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Birthday Fic: Struggle, 1/1

Title: Struggle
Author: htbthomas
Fandom: Superman Returns
Rating: PG
Word Count: 1474 words
Summary: While on assignment, Lois and Clark follow a lead with almost disastrous results.
Author's Notes: A birthday ficlet for clioidae. I hope you enjoy it! Thanks to mark_clark for the beta.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


“What is your position on the new tax—?”

“Senator Chesterfield! How do you feel about your proposed running—?”

“Do you think our country is capable of extracting itself from the mess in—?”

The press conference had dissolved into chaos, the reporters from every paper in the area, as well as some of the bigger national news organizations. Questions tumbled over each other half-formed as each person tried to get in a parting shot.

“Senator!” Lois pushed her small body through the writhing mass of reporters, leaving Clark to make his way on his own. There was a definite advantage to being five foot five sometimes.

She popped out of the front of the crowd abruptly, hand furiously trying to flag the senator or his press secretary. Chesterfield suddenly turned toward her, indicating she could ask a final question.

She opened her mouth to speak. “Lois La—” Only at that moment did she realize his eyes were focused a foot above her head.

“Clark Kent, Daily Planet.” Lois turned to look up at him, aghast he was already at her side. Clark cleared his throat and shifted his overwide tie before continuing smoothly, “Senator Chesterfield, what is your connection with Lex Luthor? Is he funding your campaign?”

A sudden chorus of shocked murmurs erupted all around them. Dammit, Clark! That was my question to ask! Teach me to discuss anything with you beforehand… she fumed.

But Lois had to admit that the question, asked in Clark’s mild tone, had a much greater impact. The senator opened and closed his mouth a few times before responding, “There is no connection between Luthor and myself, and there never will be.” He shot a glare at both Lois and Clark before addressing the crowd again. “That will be all the questions today, ladies and gentlemen of the press. Thank you, and have a good day.” He turned on his heel, followed a few moments later by his dumbstruck entourage.

Lois started off after them, ditching her press pass and already twisting her hair into a severe chignon to blend in. She had just caught the door to the exit hallway swinging behind the last staff member when a large hand settled on the crook of her arm.

She shook it off, using her other elbow to hold the door open… but the hand wouldn’t let go. She turned to see Clark’s pleading eyes. “Let it go, Lois. There’s always next time.”

“I will not let it go!” she hissed, trying once again to shake him. “Chesterfield will not lie to the press and get away with it!”

“He won’t get away with it,” Clark murmured earnestly, inexorably pulling her away from the door. Damn, he was stronger than he looked! His hand slid farther down her forearm as she struggled ineffectively to get out of his grasp. “That little seed of doubt will shoot through the cracks in his shaky lead… we’ll all know the truth soon enough.”

“But I—”

“—would only raise questions about your journalistic integrity. It’s too public, Lois.” His hand had slipped into hers, and he squeezed it in a gesture of finality.

Lois’ eyes widened at the sudden tingle in her palm, and she snatched it out of his, scowling. Turning away from the hurt look Clark wasn’t able to hide very well, she peeked through the crack in the door one more time. The senator’s entourage was well down the hallway… there would be no way to catch them unnoticed.

Lois swore under her breath for a moment. She had been hoping to get a better angle, and that was all shot to hell now. “I hope you’re happy,” she managed after letting out an exasperated breath.

“Don’t worry, Lois.” He tilted his head and smiled slyly, gesturing with his eyes toward another doorway. “I know a back entrance.” Clark started walking in that direction without another word.

Lois recovered quickly and sped off after her partner, her frustration dimming slightly. Clark was always surprising her lately – she hadn’t quite gotten used to it. Ever since Perry had put them back together as a reporting team, Clark was displaying a large amount of… chutzpah…? Initiative…? Backbone…? Whatever it was, even if it was putting her off balance, it was definitely helping them get the stories.

Clark was moving quickly, but not so quickly that Lois had to run to catch him. He somehow was able to slide easily through the crowds of reporters that were leaving the room, leading her out into the main hotel foyer. She started to shout for him not to leave her behind, but just then he glanced back, catching her eye. It was probably not a good idea anyway, the less attention they attracted, the better.

