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... and the gates of heaven were opened ...

BeitragVerfasst: Mo 9. Mai 2011, 19:22
von C_K_unlimited
Title: ...and the gates of heaven were opened …

author: barb1808/C_K_unlimited (I'm one and the same person ;) )
'verse: Reeve-verse (somewhere after SII)
word count: ~ 4,640
With a lot of rain Lois and Clark are sent on an out-of-town assignment.

Disclaimer: No, I don't own anything. Only the idea to this story. Do I make money with it? Nope. The only payment I get are the reviews. ;)

Thank you very much to Kitkaos for the beta! :hug: Your 'why' is a very powerful question. ;)
This story was written for the FicGrab in April 2011 on, the promt was 'rain'.

It was raining like it never intended to stop again. Everyone tried to keep their time outside to a minimum. Even criminals seemed to slow down their activities. Clark silently thanked them. He was already busy enough helping to keep overflowing creeks and rivers at bay in the greater area around Metropolis.

Also people's good mood seemed to be washed away by the rain. Even Jimmy Olsen had fallen silent, almost brooding. Clark himself felt nearly like Batman. He was exhausted and sad, emotionally empty.

Since his mother had died a few months ago he had nobody with whom he could talk openly about his other job and that slowly got to him. Her death itself was also nagging at him. While he had been in Italy helping with the big earthquake of Iripina her heart decided that it had beaten enough times. Although he had rushed to her side he was too late for successful reanimation. Feeling just as helpless as he had when his father died the loneliness was now even stronger.

He thought about letting Jimmy in on the secret. After all he had always been loyal and a good friend. But something still kept him from actually doing it. In the back of his mind though he heard a little voice whispering: 'Tell Lois. She is the one.'

But every time the memories came back of how devastated she had been after that one night, the night after he had defeated Zod. The images and the sound of her sobs still haunted him as much as his decision to relieve her from that painful and dangerous knowledge.

The reporter's musings were interrupted by the call of his editor-in-chief.

“Lane, Kent. My office!” Perry White barked through the bullpen.

The two members of the Daily Planet's best reporting team shot up and followed their chief. They both knew better than to let him wait, especially when his mood was as bad as the last few weeks. From what Clark had picked up the reason for it was another fight between Perry and his wife Alice.

When he closed the door and slumped into one of the seats in front of Perry's desk the older man looked up.

“I've got an assignment for you out of town. With all the rain here nothing really happens that couldn't be covered by somebody else. But I think you can dig up something good where the rain causes more damage. Some fluff piece or some hard facts about how taming of rivers causes problems. Anything that sells. You've got five days there. Your helicopter leaves in two hours, Penny will give you the address of where you'll stay. Go home and get packed!”

Silently Clark gulped, remembering the last time they had been 'out of town for a fluff piece' nearly nine months ago. Muttering some annoyed comments under her breath Lois got up and very quickly cleaned her desk to get everything she needed. Clark followed her example more slowly. Somehow they still ended up in the same elevator riding down.

With a cheerful voice Clark tried to start up a conversation:
“It'll be good to get out of town for a little, won't it Lois?”

A forced smile distorted her features:
“Sure Clark. It will be great!”

Lois' sarcastic reply silenced him for a moment. Gathering his wits he spoke again:
“With this rain the last days you'd think we should build another ark. I wonder who would be Noah this time.”

Lost in thoughts Lois didn't answer. Instead she was nibbling on her thumb. With a sigh Clark rolled his eyes and gave up. Over the time they had worked together he had learned to read her and when she was like this that usually meant she was thinking about his alter ego. But feeling no desire to talk about Superman right now Clark just kept quiet.

After the 'mistake', how he silently referred to the events at Niagara Falls and the following days and events around the defeating of Zod, Lois' praise of Superman hurt even more than before. Although she seemed to have a slightly less teenage way of swooning over him. He often wondered if some part of the memories were still alive in her mind. Especially when he caught her sending him strange or thoughtful looks or when she teased him. There was something between them he just couldn't define. It was in between their everyday work, their shared laughter, staying late and competing over the headlines. But when he tried to get a hold of it, he couldn't. When seeing her as Superman though everything was like ever before.

Silently they left the elevator and rounded the corner where their ways parted. With a short “See you later.” each of them left for their respective apartment.

