By Jana L. Officer <4EverLnC@journalist.com>
Submitted: August 2007
Summary: It has been weeks since Stern's announcement that the Planet was back in business, but Lois and Clark still haven't talked. Can they finally put their insecurities aside and move forward?
I wrote this short story for Saskia's birthday in 2005. The title works into the story, but also worked (and still works!) as my joking question to the fanfic community, since I've been mostly MIA the past few years.
Special thanks to those who were in IRC while I was writing who answered my questions and kept me company while I wrote. All comments and the like welcome! This takes place between season one and season two and the usual disclaimers apply.
Lois Lane was bored. So very bored. The Daily Planet would not be reopening for another week yet, but she was already at wit's end. The laid-back lifestyle was simply not for her. Perry seemed to think it would be good for her after all that had happened. Well, he thought wrong. After the explosion and the near wedding to Lex, she needed to be BUSY with lots to do, too much to do even. The last thing she needed was free time. Idly she wondered how Clark had been spending these last few weeks. As her thoughts turned to Clark, the inevitable knot of guilt formed in her stomach. Why had she let these last few weeks slip by without contacting him? Without even trying? The first few days, her excuses had all seemed like good ones to her. She needed time, she needed space. She had been through a huge ordeal. As the days had turned to weeks though, the excuses became glaringly feeble. The only one she had left wasn't one that she would ever admit to Clark. He hadn't kept in contact with her. At first she had figured he was just giving her space. Heck, everyone was doing that. But after a week or so, the silence from his end hurt. They were friends, and soon they would again be partners, thanks to Mr. Stern. So why hadn't he kept in touch? But whenever she thought about that was when she felt guilty. Communication was supposed to be a two-way street, wasn't it? The best way to look at it was that she and Clark had not contacted each other. Yes, sort of a no-fault deal.
"Clark, you mean to tell me you haven't even talked to Lois in three weeks?"
Clark shifted uncomfortably under his mom's gaze. "Well, yes. I figured it was best- I mean, it just seemed like I should give her some space. Maybe wait and see how she was doing after a few days. Then, when she never got in touch with me…" Clark trailed off and simply shrugged. He really had only meant to give Lois some space. Seeing it through his parents' eyes it didn't quite make sense the way it had at the time. He looked to his dad for understanding but didn't see it there either. Funny how with just a look, his parents could put him in his place.
If he was completely honest with himself, he was still nursing his wounded pride. But that shouldn't have mattered. At the very least, he and Lois were friends, best friends. The silence that had stretched between them was silly. It was just hard to tell what was going on in Lois's mind sometimes. After all, first they had a huge blow up, then he was the person she wanted to see after her near wedding to Luthor. Then there was the one time they had spoken since. He still wondered what she had really wanted to say. Whatever it was, after he spoke, she had backed off. Clark knew her too well not to see it. Yes, he knew Lois Lane. He understood much about her personality and her character. In many ways though, she was still a mystery to him. He never tired of learning more about her. There was something about her that simply demanded his attention. And Clark would do ANYTHING for her. Even keep his distance when what he really wanted was to be around her all the time. Soon enough, they would be back working together again. He just hoped that back to working together would mean back to normal. Ready or not, there would be a test run soon enough. All the Planet employees were invited to a grand reopening party this Saturday night.
Lois changed into her seventeenth outfit. Normally, she was not quite THIS picky. It was just that tonight was the silly party and she just had to look her best. Too many of the people who would be there had also been at her wedding and that would be their lasting image of her. "Yep," Lois said to Serena, calmly swimming around in the fish tank, "ace reporter, but will people remember that? No. Of course not. All they'll remember about me is that I almost married Lex Luthor." Well, at least that wouldn't be the case with everyone there. Just most of them. She knew she had a few people in her court. Perry, Clark, Jimmy, and Jack were her friends. In some ways though, she was more nervous about seeing all of them. What they thought of her mattered so much more to her than what anyone else thought.
She looked in the mirror for what must have been the hundredth time and decided that it was time to go. It wasn't how she looked that was really making her nervous anyway. What was really making her nervous was the thought of all those eyes on her. Lois Lane, has been. It was what she was afraid people would think. Well, tonight would just have to be the first step in proving them wrong. It was something she had spent her career doing anyway. "Why should tonight be any different?" But Serena didn't offer an answer, she just continued swimming contentedly.
The party was being held in the new and improved Daily Planet building. So far, Clark was rather impressed with what he saw. Of course, better than that had been the catching up. There was one person who had yet to make an appearance though, and that was the one person Clark had been waiting, rather impatiently, to see. He was beginning to think that maybe Lois wasn't coming. Again, he felt uneasy as his mind retraced the silence that had lingered between them as of late. "She'd better come." It was the one fully-developed thought he had on the subject. As if on cue, the elevator doors opened, and Lois stepped out. She looked absolutely wonderful. Amazing, how she could still take his breath away. He watched her search the room and dared to hope she was looking for him. When she spotted him, he waved and got a nod in return. She headed his general direction, but was stopped every few feet by someone wanting to say hello. That was the way of things. Wherever Lois Lane went, people paid attention. Tonight was no different. He had hoped people wouldn't treat her like a sideshow, but so far everyone just seemed genuinely glad to see her.
After what seemed like ages, she reached him. He offered her a warm smile, but was met with a glare. "Remember me? Lois Lane? Your partner and supposed best friend?" The words came out in a torrent.
Despite his super speed, Clark had to take a moment to process. "Huh?" It was all he could manage in response.
"Three weeks, Clark. Three weeks and nothing? Why?" Lois was trembling, but her voice belied hurt, not anger.
"Lois, I'm sorry." Direct and to the point was best in this situation. Now was definitely not the time to remind her that she hadn't been in touch with him either. She wasn't responding yet, and Clark felt a need to fill the silence. "I just thought maybe you needed space. I guess I was wrong?" He said it uncertainly. Truly, he didn't quite know how to gauge this emotional reaction. He had been expecting annoyance, had even been prepared for anger, but hurt was a bit more difficult to smooth over.
Even as he thought it through, Lois's expression changed to slightly chagrined. "I'm sorry too, Clark. I know it's as much my fault as it is yours. At least, that's what I've been telling myself. It's just that being here tonight and seeing everyone together again… Well, I guess it made me a little dopey." Now she offered a tentative smile. "Forgive me?"
He could ponder over her shifting moods later. "Of course."
"Still friends?" She used her best cajoling voice.
At that, she wrapped her arms around him in an impulsive hug. "Let's dance. I have so much to tell you!"
Clark let her pull him toward the makeshift dance floor even as he grinned to himself. A guy could get used to this.