He led her unerringly through a maze of hallways. Some back entrance, she scoffed silently. After a trip of a couple of flights of stairs, Clark had paused beside the door to one of the hotel’s business suites.

Trying not to huff and puff too loudly, Lois crept up beside him, and mouthed, “Can you hear anything?”

Clark held up a hand to forestall any further questions. His eyes narrowed, and then he took a breath to speak.

But before he had even said a single word, he suddenly tensed, his eyes widening in shock.

“Clark – what?” she asked quietly, eyebrows drawing down in concern.

Lois never got a chance to find out what he had heard, because the floor beneath her feet began to churn and she stumbled, grabbing blindly at the first thing within reach – Clark’s arm. “Oh, my God! Another earthquake!?” she cried futilely. Cries of panic started to fill the hallway as people stumbled out of their rooms. “We’ve got to get out of here!”

Lois ran for the stairwell, but immediately realized that Clark was not behind her. Instead, he was turned away from her, making his way up the hall, instead of toward the exits, pushing against the flow of traffic.

“Clark!” she yelled frantically. Lois staggered up to him, grabbing his arm. He seemed to feel it no more than a fly landing on his arm. “Where the hell are you going?!” Lois tugged with all her meager strength, hands slipping down to his wrist.

Only then did he turn back to her, the skin-on-skin contact snapping him back to her reality. “Lois, I—”

Suddenly, a deafening crash sounded above their heads, and Lois was thrown backward onto the carpet runner. Clark somehow kept his feet, but she only saw him for a second as a massive amount of debris crashed through the ceiling. A chunk of plaster struck her a glancing blow, and she covered her face reflexively with both arms.

When she uncovered her eyes again, she was met with a huge pile of rubble exactly where Clark had been standing only a minute before. “Clark!” No longer caring at all for her own safety, she tried to heave pieces out of the way. Maybe it’s not too late…

One of the larger pieces tumbled out of her grimy hands as she found herself sailing into the air above the hotel. Immediately she realized what was happening, but for once the blue spandex encircling her wasn’t comforting at all.

Lois struggled desperately, choking still on the dust that had filled her lungs. “No! Clark’s back there!” She coughed, and spit grit from her mouth. “I’m fine! You have to go back for him!”

Superman sailed on – had he heard her? Was he distracted by the disaster all around? It didn’t matter. She struggled even harder, hands clenching around the palm supporting her waist. His head snapped around to look at her, seeming to finally realize what she was saying. “Clark will be fine. I need to get you to safety.”

“No, he won’t! I think he’s trapped under a pile of rubble! It’ll take rescue workers forever to find him!” Lois’ voice started to become shrill. “Only I know exactly where he is.” Even though it was futile, Lois’ nails dug into his unbreakable skin. “Take me back, goddammit!”

But even as she swore, he was swiveling in mid-air, rushing back toward the hotel. She couldn’t enjoy the sensation of flight, the feeling of being held by her former lover… all she could hear in her mind was Clark’s earnest voice. “Don’t worry, Lois.”

Heart pounding, she held Superman’s hand in a more comforting grip. Please let him be okay, please…

At that moment, Superman’s hand gently squeezed hers back, and he murmured those very words:

“Don’t worry, Lois.”

She gasped at the timbre of his voice, now so familiar to her again… her eyes met his, and the tingles spread outward from his palm to hers… and she knew she needn’t worry.

Ever again.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


Here was the original prompt: "While running away from an unknown danger Clark falls behind; Lois, convinced that he is dead or needs help, struggles in Superman's arms to get back to him." I thought this description might be a little spoilery! ♥

Do you have a birthday coming up? Request a ficlet!

Comments

( 38 comments — Leave a comment )
seraphkre
Oct. 11th, 2007 10:36 am (UTC)
::grinning like mad:: I so love revelation stories. :D

Happy Birthday clioidae!! :)
htbthomas
Oct. 11th, 2007 11:19 am (UTC)
Thanks! I didn't expect to get a review so early in the morning after posting!

