The rain-slicked pavement reflected images like glass, but
without so much clarity. Black and twisted, they were warped from
reality, tangled in the rainbow swirl of oil on water. He stared
at his own reflection as words fell upon shoulders already bowing
beneath grief and pain and saw - nothing.
Her words cut him, drawing not blood from flesh, but life from
soul, because that was all he had that could be so wounded.
She wanted to know "why."
How did he answer? How did he shed the burden of guilt and
place it upon another, laying the blame not on his failures but on
the absence of God on this forsaken soil? He wanted to whine.
I don't even belong here.
He said nothing at all.
He wondered if he were finally broken, if the darkness that
constantly surrounded him hadn't finally snuffed out his light.
Fighting to find a modicum of joy among the pain had become a
constant nagging ache that kept him awake, and left him writhing
in the constricting coils of nightmarish visions when he did
sleep. He woke clutching his chest, a scream dying in his throat.
The sound of sirens were muffled by the music of sorrow; the
tears of a mother who had lost her son.
His jaw clenched, and he drew strength from what little he had
Lois stared into the mirror, fingering the fall of her bangs
across her forehead, curling them just so to cover the scar. Her
hands trembled, faltering momentarily as they always did when she
looked too close, remembered too much.
She shut the compact with a snap and rose from her chair. Perry
looked at her from over the edge of the file he studied and gave a
short jerk of his head, acknowledging her departure, giving her
Clark hadn't come back from lunch.
Pushing through the revolving doors, Lois struggled to pull on
her overcoat, looking up at a sky as gray as the suit she wore.
Her heel caught a little in a crack of the sidewalk. She stumbled.
Break your mother's back.
A cab pulled up at the curb and she tugged open its door,
falling into the patched plastic seat and wrinkling her nose at
the scent of stale cigar and old vomit. The driver barely
acknowledged her presence, instead pulling away almost before she
closed the door behind her. She cracked the window for air,
heedless of the damp.
"Metropolis Memorial Gardens."
Her lip was chewed raw already. She worried at the sore spot
with her tongue as she peered out into the rainy city streets.
They passed the corner of Fourth and Main, where almost exactly
twenty-four hours earlier Lois had been standing among a crowd of
onlookers, gaping at the horror that had unfolded before them.
She pinched the bridge of her nose, hard.
Accidents happened, hundreds a day in a city the size of
Metropolis, twenty four hours a day, seven days a week....they
But when a small car dashes through an intersection, sliding on
cold, wet pavement into the path of an oncoming truck, nine times
out of ten there are no fatalities. Nine times out of ten
Metropolis' guardian angel would arrive to end the tragedy before
it ever started. In her darker moments Lois wondered what happened
when the tally reached ten.
Now she knew.
She rolled her window down a little further, letting the cool
air rush in upon her face to drive away the burning flush of her
cheeks. He hadn't seen her tears. He'd fled before she could
battle her way through the crowd to tell him it wasn't his fault,
before she could seize the woman who'd struck at him with her
fists and demanded to know where he'd been.
And it would never stop. The tenth time would always come
"You're Lois Lane," the cabby said.
Lois rubbed her forehead. The scar felt rough against her
fingertips, like a speed bump in the smooth skin of the rest of
"Most of the time," she whispered.
Rain bloodied his cape, spilling down across his shoulders to
stain the bright crimson dark, as dark as the blood that had run
through his fingers when he'd lifted the small, broken body from
within a twist of steel.
Lois stood beneath a large fir, shadowed by its drooping
branches. Small, dark monoliths dotted a bright verdant landscape
that stretched out across what had long ago been filled with
prairie flowers. Now the flowers were plastic, lying atop the
graves in forlorn clumps, reflective of the pain surrounding them.
The flowers in his hands were real. She watched as a cascade of
pink petals slipped from his fingertips like the rain dripping
from the branches of her tree. He traced the words engraved upon
the black marble. His shoulders shuddered.
Falling, Lois thought. He's falling in on himself, collapsing
like a star in the throes of dying, only to become a black hole
wherein no light could exist.
Fear drew her out from her hiding place. Water squelched up
beneath her shoes from earth that could hold no more. The soft
sound was enough to make him start, his face turning up toward
And she remembered.
