By Christy (Attalanta@aol.com)
Rating: PG Submitted September 27, 1997
Summary: Lois and Clark's eldest daughter gets the surprise of her young life.
This story was originally entitled, "I Saw Mommy Kissing Superman," but I recently read another fanfic with the same title. To avoid confusion, I decided to change my title. I did, however, use it as a subtitle because I like it. :) Some of the characters in this story aren't mine, but they were just borrowed and returned unharmed. The "situation surrounding Lara's birth" is explained in another story of mine which has to be rewritten. All comments are welcome.
Closing her eyes, Lois Lane leaned back hard against the wall of the elevator. It was Friday, finally Friday. Although she usually enjoyed the perplexing cases and mysterious sources that came with her job at the Daily Planet, she was glad that the week was ending. Lately it seemed that none of her leads had panned out. She was exhausted and glad to be heading home.
"Do you want to get Catie and I'll get Josh?" Clark Kent, Lois's husband of almost eight years, asked her as the elevator door opened.
"That's fine," Lois said as she stepped out of the elevator. Lois remembered the first time she had seen this floor. Just back from her maternity leave after their first child was born, she had been astonished to learn that the Daily Planet did not have day care for the children of its employees. So, in typical Lois Lane fashion, she mounted a one-woman crusade to convert one floor into a day care facility. The center's loose policies allowed Planet employees to eat lunch and frequently even dinner with their children and then return to work. Previously, Lois and Clark had eaten dinner there, but lately, since their oldest daughter, Lara, had started school, they tried to either make it home for dinner or have Lara take the school bus to the Planet.
"Mommy, Mommy, Mommy," Lois heard as she opened the door and stepped into the bright, cheery room. Turning towards the sound of Catie's voice, Lois felt small arms clasp her legs and she swung her daughter up into her arms.
"Hey, sweetie, did you have a good day?" Lois asked her.
"Lookit what I did," Catie said, pointing proudly towards a sagging clothesline decorated with several drying finger-paintings.
"Catie had a wonderful day today," Mrs. Gilmore said to Lois as she approached them. "She even painted a picture of her family to take home," she said, removing a colorful painting with Catie's name neatly printed on the bottom. By this time, Catie had wrestled herself free of her mother's arms and ran to get her jacket. Thanking Mrs. Gilmore, Lois zipped up Catie's jacket and, picking her up, went to meet Clark and Josh.
"Daddy!" Catie exclaimed as soon as she spotted her father and brother.
"Hey, Cate, did you have fun today?" he asked her.
"Yea, Daddy, lookit my picture," she said as she pointed out representations of her parents, Josh, and Lara on the messy painting Lois was holding.
"How was your day, Josh?" Lois asked her son, taking his hand as the four of them walked towards the car. A little like his father, quiet Josh tended to be outdone by his sisters, still-a-baby Catie and dominating older sister Lara. Lois figured that there were worse people than Clark that Josh could take after.
"Fine, Mommy," he responded. "We drew pictures of sunflowers and tomorrow we're gonna plant a seed in a cup and see how it grows," he told her, excited to be doing something he remembered Lara doing not long ago.
After reaching the car and buckling everyone in, Lois and Clark drove home, serenaded by high-pitched, excited voices from the back seat. Pulling into the driveway of their brownstone, Lois saw their seven year-old daughter, Lara, standing on the steps of their neighbor's house. Next to her was Mrs. McCollough and her daughter, Lara's best friend Amy. Mrs. McCollough waved to Lois and Clark as she went back inside her house and watched Lara walk next door.
"Guess what we did today, Mommy?" Lara said excitedly, not giving her mother a chance to guess. "Miss Tinsley said that next week we're gonna roast pumpkin seeds and make masks for Halloween. I don't wanna dress up like a clown like last year—I think I wanna be a witch this year, or maybe a cat, or a scary ghost, but it'd have to be a *really* scary ghost, or maybe Superman…" Lara babbled, not noticing the looks her parents exchanged at her last idea.
