By Gina Blank (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Summary: Zara and Ching return to Earth with bad news for Lois. A continuation of the episode "Big Girls Don't Fly."
[Author's Note: This is a Clark-returns-from-New-Krypton story. I know that the premiere has been shown, and by the time anyone reads this, they'll probably be married, but I started writing this when school started, cuz the idea just kinda 'popped' into my head, as do most of my stories. I just never got around to finishing it 'till now. Blasted homework. Comments can be sent to Gina at email@example.com]
Lois paced around her apartment. She was bored. It had been three months since Clark had left for New Krypton, and ever since then, she'd buried herself in work, trying to keep busy, and to keep her mind off of Clark. But tonight was the start of the Labour Day long weekend—where she DIDN'T have to go to work—and she was bored out of her mind.
Lois stopped in front of her window and looked out. She immediately saw the star Clark had shown her the night before he left—his star.
Lois remembered the night well. It was the saddest night of her life. Clark had shown her his star, and observing how far away it was, she looked at him, and almost started to cry. Clark noticed, and took Lois in for a kiss—their last kiss. This caused her to think of how far away Clark would be within just 24 hours, and how he might never come back, and she started to get weak in the knees. Lois sank slowly to the floor, bringing Clark with her. When Lois reached the hardwood floor, her lips separated from his, and she cried in Clark's arms. Lois' world had come crumbling down around her within a matter of days, and she, too, was breaking down. Only one stone was left standing. The stone of hope that Clark would one day come back to her, and they'd be able to be together forever.
Even now, as she remembered that night, it brought tears to her eyes. One lone tear made its way out of the corner of her eye; and slid down her cheek.
Lois drew the curtains closed just then, leaving a slit just big enough for the star to peek through, and headed to her bedroom. She wasn't going to do anything productive tonight, she knew, so she decided to go to bed.
Lois managed to sleep in until about 8:00 the next morning. Usually she was up early from having nightmares. It was always the same nightmare. She saw Clark, on New Krypton, on a purple platform, in a black suit, circling someone. Lois didn't know who. Suddenly, she would hear Clark screaming in agony and pain, as everything turned bright red and orange. This was always the part where Lois woke up, breathing heavily. Lois was glad that she hadn't had that dream last night. It had been her first peaceful sleep in months. It was, however, quite odd. She had had the same dream *every* night since Clark had left.
Making her way to the kitchen, Lois groggily poured herself some coffee, grabbed a bagel, and sat down at the table, picking up an old edition of the Daily Planet that she hadn't read yet.
Lois skipped to the funnies and read a few, but they weren't funny anymore. *UGH. Lois, you're not going to get anywhere by being depressed,* she thought to herself, realizing how mopey she was being. *You are going to DO something today. You are going to SHOUT to the world! …Yeah…right.*
Lois decided to at least ATTEMPT to do something today, so after she'd finished her bagel, she got dressed into a t-shirt and spandex shorts. She popped a dance mix CD into the stereo, and tried dancing. That lasted about five minutes.
Realizing that she wasn't in the mood for dancing, Lois changed into some normal clothes, and tried another activity. *That* lasted about five minutes, too. Lois spent the better part of the day trying different activities to keep her busy, none lasting longer than half an hour. She even tried cooking.
The last activity she resorted to wasn't an "activity" at all. She watched TV. She laid flat out on her stomach on the couch, and was watching a documentary on elephant seals, when there was a knock at the door.
Lois flipped off the TV, and headed towards the door, straightening herself up as she went along. Lois was surprised at who she saw on the other side.
"Zara!" Lois exclaimed. Ching then appeared from behind the door. "Ching! My, well, umm…PLEASE, come in!" Ching and Zara stepped inside. Lois paused before closing the door, half-expecting Clark to come through it, but he didn't.
"It's nice to see you again, Lois. We would like to talk to you if we may," Zara spoke up.
"Umm, sure. Would you two like some coffee? Oh, you probably don't drink coffee," Lois said, as she remembered that they weren't from Earth, "then again, I've seen you drinking cappuccino. At least, I THINK it was a cappuccino. I don't remember too—"
"Coffee… would be just fine," Zara interrupted, "thank you." So Lois grabbed three cups of coffee, and brought them over to Ching and Zara, who were already seated comfortably near one end of the couch. She placed two cups on the coffee table at their end, and held her own cup in her hand.
"So what brings you guys back here? Is Clark here?" Lois asked, still standing.
"That's what we need to talk to you about," Zara told her, "No, Clark is not *here.* He's out…there."
