By Jackie MacPherson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: 2nd June 1996.
Summary: A story about Lois and Clark's twilight years.
Here's a little bit about this fanfic and why I wrote it. I should start by pointing out that this is my first *ever* fanfiction. The idea for the story just 'popped' into my head one day as I'm sure it does for most. The show was a few episodes into season 3, marriage and Lois' vulnerability were being talked about a lot. I looked a bit further down the road and came up with this fanfiction.
Any feedback (negative or positive) is always welcome. I hope you enjoy it, I certainly enjoyed writing it, and I suppose that's what counts in the end;)
Research and editing by: Dom Melaragni ( who else?! ;).
Superman flew across the city, towards the dock side area. One of the warehouses was on fire and they needed his help. The fire engines were having trouble getting through the early evening traffic. He wanted to get this over with quickly, it was getting late.
The sun was dipping down between the apartment buildings across the road. The old woman was asleep in an armchair that had seen better days. The sounds that rose up from the street and in through the open window were somehow filtered and distorted by the warm sunshine. A couple argued next door and a tuner on a nearby shelf monitored the emergency bands.
"Car 23 proceed to dock side area. Fire in progress, assistance required. Superman on site."
A smile spread across the woman's face, she opened her eyes. As she sat up, she drew the drape a couple of inches, and reached over to switch the radio off. She picked up a bottle of pills and tried to undo the top. Her hands looked gnarled with arthritis and shook with the strain of undoing the lid. "Hell!"
Frustrated, she threw the bottle into the empty trashcan nearby and the glass of water was tipped into a plantpot sitting on the table. This was perhaps a little late, some would have mistaken the plant for a dried flower arrangement.
A knock at the door, made the woman jump.
"Yes? Who is it?"
"It's me, Lois, are you okay?"
"Just give me a second while I get to the door."
As the woman pushed herself out of the chair, she leaned against the window frame. Her muscles took time to adjust to the change in posture and she caught her breath while they did. Picking up a stick she moved towards the door with more speed than she should. She looked through the spy lens and started to unlock the three dead bolts. As she removed the chain and opened the door, a young woman, with dark brown hair and eyes to match, stepped in. Her attire was sparse, to say the least.
"Is that what they're wearing to the Planet these days? It doesn't seem very suitable for a reporter."
"In this heat you don't see people wearing slacks and a jacket, do you? And you can wipe that smile off your face. I've seen some of your old photos, your taste wasn't much better." They both moved inside, laughing.
"Let me help you over to your chair, do you need anything?"
"No. I'm fine."
"Here, let me help you."
"I said I'm fine. Stop fussing. I'm not a complete invalid. Well, not yet anyway."
"Did you take your pills today?"
"I had every intention of taking them…but.."
"Where are they? Come on, don't even bother giving me that look."
A silence fell across the room.
"I threw them in the trash."
"Now that wasn't very high on the idea metre, was it?"
Lucy walked over and pulled the bottle out of the bin. "Hand me the glass and I'll get you some water. Hmm, I see why you threw them in the trash. Did Clark put this lid on?"
"It's not his fault, he doesn't know his own strength."
A grin spread across Lucy's face. "Well you think he would by now. Where is he anyway? Shouldn't he be home by now?"
"He's at a fire down by the docks. In fact I thought you might be there with him. I'm sure he could do with some help, and I'm sure you could do with the practice."
"I know I've not been pulling my weight lately but it's a lot to get used to at once. I've just started at the Planet and now I have a second 'job' to deal with."
"I know it's hard, Lucy, but he's been at this for years. He could do with a break now and again."
Lucy tipped out two white pills and passed them to Lois along with a fresh glass of water. "Mmm hmm. Sure I realise that. It's just I don't feel I have much of a life. I can't plan anything important, what dates I do have usually end on a sour note. How you two ever got together I'll never know!"
"We had our obstacles, but we pulled together and got through them. I guess he was lucky that he found such an understanding woman like myself."
Lucy laughed along with Lois as she turned towards the kitchen area, just off the sitting room. "How about I make us something to eat?"
"Sure. What have you got in mind?"
"Well I think we'll avoid the oatmeal and I doubt they've lifted the health warning on the ramaki. I'm glad that mom took after Clark in more ways than one! Her childhood could have been tough."
"Enough of the sarcasm, young lady. Just remember who you're talking too."
"Sorry. 'Gran'." Lois winced.
"Oooh I don't know where you get that razor tongue from."
"Hmm, some would say you! I know mom does."
Lois laughed again and settled herself down in the chair once more while Lucy searched the cupboards for anything close to edible. "Don't you keep any fresh food?!"
