By Beth Abott (PoliSci firstname.lastname@example.org)
Summary: A continuation of the episode "And the Answer Is…" in which Lois comes to grips with Clark's secret, and they both begin gripping each other. :-)
Note: This story begins in the evening after Clark "defrosts" Lois. It assumes that the beginning of the conversation in the park is as it was portrayed in ATAI, but veers off in the direction I wish it had taken, and certainly not what I expect to happen (unfortunately). I would love to get feedback — all comments and criticisms graciously accepted, but please be gentle. This is my first attempt at fiction in nearly 20 years. Many thanks for Leigh for extremely helpful comments and editing.
Lois was laying in her bed, her mind racing. The way he touched her…Superman had stroked her hair the same way Clark had. No, she banished the thought from her mind. Superman…Clark? No, how ridiculous. But when she had said, "The way you just touched me…" it seemed he knew what she meant. The look on his face almost seemed to be an acknowledgment. Of course, they had always had that resemblance. The same color hair, eyes, same height. But lots of men have dark hair and eyes, she admonished herself.
She remembered hearing Clark's voice calling her back. She was sure it was Clark. Yet there was Superman, holding her in his arms. She had never seen that look on Superman's face before…and where was Clark? His parents were there. Hmmmm, she pondered the situation. Two friends who are never seen together, Clark's strange disappearances…wait. What happened when Clark disappeared? Every time she could recall, Superman had shown up just moments later. She thought back, thinking about Clark saying things that only Superman would know, and Superman knowing things that only Clark should.
"Lois, get a hold of yourself. Get a grip," she thought. How could it be? Would Superman really live an ordinary life? Would he want to? But the images persisted…images of romantic moments with Superman (all too few), more recent ones with Clark. They were both wonderful kissers…the images lingered…
And what about that conversation, interrupted by that horrible phone call. He said, "I'm super…" Could he have meant Super— Man? And later in the Planet, when he said he had always been honest with her…except for one thing. Damn, why were all these conversations always being interrupted!
At that very moment, Clark was lying in his bed as well. The events of the past few days had taken their toll. He was exhausted, and relieved. And stunned. When he thought about what Lois had done for him, Clark — not Superman…words could not express his feelings. Lois had been willing to die for him, for his parents. There could be no greater sacrifice. All his wishes about her loving him had been realized. It was time for her to know.
He wondered about some of her reactions. She had noticed how he had stroked her hair, he had almost acknowledged it himself, yet he just went on, remaining the steady superhero, though he was in agony worrying about her. It also seemed as though she thought she heard Clark's voice calling her back, yet she said nothing. Did she think it was a dream? It was hard to know how being frozen had affected her, if at all. Had she put it all together, or was it just his imagination? All those false starts, those damn interruptions. She was a brilliant investigative reporter, after all. Yet it is easy to overlook something so close to you if it is totally unexpected, unanticipated. How could he tell her without triggering a dreaded bad reaction? He wanted to tell her how much he loved her, how she meant the world to him, how overwhelmed and grateful he felt, but if he first told her he was Superman, she might not hear the rest. He planned the next day carefully, going over all the possibilities over and over again in his mind…
Later they were walking in the park. Clark said he had been thinking, Lois said she had been thinking too. When Clark started talking about the real reason he was always leaving, her heart started racing. When the thunder started, Clark looked so, so…frustrated. He asked her if she wanted to leave, but she knew this was one conversation that had to go on without interruption. All the thoughts from the previous night raced through her mind at once. She felt dizzy. The rain fell harder, slicking back Clark's hair. His glasses were so wet she could not see his eyes. How could he see, she thought. Unless…unless…it all fell into place.
"Are you sure you don't want to leave, Lois, the rain is coming down pretty hard."
"No," she replied thoughtfully. This conversation had to continue right here and now, she thought.
