A/N: Yes, I am currently knee deep in another fic right now, but Marcy had to go and be born in the middle of fic season, so I'm starting another one. The story you are about to embark upon is a birthday fic, and for those that know how we do - you know that there is a certain amount of guaranteed madness that comes with my birthday fics... and our birthdays last a week long (because that gives me time to complete the gifts - Shhh!). For those that don't know - well, now you know.
This story is dedicated to my pal Marcy (VisionGirl) to commemorate another year of life. Thank you for being a friend... travel 'round the world and back again. Your heart is true. You're a pal and a confidante. And if you threw a party... oh, sorry. Got a little carried away there. What I meant to say was, Happy Birthday! Hope that you enjoy this little ditty.
Note: This fic borrows from all sorts of places. You've been warned. And FYI- alternate universe means that If I don't explicitly say something SV-verse related happened, then it didn't happen.
Oh, and it has a built in soundtrack. Don't ask... just go with it.
An urban classic alternative fairy tale told in three parts
Happy Birthday to Marcy
Poster: http: / img502.imageshack.us/img502/692/octsandsposteroc2.jpg
This story begins, as most stories do, in a generic setting, amidst generic characters, and at a generic time. Whether or not those things become significant is what our tale hinges upon...
At the sound of the voice, the dark-haired teenager turned around, stepping back from the ledge as he did so. "I… I wasn't…"
The girl smirked, holding back a laugh, and approached him slowly. She had long hair – dark brown, and gently curled at the ends. "Relax. Anyone who takes that much consideration to even peek over the edge is not likely to jump," she teased. She brazenly walked past him, no hesitation apparent, and leaned with crossed arms against the low concrete wall that bordered the rooftop.
"It's a great view," she observed, sighing and gazing at the city which spread out below and beyond.
The boy wiped his hands on his jeans and stepped in her direction. "It's nice," he said easily, purposely not to looking down.
She laughed at his discomfort and grabbed his arm, pulling him the rest of the way to the wall and holding him in place. "It's okay, I've got you."
He swallowed, embarrassed by his fear and the fact that a total stranger had picked up on it. "Yeah, but who's got you?" His attempt at humor sounded weak and oppressed.
She didn't answer his question; simply tilted her head and gazed up at him with a confident and thoughtful smile.
Feeling the unexpected urge to return the smile, and slip into it, he cleared his throat. He was suddenly aware that the height was no longer the scariest thing in his atmosphere. "You didn't really think I was going to jump, did you?"
"No," she answered. "But you've been inching your way to the edge for the last 20 minutes. It looked like you could use a push."
He swallowed again and relaxed. The feel of cool concrete secure beneath his hands. "It really is a great view."
She nodded. "It's high," she observed, acknowledging his initial apprehension, "but not the highest." She pointed to the neighboring skyscraper that arched above them into the night. "We're at this comfortable place where we get to choose to go back down among the normal, or go up to the next level."
He blinked, unsure if he understood the depth of her statement at the level of philosophy it sounded like it was carrying. He looked down at where her arm was still resting against his, as if she realized that it helped. "This is kind of an odd conversation to have with someone you don't know."
She shrugged. "It's 10:30 on a Thursday night, and even though you have a fear of heights, you're on the roof of the Daily Planet building, contemplating how you're going to cope with whatever experience led you out here. I think I know you well enough."
He frowned at her and she laughed again. "I'm Lois."
At her expectant look, he stammered a reply. "Clark."
"Now we're not strangers."
He couldn't help but chuckle. She was unlike anyone he'd ever met. Mysterious, yet straightforward; complex, yet simple; open, yet somehow jaded. "Why are you out here late on a Thursday night?"
She twisted her neck, moving her hair from her shoulders, and inhaled deeply, taking a moment to absorb the night. "Communing… preparing," she answered. "One day I'm going to work here."
His eyebrows lifted. "Here, as in the Planet? You want to be a reporter?"
"I want to fight for truth… for justice. This has always been the symbol of it for me." She pointed across the city. "That's Met-U over there. They have one of the best journalism programs in the country. I'm going to graduate from there with honors, have an internship with the Planet by my junior year, and start taking over the front page the first day I'm employed full-time."
"Damn," he muttered, both awed and shocked… maybe even a little intimidated. She flushed and he found that he liked it. "I mean, wow. I've never met someone our age who knew exactly what they wanted to do with the rest of their lives. I don't even know what I'm going to do tomorrow."
She turned around, leaning backwards against the ledge and crossed her arms on her chest. "Do you want me to tell you?"
