Facing the Pain

By Bethy <bethyem@yahoo.com>

Rated PG

Submitted August 2001

Summary: Clark offers Lois love and support when a new development brings old hurts to the surface…

As always, thanks to my beta-readers — Fi, Heather and my mom. This one, though short, was difficult to write and they helped smooth rough spots and boost my confidence. Also, thanks to all the readers on Zoom's boards who were so kind in their feedback. Comments and kind critiques welcome at bethyem@yahoo.com.

Lois and Clark do not belong to me, but the ideas expressed here do.


Clark walked in to the bathroom to discover Lois solemnly studying her profile in the mirror. She sucked in her stomach, smoothed her shirt and scrutinized the curves that were thus accentuated.

He softly smiled, but it was touched with sadness. He slipped up behind her and gave her a fierce hug.

Surprised, she turned her head and gave a slight smile that mirrored his own.

"Hey, there, Flyboy." She twisted around in his arms and gave him a hard kiss.

When they parted, Clark saw the tears in her eyes. He brought his hand up to wipe them away.

"I'm sorry. It seems like all I've been able to do these past couple weeks is cry."

"It's okay, honey. You're allowed to." He squeezed her again, trying to convey his love and support.

"It's just that… I don't know." She turned towards the mirror again and sighed. "I used to hate them, you know." She pressed her hands against her stomach and stared at her bust.

"At first, it was because they were annoying. Always getting in the way when I tried to run, or play sports. I'd become a tomboy early on because it was the only way to get my father's attention. Then, when I kinda liked it, *they* came along," she gestured angrily at the mirror.

Clark, feeling helpless, simply stood there and listened. Right now, that was all he could do. For all his powers, all his abilities, all the good he could do in the lives of others, when his wife needed help, all he could do was listen.

"And they just got in the way. I couldn't run, I couldn't jump, I couldn't catch a football. And even the 'girly,'" she put the words in finger quotes, "stuff that my mom made me do, like dance, was affected. Have you ever tried to tap dance in a skimpy leotard without a bra because your mother is too drunk and your father too absent to help you buy one? No, of course you haven't. Well, I can tell you, it's not fun. Heck, even *with* the bra it wasn't very fun."

She paused and stood in silence for a moment. Clark wondered what she was thinking about. Remembering her childhood? The feelings and emotions that she experienced as she went through puberty, having her femininity burst forth, only to further alienate her from her father and wreak havoc on her life?

"And then my dad, who'd always been distant, seemed to back off even more." Her next comments seemed to confirm his thoughts. "It was as if he had allowed himself to forget I was a girl, but then he couldn't keep up the facade anymore. As if he just plain didn't know what to do with a girl. And that's when the criticism got worse."

She flinched in memory of the hurtful things her father had said to her and Clark reached out to hug her.

"I'm so sorry, Lois. I'd give anything if I could have spared you that pain."

"No, Clark!" she exclaimed, then went on more calmly. "No. So much of what he did helped make me the woman that I became. I mean, the barriers I erected did serve to put a slight damper on the beginnings of our relationship." She grimaced slightly, then smiled softly at him. "But I really do think that, without some of those hard edges, I wouldn't have been Lois Lane, Reporter. So much of what I did was to prove him wrong, and I kinda like the way I eventually turned out."

She turned and walked slowly into the bedroom, still speaking. "But you know, at that point, I was semi-used to him. I mean, the criticism still hurt, but the failure of our relationship wasn't the worst part. I think I had seen it coming, anyway. No, the worst part was the boys."

Lois looked up at him and stated, as if she were revealing a never-before-known fact, "Did you know that in middle school, teenage boys' attitudes towards girls change?"

"Um… yeah." He nodded, trying to follow her lead as to mood. "I think I may have noticed that."

He sat beside her on the bed and waited.

"Yeah," she said softly, looking at her fingers. "They change. They start seeing girls, not as people, as potential friends, or even enemies to be picked on because they have cooties, but as objects. Physical beings there only for their own viewing, and often feeling, pleasure."

She paused a moment, remembering, before she continued. "I hated that, Clark. I wasn't Lois, the crazy little tomboy, anymore. Suddenly, I was this *thing.* This thing to be chased after, to be felt, to be a prize… a conquest," she ended on a whisper.

"And that's an attitude that I felt from then on, for my whole life. Until I met you." She put her hand on his cheek, gently stroking his face. "Oh, Clark, you changed everything."

She sprang up and began pacing. "Why did it have to change? You know, if this had happened a few years ago, before you, I don't think I would have thought twice about it. I wouldn't have cared. But you changed *everything*."

Tears were flowing freely now.

"You made me feel like a person again. A friend, a confidante. Above all, even after we fell in love, to you I was Lois. A person and a woman. With thoughts, ideas, intelligence, *and* a body.

"I love you so much, Clark, and part of why I love you is because of how you love my body. You make me feel beautiful. Special. You make me glad to be a woman, with everything that comes along with that. Even… even these." She gestured to make clear what she was speaking about.

"Clark, with you, for the first time, I began to like me. And the body that was part of the package. I was stunned that you could know me as a friend, and still find my body desirable. That you could see through all the walls, all the defenses, and love the person *and* the body. And now… I don't want to lose that. I want to make love to you. I want to feel your caresses, and your kisses, and the way you always cup them in that reverential way. I don't want to give that up.

"I used to hate them, but now, when I have to give them up, I just can't bear it."

She entered his welcoming embrace and together they cried. He wanted to comfort her, to tell her it wouldn't matter to him. To say how, though her body was beautiful, it wasn't the reason he loved her. How losing her breasts was an infinitely better option than losing her. How he would still find her beautiful without them. How he wanted to take the pain away.

But it wasn't the time. Right now, they would cry together.

And then they would face the pain. Together.


Comments welcome at bethyem@yahoo.com