Josh wasn't quite as subtle with his response to his sister's idea of a costume. "You can't be Superman, Lara. He's a *boy*," Josh said knowingly. "Oh, yes I CAN if I want to, right, Daddy?" Lara asserted.
"Uhh, sure, honey, you can dress up as anything you want for Halloween," Clark said, hoping her latest idea would be as short-lived as the rest of her costume suggestions. Unlocking the door, they went into the house, Lara and Josh still arguing about whether she could dress up as a boy for Halloween.
"It's *Halloween*, Josh. You're supposed to dress up as someone you're not. Duh! And I'm not Superman, so I can dress up as him," Lara said to her brother stubbornly.
Over the heads of their still-arguing children, Clark mouthed the words, 'I'll make dinner' to his wife. She nodded her head in response, glancing quickly upstairs, indicating that she would take the kids upstairs so that he could super-cook dinner. Since they hadn't yet told their children that their father was really Lara's latest idea of a good Halloween costume, Clark had to be careful when using his powers around his children. As much as he hated having to be so secretive in his own home, he knew that, for right now, it was the only way.
"Hey, what're you saying to Mommy?" Lara asked suspiciously.
"Only that Daddy thinks you should go upstairs and change into play clothes before dinner," Lois said, always quick with an excuse. "So let's go," she said, ushering Lara and Josh upstairs as she picked up Catie and took her along.
After dinner had been eaten and Catie was sleeping, Lois and Clark relaxed on the couch, combing through boxes of files they had brought home to work on. Josh and Lara sat at their parents' feet on the floor, making an elaborate maze out of plastic blocks.
Feeling a hand on her thigh, Lois looked over at her husband. She nodded grudgingly when she saw the all-too-familiar look that suggested that Clark was needed as Superman.
"Time for bed," Lois announced to her children. As her suggestion was met with loud protests and complaints, Clark managed to slip out of the room to change into his Superman suit.
"But I'm not tired, Mommy," Lara whined. "Hey, where's Daddy?" she said suspiciously.
"He remembered that he needed to get another box of files out of the kitchen," Lois said, hoping her daughter would believe her lie. Josh did and resumed his bedtime complaints, but Lara looked at her mother doubtfully. Lately, Lara had become more and more skeptical at her parents' excuses for her father's absences. Maybe it was time to tell her, Lois thought uncertainly as she spied a yawn escape from Lara's lips.
"Come on, you two, it's bedtime. And you can't tell me that you're not tired—I saw that yawn," Lois said, hoping distraction would work on her children again. It did. Lara and Josh resumed complaining but went upstairs to get ready for bed.
After her children were upstairs and in bed, Lois sat on the couch, rereading the files they'd brought from the Daily Planet and trying to piece together their story. Getting nowhere, she realized that she, too, was tired, and decided to wait for her husband in bed. Straightening the files and rising from the couch, Lois turned off the light, darkening the room. She looked up as she heard a familiar whoosh from the direction of the kitchen.
"They in bed?" the accompanying voice asked. Clark walked towards her and into the family room.
"Yea, but just for a few minutes," she said. "What was it?"
"Hostage situation. It took a little longer than I'd hoped, but eventually they did see it my way," he told her, moving closer to his wife in the darkened room.
"I was just going to wait for you in bed…" she began.
"Yea?" he asked, pulling her closer to him.
"Mmm," she said, blindly reaching up with her lips to find his. Feeling his cape as she wound her arms around his neck, she turned her mouth from his. "You still have your suit on?"
"Mommy?" a quiet voice asked, wavering with uncertainty.
"Oh, God," Lois said, trying to recover from the light that had flooded the room. In a second, both Lois, and Clark, who had changed out of his suit by this time, bounded up the stairs and reached Lara, who had begun to cry.
"It's okay, sweetie, it's just me, just Daddy," Clark began. But Lara turned away from him and fell into Lois's arms. Exhaling loudly, Clark's shoulders sagged as he followed his wife and Lara down the steps. Lois, still holding her daughter, sat down on the couch and rocked Lara until she caught her breath again.
