A/N: Because sleep is overrated, I spent tonight writing this instead of going to bed like a sane person. What can I say? The idea came to me as I was climbing into bed, and I wanted to write it down before I lost it forever.

Of course, the characters, etc. do not belong to me. I'm making no profit off this story.

Standing on the Brink

Lois Lane stood on the rooftop of the Daily Planet building and gazed at the city below. Tonight, she found herself stuck with a dilemma. It wasn't a situation in which she ever thought she'd find herself, but she guessed it was true what people said: Just when you have think you have everything figured out, life throws you a curveball.

For three years now, Lois had been infatuated with a god. She probably wasn't alone. She really didn't think how you could know someone like Superman and not come to care for him. He was so many things her cynical heart had once believed didn't exist. He was honorable and brave, loyal and kind. He was the most powerful man ever to walk the Earth, and he wanted to save the world, not rule it. There was simply no denying that he was an amazing man. Was it any wonder she was attracted to him? It hadn't taken her very long to realize that he was the man she could love for the rest of her life.

But tonight...tonight, something had happened that had shaken this belief. It wasn't even anything major. She had been working side by side with her partner, Clark Kent. The story they were working on wasn't a particularly noteworthy. Their conversation hadn't been extraordinary, either. In fact, to her recollection, she was demanding he share his roast beef on rye with her as they edited their copy. There was absolutely nothing remarkable about the evening.

And then everything changed. She'd made a quick lunge toward his sandwich, and he thwarted her efforts by blocking her movement with his body. They were laughing, locked in a bit of a stalemate, and Lois had been about to try some especially effective stealth tactic (actually, she was going to try to scoot around him before he knew what was happening) when she suddenly found herself kissing him. She wished she could believe that he had kissed her and she had been too stunned to react, but she remembered how surprised he had seemed and she couldn't lie to herself. She had kissed Clark Kent.

This incredibly stupid move had been followed by the even more insane realization that she cared about her partner in a way that she was pretty damn certain wasn't platonic.

Having had this epiphany, she'd decided the most prudent thing to do at the end of the evening would be to sneak up on the roof to do some thinking. She had a lot to decide. What was she going to do now? Who would she choose?

On the one hand, there was Superman. Every woman's private fantasy wrapped up in red, blue, and yellow spandex. Her own personal superhero; he had certainly saved her life more times than she was comfortable admitting. He'd always been there to rescue her. He'd also shown her things she'd never dreamed of before, given her the world in the palm of her hand. In his arms, she had learned what it felt like to fly.

And there was Clark. Sweet, reliable, unassuming Clark. He'd been her partner for years now, and she'd never really noticed him. Oh, sure, she could tell you a million little facts about him - his favorite color, his favorite football team, how he took his coffee, things like that. But she'd never really noticed him. She'd never thought of him as a man she could date. A man she could fall in love with. A man with whom she could spend the rest of her life.

But, standing on this rooftop, she couldn't help but acknowledge that, in his own unobtrusive way, he had been there for her all along. He had sat beside her on endless nights when leads were drying up and she was losing her mind as a story she believed in slipped away from her. He had wrapped his arms around her a million times and held her tight when her best laid plans fell to pieces, people let her down, and she could no longer take the disappointment and sorrow. He brought over pizza and a movie on days when she felt like being lazy and told her jokes when she needed a laugh.

He had been there for her, and she thought it would be so easy to love him. She'd cared for him for ages, but it had crept up on her so gradually that she'd never taken notice of it before. She'd taken the affection they shared for granted, even thought she never intended to do so. How do you see a man when you have a god standing before you?

But now she realized that she'd been willingly blind, and she couldn't lie to herself any longer. She cared about Superman, but she cared about Clark Kent, as well. She had to decide in which direction to follow her heart.

On the one hand, you had the world's most perfect being. He was a dream made real, and he seemed to feel for her in the same way that she did him. With him, she could lead an extraordinary life; by his side, she couldn't help but be someone better than she was alone.

But he would never really be hers. There was always something untouchable about Superman, no matter how close they grew. There was a certain remoteness to him, a part of him she'd accepted that she could never have. When they were together, she knew he was always listening for that distant call for help so he could fly off to do what it was that he did best. And, as much as she loved that he was so willing to be there whenever he was needed, a small, ugly voice inside couldn't deny that she hated it every time he left her to do it. She hated that she was left behind, and she hated worse the sick feeling of fear that always lurked in the recesses of her mind - the fear that, this time, something would happen to him and he wouldn't come back. But, at the same time, there was part of her that had faith that he would never die; he would never be felled by such a human weakness. He would never truly leave her, and there was a huge part of her that depended upon that belief.

On the other hand, there was Clark. There were many things about Clark that she adored. She loved the way he'd go toe to toe with her and not back down. She loved the fact that, even when he thought her schemes were insane, he was right there by her side. She loved the way he smiled at her and the way she occasionally caught him looking at her out of the corner of his eye. She loved that he was the most comfortable thing in her life, even though he was the most aggravating and the most puzzling at the same time. She especially loved that, when he looked at her, she had the sense that he saw her for who she was and not who she pretended to be.

In many ways, Clark was the perfect guy for her. But, at the same time, she couldn't deny that there was something inside her that might want more. If she had never met Superman, she'd believe how easily she could wake up next to Clark every morning for the rest of her life. There was, in fact, no good reason why she wasn't running over to his apartment right now to tell him that nothing on earth could make her so stupid as to let him get away.

Except that she'd flown with Superman. Having done that, could she be content with quiet nights in front of the TV with Clark, watching old movies and laughing about the insane things they did together? Could a romantic dinner for two or a night on the town compare with a picnic above the clouds?

Could she dare to love him, when she knew he might leave her some day, either by choice or by the inevitable human frailty?

Who should she choose? The god who would never leave her but never truly be hers? Or the man she'd likely one day lose but have every moment until then? The man who caught her every time she fell, or the man who always stood by her side?

Lois Lane sighed and stared out over the lights of the city. She was so close to letting herself fall in love, one little step would take her over the edge. She just had to decide with whom she should take that risk, but it seemed like her heart would give her no easy answers to the questions that plagued her. So here she was. Standing on the brink.