Lois' brown furrowed, "So, he's still on New Krypton? Then why are YOU here?"
"No, Lois. That's not what we mean. *SIGH* this is going to be difficult. Lois, Clark is…I mean he's…Clark's…dead." Zara finished.
Lois could practically see the last stone of her little world tumble over before her eyes. She didn't even notice her coffee mug slip out of her hand until she hear it crash on the floor.
"Shoot…I'll…umm, get that…later. What…what— happened?" Lois asked, as she sat down across from the couple on the couch.
"Well," Zara started, "Lord Nor and Kal-El were at battle with each other. Kal-El had tried to settle things peacefully—and to get rid of Nor once and for all—for the last two months, but everything Kal-El suggested was refused by Nor. Nor wanted power. He didn't want to compromise in the least.
"Anyway, Nor called Kal-El to meet at the battle ground. He said he wanted to 'talk.' I don't know how we could have been so blind to think that he'd changed his mind about things. I guess we were hoping so that he would. He surprised us all when he pulled out some very intricate weaponry not five minutes after we'd arrived. We should have known. Kal-El had a couple of simple defense weapons, but nothing fancy. We should have been prepared…"
"Was Clark standing on a… purple platform?" Lois asked curiously.
"Yes," Zara said slowly, "that's the colour of the battleground. Why?"
"N-nothing…continue…" Lois stuttered, leaning forward slightly.
"Well, Kal-El started circling Nor—"
Lois let out a little gasp, and her heart started beating faster.
"—talking to him, trying to reason with him, *anything* to keep him from whatever he was planning to do. Clark had prepared for a physical fight with Nor—and was ready to pounce on him when he wasn't ready for it. But Nor must have been even more prepared because he… because he…" at this point, Zara couldn't tell anymore. She was starting to choke up.
Ching put his arm around her, and continued the story, "Nor shot Clark before he could even react."
Lois' breathing became quicker.
"Clark let out an agonizing scream—"
Lois breathed harder and faster as she realized the familiarity of this story.
"—and he…collapsed…Lois, Lois are you all right?" Ching noticed the rapidity in her breathing. She was also staring into nowhere.
"My dream…" she replied, "*NO!!!* He can't be dead! It was just a dream! He's NOT dead! NO!" Lois screamed at the top of her lungs. Tears were streaming down her face.
Ching went forward to calm her, "Lois please, calm down," Ching placed his hands around Lois' arms.
"NO!" Lois escaped from Ching's grasp, despite his strength, and ran to her bedroom, slamming the door behind her. Lois grabbed a framed picture of her and Clark from her dresser, and smashed it against the wood. With the glass broken, Lois pulled the photo out and ripped it into pieces.
Her life had shattered before her eyes. Nothing was left now. All her hopes and dreams of a happy life had gone down the drain.
"Lois?" Lois heard Zara's voice through the door.
"Go away!" she ordered.
"I just wanted to say 'good-bye.' Ching and I are leaving, now. But there's one thing I needed to tell you first."
"Clark said something, just before he died." Zara heard footsteps and soon the door was open, revealing Lois, who was still wiping her tears away. Lois motioned for Zara to come in. Zara sat on a chair in the corner of Lois' room, and Lois sat on her bed.
"Before Clark even started fighting, he told me you were so important in his life that without you, he was not complete. He said he could sense that you felt the same way."
Lois nodded. There had been many times when Lois was aware of the empty space in her life—in her heart—where Clark should have been.
"Clark often felt a longing need to be with you. Probably when you felt the same. When he died, he said 'tell Lois I love her, and that I'll always be with her.' Lois—he's with you. Remember that." Zara stood up to leave, looking at Lois behind her. She sat in the middle of her bed, looking pale and helpless already. "Take care, Lois," she said, and left.
"Oh, Clark, it's so beautiful," Lois sighed. She and Clark were sitting on the roof of the barn, looking up at the stars that were sprinkled across the navy blue sky above them.
"I know. Aren't the stars lovely? You never see anything like this in Metropolis," Clark commented.
"Never. Wow…those stars are so far away… up in the heavens," Lois mused aloud. Lois rubbed her hands up and down her arms.
"Are you cold?" Clark asked, "here, wrap this around you. I brought it up just in case." Clark draped Lois, and himself, in a dark blue blanket that had specks of aqua green knitted into it. It had been well-used, and was therefore very warm.
"This is pretty, Did your mom make it?" Lois said.
"Yeah…It's my 'together blanket.'"
"What's a 'together blanket'?" Lois asked.
