By Cristina <email@example.com>
Submitted: November 2002
Summary: In this sequel to the story "If only I…," Clark is determined to give Lois her overdue explanation, but her feelings for Superman become a problem when she confesses to Clark that she loves the hero the same way she'd love any other friend.
This is the sequel to my first story: "If only I…". Though you can read it without having read the previous, it'd probably make more sense if you had. You can find it in the archive.
I didn't intend to write this sequel, but one day inspiration struck me as I rode a bus downtown, and I wrote the main dialogue (I must have looked quite funny because I kept on writing as I walked, once I got off the bus, stopping every few steps to jot something down! :)). I didn't move forward for quite some time, but some of you wanted to know what happened afterwards, so I though I had to finish it. So, thanks to all those of you who posted your comments on "If only I…" for the encouragement: Irene, Vicky, Gerry, Sunny (hey neighbor, how's the BOUNCing?), Wendy, Helen, Helga, Maria, Tank, Jolfn, Merry, Barb, Rose.
Thanks also to all those of you who read this story on the MBs, for your encouragement. You're all great!
A special thanks to Tricia, who's helped me a lot with these stories. Her editing and nice, encouraging comments are always immensely appreciated. THANKS A LOT!!!
Last, but not least, thanks to LabRat for GEing this.
I hope you like this.
PS. You already know it, but just in case, let me remind you that all comments and suggestions are more than welcome, so feel free to write at the address above.
All usual disclaimers apply.( I don't own the characters, they're property of DC Comics and December 3rd productions, …)
As the initial shock started to fade, and Lois, who for one of the first times in her life had been left speechless, began to regain control of herself, a questioning look started to take over her face. She could remember walking over to Clark's apartment and how, once there, she'd let her feelings out, hoping he'd hear them, wherever he was. And then, she'd lain on the couch, for how long she didn't know, until a familiar voice had suddenly startled her enough to take her mind off her grief. Disbelieving at first, she'd raised her gaze and, before she could give it all a second thought, she'd found herself in the warm, comforting embrace she knew so well. She had him back, but how could that be?
Not wanting to let him go, she pulled apart from the hug but reached for his hand. As they sat down on the couch, she felt her thoughts leave her mouth. "Clark, how…? Wait, I'm not sure I want to know… I mean, you're here and that's all I wanted because there's so much I want to say and that I hope you're willing to hear. And also I… Care to help me switch off babble mode? Please?"
A wide grin had appeared on his face as her words rushed to leave her mouth, but now, as she looked at him, a shy smile on her face, waiting for him to say something, he realized it was time he started explaining everything. Concern showing in his unsteady voice, he told her, "I don't know where to start, Lois."
Teasingly, she replied, "C'mon, Clark, it can't be that hard. After all, you ARE a reporter; you make a living out of words, remember?"
"I wish it were that simple…"
The look on his face reflected how hard this was for him. <<But why? What can he be trying to tell me that's such a struggle?>>
Without giving her a chance for further thought, he blurted out, "Lois, I lied."
"What? Clark! About what?"
"For starters, when I said there was nothing to forgive."
His words had a quick effect on her, for her expression changed from puzzlement to guilt and shame. She couldn't blame him. He was her best friend; the one person in this world she fully trusted and she'd waited to face her feelings for him until he was 'gone'. She'd never told him how much she truly enjoyed his company, his comfort… She'd decided to not share all those feelings with him out of selfishness and pride. <<Right. There's no way Mad Dog Lane could have ever admitted she cared this much for someone.>>
"That's… That's O.K., Clark," she said. " I understand. It's my fault, I…"
She was about to continue when he cut her off. "No, Lois. That's not what I meant. There are things I'VE done that I need you to forgive."
"What? You want me to forgive you? Why?"
Although the answer seemed obvious to him, he knew Lois couldn't see it and it looked like he wasn't doing too good a job at getting it through to her. He'd made up his mind about sharing all this and he wasn't about to back down, but he just couldn't find the right words to say it. Finally, he went on. "Because of what I put you through, making you think I was dead."
