Sarah Luddy <meerkat_comments AT aslandia DOT net> and Kaylle <email@example.com>
Submitted: December 2002
Summary: Lois is dating Clark and is having difficulty coming to terms with her feelings for Superman.
Sarah: Well, Kaylle and I got *really* drunk…okay, maybe not. But we decided to do another one of our line-robins, or, as we were corrected, "sticks." It was a lot of fun, so maybe we'll have to do this more often. And look, we actually finished it for once!
Kaylle: I deny that we were drunk, or that any of this is my fault :) But I'd be happy to do it again, if we're ever bored in the middle of the night…
"Well, hello, Lois," Superman said conversationally.
Lois let out an angry puff of air. "Hi, Superman."
Superman sat down on the edge of the roof and stared out over the city. "Lovely view here, isn't it?"
Lois gave him a look that said "any closer and I'll kick you right off this roof, a pity you can fly," and struggled at the bonds that were holding her tight against a metal protrusion from the roof.
Superman whistled to a passing bird, which did a double- take and almost crashed into the side of the building.
Finally, Lois made a sound that was somewhere between a squeak and a curse. "All right," she said, giving up. "Superman, can you help me?"
"Why, certainly," he said with a grin. "All you had to do was ask."
Lois gave him a frustrated look as he quickly pulled the ropes apart and freed her.
Superman had to be the most difficult individual on the face of the Earth. He simply didn't get it. Here she was, trying her damnedest to avoid him, to get over her crush on him, because she was dating Clark. Unfortunately, there was just something that would never fail to appeal to Lois about Superman. She just *couldn't* forget how much she cared about him whenever she got close to him. She'd been trying as hard as she could to simply avoid and ignore him. But it didn't work, not when, as Clark liked to say, she continued to dangle herself above the jaws of death.
Not that she was actually dangling at the moment. But being tied to a pole on a roof was pretty close, unfortunately. She had just been about to free herself when Superman appeared. But with him whistling cheerfully and distracting her, well, of course she couldn't be expected to rescue herself.
Besides, he was there.
"Where to now?" Superman asked her, still cheerful as he scooped her into his arms.
All right, enough was enough. "Somewhere private, Superman," she hissed through clenched teeth. She was *not* going to give in to the overwhelming lust she felt for him whenever he took her in his arms. "We need to talk."
Clark frowned. He wasn't sure what to make of her sudden desire to talk. The last time she'd requested a private audience with Superman, she'd wanted to profess her love. But she was dating Clark now, and even if that wasn't going perfectly, he didn't think she'd be so willing to throw it away.
"I know a place," he admitted reluctantly. "What's on your mind?"
She sighed. "Let's wait till we land," she replied. "I can get my thoughts in order."
Well, that seemed promising enough. Surely there wasn't much ordering of thoughts required to beg someone to love you? Clark shifted his grip on her slightly and took off for the sea.
At last they approached an isolated strip of land on the coastline, and Clark lowered them to the ground. "Here," he said. "This isn't very accessible from the land, so no one really comes here."
She nodded, looking around. Apparently she was satisfied, because at last she turned back to him and frowned. "Superman, we— we need to talk," she repeated nervously.
"Okay," he agreed, trying not to sound worried.
She drew a breath, but turned before she could say anything, her hands twisting anxiously. She didn't seem to want to look at him while she spoke. "Superman, I know I said… I know I said I loved you, last year. And I did, at the time. Maybe I still do. But I understand that you and I can't be together, and I'm moving on with my life."
He hastened to reassure her. "I know, Lois, and I'm glad."
"So, I guess what I need to know was… what I need to say…" She turned back to look up at him. "Can we be friends now, and put that behind us? I know I was foolish."
There was pain in her voice that he hadn't expected, shame for the display of affection she'd made in the past. He hadn't realised she was still embarrassed by all of that. Clark flushed, not really sure how to respond. "Oh, Lois," he started, then stopped. "Yes, I want to be friends. I mean…I thought we were."
"Oh, we are," she hastened to assure him. "I just…still can't help remembering how I treated you."
"It's okay, really," he said, his face still hot. He hoped that was enough; he wasn't really sure how to talk to Lois about her crush without coming off sound egotistical.
"The thing is, though," she went on, no longer looking at him. "I'm not sure I'm…well, I'm not sure I'm completely over—'us.'"
There was a soft smack as his jaw hit the ground.
"What?" he managed to gasp, once he'd gotten his jaw reattached.
Now it was Lois's turn to redden. "I mean, not that I have this crush on you or anything anymore! It's not like that!" she said quickly. "It's just…I guess sometimes I feel something for you more than friends. It's crazy, I know! I'm dating Clark, he's the one I love!"
She turned to the side a little more, but he could see that she was wiping at her cheek. "But you and Clark, you're so alike in so many ways, you know. I can't help seeing something of Clark in you, and I can't help loving you for it."