"It's a blanket I've owned since I was a little kid. It's huge, so whenever it was cold, Mom and Dad and I all cuddled under it in front of the fireplace. We were all huddled together, so it was dubbed the 'together blanket.'"
"Interesting. It's warm, too," Lois and Clark cuddled up under the blanket and continued to star-gaze.
After about five minutes, Lois asked, "Clark, will we always be together?"
"W-what do you mean?" Clark asked confusedly.
"Just what I said."
"Well, yeah, Lois. I'm not going anywhere."
"But what if, one day, you're fighting some bad guy as Superman, and you…don't…come back? Or what if one day we don't…love…each other anymore?" Lois sounded as if she'd been thinking about this for some time.
"Lois, why are you worried about this? I've always loved you and I always will."
"Yeah, but so many people…"
"Lois, we are not 'so many people.' We are Lois Lane and Clark Kent, and we're the 'hottest team in town.' And I don't mean reporting. Our love will never die, Lois.
"And as for MY dying, that won't happen until we're both old and grey, unless I'm killed with Kryptonite, which is scarce to the public thanks to STAR Labs.
"Lois, one reason we're getting married is so we'll be together forever 'in holy matrimony'. You don't need to worry about me leaving, Lois. I'll always be with you."
"Thanks, Clark. That makes me feel a little better. I guess, living the life I did before I met you has made it hard not to worry about those types of things. I've had a lot of people leave me, not to mention my parents left each other." Lois looked up at the stars again, "I've always looked for someone I knew would never leave my side, would never be far away. I'm glad you're that someone. Even if it took me two years to realize it."
Clark put his arm around his fiancee, and the two of them looked at the stars, and the brightly shining moon in the middle of it all. Suddenly, the moon turned into a giant fire alarm, and it took a moment before Lois realized that it was just her alarm clock, incorporating itself into her dream.
Actually, the star gazing on the barn roof had NOT been a dream. It had actually happened, just after they had gotten engaged, and the memory had worked its way into her mind, as it had been one of the most beautiful nights of her life. Lois groaned as she came back to reality, and got out of bed.
Lois stumbled into the kitchen. *I need ice cream,* Lois' brain told her. Ice cream. Her place of refuge. Lois opened the freezer door and looked in. Rocky road… vanilla… "Hey, no chocolate." she said aloud. Lois pouted. *I think I'd really miss chocolate if I couldn't have it…* Now where had *that* come from? Lois wondered. When Lois remembered the source of that thought, it hit her like a ton of bricks.
It had been about a year and a half or so ago, maybe more, back when Lois couldn't decide between Dan Scardino, and Clark. Sara had compared Dan to rocky road ice cream, and Clark to chocolate, and insisted she try the rocky road. Lois had mused that she'd really miss chocolate if it wasn't there. Lois choked back a sob as she realized the irony of her thoughts. Why did such a memory insist on coming to life NOW—after so much time?
As Lois closed the freezer door of her fridge and of her memories, Lois heard a "whoosh" from the window she had left open last night due to the warm weather.
*Can't be,* Lois thought. It wasn't. When Lois turned around, she was looking at Zara and Ching.
"Hi," she said shortly, as though the word was just a syllable, and not an actual word.
"Hello, Lois. We know you're probably still getting over the shock, but we still need to talk about some things that, well, weren't discussed last night…" Zara told her.
"Like what?" Lois asked.
"Like Clark's funeral."
"Clark said on our way to New Krypton in May that if he…passed away…he wanted to be buried on Earth, his 'true home,'" Zara explained. Lois managed a half smile as she thought of the fact that Clark had referred to Earth as his 'true home.' "We, umm, have…him…on the spacecraft. We'd like to get him to—Smallville, is it?—as soon as possible. Do his parents know of what happened?"
Lois gasped. His *parents* "No!" Lois exclaimed, "I haven't—I mean, I couldn't—I, I better call them! …Oh, but wait. There's a local call I'd better make first." Lois had to notify Perry. When Clark had gone out to cover the reaction to Superman's leaving and hadn't come back, after a day, Lois pretended to get all worried and upset, which wasn't very hard, considering that's how she was feeling. After three days, Clark had officially become a 'missing person,' and everybody at the Planet started a search for him. Lois knew they'd never find him, but she thought it was nice that there were so many people who cared about his well-being. There were also many people who offered Lois comfort, and tried to assure her that everything would be all right. That he'd come back or be found by someone and return to her very soon. No one, not even Lois let the thought that he might come back dead enter their minds. And yet, that's what happened. Now Lois had to think of a plausible story.
