Title: At the end of the world
Spoilers: None really
Disclaimer: I neither own nor profit off any works, including Smallville or DC comics
Summary: An end of the world tale.
At the end of the world, the hero rises from the debris, shaking his head and zeroing in on the lone heartbeat growing faint. The sun glows behind him, shadowing his features while the wind, a northern wind, brushes through and fills the holes in the cape tethered to his back. When he opens his mouth, wide and forceful, his scream is heard for miles. When he begins to run, faster than a speeding bullet, his steps are molted into the tar of the useless road and the town shakes with his determination.
He lifts into the air, scattered voices saying he's a bird, he's a plane. Our hero stops once on his journey, only to free a group of workers caught in a stairwell of a building losing strength. He has to free them and it eats at his time, slower and slower until finally he's placed them on the edge of town where he's taken the others. They watch him burn away, red and blue, above their heads and away into Metropolis's dismal skyline missing the spinning globe of The Daily Planet.
His ears pick up the sound of Wonder Woman grunting in hard work, Flash whizzing with food for the survivors, Green Arrow herding a group of children to the Kent farm, Batman using his bag of tricks to lure the monster to the epicenter of the devastated city. But what he's listening for now is the heartbeat of the woman, the strong woman who had evacuated her work place before falling victim to what has been called Doomsday. He hears many things, but not her heart, not the blood keeping her alive.
But he does finally hear her voice, the lyrics to a Whitesnake song he never learned the title of. In an instant he's at the ruins, shoveling away the fallen bricks and stepping through the broken glass, shouting her name as loud as the monster growled. His damsel doesn't hear him, not in the cocoon recklessly built for her, and so she keeps singing to keep herself awake. Suddenly, her world begins to move, crumbs of metal falling into her face and bits of concrete dropping over her bleeding leg. She knows she's met her end, and while she wishes she could go out swinging, she wishes more that she'd told her hero one last time that she loved him.
Then there's air, free air, gliding through the widening cracks, and his voice calls out to her again almost from another planet. Her hope rises, the flap of a butterfly's wings creating a tsunami. His voice is louder, frantic, and she calls out his name, the name she gave him years before, Superman, and the name she's called him since she met him, Smallville. He's come for her. He's alive. There's hope. The last of her shell gives way and he picks her up out of the manmade crater. She's never felt so soft before, breakable, and she hangs onto him as if the waves are going to carry her away from him. Cradling her in his arms, he tells her that nothing can separate him from the future Lois Lane Kent.
She wants to believe him, wants to believe the worst has met its end, but Doomsday is no ordinary foe. As they emerge onto street they hear the beast coming, moans and groans announcing the path he's taken. He looks down at her and she knows there's not enough time, even if he flies. He can't save her and the world, not this time. It takes seconds to convince him he has to let her down, and only seconds more surrounded by the loud crowd suddenly appearing from their hideouts to let him leave her with them.
She watches with them, the dust bursting into her lungs with every ragged breath and jagged bricks scraping across her already sick limb. There's a crack, a thunderous shake, and then a snarl before a red and blue blur hits the building opposite them. Halfway broken, the building falls in on itself for good, saluting the death, succumbing to fate. His soul mate jumps from behind the blocker and nearly runs to the rubble, but her new friends hold her back, trying to quiet her yells. The hero blasts up and she notices the red staining his face and his arms. She's only seen him bleed once.
Doomsday arrives, the road tearing underneath his spiked feet, his rough flesh grey and black like the buildings around it. Red eyes focus on the defiant creature he was sent to kill, and the battle continues. They punch, they tear, they kick, they throw. Superman uses his heat vision, searing a whole through the thick, rock, like skin of the monster. They're both weakening, the fight going on too long, each one nursing battle scars and forgetting wounds. And then, just when she thinks the war will never cease, the same hero who saved her, vanishes. There is no blur, no voice. Even the beast pauses in his motions, at a loss as to where his fiend has gone.
A collective gasp runs through the crowd. She hears the loud crying of a woman, the profanities she's offering harsh and unrelenting as she keeps saying Superman has abandoned them. The noise is too much and Doomsday hears it, his new toy found, and so he begins his slow walk toward the innocent crowd. He comes closer, and closer still, his ugly body almost shining in the glare of a fading sun. Her eyes wander to the sky, waiting for her husband because she knows he has not left her. She knows he has a plan to save them all.
The beast roars, climbing into their puny ear drums. That's when she sees him, dropping from the end of the universe with a speed she's never witnessed. It scares her, the flight, because it reminds her of a certain type of bird that literally risks its life to mate. Her eyes widen as her hero comes closer, less than a streak of colors, more an illusion. When their bodies slam into each other, she's thrown back by the force and covers her ears for their safety.
Superman screams, not a name, not a word, just a sound, as he pummels into his destroyer. They bend backwards, somersaults beautifully crafted for their guests, until Doomsday is in his hands held high above his head. He throws his burden down into the earth, and there he stands for long seconds after. He's finished. He's won. He's actually done it, and he nearly smiles in satisfaction. Nearly. Because that's when he falls, dangerously onto his face, tasting rotten Earth and shelled asphalt, the same as his Kryptonian enemy.
