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ANOTHER one-shot...

God, I love my muse. She's so devoted. *high-fives muse*

Because the only thing this needed was a minor grammatical correction I decided to go ahead and post it tonight. Who knows - some of you might have trouble sleeping and will stumble upon it while surfing the 'net. Or something. Yeah...

Anyway, this little booger was spawned by a fabulous story written in muggleglum   called Fly Away by none other than Bisty herself. In an review I wrote her, I said something along the lines of how I was half expecting her to have Clark visit Lois while she was sleeping. Bisty's response was that *I* could write that (with a little smiley face afteward). Well Bisty, the muse heard you loud and clear, because for your belated birthday gift, I offer you this. htbthomas   and alamo_girl80   seemed to like it enough. I hope you do too. *waves at all three*

Without further ado...

I’m so sorry.

Lois’ eyes opened, blinked once, and shut again. She hated waking up from dreams.

Please forgive me.

She grabbed a fistful of covers and wrapped them around her shoulders, turning to lie on her side. Great – not only can’t I stop thinking about him, I can imagine his voice everywhere, too…

I don’t want to leave, Lois.

That one got her attention. Forgetting the warmth she was surrounded in, Lois sat straight up and looked around her bedroom. At first glance, nothing seemed out of the ordinary – the windows were down, the closet doors were shut, everything was in its place like it had been when she fell asleep.

“I’m sorry I have to do this.”

Suddenly the voice didn’t seem dream-like. Without the distorted haze in her mind, it sounded like he was standing outside of her…

Grabbing a robe off her vanity chair, Lois threw her arms into the sleeves and raced to the door, side-stepping it before sprinting into the living room. She froze.

He was standing outside of her balcony, the wind billowing his cape and stirring the curl on his forehead. He seemed surprised to see her, but the deep blue softened and a gentle smile slowly graced his face. Was he nervous? She knew she suddenly was. He seemed to have that power over her…

Pulling her robe closer to her, she walked over to the balcony doors and opened one. The chilly night air blew in immediately, but after a moment she could feel it mix with his warmth. They stared at each other a moment, both wanting to reach for the other but for whatever reason not taking the first step. Perhaps it was the look in his eyes, contentment mixed with sorrow… whatever it was, she took a step outside and immediately ached for the warmth of slippers.

“Hey,” she whispered. She reached out a hand and touched his forearm. “What are you doing here?”

“I’m sorry if I woke you.” His voice was deeper than she remembered, the usual warmth and joy lacking in his words. Seeing her begin to shiver, he reached out and pulled her close, burying his face in her hair and taking a slow, deep breath.

Despite the welcome warmth his presence provided, he was obviously making it harder on himself to say what he wanted to. Resting her head on his shoulder, she tapped his arm with a finger. “You know you’re welcome here anytime.”

That seemed to make things worse. His powerful shoulder slumped under her temple, and his sigh parted her hair. She leaned back and looked at him. He looked miserable.

“What’s wrong?” she asked, lifting his chin so he could meet her gaze. She had never seen him tired before, and the questions that were in his eyes tore at her. What could be going through his mind that’s so difficult to talk about?

Giving her a brief squeeze, he turned and walked to the edge of the balcony, staring over the city with lost eyes. It was strange to see her pillar of strength stand before the city that adored him with slumped shoulders. If he didn’t tell her soon, she was going to make him.

“There’s something I have to do,” he whispered, finally turning to face her with fists clenched at his sides. “Something that requires me to leave… for a length of time.”

Panic swelled inside of her, screaming at the thought of him going where she couldn’t follow. She reached out a hand to him. “Do you know how long?”

“I don’t,” he answered, staring at the floor, the table, her flowers… anything but her face. “I could be gone for…”

The lingering thought finally brought light into her confusion. The way he turned and looked at the stars with such a deep longing and strong hope…

“You’re going to find Krypton, aren’t you?”

For the first time since their parting embrace he met her eyes, and she saw all the answers she needed to see. She offered him a small, sad smile. “It wasn’t too hard to guess, given all the press reports for the last couple of days.” Suddenly the air between them was thick with tension. Lois hated it. The man before her wasn’t a stranger, and she wasn’t about to let him leave without getting answers, whether or not he could provide them. She took a few steps toward him until she could feel his warmth again, then took one of his clenched fists and wrapped it in both of her hands. “How long could you be gone?”

