By Bethy <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted February 2001
Summary: A late-night visit from Lois gives Clark a chance for introspection on his favorite subject — her.
Well, this isn't my first try at fanfic, but it's my first one sent to the archives. I'm so excited! I'd like to thank my wonderful beta readers — Gracie, Fi, and my mom. Thanks also to the wonderful people who commented on Zoom's boards and the listserv — you fed my FDK addiction. :-) And on that note, any and all feedback is welcome at email@example.com. Okay, here goes, I'm diving in…pushing the button…Yowzers! That wasn't so hard! :-) Enjoy.
(Oh, yeah, I almost forgot. I don't own the copyrights to any of these characters. Don't sue me, I'm just a poor college student having fun with them <g>.)
Two in the morning and the doorbell rang. He knew just who it was — who else had both the lack of tact and the gall to come knocking on his door at such an obscene hour? Sighing, he grabbed his glasses and plodded up to the door.
"What is it, Lois?" he asked, even as he opened the entrance to see his disheveled partner standing there. Her hair and make-up, though in disarray, implied that she came from a formal setting, but she was attired in a simple pair of leggings and oversized tunic. Deep, plum-colored leggings and tunic, as if she simply wanted to blend into the background.
A surprised look crossed her face, but she tried to hide it. "I…just thought you might be up to watching a movie."
"Lois! It's two in the morning! Didn't you ever consider the fact that I might be asleep?" He looked exasperatedly at her, knowing as he did so that he wouldn't be able to refuse her. He never could. Taking pity after her sheepish ducking of the head, he sighed. "All right, come in."
"Thanks." She flashed a grateful smile up at him and charged on, both into the room and into speech. "So, since we've run out of Lethal Weapons, at least until they make a new one, which probably won't be for a while, knowing the way Hollywood likes to milk the suspense, I thought—"
"—we might want to try Die Hard. They're not as funny as Lethal Weapon, of course, nothing really can compare to Mel Gibson in humor and fighting, but they do have lots of blood and guts, plus a good plot, and there are three of them, too, so we're set for a little while."
She stopped rambling and looked up at him. "What?"
"What are you doing? And don't tell me you just wanted to watch a movie. The only time you wake me up to watch some movie that we've either seen a dozen times, or else 'have to try,' is when you really need to talk. So why don't we cut to the chase?"
"Clark! I'm insulted that you think that I think so little of our friendship. Did you ever think that maybe I just wanted to spend some time with a good friend?"
His heart ached. No, he didn't think she just wanted to spend time with him. She never 'just' wanted to spend time with him. There was always some ulterior motive — usually some sort of men trouble. She managed to get close to Superman and then felt depressed because it later hit (hard) that she would never be able to have him. Or she went out on some blind date set up by Lucy or some acquaintance at the Planet. Or she met up with an old buddy, or flame, and tried to re-light any old fires, only to fail miserably, like a camper beset with drizzling rain. Or she had a run in with her father, and he 'reaffirmed' her feelings of worthlessness and inadequacy.
This time he knew it wasn't Superman. He hadn't seen her in the Suit in days. And he didn't think her father was in town. He'd been planning to go to Europe for some scientific convention. Dr. Klein had been talking about it for weeks, and he knew the two were planning on making the flight together. To his knowledge, she hadn't hooked up with any old acquaintances (not that he was the best one to know, but he still didn't think so, she wasn't acting like that. Not this time). Besides, her lipstick was smeared in such a way as to tell him, instinctually, that she'd hurriedly pulled away from an unwanted kiss.
"Another blind date, huh?"
She gave a surprised affirmative nod, then plopped onto the couch.
Why? Why couldn't she see what was right in front of her face? Why couldn't she see that he loved her? For who she already was, not for the person he wanted her to become for his pleasure.
Why did she continue to torment herself with these 'dates?' Well, if you really wanted to call them that. Lucy was right, she didn't go on dates, she went on interviews. Interviews to determine possible candidates for that ever so important position in her life. Oh, why couldn't she see he wanted the job?
It wasn't as if anyone else could truly appreciate her like he did. A brief instant of scorn erupted in him towards her still anonymous date. Obviously, he had pushed too hard, tried to know Lois-the-woman before he knew Lois-the-*person.* Why was he, Clark, the only one to see that, first and foremost, she needed a friend? That only out of true friendship could a lasting love develop? It was obvious! Well…obvious to him, at least.
Despite his internal preachings on 'friendship,' he wanted to love her. Every time he saw her, every time she got that "I've got an idea!" glint in her eyes, every time she made some crazy leap of logic to hit the nail smack on the head. Every time, he wanted to kiss her, to tell her how *much* she meant to him, how much he wanted her in his life. He knew about her 'baggage.' He didn't care. He just knew that his life, without this wonderful woman, was worthless.
"Um, why don't you go ahead and start it? Do you want any popcorn? Or hot chocolate! That's it, exactly what we need. I'll go make some. Of both." He sought for something, anything, to use as an excuse to postpone sitting there. Beside…her. He wasn't sure he could handle it. Everything inside him was screaming to take her in his arms and comfort her, wipe away all the pain, both of recent and scabbed-over wounds.
But no. He couldn't jeopardize their friendship. Even if he couldn't have her as a wife (he refused to say lover, because as much as he wanted to make love with her, he wanted more. He wanted a life companion, a best friend who could share *everything* with him…a soulmate), he wanted to keep her as a friend. As long as he had her in his life, in any capacity, he was okay. As long as she was there, there was a possibility of more. But he didn't think he could bear it if she was gone completely. So he restrained himself.
He settled for friendship, but he resolved to be the best friend she could possibly hope for. And maybe, just maybe, she'd wake up and see what had been there all along. She'd see his love and acceptance and maybe she'd be able to start loving and accepting herself. To realize that though ninety-eight percent isn't one hundred, it's still a darn good score and that those ninety-eight points in her favor outweighed the two missing ones a hundred fold.
He brought back the popcorn and two mugs of hot chocolate — extra chocolaty, no worries about calories tonight — and halted upon seeing her. She was facing the TV screen, but she wasn't watching it. She was curled up in a tight ball against the back of the davenport, her arms wrapped around her knees, protecting herself from any and all outside forces. Her eyes stared vacantly ahead, tears threatening to fall any moment. She always presented a tough exterior, but here she looked…childlike. Exactly like a little girl, trying to act like a 'grown-up,' trying to keep all her emotions inside, trying to handle her problems, "all by herself."
Suddenly, he decided. Forget about keeping his distance — she was hurting and needed comfort. He set down the bowl and the mugs and engulfed her in his embrace.
"Shh…It's okay, Lois, just let it out. Don't try and say anything." He forestalled her attempt at speech. "Just let yourself cry. I'm here, and I'm not going anywhere. Shh, it's okay."
She wrapped her arms around him and obeyed. She let it all out while he continued to rock back and forth and make soothing nonsense sounds. He gazed down at her small form, wracked with sobs, and he knew. It didn't matter if she never saw him as more than a friend. It didn't matter about anything. All that mattered was that she needed him, at that moment, and he was there for her. And he would be there for her, always. *Whenever you need me, Lois,* he thought. *I'll be here when you need my love.*
PS Once again, feedback is welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'm not above a little shameless begging. ;-)