By Allison K. Forbes <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted Sept 2000
Summary: Superman reacts badly to some devastating news from Lois. Is it as bad as he thinks? Or has he jumped to the wrong conclusion?
Feedback welcome at email@example.com
"My thanks to LabRat, who wonderfully helped work out all the kinks, and to ChrisH., for her(always)constructive criticism."
She saw him standing in her window, and stood up and gestured for him to enter.
"Superman, please come in."
He stepped into the room, not knowing what to expect. With Lois Lane, it could be anything.
"You wanted to speak with me?" he asked, doing his best to keep his voice calm.
"Yes." She came to stand right in front of him, and looked into his eyes. "There's really no easy way to say this so I'll just say it."
She looked down for a moment, unable to look him in the eyes. Clark's heart pounded hard against his ribs, making it hard for him to breath. What was she going to say? He was desperate to know, and at the same time, he dreaded knowing.
"Lois?" he prompted softly.
She finally looked into his eyes again, and his heart pounded even harder. There was a look in her dark-brown eyes, a strange mixture of great happiness and also of terrible sadness.
"I wanted to tell you that," she paused, her breath hitching, "I won't be throwing myself at you anymore because," she took a deep breath, "I've fallen in love with someone else," she finished shakily, but simply.
Time seemed to stand still, and Clark's heart sank like the Titanic. All his hopes and dreams shattered like broken glass at her declaration, and he wished he were back in Luthor's kryptonite cage. He just wanted to die.
He closed his eyes against the tears threatening to spill out, and clenched his hands at his sides. For an instant, Clark felt a flicker of bitter hatred towards the man who had stolen the woman he loved from him. But it dissipated, as his love for Lois overrode his anger, and he reminded himself that all he wanted was for Lois to be happy. He just hoped and prayed that whoever had stolen her heart knew just what a treasure he was receiving.
He opened his eyes and gazed deeply into the eyes he fell in love with the first time he saw them. He forced a small smile, and gently took her small hands in his larger ones.
"Lois, I'm happy for you. I only hope that he loves you as much as…" he desperately wanted to say 'as much as I do', but since he didn't have that right anymore, said, "…you deserve to be loved."
She smiled tearfully. "I think he does."
The air in the room was quickly evaporating. For a man who could hold his breath for twenty minutes, he was having extreme difficulty drawing air. He had to get out of there.
"Well, I'd better be going. Goodnight, Lois."
He knew he had no right, but he couldn't resist. He leaned over and gently kissed her on the cheek. He relished every second of the kiss, knowing it would be the last one they would ever share. He committed to memory the softness of her skin, the smell of her hair, her own unique fragrance, and envied the fortunate man who would get to enjoy those things for the rest of his life.
He pulled away and walked quickly to the window. He was about to fly off when he felt Lois' hand on his arm.
"I'll always need you, and I'll always care about you. You know that, right?" he heard her ask.
He turned and reached up to cup her jaw, and smiled, a bittersweet goodbye.
"Yes, I know, and I'll always care for you, Lois," he answered, his voice husky with emotion.
That said, he turned and flew out the window, and out of her life. He flew home, tears silently streaming down his face, changed into jeans and a sweater, lay down on his bed, and waited for death to come and claim him.
Lois went to bed that night happy about the decision she'd made.
She could tell it had caused Superman great pain, and she hated hurting him, but there was nothing she could've said to ease his pain, and she was feeling much too elated by her decision. She knew he wanted her to be happy. She just hoped that she was right when she told Superman, 'he does'.
She was too exited to sleep, so she got up, got dressed, and quickly made her way to Clark's apartment. She was so exited! She had known for a long time that Clark had feelings for her, but had only recently realized she had feelings for him beyond friendship. She couldn't wait to tell Clark she loved him!
Clark's parents were visiting from Smallville, and had returned from an errand to find their son lying on his bed, close to death, the spirit leaving his eyes. Clark was barely able to explain what had happened before he nearly lost consciousness.
"Clark, it doesn't have to be this way!" his mother urged. "You can't just let go like this!" Martha tried to convince her only child.
"Your mother's right, son. I know you're hurting now, but this isn't the answer. I promise, the pain will heal!"
"Mom, Dad," answered the still figure on the bed, "this isn't my choice. She told me she fell in love with someone else. And I can't live without her."
Jonathan and Martha just looked at each other across the bed, and shook their heads, each at a loss as to how to help their son.
"Clark, I know you love her…" Martha began.
"She's my life, mom. If I don't have her, I don't have a life," he whispered.
Martha opened her mouth to say something, but there was a knock on the door. She went to answer it, and was surprised to see a very excited Lois Lane standing there.
"Lois! What are you doing here?"
"Hi, Martha. Look, I'm sorry, I know it's late, but can I come in?"
Before Martha could answer, Lois was halfway down the stairs and into the living room. "Where's Clark?" she asked when Martha caught up to her. "I've got something really important to tell him."
"Lois," Martha began to protest, then dropped her hands at her sides. "He's in there," she replied, defeated, and nodded towards the bedroom.
Lois turned and walked quickly into the bedroom, then stopped dead in her tracks. Clark was lying perfectly still on the bed. He was as white as a sheet and she could barely see his chest moving. She could see, behind his glasses, that his eyes were closed. Jonathan was sitting by the bed, his face drawn with worry.
"What's going on here?" she asked.
At the sound of her voice, Clark's eyes opened. "Lois," he rasped.