He stared at their joined hands as if committing them to memory. “I honestly don’t know. It took me several… several years before I made it to Earth from Krypton. It could be as long as that.”

Years. The word echoed in her mind until it was the only thing she could hear, drowning out her thudding heartbeat. He could be gone for years!

“Maybe you should think about this for a little while,” she reasoned. “I’m not trying to stop you but… are you sure? You were told it was destroyed.”

“I know, but…” His voice was strained but he still refused to look at her. “If there was something you always wanted to have, wouldn’t you fight for it? Even if you believed that it was gone, wouldn’t you search it out if someone thought it might still exist?”

“Of course I would.” She barely whispered the words, but she knew he could hear her. “That’s how I found you.”

His eyes closed and he released a shuddering breath. It wasn’t the reaction she was hoping for. “Please don’t make this harder for me than it already is.” Tears began to fill his eyes, but his voice never wavered. “I have to find it, Lois. I have to know if I’m… if I’m the only one left.”

Listening to the conviction in his voice, Lois searched his eyes and finally saw the one thing she never expected to see. He was afraid. Fear was something she dealt with everyday, but she had no clue the Man of Steel, the guardian of a city that was once overflowing with fear, could possibly possess it. The reporter inside wanted the details – why was he afraid? Who was he fearful for? – but she only stood silent, watching him drown himself in hidden emotions he couldn’t contain.

“Will you come back?” she asked quietly. He looked past her for a moment, considering his words, not wanting to provide false hope.

“I don’t know,” he finally said.

The tension between them grew once again. “I don’t know because… because if I’m not the last, I’d want to discover everything I can about where I’m from. But doing that, acquiring all that information I need, might take some time.”

She remained quiet, allowing him to voice his thoughts while her heart felt like it had stopped.

“I don’t know how long I’ll be gone,” he said again. He met her eyes and she saw a bottomless depth filled with hope. “Would you wait for me?”

It broke her heart that he needed to ask. Standing on her toes and wrapping her arms around his shoulders, she pulled him to her and captured his lips in a gentle kiss, willing him to feel what she couldn’t put to words – how much she loved him, how she understood what he needed to do even if she couldn’t bear the thought of being apart from him. Pulling back, she cupped his face in her hands. “I’ll wait as long as you need me to.”

The relief and peace he felt couldn’t be contained. Seeing it explode in his features where moments ago anguish resided was a great comfort. She pulled him close again and set her chin on his shoulder, feeling his frame bend a bit so she wouldn’t have to stand on her toes. “Just promise you’ll come back to me.”

His grip tightened. “I’ll always come back for you, Lois.”

When he released her, she immediately ached for his warmth. His hands rested on her shoulders, trailing down her arms to her hands before letting her go, taking each step backwards until he finally hovered to avoid the steps on the balcony. Never losing eye contact, he smiled gently and finally turned to the city. He lifted his arms and was gone.

Below, the distant wail of a car alarm grew louder and louder until…

---

Lois sat up straight in bed and instinctively pushed her alarm off the night stand. It fell to the floor with a loud clack. Her breaths, gasping and shuddering, evened out when she got her bearings.

What a dream…she thought, running a hand through her hair, grasping at the memory to keep it fresh. Superman saying he had to… leave? For Krypton? She could see the Daily Planet headlines flash before her eyes, each with more information on the discovery of his home world, but that wouldn’t make him… leave, would it?

She shook her head. It was a dream, Lois. Get your act together!

Two hours later found her showered and dressed but still thinking of the dream. The pain and fear behind those blue eyes – fear! – combined with the tone in his voice and the almost desperate way he held her… Thinking of it didn’t calm her nerves or keep her mind on the task at hand. If she hadn’t forced herself out of her daydream, she wouldn’t have noticed that Clark Kent, punctual, always-ready-to-make-a-good-impression Clark Kent, wasn’t at his desk. A good look around the room suggested he hadn’t been there at all.

“Jimmy,” she said, catching the photographer by the shirtsleeve and yanking him toward her. “Where’s Clark?”

Jimmy’s face, once full of surprise, fell at the mention of Clark’s name. “Miss Lane, you didn’t hear?”

“Hear what?”

Jimmy took a moment to answer, turning to look at Perry through the Editor’s office window. “Clark’s gone. He left yesterday. Had lunch with Mr. White and told him he had to go soul searching.”