"All right. Lois, there's something I have to tell you. But first, there's something I want to tell you. Lois, I love you, with all my heart and soul. I want you to know this first, because there's something else you must know. After all that happened yesterday, what you did for me and my parents…I have to let you know." He paused, unsure of exactly how to tell her. He wondered if she even suspected, with all the false starts and interruptions of the last few days. "I've been trying to say this for so long…". His heart raced. He didn't know how she might react. Would she feel angry, hurt, betrayed? With Lois, there was no way to know. She was unpredictable, which was one of the reasons he loved her so. He took a deep breath, "Lois, I'm…"
"…Superman," she said slowly, as she removed his glasses.
He waited for her reaction.
She stared at him, speechless. It WAS true. How could she not have figured it out before? Why didn't he tell her yesterday, before he froze her? Why hadn't he told her when she woke up? Why…
He held his breath, searching her eyes for some sign of her feelings. Was it betrayal, surprise, confirmation…
They stared at each other for what seemed like hours, each trying to find the right words… Clark stroked her hair, the way he had before as Clark and as Superman. It was too much for Lois to bear. She collapsed in his arms, sobbing. He finally did what he had been wanting to do, what she hoped he would do.
He took her chin in his hand, gracefully lifting her head up to his, and kissed her, gently at first, then more intensely, the passion growing. The fire shot through his whole being. He had never felt like this before.
Lois was quivering in a way she had never experienced before either. The kisses became more passionate, the fire consuming them. The rain was intense, but neither of them noticed, such was the intensity of their passion.
He broke away first. "Lois, I love you… we need to talk."
"I love you, too." she replied breathlessly. Her heart was pounding so hard she had difficulty catching her breath. He stroked her hair, renewing the fire in her veins. They started to walk out of the park. The rain subsided, and the smell of wet flowers filled the air. They were alone, the rain having chased everyone else home.
"Where do you want to go?" he asked, a slight gleam in his eyes.
She caught the meaning, but for once, words failed her. So many thoughts were racing through her head, and she felt her legs buckling besides. "Any place we can be alone…without interruptions," she finally replied.
He smiled as he grasped her meaning. "Do you mind taking a short flight?"
"Mmmmm," was all she could manage to get out.
He looked around and quickly scanned the entire park. They were, indeed, alone. In a red and blue blur, he stood before her. "I've always wanted to do this in front of you," he said. In an instant he draped his cape around her and took off.
Moments later, they were on an isolated island. Clark immediately changed out of his costume.
"Where are we?" she whispered. "In a place without interruptions," he whispered back, as he took her in his arms. They kissed with abandon, locking out all thoughts of the world around them. The events of the past few days had intensified their feelings. Their mutual hunger consumed them as they tumbled to the soft sand.
Several minutes later, Lois sat up with a start. He was from another planet, after all. All those earlier fantasies about Superman were turning into reality, and she was afraid to go on. There were all those questions floating around in her head, and she felt too embarrassed to ask them. "Clark," she started. Words failed her.
He gazed at her, trying to grasp her meaning.
How could she put this delicately? All those surreptitious looks she had given Superman, those personal glances, all came back to her. He looked normal, human, of course, and so far he certainly appeared to be functional in all respects, but…
"Lois, what's wrong?" he said. He wondered if this was a delayed reaction. Could his fears of her being angry be realized now? But she didn't look angry. She looked…puzzled.
A million thoughts raced through her mind. He couldn't possibly know what I'm thinking…not after the way I threw myself at him before…but now that it's real, I'm scared, I don't know what to expect… "I don't think I can say this gracefully," she said haltingly. "I know you don't have to eat, but you can if you want to, and you like to, and I really never thought about it before (oh no, I'm babbling again, she thought), but you don't get hungry, really, so I was just wondering if your other…needs…do you have them, I mean…so far …"
He rescued her. "I am a man, Lois."
She tried to stifle an embarrassed giggle, not too successfully. "I was just…wondering…" she stammered.
"I love you, Lois, with every part of my being. With all my heart and soul." With that, he took her in his arms and kissed her even more passionately than before, answering without question all her doubts.
