes before he spoke. "I need you, Lois. Losing you would kill me as surely as ingesting kryptonite. And that scares me."
Lois looked back at him, feeling overwhelmed by the force of the emotions she could see in his eyes and hear in his voice. She could feel her eyes beginning to water. "I am terrified," she said softly, in a ragged voice. "Not just of being hurt, but of hurting you. You become so vulnerable when you depend on someone, and vulnerable is the one thing I have always tried not to be."
"There are no guarantees, Lois, in anything. Like Wesley says, 'Life is pain, Princess. Anyone who tells you otherwise is selling something.' But one thing that I can guarantee is that I love you more than life itself and that I always will. I know that I want to spend the rest of my life with you and that I would never intentionally hurt you. I have faith that we were meant to be together. We are our own fairy tale, Lois. I have faith that we can live happily ever after." He held her as tightly as he dared.
Lois returned the hug, but she was troubled. Clark still believed in fairy tales—in fantasy—because he *himself* was beyond the ordinary. Lois had once been deeply attracted to that fantasy and had given it up for the reality of Clark. Was it possible to have the best of both worlds? Clark seemed to think so—it's why he had asked her to marry him, wasn't it? But Lois was still uncertain.
Just at that moment, the TV screen hissed to life, signaling that the VCR had stopped itself. "Looks like we forgot about the movie," he said quietly, and was reluctant to slip away from their embrace. He so seldom got to hold her this way…
"Yes, well, it is getting pretty late. I guess I should be getting home," Lois gave him a way out of their clinch.
Clark hunched his shoulders to go turn off the TV and rewind the tape.
"We will finish this sometime. Sometime when we're in the mood for a happy ending… Don't forget, we've got that luggage theft story out at the airport tomorrow," she continued in a rush, obviously distancing herself from the serious conversation of just moments ago. "And I've got a hairdresser's appointment beforehand, so I'll meet you at the Planet at eleven, O.K.?"
"Hairdresser's appointment?" Clark repeated.
"Yes. So I won't have so much hair in my face when we go ~->", and she made that hand wave they had devised to indicate Superman in action. Clark stepped towards her. "Not *too* short, I hope," he pleaded, bringing his hand to her cheek. "I'd like to still be able to do this," and he moved his fingers from her cheek to run them down through her hair. Lois gave him a small smile. "As you wish," she whispered with a small giggle, and leaned to give him a quick peck on the cheek. "Good night, Clark."
"Good night, Buttercup." He couldn't resist. She gave him a look, then turned and was out the door.