"Baby, it's just Daddy. See?" Lois asked her daughter, shifting slightly in her seat so Lara could look at her father. Lara refused to look and instead buried her head in her mother's chest. When her daughter didn't object to being called "baby," as she usually did, Lois knew that Lara was very upset.
"Lara, listen to me." Lois rubbed her daughter's back slowly as she thought of what they should tell their daughter. Taking a deep breath and gently wiping Lara's wet cheeks with her index finger, Lois continued. "Sweetie, your daddy is very, very special. Most of the time, he's a normal dad, but when someone needs help he changes into the Superman suit and goes to help them. The suit is just a costume, Lara, and he changes into it just like you change into a Halloween costume," Lois told her daughter.
Lara looked up, but only at her mother. "Superman can *fly*," she said pointedly, trying to disprove what her mother just told her.
"I can fly, too, Lara," her father said. "Just like Superman—I *am* Superman."
"How?" Lara asked, finally looking at Clark.
"When I was a little baby, younger than Catie, my parents found out that Krypton, the planet where they lived, was going to explode. So my father made a tiny spaceship, just big enough for me, and sent me to Earth so that I could be safe," Clark told Lara.
"But Grandma and Grandpa Kent are your parents, just like Grandma and Grandpa Lane are Mommy's parents, aren't they?" Lara asked, hoping that she wasn't about to uncover yet another deception, this time about her mother.
"I have two sets of parents," he told her. "Do you remember how Amy said that she didn't look like her parents because she's adopted?" Amy, who had known that she was adopted practically since the day the McColloughs brought her home, had recently told Lara. She nodded. "Well, I'm adopted, too. Grandma and Grandpa found me in my little spaceship and decided to adopt me. My other parents, their names were Jor-El and Lara. You were named after my Krypton mother," Clark said, waiting for his daughter's reaction.
Lara looked up at her mother for confirmation.
"That's right, sweetie, I decided to name you after Daddy's Krypton mother, Lara." The story about the circumstances surrounding Lara's birth would have to wait until later, Lois thought—that would be another interesting story. "And Josh's middle name, Jordan, is like Daddy's Krypton father," Lois told her daughter.
"What about Catie?" Lara asked.
"Before Catie was born your Mommy and I looked through a book of names for babies, saw the name Catherine, and thought it sounded nice. Her name isn't Kryptonian," Clark said.
"Can I go back to sleep, Mommy?" Lara asked. With a wary look at her father, Lara took Lois's arm and tugged her from her seat, encouraging her to tuck her back into bed. Glancing at Clark, Lois followed her daughter upstairs.
When Lara had been re-settled into bed, Lois sat next to her. "Lara, you know that Daddy and I love you very much. We didn't want to hurt you by telling you but we weren't sure you were old enough to understand yet. And there's something else you have to know, sweetie. You can't tell Josh or Catie or anyone else about this. The only people who know besides you, me, and Daddy are Grandma and Grandpa Kent. They're the only people you can talk to about this, okay?" Nodding her head sleepily, Lara curled up in bed. After kissing her daughter good-night, Lois turned off the light and left Lara's room.
When she returned downstairs, Lois saw that Clark was still sitting on the couch, with his head in his hands. "It's all my fault," he told her.
"What's all your fault?"
"Lara-the way she is, this whole situation," he replied. Sitting down next to her husband, Lois put her arms around him.
"As I remember, we were both there," she teased lightly. After allowing himself to smile for a second, Clark looked up at Lois.
"You know what I mean—if I wasn't an alien…" he began.
"If you weren't an alien, none of us would be here. You'd be dead, or at least still on Krypton, I would most likely be dead as well—you've saved my life so many times—and Lara, Josh, and Catie would never have been born. Would that be better?" she asked him rhetorically. "Anyway, they're going to find out sooner or later. We can't hide it forever. And it could be worse—we could come home from work one day and hear, 'Hey, Dad, look—I can fly!'" she mused. "And," she continued, shifting her position on the couch. "Ouch! What was that?"
Standing and removing the cushion from her half of the couch, Lois laughed.
"What is it?" Clark asked.