The hand on his arm slackened until it fell completely. Lois took another look at Clark’s desk. It was completely empty. No files, no neatly arranged pencils or office supplies. The only thing sitting on it was the office computer, the screen occasionally blinking with the Daily Planet logo. It hadn’t been used either.

In desperation to fight an onslaught of emotion, Lois forced a laugh. “Soul searching? What kind of a Midwestern excuse is that?”

“It’s what Perry said. Clark’s replacement is coming in later today. Looks like you’re solo on the city beat once again.”

Lois had waited for years to hear those words when she was first told she and Clark would be working together. She never thought she would hate them as much as she did now. Dismissing Jimmy, she sank into her chair and tried her best to immerse herself in her work. She reached into her desk and pulled out a file. A scandal on 52nd street had lead to a strike involving underage workers and their hours. While nothing violent had occurred, a dependable source had said the scandal started when employers…

I don’t know how long I’ll be gone. Would you wait for me?

Sighing, Lois closed the file and stared at Clark’s empty desk. It wasn’t like him to leave so suddenly. It wasn’t like him to leave at all. With the memory of the dream still fresh in her mind, the emotional ache she was feeling at Clark’s absence seemed amplified. There was no bright “Good Morning, Lois!” to greet her today. There would be no stuttering, no coke-bottle glasses, no tall form dressed in a horrible three piece suit. No competition. No friendly conversations. No Clark Kent.

Period. The ache intensified.

If I had been told when we first met that I’d feel this bad over losing a good friend and partner…

All of his mannerisms played out in her mind. Of all of them, she found it the most unusual that with the depth of his gentlemanly character, he wouldn’t say goodbye.

That, above all, hurt the most.

---

Twelve hours later, Lois numbly handed over a page and a half article covering a story that hadn’t been seen in Metropolis since the arrival of Superman. Perry was disgusted with it.

“A page and a half?” he had exclaimed. “What’s wrong with you, Lois? This is front page material! The first plane crash in nearly two years, and Superman isn’t there to save it. You should be doing overtime tonight! What’s the big deal?”

Lois had only stared back until turning and walking out the door. She was quiet during the taxi ride back to her apartment. She refused to turn on the TV. Seeing the images replayed over and over again would only refresh them in her mind. She wanted to block them out as soon as possible.

The entire newsroom had been watching when the news broke – a passenger jet carrying over five hundred lives had hit major turbulence and supposedly crashed over the Atlantic during a transcontinental flight. No one had suspected anything out of the ordinary, and, apparently, neither did the news anchors. It had been reported with such nonchalance that the Planet seemed to stop when the news repeated itself, this time baring much more weight and intensity. The flight had indeed crashed, and Superman was nowhere to be found. All the passengers had been killed.

I don’t know how long I’ll be gone…

Suddenly the dream was too real for her liking. Stepping out onto her balcony, Lois stared at the city below and was hit with déjà vu. She nearly expected him to fly over her, his form blocking the clouds above, that smile that he saved for her on his face. Then she would demand answers from him and try to beat some sense into that alien head of his…

“I don’t know if you can hear me,” she said out loud, suddenly feeling silly despite being alone, “but I need to speak with you. Please. I’m sure the world is demanding answers from you, but I don’t want a front page exclusive. I just want to talk.”

She waited for what seemed like hours, watching the sunset fade to the starlight sky, clouds slightly covering the moon while the temperature dropped. She didn’t know how long she was out there, but it was well past midnight when she finally came back inside. His words, the words from the dream, were all too real.

But he wouldn’t leave without saying goodbye. He loves me!

… doesn’t he?

Her nightly routine seemed disconnected somehow. It was like she was seeing her life instead of living it, her actions robotic and lifeless. When she finally buried herself in the bed sheets, she still couldn’t figure it out. After thinking about it a while longer, she finally came to a conclusion.

He wouldn’t leave without saying goodbye, but he’d better have a good excuse for letting a passenger jet with five hundred people aboard crash in the Atlantic. What’s next? Burglaries, murder, and robberies increasing in the city?

Holding her pillow close, she relived the memory of him doing the same, his arms around her and his chin resting on her shoulder. She was confused, hurt, angry… and she didn’t know why, because, as far as she was concerned, Superman wasn’t even gone. He just… took the day off. Which he never did.

Would you wait for me? He had asked her.

