By bakasi <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted February 2007
Summary: At the end of "Individual Responsibility", Lois and Clark set up a date. Clark has promised Lois not to run out on her again, but then a disaster forces him to…
Author's note: This is written for fun, not profit. I hope my dear readers will enjoy.
"No!" she yells. "No."
With a finger she darts at me, threateningly. It's not her finger I fear, though. It's her expression that conveys her real feelings. With her voice and finger she is trying to convince me that she's furious. And I bet she wants to be, because I'm not sticking to my promise. I've been here at seven and at seven-oh-one. Actually I've made it until after eight. It has been perfect. Lois has surprised me by setting up the table just like she had last Christmas. She has put a lot of effort in this and now she is fighting for her date, defending it like a cat would defend her kitten.
She's not really furious; my love is already beyond that. Lois is utterly disappointed, her pretended madness betrayed by the tears in her eyes. It cuts right through me, killing me slowly just like the people whose desperate cries for help I hear. Hundreds of people will die if Superman doesn't rescue them. I haven't bargained for something like this. I didn't plan this earthquake; I didn't set the houses on fire. And now people are dying and the lives of those who survived are destroyed, irrevocably. They've lost everything but their lives and I'm the one to make sure that they aren't losing this last, most precious gift as well.
"I'm sorry, Lois," I mutter, apologetically. I know that it is not enough, that she deserves more — the truth. I can't stay simply because I'm Superman. But the words won't come… simply because I'm too afraid.
"Don't you dare go now," she says hoarsely. It was meant to be another yell. She prepares for a fight, taking the position that she uses to defend herself against villains. "Tell me why!" She demands in a last attempt to intimidate me, to force me to tell her what I have been hiding from her.
I open my mouth, but not a single word comes out. My mind is blank, but for the pain. Knowing that people are dying out there is excruciating. Seeing my poor Lois suffer is not any easier. She sees that I am not going to tell her the truth. The cries are sounding more and more urgent. And I know that I'm dying anyway. The decision is not about my life, but about the lives of others. It will kill me when they die though I know I could have done something. Losing Lois will kill me as well. The question is: do I have the right to take hundreds of lives with me into that abyss?
I open my mouth again to say the words that could change everything. But it's not the right moment. I can't tell her I'm Superman without the time to explain. Lois has to know, but my tongue and throat are not obeying me. I can't say those words.
"Go," she says suddenly. Her shoulders sink down, defeated. The tears that she has been trying to restrain roll down her cheeks now. "Go," she repeats, making it clear that this is her final say.
I look into her beautiful eyes and see her sadness. I can't just go and I can't stay either. The shock of seeing her turn away from me finally gives me the strength to speak.
"I have to go, Lois. I'm Superman." I spin around and stand in front of her. For the first time in two years, it embarrasses me to wear those flashy colours in front of her. I betrayed her; I lied. And I kept hiding this for too long. The spandex suit is testament to my betrayal.
Her mouth gapes open, her eyes are widened in shock.
"I'm so sorry, Lois. I can't let those people die. I promise we will talk about this later." My voice is barely a whisper. I don't know whether I've lost her now. Maybe she will not forgive me. I glance at her one more time, trying to tell her how much she means to me. But even words can't say how bad I feel about this.
I leave her apartment, flying away to rescue everyone I can, hoping that this will provide consolation.
In the dark night around me I hear Lois' voice, far away as a faint whisper. "I would have let you go, Clark. Simply because I love you."