Lois' head fell back against the chair as she smiled. "Clark usually does the cooking, and he normally brings the groceries in with him." Drawers and cupboards were being opened followed by some mutterings. Lois let her eyes close and felt the sunlight move slowly down her body.
Within an hour, there was an aroma of pasta, tomatoes, ground beef, and warm bread wafting through the apartment. Lois had started to read the latest edition of the Daily Planet.
"You know, your writing is certainly coming on. But this plumber Dreizweski, did he ever get a chance to fix the woman's faucet? It would have tied the story up nicely."
"He didn't, I asked. I know you're trying to help, but I did cover all the angles. Anyway, Big O' was happy with it, and it takes a lot to please him. You know, I'm sure he's harder on me because of who I am."
"I wouldn't let Jimmy hear you calling him that. He can be quite sensitive."
"Big O'?! I find that hard to believe. Oh, I nearly forgot, he's expecting you both at his retirement party. He said he's put it off long enough and that he needs the oldies around him because he's the last of the old gang finally leaving the Planet!"
"He did, did he?! I wish I could go."
"It'd be good for you. You haven't been out in a while."
"I get too tired, too quickly these days. I wouldn't want to spoil the fun."
"Oh come on! You know that it'd make his day if you came."
"We'll see. You know that Clark has to gray his hair when he goes out and that talc makes me sneeze."
"I suppose he could try going bald."
"No. I don't like bald men."
"Did I hear my name being mentioned?"
Lois stood up from the chair, leaving the stick against the wall. "Clark! How long have you been back?"
Clark stepped out of the bedroom. "I just got in. There was a fire down at the docks, looks like it may be arson."
"Hell, I knew I should have gone!"
"Lucy, you weren't needed. There was nobody hurt."
"Oh right, yeah, em, I was thinking of the story."
Clark glanced at Lois before he gave Lucy a kiss on the cheek. "You get more like your grandmother every day."
He crossed the floor towards the chair, wrapped his arms around Lois and kissed her. He squeezed her gently and just held her for a few moments. "I missed you."
"Me too." She always felt better in his arms. She never knew whether it was just being near him or another benefit of his special gifts. As they pulled apart, he kissed her again. She looked into his eyes and brushed his greying temple with her fingers. It was still there, that fire that never seemed to dim. He took her hand from his face, kissed her fingers and smiled.
He reached past her to switch the table light on. "You shouldn't be reading in this light. It's not good for your eyes."
Lois took her glasses off and laid them on the table. "I was just reading our granddaughter's work. You're right, she does take after me."
Clark laughed and put his arm around Lois to walk her to the dining table.
The banter continued throughout the meal. Lucy helped Clark clear the table while Lois moved to the sofa. As Clark washed, Lucy dried. "Are you okay?"
"How are you coping?"
Clark turned and smiled but his eyes were pinched at the corners and his face looked hard. "I'm fine, I'm the strong one, remember?"
"You may be, but her illness is affecting both of you."
Clark took the last plate from Lucy's hands and put it with the others, still steaming in the corner. He turned and placed his hands on Lucy's shoulders. "Really, I'm fine. We take each day as it comes. We're coping."
"No, I should be doing more. How about I go out tonight and you stay in? You should spend more time together."
"Lucy, I don't think you're ready for that."
"Yes I am. It's about time I took some responsibility for myself. You worry too much!"
Clark looked away briefly, as if trying to remember something. When he looked back his eyes had softened and seemed so dark, and so deep. He bent and kissed Lucy on the forehead. "After living with Lois all these years, I get 'very' worried when someone tells me 'not' to worry."
"What are you two doing in there? You haven't cracked another one, have you, Lucy?"
Lucy came through. "No. I'm just trying to convince Clark here that I can go out on my own tonight."
Clark followed her into the sitting room. "Well, if you promise to be careful."
Lucy laughed as she collected her things and turned to Lois. "Has he always been like this?"
"Yes. You should have seen what I had to do to get him to take me anywhere!"
Lucy walked over to Lois and kissed her on the cheek. "If I'm going, I'd better be go now."
"Sure. Thanks for coming to see me, you know I love your visits."
"Try keeping me away."
Clark walked Lucy to the door and after a few more cautions, he let her go.
"Why don't you put on the television while I finish up in the kitchen and get changed? We can settle down together and watch a film."
"Sure, why not." Lois leaned over and switched the TV on. As she sat back, Clark settled down beside her. She leant against him as he put his arm around her shoulders.
"Well, here's a scoop of the century."
He looked down. "What's that?"
"Superman found in clinch with a decrepit old woman!" Clark's shoulders tensed, but his face didn't change.