She'd been having trouble thinking clearly before, but this last statement didn't make it any easier, which must have shown when she voiced her confusing thoughts.
"You mean you weren't… what am I saying? Of course you weren't… aren't, are you? Oh, God, I'm hallucinating!"
"No, Lois. I'm here. I got here a little before you came in." He hesitated, as his expression became a mixture of shyness and shame. "I heard what you said and I…"
As he admitted he'd been there, as she bared her soul in the apartment she'd thought empty, she finally realized why he was having so much trouble expressing himself. After all, she knew his feelings for her didn't go beyond friendship, and, probably, that was her fault too. She couldn't be fool enough to think that someone as caring and kind as Clark could ever love her. She didn't deserve it. But losing his friendship was not something she was willing to do, so if all they could be was friends, then so be it.
Her trail of thought had taken her attention from him, so when she spoke again, she failed to realize she was cutting him off. Discouraged, but trying not to show it, she said, "Clark, wait. I know we're just friends, and I'm…"
As she raised her gaze, which had been fixed on the floor as she spoke, she saw that his lips were still moving, and so she stopped herself, in time to hear him finish.
"… lied about that too. I didn't mean it, I crossed my fingers… I was hurt. It hurt that you couldn't love me… all of me. I didn't want to ruin our friendship because of unreturned feelings."
"What do you mean, 'all of you'?
"What I heard you say tonight… I've waited so long, longing to hear it. But now it doesn't feel completely right. I mean, there's Superman… and…"
Clark had usually no trouble when it came down to speaking. It was hard to find him at a loss for words. But right now he was definitely being hard to follow. The more she tried, the less she understood what he was trying to say. If he had heard her earlier that night he knew how she felt. He couldn't need more reassurance, could he?
"Superman?! But it's not him I want to be with…"
Appalled, he replied, "Because you see him as being out of reach…"
"No! Because there's someone else I lo… need."
With a disappointed look on his face, he spoke again, "But I thought you loved him."
"I do, but not in the way you're suggesting. I love him the way I could love a friend. I'm not in love with him, and I doubt that I ever was. If you think about it, I barely know him." Seeing that her words weren't having the soothing effect they were meant to, she asked, "Clark, what's wrong?"
"What if you had to want us both the same way?"
"What?! Clark, did you hit your head or something?"
"Lois, the reason I wasn't killed tonight is that I can't be, not with bullets, at least."
"Oh, God, you did hit your head! Now you think you're some kind of Super…" Realization suddenly dawned on her, and it was easy to notice it in the look she was getting as she finished her sentence, more to herself than to Clark,"…man… Love you both…"
"That's the last lie… though it technically wasn't… Look, I know I should have told you long ago, but…" Raising his eyes slowly, he met hers, expecting to find anger in them. But he found something harder to define instead.
Uncertain of her feelings, she stared at him for a few seconds… minutes… before lowering her gaze. She was trying hard to sort out her emotions, but she wasn't doing too good a job. What was it she felt? Hate? No, there was no way she could ever hate him. Love? <<Maybe…No, I do love him. It took me too long to face it to start fighting it again.>> But there was more. Hurt? Anger? Confusion. Realizing she'd been quiet for a while, she focused her gaze back on him, finding in his expression the same uncertainty she felt in her heart and in her mind. Silence wouldn't lead them anywhere, so she decided to speak again.With a calm but determined voice, not unpleasant but without the need and softness it had borne when she'd first arrived at his place, she said, "Why?"
He felt relieved. "Why didn't I tell you sooner?" He stopped briefly, waiting for an answer, but at her lack of response, he proceeded with the speech he'd been practicing for so long.
"I don't know how it seems, but it's not easy. I could go on for hours explaining the importance of keeping it a secret, but I know it wouldn't be enough. I guess it's fair that I'm completely honest with you, because I always have been, with everything else at least.
