By IRC Round Robin
Submitted November 18, 1997
Summary: Lois and Clark discuss what's *really* hampering their relationship in this vignette which takes place just after Ordinary People.
An IRC Round Robin fanfic
Written by Doris Schmill, Fystydub, Georgia, Eraygun and Zoomway
Submitted by Eileen <Eraygun@aol.com>
"So, do you want to wait for the boat?" Clark asked, apprehensively. They'd been through so much together during the last 24 hours, he was afraid of Lois's answer. He knew she wanted just a regular guy, but how many regular guys get taken prisoner by a deranged maniac who wants to decapitate them? That was out of the ordinary even for Metropolis. Clark held his breath as he waited for her answer.
"No," Lois said teasingly as she traced an S shield pattern on his chest. "I want to fly first class."
Clark's face lit up and he scooped Lois up in his arms and sped off into the night sky. NEXT
As they approached Metropolis and most of their flight had not strayed far from 'safe' topics, Lois reached up and traced a finger down Clark's jawline. "You doing okay?"
"Hm? Yeah, I'm fine, Lois," he smiled. "Lost in thought, I guess."
Lois sighed, "Me too."
Clark dropped their altitude as they neared Lois's apartment.
"What about, and for both our sakes, don't say 'you first' this time?"
"Okay," she laughed. "I was thinking about a lot of things. Want to hear about them chronologically or alphabetically?"
Clark glided through the window and set her down. "How about in order of importance? To you, I mean."
"Okay," she sighed and pointed to the sofa. "I'm going to assume despite the invitation, necking is not the thought preying on your mind."
"That is an underlying thought most of the time, but right now—"
Her voice was serious, so Clark just nodded and seated himself.
"I told Perry about you wanting to marry me, and that.."
" 'There was one thing that could wreck it all'," Clark finished her sentence.
"Ah, yes, I forgot, you have that optional Spies R Us ear arrangement."
"Sorry," Clark said and adjusted his glasses.
"I wanted you to be clear on what I thought that one 'thing' was."
Clark sighed, "That I'm Superman."
"No," Lois shook her head. "That you're not Clark." NEXT
"Huh, Lois?! What are you talking about?! I'm Clark Kent. Clark is who I am, Superman is what I do."
"Gee, that sounds vaguely familiar somehow."
"No you're *not* Clark."
"But Lois — "
"And you're *not* Superman either. You're really someone else… someone in between… Oh, this is just so hard to explain! Would you mind if I had a Fudge Crunch bar while we talked?" NEXT
Clark looked at her, then reached out, and putting his arm around her, pulled her close. "It's still me, Lois. I haven't changed, nor my feelings for you." When Lois didn't melt into his embrace as he had hoped she would, he added wryly, "Sorry, go and get your fudge bar."
While she marched off to the kitchen, Clark leaned back with a sigh. He certainly hoped that her fix of chocolate would calm her nerves enough to recognize that *he* hadn't changed. He hated himself for not having been able to find a better and easier way to break the news of his double identity to her. He didn't need superhearing to pick up a chocolate bar wrapper being undone in the kitchen, and then his finer senses kicked in to hear her munch on it. Then the door to the refrigerator screeched open, and presently, Lois returned from the kitchen, her arms loaded with an assortment of various candy bars, a large gallon jug of chocolate milk, and two glasses. Setting them down on the coffee table in front of them, Lois sat down on the sofa next to Clark, leaning ever so slightly against him.
*It's already taking effect,* Clark thought, with a smirk. Out loud, he said, "You're not planning on having all that candy together with chocolate milk, are you? It'll make you sick."
"No, I won't. Not by myself, anyway." Taking a candy bar, she undid the wrapper and before he had chance to protest, popped it into his half-open mouth. "You're gonna help me." While she poured both of them a glass of chocolate milk, she added, "We"ve got to talk."
Clark obediently munched on his fudge bar, watching Lois as she busied herself sorting and rearranging the candy bars on the coffee table. He could easily tell that she was nervous, still. So if it took a chocolate orgy to see them through it, he willingly resigned himself to his fate.
It took several minutes and at least as many candy bars until Lois seemed satisfied with her work and sat back on the sofa. Picking up her glass of chocolate milk and pulling her legs up to her chin on the sofa, she looked at Clark, expectantly. "OK, I told you what was on my mind. Now it's your turn." NEXT
Lois took Clark's hand and gently squeezed it. "We've got to talk, that's for sure! One way or the other, we have to sort some.. a lot of stuff out."
"I know Lois, it's just hard. I'm never sure how you're goin' to react to things I tell you.. and this is as BIG a thing you'll ever hear me *try* to explain." Clark held onto Lois' hand a little tighter and tried to give her as loving a look as possible. "Lois… tonight on the island.. well, it's like under normal circumstances it's difficult to be with you, near you, knowing I've got to be honest.. but I guess I think I'd rather be vague around you and have you angry at me.. than not having you talk with me and laugh with me… at all."
