Continuing Tales

And Then There Was Light

A Lois & Clark Story
by Anti-Kryptonite

Part 20 of 23

<< Previous     Home     Next >>
Untitled Document

We pretended to work a bit on the story, but very little was actually accomplished. I couldn't stop throwing glances at Clark, couldn't stop reaching out to brush my hand over his arm or his hand or his chest, couldn't stop smiling at him and marveling all over again that he could be so different than I had assumed and yet still be so much the same. In return, he watched me ceaselessly, his lips curved up in a smile that never wavered, his quietly hopeful eyes unhindered by the glasses he had taken off and never put back on, as if he flaunted his familial resemblance to Superman now that he no longer had to hide it.

Finally, we both decided—without words—that it was late enough to stop for the night, and we set aside the computer and our notes, and we headed into the bedroom. Nervousness sent a dull fluttering to tickle through my stomach, and my hands actually trembled. It was strange, I thought, that the only night I was really uneasy about sleeping in the same room as Clark was the night I finally knew the real him.

Clark slipped into the bathroom first, and when he came out, dressed in shorts and a t-shirt that revealed the muscle tone he had reclaimed, his eyes shining as they unerringly sought me out, I couldn't help but swallow, rooted to the floor. Only when he smiled at me and moved to the cot did I find the momentum necessary to carry me into the bathroom.

I readied quickly—dressing in a nightgown rather than the casual pajamas I had been favoring lately—but then paused and looked at my reflection in the mirror. For a long moment, I studied the dark-haired woman with wondering eyes and tiny smile that looked back at me. She was almost unrecognizable, so different from the cocky reporter who had scorned her partner, from the lost and abandoned wreck who had pretended she was fine without anyone, and even from the determined, scared woman I had been just days before, hiding from myself and the truth and a world that was a lot smaller—a lot bigger—than I had thought. The woman who stared back at me had all of those things inside her, but she also had something more—a secret, a friend, a person to lean on—that made her stronger and better and more…whole…than I had ever been before.

The Lois Lane I used to be had disappeared. But she hadn't been buried; she had been transformed, like a changeling that took on a new, better, more durable shape.

Self-consciously, I ran the brush through my hair one more time, straightened my pajamas, and went back out into the bedroom.

When I stepped fully into the room, Clark turned from making up his cot to face me…and then froze. His hands were poised in mid-air, the blanket held slackly between his fingers, his dumbstruck expression lit by the lamp beside my bed.

"Clark?" I asked uncertainly. The way he was staring at me left little doubt that he was struck by me, but I still felt a thrill of nervousness. The realization that I loved Clark—that I had loved him for so much longer than I had thought—was dwarfing everything else—every other revelation—and the sight of him moving slowly toward me—so slowly, seeking once more to calm that untamed, beautiful creature before him—left me trembling and shivering with fear and anticipation and joy and so many other wild emotions that they all blurred together into one bright, glorious feeling.

"Lois," he whispered, and the world disappeared in a shower of intensity and heat, banished by the spell he wove with those two reverently spoken syllables. His hand rose in slow motion toward my face; my eyes fluttered closed when his fingers traced a line from the fading bruise on my temple down past my eye, along the curve of my cheekbone, around the edge of my jaw, and back through my hair to rest on my neck. The gesture was so slow, so meaningful, so delicate that my breath caught in my throat and my eyes flew open.

He flinched backward when I met his gaze, and blinked rapidly, as if the sight of me was too much for him to take.

"What is it?" My question barely touched the close, enveloping atmosphere that wrapped its magical arms around the two of us.

He closed his eyes, then opened them again to drink me in. "You're so beautiful." His palm pressed a bit tighter against the skin of my neck, and I couldn't stop myself—didn't even try—from reaching out and sliding my hand down his free arm, his wrist, his palm to fit my fingers between his. The touch of his skin was intoxicating, and I wondered how I had never noticed it before. Or perhaps I had; perhaps that was the reason I had touched him so often and so familiarly, as if some hidden part of me had recognized the truth long before I did.

I gave him a small grin, emboldened by his hesitant silence. "Well, you're not so bad yourself."

