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25 November 2008 @ 02:08 pm
All That You Can't Leave Behind (Lois, Smallville)  
Title: All That You Can't Leave Behind
Fandom: Smallville
Pairing: mostly gen, but Clark/Lois-ish
Rating: PG
Word count: 1,580
Summary: Star City wasn't Metropolis, which shouldn't have surprised Lois as much as it did.
Notes: So, this is totally my post-ep for Bride. It's mostly about me dealing with Lois' emotional fallout. Much love to zulu for the beta.


In retrospect, leaving Metropolis and Smallville to take care of Jimmy while Chloe was missing was the best decision she could have made. Lois needed the space, needed the time to sort things out.

So she left.

Jimmy needed her, and Chloe was missing, so she filled her days with reports of strange creatures in the Northwest Territories and the sterile smell of hospitals. The doctors managed to patch Jimmy up as much as modern medicine would allow, but even after that, he was still in a coma, slowly recovering. They didn't know when he'd wake up. So she waited. Lois hated waiting.

Tess let her work at the Star City bureau, as long as she kept on turning in reports on significant local events, so at least money wasn't an issue. She brought her laptop with her when she went to the hospital, typing up her stories or searching the internet for signs of Chloe.

She'd stay there until visiting hours were over, and after a while, she'd become so used to the sounds of the machines that kept Jimmy alive that sometimes she would wake up in the middle of the night, terrified because she couldn't hear the steady beep of his heart monitor.

---

Star City wasn't Metropolis, which shouldn't have surprised Lois as much as it did. Metropolis was big, and it was almost always easier to take the subway than to walk. In Star City, she could walk the entire downtown district in thirty minutes. Star City was more laid back; it didn't feel quite as frantic and fast paced as Metropolis. People weren't always trying to get from one place to another. To tell the truth, Lois missed that energy. Queen Industries seemed to be everywhere in the way Luthorcorp was in Metropolis. She couldn't find a pizza place she really liked. Nothing like Ray's, which was five blocks away from the Planet and everyone there knew her by name. She sometimes got lost because she forgot to bring her map with her.

She hadn't realized that she'd started counting on things like that, but apparently she had.

---

Clark called at least once a week.

"How's Jimmy?" he'd ask, and Lois would repeat back what the doctors had told her.

She asked about Chloe next. Did they have any news? Any leads?

"Sorry," he would say. "But we're looking. I'll tell you as soon as we find anything."

Lois knew he was lying. Clark kept things close to the chest. It was nice to hear it anyway.

---

Ollie called sometimes, too.

"We're all working as hard as we can," he'd say.

"That's good," she'd say. She was always relieved that he didn't have that same urge to lie to her that Clark did, not anymore.

"How are you holding up?" he would ask.

"As well as can be expected," Lois would say, because she didn't want to lie to him, either.

---

Jimmy woke up a few weeks after he was admitted to Star City General, while Lois was keeping him company during business hours. She had been working on a story about the latest developments in Star City's recent crime wave when she heard him speak.

"Wha--" he mumbled. "Chl--" His eyelids fluttered as he fought for wakefulness.

Lois jumped up and yelled for a nurse before leaning down at Jimmy's side. "Hey," she said, putting a hand on his shoulder. "It's going to be okay." He calmed down after that, falling asleep again as the doctors fussed over him. His skin was too pale from lack of sun. His face was too taut with worry. But he was alive, he was okay, and Lois breathed a sigh of relief.

---

She called Clark from the pay phones in the waiting room, because her cell phone stubbornly refused to get reception on hospital grounds.

"Jimmy's awake," she said. "It looks like he'll make a full recovery." Her eyes felt watery, all of the emotion of the past few weeks threatening to pour out of her all at once, but she pushed it down. She could deal with that later.

"Really? That's amazing news," Clark said, the relief in his voice evident.

Lois laughed, despite herself. "It really is."

Then Clark asked, "How long are you going to stay there?"

What Lois wanted to say was, Until I'm ready to come back, but that was stupid and selfish of her, so she said, "Until Jimmy doesn't need me here anymore," instead.

---

She stumbled onto a growing new Russian mob that controlled a good deal of Star City's South End, and it worked out well because it gave her something to do in her off time besides worry about Chloe. Her afternoons, she spent with Jimmy, trying to cheer him up, trying to keep him from dying of boredom. It was easiest when they talked about work, how much she'd uncovered about these Russians, how deep it all went. Jimmy's face always came alive as they spoke, his hands itching for a camera.

He seemed to look forward to her visits, always asking for the latest updates. It must have been driving him crazy too, being cooped up in bed.

"You didn't have to do all this for me," Jimmy said, one slow news day, as he ate a spoonful of orange Jello. His voice was surprisingly quiet.

"Of course I did," Lois said, firmly. "You're family."

---

Her story on the Red Mafia didn't make the front page of the Daily Planet, but it was the top story in the 'Nation' section, and Lois clipped it out and saved it. It was something she could look back on later, after she conquered the world.

---

Now that Jimmy was finally, finally doing better, she filled her days with the hunt for Chloe. Jimmy helped out, too. She would visit him carrying pages and pages of printouts, going over each one as they argued about which ones were useful and which ones weren't. Jimmy had a sharper mind than Lois had ever given him credit for. He saw more than he ever let on. They didn't get anywhere in their search, but it was nice, having someone working with her, at her side. She had missed that without Clark around.

One night, she got tipsy on vodka and called Ollie up on his cell phone. "You know what?" she said. "Fuck this bullshit. Men are crap."

Ollie said, "Clark misses you too, you know."

Lois hung up on him.

