Disclaimer: Since my name is Spunky Lily, and I am not, in fact, affiliated with Warner Brothers or DC Comics (sigh), I unfortunately do not own Bran--I mean, um, Superman. I also kind of borrowed a line from Alan Moore/Vertigo Comics... so. Sorry.
Author's Note: I'm reposting it, since I deleted it because I lose faith in readers too quickly. I'm kind of a review whore--I really want to know what I should improve upon, and what you guys think, because without people like you, the fandom is nothing.
Why the World Needs Superman
by Spunky Lily
"Lois, you ready yet?"
Naturally, she was not.
She was still clad in her pressed black skirt and white button-down shirt she'd worn to the Daily Planet that morning and had plopped on the end of the bed she shared with Richard White, staring vacantly into the abnormally blank screen glowing from her laptop. It had been two weeks since Columbia announced the ceremony had been rescheduled to present her Pulitzer and during that time, she'd sat there a grand total of twenty-three hours (not all in one sitting, of course), attempting to pen the hypocritical sequel to her famous editorial. She had yet to type past the bolded title—Why the World Needs Superman.
Since her widely covered near-death experience with Lex Luthor, the Pulitzer was the last thing pressing her mind. The postponed ceremony, she suspected, was more of a dare, now that it had been revealed to the world that she had played Superman's damsel in distress. A dare to correspond with her editorial—saying the world didn't need the Man of Steel when it was quite apparent that they, that she, did. Lois took risks, but dares were a different thing entirely.
"Lois?" Richard repeated, his voice muffled by the door between them.
"Coming," replied Lois, her own voice sounding millions of miles away from her body. She gazed at the screen, her fingers brushing involuntarily against the keys without making so much as a stroke. Suddenly, the opening of her bedroom door released her attention from the new editorial to the man standing in the doorway.
"You aren't even dressed yet?" Richard chided almost jokingly as she snapped the laptop closed.
"Sorry," she said unapologetically, smiling a little out of the corner of her mouth, "my middle name should be 'distracted' instead of 'Joanne.'"
"What were you working on?" he inquired with a sudden flash in his sky blue eyes, adjusting the tie on his suit as he stood nearer to her.
"Nothing," she lied without much effort, but avoided his probing eyes meeting hers, "just a little something for the Planet."
"Uncle Perry's got you working the superhero circuit?" he ventured a guess a little scathingly, ambling over to their closet.
"Not quite," Lois replied truthfully—her interest in Superman was no result of Perry White giving her the supernatural option, "it's nothing, Richard." He emerged from the closet with the wavy silk dress she'd planned to wear for the original ceremony. Even though she'd sent it to the dry cleaners twice, the smell of sea salt had seemed to have permanently embedded itself into the fibers. Her sly grin enveloped her whole mouth now, for him. "Thanks," she said, sealing her appreciation with a kiss on his cheek.
"No problem," Richard smirked in spite of himself. She turned around with the waist of the dress bunched up in her fist and, simply for the sake of drama, walked to the corner of the room began to unbutton her shirt.
"Waiting until the last minute just really isn't your style, though," he added, oozing sarcasm.
"I've been reconsidering my dangerous behavior," Lois smiled, zipping off the skirt and slipping into the soft embrace of her dress. She finally turned around to face him, making the bell-shaped bottom float across the air. "How do I look?"
"You exhibit a lot of pulchritude, Ms. Lane," Richard complemented.
She hooked his arm with hers, "How very Scripps Spelling Bee of you."
"Lois?" Richard said once the pair reached the hallway.
"What?" she let her arm slip from Richard's and fall limp against her side.
"Lois, let's make this night about you," he faced her, taking her arm again.
"As opposed to whom?"
He massaged his forehead, something she'd always noticed he did when he was upset or anxious, "You know."
And she did. She knew exactly what he was insinuating, and it made her stomach gargle thinking about it. Richard had done absolutely nothing wrong, and whatever she'd think of saying when she held the certificate her hand that night would be a slap in his innocent face.