He returned the smile as if by reflex—as if he couldn't help but smile at the sight of my smile—but his manner struck me as somewhat somber. "Lois…" He let out a breath and hung his head a moment, seemingly frustrated by the elusiveness of words, before meeting my gaze once more. "You're the best thing that's ever happened to me. And that makes me afraid I'm going to lose you. Luthor has been having fun playing his game with us, but now it's him or us, and he'll come after us. I know he will. He hates to lose. And I'm not strong enough to stop him anymore—"

"Clark." Reassuringly brushing my thumb over his hand, I smiled up at him again, hoping to see him return the favor. I had taken his smile for granted so many times, but I wanted to see it, wanted to savor it, tonight. "You're not going to lose me. I'm right here. Henderson's going to get Luthor, and everything will go back to the way it was."

"It can never go back," Clark said with a shake of his head before tossing a glance over his shoulder toward the window—a glance that was almost resentful, certainly far from brotherly. "If Luthor sends him, I…I won't be able to—"

"Clark!" I interrupted again, scared of the desperate resolve shading his tone, eager to slice through his degenerating fears, to mute the spine-chilling proof of Luthor's effect on him, to cut off the reminder that Superman was working for the enemy. "You can't give up, all right? You didn't give up in that cell—haven't given up yet despite everything Luthor's thrown at us—and you can't give up now. What would your parents say if they were here?"

His posture relaxed, relieved of some of his tension, and he leaned his forehead against mine. "They'd tell me not to give up hope. They'd tell me that I would find a way to protect you."

I decided to ignore the fact that he thought he had to protect me, and I smiled at the sentiment, touched yet again—still—by the depths of his love for me. "Exactly. Clark…these last couple of weeks have been some of the hardest days of my entire life, and yet…they have also contained some of the best moments I have ever lived. And that's because you're here…with me."

The one secret I still possessed hovered just behind my lips, eager to leap out into the open, but I knew I had to give Superman the courtesy of telling him first. And yet I couldn't just say nothing, so I brought up my free hand to rest on Clark's shoulder and closed my eyes. "I would do anything for you, Clark. I hope you know that."

"Lois, please don't be mad at me, but..." I was shocked by the timidity, the fear, the sheer dread, lurking in his voice, and I pulled back to blink up at him. "But…whyWhy are you here with me now?" His hand ghosted along my cheek again to emphasize the closeness of our embrace. "Is it…it's not because of my secret…is it?"

I gaped at him, caught between hysterical laughter, incredulous anger, and staggering regret. "What?"

He didn't say anything; the doubt lurking in his eyes, lit by moonlight's silvery beams, was eloquent enough.

Yet how could I explain to him the love that had been sneaking up on me for so long when even I didn't understand it?

Finally, I opted for simplicity and shrugged. "I didn't know your secret when I dived into the ocean after you."

His relief outshone the moon.

He opened his mouth, doubtlessly to apologize if I knew him at all, so I slid my hand over his lips.

"Don't," I whispered, but the rest of my words dried up, the feel of his mouth against my fingers summoning up vivid memories of the kiss we had shared. Actually, I told myself sternly in an effort to break free of the hold Clark had on me, it had been our third kiss. Not that it mattered—just so long as it wasn't our last.

I dropped my hand as if he had burned me and felt a blush stain my cheeks at that thought. "Good night," I said quickly.

For a long moment, he said nothing—at least not vocally, though his eyes blazed with emotions and thoughts and dreams, and I was relatively certain my own expression gave away just as much. Finally, he smiled and stepped back, pulling his hand free of mine. "Good night, Lois."

But when he turned away, I found that I couldn't let him move away from me, not yet, so I hurriedly reached out and tugged on his arm. He instantly turned back to me, watching me patiently.

"Clark…you're a good man," I told him quietly. "That's why I'm here, now, with you."

A line appeared to mar his brow. "What if…what if I'm not? Lois, you said I didn't give up in that cell, but…I thought some very bad things while trapped there. And I think…I think I hate Luthor." He spoke the word "hate" with such hesitance that it almost seemed a foreign word to him. As it was, I realized anew. "And though I might not actually act on any of those dark thoughts, I do know that I would do anything to stop him—to stop anyone—from hurting you."