At home Clark quickly packed what he needed and changed into his already iconic suit to go on a quick check over the city and its surroundings. Plucking a cat from a swimming plank and another one from a slick balcony he decided that it was quiet and safe enough for him to leave town.

After taking a quick shower he supersped into his usual work clothes and left with his old leather suitcase. As it was fitting for his Clark persona he stumbled onto the roof the moment their helicopter was about to land.

“There you are Clark. I already thought I'd have to leave without you.” Lois greeted him dryly.

With his high-pitched Clark voice he responded:
“I'm s-sorry Lois. I couldn't – couldn't find my -ehum- toilet bag and then I got stuck in traffic.”

While Lois rolled her eyes at him his insides felt like being punched. He would never get used to lying to anyone even less to Lois, although he had to admit that it got easier to come up with excuses. But he was glad that the roaring of the rotor blades made it difficult to understand anything so Lois wouldn't get suspicious about his silence.

They both climbed on board. Clark folded himself into the back with both suitcases while Lois took the comfortable and spacious front seat. When both security belts were closed and the headphones were in place the pilot took off. Clark's stomach clenched uncomfortably. As much as he was used to flying and at high speeds, he just couldn't get used to being enclosed in a flying can.

When Lois looked back at him he forced himself to smile but she saw he didn't feel well and asked:
“Clark, are you okay?”

In her voice Clark could detect a mixture of amusement and worry. But he only gave her a reassuring wave with his hand. For once he didn't trust his stomach to keep his lunch where it was. Sympathetically Lois advised him:
“Look outside, at the horizon just not directly down, then you should be fine.”

After about 30 minutes they finally landed on a sports ground right outside a small town. A taxi was waiting for them but when they climbed off the helicopter their feet almost sunk in the wet grass and dirt. Walking was difficult and Clark was glad about his powers, which he also used to help Lois without her realizing. Still their shoes were completely covered in mud when they arrived at the taxi. Annoyed the driver rolled his eyes. He hated that he had to clean his cab several times a day with this weather.

As usual Clark let Lois take the lead. After all she had all the instructions and that way he could take his time to take in where they were. They passed several single family homes. All of them had a garden, a garage and on some fences there were signs warning about a dog. Some had sandboxes, swings or toys scattered around the garden. All in all it would be an idyllic sight, if it wasn't for the ever-present rain and mud and branches everywhere. The tantalizing voice in his head spoke up again: 'You could have had that, too. She can handle it. She's a big girl.'

To stop the voice and out of curiosity Clark asked the cabbie: “Why does it look so dirty around here?”

The response was even more gruff than what they were used to from Perry White:
“The creek flooded half the town. They opened the gates at the dam a few miles north and the wave hit us. Now we're left alone to clean up.”

Before Clark could ask another question they had reached a tiny house a little outside of town. Although the ground was satiated with water like everywhere else it didn't seem as dirty as the rest. Maybe the flood hadn't reached it. Next to the entrance stood a woman in her late forties sporting a cheerful smile and welcoming her guests with an overwhelming and all consuming warmth. After they had paid the taxi Nell, as she introduced herself, fired her questions at the two reporters while showing them the house. Lois' short answers soon showed her that her curiosity wouldn't be satisfied and she settled with explaining how everything worked and got some of the gossip from town off her chest. When she finally left both reporters felt like a bulldozer had run them over.

“Golly! We forgot to ask her where we could buy some food and stuff.” Clark exclaimed.

“If you wanna go out there again, then go. I will stay here the rest of the night. It's cold and wet outside and I doubt that we'll find something really interesting worth our skills in this godforsaken town,” Lois grumbled from the couch where she had slumped down.

But Clark was already out the door. It was so him that the tough woman only rolled her eyes. Although she hated his quick leaving and constant disappearing acts the sweet and humble man had gotten to her. Under his clumsy way and dorky appearance was a man with a huge heart and a brilliant mind who had earned Lois' respect with hard and honest work. But sometimes she wondered if there was something she was missing about him. A tiny detail that just didn't fit. But she could never put her finger on it. All she knew was that she cared about him. The longer she knew him the more she liked spending time with him.

