AN: I love the superman movies, not a big comic person in general though. I generally don't write from a particular point of view. This one is Lois's though. Italics are internal thoughts, not verbal.
Summary: Post Superman Returns. Richard is out of the picture. A few weeks after the end of the movie. Because of his absence in her life, she did her best to fill it in the five years he was gone. Now, alone again, the ache that never went away is back, and so is he.
I am a selfish woman. I want it all. Revenge, the scoop, the bylines, Him.
The realization comes as I watch blue ringlets of smoke drift from the tip of my cigarette. The red glow is faint in the darkness, growing bright momentarily as I shift on the damp grass. I shouldn't be smoking again; I really am trying to kick the habit. Not for any special reason though, just to prove I can. At least that's the only thing I'll accept as a reason.
The night is warm for the time of year and the leaves around the house have the faintest hints of yellow. Pulling my robe tighter around me, I stand and brush the grass that clings to the fabric away. Before I can turn and make my way back into the house, I hear the telltale sound of fabric being moved by wind. I am still motionless, it isn't me. After a moment's hesitation, I flick the cigarette down to the edge of the water and walk up to the back door without looking around. He's not going to catch me unarmed for this battle. It is a mantra I cling to like a life preserver. With a satisfying thud, I slam the glass door and bolt it.
Jason is sleeping. Richard is gone. I am alone and defenseless in this solitude. It was an easier thing to embrace when the daylight kept prying eyes and men from my home. The swishing of fabric has turned to the near silent thud of boots landing on the deck outside of my bedroom. Even without extraordinary hearing, I can sense his presence.
I won't give him the satisfaction of my approval for him being here. Instead I resolutely settle against the darkest corner in the kitchen, waiting. I am vaguely disappointed when his steps lead him not to me, but to my son's bedroom. Our son's bedroom. The thought leaves a metallic taste in my mouth, or maybe that's just the cigarette.
A lone minute has stretched and bent and shattered until nearly a half hour has past. Yet, his steps have not left the second bedroom on the right from the top of stairs. I wonder what he is doing. It is another fifteen minutes before I hear him stir. This time his journey is to me. Every thud of his footfalls plays an agonizingly slow drumbeat in my head. He is too close and there is nowhere I could run fast enough to escape him.
"Hello, Lois." My name seems to slip out almost as an afterthought. His large frame is leaning against the kitchen entry, blocking my path. The faint light in the room makes the blue he is wearing dark, almost colorless. I feel his gaze instantly, his steel eyes scanning, checking for cracks in the armor I've managed to put up. I'm doing my best to hide them, though I can feel the trembling begin already. Faint and irritating, it happens when he is around. I meet his blue gaze with my own finally, and offer no hello. I am not sure about his expression, but I think there is pain there. He does well hiding things like that. Mine is all anger, fired kept beneath the surface for too long.
"What are you doing here?" My voice is more choked than I would have liked but with the words past my lips there is little to do.
Why are you back to torture me?
I am bitter, angry, hurt, and sad, in love. But most of all I am selfish. He won't hurt me again, not the way he did when he left. Not the way he does when he touches me. And especially not because I am still in love with him. Selfishly, I want everything he has, his power, his passion, his strength. He offered it to me at one time. Now he offers it to any and every single human being in need of a savior. My savior walked, or flew, out the door five years ago. This, super man, came back. I don't find it an even trade.
The past weeks have been an agonizing whirlwind of pain, near death, more pain, and disappointment. Richard said he couldn't deal with it. What made him think I wanted to alone? Jason has been strong, though I know he wonders where Richard has gone. One day he'll figure out that he's not on some assignment.
No Jason, he's just never coming back.
"Lois?" The voice, that deep baritone that makes me want to close my eyes, brings me from my thoughts with a heavy frown. I blink slowly, trying to clear away everything in my mind and step from my place against the counter.
"I asked why you were here." This time there is no thickness, only bite to the words. If it bothers him, he doesn't show it, though he really wouldn't.
"I came to see if you're alright."
"What makes you think I wouldn't be?" I busy myself with pouring a glass of wine. Red, I never did like the white that Richard would pour with dinner. That rather callous thought brings a frown to my face and a sob catches in my throat.