---

It was easier being away, because there were no distractions, just work, more work, and Jimmy. And to be fair, the last one didn't count. She could see herself leaving Metropolis, leaving Kansas, maybe taking a job in New York or Los Angeles or Gotham. The editor of the Star City Herald had called her up and made noises about a job offer, and it wouldn't be too hard to accept it. There wasn't a whole lot left for her in Metropolis, what with Chloe gone and Mrs. Kent in Washington and Jimmy here.

But that wasn't entirely the truth, not even if she factored Clark into it.

Lois wasn't used to planting roots anywhere. Her childhood was a blur of military bases, each one filled with new people, new buildings, new ways of doing things. She'd lived in Smallville for longer than she'd lived anywhere else, and Metropolis was a part of that. She loved the city, knew its ins and outs like the back of her hand.

She didn't want to leave it behind, like she had to do with so many other things she'd loved in her life. She wanted to keep her favorite bench Centennial Park and her favorite back alley restaurant on 51st Street and her goddamn job at the best newspaper in the world.

If that meant that she would have to work across from Clark Kent and his Lana issues for the rest of her life, she'd suck it up and deal with it.

---

Two days before Jimmy was due to be released from the hospital, Clark called.

"We've found her," he said. His voice was slightly strained, like he hadn't been getting enough sleep.

"How is she?" Lois asked immediately.

"She's shaken up," Clark said. "But other than that, she's fine."

Lois took a moment to breathe a sigh of relief, to just feel happy that her cousin was alive and safe. "Jimmy and I will be heading back in a couple of days," she said.

"See you then," Clark said, and maybe Ollie's meddling was getting to her head, but it almost did sound like he missed her.

"Yeah," she said.

---

On her last day in Star City, she drove up to Star City General in her crappy rental car and waited patiently as Jimmy filled out the remaining paperwork. They both needed to get out of there.

When that was all done, she grabbed his bag before he could pick it up. "You ready?" she asked.

Jimmy grinned at her and said, "Yup." As they walked outside, into the sunshine, she noticed how much healthier he looked now, so much better than how he had looked going in.

Lois tossed an arm around his shoulder and thought of Chloe and Ray's Pizza and her desk at the Planet and all the other things they were going back to. "C'mon then," she said. "Let's go home."


FIN.
 
 
 
Kelly Min a.k.a “Miss Min”: cw eighty-sixmoonshinefaerie on November 25th, 2008 10:58 pm (UTC)
Aww, that... was bittersweet; it was both good and bad, y'know? Amplified everything. <3
thedeadparrot: eowyn judethedeadparrot on November 26th, 2008 04:02 pm (UTC)
Thanks! Lois needs to work through her issues, I think, and come back stronger than ever before.
svgurl: loissvgurl on November 25th, 2008 11:09 pm (UTC)
I really enjoyed this! I think you really did a good job of getting into Lois's head, post 'Bride'. I can see her thinking and feeling like this.

One night, she got tipsy on vodka and called Ollie up on his cell phone. "You know what?" she said. "Fuck this bullshit. Men are crap."

Ollie said, "Clark misses you too, you know."

Lois hung up on him.


That made me giggle. I love the newfound Oliver/Lois friendship on the show and just Ollie in general so I was excited to see him there.

And Clark SO missed her. :D

Wonderful job!
thedeadparrot: lois + clarkthedeadparrot on November 26th, 2008 04:14 pm (UTC)
Thank you! And yes, that is totally my own favorite conversation. I love their new friendship, too, and I think he's one of the few people who knows Lois well enough to make her face her issues.

Also, Clark totally missed her a lot. He moped around and annoyed everyone for weeks.
A work in progress: Daily Planet Smallville Cloisancarett on November 26th, 2008 12:10 am (UTC)
Oh, I wish they would give us lovely Lois moments such you write. It seems very realistic in the problems she's facing and her reaction to the possibilities of breaking free. I love her phone calls and I love her comment that Jimmy was part of the family!
thedeadparrot: flyingthedeadparrot on November 26th, 2008 04:23 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I'm flattered! And I'm glad you enjoyed it!
you squint when you sing: smallville - lane and kentoatmeal_cookie on November 30th, 2008 12:12 pm (UTC)
sometimes she would wake up in the middle of the night, terrified because she couldn't hear the steady beep of his heart monitor.

Oh, this is beautiful. All of this is beautiful. I've read a lot of post-Bride fics, but none of them deal with Lois's time away as elegantly as you have. She needs the space and the time, needs to recollect and recharge. You portray this struggle and small evolution so perfectly. I love that she manages to write an expose while she's in Star City. I love her deepening friendship with Jimmy - it rings true given their history on the show, and echoes their awesome teamwork in the comics and LnC. I love how she misses Metropolis - all the comforts and familiarity it holds for her. I wish they'd do this on the show, it gives Lois so much more depth as a character.

Ollie said, "Clark misses you too, you know."

LOL! So much love for Ollie. I've always loved the Lois-Oliver connection. They know each other so well, and don't let the other get away with too much.

Thank you for sharing this. I'm friending the community. I look forward to more of your work, we all need it to tide us over the long hiatus. :)

Edited at 2008-11-30 12:14 pm (UTC)
thedeadparrot: flyingthedeadparrot on December 1st, 2008 03:38 pm (UTC)
Wow, thanks for the wonderful feedback! I really wanted to get into Lois' head and watch her as she puts herself back together again. I'm glad it worked for you!

And yes, I adore the Lois-Oliver relationship. They really don't let each other get away with much, and it's such a pleasure to watch.
(Deleted comment)
thedeadparrot: lightthedeadparrot on December 1st, 2008 03:38 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it.