Taking a deep breath she got up again to explore their temporary home on her own without anyone looming over her back. The living area was part of the biggest room where there was also a dining table, a kitchenette and a fireplace. The walls were decorated with some fake English paintings and on the mantlepiece were some dried flower bouquets. To the right was a tiny corridor that led to a small bathroom and the steep and narrow stairs to the bedroom under the roof. Of course there was only one bedroom and its ceiling followed the pitched roof. In some spots even Lois had to lower her head.

In order to 'mark her territory' she began unpacking her suitcase. Most things would stay in it because she didn't feel comfortable enough but at least her coats and skirts were better in the closet. When she was finished she took a blanket and a pillow down with her. She wasn't cruel enough to make Clark sleep on the couch without them. After all he was a very nice and sweet person.

Images of Clark doing his best to make her some freshly squeezed orange juice flashed through her mind. Followed by one of him bringing her hot dogs with an expression like a kid that expected to be praised for it. Smiling she tried to wipe them away but the warm feeling inside her just didn't calm down. Ever since about nine months ago it had been there lurking underneath and only recently she had gotten aware of it. Thinking about it she realized it had started to get stronger since Clark's mother died. The deep sadness in his eyes, the silent cry for help and company there had awoken the protective side in her along with the impression that there was something she had forgotten.

In the living room she draped blanket and pillow on the couch and started to pile some wood into the fireplace. Working always helped her to clear her thoughts. Right when she lit a match the door opened and Clark came back. Of course the current of air caused by that extincted the match. Getting up she started to rant:
“Great! Thank you Clark! I almost had the fire going.”

Meekly the tall man replied:
“I'm sorry, Lois. I'll make a fire in a second. Don't worry. I just have to...”

Before the sentence could be finished one of the paper bags Clark had been carrying slipped out from under his arm, landed right beside the table and scattered its contents all over the floor. Apples, tomatoes, potatoes and toilet paper rolled in all directions.

“Oh no. I'm so sorry, Lois.” And with a small smile Clark added: “At least I didn't drop the bag with the bottles of milk and the eggs in it.”

With a sigh Lois bent down to get everything, discovering that Clark had even thought of chocolate and ice cream. Together they put the purchase in different cabinets and while Lois stuffed the fridge Clark went to light the fire.

Deep in his heart this couple-like housework caused an ache that he hadn't felt in a long time in this intensity. After 'the mistake' he had thrown himself into work on both his jobs to keep himself busy. Since his mother had died even more. What had to be done in his own apartment, housework-wise, he had done at high speed. Taking a deep breath he fought, once again, the memories of a time when Lois was his and the hope he had felt back then, putting on the mask of clumsy Clark Kent that he always used. And the tiny voice inside his head whispered 'She could be yours. She would forgive,' making it hard for him to be his usual 'self'.

After a quiet dinner, spaghetti with tomato sauce, they planned how they wanted to start their investigation and where.

“I think there is a story about the dam. I wonder if they got a warning here that the gates would be opened and if it could be expected that the wave would go this way...” Clark said in thoughts.

Reluctantly Lois started to scribble on her notepad.
“Yeah, maybe you're right, Clark. But Perry said fluff piece...”

With a smile Clark interrupted: “Perry said 'anything that sells'. That doesn't have to be a fluff piece and knowing you, you're not into writing a fluff piece anyway.”

Smiling back Lois agreed on trying that angle of a 'rain story'. After some more plans for the next day and a few rounds of playing cards they both agreed on going to bed. Without any comment Clark took the couch and waited until Lois was fast asleep. When he heard her steady breathing he silently changed into red and blue and left the house, going on a short patrol through the crying night sky. At the end of his patrol he dried himself off before entering the house again and lay down on the couch in his pajamas. His hearing open to anything around him the steady rhythm of Lois' heartbeat and breathing lulled him to sleep as much as the raindrops on the roof.

In the early morning hours Clark woke up. The steady 'tokeditok – toktok' of raindrops had changed and now it sounded like standing under the spray of a shower or standing close to a waterfall. The first moment between sleep and being fully awake Clark expected to face a pink bear on the floor but when he opened his eyes there was none and he knew again where he was. Remembering that there was no river directly next the house he was immediately on alarm and opened his hearing further for any cries for help. But he couldn't hear anything. With a quick checking glance through the floor that told him Lois was still sleeping Clark changed into the other suit again and left.