Blood ran down from shattered glass. Flames flickered in every
little faceted piece that lay scattered around her, on her, and in
places in her. But she'd felt only her racing heart and the
terror when the second car pulled up beside what remained of her
He'd stood there, watching the fire as it moved closer to where
she lay pinned beneath the dashboard. His eyes were the same dark
indigo as the sky, and were as sharp and reflective as the broken
glass. Impassive and cold, he'd stood there in the darkness,
watching and waiting, as he'd always done, until the time was
right. He struck like a viper, twisting the knife he'd already
driven into their backs with his pretty lies, and offers of
He'd watched her struggle within the twisted metal, deaf to her
screams as the fire burned hotter, his eyes turning occasionally
to scan the darkened fields.
She'd said nothing, gave him nothing, until realizing his
error, he had tried to save her himself.
Not her really.
What she knew.
And failing that, he'd fled into the darkness, leaving her to
die alone, waiting for the rescue that came - too late.
In her dreams she remembered flying, and looking down on her
own small form where it lay sprawled on the pavement. She
remembered flashing lights and sirens, and the wretched grief of
the one who, after all, really did love her. He'd clutched her to
his chest and held her pale and bloody face up to his own, his
lips jerking in an apology she never heard. His tears fell into
her hair as he rocked her, wailing as if some vital organ had been
cruelly ripped from his body. The expression on his face as he
raised it to the sky and screamed was the last thing she
Water dripped from his hair. It hung in soggy strings over his
forehead, the curls turned like the "S" shape adorning
his chest. Lois put her hands on his face. It was cold and damp,
and not just from the rain. He turned a cheek against her palm,
long, dark lashes brushed her fingers and she felt the warmth of
One large hand closed around her wrist. She knelt with him.
His voice was cracked and broken.
"She was the first."
"When I found her....I never knew what she was running
from, how she'd gotten there....I never went back. I still
Lois' fingers touched his mouth, stilling his lips but not
stopping the sob that choked from his throat. She felt it when she
He grew very still....
....then kissed her back, his mouth opening to accept her
tongue when she probed lightly at his lips. His hands hovered,
then fell upon her shoulders, holding her steady as he pressed
himself close to her. They were both trembling.
His mouth glided down to her throat.
Somehow a secret escaped her.
"I love you," she breathed.
Bodies slid against soft cotton sheets. Lois marveled at the
softness of his skin, all of which was now exposed to her hands
and her mouth. Her nails scraped across his bare chest, catching
on a nipple, making him arch up into her a little until she could
feel the swell of his cock against her damp opening. He made no
effort to enter, as if he were afraid or unsure.
She knew he was going to say, "I can't," and
smothered the words with a kiss. Her body shifted, rocking back
and forth upon his until he moaned with desire. Man of steel
perhaps, but still a man, and she knew, still vulnerable to the
same needs. Passions stirred in her, some of them long forgotten,
never fulfilled. She lost herself in his beauty.
He was beautiful - alien. She saw beyond his physical
beauty to places buried deep within him. His heart was an open
book to her, and so was his mind, its intricacies spilled open for
her to see. He let her in where he'd never let anyone go before,
not entirely of his own choosing. The sharp stab of old memories
stabbed at her like pins.
"You look good in blue."
Lois closed her eyes and rose above him, sliding back down with
a sigh and allowing him, inch by inch, inside herself. There were
places he could not go, that she couldn't allow him to go,
but she could give him this. Her body would drive away the pain.
Love could bring him joy again.
Could have back what she had lost, and more.
His muscles tightened. She locked his fingers around his,
leaning forward to kiss his knuckles and whisper a joke.
"Don't break my fingers. "
And he laughed - laughed! The smile she longed to see flickered
across his face, fading after only an instant, but there just the
She rose again, savoring the slide of his cock inside her. A
slow descent made them both moan, and he raised himself up to kiss
her, a gymnastic feat illustrating his strength. Lois opened her
mouth to his tongue as she'd opened her body to his cock. It
occurred to her to wonder what it would be like to have sex with
him in flight, hovering above the bed instead of lying in it. She
caught his tongue in her teeth, and let it go.