Lois picked up the phone and dialed.
"Good morning, Daily Planet," Jimmy answered the phone with a cheery hello.
*No, not Jimmy,* Lois groaned inwardly, and tried to put on a happier tone, "H-hi, Jimmy. It's Lois. Can I talk to Perry?"
"Uh, sure thing—aren't you s'posed to be on holidays?" Jimmy teased.
"Just get Perry," Lois blurted.
"A'right, a'right," Lois waited a minute while Jimmy went to get Perry.
"Hello?" came a gruff voice from the other end.
"Hi, Perry. I-it's Lois," Lois said.
"Lois, how are ya, Sweetheart?" came the chief's cheery reply.
"I'm…I'm…Perry, Umm, I have some bad news. Umm, the police were at my house last night," yeah, sure, Zara and Ching could be police, "and, they.. they found Clark."
"But that's GREAT news!"
"But, Perry, he's—he's…Clark's dead," Lois didn't try to hide the shakiness of her voice. She had never thought she'd say those words.
"Oh, honey. Oh, this is awful," Perry replied, "Lois, Sweetie, you take all the time off you need. Don't worry about coming in, I'll notify everyone."
"Okay. Don't break it too hard on Jimmy," Lois noted.
"I won't. You take care now, Lois. I'll be here if you need me."
"Okay. I-I'll call you later with the funeral arrangements." Lois and Perry said good-bye, and she put the receiver back on the phone. "I just have one more call to make, and then we can go," Lois said to Zara and Ching, not even turning around to face them. Lois picked up the receiver once again, and dialed a familiar number. "Hi, Martha? It's Lois."
The funeral, held two days later in Smallville, was very quiet. It was made up of relatives and close friends, who all knew Clark very well, and were all too shocked at what had happened. Even the reverend from the church couldn't think of what to say, as he was still taking everything in.
Lois heard every word the reverend said, but spent a lot of time daydreaming, and thinking of all the good times she'd had with Clark. One tear trickled down her cheek for every memory.
The funeral ended at about 4:30 p.m. Everyone left for home, including Zara and Ching, and the Kents and Lois went back to the farmhouse.
Martha made chicken, peas, and rice for dinner. A simple meal, as she didn't feel much like cooking. When everyone was at the table, they said grace, and then they just…sat. Martha and Jonathan took little bites of food every once in a while, to try and encourage Lois, who wasn't eating anything at all. She was just moving the peas around her plate with the tip of her fork.
Knowing that Lois should at least eat SOMETHING, Martha asked, "Would you like something different? How 'bout some ice cream?"
*No, no ice cream,* Lois thought.
"Clark always told me you liked ice cream. I know we have vanilla in the freezer…"
*I don't want ice cream!*
"…And I think we have some rocky road," by now Martha was talking mainly to herself, "Oh! Clark told me you loved chocolate. I think we have some chocolate—"
*There IS no chocolate.*
"—Jonathan, do we have any chocolate?"
Before Jonathan could even open his mouth to respond, Lois jumped up and screamed, "NO!!!" With both of her hands, she flipped over her dinner plate—peas scattering everywhere—ran into Clark's room and slammed the door shut.
Martha and Jonathan looked at each other for a second, before Martha replied, "I'll go talk to her."
Martha walked down the hall to Clark's room, and knocked softly on the door. "Lois, dear, can I come in?" she asked gently. When no one answered, Martha slowly opened the door. She saw Lois sitting near the top of the bed, looking at the wall, not moving a muscle, except for the occasional shutting of her eyes to push the tears out. Martha sat at the foot of the bed.
"Lois, honey, was it something I said?" she asked.
"It's a long story," Lois said, her voice wobbly.
"Listen, Sweetie, you've never let out such an outburst in the three years I've known you. And I know from experience that when something like that happens, it's because you've been keeping feelings inside for too long. And that's not healthy.
"Lois, you don't have to keep it all locked up," as Martha said this, Lois started to cry more, "we love you, and we're here to support you. You don't have to carry this on your own."
"I just miss him so much," Lois said, as she rose to her feet. Lois stood in front of Clark's dresser, her back to Martha, and ran her hands along the smooth oak. "I've just been remembering all the good times…he used to give me tummy rubs, he used to surprise me with little gifts just cuz…he used to take me flying. I loved flying…" Lois turned her teary face to look at Martha, "and I was just remembering all those things, and how we'll never be able to do them again."
Martha patted the bed, motioning for Lois to come and sit beside her. "It's true that you'll never be able to do those things again physically, but the memories can still live on in your mind if you let them. Clark will always be with you that way. Not only in your mind, but in your heart."