Glad you liked it. ♥
clioidae
Oct. 11th, 2007 03:50 pm (UTC)
Why thank you!
seraphkre
Oct. 13th, 2007 08:13 am (UTC)
You're welcome! :D

And, Barbara, I was up. :) Had been all night - which seems to be getting more common (unfortunately). So, when I saw it pop up on my friends page, I had to read!
htbthomas
Oct. 13th, 2007 03:00 pm (UTC)
I'm the same whenever I stay up late!
heartnut
Oct. 11th, 2007 01:06 pm (UTC)
Oooh, I like this one a lot! :) Good ficlet to read to start the day!
htbthomas
Oct. 11th, 2007 02:16 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Yours is coming tomorrow, I hope you enjoy it as well! ♥
clioidae
Oct. 11th, 2007 03:49 pm (UTC)
YAY!

OMG I LOVE IT!

HAHA! Awesome.

Thank you so much, I was hoping you'd make it a reveal!
htbthomas
Oct. 11th, 2007 09:00 pm (UTC)
Oh, yay! It just felt like the perfect prompt for a mini-reveal fic. I'm really glad you liked it, because this is actually only the second reveal I've done. ♥
ancarett
Oct. 11th, 2007 06:07 pm (UTC)
*squee* I loved it, especially pugnacious Lois and zenlike Clark!
thrace_adams
Oct. 11th, 2007 07:22 pm (UTC)
I loved this!!! What a great reveal! REally well done, and such a joy to read :)
htbthomas
Oct. 11th, 2007 09:06 pm (UTC)
Thanks! It makes me very giddy to hear that. :D
htbthomas
Oct. 11th, 2007 09:05 pm (UTC)
Yes, I made this Lois particularly 'pugnacious' - more than my DV Lois, partly in homage to the birthday girl's characterization. Her Lois is really fun, have you read Sunspots?

'Zen-like' is a really great term, too!
clioidae
Oct. 12th, 2007 03:21 am (UTC)
...partly in homage to the birthday girl's characterization. Her Lois is really fun...


*does the silent fist pump, as if to say, 'SCORE!'*

You know, I noticed that and secretly hoped that was why you did it. I see it most in the "goddamnit!"

*now uber excited*
htbthomas
Oct. 12th, 2007 11:27 am (UTC)
Hee! I'm glad you saw this. More of my LJ-buds need to be reading your fic.

And yes, that line was totally a nod to your Lois. ♥
saavikam77
Oct. 11th, 2007 07:19 pm (UTC)
Oooh! I love this! :D Sometimes Lois can be so thick-headed and stubborn, but her heart is always in the right place. The concern for Clark was perfect and gave me all sorts of warm fuzzies. ^_^ Awww....

"Don't worry, Lois."

*wibble*

*melts*

^_^
htbthomas
Oct. 11th, 2007 09:07 pm (UTC)
I love that about Lois, really. She's such a tough gal, but has such a heart for those she cares about.

Wibbling is awesome! Thanks for the review!
kabuki_party
Oct. 11th, 2007 08:56 pm (UTC)
I loved this! Especially the ending..how romantic! *swoon* But I also love seeing stories about how Lois actually seems to care about Clark, even though she doesn't know who he really is
htbthomas
Oct. 11th, 2007 09:11 pm (UTC)
There's not enough of that in the movieverse, unfortunately. Usually one needs a little build up (thus the epics we have in the fandom!)

But it's nice to write a short little piece showing it, too... Valerie gave me a great prompt! ♥
elliania
Oct. 11th, 2007 10:00 pm (UTC)
Wow!!! That was a perfect Clark/Lois/Superman ficelet! I loved how Clark was acting in the beginning, more confident and all! :D And the way Lois cared and worried for him, aww!! And the ending, hee!!!! Nice work on it, B! Too bad my birthday is in June. *pout*
htbthomas
Oct. 12th, 2007 12:47 am (UTC)
I love more confident Clark. I was proposing that in this version, Clark has decided to hide less in an effort to get Lois to like the real him again.

I'll still do a ficlet for you! I was planning to do this for a whole year! Just give me the date and the prompt!
elliania
Oct. 12th, 2007 12:49 am (UTC)
HUH? You're are not actualy serious? Are you? *SQUEE*
Well, let me think about it!!! :D
htbthomas
Oct. 12th, 2007 12:53 am (UTC)
Of course I'm serious! *hugs* One year of fics to celebrate one year of LJ fun!
stolenpostit
Oct. 11th, 2007 11:27 pm (UTC)
Aww. This was so cute. My heart didn't break, but it kind of tore when she thought Clark was dead, and then he just told her not to worry. So sweet!
htbthomas
Oct. 12th, 2007 12:50 am (UTC)
Your heart tore a little? That's what I was going for, for sure! Not a tear-jerker, but a heart squeeze.