Keep it together Lane, don't let the bastards get you.
"Lois, I…" He falters for the first time and I can see it throws him off. He is at a loss for words.
"You what? You wanted to say how sorry you are? Or maybe that you feel really bad? Or hey, is this another interview?" My voice is getting louder, and I throw a glance at the ceiling, listening for Jason to wake. When I hear nothing, I return my glare to Superman and cross my arms. He takes a step into the room, covering the distance between the counter and him in three long paces. For the second time that night, I am cursing my inability to flee. He and I are separated by a span of no more than two feet of tile and wood, which he could easily tear from the wall, or fly over. It seems though, as if he is holding on to that barrier as much I as am. "Am I a selfish woman Superman? Do I want too many things, things that I have no business wanting?" My voice is low, barely audible because I am doing my best to hide the tremble. He hears the words easily, and looks, for the first time, absolutely crushed.
You wanted to talk. So we'll talk about everything. You're the man of steel. I'm sure you can take it. But where was my armor? Where was my out?
"Of course you're not Lois. You want what any woman has the right to want." He seems a little unsure now, and he drops his arms, splaying his large hands over the tile of the counter. I stare at them for a long moment before turning away, managing a sigh that sounds like disgust as I do.
I really am sorry love, because this is going to hurt before it stops.
He must be able to see the battle raging inside me, I'm sure my shoulders have sagged and I'm holding tightly to myself. The effort of keeping it together is gradually tearing me apart. Before I realize what's happening, he pulls me to him, gently lifting me up, across the counter. I am facing him again, this time mere inches separate him from my crumbling façade. My hand is moving before I register it, the slap echoes in the darkness. He could have stopped it; he probably knew it was coming before I moved. But he just takes it stoically. Suddenly I am overtaken by all of the rage and anguish I've been carrying around for the past five years. I beat my fists against his solid chest over and over, at first I am screaming at him, cursing him, and telling him how much I hated him. But as the emotions drain away I hear myself telling him that I love him, and that I need him over and over again. My heart has betrayed my poise, my lips letting loose something I never intended to tell anyone again. Except for our son. Our Son.
His warmth is unbelievable, the strength in his arms instantly comforting. His embrace brings back fogged memories and the same old pain. I am aware of his lips, pressed lightly to my ear, whispering barely audible words of comfort. The heated breath barely teasing my skin causes an involuntary shudder. This is too familiar and yet the most alien thing in the world. My body is mutinous as I push him away. All I want to do is sink into him and let him dissolve the pain. But I can't give in again.
"Please don't." The whisper is nearly silent, but it crushes him just the same. Instantly he is withdrawn from me. My hand lifts slightly, almost reaching his wrist before he pulls away but I drop it and let him go. The warmth I had felt only seconds before has turned into a hollow cold.
"I…I'm sorry Lois."
'Sorry' isn't going to save me Superman. It might just kill me though.
But before I can say word, he has turned and fled. The last thing I see is the flash of red before I am alone again.
A few hours later…
I am unable to sleep and the glare of red from the clock is screaming that today isn't going to be a productive one if I don't at least try and get a few hours. It is too cold to sleep and despite the sheets and comforter, I still tremble off and on.
It is the shadow in the doorway that tells me I am not alone. I see him out of the corner of my eye first, just standing silently, watching me. His clothes are muted, a gray t-shirt and dark jeans. Sitting up, I see something in his hand but cannot make it out in the dim light. The last thing I notice are his bare feet and for some reason I can't fathom why he is not wearing shoes. It escapes me altogether that I have not seen him without the cape or the blue in years.
"I came because I needed to tell you a few things. I know it's been hard for you, everything that's happened in the past month. But…I don't know what to do anymore." As he finishes, I see him shrug helplessly. Mute, I reach over and switch on the dim lamp beside my bed. Its yellow glow casts shadows in the room that seem almost menacing. His presence soothes away those fears as he steps into the room fully. I shift over a bit and he settles heavily at the side of my bed. The depression in the mattress causes me to lean in towards him. The proximity is almost too much, but I stay still. I am secretly afraid he will flee again, leaving me to the shadows here.
