15244/Expected Hunting, Unexpected Changes

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Expected Hunting, Unexpected Changes
Date of Scene: 22 June 2023
Location: Metropolis, Clark Kent's apartment.
Synopsis: Lois and Clark change in ways they didn't expect (but maybe hoped for).
Cast of Characters: Superman, Lois Lane

Superman has posed:
It's evening after a long Saturday. One where so many things were sacrificed for one greater good: apartment hunting. And that hunting teeters a -little- into house hunting. The desire to stay in the city, does wrangle the pair into apartment lifestyle.

Right now, it's the aftermath. Clark and Lois are on the couch. Both looking a little beat

Earlier there they were with the realtor. Showing them place after place. Clark is actually there! Well, for most of it.

"Cousin's having a baby. Family's giving updates and venting. First time," and Clark's running off. Lois knows there is no family on the phone. The world needs Superman. While he's not cutting corners, Superman lingers around a -lot- less.

Five minutes here. Twenty minutes there. Ten minutes here. Forty-five there. Each time he sounds a little winded, "Close call," he deeclares and is vague.

All of this takes time and so the pair have spent all day hunting. Thre's several manilla folders with places, associated pictures, prices and the statistics which borderline as a sales pitch.

"I forgot how annoying this was. I've fought giants that feel less daunting than this," Clark declares as no one likes moving. Having to plan ths, it's a necessary evil in his eyes.

"Scotch? Water? Something stronger?" he asks knowing she might need the drink, too.
Lois Lane has posed:
It's been a day. A whole day, from eight o'clock that morning until nine o'clock that evening. While Clark was in and out saving the world one tragedy at a time, Lois was a steady presence during the entire apartment hunting adventure, her tired smile eventually shown to the realtor.

"He's very close to his family," she eventually said by way of explanation, followed by idle chat about changes in journalism over the last twenty years and how that compares to changes in real estate sales.

But the sun has finally set. It's nine at night, and Lois left her boots at the door (which she'd worn for comfort rather than pumps) and curled up on the couch in just her jeans and tank top.

"We could always try to consolidate into one of our places..."

They had already discussed that option, but each of their places was already small. Moving in together, they needed a space they could both feel comfortable existing in at the same time. Given the current climate, Lois didn't hate the idea of even having a room to dedicate as a workspace, whether it was working on their next articles at home or any other side projects they might want to undertake.

"Scotch," Lois sighs with a warm smile. "Please."

A pause, then.

"Thank you, for making time for this."
Superman has posed:
"I may not make everything. I will -always- try," and that part worries Clark. Would it ever be enough? What if it keeps happening and becomes annoying?

All of it makes him wonder on the way to th kitchen.

"We talked about that. It'd work in an emergency, or to save money, but we would need space," that's a problem that didn't change.
Taking out the scotch bottle he does two fingers to start with.

"There's always the Fortress or Kansas," he knows those are non-options. However, it could be a better option than dealing with moving. So much better.

Coming back into the living room he hands her the glass. "Who knew hundreds to thousands of square feet could be so intimidating," Clark exclaims and is actually jealous of Bruce Wayne for a moment. The man could have rented out all the options, try them out, and then decide on a favorite. And that's -if- he didn't buy all the buildings outright.

Sitting down o the couch he breathes out. He did not get a drink for himself yet. The mind is too jumbled to decide.
Lois Lane has posed:
"I /know/ who you are, Kent." Lois's tone is warm and playful, an obvious attempt at being reassuring, as she watches him turn with worry on his face. "Don't forget that."

Then there's the mention of needing space. "I know," Lois sighs.

Fortress. Kansas.

"Are you planning to fly us two and from work every day?" She's asking the question just as Clark is coming back into the living room, and she holds up a finger threateningly to silence him just before she takes that glass of scotch. "No. The answer is no. You're not."

She's grinning as she takes the glass, though. "Thank you."

Once Clark is settled on the couch, Lois moves closer, crossing her legs and leaning her shoulder over against him.