Have you ever reviewed one of my Superman fics? I don't remember it, if you have. Thanks!
babettew54
Oct. 11th, 2007 11:29 pm (UTC)
Oh, I really like that! Lois, as clueless as ever. I think it was cool of Clark not to run too fast, so Lois could keep up. And Lois tried to save Clark? She's amazing. Loved the ending too!

"Ever again!"

Cool beans, Babs!
htbthomas
Oct. 12th, 2007 02:08 am (UTC)
I can't imagine Lois not going back for him. She'd risk life and limb for a friend. :) And knowing more than that is definitely a plus, too!

Thanks!
sean_montgomery
Oct. 12th, 2007 02:57 am (UTC)
Here. As promised. ;)

How much do I adore fics where Lois falls in love with Clark while she's trying to figure out her mess with Superman? A. LOT. This was no exception. Her despiration in getting out of Superman's arms so that she could go and check on Clark made my heart flutter (as gooey as that sounds *wink*) and the reassuring voice - did it really belong to Clark? Or was it Superman the entire time? the fearless reporter thinks briefly - was a perfect way to end it. You've still got traces of your ECQ-ness in you. I'm very happy to see that. ;)

Great job, Barb! These little ficlets are fun!
htbthomas
Oct. 12th, 2007 11:32 am (UTC)
You are totally awesome, my dear. *hugs*

I love this idea - the struggling to get away to save Clark - and it was all clioidae's prompt, so I can't take credit.

As far as the ECQ-ness? That'll never be gone. It's always a challenge to find a way to use my powers in a one-shot! :D
chickadilly
Oct. 12th, 2007 08:23 am (UTC)
Very nice - I also love stories where Lois discovers and I especially like this setting. :)


htbthomas
Oct. 12th, 2007 11:40 am (UTC)
Thanks - it's a revelation set-up I might not have considered except for the prompt! It was fun to do it this way. :)
mark_clark
Oct. 12th, 2007 09:31 pm (UTC)
I really enjoyed this story for one main reason: Clark was able to scoop Lois. I haven't seen that a lot in the Superman fan fiction I have come across. It's about time because Clark is a darn good journalist in his own right.

Any way, I loved the fact that Lois really wanted to end Clark's streak after he got to ask a senator a very important question. She then tagged along with Clark to try to get more answers out of the senator and that's where things really get interesting. During an earthquake, Lois gets rescued by Superman but she tries to get him to go back for Clark. In a very subtle way, Lois learns that Clark is with her as the Man of Steel. That was a very original way to reveal his secret to Lois.

Nice, very nice indeed.
htbthomas
Oct. 12th, 2007 11:38 pm (UTC)
Isn't that nice when Clark beats out Lois? I love the consternation she feels, too. :D

I thought it was a pretty great way to do a reveal, too - clioidae really had a great idea there!
bistyboo1974
Oct. 12th, 2007 11:55 pm (UTC)
Oooh! *clappyhands* Great reveal in this lil' one-shot! And kudos to clioidae for coming up with a great prompt for you. You worked wonders with it, just as I expected. :D
htbthomas
Oct. 13th, 2007 12:23 am (UTC)
Thanks! It was fun to do another reveal, especially with the neat prompt. :) BTW, do you have any further insight into your prompt? I'm about to start on writing it - although I may wait until after the Monday airing, just in case new and exciting developments are added!
bistyboo1974
Oct. 13th, 2007 12:39 am (UTC)
Hmm, yeah. I probably need to wait until after Monday's episode to make further suggestions, too! But, I do know I'd like something with a bit of humor in it. :D
jij
Jan. 24th, 2008 01:58 pm (UTC)
Eee, this was so much fun! What a great prompt, I loved the image of her ignoring the situation in her desperation to help Clark, and the wonderful moment of revelation. *sighs happily*
htbthomas
Jan. 24th, 2008 03:02 pm (UTC)
Did you know, this was actually my first rev fic since Deja Vu... it was fun to come up with a different variation! I love that icon, btw. :)
( 38 comments — Leave a comment )

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