(untitled at the present moment)

by Ultragirl

Work in progress. Beware!

//These indicate thoughts.// *These denote emphasis.*

*****

A shadowy figure hung in the sky high above the rooftops of Metropolis. The darkness of night and the mists of the impending storm shrouded the figure, and it was barely more than a dark spot in the sky.

Suddenly, a flash of light illuminated the figure briefly, and, had any passersby happened to glance up at that precise moment, they would have realized that the dark figure was, in fact, the legendary Man of Steel.

However, no ordinary human would have been able to see the expression on Superman's face without the aid of binoculars, and that was the one thing that might have been even more interesting than the sight of a man flying. At that moment in time, the expression on the Man of Steel's face was one of sheer terror.

*****

It had all happened so suddenly. He didn't know what had happened all of the sudden, and he felt dazed, as though he had been struck by lightning. Then he had made the biggest mistake of his life- he had looked down.

Panic had risen up inside him then. It was a feeling like no other. He couldn't even describe it. It was an intense fear, an unreasonable feeling of panic, but carried to an extreme degree. He didn't know what had brought these feelings on, but they were so intensely overwhelming. His muscles were constricted in fear, and his hands began to shake uncontrollably. The fear only increased then, for he became worried and afraid that he might drop his precious passenger, none other than his Lois.

Clark took a deep breath, trying to regain control. It didn't help. He screwed his eyes tightly shut, then tried again to calm himself. Still, nothing happened; the fear and the panic were still there.

A sudden movement in his arms made him jump. Lois had begun to regain conciousness. He wanted to look at her, to make sure she was all right, but he was so frightened that he couldn't even open his eyes. Lois' soft murmer broke through his fear-induced trance.

"Mmm...Clark?" she asked quietly. He wanted to glance at her, he wanted to so badly, but he just couldn't bring himself to look at her. "Clark...?" she queried again, more strongly this time.

"Lois...? Are you okay?" he asked her, trying not to let the fear and panic show in his voice. He still refused to open his eyes, however, and that must have been what alerted Lois to the fact that something wasn't right.

"I'm fine..." she answered. Lois looked at Clark's face; it was taut with tension, though what had brought on that tension, she didn't know. Beads of perspiration dotted his forehead. His eyes were tightly shut, and he seemed to not want to open them, and that was what made her worry the most. "Clark...are *you* okay?" she inquired. He opened his mouth to speak, but didn't actually say anything.

"Clark, what is it, what's wrong?" Lois asked him again. Now she was starting to panic a little. She could feel Clark's hands shaking almost violently even as they gripped her fiercely.

"Lois...I..." Clark didn't want to alarm Lois, but he didn't see how he *couldn't* tell her what was wrong. He couldn't even open his eyes, for Pete's sake, much less fly her down to safety. "I...I can't...can't...f-fly," he forced out.

What was he talking about?! Of course he could fly; they were hundreds of feet above Metropolis. "Clark, what do you mean, you 'can't fly?'"

"Lois...I can't. I can't do it," he said frantically; now he had scared Lois, too. "I can't fly, I can't even open my eyes!"

"Why not, Clark?" Lois prompted. She could hear the panicky note in Clark's voice, and it was starting to scare her. Worse yet, what if he really couldn't fly, really couldn't open his eyes? What if he were in pain?

"*Because*! I don't know! All I know is that one minute I was flying and everything was fine, and then I just got this dazed feeling, and then I looked down and I, I couldn't...I couldn't..." His voice trailed off at the end of his sentence. Then he added in a small voice, "Lois, I'm scared."

Lois didn't exactly understand what had happened to Clark, but something had obviously upset him. "Scared of what, Clark?" she asked gently.

"I...I don't know, exactly. But when I looked down, there was nothing, nothing for feet and feet, and I just got so scared, and I can't look down. I don't know what to do... I'm so scared, Lois. I-I'm sorry." His voice had started out softly, then he seemed on the verge of hysteria for a minute, but then he finished in a tone which reminded Lois of a frightened little boy.

Lois took a deep, calming breath. She was seeing, well, sort-of seeing, what had happened now. Clark seemed to be saying that he was afraid of being up so high, though why that was true was beyond Lois, for the moment. She recognized the fact that she had to take charge of the situation right now, though, otherwise they both could be either stuck up here forever, or in a lot of trouble if she didn't handle this delicately.

“Okay, okay, Clark,” she soothed. “Clark, listen to me. You have to get us down from here. I want you to try opening your eyes.”

Clark scrunched up his face even more. “I-I can’t, Lois, I can’t do it,” he cried out miserably.

“Okay, it’s okay, Clark. Relax, just relax,” Lois crooned. This was worse than she thought. She was going to have to try a different approach. “Clark, I want you to listen to my voice.” Clark’s face lost a few of the creases of fear as he did that. Lois thought. “Now, can you control your flight?” Clark moved down slowly, then rose back up in answer. “Good, good, Clark. Okay, now I’m going to tell where to go. Move very slowly; it’ll be safer that way.”

About twenty minutes later, Lois had guided Clark down to land in a dark alley where no one would see them. Clark touched down carefully, and let Lois stand on her own. Then he dropped to his knees, panting hard, his eyes still tightly closed.

*****

Two days ago…

Lois and Clark were working on their latest story. The Scarecrow had escaped from Arkham Asylum over in Gotham City, and word had it that he had fled to Metropolis. Clark, as Superman, had searched the city several times already, but had found nothing which would even hint at the whereabouts of the Scarecrow.

“Clark, have you thought about the fact that there are so many places that the Scarecrow could be hiding? All the lead-lined bunkers that were built during the war?” Lois asked him as they sat over Clark’s computer, searching the internet for any helpful information.

“Of course I have, Lois, but there’s not much I can do about that; there are just too many lead-lined places for me to be able to search all of them by going into each one individually,” he replied, a little scornfully.

Lois realized how what she had said sounded then. "Oh, Clark, I'm sorry. You know I didn't mean that the way it sounded," she apologized. "I'm just a little, I dunno, frustrated, I guess. I mean, we've got our own share of wackos here in Metropolis, but now they're coming in from Gotham?! I mean, can't they keep their own super-villians in check by themselves?"

"That's okay, Lois," he answered, and leaned up to her for a quick kiss. "I know how you feel. Superman shouldn't have to have yet another thing to worry about, especially when that thing is someone as dangerous as the Scarecrow."

"Tell me about it," Lois muttered. "You know, it's just not fair."

"What's not fair?" Clark asked abstractly; he was busy studying some information that had come up in his search for a history of the Scarecrow's activities.

"The fact that Superman has to be so busy all the time," she answered. Then she leaned closer to him and whispered, "It leaves so much less time for *us.*"

Clark turned slowly and gazed up at her for a moment, before replying, "Lois, you know I'd never let...y'know...get in between us. I love you too much for that to happen." He scowled down at the floor. "Sometimes, I just wish it was only me and you, and no tights."

"Clark...you know that you could never be just Clark; Superman's too big a part of you. But then, you could never be just Superman, either." Lois looked at him sympathetically; she knew how much he wished Superman would just disappear sometimes, even though he hardly ever mentioned it to her. After all, she wished that too, sometimes. On the other hand, though, she knew what she had just told him was the absolute truth, and would always be true.

to be continued...

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