"We'll figure it out," she says. "What's the /most/ important feature you saw, today? There was the place with the vaulted ceilings.. the one with the hardwood floors and floor to ceiling windows. One had all new appliances, which might be nice. Oh! And then there was the one with the claw-footed bathtub. That was kind of nice and old-fashioned." A little like him. It's obvious in her eyes when she looks at him.
Superman has posed:
"I -could- fly us to Kansas," he defends the choice, howing it's not a matter of logistics. It's a matter of practicality.

An arm wraps around her form and pulls her closer. "I liked the hardwood one. The clawfoot bath tub," there's a pause and he coughs, awkwardly. "Let's just say, I wouldn't complain about the tub. Ever," and he tries to act like that's not said.

"We do need t think aboout Money and locaton. Those are equally big factors. Plus, if we ca paint the walls, or a wall, I know you'll want t make it our own. That's also a nice plus," he admits. It's just a small thing to make a place into a home.
Lois Lane has posed:
Lois sips her scotch and lays her head to the side, resting against Clark's shoulder as she cradles the glass in her hands.

"As much as you know I love flying with you, I think people might eventually start getting suspicious when I come in to work windswept and covered in bugs every day. Plus, there was that time we almost hit a bird.."

Humor glints in her eyes.

"I'm not ruling out Kansas, Clark. Not forever. Just.. not right now."

But then it was back to business, and though she remained leaning against him, she turned her focus back to the pile of folders on the table.

"I liked the tub," she admits. "It was also one of the top floors /and/ it had a balcony. I can call them tomorrow about painting, because you're right about that. And cost and location are definitely high priority items, but it's worth considering the balcony or at least proximity to rooftop access." Totally serious as she looks up at him. "It saves an elevator ride, if you're in a hurry. There's only so much glass we can afford to replace."

She grins.

"This would be one of those projects perfect for the home office. I could have all the folders laid out and make a spreadsheet of all of the features.. it might help us see everything better and narrow it down. I've already got.." she sighs. "Three interviews on my calendar tomorrow, but I can try to put that together in the evening."
Superman has posed:

At least she concedes for Kansas in a "Later" category. He can't believe his ears. Even that feels like a victory.

"That was one time," Clark says about the bird. He was distracted and still feels bad about it today.

"I could compile the file after you make the call. Ths way you can relax after the interviews," he offers just trying to help out. He could work on it faster than her. Also, he could ease the burden of the project off of Lois's shoulders.

"Well, that's why I got ths plac," he points to the large balcony doors," he did think about that when moving in here.

"I think we need to think about it like this. Do we want to make it a home or a -home-," he uses that last part to emphasize. Any place could be somewhere a person lives, within reason.

However, making a place into a Home requires effort. Maybe even a little more long term planning even if the event is very much in the short term category.
Lois Lane has posed:
"No, I'll--"

The words are out of Lois's mouth before she's even considered them. She's bristling possessively over a project that she already laid out in her head. She knew where she was going to put the folders, how she was going to organize them, how she was going to lay out the spreadsheet, the values she'd use to rank each of the features so that she could make charts to cross-reference...

But then she stops. Time stills for a moment. She'd felt herself bristle, even laying against his shoulder. She was trying to control it. All of it. She had already assumed ownership of it the first time Clark excused himself, knowing somewhere deep down that she was going to be the only one that would see it through.

But she hadn't even been the one to suggest they go apartment hunting in the first place.

"Actually... thank you. That would help a lot."

And that was... huge. Lois Lane had just consciously relinquished control of something as important as where she and Clark would live together -- or.. at least one task that would get them closer. Still, progress is progress.

She's looking up at him, a hint of apology in her smile for a trait that she knew could be frustrating -- her need to be in control, to see a job done to the end, to only rely on herself.

So this is what it feels like to have a partner. She struggled with it, even when that partner was literally Superman.

"I like the sound of the second option." Her smile grows a little more.
Superman has posed:
Clark watches her. He could see the gears turning in the mind. Ration, reason versus desire, quirks and other matters. Then she lays back, a visual sign that Lois is committing to something. What that is, he's not sure until she speaks.