"Once it might have been a scoop, but you'd be lucky to see it on page ten these days. You forget that 'Superman' doesn't get such good promotion these days. He just can't find the staff."
Lois frowned. "They take you too much for granted."
"Hey, it's nice to get some peace and quiet. Besides, if you want to make the headlines these days, it seems you have to be a Senator, found tied up in a motel room and covered in chocolate paint and Flake wrappers!"
"Clark, that's not what I was meaning. What I was going to say, what I was trying to say was…Clark, I'm no Spring chicken, I'm…"
"Actually I can remember when you dressed as…"
Lois turned to face him. The look was enough. Clark sighed.
"Lois, how many times have we been over this? Has Mrs. Doyle been twitching her drapes again? I don't care what people think! I love you. I have always loved you, and I always will love you. We're practically the same age, Lois!"
Lois shook her head. "No, Clark. It's not the same and you know it. It's not fair, me keeping you here. You have so much left you could do. I should…"
"…should what? We've been through too much together. Do you honestly think I'd leave you? Do you really think I could? What we have is stronger than either one of us, Lois. We found that out a long time ago."
Lois tipped her head to the side and looked into Clark's eyes. She couldn't imagine facing this alone, but she hated what it must be doing to him. He gave her such strength. He was right. She knew he was right, but it was hard to see him worry.
Clark was staring back at her, waiting for the argument. He raised his eyebrows. "Well?"
Lois smiled and a sparkle appeared in her deep brown eyes. "You're right." She turned and leaned against him again.
Clark watched her and sighed. One day he would be able to predict what Lois was going to do.
Clark turned his attention to the television. Lois had let him choose the channel they were watching. <"..they may take our lives, but they will never take our freedom!">
"You always did like Mel's films, didn't you?"
"Yes, but.." Clark pulled on his ear. "..I never did get that earring."
"Hmmm, and I never did get you in that kilt, did I?" Lois struggled to hide the smile. "Shame, I'm sure you've got the legs for one."
"You know, I would have thought the tights and the underwear would have been enough!"
Lois laughed, put her head on his chest and settled down to watch the film.
The light from the television fought against the shadows on the wall and the small lamp stood alone like a beacon on the table.
The television was turned down. Lois was asleep in Clark's arms, his head rested on hers. Clark was listening to Lois' soft breathing, and felt her warm breath against his neck. Her heart beat became his own, as it beat against his ribcage. He knew he was losing the battle. A battle he had no way of winning. With things that really mattered, he was no different from anyone else.
He became aware of the titles on the screen. The film had finished.
"Lois. The film's finished." Clark moved to the side a little, so that he could look at Lois. He frowned. "Lois?" He slid his hand along her jaw and brushed his thumb along her cheekbone.
Clark eased himself out from under her and stood up. "Lois, time for bed. It's late."
The old woman raised an eyebrow. "You woke me up so that you could put me to bed?" Lois put her arms around Clark's neck as he scooped her up and moved to the dark bedroom. "I thought I had you trained better than that, farmboy."
Craig Kinloss folded the morning edition of the Planet and placed it on his desk. He strolled over to where Greg was working and sat on the corner of the desk. "That's some piece the chief wrote. You know, you still hear people talking about Lois Lane's work. Countless Kerths and a Pulitzer, that's some reporter!"
"She sure was. The chief was close to her, he'll miss her a lot."
"How's Lucy taking it?"
"I don't know, I haven't seen her in a few days. I meant to go to the funeral but.."
"I was there, but I didn't like to impose."
"She'll probably be back in a couple of days."
"Mmm hmmm. What you working on?"
"Oh, this one's a bit strange. Someone broke into STAR Labs a couple of nights ago. It seems that one of their vaults was tunnelled into."
"Yeah, what was taken?"
"This is the strange part. It was some rocks they had kept for years. And the tunnel, it's not like anything I've seen before. It's almost like they melted their way through the rock. It's so smooth."
Just then a bell sounded and the lift doors opened. Craig looked up to see Lucy step out. As she walked down the ramp to her desk, his eyes followed her. Greg turned to see what Craig was looking at.
"Lucy's in today? I suppose she wants to keep busy. Wow, she's something!"
Craig stood up. "She is s…something."
Author's Notes: Lucy makes pasta 'cos the UKFest always eat it. The film that LnC are watching is Braveheart and the kilt comment is because I've always wanted to see Clark in a kilt. And the reporter at the Planet is called Kinloss because Kent is a place in England and Kinloss is a place in Scotland. My 'editor' <g> thought this would be funny and so did I <g>. Do the Flakes need any explanation? If so, mail FlakeyDom and ask her <g>.