By EditorJax <firstname.lastname@example.org)
Submitted: February 2008.
Summary: In the light of a new day, clarity comes. And it's not always welcome, especially for Lois.
Author's note: Warning! This is not my usual fluffy pink fare. If you want that, I suggest you go read "Sexy Little Things" in the nfic folder.
This story was inspired by a conversation I had with a fellow author who felt the same way as I did about the end of Season 4: that there wasn't enough time between "Toy Story" and "The Family Hour" to properly show the frustration that Lois and Clark felt about finding out they couldn't have children.
So I'm throwing out the end of Season 4 altogether. For all intents and purposes, "The Family Hour" never existed, setting this story about four months after "Toy Story," in the summer between Seasons 4 and 5.
A huge thanks goes to Sue, for inspiring me (and helping me with the beginning), and to my wonderful, fabulous, rockstar betas, LaraMoon and Jennidebb. All I can say is that I couldn't have done this without you two.
I can tell it's about to rain. The early-morning sky is dark and the air feels cooler than normal for July. It hasn't rained in weeks, and the clouds seem to be mocking me, daring me to cry before they do.
I lift my chin defiantly. I haven't cried in weeks either and I'm not about to give the universe the satisfaction of knowing that it has won again.
I know that, eventually, I'm going to have to turn away from the window, go back upstairs and see if I can salvage an hour or two of sleep. But not right now. Not before the rain.
As long as I stand here, I will not cry.
I sigh at the irony of it all. The woman who has escaped years worth of attempts on her life being brought to her knees in a mere three minutes.
I whispered them aloud as I stood in the bathroom, staring at the clock. "5:01. 5:02. 5:03."
I remember softly uttering similar time intervals two years ago, when I stood in the middle of the newsroom, wound my arms around his neck and solicited a promise that he wouldn't run out me that night.
Now they were just a countdown to another failed attempt. Another souvenir from another trip to hell. Even after four months, I can still tell you the time and date I took the first test.
Six months ago, I didn't even know if I wanted children. It was a conversation I did my best to avoid having -- until a pre-breakfast rendezvous on the kitchen floor forced us to address the issue.
Clark's the kind of guy who was born to be a father. He's kind, he's compassionate, he's funny ... and he's so patient.
I, on the other hand, am impatient. I'm temperamental. I have control issues, and I hate to be wrong. And yet he thinks I'd be a good mother.
All it took was being kidnapped and locked with a room full of scared, lonely children and I realized that hey, maybe I wouldn't be so bad at this after all.
When I told the kids about how Superman wasn't always so brave, I was subconsciously drawing some parallels between him and myself. I was scared.
I am scared.
But I'm not alone anymore. I'm not the little girl hiding under her bed to block out the sound of her parents fighting, or the child barely tall enough to reach the freezer door to get an ice pack for her passed-out mother.
With Clark by my side, I can do this.
We can do this.
And that's how I ended up standing here.
I hear him come padding down the stairs, but I don't turn around. I knew he'd find me eventually. I can't decide if he's exactly what I need right now, or precisely what I don't want. I think he's both.
"Come back to bed."
I ignore his soft plea, the hand that feels warm on my back. I hadn't intended to stand here so long. I suddenly wish I had my robe to burrow into, or maybe a blanket to hide under. Anything so he won't have to see the look on my face. I've patented my "fine" expression the last few months, but this morning -- or is it still tonight? -- I'm too tired and too discouraged to pretend I'm okay.
"I can't," I finally whisper.
I'm not lying. I don't think I have the energy to walk up the stairs. Not after laying awake half the night, every night for an entire week, wondering, hoping -- even praying, which I rarely do -- that this would be it.
And it took three measly minutes to come to the realization that twelve hours of sleep in the last three days doesn't ensure anything -- except the beginning of a migraine.
We stand there in silence, watching as a tiny sliver of sun wars with the clouds.
"It's so serene this time of day," I say wistfully. "I think the rest of the world is still asleep."
"Most people aren't up at 5:30 on a Saturday morning," he points out gently as he wraps his arms around my waist from behind.
He must have been sleeping pretty soundly, because I've actually been up for an hour.
I relax against him. "What are you doing up?"
"Looking for you," he says softly. "What are *you* doing up?"
I'm sure he can feel me tense up. It's not even on purpose. It just ... happens. It's as if my body can't physically handle dealing with this right now.