Yes, that is project. Lois likes to control so much. The job requires control. Living alone requires control. Growing up an army brat probably taught her about control. In the grand scale, Clark is not control. He's the opposite, but Clark wants to be like a trustd source. Someone she knows is good. Someone that can be relied on.

"Alright. I know how things matter to me. But tell me the features that matter more to you. Everything is important, but I know some aspects hold more wight than others. What matters to you?" Clark asks, making sure that Lois knows this is his project, but the data is -joint-. This won't be him picking out -his- favorite.
Lois Lane has posed:
"Mostly things I've already mentioned. Proximity to the paper." She still called the Daily Planet HQ 'the paper,' even though the print copy was actually in the profit loss category and had been for a while. "Safe. Reasonably priced. Enough space to be able to work from home when needed, and enough room in the closet for my flak jacket. A balcony for you -- the more private the better, which not many of these had."

That was Lois. Practical to a fault. Utilitarian. Some women wanted space to entertain guests, majestic views, hardwood floors, space on the walls for art, natural lighting. Maybe even a spare room they could convert to a nursery in the future. Lois only thought about needing enough space for a desk to write at. Everything else was secondary or even tertiary.

"I can work with the rest."

She takes another drink from her scotch and sighs softly, closing her eyes.

"We're really doing this..."

It's a statement, not a question. But it was still sinking in.
Superman has posed:
Clark is already going to prioritize proximity and safety. Even if she didn't, Clark would have. The only "personal" priority he'd put above her own. Yes, she can hold her own against so many things. What if Intergang builds up their numbers? What if there's more than one? He's not sure if Lois would triumph in -some- situations.

Lois talks about working with the rest. He makes sure there's a couple extra rooms for offices and similar. Just in case.

Her comment strikes at Clark. That sinking in realization. It unintentionally wounds.

"Do you trust me?" Clark asks Lois, his voice maybe wavering a little bit. Like she can hear the pain a little bit.
Lois Lane has posed:
Hearing the pain in Clark's voice makes Lois sag a little. Relationships were such a minefield, and not one that she was particularly good at navigating. She never had been. She needed to be in control. She needed to be self-sufficient. For all of her life, she's needed to be independent. Until now. Until she realized, after losing him yet again, that her life wasn't complete without him in it.

And yet she could still screw it up with her own worries and insecurities. She could still push him away without ever meaning to.

"I didn't mean it that way..."

She's tired after the long day, and it's easy enough at this point to feel the feedback loop of hurt starting up -- her confidence wavers, his confidence wavers, hers starts to tremble, his starts to quake, hers starts to fall apart, he gets agitated, she pulls away...

She does pull away, but only enough so that she can set her glass of scotch, almost gone, down on the coffee table and look at him again.

"Of course I trust you."

It's herself as a long term romantic partner that gnaws at her. What if things changed?
Superman has posed:
Clark stands and goes back to the kitchen with the glass. He pulls out a second then wanders off to the bedroom. Just to get a drirnk for himself that's stored away. Steps come back. "Not there," he grumbles.

Clark pours her drink and sets it down. Then he holds out his hand for Lois to take. When she takes it, Clark picks her up. Pulling her into his arms, he flies out the window. Thankfully, he has it down to a science on opening the window before leaving, while flyng. It may have took a few window replacements to get the hang of it.

They fly for a good five minutes before Clark flies down, landing down atop of natural ground. Nearby them is a handmade wooden bench. The thing is old, weathered and made of planks so it clearly shows the objects age.

It sits near an overlook. The night sky stretches out forever out her. Stars twinkled with such clarity out here as there's a distinct lack of man made lighting.

Despite it being dark, Lois can still see the beauty of the mountain viw. A sea of earthly ridges stretching out almost as far as the eyes can see. It's the Blue Ridge Moutains.

"I come out here, to clear my head," and he sets Lois down. Sky blue eyes letting her see the view.

"It's beautiful. It's beautiful beyond words. It's quiet. I come here to clear my head," and he lets the drink it all in.

