By Keshandra <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted: June 2002
Summary: A short scene set in the episode "Contact," after Clark breaks up with Lois.
Foreword from the Editor-in-Chief of the Archive: Over on Zoomway's message boards, Pam Jernigan issued a challenge to authors — write as many stories as possible all with the same title. This is one of those stories. <g>
Lois stormed into her apartment, flinging her bag across the room as she went. She couldn't believe the nerve of that man. She considered herself pretty cynical when it came to men, and she thought she'd heard most of the excuses men used to break up with women, but Clark's excuse was a new one on her. Her own good! He'd broken up with her for her own good! Ooooooh! Lois emitted a small scream and stalked into the kitchen.
How did he think that being single was going to keep her safe? Had he forgotten how she'd met Superman? Did he think that just because they weren't together she was going to take it easy? Slow down? Be a good little girl? At that last thought, Lois growled and wrenched the fridge open. She scanned the contents and concluded that in her current mood she wouldn't just burn water, she'd probably torch the apartment. She slammed the fridge closed and yanked the phone off the hook. She continued to mutter while she waited for the restaurant to pick up.
Just doing her job put her in harm's way almost daily. Clark was a reporter himself — he should know better than to think being dissociated from Superman would keep her safe. Did he really think the assorted drug dealers and murderers she put away would care who her friends were?
When Mr Wong picked up, Lois barely stopped herself from barking her order down the phone, drill sergeant-style. Snapping at innocent bystanders wouldn't achieve anything, and Mr Wong was capricious enough to refuse to deliver her food. Once her order had been taken, Lois slammed the phone down and looked around for something to pummel. The sofa cushions caught her eye and she pounced on one, laying into it with a will. After a few minutes her punches grew weaker. With a small gasp, Lois collapsed onto the couch and started to cry.
Hovering outside her apartment, Clark heard Lois' sobs and felt his heart break all over again. For the first time, he began to question the wisdom of his decision. He had truly thought Lois would be safer away from him, but look at all the trouble she got into on her own. Caution and patience were two words missing from the Lane vocabulary. Maybe, just maybe, if he was around he could keep her safe. Not live her life for her, but just be there to help her out when she needed it. What if he went away and Lois got into trouble? What would happen then? Clark shuddered at the thought and settled himself on the roofline.
As Clark continued his internal dialogue on the roof, Lois straightened up and swiped a hand across her face. She hated people who sat around and cried about things without ever trying to change them. Clark might have had the last word before, but that was only round one. As far as Lois was concerned, this wasn't over yet. Getting up, Lois made her way into the bathroom and splashed water on her face.
"This isn't over yet, Clark Kent," she told her reflection. "For the first time in my life I have someone who loves me unconditionally. If you think I'm going to give that up without a fight, either you're crazy, or you think I am."
"I don't think you're crazy," said a voice behind her. Lois' head snapped up to meet Superman's eyes in the bathroom mirror.
"What? How?" she stuttered. Clark looked apologetic.
"You didn't lock the window," he said quietly. "I heard you crying and wanted to see if you were all right." Even as the words came out of his mouth he winced. Lois didn't give him a chance to retract. Spinning around, she stalked towards him.
"All right? Clark I just got dumped by the man I'm in love with. Do you really think I'd be all right?" Stopping toe- to-toe with him, she drilled a finger into his chest. "You did something I don't let anybody do, not even you."
Clark backed up a step. "What was that?" he asked her warily.
"You made a decision for me. You decided where our relationship was going without asking me what I thought. That's unforgivable, Clark." Lois spat out the words like tracer bullets.
Clark looked uncomfortable. "I just thought-" he began before Lois interrupted him.
"That's just it, Clark, you didn't think. Do you really think that being single is going to keep me safe?" Without giving him a chance to answer, she ploughed on. "I'm going to get into dangerous situations with or without you, Clark. Don't break my heart and ruin both our lives over some misplaced sense of nobility, please." Lois looked up at him with her heart in her eyes. Clark felt torn.
"Lois, I-" Lois turned her back. She'd heard enough. If Clark was going to ruin their lives, she wasn't going to stand around and watch him do it. Then Lois felt hands on her shoulders turning her to face Clark. She lifted her face to his, trying to read his expression.
Clark looked down at the small woman in front of him and wondered how he could have believed he could survive without her. She might be human and vulnerable, but without her he had no strength, no will. She was his reason for living, the reason he kept trying to make a difference — in both personas. Looking at Lois now Clark realised just how much he'd hurt her by breaking things off. Mentally flogging himself for doing the one thing he'd sworn never to do, Clark took Lois into his arms.
Lois struggled briefly, but her traitorous heart told her this was exactly where she wanted to be, so why fight it? Giving in, she leaned against Clark's chest and wondered if she was in heaven or hell.
Clark took a deep breath and inhaled the scent that was uniquely Lois. This was home, his heart told him. This was where he needed to be.
"I'm sorry, Lois. I know it doesn't make much difference now, but I did what I did because of love. I love you so much I can't bear the thought of you getting hurt." Lois lifted her head from Clark's chest and met his anxious eyes. The love and penitence she saw there went a long way to soothing her troubled heart.
"I know, Clark, but don't you see? I'm human, and while we break easily, we humans are remarkably resilient. I'm going to get into trouble, Clark, it's what I do. I was a reporter a long time before I met you; I've been in and out of danger many times before you were there to help. Whether I'm with you or alone, that's not going to change." Seeing from his expression that she was getting through to him, Lois pressed on.
"We've established that I'm going to get into trouble whether or not you're there to save me, but physical danger and emotional danger are two different things. Until you came, Clark, I was dead inside. I lived the Planet because I had nothing else. You rescued me from an emotional wasteland, and that's something nobody else was able to do. If you go, I may be safe physically, but inside, Clark, I'll be dead. Don't do that to me, Clark, to us." Looking into his eyes, Lois made her final plea. "I love you, Clark."
With a groan, Clark gathered Lois close and buried his face in her hair. "Oh God, Lois, I love you so much. You're my reason for living. I don't know what I'd do without you."
Lois lifted her hand to Clark's cheek. "Why do we have to find out? I need you, Clark, every bit as much as you need me. We don't know what tomorrow brings, Clark. A drug dealer may shoot me or you may get a fatal case of Kryptonite poisoning. But Clark, we may be here twenty years from now watching our kids play pick-up basketball on the drive. What did that movie say? A life lived in fear is a life half lived. Don't let fear break our hearts, Clark. Please."
Clark met Lois' pleading look and realised that despite what he'd originally believed, he didn't have the strength to walk away from her. She was right; he was letting fear dictate his actions, which wasn't fair to either of them. If Lois was willing to take the risk, how could he do anything less? Bending, he brought Lois' mouth up to his and claimed her lips in a kiss that told her better than any words how much he loved her. Time stood still as Clark poured all of his love into the kiss. Finally he eased back, blinked Lois back into focus and waited for his head to stop spinning.
"If you're willing to take that risk, Lois, who am I to do anything less? I love you more than I'd ever believed I could love anyone. I hope you're sure about this, Lois, because you're going to be stuck with me for the rest of your life." Holding his breath, Clark waited for her response.
For the first time since Clark had entered her apartment, Lois smiled. It was a sure smile, a seductive one. It was the smile women have been giving the lunkheaded men they love ever since Eve first smiled at Adam. Drawing Clark's head down to hers, Lois whispered, "Oh, I'm sure, Clark, I'm very sure."