My second story on .
Thanks go to Drvr8 who is an awesome BETA on this and my other one-shot.
Disclaimer: I don't own Smallville or Superman or Israel Kamavivo'ole
Summary: This is a future fic inspired by 'SUPERMAN: Camelot Falls', and the Kingdom Come Again Earth-22 story arc and Israel Kamawiwo'ole, RIP, Somewhere Over the Rainbow - beautiful song. For those unfamiliar with the Earth-22 storyline. My story begins with the moment that Kal-El-22 comes upon Lois, who has just been mortally wounded by the Joker. This is a Clois version of that scene.
I highly recommend listening to that song before or after, maybe during if you like that.
Like Lemon Drops
The Present: 2045
He stands in frozen shock, arms hanging uselessly at his side, eyes glued to the torn and twisted body on the ground, the sound of air rattling through bloodied lungs unnaturally loud in the silence.
He seems lost. And in that moment he is truly the loneliest man on the planet.
He is afraid that she is already gone.
"C-Clark," she gurgles his name, and it is a struggle to say even one syllable.
He rushes to her side, lifts her head carefully in his lap, and his eyes hurt.
His fingers trace the lines of her face. She smiles, bluish lips against a wan face streaked with blood, leaning into his touch. Her eyelids flutter open, and he wants to run away and hide at the sight of her pain. And he hates himself because he is such a coward.
"Y-you're like an angel - "
He sobs then. Loud, ugly sounds from somewhere deep in his chest, "No - "
"Shhhhh," she whispers, "You mustn't cry. Okay. If you start, then I'm going to start."
He can't seem to stop himself.
"Hey, Smallville. You're - getting me all wet - quit b-blubbering like baby." She pulls a shadow of her old smirk.
And he laughs despite himself.
And she wants to tell him that he has the most beautiful smile in the world. That she'd count her life complete because she got to bask beneath that smile every day for the most important years of her life.
But the words never make it past her lips.
* * *
Lois wakes up with a start, jerking her head from the pillow beneath her cheek, her stomach oddly unsettled. Turning onto her back she flings an arm onto the other side of the bed, expecting to hit a solid body, but comes across nothing but empty air and cold sheets. Clark. She peers around the darkened room, goosebumps prickling across her flesh when she notices the open window.
Swinging her legs out, stuffing her feet into her old, ratty bunny slippers, she shuffles across the floor and shuts the window with a clang. Clark usually closed it when he slipped in late at night. Glancing at the bedside clock, 3:00AM.
Moaning in discomfort, she rubs at her abdomen. She'd learned years ago to trust her gut instinct, to know that whatever feeling her gut produced was usually spot on. Her gut feeling told her something was off tonight. Resolving to go and make a cup of chamomile tea to calm her tummy, she begins to head downstairs. As she steps out of the bedroom she hears a loud creaking noise, and the tinny sound of glass against something metallic. Tensing, she grabs at the nearest object - a bright red umbrella - and creeps forward, ire increasing with each step. Someone was in her home. Breathing quietly, she looks carefully into the murky living room, and sees nothing but silhouetted furniture. She laughs to herself when she looks at the umbrella again, recalling a similar incident with a loofah and an unexpected flash. Releasing breath she didn't know she was holding, she relaxes a little, it must be the wi -
"You can put down the umbrella. It's only me," a voice quietly spoke up.
Gasping loudly, Lois clutches at her chest as she notices a particularly large shadow sitting on the couch. How had she missed him before?
He doesn't respond. She slowly distinguishes his form in the darkness; he is slumped forward in the chair, head bowed low, shoulders hunched.
She hasn't been married to this man for eight years without learning to read his most subtle expression, the lines of his body, the way he turned his head.
This is not good.
She moves towards him cautiously, bypassing the lamp, knowing that he doesn't want the lights on. The sour-sweet smell of whisky wafts strong the closer she gets to him. The situation is even more fraught than she surmised if he's imbibing alcohol.
"I - missed you in bed tonight, Smallville," She says quietly as she blinks several times to try and see him in the darkness.
He takes a long swallow from the tumbler in his hand, and then refills it to the brim. Finding a relatively soft lamp, she flicks it on. The room is still cast in shadows, but at least she's able to see his face, his eyes. He flinches away from the light, as though it's as bright as the midday sun, his body curling further in on itself.