"That doesn't make you a bad man," I stated unequivocally, ignoring the chill invoked by such a grim promise spoken by the forgiving, compassionate Clark Kent. "In fact, knowing that you're willing to risk yourself to protect others makes me even more convinced that you're exactly the opposite."

I wasn't sure he entirely agreed with me, but he smiled at me anyway. "Only because I work hard to meet your expectations."

The sight of his smile made me chuckle. I wanted to keep talking, to exchange words and jokes and observations all night long, to hear his smoky voice fill the room with his presence, but I knew the signs of his exhaustion well enough to recognize them now. It was, I reminded myself, only that morning that he had been subjected to Kryptonite yet again.

So, in lieu of anything brilliant to say, I repeated myself: "Good night, Clark."

And I reached out, placed my hands on his shoulders, and pulled him into a hug. Even that wasn't enough, though, not feeling the sweet intensity with which he returned the embrace, not with the reaffirming realization that I loved him—loved him so much I wondered how one was supposed to contain a force so strong. So I dared to tilt my head upward and place a soft kiss on his cheek, lingering a moment against his clean-shaven skin, delighting in his unique scent, before I forced myself to pull back and flash a shy grin.

His own grin was surprised, delighted, and exultant all at once, and I couldn't help but laugh as we separated. Romance had always scared me, yet somehow it didn't seem strange at all that Clark made it seem safe and beautiful and wonderful…and obtainable.

Despite his obvious joy at my overture, Clark was tired and fell asleep only moments after settling into the cot and arranging the blankets about himself.

I found myself watching him, studying him as if I had never seen him before. Curiously, I tried to remember my initial impression of him the first time I had seen him, my first thoughts upon meeting him, but all I could remember was my fixation on a story and my irritation with his intrusion into my life. I thought I might have been taken aback by Clark and the way he treated me—standing when I entered the room, opening the door for me, trying to help me with my coat—thought I might have noted the dark, gentle features of his face, thought I might have been a bit curious about what the others in the newsroom would make of him…but I couldn't remember for sure, couldn't decide whether I really remembered those impressions or had only shaped them into thoughts after the fact.

No matter what my initial thoughts had been, I could never have known then that he was actually an alien with a heart of gold, that he would make himself my friend…that I would fall in love with him.

Some part of my mind whispered at me that I should be thinking back on every day with Clark, every encounter with him, every excuse he had ever given me for running off—that I should be integrating the Clark I knew with the Clark that had been hidden—yet I couldn't focus on that. There was something…different…about him that he hadn't mentioned the first day we met, yes…but his place in my heart seemed so much more important than that secret.

I knew Clark—not the make-up of his DNA…but the makings of his heart.

Not the planet of his origin…but the qualities that grounded and shaped his personality.

Not his family tree…but the beauty within him that made so many strangers into friends.

Not the details of his childhood…but the depth and devotion of his love for me.

Not all the facts…but everything that mattered.

And I had almost lost him without even knowing just how much he meant to me.

I tugged the blankets up higher around my shoulders to counter the chill brought on by the sudden thought of Luthor. Memories—nightmares—ran through my mind like marauding insects, sickening, insidious, chilling, shaped to the mold of a cell buried so carefully away from the light.

And Superman…he had sold his soul to buy Clark's freedom. A truth I hadn't yet come to terms with. A truth I wished I could deny. A truth that made me feel alone and horrified and grateful all at once.

Alone because the man I had thought was a paragon of virtue was, in the end, not as untouchable and unimpeachable as I had imagined him to be.

Horrified because Superman in the hands of a criminal—the tool of a man like Luthor—was so terrifying as to be incomprehensible.

And grateful because Clark was the most amazing person I had ever known and he had grown to occupy such a large, necessary part of myself that I could not—would not—imagine my life without him…and Superman had saved his life at the cost of his own morality and integrity. It was a decision I had been asked to make but never had to accept. Superman, though…Superman had been forced to accept it. Forced to live it.