Letting her truly take it all in. "But it's empty. Nothing else out here. Nothing to anchor anyone. Nothing to captivate them to stay. That's how the world could feel. Beautiful and empty, but then my life started to take root. My abilities do give me a freedom to make any place home. It takes a lot to anchor me. Friends, family, job and everything else," and he will move away from her. "Eyes forward Lane."

Clark says and waits for her to follow suit, and he breathes out. Memories about Jordan Elliot, turning evil, everything wash over him. He sighs. "You said 'We're really doing this. . .'" he looks at her. "That was always part of the plan. But then I lost myself. First by turning, then needing to find myself. And that created distance," and then he speaks seriously. "If you hate change. -Don't- turn around. Just trust me when I say, Lois Lane was always part of my original plans. The other things. . .not so much," Clark admits and he just waits to see if Lois would turn around or not.
Lois Lane has posed:
So no response, then. He just.. got up and walked off, and Lois rests her elbows on her knees, lowering her forehead into her hands. Was she foolish for thinking that she could do this without hurting Clark in the process? Were they better the way they were? Was this /still/ rushing things, even though it felt like a lifetime of ups and downs ever since their first kiss? Would ever figure out how not to push him away?

When he sets her glass down, she looks up at him again and quietly nods her thanks. She needed it. But just as she was reaching for it, he was reaching for her, and her hand hesitated in the air as it changed course from replenished glass of liquor to Clark's grasp, her gaze questioning.

A moment later she's on her feet, in his arms, and the wind is whipping at her hair as she buries her face into his neck. The initial, surprise gust was always the hardest. After that, she could cling to him and turn to watch the lights of the city fade away as they passed through a few clouds in the darkened sky.

There were no questions about where they were going. He might be able to hear her, but she could never hear him without forcing him to slow down, so she savored the ride and the warmth of him against the cool air until they're slowing and landing on the overlook next to that old bench.

There were no lights here but the moon was full, and it cast a pale white glow over everything. It would probably take hikers hours of physical exertion to reach this point, but it would have been worth it. The view of the ghostly mountain ridge standing in front of a sky of inky black, dusted with stars like glitter, was incredible.

Lois is listening as she takes in the sight, her arms crossing over her stomach at the chill in the air. It might be summer, but they were still in the mountains and the wind played at her red mane.

/It takes a lot to anchor me./

"I know." The words sound almost like an apology. She wants to keep looking at him, but then there's that command. It makes her bristle. He knew it would when he said it. She never liked being told what to do. He also knew she'd do it because it was him saying it. And so she reluctantly looks away from him, just absorbing the place. Would she come to a place like this to think, if she could? Probably, though she didn't really know /what/ she would do, if she could always be anywhere on the planet she wanted to be in minutes.

"It's not your fault, Clark. I wasn't to--"

/If you hate change. -Don't- turn around./

What did that mean? She didn't hate change, but she.. resisted it. She had a routine. But that routine had grown to include Clark... and then it didn't. She didn't like /that/ change. She'd change her whole life, though, for him.

She sighs, feeling the weight of it all. Her own concerns. Her own slip-ups. Clark's concerns. The weight of the world was on his shoulders, and yet here he was, with her. "I don't hate change, Clark. I only hate it when it takes you away from me."

And then she turns, eyes searching through the moonlight.
Superman has posed:
When she turns, Clark is there and he lowers to one knee. A white box is in his hands, it stands out in the darkness a little bit. Inside of it is a white gold band. It starts thin, but as it moves up, the path widens. The metal strands don't widen. Darker colored flowers stand to the direct left and right of the center piece. At the center of each flower is a small blue stone. The band extends into an oval shape. Rows of small diamonds adorn each path. Held delicately in the center is a blue sapphire, same shade as the center of the flowers.

"I've had this for a while, then I lost myself," he admits. Now, Lois could see how the words wounded him. It wasn't her words. It was himself. If he hadn't turned evil, they would have been knee deep in wedding plans right now. Or rapidly approaching the day, because maybe they were masochists that wanted the date sooner than later.

