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16 March 2009 @ 12:28 am
Fic: Reverse, Reverberate  
Title: Reverse, Reverberate
Category: Smallville
Word Count: 1088
Date of Completion: 16 March 2009
Primary Characters: Clark Kent, Lois Lane
Rating: PG
Setting: 8x15 "Infamous"
Summary: Clark and Lois in echo chambers.
- - -

Reverse, Reverberate

"There are thousands of people in Metropolis, and only a handful of them know my name." I rub my hands together, and look down into them. "Tomorrow, they all find out the truth about me."

Lois's fingers tremble, and she wraps them around her cup of coffee. "I have always thought," she says, her eyes turned downwards and her voice low, "that — that you shouldn't toil in obscurity your whole life." How often does she say things like that to me? With her face half in shadow like that she looks vaguely expressionistic, her whole countenance turned away, her knuckles white against the porcelain. I am always afraid to understand what she means. I let these moments of unpolished openness slip through my fingers, even as they twitch and ache to close around that hidden meaning, to pry it open, to keep it safe.

Half without thinking, I put my hands over Lois's as she grips the cup. There is a slight intake of breath, but she says nothing.

I think that I could spend the rest of my life like this.

"We only have ten hours," she says, glancing at her phone. I look up from where our fingers have knotted together and she meets me halfway. "I mean until press," she says. There is something wistful in her smile. "What do you want to do with your last night of anonymity?"

I return her smile, and I want to tell her what I have just been thinking — but I don't. I don't know how to vocalise this: that I want nothing that I don't have right now. What if I let go her hand? What would become of me then? I don't know what I am thinking. What would Lois think of me if she knew that right now, as I stand by a great precipice — the great precipice of my life — with the wind in my hair and pebbles sliding between my toes, all I want is to sit here and drink coffee? I got over my vertigo a long time ago.

But I think she knows; or maybe she is afraid to understand what I mean when I look at her like this.

I would understand that. We have looked at each other like this before. Then death danced through us, around us, between us, and rattling his bones at all of our friends. I was churned up in his wake; I lost myself; I lost a lot of things.

All of that seems so strangely in the past.

"It's not just me," I say. "In ten hours, all Metropolis will have your name on their lips."

There is a small, almost imperceptible twitch of the hand. She withdraws it to rest her chin on it. "Because of you;" she says, "not because of anything I did." She presses her lips together, and then takes a sip of coffee. "That's another story which has fallen into my lap," she says, and seems to think of herself as quite astute for it.

I watch her carefully. "Lois —"

There is that smile again; I don't know what to do with it. "I know what people say about me," she says, "Smallville." Brushing her hair back out of her eyes, she adds, "I don't know — sometimes I don't know that they're wrong."

For Lois, I think that self-reflection is like wandering through a dark and dust-filled chamber with a mirror around every corner; flitting through, she catches only glimpses of herself distorted by the half-light; she never stays long. I would like to take her out en plein air.

"Lois," I say, "stories don't just fall into people's laps." I hold my own coffee between my two hands and look down into it. "People don't like how effortless you make it seem."

But I know that Lois will never be satisfied with an explanation like that. "And the fact that you're my —"

But then she falters, and our eyes meet.

I —

"Lois, I came to you," I say, and my hand feels so unsteady I am glad she let it go, "because you are the most talented reporter I know. Not because there's — not as a favour to you."

There is a moment where I wonder what I have said when I look at her face. Then she nods, almost to herself, and glances down at her coffee. "Right," she says, "I get it;" and I think she has misunderstood me in some way I am incapable of discerning.

I could never have wished for something like this: I never sat up late at night, wishing I could have coffee with someone like Lois Lane.

Yet somehow there is something in this feeling of reaching out and missing her fingertips in conversation that makes me think this is the moment I want to stop time for. What will I do when it is over? — when we are 'famous' and can no longer sit out drinking coffee and spewing words at each other which mean something other than what we want them to mean?

When Lois looks up at me, I realise that we will remember this moment for the rest of our lives.

"In forty years," she says, "they'll ask me: how did breaking the story on Clark Kent change your life? And I'll say — that was the last time I got coffee with him."

- - -

For a moment there, I thought I could have everything.

- - -

It would be so easy to walk over to her now, sit there and be reminded of what I gave up. What if I did, and I took her hands in mine, and then I told her the truth about me all over again?

And for a third time death would rattle his bones in my direction, and I could never take it back.

