A/N: Written for the July FicGrab at EyesSkyward. A prequel to Shattered Illusions.

She felt as if she were falling, that the aircraft she was in was falling. "Not again," she thought as she braced for a crash.

"You okay?" a vaguely familiar voice asked, bringing her back to reality, the sound of a single engine prop, the slight jerk as the pilot finished bringing the plane to level, the wind whistling through the struts of the wings. She wasn't in a falling helicopter, she was on a plane. A four passenger pontoon plane.

"How long's it been?" Richard White asked as he made a couple of minor adjustments to some ancient instruments. Lois notice how easily he turned the knobs, as if he could fly in his sleep. It was almost second nature to him.

"Huh?" Lois replied.

"How long has it been since you flew - in a small aircraft. You have been in one, haven't you?"

Lois smiled as she realized that in some strange way, he was attempting to impress her, flying them halfway across the country in his own personal aircraft. She noticed his blue eyes, dark hair, and dorky grin.

"It's been a while." She turned her attention out the window, just to get the comparison out of her head. Clouds drifted around them, daring her to reach out and touch them. She put her hand against the cold plexiglass of the window, and wished she brought a blanket to put around her. It looked as if they were flying into a storm.

"It isn't the same is it? I mean, flying with me."

She shook her head absently.

"Did HE take you up, much?"

She took a deep breath, "Only a few times. I really wasn't much more than his press agent. He is an alien, after all."

They flew a while longer, a tense silence between new colleagues who were just trying to get the feel for each other. The drone of the engine, the smell of the cabin and the gentle motion of the plane was therapeutic to the usually wired reporter. She always loved flying, even before she was snatched from plunging to her death. She started to fall asleep. The small plane bounced as it hit a patch of turbulence, startling her awake.

"...requesting a course adjustment, repeat, cloud cover too dense –"

Lois looked out the window, they were flying through a huge fog bank. Everywhere she looked there was just gray, very dark gray. Lightening flashed, rain pelted the windshield. A great burst of wind tossed the plane like a toy. She heard a groan from somewhere in the back.

"Tower, please confirm." Richard's voice raised an notch. "I can't land there," He muted the radio.

"Sucker," Richard mumbled to himself.

"Wha–?" Lois was surprised at Richard's uncharacteristic utterance.

"There, in front," Richard pointed out the front window, "That break in the clouds, it's a sucker hole. Eighty-five percent of aircraft accidents are caused by inexperience pilots trying to fly through one of those. All it takes is to get lost in these clouds and wham, you hit a mountain, or the ground. What you think it is a break in the clouds really isn't. It's just an illusion."

"Oh." Lois said under her breath, "Kinda like someone I know."

Lois started unconsciously chewing on her thumbnail. As she realized what she was doing, she quickly folded her hands in her lap, and turned her attention out the window. Hoping to see a flash a red, but knowing deep down that he wasn't going to come to her rescue this time, or any other time from here on out. He really did leave. Damn him.

"... a shame your partner decided to take a sabbatical. From what I hear, this story is right up his alley." Lois bristled as her missing partner was mentioned. Their last time together they had argued the whole night.

"Yes, Clark is really big on secrets," Lois snarked, deciding that she really didn't want Clark around anyway.

"Perry thinks this G5 meeting is very important. Why are they hiding away to hold it? Why only five leaders. Who called it? Usually they have a larger group, in the middle of some big city. Something is up."

"Let me guess, you think it's up to you, Mr. International Section Chief to uncover some nefarious covert group, hellbent on world domination."

Richard shrugged his shoulders then started checking a some gages and flipping switches. The plane burst through the cloud layer and a beautiful lake appeared on the horizon. Turning the radio back on he repeated their call-sign into the microphone getting nothing but static. What seemed to be hours later he finally requested permission for final approach and commenced landing.

Once the pontoons were skimming across the water Richard turned and winked at Lois.

"There's old pilots, and there's bold pilots, but there are no old bold pilots."

Now, let's go flip some rocks over and see what climbs out, shall we?"

Lois smiled back in her biggest Lois Lane grin, "Well, I gotta say, you do have spunk. Let's have at them."

"Oh, and one more thing;" She began as she placed her headset in it's cradle, "Clark's gone, period, end of story. I don't know the whys or the wheres and I really don't want to talk about it. Ever. Comprende?" Her animosity towards her former partner was overwhelming.

"I wouldn't dream of it," Richard replied as he popped open the hatch and exited the plane, stooping to flip down the step. As Richard stood on the peer getting ready to help Lois out of the plane he stopped for a second.

"Can I ask you one more question?" His voice cracked in his nervousness.

"Richard, did you bring me all the way out here as an excuse for an interview?" Lois quipped. "I really would like to get to my room and freshen up a bit."

He dropped his hand as she brushed him aside and stepped onto the pontoon then the peer as if it were something she did every day.

"Nn-no. I mean I really would like to get to know you if I'm going to work with you. I'm just curious," Lois's face flushed as he stuttered so much like...

She softened a bit, "What would you like to know?"

"Were you in love with him? I mean, Clark, your partner."

She looked off into the distance, the clouds they flew through earlier began to build up into what promised to be an even greater storm, one that matched all her emotions that had she had held in.

A bolt of lightening flashed, followed by a loud boom of thunder. The wind picked up as a large bird cried in the distance. Turning on her heel, she grabbed the wheeled bag she hadn't noticed Richard retrieve from the storage area of the plane.

"I don't date guys I work with, so don't go falling for me, Flyboy. If you are going to work with me, you'd better keep up." She tossed over her shoulder, putting a little extra swag in her strut. Lois Lane was off to begin a new adventure.

A/N 2: Please review this. If I get enough interest, I'll continue on and finish this, and my other stories.