Author's Notes: takes place after i like it here. Lois POV. Enjoy!
p.s. this is my 200th story on . Go me.
i think i'll stay awhile
I love you by and by.
I don't know if I'd survive without a friend like you in my life.
– Brett Dennen
There are lot of reasons why Lois Lane will never be with Clark Kent. For one thing, he listens to country music, and that's just embarrassing. For another, he lists stargazing as one of his favorite hobbies, and beg your pardon, but Lois needs a man who is, well, a man.
And okay, she was more than willing to admit that he's a hunka hunka burnin' love, what with those arms and the eyes and the lips, but he also spent Friday nights watching Jeopardy with his mom and talked about as fast as a turtle with a stutter. He was a nice guy, sure, who didn't judge her when it turned out she was the worst pseudo-parent ever and had inadvertently raised a criminal mastermind, or when she told him she'd been kicked out of Met U, or even when she'd freaking cried after the split with Oliver; but he also didn't know how to let go of things (like Lana) and didn't know which ones to hold onto (like Chloe). He hated drama and she was addicted to it, and they would kill each other if they every tried to make a life out of that.
Which didn't, of course, stop her from moving in with him. The truth of it was that she just couldn't stand her empty apartment anymore, because as much as she liked having a place all to herself it was just too damn quiet at night. Lois needed noise, she needed company, she needed people. And okay, so Clark maybe wouldn't provide her with a whole lot of noise, but he was the ideal roommate: he was a presence in the house to remind her that she wasn't alone, and easy to ignore when she needed space. Once she took it over, he never went into his old room without being invited and for all his complaining about the shower he never actually made serious on his threats to cut the hot water off on her.
And he kept the most awkward hours of anyone she'd ever met, so Lois had plenty of time to bring Superman to the balcony.
He still unnerved her, with his wide alien eyes, and that way he had of smiling at her like he knew everything she'd ever said or done, but it didn't matter. Lois Lane fell face over feet.
Of course, she knew she was biting off more than she could chew; after all, she'd broken up with Oliver for the very reason that she knew she couldn't be with a hero, for fear of being left behind. (Life has taught Lois nothing if not this: you have to leave them before they leave you. It took her mother, her father, Lucy, and countless friends and boyfriends to teach the lesson, but once it stuck it stuck.) But it was hard to remember all her logic when he'd grabbed her by the waist and used his body to protect her from explosions or caught her mid-fall from a helicopter.
"We've got to stop meeting like this," she joked one day, as he landed gently on her balcony and set her on her feet.
"Then maybe you should stay out of trouble for a while," he retorted with a small smile. "What am I going to do with you, Lois Lane?"
She'd simply grinned at him and straightened her jacket, and before she could come up with a reply he'd gone. Seconds later Clark walked through the front door, looking worn, and she'd gone inside to let him make her dinner.
"You look… windswept," he'd commented, amused. "Chicken or meatloaf?"
"Meatloaf," she answered decidedly. "With that yummy sauce your Mom makes."
They'd bantered cheerfully as he cooked and by the time they'd finished he looked less exhausted. She cleaned up (Lois Lane is many things, but never a mooch) and he settled down on his bed to watch Star Trek. She went to the bedroom to put on her pajamas and by the time she got back he'd fallen asleep.
On her side of the bed.
Lois looked down at him, exasperated, and went back to her room. But her bed was strangely uncomfortable and unfamiliar, and she fidgeted for about an hour before giving up. She grabbed her favorite pillow and crawled into bed beside Clark, curling into a ball in the indent his body had made after months of sleeping in the same position.
Sometime during the night, she woke up to find him gone. She didn't know where he went or why, but she was used to it. She figured he must have contacts that kept odd hours, and she never bothered to ask him about it. Clark would tell her when he wanted her to know, of that much Lois was certain.
So she simply reclaimed her side of the bed and went back to sleep. In the morning he had coffee ready.
Things with Lana are tense for a bit after The Breakup, but Lana's a sensible girl. And smart enough to know that Lois and Clark are like fudge and halibut—completely incompatible in every way. And Clark is still head over heels for her, that much is obvious; the way his eyes automatically follow her when she walks through the door or the way that he flushes red whenever she looks at him.
It's frankly annoying. If Clark knew what was good for him he'd let go of a decades-long disaster.
The first time they fight, and I mean really fight, not just harmless barbs or banter, it's about Superman. Clark is sensitive about the subject, oddly dismissive, impressed without being awed. The day before Superman had rescued a boatload full of children at the expense of a van full of nuns, and ever since Clark had been in a foul mood. As was his luck, Perry assigned him to write the article, and upon proofreading Lois found her hackles rising.
"It's not his fault, Clark," she'd informed him testily. "You're writing like you think he should have done better."
He'd simply looked at her, his gaze shuttered. "He could have saved both," he said flatly. "If he'd tried harder. If he'd been faster, reacted quicker, if he'd—"
"Developed psychic abilities? Jesus, Clark, he's not God!"
"No, but he moves faster than the speed of light, burns things with his eyes, cools things with his breath, and, oh, can hear things on the other side of the world. And you don't think those talents are enough to be able to save twelve nuns and fifty kids?"
She'd gaped, having never seen this side of Clark before. Usually he was the all-forgiving, all-loving salt of the Earth; but here his tone was accusing, almost hateful, and certainly bitter. "He did the best he could," she snapped, throwing the article onto the counter.
"Well, it wasn't good enough," he spat back. "I hope to God that's not his best." Then he'd turned his back on her and trashed what was left of his dinner. "I'm going out," he told her flatly.
She slept in her own room that night. Well, she didn't sleep; but she stayed there, anyway, uncomfortable and awkward on a bed she was unused to.
For the next week they barely spoke, and Lois hardly saw Superman. He saved her from a flood in Tulsa and didn't say to words to her during flight; he simply put her down on try ground and was off again. Lois wondered if maybe he'd heard the conversation with Clark.
By Sunday Clark broke down and apologized. He said he was sorry; he'd been in a terrible mood and had no right to take it out on her. That night she fell asleep with her head in his lap and woke up to find herself curled up against his chest.
And that's when Lois Lane knew she was in serious, serious trouble.
"Chloe," she said slowly over lunch, "Do you think it's possible to be in love with two people at the same time?"
Chloe cocked her head to the side. "I don't know," she answered. "I guess it depends. Who are you in love with?"
Lois buried her face in her hands in shame. "Clark," she muttered through her fingers, "Clark and Superman." She looked up with a self-depreciating grin. "I know, who'd have though, right? If anybody is fudge and halibut, it's those two. And Lord forgive me for falling for Smallville, that slow-paced farm boy, but…"
Chloe just laughed at her, patting her arm. "Yeah, Lois. I think it's possible. And they're a lot more alike then you know."
She winked, footed the bill, and whisked away to her latest story. Lois stayed after, sipping her coffee slowly, wondering how she'd managed to get herself into this dilemma.
Wondering how she was supposed to choose between her best friend and the savior of the human race.
"This," she said dismally to herself, "is my rotten Lane Luck."