Lois decides to bite the bullet. Moving forward, she plants herself on the table in front of him, grabs the bottle and tumbler and places them on the table behind her with a dull plonk. Clark doesn't even bother to struggle, relinquishing the objects without protest. He refuses to look at her still. From seemingly out of nowhere, Clark hands her a warm mug.
Lois takes just a moment to take a whiff of chamomile tea and asks, "How?"
"I heard you waking five minutes ago and knew you would need one," he says quietly.
Lois brings a hand close to his face, glancing across the skin of his chin, forcing his head upwards. He resists, but caves before her relentless touch. She bites her lip when she notices the sheen of tears on his cheeks. Her gut had been right, it had been one of those nights for him.
Softly she asks, "What happened?"
He is quiet for a time. Simply breathing softly with her right next to his side, his own body heat more comforting than the mug in her hands.
"I saved those people in Shanghai. Then I flew to Khartoum, helped to stop a building fire there." Clark stopped to look out the window as if gazing directly into it again.
"While I was getting a few people out, I heard screams," Clark turned back to look at the wall again. She knew he could hear practically anything or anyone in the world with his hearing. Screams were always the thing that he listened for most, they always meant he had very little time to act.
Clark began again after a soft sigh, "A mother, and her little girl - right here in Metropolis. Domestic dispute, the husband was beating her to death right before the child's eyes. I tried to leave Sudan, but the building collapsed, trapping ten people inside."
Lois ran her fingers through his hair, detecting the acrid smell of smoke, and across the shield on his chest, she could feel grains of dirt and dust, evidence of the digging he must have had to do to pull them out.
"I thought I-I could be fast enough to do both. I remember carrying the last two people out of there, and I could hear a child screaming, and screaming for her mother." Lois knew that his ability to recall events was perfect. Clark had always possessed a photographic memory and the ability to take down every detail in all the interviews they'd conducted together before she found out his second job. She realized he was probably hearing those screams over and over and over in his head and she gripped his hand and squeezed as hard as she could.
"I started to fly towards Metropolis, I w-was just over Hob's Bay, maybe a second or two from the apartment and I heard gunshots." Clark looked down at the coffee table. "Three. One for the mother. One for the daughter. One for him," tears leaked in earnest, "I was t-too late, Lois. I - "
Lois stands quickly, and pulls him into a hug, tucking his head against her chest,
"It wasn't your fault, baby."
He rears back, angry,
"How can you say that? You don't know - I-if only I was a little faster, o-or stronger or -"
She cuts him off, "No. There was nothing you could do."
His face crumples, the spate of anger leaching away, "I-I can hear them, Lo - and I can't get them to stop."
"I'm not gonna try rationalize this for you, Smallville. Because bad things happen to good people and they don't make sense. There's no profound cosmic reason - and there's nothing that we can do about it. You're not a god, Clark."
"But they think I am, Lois. They've entrusted their safety into my hands, and I failed them. I - failed them," his voice cracks.
"No! I'm not a god, but I make life and death decisions every day. I end up deciding who lives or dies and every time someone dies that I can't get to, I fail. And I failed tonight. I didn't anticipate fast enough, I took too long on one of the rescues, I shouldn't stop and talk to people, I just need to move and save them, keep saving them. That way I'm not a failure. That way they can all live and no one dies – "
Lois slaps him, halting the rising hysteria of his outburst. He has the presence of mind to move with the momentum of her hand. She'll probably have a sprained wrist, an aching palm in the morning.
"Just stop!" She takes a moment to rub at her wrists. "Smallville, you can't do that to yourself."
Clark's eyes widen at the vehemence in her voice, the sparks of fury in her eyes,
"Every single day I watch you. I watch you go out and save the world. I stand in front of that TV at the Daily Planet and I see you hold tornadoes in the palm of your hand, toss Golden Gate bridges into space, fight beings from worlds I never even knew existed. You're a f**king hero Clark because you care - God! You're more human than anyone I know -"
"But - "
"Smallville. One of the hardest things about being human is knowing that sometimes, even if you have all the superpowers in the world - sometimes shit happens. And it hurts but you have to keep getting up, and you have to keep fighting. Because that's living. Running away from that - that's what makes you a coward. That's what makes you a failure."