She stared at him, horrorstruck, as she realized what she'd said. "I mean—" But she fell silent.
Clark tried to make sense of the swirl of emotions that surrounded him. She loved him! She loved Clark! But she loved Superman too. But she loved Superman for the Clark- like qualities in him! But she loved two men. She didn't love Clark enough for him to be enough. But…he was Clark! Maybe she just loved all of him? But how could she, when Clark was the real him? He stopped, trying to remember whether "him" meant Superman, who he was at the moment, or his own self, a Clark/Superman hybrid. Pronouns were just too confusing.
"Lois," he said slowly, drawing a deep breath, "could you say that again?"
She shook her head frantically, too horrified to repeat it.
"You… you see Clark in me," he repeated tentatively, "and you love me for it?"
"No," she backpedaled. "No, I don't love you, I can't love you. I'm dating Clark. I— I love Clark."
"Oh, Lois," he breathed before he caught himself, remembering where and who he was.
"I— I'm sorry," she said softly. "I shouldn't have asked you to come here. We should go."
"No," he replied. "I think we need to talk."
"What else is there to say?" she snapped back, near tears now. "I said I loved you, for the second time. I didn't even mean to say it. I didn't mean to *feel* it. And I certainly don't know what to do about it."
"You said you loved me because I was like Clark… because you saw Clark in me," he clarified, taking a step towards her.
She glared. "Oh, I'm sure that would make Clark feel a lot better about my being in love with another man."
"I'm sure it would," he said softly. "More than you know."
She was looking at him with fear now, her eyes wide. "Please, Superman, take me home. I— I don't want to talk about this anymore. I don't want to hurt Clark."
He was advancing slowly, steadily now, and she shrank back from him. "You won't," he said softly, his hand coming up to touch her cheek. "I'm him." And his lips came swiftly down on hers.
Lois started sputtering, which made for a rather strange result, given that she and Superman were liplocked.
But there was something so familiar about his kiss. And she'd wanted this for such a long time. She leaned into the kiss, and when he tentatively deepened it, she gave in with a soft sigh. This felt so *right*. So wonderful. There was something about kissing this man that made the whole beach spin away around her, until only she and Superman were left in the world.
In fact, the kiss felt an awful lot like the one wonderful kiss…she'd shared with Clark.
She came back down to Earth with a thud.
"What?!" she asked, not understanding.
"I said," Clark said slowly, "you won't hurt Clark…because I'm him."
"Clark!" he burst out. "I'm Clark!"
Lois sat down quickly, not even caring about getting sand on her business suit. Superman sat down too, hovering in the air across from her, just a few inches above the ground.
"Show-off," she muttered.
But she wasn't really paying attention to him. Her mind was struggling to put together the revelations of the past few minutes.
"You're—Clark," she said flatly. "Clark's you. Clark's Superman. Superman's…Clark."
It was too much to take in.
"You've got the right way of going about it," he said conversationally. "I always get lost in the pronouns."
She ignored his weak attempt at a joke. "Are you saying that, all along, Superman has been masquerading as Clark? Clark, who can't even open a peanut-butter jar without help?"
"Clark, my *boyfriend*, who is going to *get* it next time I see him?"
"Wait, what am I saying? You're Clark!"
She hit him in the chest, hard, then let out an exclamation as her hand bounced off with a tinny sound. "Ow! You jerk!"
"I didn't make you hit me," he said. But at seeing the look on her face, he took her hand in his. "Lois… I've wanted to tell you for a long time. I've known I *should* tell you ever since we started dating. But I was, well, scared."
"Of me?" Lois said, looking surprised. "I don't bite. Hard."
He grinned. "Well, I guess it's obvious that I couldn't tell you right when we met."
"You could have," Lois said, frowning.
He raised an eyebrow.
"Well, you could have. It would've made my career when it hit the front page of the Daily Planet the next morning."
Lois sighed. "I don't know what to think about this. I mean, as soon as you said it…it made perfect sense. It sounds crazy, but I don't doubt you for a second. And I guess I understand why you didn't tell me before. Besides, if I get too angry, you're liable to throw me in—the Atlantic? The Pacific? Where are we?"
"The Pacific," he answered.
Her suggestion appeared to give him too many ideas, so she quickly went on. "But…I mean, were you Superman all the time? Why were you masquerading as Clark? It can't be *that* normal a life, if you can't even open a peanut- butter jar for yourself."
"But it *is* a normal life, Lois!" he burst out. "Clark is *me*, the real me."
She eyed his costume. "You certainly *see* more of you as Superman." Mostly she just wanted to watch him flush.