My thoughts had turned a dark corner, yet when I allowed my eyes to once more wander to the darkened form across the room, feasting on the features lit by the silver-and-crystal moon, a smile automatically curved my lips and determined resolve buried itself deeply within me. I couldn't let Clark be hurt again—not by Luthor, not by myself, not by anyone.

A tapping on the window in the living room interrupted my thoughts and wiped the smile away. My heart leapt into my throat, and my gaze flew to Clark, relieved when he did not stir. The Kryptonite had drained him more than he had been willing to concede—and he had not been completely well even before the encounter—but I found myself almost grateful for that now. I did not want to erase the peace, the happiness, the confidence that had imbued his every thought and expression and word since I had revealed to him that I knew his secret.

And I was certain that seeing Superman floating outside my window would certainly be enough to banish whatever measure of contentment he had found.

Quietly slipping on a robe, I shut the bedroom door behind myself and padded across the living room. Pausing briefly to take a deep breath and gather my scattered thoughts and tangled emotions, I pulled the window open and stepped out onto the fire escape.

"Superman," I greeted him, startled the slightest bit by the coolness of my tone. There was nothing of awe, or breathlessness, or shyness in my manner, no desire to have the superhero wrap his strong arms around me, no compulsion demanding that I cling to him. Instead, I felt only…wariness, disappointment, and an odd, contradictory kinship with this man who would sacrifice so much to save Clark.

Reminded that I hadn't finished my greeting, I folded my arms over my chest against both the chill and the man before me. "Where have you been? No one's seen you in almost two days."

Except Clark, I thought silently.

Superman studied me for a moment that seemed poised over a perilous drop into eternity. The night molded itself to his face and form so that it seemed his colors were black and gray rather than crimson and royal blue, the moonlight too preoccupied with Clark's form to attend to the superhero.

Finally, he gave a tiny shake of his head and looked away, out over the city sprawling to every side of us. "There were some…bad things…happening, Lois. I wanted them to stop."

My eyebrows rose in skeptical surprise; my tone made my next words a challenge. "There was nothing on the news."

"Not that kind of bad thing," he corrected, casting a sidelong glance at me. He set his hands on the metal railing and curled his fingers around it, oblivious to the frost marbling its surface. His eyes, deep pits of blackness in the night-dark air, stared forward. Toward Lex Tower. "A different kind of bad thing. Things like you getting hurt, Lois—that was never supposed to happen. He said it wouldn't."

"And you believed him?" I exclaimed incredulously, ignoring his ensuing flash of surprise. "He's a liar!"

Superman studied me a long moment, processing the fact that I knew he worked for Luthor. I stared back confrontationally, angrily, and he belatedly looked away—acknowledging his shame?

"I know that now." His tone was so flat, so bleak, that I was momentarily silenced. Finally, however, he seemed to realize his own emotion, and his voice rose a fraction. "But he's all I have, Lois!"

My eyes narrowed as I studied him in an attempt to follow his change in subject. "Clark?"

His cape shivered down its length as he cocked his head, the shadows congregating around him like a pack of dark followers. His face had become very blank, a mask that hid unknown, untold depths behind polite aloofness, as if he were trying to figure out just how much I knew about his connection to Clark.

I hesitated for a brief instant, the sound of Clark's name—even spoken by myself—reminding me, once again, of how easily I could I have lost him forever in the past month. Annoyed by the moment of weakness, I shook it aside and frowned. "Superman, you don't know how glad, how relieved, how unbelievably thankful I am that Clark is alive. And…and sometimes, I almost don't even care what you had to do to keep him safe—" Again, I paused, this time remembering what had happened to our first protective detail, and realizing with that recollection that, yes, I did care. "But you can't do this!" I insisted, hotly to counter my own guilt. "You're not Superman when you do these things for Luthor—"

"You don't understand!" Superman blurted out, his expression desperate, almost panicked, his features a collection of harsh lines and jagged shadows. "He's family, Lois! That's all I was ever taught—loyalty to family. It's all I've ever known!"

I took a moment to tamp down on the hot flash of fury blazing through my veins. This was my hero, the man I had admired so much that Clark had gotten lost in the mirage's glare…yet here he was, afraid and flawed and so much weaker than I had thought. The entire world had placed their trust in Superman…and he had betrayed them. Betrayed us. Betrayed me.