Lois looked at Clark. She felt tears well in her eyes… why the hell was she so soppy these days? "Clark.. we've gotten over the biggest hurdle.. you say you're 'Superman'.. I say.. you're not 'Clark'.. maybe that was rash. I'm just confused… I know I want us to go further… *be* together.. but I've got to try to understand. I don't know whether it's the chocolate or not.. but I'm really trying to be understanding and C-A-L-M!" She spelled this out, making her eyes comically wide.. and it broke the ice for a moment. Both of them laughed…
As their giggles died down, he just looked at her.
"See, Lois…it's *this*…this is what I love…us being like this. Tell me how to make you okay with what I've just told you.. anything…whatever…and I'll do it."
"Well,… who are you really? Clark or Superman?… which came first.. I mean.. chicken or…"
Clark interrupted her…laughing…that babbling…"Ehh, Lois."
She looked at him again, seriously. "Clark, you know what I mean."
"…I know… well, I'm Clark..I've always been Clark, really… even if I hadn't grown up .." He looked up into the sky and took in the vast expanse of everywhere. "..here…I think I'd always be the person who works with you every day…who annoys you and*thinks* they have you pegged." He laughed again. NEXT
<ga> Lois looked at him for a moment, and his laughter faded. "Really, Clark, are you the person I've been working beside for two years? You've been *pretending*, Clark, and creating this image for all of us to see, just as much as the image of Superman was created."
Clark broke in, a look of distress on his face. "No, Lois, not pretending - every time I've written a story with you, or eaten pizza with you, or listened to you or watched your face, it's been completely real."
Lois smiled slightly at that. He was so irresistible when he was being sincere. "Maybe so, Clark, but you can't tell me that your life, since you were a teenager, has been like an ordinary guy. And that's made you different." Clark looked even more distressed at her words, and she hurried to reassure him. "I don't mean that being different is a bad thing. But you've got to admit that Clark Kent isn't just a farmboy come to the big city, and that's the person I need to know." NEXT
"But I'm just being *me*, Lois, or I thought I was."
Lois looked at him a moment. "Okay, if the light burned out, what would you do?"
Clark frowned, "Is this a trick question?"
"Okay, okay, I see what you're getting at, I'd float up and change the light bulb, but Lois, if you want me to use a step ladder—"
"No, that's just it, I *don't*. I want you to be *you*."
Clark sighed in exasperation. "I'm kind of lost here, Lois. You wanted me to be a 'regular guy' and now…?"
She put her hand atop his. "I was wrong. I was being…Darin Stevens. I didn't have the right to make you be something you weren't."
Clark smiled, "I finally get it. You fell in love with 'step ladder' Clark, but since he didn't exist, you tried to…make him exist."
She put her forehead against his. "Thank you!"
He pulled her close. "And so, now?"
"Now let me live with the real you…well not 'live with', but you know what I mean."
"Okay," he said and then began to float. "I watch TV like this."
Lois, who floated upward with him, suddenly had her mind race to other events made possible by zero gravity, but restrained her thoughts. She smiled. "Fair enough. What else?" NEXT
"Hmmm, let's see… I don't shave - the razors break. I singe my beard off… I don't have to eat, but I like to… oh, and…" He blushed.
Lois raised an eyebrow at him. "What? You have my undivided attention."
"When I sleep…" Clark smiled self-consciously. "I don't like people to know…"
"You snore…?" She laughed. "Now that's nothing strange at all. And don't worry, it won't bother me. My sister snored, and we shared a room almost halfway through high school."
"No." Clark shook his head. "It's nothing like that. More like this," he indicated their position several feet above the floor. "I sometimes float when I sleep… when I'm really tired."
"Oh." Lois was silent for a moment, processing the information, then smiled, "Well, that doesn't disturb anyone, provided you float silently, of course. Or do you take the sheets floating?… that would get cold. But we could use separate sets of sheets, of course…"
She was babbling again, Clark noted. Floating them gently back onto the sofa, he reached out, and cupping her chin, turned her head to face him. "There is something else on your mind, isn't there?" he asked quietly. NEXT
"Yes, there is, Clark."
"I'm not going to like it, am I?"
"What do you mean by that?"
"I can tell by that look on your face," Clark replied.
"And what kind of look do I have on my face?"
"The *Clark you've done something to really tick me off* look," Clark grimaced. "Okay let me have it. I can take it whatever it is."
Lois giggled. "Clark, it's not that bad, really. But tell me, do you always listen in on my personal conversations?" NEXT
"Ah," Clark smiled. "Not always, in fact until you fell in love with me, I tried hard *not* to hear what you said."
Lois rubbed his knee. "Oh, I guess I did say some things that weren't exactly…complimentary."
"I quote 'Kent? Chief, you can't be serious! He's a hack from Smallville, I couldn't make that up.'"
"I'm sorry, Clark."
He tugged her head to his shoulder, "Eavesdroppers get what they deserve. Besides," he said and kissed the top of her head, "it wasn't all bad."
"Hmm, well, like when you said 'I guess there isn't anything I wouldn't do for him'."
Lois shook her head, "Right. You eavesdropped right in front of me as Superman."
"But I never prompted you to say that!" Clark added hastily.
"True, but you *did* seem to put in a good word here and there for Clark!"
