A/N: This is strictly a Lois POV story.
Disclaimer: Characters belong to DC Comics, WB, AlMiles, etc. etc. etc. I only own the story and my dignity.
She sat in front of the couch on the cold wooden floor in her yellow and white rubber ducky faded flannel pajamas. Her legs were crossed with a red fleece blanket draped over her lap, sorting through pictures in a box long forgotten. Her long dirty blonde hair cascaded past her shoulders, wet from her shower.
It was night, it was raining, and it was cold.
She'd managed to build a fire in the fireplace, but the small apartment above the old movie theater still had a draft. How Lana had stayed there and not frozen to death, she'd never understand.
But she wouldn't complain. Out loud anyway. She was out of the Kent's way. Oh sure, Mrs. Kent had said that she was welcome in their home anytime, but she would never impose. Even though they were the family she'd always wished for.
She raked through the dusty old photo box. Pictures, memories, and faces she barely knew, yet were so familiar. She dreamt about those faces. But with each passing year, those faces gradually became a bit more blurry. That was why she did this.
She gingerly picked up each photo one by one, examining it closely, trying to mentally return to the scene before her.
Her hands stopped when she accidentally caught a glimpse of the young blonde woman smiling at the camera. She was sitting on a large rock, mountains in the background, overlooking a vast valley. She was holding a bouquet of lilies. She obviously didn't want her picture taken, judging by her smirk and the slight tilt of her head to one side. Yet, there was something warm and inviting about the woman. Her striking hazel eyes and delicate features gave that away.
The photo began to shake as she silently sobbed. Her mother used to say she would've made a terrific actress because, not only could she cry on cue, but she could cry without making any noise. No sound. Only tears running down her cheeks.
She knew that voice. It was always there when she didn't want it, yet always there when she needed it.
Thank goodness her back was to the door so he couldn't immediately see her face. If he had, he would've left after being hit with her death rays.
She took a deep breath and closed her eyes.
"Smallville, you have got to start knocking. That's what the door is there for."
She didn't need this right now. She was only allowed to be weak when she was alone. She quickly wiped the tears streaming down her face, hoping there was no trace of wet or redness.
"I'm sorry, Lois, I just came by to bring you some food. Mom felt bad when you said you couldn't make it over to dinner tonight. She made meatloaf and we had extra. She insisted I bring the leftovers to you."
Why did he have to be so nice? Why now? She didn't need him to be nice now. She needed him to leave. She wanted to cry and that wasn't going to happen with him there.
"Thanks. You can just put it in the fridge."
"Aren't you hungry?"
A very short response. Maybe that would send him a message.
"Are you okay? Do you want to talk about it?"
There he goes again. Can't he take a hint? She sighed, rolled her eyes, and leaned back against the sofa as he walked slowly to her.
"Not really. I just wanna be alone right now. I'm fine."
He plopped the bag of food on her countertop and shot her a look that had yeah right written all over it. And she knew it without even glancing up at him. He slowly walked over to where she was sitting on the floor. She kept her head down, focusing on mindlessly sorting the pictures.
"Really, Smallville. I'm okay. Tell your mom thanks for the meatloaf. I'm sure it's delicious."
She tried not to look at him. She tried to keep her face down. She hoped that he wouldn't see. But he did. He saw her face and she'd been crying. Lois Lane didn't cry. He'd never seen her cry. Lana was the crier, not Lois.
But he caught her off guard. All because he couldn't knock on a door.
That settled it then. She was installing a deadbolt and safety lock first thing in the morning.
He sat on the edge of the couch. Great, now he was staying. He really couldn't take a hint.
"What're you doing, Lois?"
He sincerely sounded concerned. She really didn't feel like arguing. Maybe if she played along for a few minutes, he would leave.
"Just organizing some things." She still held the picture in her hand, the light from the fire dancing across the woman's face.
"That's your mom, isn't it?"
It came out softer than she meant. Even though she had said before that she could talk about her, there were certain times, like now, when she had trouble.
"Yes, she was."
"You look like her."
A smile slowly formed at the corners of her mouth. Had Smallville just called her beautiful? Wait, no no. She wouldn't read into that. Not right now anyway. But she put a pin in it in the back of her mind.
She gently placed the small tattered photo back in the box and reached for the other piles of pictures she had gone through that lay scattered around her.
"Lois, are you sure you're okay?"
He wasn't gonna budge on this, was he?
She turned to look at him. Her eyes met his and she now saw the concern. She quickly darted her eyes and went back to picking up the pictures.
He reached into the box and picked up the photo she had been looking at when he walked in.
"Where was this taken? It looks gorgeous."
"Germany. In Heidelberg overlooking the Rhine Valley. That was about a year before I was born. My dad was stationed at the base there."
"So they were already married?"
"Yeah. It was their anniversary and everything had to be perfect. They went up to the castle above the city for a tour and had a picnic afterwards. When Daddy would tell that story, he would complain saying he had to look in every florist shop in town to find those lilies. They were Mom's favorite." She paused and smiled. "I remember her telling me when I was little that he said he would've moved mountains to find those flowers that day."
She knew she could trust him. But it wasn't about trust. It was about…sharing. And there were some parts of her life that she just wasn't ready to share with him, or anyone, for that matter. Not yet, anyway.
But today had been hard on her. Maybe that's why she was opening up. She couldn't think of another reason why she told Clark Kent a story about her parents that even Chloe didn't know.
But today was different. She knew this day was coming. It comes every year. And every year she does the same thing. She sits alone and looks at the pictures. This was her time and no one else's. But he was here. And part of her was glad. But only a small part.
He moved and sat on the floor beside her, leaning back against the sofa, still holding the picture.
"She died thirteen years ago today."