For Clark.

How could I forgive him for his crimes?

How could I blame him when I knew full well just how much I would give up for Clark? When I had just told Clark that his willingness to sacrifice for others made him a good man?

"I understand," I said tightly. "Believe me, I understand that you love Clark and would do anything for him…but you don't have to do this anymore! Henderson is on the verge of apprehending Luthor—his henchmen are already arrested! It's over, Superman! You can help Henderson catch Luthor—help us!"

"How important is family to you?" Superman asked directly, his eyes still locked on Lex Tower. "How far would you go to keep your family safe?"

"Stop this!" I commanded him angrily. "Stop living in fear! You can end this all! Family is important, so—"

"So what?" he interrupted, whirling to face me full-on. "What would you do in my position? Tell me what to do, Lois!"

"Do what he wants you to do!" I told him with a gesture to the apartment behind us, and to Clark, sleeping—I hoped—obliviously. Innocent, untouched, and so, infinitely, immeasurably precious to me.

Superman's shoulders slumped, the vibrancy of his eyes dimmed by the darkness. Or maybe it had never been there at all and only my imagination had made it seem that it was. "I am doing what he wants," he said softly.

"No, you're not!" I snapped, bristling at the mere thought of Clark condoning the things Superman had done in his name. "Clark said there's always some light, some hope. You have to find that hope, Superman."

His meaningful gaze set me back a pace. "Lois. You…are…my hope."

"Yes," I said, straightening under that burden of responsibility. Luthor had gotten away—could be watching us even now, waiting for his chance at revenge—but Clark and I had ensured that he could never walk free again. All that remained was making his inevitable stay in Metropolis's maximum-security prison a permanent one. Yet maybe, I thought slowly, Superman just needed a bit of reassurance that the case was almost closed, proof that his nightmare was almost over. "We are very close, Superman," I told him gently.

He gave a tiny grimace, as if impatient—as I was—to see this put behind him forever. But then, strangely, he nodded reluctantly, and looked away, once more closing his hands over the cold railing.

I found that I had nothing more to say, no other words to give him, no pressing questions to ask him. Later, after he was gone, I was sure I would think of a million things I could have said, but for now, all I could do was look at him and marvel over how much had changed within me. Even if Superman hadn't been working for Luthor, I knew that I would not have looked at him in the same, idolizing way as I once had…because he wasn't Clark. And that…that changed everything.

He seemed almost unaware of my scrutiny, his own eyes peering through the crystalline-clarity of the winter-sharp air to peruse the city he had made his own. His cape fluttered behind him, its color darkened by the night.

And no matter that words had fled me, I knew there was one thing I still had to tell him. One thing I had almost told Clark—wanted to tell Clark. One thing I needed to tell Superman before anything else happened. I had kissed him, after all, made him think that I loved him; now I owed him an explanation, maybe even an apology.

And then I would be able to tell Clark what I had so recently discovered myself.

I opened my mouth to utter the fateful words, but my own frailty sabotaged my efforts, and no sound emerged. I turned my face away, looking up toward the sky as I rummaged deep within the detritus of my heart for some courage. The words had almost spoken themselves when it was Clark who stood before me; when it was Superman standing there, however, they cowered and hid away in fear.

A streak of silver-white painted a spark at the peak of the sky and gave me an opening gambit.

"Look!" I pointed toward the now-obsidian heights. "A shooting star."

"What?" Superman glanced upward with an innocent skepticism.

"A shooting star." I shrugged, uncomfortable with how long this conversation was taking. Suddenly feeling unaccountably guilty, I looked behind me nervously. I knew what Clark would think if he woke to see me standing out in the cold to talk to the man he so distrusted, the man he thought I loved—knew what conclusions he would, perhaps justifiably considering my past behavior, leap to. And I had promised myself I wouldn't hurt him…but I hadn't yet told Superman my secret and so I forbade myself from fleeing. "Whenever you see one fly across the sky, you're supposed to make a wish. Supposedly, if you do, your wish will come true."

Superman studied the night sky for a long moment, then angled his body to face me. "I can make you a hundred shooting stars, Lois—a thousand—whatever you want."