Her knees buckled completely and they tumbled onto the sand again. This time, they stayed there for a while…
Hours later, they were awakened by the magnificent sunrise over the horizon. Lois looked at Clark, this super man, and smiled. He held her closer in his arms.
"We do have to talk," Lois broke the silence.
"Yes," he replied. "Lois, you are everything to me. Words can't express the depth and extent of my love. I know you must be wondering when I was going to tell you. I was waiting for the right time, and the right circumstances. I know how much you loved Superman, but he isn't who I am. Superman is just a suit I wear so I can use my powers, and still be me, Clark, in my NORMAL life."
"And you wanted me to love Clark," Lois said softly.
"Clark is the real person. Superman is an illusion," he replied.
With a start, Lois said "Oh, Clark, you must have been so pained by my behavior. No wonder you said what you did when I was going to marry Lex. I never understood what you meant by "under the circumstances", but now I do. I had just rejected you as Clark, and said I would love you as Superman even without your powers."
Clark said, "But you didn't. You didn't love me. The real me." "But I do now…I think I have all along. That's the reason I couldn't marry Lex. I couldn't say "I do" to him. I had to say "I can't", because all I could think of was you. Not Superman, but you, Clark, my best friend, my partner. All our times together ran through my mind, and I realized how much I needed you. I was confused, because I started to think I loved you, but I knew I loved Superman. I didn't understand how I could love two men at once. Now I realize why. It was one man!" She smiled. "I thought I was this terrible, disloyal person. I wanted to tell you, but when you said you didn't really love me, I was crushed. I couldn't let you know that, because I needed you as a friend at least as much as I loved you. I had to preserve that relationship." The words spilled out, the months of confusion pouring out like an overflowing river.
"I only said that because I needed your friendship too." Clark said. "I have always loved you, Lois, from the moment I saw you in the Planet newsroom. I had my fingers crossed that time, you know. Lois, I could never not love you."
Lois thought for a moment. "We're like the characters in that O. Henry story, 'The Gift of the Magi'. We each sacrificed our feelings in order to preserve what we had. Oh, Clark, if only that conversation had turned out differently…if only I had known."
"It wasn't the right time," he said. "It would have confused you even more. You weren't ready. I don't think I was ready to tell you either. I was afraid of your reaction, and I didn't want you to be in love with Superman and Clark. It had to be just Clark, because that's who I am."
"I really should be angry with you. You must have thought I was an idiot. Here's Lois Lane, the great investigative reporter, who can't see Superman right in front of her face if he's not wearing a costume."
"Lois, I could never think that of you. It was painful, actually. I wanted to tell you so many times, but I was truly afraid. I didn't want to end the relationship before it got started, and I was afraid you wouldn't love the real me."
"If you didn't want me to love Superman, why did you visit me, kiss me, dance on air with me? Why did you seem to encourage my affection at the beginning?" asked Lois.
"I'm sorry. I just couldn't resist the opportunity. There were so many times I felt like kicking myself, especially after we danced in your apartment. It's just that I wanted to be with you, hold you, kiss you from the moment I laid eyes on you, and I couldn't do that as Clark, at least not right away. I had no idea you would swoon over Superman. There were times when it was the only way I could be with you, and after every time I realized that I was sabotaging myself. Maybe I was afraid you would never love me as Clark, and I wanted to be with you so badly that I couldn't stop myself." Clark smiled. "That's the effect you have on me, Lois." At that, he took her in his arms once again.
After a few minutes, Lois broke away again. "I must have hurt you so badly. All those times I talked about Superman in front of you, treating you like you were a fawning puppy. I never realized…" The tears streamed down her face. "All those times…how did you put up with it? What have I done to deserve this love?"
"Lois, you are everything to me. I love you for what you are and who you are. You couldn't have known. How could you? Who would suspect that Superman spends most of his time doing ordinary things with ordinary people? Why would you think that Clark spends his spare time fighting crooks while wearing tights?"
"I love those tights," Lois said with a gleam in her eyes. At that, she kissed him and their actions replaced words.
THE END…for now
To be continued at a later date …