His voice is small like a little boy's,
"But why should I keep fighting? Sometimes - sometimes I'm so tired, Lois. I j-just want to rest."
"Because even when you want to curl up and die - even then - there's still something left to hope for, to fight for, to love - "
"It's never enough though. I save some of them and someone else is doing something terrible the next moment or a disaster is taking place again. But the worst of it is when people that are supposed to love each other, hurt each other. Why can't they be happy? Why can't I make them happy?" Clark looked at her intensely.
"Sweetheart, happiness exists because it's fleeting. And even if it's just five seconds, it's worth all the other shit that comes to bite us in the ass."
And Clark chuckles. That's my Lois.
She grins at him, knowing that the worst of it is over. A little sad, because like all the other times, this one will scar him, and come back to haunt him again and again. But for now, he smiles.
"Dance with me, Smallville."
She takes his hand, backing out through the French doors and onto the balcony.
"We don't have any music."
"And you don't have two left feet up there in the clouds, so that's something at least."
They grin at each other foolishly. He brings her hand to his lips, kisses the tips of her fingers, with a courteous half-bow, "May I?"
He brings her close, burying his face in her hair, as she lays her head against his chest. He begins to sway in the air, through wisps of clouds gilded silver beneath the moonlight.
Lois sings under her breath, "I see trees of green... And clouds of white - Mhmmmm. I can hear your heart beat. So strong," she has a teasing lilt in her voice, and laughs.
* * *
"And now, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, for the very first time - finally - Mr. and Mrs. Clark Kent!"
Somewhere over the rainbow,
Way up high...
He leads her across the pinewood floor, and immediately twirls her away from him with a flourish. Lois quirks a brow at his unexpected move, head tilted, and giggles,
"Hm. Someone's been practising..."
Clark shrugs his shoulders self-deprecatingly, and pulls her back towards him. He can't tear his eyes from her. She fits perfectly in the notch betwen his chin and shoulder, skeins of soft, rose-scented hair against his jaw.
He stumbles a little, stepping on the bottom of her ivory-colored dress. He blushes, chagrined, "I'm sorry."
Her forefinger slides along his cheek, "'S'okay, I didn't feel a thing."
She leans up a little to kiss him softly, chastely, on the lips. He bends his head forward to touch her forehead with his own, closing his eyes as the words melt over him,
I'll watch them bloom for me and you
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world
An audible gasp from one of the few guests at the private reception snatches them both from their reverie. Clark looks around for the cause and notices his mother and Ollie pointing at the couple, realizing what the fuss is about.
He whispers into her ear, "Look down."
Lois' eyes widen when she sees herself floating at least four feet in the air, her grip on Clark's arm tightening unconsciously. She drags her gaze towards him quizzically.
He says, simply, "You've made me the happiest man in the world, Lois Lane."
A flushed smile dawns across her face, and, almost shyly, she looks down at his chest and back up into his eyes, "Only you could get away with saying something that sappy, Smallville. Oh, and it's Lois Kent."
He gathers her closer, and everything fades but the feel of her in his arms.
I see friends shaking hands
Saying, "How do you do?"
They're really saying, I...I love you
* * *
He smiles too, remembering.
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world.
Here he is, with nothing but the woman in his arms and the stars above his head. And he has everything he's ever needed.
He holds her close and whispers, "I love you so much, Lois. I don't know what I'd ever do without you."
Lois looked into his eyes, half-solemn, "You'll live. You'll fight on and you'll still try to save the world, Smallville."
The words may have seemed flip. But a hard truth lay at their core. A truth he might have to face one day. But this was now.
He closed his lids, turning away from the deeper implications of what she was saying. Drawing her closer as they waltzed on the air.
* * *
"S-sing for me, Smallville... p-please."
And he lifts her palm to his mouth, tracing each line with his lips, nuzzling his cheek against cold, almost snake-like skin.
It's all too real then.
He whispers, choking slightly on the words, "Well, I-I see s-skies of blue, and c-clouds of white...."
The look in her eyes mesmerizes him. Everything important in the entire world exists right now. In this one moment, in this one place.
Someday I'll wish upon a star,
Wake up and the clouds are behind me
Where trouble melts like lemon drops
High above the chimney top that's where
You'll find me...