I blinked, stunned by the obviously romantic offer and the way his hand cupped my shoulder. Hastily, shooting another glance toward the apartment, I stepped backward, twisting away from Superman's touch.

His hand fell back to his side, and a flash of surprised distress painted itself over his face.

"I don't want a shooting star," I said gently, seizing the opportunity before the moment passed. I wished, longingly, selfishly, impossibly, that Clark was standing beside me, lending me a measure of his strength and courage. "They look and sound magical, but they're only there for an instant, appearing and disappearing far too quickly."

Besides, I thought with yet another glance in Clark's general direction, who would want the stars—cold, impersonal, and distant—when a blazing sun waited with open arms outstretched?

Superman flinched, as if I had struck him. His hooded eyes sought the stars. "Barely alive before fading away," he murmured despondently. "Dying alone in the dark."

"Superman." Despite my best intentions, my eyes were glazed with a thin veneer of tears. He had lost so much already—I hated to add to his pain. And yet…I couldn't lead him on, not anymore. I couldn't pretend to something that no longer existed. I couldn't keep denying the depth and power and strength of what I felt for Clark. "I think I'm finally beginning to realize what's been staring me in the face for so long, something you tried to tell me so many times. You said you belong to the sky—that your place is far above us, removed from day-to-day life. If I tried to bring you down to my level…it'd be like trying to reach out and snare the shooting stars with my fingers."

At his closed expression, I swallowed hard, then smiled to distract from the tears I could not allow to fall. "Superman, I will probably always need you, and I will always be your friend, always be there if you need someone to talk to. But…Clark needs me. More than that…he wants me."

I paused then, struck anew by that fact. My father hadn't wanted me at all, finding disappointment in my very existence; my mother had needed me, but had little use for a daughter she had no idea what to do with; my sister had once needed me to be there for her, to look out for her, to protect her, but then she had grown up; Claude had needed a story badly enough to pretend he wanted me; and Luthor had obviously needed me as a diversion, a scare tactic, and bait. But who had ever voluntarily, willingly, freely wanted me? Who…besides Clark?

"He wants me," I repeated aloud, which gave me the strength to finally say the wonderful words aloud, to release my tight hold of this secret. "He loves me, Superman—loves me just for being me. And I…I love him." I let out a breath. In the end, those words were the easiest words I had ever said, the truest, the most miraculous, so much so that I said them again, sparking a burst of jubilation to sizzle and dance within me. "I love him. And I want to be there for him just as he has been for me."

"Lois…" Superman gave one slow shake of his head. "Don't do this."

I stiffened and tilted my chin defiantly. "I'm sorry, Superman. Clark—"

"Please!" Superman took a hasty step closer, and I had to restrain the urge to press back against the hard bricks beside the window. "Lois, I…I need you. I need you to save me."

"Save you?" I repeated blankly. "You're Superman."

"No, I…" His hands clenched into fists at his side, and he turned his face away. His voice was little more than the whisper of the wind. "I wanted you to tell me—"

My fear vanished when he cut himself off, replaced by an energizing wave of curiosity. I leapt forward to grab hold of his arm when he made as if to fling himself aloft and soar away from me. "Tell you what?" I demanded. "What do you need saved from?"

He stared so hard and so long at my hand on his arm that I let go, nervously clasping both my hands behind my back. A move that made him look up to meet my gaze.

I swallowed and stumbled backward in shock—I could read nothing from his expression, not neutrality, not anger, not sadness. His features might as well have been carved from granite, less revealing than the face of his statue in Centennial Park.

"Superman?" I whispered though a dry mouth.

"Thank you, Lois. You're right. Clark…deserves you." He straightened, suddenly looming over me, his shoulders broadening, his hands unclenching themselves. "I wish I hadn't disappointed you, Lois. I wish I could have been…what you thought I was."

Guilt seared through me, twisting and writhing like cut electrical wires flapping in the wind. I had held high expectations of him, it was true—yet Clark had struggled to meet my expectations, not apologized for failing them.