I don't want to talk about it, and he knows it. Clark knows me better than I know myself. He needs no explanation as to why I'm out of bed.
But Clark wouldn't be Clark if he didn't ask. It's what makes him a good reporter. It's what makes him a good husband.
"Are you okay?"
"We knew this could happen," he murmurs.
"Doesn't make it hurt less."
I don't have to turn around to know he has closed his eyes. It's something Clark does when he's upset. When he's trying to block out the rest of the world.
But this time it isn't the world. It's me. His wife.
He's probably wondering how he let it get this far. Why he ever agreed to postpone the tests.
He knows why. He can't say no to me.
When Clark initially suggested going to Dr. Klein for tests to see if we could even have children together, I agreed.
But then I changed my mind. Why bother with tests? I'm a Type-A perfectionist. He's the man of steel. How could we go wrong?
I threw my birth-control pills away on a Monday. I foolishly figured I'd be pregnant by Friday.
I've always been a results-now kind of woman. I guess it goes with the territory -- I've gotten used to seeing the result of what I did all day on the front page the next morning.
When the first test was negative, I told myself no one gets it on the first try. But then came the blue line in May. And June. And now July.
I take a deep breath and silently review the statistics I've read online: a twenty percent chance of getting pregnant each month, and nearly ninety percent of conceiving within a year.
It's only been four months.
We've certainly practiced enough. If there was a Pulitzer Prize for procreatory reporting, we'd blow the competition away.
But that doesn't change the fact that there's a plastic stick on the bathroom counter with a single blue line on it.
"Lois, we have to accept that this may not be possible."
The unspoken truth hangs between us.
I pull away and turn to face him. "I'm sorry, Clark, but I'm not willing to accept that."
He smiles a little. "You never do."
I shrug. "You knew that when you married me."
His smile grows a little bigger. "Honey, it's one of the reasons *why* I married you."
I can tell my proclamation has made him feel a little better. I know he's afraid that *Superman* can't even get his wife pregnant. And he's even more afraid that one day, I'll agree.
But I don't. We're so compatible in every aspect of our life together that there's no reason why we won't get it right eventually. It's not like we immediately clicked as partners, after all.
"It looks like rain," I say to break the silence.
"They've been predicting a storm for days."
"Rainbows always follow stormy skies," I say softly, almost to myself.
"It's something my dad used to say." I can feel my eyes filling with tears. Damn it, what happened to my resolve? I start to turn around so he won't notice.
He gently grabs my arm to keep me from walking away. "Lois."
I slowly turn back around and see pain in his brown eyes that mirrors my own. I blink back my tears, and mercifully, they don't fall.
"Clark? Will we ever see that rainbow?"
"I think so," he replies quietly.
How can he be so sure? Not even Superman can predict the future.
He seems to sense my doubts. "You can't have a rainbow without rain."
I don't trust myself to speak, so I just nod.
"I have faith in us," he adds softly, leaning in and kissing me.
It's meant to be a comforting gesture, but I lose myself in the kiss, my body sagging against his as my tongue slips between his lips and caresses every crevice of his mouth.
He pulls away and looks into my eyes, confused. "Lois?"
"Let's go upstairs."
"Now?" With our bodies pressed so closely together, I can tell he's interested, but the look on his face suggests he's unsure about going down this road given my precarious emotional state. "Are you sure?"
I shrug. "Practice makes perfect."
He remains silent.
"I need you, Clark." I'm dimly aware that I'm only semiconscious -- and that I'm close to begging -- but I'm desperate for the physical comfort only my husband can provide. "Love me."
He reaches out and touches my face. "I do. And I always will. No matter what."
I look up at him and see the man who has unfailingly been there for me whenever I needed him. Even at the crack of dawn on a stormy July morning.
I'm so tired that when he lifts me into his arms, I rest my head against his shoulder and wonder if I'll still be awake when he reaches the top of the stairs.
"Maybe ..." I realize whispering is pointless since he can hear me anyway, but I can barely keep my eyes open, let alone form coherent sentences. "Do you think ..."
I feel his lips brush against my hair. "You don't even have to ask." He lowers his voice to match mine. "Of course I'll just hold you tonight. "
It's all I can do to not burst into tears. "I love you, Clark."
"I love you, too, Lois."
He closes the door behind us and carries me over to our bed.
Outside, the rain begins to fall.