Lois stood up suddenly, spraying sand everywhere. "Clark…I'm not sure I can deal with this. I mean…being the girlfriend of Superman. My previous relationships were federal disasters! If we stay together—that's assuming you want to—well, what if things don't work out? I'm the ex- girlfriend of a superhero? How do I even start over after that?"
He took her hand again, holding it tightly. "Lois, you wouldn't be Superman's girlfriend. You'd… you'd be *my* girlfriend."
"But you're Superman!" she insisted.
"I'm *Clark,*" he replied firmly. "I told you that. Clark is who I've always been. Superman… Superman isn't me." He hesitated. "You said you could see Clark in Superman," he continued softly. "And that you loved him for it."
She shook her head. "That's not fair, Clark."
"No, maybe not," he admitted. "But just now, you called me Clark."
She pulled her hand away. "I don't know anymore. I don't know what to think or what to feel."
"That's okay," he assured her quickly. "Lois, believe me, I know this is a shock. And I don't want to push you." He took a deep breath. "But I've loved you for a long time, Lois. Since the moment I saw you, really. So you have to know what it meant to me, to hear you say that."
She had closed her eyes; upon closer inspection he could see she was trying not to cry. "I'm sorry," he apologised immediately. "I shouldn't have said anything. I know this is a lot to take in."
She shook her head violently, still struggling to hold back the tears. "I love that you said it."
"Come here," he said softly, moving to sit behind her and pull her back against him. She came easily, her hands coming up to cover her face.
"What am I supposed to say to that?" she managed, her voice scratchy. "You've loved me since the moment you saw me, and I was in love with your flashy alter-ego."
"It isn't a contest of who's loved who longer, Lois," he said, gently prying her hands away from her face. "When you first met me, I was just a hick from Smallville. Nothing special about me."
"There's *lots* special about you!" she burst out, dropping her hands to her sides. "You're one of the best men I've ever known, Clark! How could I go over a year without noticing that? All because of that stupid crush."
"Well, I didn't help things," he said, frowning. "I loved you so much, but it was hard to get your attention as Clark. I couldn't help using Superman sometimes. But, Lois, can't we forget all that? Regardless of when we first realized we loved the other…we love each other now. Don't we?"
Lois looked up at him, her eyes dry but slightly red. "You really don't care that I threw myself at your alter-ego for a year while ignoring you?"
He winced. "Well…it did hurt. But it's past now. This is now."
And with that, he bent his head and touched his lips to hers.
This time, Lois didn't have to forget where she was to enjoy the kiss. She was kissing, not Superman, not Clark, but the man she loved. A man who was both of them. A man who had been both friend and crush to her for over a year. He'd fed her romantic dreams and flirted with her, and yet he'd been there whenever she was in trouble, teased her, and helped her when she was upset or afraid.
A man who was both Superman and Clark…really was the perfect man for her. He was everything she'd ever dreamed of.
"Oh, Clark," she whispered against his lips. "I love you."
"And I love you, Lois."
His lips pressed gently against hers, caressing tenderly, savoring every taste of her. She returned the kiss with all her heart, trying to show him the depth of her feelings in the most real way she knew, without words.
The time finally came for them to break apart for a gasp of air. But when Lois looked around for a moment, she really did gasp. "We're floating!" she said, startled.
Clark glanced down and grinned. "I always did think kissing you was like flying."
"I've still got sand on me!" Lois wailed, as she looked down and realized that she was still shedding sand every time she shifted position in his arms.
Clark laughed and kissed her again.
At last Clark pulled away, smiling down at her. "Okay?"
She grinned back. "Definitely."
He tightened his hold on her, lowering them gently back to the beach. When they were settled, he reached down to take her hand. "So… no more awkward moments with Superman?"
She raised an eyebrow. "No more silly excuses from Clark?"
He laughed. "Point taken. I promise to be honest with you from here on out, if you promise to be honest with me."
She smiled shyly up at him. "It's a deal, then." She looked around her, noting that the wind was getting stronger and cooler. "Clark… take us home? So we can talk properly?"
"Gladly," he said, scooping her up. "It'll be nice having you know," he commented as he lifted them into the air. "I've hated having to lie to you. And we couldn't have moved forward that way."
"Like we can move forward now?" Lois asked innocently, one finger tracing a line down the curve of his neck and along his collarbone.
He shivered, grinning down at her. "Yes." He lowered his head to kiss her softly, teasing, and then pulled away.
The fleeting touch apparently wasn't enough for her; she reached up to curl her hand around the back of his head and pull him back to her, meeting his kiss again and lingering, exploring, learning what it meant to love this man and be loved in return.
At last he lifted his head once more, turning his attention back to their flight. Lois tucked her face into the solid warmth of his neck, sighing contentedly. Before them, the sky was darkening into night, the lights of the cities slowly blinking into life. He pulled her closer, savoring the sensation of her weight in his arms, as they flew out into the night and their future.