Clark rolled his eyes. "Now, we're both talking about me in the third person."
Lois put her hand on his chest. "That's because neither of those men are here. Take your glasses off, Clark."
Clark tossed his glasses on the table, "So?" Lois leaned forward and kissed him. Clark's eyes rolled back. She deepened the kiss and he moaned. Lois broke away from the kiss slowly. Clark swallowed. His eyes were a bit glazed. "Lois," he finally managed to whisper. "I'll keep the glasses off if it has that effect on you."
Lois placed a hand on his face. "I just wanted to kiss the real you, Clark. The Clark who doesn't fly around in tights, or the Clark that everyone thinks is just a 'regular guy'."
Clark laughed softly, "How much of the *real* me would you like to know?"
Lois felt the alarm bell go off. She loved Clark. She even desired Clark. But something inside always made her put on the brakes when Clark's hands got a bit too…motivated.
Clark caught the slight flash of…skittishness in Lois's eyes. It was frustrating. No matter how many barriers fell between them, that fear on Lois's part always remained. Clark decided to take a more forward approach. "Is there anything else, Lois, anything at all, no matter how personal, you'd like to know about me?"
"Yes..no! I mean, I'm not sure."
"Relax, Lois," he soothed. "This isn't an essay question. If things were reversed, and you were the one who was… well…different, I'd ask."
Lois chewed her bottom lip, "Okay, then…how different are you, Clark?"
"In what way?"
Lois wasn't sure if Clark was being cute, trying to force her to say what she was afraid to ask, or if he really was that dense. "I'll put it this way. I saw you in a towel once. You looked like a man…a really, really great man."
Clark blushed, "Thanks."
"But now I wonder, I mean…the towel covered some important…I think you'd better go home!"
"Clark, really, I think you'd just better…go home."
He wrapped his arms around her. "Calm down, Lois. It's okay. I'm a man *everywhere*. A really, really great man."
Lois laughed against his chest. "I'm sorry, I didn't want you to think I had bizarre ideas. Well, not that I didn't have a couple."
Clark frowned. "Like what?" NEXT
"Well, you know… How do Kryptonians reproduce?… I thought about cabbage patches…"
"No, Lois… well, at least I don't think so. I think my father would have left me a message about that if I was that different. We seem to be fully compatible as far as I can tell…"
"Can you…? How do you know… I mean, you could…"
"Lois, there are books available… and believe me, I was a very normal little boy with very normal curiosity." Clark leaned in and kissed her lips gently. "You are super, too. It hasn't been a problem till now. Nothing has changed really."
"But we never… what happens if…?"
"Are you suggesting a test drive?" he teased. Then noticing that she was trembling slightly, he reached out and stroked her cheek gently. "Hey, you are frightened. I'm sorry. What is it…?" He gathered her in his arms and tucked her under his chin. "You know I would never do anything to hurt you." NEXT.
"I know that, Clark. That's the one thing I'm sure of. But even though I love you, this is all pretty new to me."
"It's new to me, too, Lois."
"So can we just take it a little slower for now, just until I'm …er, we're more settled?"
Clark kissed the top of Lois's head again and began rocking her gently back and forth. "I..er.. we can do that," he replied. NEXT
"Thanks," she whispered. "I have to get on that story for Perry and then tomorrow we can make a day of it…of..getting to know each other, slowly, and all."
"It's a date." He kissed her softly and left via the door rather than window. Lois worked steadily transcribing the events, then took a break and got dressed for bed. She headed back to the laptop and the phone rang. It was Perry practically drooling over the details of her ordeal, but trying judiciously to sound concerned at the same time. Perry broached the sensitive subject. He asked about their conversation from the office.
"Remember that side to Clark I mentioned?"
Clark approached the window, a bouquet of flowers in his hand, and risked the dangers of eavesdropping.
Lois continued, "I decided it was something I could put up with."
Clark smiled and tapped at the window. NEXT
Finishing the conversation with Perry, Lois got up and walked over to the window. Her "flyboy" was there, all dressed in tights. She wasn't quite sure what to make of his late night visit when he produced the flowers from behind his back. Looking at them, she wondered for a moment if she wanted to know where they came from, but as it turned out, he had just been "flying by" and even offered to let her see the receipt—proof that he had been "good" and just bought them like any ordinary guy at the little shop at the corner of the street.
She smiled and stood gazing up after him as he left. He was such an extraordinary ordinary guy even if you discounted the flying and superpowers part. She bent to smell the flowers' sweet scent. Sweet was another word that reminded her of him, but not ordinarily sweet. She smiled again. There was nothing ordinary about this guy… everything was super… but that again was very normal that she should be feeling this way. Lois felt a very warm feeling rise within her… they weren't so different, after all. She wondered briefly if he was feeling the same excitement and the same butterflies that she was experiencing, but thinking back on their conversation earlier that evening, she was sure he did. They were in this together, and they were just beginning on a new journey of exploration, together. With a last look up at the silvery stars in the dark clear night sky, NEXT
she smiled, and turned back to go into her apartment.
Sun Nov 02 02:01:41 1997