The sight that greeted him in front of the door made his heart stutter for a second. Where there had been a small road in the afternoon leading from their temporary home to the small town was a river flowing full force and turning the town into houses standing in a lake. Taking to the sky again he circled above the houses checking on the families sleeping there and the constructions of the houses. As far as he could see nobody was in danger of being washed away. The damage the water was doing could be fixed when it was gone again. But before he could decide if he could or should do something immediately he heard Lois getting out of bed and hurried back onto his couch.

With his heart in his throat he waited for her to reach the last step of the stairs and heard her use the bathroom. But her feet didn't climb up the stairs again. Silently she tiptoed into the living room and stood in the door watching Clark. With a deep breath he faked waking up and blinked in her direction.

“Lois? Is everything alright?” He even managed to sound sleepy.

With a small voice her answer came across the room:
“Yes. It's just – the rain woke me up. It – kinda – sounds scary all of a sudden. So I thought I'd check on you.”

Clark could hardly believe what he was hearing. The strong and tough Lois Lane admitted to him, Clark Kent, that something was scary for her. He immediately sat upright and tried to calm her:
“It's still just rain, isn't it?”

“I don't know, Clark. It sounds completely different than during the evening hours...”

Taking a deep breath he stood up and went to the door.
“Well, then we better take a look outside.”

He manged to sound like Clark always did, but his gut clenched and mentally he argued with himself what a stupid idea it was to show her what was going on outside. Surely she would get even more scared. But somehow he knew that this was the only way he could act right now. He just couldn't keep it from her. There were already enough secrets standing in between them.

Slowly opening the door he prepared to show a surprised reaction.
“Lois? I think we have a slight problem...”

“What is it, Clark?” Worriedly Lois closed the distance between them and was at his side with a few steps.

When she saw all the water outside she clamped her hands over her mouth to unsuccessfully stop her cry of shock.
“Clark! What are we going to do?”

Her wide eyes stared out onto the water masses and her body began to shake. Taking her in his arms Clark gently pushed her back inside and closed the door.

“It's gonna be okay, Lois. We're safe here. Did you see? The water is still far away from our door. It just blocked the road. We have food here and firewood for several days. We'll be fine.” Putting some confidence into the words to comfort her, he let the Clark voice slip a little and his natural deeper voice be heard.

The effect apparently wasn't lost because he felt her relax a little, snuggling into his embrace. Slowly he maneuvered her to the dinner table and onto a chair peeling himself away to the kitchenette declaring:
“I'll make us some cocoa. That'll calms the nerves. Then we can think about our situation.”

A mix of emotions rushed through him. The short moment of physical closeness left his skin tingling while in his mind feelings of guilt, pleasure and relief about not touching her anymore fought with each other.

Lois gave her agreement with a sobbing nod but suddenly froze, her eyes fixed on Clark's face:
“Clark, where are your glasses?”

A searching hand shot up to his nose to find – nothing. Shifting uncomfortably he looked anywhere but at his partner and managed a nervous, high-pitched answer:
“They must be lying on the table next to the couch. I took them off when I went to sleep.”

Both turned and there the glasses lay looking up at them innocently. Quickly Clark went to take them and put them back on his nose. But Lois beat him to it and cautiously placed them where they belonged. For a moment her meaningful eyes searched his face and Clark felt sweat breaking out on his neck and hands. But then Lois turned away and sat back on her chair by the table.

Clearing his head with a shake of it the tall man went back to resume his work in the kitchenette, turning on a small light and the gas stove to heat some milk. While his hands were occupied his mind raced to find anything to talk about and take Lois off of the glasses incident. The uncomfortable feeling that she must have recognized him looming in his stomach.

How would she react? When would she react? Did he have to prepare himself for getting his head ripped of anytime she pleased? And should he tell her about their past? Or should he try to block the memory again with another kiss like the last one they had shared?

But once again Lois was faster than him and started a casual conversation:
“Clark, where did you learn to cook? You're always so clumsy but when it comes to actually preparing some food you're all changed.”

Chuckling, Clark took a moment to prepare his answer:
“I guess my Mom trained me well enough.”

