By Allison Roth (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Summary: A post-"Big Girls Don't Fly" piece inspired by the "How should Clark return?" thread on the listserv.
While this isn't the first fanfic I've written, it's the first one I've had the guts to send to this list. Feedback (to email@example.com) is very welcome, and if I get enough, I might post my other story. This is just a short piece inspired by the "How should Clark return?" thread on the listserv. Thanks to Sue Tremblay for editing. :-) BTW, I'm assuming in this (although it's not even implied in the show) that Lois stays over at Clark's (and vice versa, though not nearly as often) a lot. You don't have to be "sleeping together" to sleep together, if you know what I mean. :-) I think, especially with all the rough times they've been through, they'd get comfort from sleeping in each other's arms — and that they're adult enough to be able to make it stay to only that. (Not that I'm implying you're not adult if you have sex, but if that's your decision, then it takes a mature person to stick with it.) Anyway, on with the story, which takes place after BGDF. [Big Girls Don't Fly]
The quiet, dark apartment was peaceful in its unbroken stillness; unbroken, at least, until one got to the bedroom. There the spell was broken by the uneasily sleeping form of a woman curled desperately around a small black and white teddy bear.
The covers were partially tangled around her feet, the rest hanging over the side of the bed onto the floor. Suddenly, she sat bolt upright, screaming "Clark!"
It took a minute for her to realize where she was, but not too long. This was old routine for her by now. So much of a routine that she didn't even glance at the empty half of the bed before attempting to go back to sleep.
The morning was a routine, too. Getting up, driving to the Planet, getting off the elevator and walking to her desk. Her new desk, that is. She hadn't been able to stand seeing someone else at Clark's desk, so she'd asked Perry to be moved to the other side of the newsroom. It was the only outward acknowledgment either of them made that Clark might not be back for a very long time.
Perry watched her walk in, his face lined with concern. He thought again, as he did so often, to the day everyone's lives had been changed forever. The day that later brought Lois to his office with an amazing story of who his star reporter really was.
It had been their decision, she'd told him. Perry had believed in Clark from the start and had on occasion been almost like a father when his own was so far away; he deserved to know that Clark wasn't abandoning that trust. Also, as one of the best journalists of all time, he deserved to know the truth. And it was that truth that made him realize he had to swallow his pride and beg Alice to come back, before it was too late for them. Perry just wished there had been some other way for them to get back together.
Looking at Lois, he thought about how much that man had given up for something he believed in; more than anyone realized. That was why he'd decided not to run the story she'd half expected him to run; they'd placed no restrictions on him, but the one of friendship was already there. For Clark's sake, as much as Lois' safety, the secret stayed secret. Perry just didn't have the heart to destroy the other thing Clark had believed in for so long.
He sighed and walked back into his office. "Clark, we may all be heroes, but even heroes need other people. Wherever you are, son, I pray to God you can come back to us." *** ***
Lois's eyes ached from poring over files. She was actually having to _search_ for news; she guessed this was a good sign. Metropolis was still fairly quiet after Clark's departure. Months had passed, and the crime rate was still down.
Right now, though, Lois could have used a good story. Some danger to throw herself headlong into. Something! But even Bobby Bigmouth had come up dry. She finished a standard piece about a couple of petty robberies, LAN'ed them to Perry, and grabbed her jacket. Responding to Jimmy's shouted goodbye, Lois waved to him and she headed to the elevator.
She felt bad about lying to Jimmy, for letting him believe that Clark had stowed away on Superman's ship, but she'd decided it was best for now. As honored as Perry had been when she told him about Clark's secret identity, he'd been almost angry.
"Now, we're talking like the boy's never coming back. Lois, honey, please don't tell anyone else about this. The life Kent worked so hard to build should be intact for him when he comes back."
"Right, Chief." Lois tried to smile as she fought tears. He'd been so hopeful of Clark defeating this Lord Knor immediately and finding a way to return. But now there was this new person at Clark's desk.
Lois couldn't blame him for doing that. It had been months, after all, and Perry didn't need that hope like she did. She couldn't afford to lose it; it was that got her out of bed in the morning. And even that was getting harder and harder to do these days. In fact, she couldn't even think about that lonely bed right now.
Even hours later, one could have seen a silver Jeep Cherokee aimlessly wandering around the streets. One might think they saw a bike, too, but it was never there upon a second glance. *** ***
Later that evening, a young couple was walking hand- in-hand in Centennial Park. They were enjoying the serene autumn night when suddenly something caught their attention. "Look! A shooting star!" the man exclaimed. Their hands clenched tighter and their eyes squeezed shut as they both wished for love. *** ***
Just a few moments later, the weary, yet excited passenger of that shooting star approached Lois Lane's apartment. The window was shut, he noted with a bit of surprise. As he peered in, he was far more surprised to find that the apartment was completely empty! There wasn't even any furniture left!
"What happened?" he thought wildly. "She wouldn't have moved, unless — oh, god, please let her be okay!"
Just then came a voice — one he would have given the world to hear — and given it all twice over to remove the note of agony from it.
He took off immediately toward the sound, and was shocked for the third time that night when he realized he was barreling towards his own apartment. In his haste, he missed seeing a tired figure on his front steps. Jimmy saw him though, and nearly cried with relief as he started up his bike to go home. If Superman was home, then CK was close behind. He was probably even taking her to him now. And as much as Jimmy wanted to see his old friend, he had a feeling their reunion could wait until the next day. *** ***
As Clark flew through his own open window, the sight of the tiny woman so scared and alone in his big bed nearly drove him to tears.
"Ssh…it's okay, Lois, I'm here now." Clark gathered the shaking Lois in his arms. She was still asleep, Clark realized, as Lois relaxed at his touch. That was fine; he was content just to lie here with the woman he loved. *** ***
As the morning sun hit Lois's face, she snuggled closer to Clark. "Oh, Clark, I had the worst dream last night." she rambled sleepily. Then the impact of her words hit her. "Clark!"
Tears began to stream down her face as she embraced the man she'd feared she'd never see again. Clark awoke at this fierce hug of Lois's, and held her to him. Running his hands through her soft, dark hair, he began to cry for the first time in all of this.
"Oh, Clark…I was beginning to wonder if…I mean, I knew you'd come home if you could, but something could have happened or…"
"Ssh…It's okay, Lois, I'm here now." he said, echoing his words of the night before. "And that's exactly where I'm going to stay."
As their lips met, it was as if something which had been torn apart was healed and made into one again.
"I love you, Clark."
"And I love you, Lois."
"For You, For Me, Forevermore" — George Gershwin