"That's something like what Zara told me. Zara told me Clark said he'd always be with me. I don't feel anything…" Lois said sadly.
"Maybe he's still signing all the forms up in Heaven," Martha said, trying to get a smile from Lois. She achieved a half-smile, and a hug.
After a while, Lois felt like doing something she hadn't done in a while. "Martha, do you think I could go up on the barn roof and look at the stars? Clark and I did that once, and it was just so beautiful."
"Oh, sure, sweetie. The ladder's still there. Hasn't moved in ages. You might want to take a blanket, though, it's kind of brisk."
"Okay," Lois hugged Martha once more, went and found Clark's together blanket, she also found the portable radio, and headed up to the roof.
The view was beautiful. It was such a clear night. She could see all the stars…even Clark's. *SIGH*. Lois wrapped herself tightly in the blanket, and turned on the radio for some soft music.
As she looked up at the stars, she thought of Clark, and only Clark, wishing he were here. She'd forgotten the radio was even on until a song she'd never usually paid attention to came on the air, and made her ears perk up: And I know you're shining down on me from Heaven, Like so many friends we've lost along the way. And I know eventually we'll be together. One sweet day.
The chorus was enough to bring tears to Lois' eyes. Together. They thought that after he'd finished fighting on New Krypton, he'd come back and they WOULD be together. Lois guessed she shouldn't have gotten her hopes up. Now she was hoping that Clark would be with her, just like he'd told Zara he would, and just like Martha said he would, too. *Better not get my hopes up for THAT,* Lois thought.
Lois looked up at the stars again, "Clark, I miss you so much. I'm never going to be able to be with you again. I want to be with you so desperately, Clark." Lois put her head down to let the tears flow out more easily. With her head tilted downwards, she could see over the edge of the barn.
*I'm high up,* she thought, *and that's at the lowest part of the barn.* Lois crept up to the peak of the barn, and looked over the side, *Ohhh…too high. I was never scared when Clark was here…now I'm terrified. I could DIE if I fell off of that…* Lois' eyes widened, as a psychotic, crazy idea entered her head. *I could die…I could be with Clark… It's at least three stories high… But Clark's parents. They need me. If I…* The two sides of Lois' conscience debated the idea. *Hmmm… three stories…*
Lois slowly stood up, walked down to the end of the barn's roof, and kicked the ladder, causing it to crash loudly on the ground. Lois hoped not Martha nor Jonathan heard that. Lois climbed back up to the peak of the roof, and looked down again. She didn't even give it a second thought before jumping off the roof with both feet.
Lois' eyes were closed tight—the less she could see, the better— but about halfway down, or at least what she thought would probably be about halfway down, she felt two sharp tugs under each of her arms, and, opening her eyes, saw that she was rising… but without the help of Jonathan or Martha.
Whatever was lifting Lois up set her back on the roof. Lois looked in the direction of the wind that had placed her there, and saw a blue blur ascending super fast into the sky.
When Lois realized what had happened, tears of happiness came to her eyes—he'd been there! He was still here! Lois had to tell Martha.
How was Lois going to get down without a—and there it was.
Lois saw it standing upright against the edge of the barn roof, right where it had been. Lois hastily climbed down, and ran across the field into the farmhouse where Martha and Jonathan were sitting by the fire.
"Martha, oh, Martha! You'll never believe what happened!" Lois cried, tears still streaming down her face.
"What on Earth—" Martha asked, standing up to meet her. Lois embraced her in a hug, and then pulled her into Clark's room to tell her the story.
Martha was no more than shocked to hear what Lois had almost done.
"But he came!" Lois replied, "He lifted me back onto the roof! He's still with me! You were right! Zara was right! HE was right!"
Martha knew her boy would come through—whether physically or spiritually. "Lois," she said anyway, "do you know why Clark put you back on that roof? He could've let you jump, so you could both be together in Heaven, but he put you back. Do you know why?"
Lois' ecstatic mood silenced. She knew why. "Cuz I'm not s'posed to go to Heaven, yet. People still need me here. Oh, Martha, I can't believe I jumped!"
"Neither can I, sweetie. I could never imagine you doing that sort of thing. But Clark proved to you then and there that he was still with you, and still loves you enough to care for your well-being on Earth, even if he can't be with you physically."
"Oh, Martha, I'm so sorry," Lois said, hugging her mother-in-law, "I promise I'll never do anything like that again."
"I know you won't, sweetie, I know," Martha said. *Cuz she's got Clark within her heart.*