She was balancing on risky scale. There was a risk of pain and suffering on both ends of the beam, and now it was a matter of deciding which was the lesser of two colossal evils.
"I do," said Lois after a while, her eyes downcast, "and I—"
"Mommy, you look nice," came a kind voice from the other side of the hall. It was Jason, standing admiringly in a stark white fitted pants and blazer set with a light cerulean tie spangled with indigo stars.
"Oh, wow, Munchkin, so do you!" Lois returned adoringly, "You got him a new suit?" she added to Richard in the same tone, eased to have something else to discuss.
"Yeah," he beamed approvingly, "Lilly Leto picked it out for him."
Jason scrunched his nose, "My tie's itchy, but Miss Lady Suit likes it. She said blue looks good on me."
By the end of the speech presented by the winner of the 'Criticism' award, it was a wonder Lois Lane was still conscious, so unlike many of her peers. This included Jimmy Olsen, who had drooled a little on the cloth strap of his old Kodak camera. Perhaps it was her heart hammering beneath her ribs, beating loudly to keep herself awake. Lois was rarely, if ever, nervous, especially when it came to speaking in front of others. She had rather a knack for getting behind the podium and not vomiting. It was one of the many things she shamelessly prided herself on. She didn't fidget or show any signs that would clearly say otherwise.
At the round table exclusively reserved for some of the Daily Planet's finer journalists, plus Jimmy taking pictures and Jason and Richard, its occupants began to regain posture and perception as they realized the critic had finally stepped off of the stage.
"And now," the host of the event claimed his place at the dais once more, quieting some of the mutterings in the crowd with his booming voice, "the recipient of this year's Pulitzer Prize for distinguished editorial writing—Lois Lane."
The audience gave an enthusiastic show of applause, hundreds of pairs of eyes watching her as she ascended from her seat to the stage.
This was it.
The host of the event shook her hand, passing on her certificate, "Good luck, Ms. Lane," he whispered in her ear huskily and gave a reassuring quirk of his lips.
"Thanks, Mr. Singer," she said long after he'd walked aside for her to stand in the limelight.
This was it.
She ambled purposefully to the glass podium, then adjusted the microphone so that it would be near her mouth, not up her nose. With a deep, clarifying breath, the words danced out of her mouth, as if what needed to be said had only just awakened from a long hibernation.
"Why doesn't the world need Superman?" she asked the audience, unsure if it was the microphone or her own voice cracking slightly at the last word, "I'm sure everyone in this room has read over the article, determined by their own opinions whether I was right or not, but apparently, a good majority thought of the former was correct. The article obviously had the effect I was trying to convey—not only upon the readers of the Daily Planet, but myself as well.
"You see, this article was borne from loneliness, from abandonment. I couldn't understand why Superman would leave m—us. I mean, what could be so important that he would have to put his daily saving-of-the-world on hold? But the world didn't seem to need a savior, after a while. The Earth still spun and people died and lived without his guiding presence. Life moved on, like it always does.
"And yet… and yet why did it? Why didn't the world crumble to dust without him to watch over?" Lois leaned into the microphone ever so slightly, her eyes falling onto the Daily Planet table. "And to that, I finally have an answer; ideas. Like Superman, ideas are bulletproof. Even more so than perhaps he even is. No, ideas… ideas are invincible—the idea of light he brought to a darkened world, it exceeded himself. I've seen it reflected everywhere I look, in everyone I see," the freckles of light in her eyes from flashbulbs sparkled dangerously as she exchanged a look with Clark, "ideas. Ideals. The world didn't forget him, what he'd shown us. I think with his return, he gave us a reminder of what we needed to remember, along with, you know… literally saving people." With that statement came a few nervous chortles.
"I think, inadvertently, he's saved us all, really. Whether it be from a diabolical plan or aliens or remembering to be strong in our own way, he is a, and forgive the lack of originality here, but… a hero," she gazed into the crowd, finally uttering a, "thank you—that's all I have to say," before the roar of the crowd engulfed her voice.
Later that night, Lois sat in front of her laptop.
The keys were clicking as she struck them.
Finally, she had something to write.