Of course she would. And as soon as he came back to his senses he was giving her a good reason why a plane crashed earlier that afternoon. She nearly gathered enough energy to call to him from the balcony once again, but sleep overcame her before she could make herself do so.

It was the second and last time she would have the dream. This time around, the words he spoke held more misery.

I’m so sorry.

Please forgive me.

Suddenly, it didn’t feel like he was sorry about leaving.

                He was sorry about not saying goodbye.

Comments

( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
bistyboo1974
Oct. 31st, 2006 03:44 am (UTC)
*sobs*

Oh, I am a mess of emotions today. Pardon my sobbing, but this was lovely. Sad and lovely, Sean. You and your Muse did a fine job.

*grabs a tissue*
sean_montgomery
Oct. 31st, 2006 03:48 am (UTC)
*hugs*

I didn't mean to make you feel worse, but I'm glad you liked it anway. Maybe another go when you're not so emotionally messed up? : )

*hands you a box of tissues*
bistyboo1974
Oct. 31st, 2006 03:51 am (UTC)
Oh, this is typical hormonal fallout. ;-) It's all good, though. We all need some healthy sobbing every once in a while.

*sniffles*
sean_montgomery
Oct. 31st, 2006 03:53 am (UTC)
Oh, this is typical hormonal fallout.

Well, I know THAT... ; )

So... healthy crying? Wait, you mean... did I reduce you to tears? Or am I taking this WAY too seriously because my own monthly visitor is about to drop in on me...? *rubs neck*
bistyboo1974
Oct. 31st, 2006 03:58 am (UTC)
Yes, I cried. When I read this line:

“I don’t,” he answered, staring at the floor, the table, her flowers… anything but her face. “I could be gone for…”

Because I finished his sentence by saying outloud FOREVER...and then I got all sniffly and soppy.

*blows nose*

What a wuss I am, right? You should've seen me the first time I saw SR..."I didn't know this movie was going to be soooo saaaad." *insert lots of crying here, there and everywhere*

;-)
sean_montgomery
Oct. 31st, 2006 04:03 am (UTC)
Well, let me first say that as a writer, it's a serious compliment when you say that I reduced you to tears. Coming from one of my favorite authors, it makes me feel more confident in my abilities. *grin and hugs*

Secondly, I felt the same way in SR. At the end of the movie, when he's flying away into the sunset (and the atmosphere), I thought, "What a great ending!" Then I changed to, "That's so sad! How's he going to live like that?!" It's even more heart-wrentching to have read the shooting script and to see that a VERY WONDERFUL portion was taken out of that final moment between Superman and Lois. *grumbles and mutters*
bistyboo1974
Oct. 31st, 2006 04:08 am (UTC)
What just a minute there, Missy!

WHAT WONDERFUL MOMENT???

I insist you share with me before I go to bed!!!
sean_montgomery
Oct. 31st, 2006 04:13 am (UTC)
I insist you share with me before I go to bed!!!

Gladly!

M'kay, Supes has just flown out of Jason's room and Lois is standing on the grass trying to light the smokes, blah blah blah...

As she stands there (according to the shooting script) Jason DOESN'T say anything throughout this whole part. Lois just notices Superman flying above the lake. To quote it directly... :

"Lois looks up to see Superman, hovering over the water in front of her. They gaze at each other.

SUPERMAN: Thank you, Lois.

Tears well in her eyes, struggling for something to say.

SUPERMAN: It's alright.

It's what she's wanted and needed to hear for years."

That last line... GUH!! *bursts into tears* Wouldn't that have been great to see?
bistyboo1974
Oct. 31st, 2006 04:16 am (UTC)
GUH.

sean_montgomery
Oct. 31st, 2006 04:21 am (UTC)
And with that final GUH, I let you go to bed with dreams of a strapping Super!Stud telling you 'Thank you' and 'It's alright'. : D (and it's something you've wanted and needed to hear for years!)
alamo_girl80
Oct. 31st, 2006 04:29 am (UTC)
Bisty's right, this is beautiful and heartfelt. *gush*

Wubs to Abbs!
sean_montgomery
Oct. 31st, 2006 04:32 am (UTC)
Thanks, chica! Glad you liked!

I love the wubs. Can't get enough of them.

Recieving wubs makes me feel... wubbed? *giggles*

(I'm in love with that icon. That look he's giving her... *wibbles*)
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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