Superman stepped close to me, wrapped his hands around my shoulders, and bent his head over mine. I don't know if he would have kissed me on the mouth or if I was merely being paranoid; regardless, I turned my head so that his cool lips landed on my cheek. The kiss was short, yet it seemed to last forever; smooth, yet it seemed stilted; unreal, yet it weighed unnaturally heavy; familiar, yet alien.

As soon as Superman dropped his hands and lifted to hover in the air, I moved back to the window, grasping a fistful of curtain in my hand. "Good night, Lois," he said softly, and was gone before I could drag my voice out from wherever it was hiding to make a reply.

Moving as if I were simply following a list of choreographed instructions, I ducked back inside the apartment, pulled the curtains from the grips of a breeze, and closed the windows. Then, slowly, definitively, I locked it and the identical window beside it. I turned to face the empty, dark apartment, and I wondered at the distinct lack of strong emotion within me. Shouldn't I be feeling regret? Sadness? Disbelief? Doubt?

I had just locked Superman out of my life—shouldn't I be feeling something?

Maybe this was a dream. Maybe I had fallen asleep just as quickly as Clark and had only imagined the tapping at the window and the heated argument I had held with the superhero and the metaphorical door I had closed on him—on us—and the final kiss he had bestowed upon me.

Testing that theory, I brought my hands up to my face, then flinched back from the ice that had somehow laid itself out just below my skin, too vivid and painful to be a mere dream. Pulling my fingers back away from my already-cold cheeks, I stared at my hands, shocked to realize that they were trembling.

Numbly, I walked back into the bedroom with the intention of retrieving a blanket, but I was caught in mid-stride by the sight of Clark. He was still asleep, wrapped in a couple blankets, lying on the narrow cot, a lock of ebony hair decorating his brow.

And suddenly, I did feel something. I felt relief, excitement, exhilaration, anticipation, and more, individual feelings that I had no experience with and no name for, emotions that grew stronger and rooted themselves more deeply as I stepped to Clark's side to brush his hair back, relishing the feel of it against my chilled fingers.

I couldn't doubt my love for him, not when he touched my entire life so acutely. My past was defined by his absence, my present illuminated by his presence at my side, and the future already filled with him. Because even should he walk away tomorrow, I knew he would still be the most important person in my life—for how he had influenced me, the ways he had changed me, the metamorphosis he had elicited and encouraged and so obviously enjoyed being a part of.

Without him, there would still be a Lois Lane…but she wouldn't be someone I wanted to be.

With him…I almost couldn't keep my feet on the ground at the mere thought of a lifetime of waking up to his smile, dressing to the smells of his cooking, snatching sweet kisses on the run, working together all day, sneaking light caresses and weighted looks and inside jokes, bantering over dinner, playing board games or pretending to watch movies before heading for the bedroom where there'd be only one bed.

That sort of mundane joy, that everyday paradise, that simple heaven had been something I'd pretended I didn't want for so long. Yet the mere thought of it now left me more deeply shaken and more filled with yearning than a flight to the stars with Superman.

No, I didn't regret what I had done, or doubt the decision I had made. I only wished that I could tell Clark now, shake him on the shoulder, lean down over him, and whisper into his ear the same declaration I had made to Superman. My hand even ghosted to his arm before I could stop myself. He was tired and weak, I reminded myself, and I wanted to be able to savor the look in his eyes when I finally gave him my last secret. For once, I wanted to be the one that brought light into his life. And I wanted him to bask in the warmth of the sun as I told him, wanted to enjoy the look of his skin in the golden beams, wanted to delight in the laughter I was sure he would grace me with. Besides, we had a lifetime—a lifetime for me to show him just how much I loved him.

So I caressed his face one last time, then slipped into my own bed, curled up on my side where I could watch him. A formless time later, I fell into sleep and dreamed that Clark wrapped me in a scarlet-and-gold cape to keep me warm, smiled tenderly, sweetly down at me, handed me his glasses, and said, "You know all our secrets now, Lois…but do you know his?" And I turned my face away, and wrapped myself tighter in Superman's cape, and could not answer him.

And Then There Was Light

A Lois & Clark Story
by Anti-Kryptonite

Part 20 of 23

<< Previous     Home     Next >>