How can I go there now, and pretend to Lois that I am only her friend? When she tilts her head away from me so that her face is only half-lit, when she rubs her hands together to keep them warm and I don't take them in mine: how can I sit there and think about all the things we could have done? How can I make her suffer that? It would be so easy to make the same mistakes again. There's no right way to do what I did.

We will go our separate ways, and Lois will make a name for herself unentangled with mine; I will make sure that she can never deny that it was deserved. I just —

I know what Lois would think of me now.
you squint when you sing: smallville - clark/lois; reveal scene!!!oatmeal_cookie on March 16th, 2009 02:17 am (UTC)
This is beautiful. But, this, especially so:

I let these moments of unpolished openness slip through my fingers, even as they twitch and ache to close around that hidden meaning, to pry it open, to keep it safe.

Oh, Clark. Oh, Lois.

What an insightful look at where Clark's head is in the episode. The show is so frustrating in its inability to ever fully express what he's thinking (possibly so they can keep all sections of the fandom happy), and you did it justice. I love their hesitancy, I love how disconnected their conversation seems (it reflects the one they had in the barn), and oh I think she has misunderstood me in some way I am incapable of discerning. I am fully confident that they'll get there soon.

Excellent work. :)
Mary: ∂ technicolourpenumbra on March 19th, 2009 11:16 pm (UTC)
Yes, Clark is so frustratingly ambiguous at all times. But I think they'll get there soon, too.

Mel: SV // the beginningscullymulder123 on March 16th, 2009 02:26 am (UTC)
This was absolutely splendid, and makes me feel exactly as if I were watching Infamous, as sad as that makes me. This was a perfect look inside Clark's head; something we rarely get. Wonderful job! I loved it :]
Mary: ♥penumbra on March 19th, 2009 11:18 pm (UTC)
brijeana: Clois Buddies - by Trishabrijeana on March 16th, 2009 10:06 am (UTC)
Oh I've got tears in my eyes. Lovely story.

I like that... for Clark... he'd had that coffee with Lois. He couldn't bear to have it any differently. <3
Mary: Bat For Lashes ∫ :Dpenumbra on March 19th, 2009 11:19 pm (UTC)
eternal_moonieeternal_moonie on March 16th, 2009 11:51 am (UTC)
Love LOve LOVe LOVE it!!! Great job!!!
Mary: ∂ like a queenpenumbra on March 19th, 2009 11:21 pm (UTC)
miss sullivan: [sv] clois; elevator.burningqueen on March 16th, 2009 03:01 pm (UTC)
Oh, wonderful! I can totally see this happening during that jumped scene.
Mary: Clark & Loispenumbra on March 19th, 2009 11:22 pm (UTC)
Thankyou. ♥
mute_mime: KENTmute_mime on March 23rd, 2009 09:16 pm (UTC)
I think, honestly, my favorite Clois fanfiction so far. I love the way it just falls into my head so easily and how Clark's feelings are so...real and understandable where on the show, it usually is anything but.
Marypenumbra on March 30th, 2009 08:46 pm (UTC)
Thankyou. Clark can be a difficult character to understand, but I love him nonetheless.
svgurl: clois 'infamous'svgurl on April 16th, 2009 01:26 am (UTC)
This was so beautiful. I really loved how you wrote Lois and Clark ... totally in character. At the same time, it was just heartbreaking. I love how you had Clark reassure Lois and how you nailed her insecurities, because we all know she has them. The way you got into his head in that last scene was just amazing.

Wonderful job! :)
Mary: Clark & Loispenumbra on April 16th, 2009 03:00 am (UTC)
Thankyou. Lois's insecurities break my heart, because they're usually opposite to reality -- she thinks she's not good enough for Chloe, for Clark, for the Daily Planet and journalism; she thinks that she's Clark's least priority when even this early on she is his top priority. But she's so awesome. ♥
just a girl: [smallville] clark kent; smallville_touched on May 7th, 2009 10:14 pm (UTC)
I have to say, that it's really refreshing to see something that is able to get inside Clark's head, and give us a glimpse into what he was thinking during that moment. And that line, "For a moment there, I thought I could have everything," was spot on perfect, because you know he HAD to be thinking it, even if WASN'T saying it.
Aimee Roseaimeerose on January 11th, 2011 01:16 am (UTC)
Oh this story. I want to hug it, to hug Lois and Clark in retrospect and tell them "it gets better." Your imagery is so spot on, and I really like how you use words with such care, it really elevates fan fiction into a true art form. Keep up the wonderful work.