"Touch me," she whispered. Her hand guided his to
where she needed to be touched. He faltered a moment. "It's
His hands stroked her breasts, making her tighten around him as
she squirmed with pleasure. Encouraged, he did it again, and then
his mouth was there, sucking first one and then the other while
his tongue made lazy circles around each nipple. She thrust her
hips forward and back. First she kept the tempo slow, sultry, but
soon her hands pressed to his chest, pushing him back down to the
Hovering over him, Lois felt powerful. She was his Kryptonite,
leeching the strength from him with her sex. She could hurt him.
Their eyes met. In his she saw only gentle affection, and the
urge to clutch at him, claw at him, cry, and tell him the truth
was driven away by his love. Her hands caressed his arms, his
chest, his stomach and he came to life again. She could feel the
steady beat of his pulse in his wrists as he took her by the hips
and pushed her upward from his cock, pulling her down again as he
rose to meet her. His hands slid down her flanks to her legs,
gently soothing the trace work of scars along her calves. She made
him stop, raising his hands back to her chest where the skin was
soft, pure and free of painful memories.
They were dancing, bodies moving in time to the music of
rapidly beating hearts and breath that rushed past trembling lips.
The faint strains of another song ran through her mind as she
closed her eyes and let herself move to its rhythm. The memory of
another time, another dance that had ended much too soon,
fluttered away from her grasp as if mocking her.
Tears filled her eyes.
He rose again, this time twisting their bodies until he was on
top, her legs around his hips and her body arching up into each
thrust. With her hands on his shoulders she came, biting her lip
to keep from crying out the name she wasn't supposed to know.
The rain clattered against the window.
"I should go," he said, but didn't move from her bed.
His fingers tangled themselves in her dark hair, raising a few
strands, and then letting them fall again.
Beneath Lois' cheek, his chest rose and fell in a sigh.
"I never meant for this to happen, Lois. I'm sorry."
She raised her head and looked at him, and then kissed his chin
gently. "Your responsibility is to save my skin, not preserve
my virginity, which wasn't actually there to preserve."
His blush told him his had been. Another sacrifice? She was
tired of watching him bleed to death.
"Let me give you something in return," she whispered,
stroking his arm with her fingers. "You don't have to be
And that was it, the fear he'd always carried with him as he'd
watched his friends and family leave him one by one. She'd been
his first in more ways than one.
Quickly she shut her eyes, but it was too late to blot out the
memory of those plain white letters carved into the black grave
marker. She shuddered. He thought she was cold and wrapped his
arms more firmly around her.
She remembered being cold, always being cold, and the bright
white walls of the room she'd occupied for months while she healed
body, mind and soul. When she wasn't staring at the brightness she
was lost in the dark, crying out his name and wondering why he
didn't come save her.
"How did you find me?"
Lois opened her eyes again. "What?"
He met her gaze. "Why were you there, at the
"Remembering a friend," she murmured. "Does it
The pause was significant. He studied her eyes, seeking the
lie. If he found it or not, he didn't say.
Lois dreamed of Chloe's blond hair, her eyes that twinkled and
crinkled when she smiled or laughed, and her burning curiosity to know
things that would ultimately send her running for her life down a
long, dark Kansas highway. She dreamed of pursuit and the fear
that came with it, fear that made her scream and thrust her hands
against the steering wheel in frustration.
"Leave me alone!!"
He wanted her. He wanted her mind and what it contained. His
desire for knowledge far surpassed her own, for it was coupled
with the lust for power and control.
Lois dreamed of indigo eyes, and a pale oval face that held no
emotion, no warmth. She dreamed of white walls and masked faces.
"You see, none of you understand. You don't know what
he's done, what he will do, should I no longer bar his way."
Lionel Luthor's voice, bringing with it the frightening
revelation that perhaps they had been wrong, and he was not the
man they'd thought him to be. In her dream, Lois reached out her
hand to him and he took it. His weakness frightened her still
more. Here was her salvation, her shield, crumbling beneath the
onslaught of a ticking clock, and terminal disease.
"Run," he whispered. "Hide. It's the only way
you can protect the one you love."