At first, I couldn't tell you. I barely knew you, and though I felt that I could trust you, it was too big a risk. But later, as I saw your infatuation, or love, or whatever it is or was, for Superman… It hurt. It hurt that you couldn't see in Clark what you saw in Superman. I thought the right thing was for you to love me as Clark… And later, there was Luthor and all the consequences your relationship with him brought, both before and after his death…"
Helplessness, regret, hurt… Was that what she could see in her partner's face, what she could feel in his voice? "I…" <<Damn! I hate that ability of his to leave me speechless, just with his words!!>>. When she was finally able to speak again, her voice came out much softer. "No, I meant why did you tell me tonight? What made you change your mind?"
"I guess, in a way, I realized it was only fair. You've put your trust in me and I want you to know that you've got my trust too… Actually, it's much more than that. My feelings for you have been there from the beginning. I needed you to want ME, not the powers and abilities I show as Superman, but me, your partner, your friend. But when I heard you tonight, saying what I've longed to hear, it didn't feel completely right. And it got worse when you admitted that you saw Superman differently."
"Clark, please, slow down, because I'm not sure I'm following you. Wasn't that what you wanted?"
"I thought so. But, tonight, you made me realize something. The powers and abilities I make use of as Superman don't come with the flashy suit. They don't disappear when I put on a tie. And it works both ways. When I'm Superman, when I wear the costume, I don't leave my brain, my heart and my soul aside. The decisions I make, the way I act… It wouldn't be the same if I wasn't Clark. And I can't say the powers are not part of Clark Kent's life either, like when I shave using my heat vision, or clean the apartment in a matter of seconds. Superman isn't the one doing that. That's just me. I've always said that Clark is who I am and Superman is what I can do. But when you said that you didn't feel the same way about both of us, it all became so clear. Like it or not, you can't have one without the other, even if I was Clark way before my mother made the suit and you gave me the name."
Trying to take it all in, Lois searched for a way to let him know what she was thinking. <<But what am I thinking?>>
"I… don't know what to say. This is all so confusing… Just try to get in my shoes! Suddenly, two of the most important people in my life have become one, and now I'm not sure I know who he is at all! I understand you've been Clark Kent all your life whereas Superman was 'born' barely eighteen months back, but still…"
Discouraged but understanding, he tried to soothe her, " It's ok, Lois, I understand…"
"No, you don't! You can't! I know at times you haven't been able to be yourself completely around me, so you wouldn't give your secret away. I can't say I'm not hurt that you didn't tell me sooner, but I'm trying to understand your reasons… Gosh, you can be so convincing at times!" her remark made them share a weak smile. She went on, "But what I said tonight… it's true. I can't change the way I feel. There are things we'll need to work out. I guess there are lots of things I don't know about you…"
"Lois, you know me better than anyone else."
"I know, and deep down I have no doubts. It's taken me too long to face these feelings and now I can't back down on them. I don't want to. I've seen what my life would be without you, even if for so short a time. As much as I've avoided it, you've gotten through to me, you've gained my trust. And tonight, by sharing this with me, I guess you're proving you're worthy of it."
She could feel a tear rolling down her cheek. <<Great! Like I haven't had enough of this tonight.>> In an attempt to ease the tension between them, she exclaimed, "I can't believe I still have some of these left. You would expect they'd have run out by now!"
He reached for her face, drying the tear with his thumb, stroking her cheek shyly. Afraid he'd pushed it too far, that she still wasn't ready for his touch, he started to pull away, but her hand stopped him.
Leaving his insecurities behind, he pulled her into his embrace, and her reaction showed him she'd been needing this as much as he had. He felt her tilt her head slightly backwards and then their eyes met.
"God, Clark, I'm so glad I didn't lose you."
"I'm glad I didn't lose you either, Lois. I promise, there'll be no more secrets."
And, with that, she closed in the distance between their faces, allowing their lips to meet in a soft but promising kiss.
Again, she felt a wave of emotions washing over her, but this time there was one she could clearly identify: relief. She felt relieved because she still had her partner, her best friend, and now she had even more. There were issues to work out, but they'd make it through. Together.
"Opened my eyes today And I knew there's something different Saw you in a brand new way Like the clouds had somehow lifted And if yesterday I heard Myself saying these words I would swear it was a lie I don't know why but suddenly I'm falling Was I so blind I was loving you all the time"
Hopelessly Addicted, THE CORRS