"Tell me… what I'm doing tomorrow?" he asked, confused.
"Tomorrow's easy," she said. "I'll tell you what you're going to do in the future." Her eyes narrowed as she studied him. "You are going to travel to many places and see lots of things that will help you decide what type of force you will be in the world."
He laughed at her generic premonition. "And how do you know this?"
"I have a crystal ball," she replied, indicating with her head that he should turn around as well.
He turned around and found himself looking up at the massive iconic Daily Planet globe, slowly turning on its illuminated pedestal; a beacon of amber-hued metal against the night sky.
Musical Interlude 1.1: http: / youtube com /watch?vZeJ4qXwPfPY
Lois pushed herself back so that the brunt of her weight was on her legs and calves instead of her knees, and lifted a tremulous hand to her damp brow. Sensing a presence behind her, she turned to see the furious expression on her father's face.
"How long have you been standing there?" she asked wearily.
"Long enough to know what this is about," Sam Lane growled. "How long?"
Lois let out a long breath, flicking the briefest of glances down at her midsection.
"How long, Lois?" His voice had dropped an octave and left no option but response.
She swallowed. "12 weeks."
If he had looked furious before, the additional information made him look ready to explode. He didn't immediately respond, instead taking the time to do some mental calculations. The knuckles in his right hand were white from the pressure he was exerting while holding onto the knob of the bathroom door he'd entered a few minutes earlier.
Finally, he cleared his throat and spoke, not feeling nearly as calm as he sounded – but then, that was part of his training. "I'm surprised… disappointed," he said. She had done a hell of a job hiding symptoms from him that he had seen his wife go through twice before. "Luckily, there's still time enough for us to deal with it."
The succinctness of his words gave Lois a surge of energy she had been lacking. She rose to her feet and lifted her chin defiantly. "No, Daddy."
They locked gazes for a moment, two tigers on opposite sides of their prey – and then he released the door and walked away. Lois immediately followed, catching him before he had fully made it out of her bedroom.
"No," she repeated, forcefully, unable to help the way her eyes started to blur from impending tears.
Sam turned to face her, his posture and demeanor unrelenting. "No? You are my child. My child. A seventeen-year-old girl who hasn't yet gotten a high school diploma has no business trying to have a child of her own. Have you thought about this? Have you thought about what it means for you? For your life?"
Lois stepped back, a bit shaken. She hadn't really thought about it, in truth. She had been trying not to think about it. She was just trying to feel. It was what she had done that night.
"I didn't think so," Sam answered his own question, taking her silence to be confusion. Then, tenderly almost pleadingly, he continued, "Let me do the thinking on this one, Lo. You haven't been doing such a good job of it lately."
He left the room, and this time Lois didn't run after him. Instead, she lay down on her bed and curled into a ball.
She decided that she was too mentally tired, too sick, and too physically drained at that moment to fight with her father. She didn't have an argument prepared that would explain the feeling she had been caught up that night. She didn't have the words to describe the pull she felt to a person she only knew by first name.
That fateful day, ten weeks ago, she had 'escaped' from the Washington D.C. military base her father was stationed at and had taken a train to Metropolis. Her intention had been to just enjoy the city, to walk the grounds of Metropolis University, and to saturate herself in the dreams of her future she'd had since she'd been young girl. Meeting a handsome man named Clark who had charmed her with his adorable vulnerabilities and quiet strength had been happenstance.
Growing up under the overprotective hand of a three-star general had eliminated any chances of believing fairy tales to be true, but that night had offered proof that people could fall in love at first sight – even if it wasn't meant to last. The lack of sustainability didn't mean that it didn't happen. And as much as that night seemed like a dream, it had definitely happened. She had growing proof of that.
The morning she had woken up in the arms of the boy she'd given her heart to had been the safest she'd ever felt. For the first time, she hadn't been the only child of a military man who'd lost his wife and second daughter in childbirth. She hadn't felt the pressure of being her father's end-all – living a life to meet the invisible standards of three people. Clark hadn't known all of that, and it hadn't mattered.
What she had told Clark – her aspirations – had been a surprise. It was something she didn't tell many people, and perhaps it was the fact that they didn't know the other menial stuff about one other that made it all okay.
Except it hadn't been all okay just a few hours into the next morning when she'd noticed a military police officer lock eyes with her and reach for his walkie-talkie. Contrary to public perception, the military was a small world, and Lois had run away enough times to know that her picture had already been sent to all the necessary channels. She hadn't explained to Clark why they were running through the crowded streets of Metropolis, and when they had gotten separated during the train crossing mid-ride, she had yelled for him to meet her at the Crystal Ball.