A rush of sadness washed over him remembering when they were standing in the kitchen, how proud his mother had been when his first cake was baked. Pushing the images and feelings away he continued:
“When I'm cooking I can forget the rest of the world and just be myself.”

At least none of it was a lie.

“So your stumbling and stuttering is because you feel like you have to live up to something?”

Lois seemed to be on a mission and used her, for Clark well-known, interview skills on him. But treasuring her friendship and interest in him, the stolen moments of quietness filled with a feeling of belonging together and normality, he was ready to give her answers as honest as possible without telling his secret:
“Maybe, yes.”

He stilled a moment to ponder the question and his answer again before continuing:
“You could be right, actually. I don't like being watched and it makes me nervous when there are as many people as in the bullpen. Besides, Perry is my boss so he could always fire me and, you know, my work at the Planet is really important to me.”

He finished pushing up his glasses for good measure. With a lurking undertone Lois retorted:
“But I'm watching you right now.”

Shuffling his feet Clark turned around to face her. He even managed to blush.
“Well, for one you're only one person and then you're my friend, aren't you?”

With Lois' confirming nod he added:
“Besides, you're watching me make cocoa, not a soufflé.”

With a small smile Lois quietly replied:
“If you were making a soufflé I'd help you. Because that is one of the few things that I can cook.”

Clark's wondering if his partner was subliminally trying to tell him that she remembered was interrupted by the sound of overflowing milk. Immediately he spun around and yanked the pan from the stove. When Lois reached his side he was already cleaning the mess with a wet cloth.

“Clark, did you burn yourself? You didn't even use oven mitts!”
When the panic in Lois' voice registered Clark realized what he had done, looked shortly at his hands and then tried to hide them from Lois.

“No, no, no. It's okay. I'm okay. Nothing happened. The handles weren't that hot.” His waterfall of words was halted by Lois' hands on his cautiously pulling them to her.

With wide eyes she looked at them and touched them as if realizing for the first time that Clark even had hands. Waiting for her outburst and preparing himself to receive a slap in the face the trapped man tentatively stepped back further and further until his legs hit the chair Lois had vacated. Unable to do something else he collapsed on it.

Slowly he could feel Lois approaching, not daring to look up at her. When she stood in front of him her hands came up to his face again, lifting his chin and finally taking away his glasses. Once again her eyes were roaming over his features making his heart flutter and his breath catch in his throat. Without a word she brushed away the hair from his forehead save that one curl that never wanted to follow the others.

That finally did it. Lois' breath hitched and she whispered:
“You're really him. Aren't you?”

Unable to say anything, even less to deny it Clark only nodded.

“Then it wasn't a dream, right?” Lois sounded more insecure than Clark had ever heard her before.
“It wasn't a dream that when we were in Niagara Falls you fished your glasses out of a roaring fire and you took me to this secret place of yours, completely white, made of ice or crystals or something.”

“The fortress.” Clark said with a throaty voice.

Lois smiled again.
“Yes, the fortress. - How could I forget that this was all real?”

Averting his eyes uncomfortably Clark cleared his throat.
“I made you forget. I'm sorry, Lois.”

When he finally looked at her again he could see confusion and hurt in her features. But then there was another feeling fighting its way to the surface. Curiosity. Curiosity to get to the center of everything not for the sake of the story but because she wanted to know. She looked directly into his eyes. Clark felt like she could see his innermost thoughts. With her hands on the sides of his face she said:
“Clark Kent, I guess you have a lot of explaining to do, don't you? But before answer me this: Is everyone safe here?”

Opening his hearing again to the world outside Clark checked for anything indicating a soul in need. When he didn't hear anything he gave his answer:
“As far as I can say there is no need for Superman right now.”

“Good.” Lois said firmly. Then she smiled again and whispered:
“Superman. Who would have thought...”

Straightening she turned to the couch:
“I think over there is a better place to talk, that is, if you don't mind.”

A smile tugged at his lips and with his unique powers Clark put the blankets away and prepared two cups of hot cocoa, handing one to Lois when she reached her destination. With a grateful smile she took it and sat down comfortably patting the couch on her side for him to sit down.

With a simple “Now shoot.” she gave the command for Clark to tell her everything, and he did. And while they were talking about their past and their present, hoping for their future, during the rest of the night and the following days the rain outside fell like it never intended to stop again.


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