He set her on her feet, and she did run, fleeing down that
long, cold, dark highway once again.
She never looked back at what she'd been, not until Clark Kent
walked through the doors of the Daily Planet and asked for
When she woke, the room was dark and she was alone. Her arm
flailed, struck the nightstand, and she groped for her watch.
They'd dozed away the afternoon.
Wobbling a little on her feet as she pulled on a nightshirt,
Lois made her way into the bathroom. The bright white of her
bathroom light stabbed her eyes with hot needles of pain. Blinking
helped very little. Moaning made it seem better. When she
pried open her eyes she saw only her own reflection in the mirror.
It made her breath catch and her hands tightened on the cool
porcelain of the sink rim.
How can he not know?
She traced the scar on her forehead, followed the slope of her
new nose down to her lips. Another, smaller, scar tugged at her
upper lip on the right side, making her smile slightly crooked.
Weight loss and age accentuated her cheekbones.
But Chloe Sullivan still stared back at her.
Her expression crumpled, her features twisting with pain, as
she remembered Clark's pain, and the flower petals falling
from his limp fingertips. Tears ran down her face as she
remembered him cradling the broken body of the child he'd failed
"She was the first."
She sagged against the wall, sliding down it to sit on the
floor with her face in her hands, her body shaking with gut
wrenching sobs of despair that echoed off the tile clad walls. It
reminded her of a tomb.
Lois froze. Her body shivered in sudden, irrevocable chills.
When she raised her head she saw him standing there in the
bathroom doorway. He wore jeans, and a t-shirt. His glasses were
in his hands and he fumbled them into his pocket in such a
"Clark-like" manner it almost made her laugh.
He would not meet her gaze, speaking only after a significant
pause. "She...." he said haltingly. "I always
underestimated her you know. Took her for granted." His voice
broke a little. "Never knew what I had until I didn't have it
It seemed a great effort for him to look at her, but he did.
"I don't want to lose you too," he whispered.
He didn't understand. His hands were cold upon hers as he knelt
before her, mumbling apologies regarding secrets and confused
twists of identity, fear and desire. She remembered their warmth
and shook her head, the tears continuing to pour down her cheeks.
He didn't understand, seeing only the life she'd taken on as
the cousin who had never existed. The face he'd last seen masked
in blood and the glitter of broken glass had faded from his
memory, replaced by time and tragedy by the one she now wore.
Her hand slipped on the tile as she tried to rise. A broken
corner caught her palm, tearing it. Her gasp broke through her
tears. Blood welled from the cut, spreading out across her palm
like the spokes of a wheel.
"You're bleeding," Clark's fingers touched the
crimson stain gathering in the lines of her hand.
She tried to pull away but he held her fast.
"Don't be angry," he said, and she wanted to slap him
for saying it because of all the things she felt, anger was not
one of them.
A drop of blood fell to the floor. They both watched it fall.
When she looked up at him again his eyes were on hers, his gaze
caressing her, loving her, like he'd never loved her before. She
was captivated by it.
His voice was a breath, an echo from a dream she'd once had.
"Lois Lane, will you marry me?"
He could see in the dark.
His eyes caressed her as she lay sprawled among the twisted
sheets of her bed. He remembered the feel of her body next to his
as they made love; its warmth, its life stirring him to
newly discovered passions.
The darkness inside him had retreated, but the scars remained,
like the scars she'd always hidden beneath her hair, or a swipe of
lipstick and blush. Her disguise was as flimsy, and yet as
effective as his own. He'd been fooled, and pensive until the very
end, he'd not been sure....
....until she'd looked up at him and said - "yes."
The questions he had, the overwhelming joy, had been suppressed
into silence by the overriding thought: "She's safe. Like
this, she's safe."
And he'd kept her secret as she'd kept his.
Her eyes opened. Her teeth flashed a smile in the darkness.
He had to go.
She understood. She'd always understood.
"I'll be here," she said. "When you come
Clark nodded, and Superman slipped out the window, arcing up
high into the night sky where the stars that birthed him glittered
like broken glass on a long, dark road to nowhere.
It was time to re-evaluate the existence of God.