Unfortunately, the small world that the military was had her father magically waiting for her when the train pulled to a stop at the next station. There was no crystal ball for her that night - her magic pumpkin had turned into a plane ride to Texas, where her father's new station meant another new school and another new life for her.
For Clark Kent, the rooftop of the Daily Planet had become a fortress of solitude of sorts. No longer did the vast height bother him, and he spent many nights leaning against the ledge replaying the events of the night so long ago that ended far too soon.
For the first few days following their separation, he had gone to the roof every day hoping that Lois would be there, hoping that he hadn't imagined the connection, and wishing that he'd asked her for her last name.
Six months had passed, and in all that time, she had never been there. His visits were less and less, diminishing at the same rate as his optimism. He had thought he'd fallen in love that night, but as time steadily passed by, he began to realize that there were other explanations for what had happened.
He had buried his father the day before he met Lois. A sudden heart attack had stripped away his innocence, his hope, and had changed his life forever. As much as his mother would have told him differently, Clark couldn't help but feel responsible for his father's condition – so he didn't tell his mother about his guilt. He kept those feelings inside, trying to be strong for his mother, trying to be the man his father would have expected him to become in that dark moment. The night after the funeral, though, he had reached his limit. His mother was lost in her own mechanism for coping and he had found that he needed air.
Feeling smothered by sorrow and guilt, he'd gone outside of the yellow farmhouse that he'd grown up, entered the fields that his father had loved and toiled over, and started to run. Inexplicably, he'd found himself airborne. And then, even more inexplicably, he'd found himself on the roof of the Daily Planet… being pushed to grow up.
The fact that he'd been vulnerable emotionally gave reason for his sudden acceptance to Lois's natural charisma. It explained why he, a person who had grown up hiding his true self from everyone around him, had peeled back some of those layers and let her touch his heart so effectively. It also explained why he had to let her, and all she represented, go.
The muscles in Clark's jaw tensed as he gazed out over the city that would forever remind him of a faded dream. Time had started to heal the wound that had consumed his family, and his high school graduation had been a welcome opportunity for celebration. Now it was time to move on to the next level. Wherever, and whatever, that was.
Stepping back from the ledge and looking around to make sure there were no curious eyes about, Clark made a fist and launched straight up into the air so quickly that had anyone seen it, they would have just thought he'd disappeared.
"Don't you dare walk away from me!"
Lois spun away from her father, trying to dislodge his hand from her arm. She knew he wouldn't hold her with enough force to harm her even though their relationship had become unbelievingly strained.
There had been numerous battles and numerous casualties, but Lois felt that she had won the war – after all, she was seven months pregnant.
"No," she said, matching his level of determination and fury. "I have to do this."
Sam didn't release his hold even as people walking past the restaurant they were standing in front of began to shoot them concerned looks. "I'm tired of this, Lois. When are you going to come to terms with the fact that he's not there. He's never been there, and he's not ever going to be there."
"You don't know that," she countered. "I've only made it back here twice before – every other time you've stopped me."
Sam's brow furrowed. "I would have stopped you this time as well. Damnit Lois! As much as you claim to want this child, you're not acting responsible enough to have it. How did you even talk your way on an airplane anyway?"
The question was rhetorical at best – he knew that he wasn't going to get an answer, and in truth, he didn't expect one. She didn't look seven months pregnant – something the doctors attributed to her youth and the fact that it was her first pregnancy – and airline personnel wouldn't have suspected that she was in her final trimester.
It had taken him a day to make the arrangements with his superiors so that he could fly out to find her. Luckily, he'd known exactly where to go. He didn't understand the sentiment behind his daughter's connection to the Metropolis landmark, but he'd found her there all the same.
"You were up on that building all day yesterday," he told her. "There's no need to go there again. You're coming home with me."
"Home?" she asked, momentarily stilling in her struggles to pull away. "To Korea? I'm not going back. I'm tired of this nomadic life, Daddy, and I don't want my son to have to live it."
"And you think that some no-name teenager is going to magically appear on the roof of some building and suddenly want to create a home with you? How will you live? How will you support yourself? Your child?"
She flinched at the reality the questions were bringing home for her. "I don't know," she said softly. And taking advantage of the fact that her father's attention was focused on his anger and not on his grip, she wrenched away. "But I have to try!"
She dashed away from his reach, moving quicker than she'd even thought she was able, and stumbled as she tripped off of the curb… and into the street.
Musical Interlude 1.2: http: / youtube com /watch?vc5ykDmAHQLM