Breathing out, there's a shiver to his voice. "Like I said, 'Change.'" Finding courage, "Lois Lane. You've always been the strongest part of that anchor holding me in place. Pretty much from when you told me, 'I never met a Clark before.'" Because they both know -he- had the crush first. "Will you be with me forever?" And Clark stands there knowing she can see it all, since it's not completely dark. However, maybe someone needs assurance that "Oh yes, this is happening," without actually saying it.
Lois Lane has posed:
It looks a little like Lois turned around to see the headlight of a locomotive barreling towards her. The sight of Clark lowering himself to one knee, the white box that seemed to glow in the light of the moon, and... the ring. The gorgeous ring.

It wasn't until that moment that she realized that the ringing in her ears was louder than anything else she could hear. This far away from civilization, the only sounds were of nature, the wind, and Clark's voice.

Her eyes were filling with tears -- only the second time he'd ever seen her cry when the Earth wasn't ending.

Every word gets absorbed into the singularity she's become, standing there as if frozen in space and time, her arms crossed except for one hand that covered her mouth. She could have been a portrait she was so still.

And finally the question. The question that makes the tears actually slide down her cheeks, and barely the space of two heartbeats have passed before she's nodding, smiling, wiping in frustration at her own cheeks.

"Yes! Of course I will!"
Superman has posed:
Clark will rise up and put the ring on her finger. And yes, it is in her size. It has been since the moment he ordered it. Honestly, -how- Clark ordered it does make him feel a little guilty.

There was a fateful trip to one of the public mines open for everyone. Where people could keep the stones they found. Clark found three of them. Then felt so guilty made five more easily findable throughout the cave. It was the -only- time he really used the power for personal gain.

He just figured it was easier than asking Bruce. Plus, he donated any left over funds to the Metropolis foodbank.

The ring was so expensive.

"We're really doing this," he speaks softly to her and just lets Lois get ontrol of her body now that it has the weight of the ring in place. "Like I said. 'Look at the ring on your finger,'" and now she could see why he was so bold in that speech.
Lois Lane has posed:
And for a long time, that's what Lois does: she looks at the ring that Clark just slipped onto her finger. It was so effortless. So precise. So beautiful.

All at once, she could feel her entire existence shift. But also.. nothing changed. Not the way she felt about Clark. Not the hopes she had of spending the rest of her life with him. The only thing that was different was the ring and the promise, the commitment they'd both just made to each other.

"Clark, it's... the most beautiful ring I've ever seen."

She sounds bit breathless, and she looks up at him with those eyes that are still glassy despite the fact that the tears had stopped.

She didn't ask him how.

She just took a step to close what little space remained between them and stretched up the length of his body, lacing her arms around his neck and smiling. "I love you."

And then she pulled gently, lips tilting up towards his.
Superman has posed:
Clark holds her tightly to him, letting Lois cry or scream or jump up and down. There was a reason why his words were so confident the other night. There were always plans to make them more than -just- words.

Kissing her deeply. Trying to put as much as he can into that kiss. Much like the first one they shared -after- she knew about his secret. Showing Lois it's always been her. It was up to her whether to leave him behind forever or find him.
His tongue does not stay at bay, as it dances with hers. He will then slowly break the kiss, but only after a good long while. "I love you, too."
Lois Lane has posed:
Lois's fingers snaked into his hair as that kiss deepened, and she clung there like it was both the first and the last time, savoring every second until at last their lips parted. She didn't move away at first. Her lips remained close, her nose brushing against his lovingly. Those words washed over her, and she released a soft sigh of pleasure.

Seconds ticked by before she finally relaxed her grip and settled back down onto the ground, still smiling up at him.

"Do you mind if we stay here for a while?"

Briefly, she shifted her gaze to the old, log bench that faced the edge of the overlook.

"I'd like to enjoy this a little longer and remember everything about it."

Her lips twist into a little grin, her fingers trailing over the curve of his ear as that engagement ring glints on her finger.

"It's perfect. Just like you."