By B.B. Medos [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Summary: Superman moves out of the house and a little further out of Lois' life -- but it's for the best, really.
"Characters in this story are copyrighted by December 3rd Production, Warner Brothers, and ABC. No infringement is intended in any part by the author, however, the ideas expressed within this story are copyrighted to the author."
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Let's just say there was one episode in particular from the fourth season which I had a large problem with and leave it at that. <vbg> Special thanks to Molly and Kathy for helping me smooth one particularly rough spot in final editing.
Her hands stilled on the keyboard as she looked towards the window. There had been nothing to announce his arrival, no noise or movement, and yet she'd known he would be standing there.
Simply known it.
For an eternity, they stared at each other, neither moving or even breathing.
Her voice was a bare whisper of sound, but it was enough to break the spell holding them in place. Before she could rise completely from her seat, he was beside the chair pulling her up into his arms.
"I've missed you."
The words were murmured into her hair as he held her, one arm cradling her against the S-shield on his chest, while the other stroked her hair, a short mane almost a perfect match for his in color except for the occasional streaks of gray throughout.
After a few moments of contented silence, her head lifted and she smiled up at him. "And I've missed you. You'll never know how much."
Both tried to hide the pain behind the smiles, but it was hopeless. They knew each other too well. Brown eyes stared into brown until he couldn't hold her steady knowing gaze any longer. He stared over her head instead.
"I didn't want to move out. I still don't see..."
Her hand covered his mouth to stop the frustrated growl which wasn't doing either one of them any good. "I know you didn't. I know... but that doesn't change anything because we know it is for the best."
"Please, don't make this any more difficult than it is. Let's just enjoy your visit. Please... Superman."
His eyes closed and she thought he was going to continue arguing, then he sighed and opened his eyes again. "Alright."
She released the breath she'd been unconsciously holding. Determination was one thing, but she'd never been able to resist him in the past, particularly when there was pain in his eyes. Only the knowledge they were doing the right thing made it possible now.
As long as he didn't look at her like she was the one causing the pain...
Forcing a smile, she tilted her head back to study his face intently, from the dark hair hanging to the top of his cape to the way he was clenching his jaw as he held back the emotions he was trying to conceal from her. "You look tired. Are you taking care of yourself?"
"Shouldn't I be asking you that?"
Her smile became real. "Me? I always take care of myself."
"Well, if you want to know the truth..."
"I shouldn't ask you, right?"
"Something like that."
Her disgruntled mutter got an honest laugh from him. Shaking his head, he hugged her tighter only to jump back in surprise at the sound of someone clearing their throat. Both their heads snapped around towards the man standing in the doorway watching them.
"Are you here again, Superman?"
Superman's eyes narrowed as he studied the intruder in the business suit after his sarcastic question. The individual simply stared back at him and advanced into the room until they were standing face to face. Superman crossed his arms against his chest. "Yes, I am. Got a problem with that?"
"As a matter of fact, I do."
"You know that makes me feel horrible, but personally--"
Before Superman could finish his taunt or the newcomer could jump back in for another verbal round, she was pushing between them to glare ferociously up at both of them. Placing a firm hand on each set of crossed arms, she hissed. "Oh, for goodness sakes, will you two stop it?!?"
Superman's gaze moved from the newcomer down to clash with the small woman's. His frown automatically softened and he shrugged casually. "I can if he can, but I..."
"He won't..." The newcomer's eyes met hers, saw the hint of tears and glanced away, instantly looking very guilty. "Of course, I can IF he can. But, I really don't think..."
"I said stop it and I mean it. Now, both of you, BEHAVE. Or else..."
Both men stared at her for a long moment before nodding grudging agreement. Satisfied she'd gotten her way, at least temporarily, she smiled happily as she turned back to Superman. "Thank you. Now let's all sit down and you can tell us all about that explosion yesterday."
As she pushed Superman in the direction of the couch, she grinned as she grabbed the other man's hand to pull him along in her wake. He didn't resist or protest. He knew better than to at the moment.
Once seated snugly between them, her head moved back and forth as Lois studied their matching profiles. Matching except for the gray in the newcomer's hair. Even more gray than was in hers, yet it only made him look more distinguished. Finally, she shook her head. "Clark, Superman is looking rather shaggy. I think he needs a haircut."
Her husband sighed and his eyes crinkled into a silent grin as he waited for Superman's reaction to that little bit of news. It wasn't long in coming.