He doesn't feel her take him into her arms, wipe the blood from his face, brush his hair out of his eyes. He asks only one thing:
"Lois! You've been in there for nearly an hour!" The bathroom door opened and Clark Kent walked in with a raised brow directed to her body sitting on the tile beside the tub with an arm lazily tasting the bathwater temperature. "Any longer and our son's going to be a prune."
She looked at her son and rolled her eyes, eliciting a high laughter from the boy.
"Mommy's telling me the story!"
"Yeah," Lois splashed her hand on the water, sending sprinkles onto the dark haired boy's face. "And you just ruined all the atmosphere. Great job, Smallville."
"Yeah, Daddy! Great job."
Clark smiled, grabbing a folded blue towel and quickly shaking it out. "You're welcome, Jon. Hop up here."
Young Jonathan looked at his mother. Sighing dramatically, Lois nodded her head.
"Come on out, kid. Party Pooper Dad's going to get you to bed tonight."
"But what about my story?!"
The muffled voice from behind the blue towel gave them both cause to grin.
"What do you like about your mom's stories, bub? You don't understand half the words and they all start the same. At the end of the world Batman saved Superman." Clark gave a look to Lois who shrugged. "At the end of the world daddy cracked a joke." This time he didn't even bother to look at her smug face. "At the end of the world, mommy tried to cook and burned the apartment down." He gently rubbed his son's hair with the towel, and grinned at the boy's laugh before flopping the massive material over Jon's head.
Lois unplugged the tub, throwing a look over a covered head to her husband's face. "Jon, do you want your daddy to sleep in your bed tonight?"
"I'm sure," Clark shifted the towel from over Jon's head to hugging his shoulders, "I'll be hogging your covers some other night, Jon. But tonight, I'm staying with mommy no matter what, so why don't you tell her goodnight?"
At the pure dejection on his face, Lois nearly laughed into the black wet hair of Jon as he hugged her. His body pulled back but a small hand stayed, resting on her chin while his face drew together in a thoughtful frown at the darkness of her left cheek.
"Does it hurt a lot, mommy?"
She sighed. "Just a little bit."
When he leaned in and kissed her softly, just below the cut, she was overwhelmed by the fact he was so much of Clark. And she'd nearly lost it.
"Well what do you know?" She whispered. "It doesn't hurt anymore."
Jon smiled. "Then you can finish the story."
Ah, she gave Clark a look. There was her side.
Clark leaned against the doorway and watched her rub the tub down with a dishrag. Her dark hair, for the most part pulled up into a ponytail, rang wet with splashed water. When she stood, blindly throwing the rag to the hamper, the ascending pop of her bones made her sigh harshly. He walked in then, unable to keep himself from fitting his hands onto her hips and pushing her back into him. The sound of her breath catching traveled to his ears and he brought his head closer to her exposed neck, smelling the scent of detangling shampoo and feeling the soft swell of scar tissue that had never gone away after her ordeal with Doomsday. His hands traveled upward, rubbing her sides and then falling to her hips again.
It was hard to believe sometimes, that she was right there with him. Especially nights like these, nights where one of them shouldn't be here, but was. Her head fell back against his chest and her hands covered his, interlocking her digits with his and bringing them to close over her abdomen.
"No Superman tonight?"
"I think," Clark nudged her ear, "he deserves a night off."
"Well, it's about time."
Unlocking their hands and turning her in his arms until he caged her in again, he sighed. She stared up at him, the long cut under her left eye sharp and red, the bruise darker than purple and swallowing her cheek. He didn't know how he kept leaving her behind.
"I'm sorry, Lo."
Slowly, her hands taking time to measure the muscles of his bare arms, finally made their way to wind behind his neck. Her fingers rubbed against the ends of his hair, soft and dark in her gentle grasp.
"If you say that one more time," her breath came out in a huff, "I will pummel you with Kryptonite."
He knew better than to fight her on this, and so he curtly nodded his head, dropping the subject. She eyed him cautiously before relaxing under his hold and placing the right side of her face against the gentle fabric of his grey tank top. Clark started moving, a half a step to each side, swaying her gently, gaining the feel of a smile lighting her face. He cleared his throat before he started humming, low and deep, much more on key than she'd ever been able to manage. Whitesnake, the same song she'd sung when she was at the end of the world.
"At the end of the world, there was Lois and Clark."
Clark breathily chuckled against her hair. "At the end of the world there was Clark and Lois, and an unhealthy mix of the two in Jonathan Kent."
"I love you," she whispered, leaning up to kiss his lips smoothly.
Her husband followed her back down, catching her lips carefully, refusing to let her escape his hungry taste, never satiated.
"I love you," he breathed back, letting her regain her breath, find her balance in his grasp.
He smiled. "Well, it usually depends on whether or not you're proofreading my articles."
"Oh," she felt her brows raise and her lips pull apart. "Well, at the end of the world, the hero still needs to clean the bathroom. Okaythankyouverymuchbigman."
Giving him a slight pat on his chest she escaped from his arms and left him staring after her suddenly springy step.