"Clark, what's happened to you?" You're so pale!" She sat down on the bed and took his hand in hers. It lay limp in her hand, and his skin was clammy. She lifted a hand to his forehead, but it felt normal. "Clark, what's wrong?" she asked softly.
After a long moment, and a few agonizing breaths, he answered."I'm dying."
She blinked. "Clark, you've never been sick as long as I've known you! How can you be dying?" she demanded in disbelief.
He closed his eyes for a moment. "It's not my body, Lois."
"Well, then how can you be dying!?" she cried.
"It's my heart."
"Your heart?" She placed a hand on his chest. "What's wrong with your heart?"
He sighed, a long, deep, agonized sigh, and looked into her beautiful, dark eyes, his gaze boring into her soul.
Knowing what was about to come next, Jonathan and Martha excused themselves to the other room.
"Clark, I don't understand," Lois said as calmly as possible.
"What do you mean, 'it's broken'?"
He lifted a hand to cover her hand still on his chest. She was shocked to see how much effort it took him to lift it. "You told me you had fallen in love with someone else," he whispered.
She thought for a moment, then shook her head. "Clark, how do you know that? I only told Superman that, and I only told him about two hours ago."
"Lois, my glasses."
"What about your glasses, Clark?"
He swallowed. "Take them off."
She had no idea what he was getting at, but nonetheless, she leaned forward, and gently lifted the horn-rimmed glasses away from his eyes.
"Look at me, Lois," he whispered softly.
Setting his glasses down on the bed, she looked at him for a moment, not understanding. His chocolate eyes searched hers beseechingly, and then realization struck.
"Oh my God," she breathed, lifting a hand to her mouth. A thousand thoughts raced through her head, but not one was coherent enough to verbalize.
He could see that she knew, and it would've gladdened his heart that she knew his secret, but nothing could ease the pain of knowing that another man had her heart.
"How can this be? You're Superman! How can you be dying?!" she cried, tears trickling down her face.
He looked at her, his eyes full of sadness. "I'm not invulnerable, Lois," he rasped. "I have feelings. I have a heart."
She met his gaze. "And I broke it tonight." She didn't have to see him nod to know she was right. She looked at him, wondering why this was happening to him. She'd told Superman she was in love with someone else; he should be jumping for joy now that she had feelings for her partner!
But then something else occurred to her. She had spent so much time swooning over the god in tights and a cape, at the same time practically ignoring the quiet, unassuming man who worked with her everyday, the man she knew had feelings for her. She had never given Clark any indication that she felt the same, and now she had told Superman…he probably figured that she had given up on Superman, and Clark certainly didn't stand a chance, so he had assumed the worst!
Watching his face, she could see he was fading fast; his eyes were closing, and his breathing was becoming weaker.
"Clark, listen to me," she pleaded, and grasped him by the shoulders. "I came here tonight to tell you that I love you!"
His eyes cracked open slightly, and he regarded her doubtfully. He opened his mouth to speak, and every word was a struggle. "Because…you…learned…Superman…"
"No," she replied firmly. "Because I realized that I couldn't love him. It was selfish to think I could. Besides, I've only known you were Superman for five minutes. I realized that I loved you a long time ago."
"No, Clark." She leaned over so her face was only a few inches from his. "You are my only choice. He's not real. You are." She slipped her hand behind his neck and gently pressed her lips to his.
He could feel the strength returning to his body. The soft pressure of her lips against his sent energy coursing through every part of his body, starting at his chest. Suddenly the crushing pain in his chest became much lighter, and the warmth of her kiss spread through him like warm sunlight.
She sensed the change in him, and deepened the kiss, slanting her mouth over his, gently nibbling his lower lip. He responded in kind, bringing his arms up around her, holding her to him like a life preserver.
She pulled away, just far enough so she could look into his eyes. "Now do you believe me?" she asked, her voice small and hopeful.
There was a spark of excitement mingled with caution in the brown depths of his eyes. He lifted a hand to caress her cheek, feeling the silky strands of her hair glide through his fingers.
"Do you really mean it, Lois?"
Her eyes widened. "What do I have to do to prove it?"
A dozen, rather creative possibilities came to mind, but he decided to take it slowly.
"Say it again, Lois. I need to hear you say it," he answered quietly.
She smiled ruefully, and placed her hand over Clark's chest. "I love you, Clark."
The color began to return to his cheeks, and he closed his eyes. "Thank you," he murmured to whatever higher power had smiled upon him.
He pulled her back down to him for a deep, intoxicating kiss that sent her senses reeling. He felt himself growing stronger, and sat up, keeping his arms around her. Just when she thought he was going to release her, she felt herself leaning backwards, and then she felt the bed beneath her, with Clark's massive form on top of her. She could feel the latent strength in his arms as he held her, the unrestrained passion of his kiss. She wrapped her arms around his neck, happy to let him love her.
Just a few minutes ago he'd thought his life was over; the woman he loved was gone from him, or so he foolishly thought. He had felt the life drain from his body, not knowing that it was he that Lois loved. After all the waiting, and hoping that she would see past the flashy Suit and see the man he was, his dream had finally come true! Lois loved him, and life had begun anew.
Jonathan and Martha were still sitting patiently in the living room when they heard Lois' muffled gasp, "Oh, Clark…"
They both looked in the direction of the bedroom, and heard Clark's deep voice murmur, "I love you, Lois," followed by the distinct sounds of a very passionate kiss.
They looked knowingly at one another, got up, and walked up the stairs and out of the apartment, making sure to close the door quietly behind them.