Before now I could not make out what he carried in his hands, but as he sets it on the table I feel my heart jump in to my throat. They are innocuous in their seeming simplicity. Black plastic wrapped around two thin glass lenses. The implications they entail are far from innocent though, and for a long moment I cannot look away from them.
He can't be. He can't be. He can't be. He can't be. Not now. Not like this.
But he is, and I knew it would come sooner or later.
"Why are you showing me those?" Somehow I've found my voice and it is stronger than it has been in days. I am almost accusatory, unwilling to accept what he's showing me.
"I think you know why Lois."
"What the hell are you trying to prove?"
"That I've been lying to you for far too long, and you were the one person I promised I'd never lie to."
I cannot find anything to say to this, but he does not expect me to.
"You think by that revealing your secrets, and telling me you're sorry it will erase what's happened?" His sigh is loud, the breath causing his chest to swell under the fabric of his shirt. My hand twitches again, suddenly aware that his pain is visible. If I could have soothed it away I would have but I am too selfish to allow him relief when I've suffered.
"Of course not."
"The why do it now?" He looks at me fully for the first time, his blue eyes hold my gaze steadily, an array of emotions passing past them.
"Because I came to give you a choice. One I denied you last time." Instantly I know what he is talking about and a wave of nausea wells up. I never wanted him to leave me. I couldn't live if he did again.
You don't get that out again. It's not supposed to be that easy for you." Suddenly I see rage in his eyes, and it frightens me. He stands quickly, hands on his hips, shoulders tight beneath his shirt. Rather than regret my tone, I find myself growing irritated as well.
"You think leaving you was easy? Do you think if I had any other choice in the world, I would have made that one?"
"But you did have a choice." I spit, acid in my tone. If he is going to yell, then so will I.
"Damnit Lois, leaving the woman I was desperately in love with was the hardest decision I ever made! You didn't want me anymore. You couldn't even remember what we…" He cuts himself off abruptly and whirls to face me. There is no anger in his features anymore, just sadness permeating his body. His shoulders have sagged and his hands are motionless at his side. "You couldn't even remember what we'd had before I left. And as Clark, you didn't even want me. I thought you had moved on. And it made me happy."
"Happy!? You've got to be kidding me Clark! You're the one who made it perfectly clear you didn't want me. You were the one who left for five years. You're the one who left me to raise our son. Our son. I was devastated when out of nowhere Superman and my partner disappeared." I am livid now and shouting at him again. It only takes three steps to reach him before I am in his face. When he drops his eyes, I reach up and roughly take hold on his chin, lifting until he has no choice to meet my glare. "What on this planet or any other would have made you believe I'd be happy if the man I was in love with left me?" The sudden silence in the room is startling and affects us both. It takes him a long moment to answer me, and the quiet grows almost unbearable.
No more. Not again. Give me everything. But keep it from hurting anymore.
"I'm sorry Lois. I'm so sorry. I never wanted to hurt you. I never wanted to leave you." His apology is wrought with pain and terror and anguish. The Man of Steel is as vulnerable as the humans he saves everyday in this moment. Something in me breaks and before I know what I'm doing, I have collided with him and we have sunk to the floor. The warmth of tears on my cheeks surprise me, I did not think I had any more to cry. My surprise is doubled when I feel moisture on his face as well. I didn't know he could cry. This revelation is the most shattering thing I could have ever learned.
"I love you. I never stopped." And it's true. For the first time since he's been back, I've admitted it. With the admission I am dying to hear him say the words. If I am going to be vulnerable for his sake, then I need him to be too.
Please God, just this once. Just right now. Don't let him run from me.
The silence stretches on for an unbearable time, though it could only have been a few seconds. And then, barely audible, I hear him. Warmth floods my body again, but I am still trembling. Burying my head against his shoulder, I sob once and close my eyes.
"I love you too. More than anything in this world."
AN: Alrighty, that was fun. I suppose reviews would be nice. I've got to get enjoyment out of life somehow. Like it? Loathe it? Don't even know what the hell I was going on about? Drop me a line and I'll heart you for life.