Smiling, she held up a small figurine dressed in a familiar red and blue costume—it was a miniature version of her husband. Well, of Superman. Lois remembered when the toy had first made its appearance in their house as part of either Josh or Lara's Christmas presents from Lois's mother. After being questioned about it by her daughter, Ellen Lane had replied, "Every child in Metropolis, in the whole country probably, has a Superman toy except for yours. I don't understand it one bit, especially since you two are such good friends of his." Not knowing how to answer her mother's assertion, the toy had remained in Lois and Clark's house. But Lois had always felt peculiar about it; watching your children play with a miniature version of their father and not even realizing it amused her.
Laughing himself when he recognized the toy, Clark, too, rose from the couch. "I guess it's just hard since Lara's the first—maybe it'll be easier by the time we have to tell Catie. And I guess I've never been very good at telling people these things," he added.
"You *guess*?" Lois teased, placing her hand on his arm.
"Yea, I guess," he said. Leaning towards Lois with his hand on her back, Clark kissed her. "I thought you said that you were going upstairs to wait in bed for your husband," he mused quietly.
"Hmm, I did, didn't I?" she responded. Pulling away slightly, she picked up the Superman figurine from where she had set it on the table. Lois spoke to the toy. "Come on, Husband, I think it's time for bed," she joked before starting upstairs.
When Lara awoke the next morning she breathed in the delicious aroma of her favorite breakfast, strawberry waffles, and got out of bed. Seeing only her father in the kitchen preparing the waffles, she looked around suspiciously. "Where's Mommy?"
"She took Josh and Catie to Aunt Lucy's house and then went to work for a few hours. I thought you could stay home with me and we could talk," her father suggested, placing a waffle on a plate for Lara and opening the refrigerator to remove a pitcher of grape juice.
"Why?" she asked skeptically.
"Lara, I wanted to explain some things to you about last night. I'm really sorry that you had to find out this way. Your Mom and I didn't know when to tell you, but I guess we waited a little too long. Lara, do you remember when we went to Smallville and I showed you my old tree house? Do you remember what the sign over the door said?" he asked her.
"The Forest of Solitude?" she guessed.
"Close. It was the *Fortress* of Solitude. And remember when I told you that solitude meant being alone?" She nodded. "Because I was different, because I was Superman, I felt very lonely when I was a little boy. I always had to hide my powers because I didn't know what people would do to me if they found out. So that's why I made up Superman—he's just a costume, like Mommy said last night. I put on the costume so I can help people and still live a normal life. Do you understand?" Clark asked his daughter.
"Am I going to be Superman when I grow up, too?" Lara asked quietly.
"Well, your Mom and I don't know yet. You might have the same powers I do, or maybe you'll only have some of them, or maybe you won't have any. But probably Josh and Catie will be the same as you since none of you have been sick or hurt," he told her. "Lara, I just want you to know that you don't have to feel alone like I did. Soon you'll have Josh and Catie to talk to about this. They're too little to know now, but they'll be old enough soon. And you can talk to me about it, too. You don't have to be alone, sweetie," Clark said as Lara began crying again and leaned into her father for a hug.
"It's okay," Clark said, reassuring his daughter as he felt warm tears seep through his t-shirt and dampen his invulnerable skin. And, although he didn't believe it yesterday, Clark now felt that everything would be okay.
"Help, Superman, Help! They took my baby! They took him!" the woman screamed, pointing at two men who were quickly fleeing the scene with a bundled-up baby. The woman's knees buckled, threatening to give way on her.
"Careful, or you're bound to be unconscious when you get your baby back," a surprisingly feminine voice responded. The woman, startled to feel the small, gentle hand of a girl instead of the strong, capable hand of a superhero on her back, promptly fainted. Laying her down on a nearby park bench, the girl zipped off towards the men and baby.
Surprised to see the unfamiliar caped hero, the men dropped the screaming child. After quickly catching the baby, the girl pushed the kidnappers towards a just-arrived police officer, who was as amazed as the rest of the observers. Adjusting the mask that was covering her face, the red-and-blue-clad girl flew back over towards the child's mother, who had regained consciousness.
Handing the baby back to his astonished mother, the girl readjusted her mask and flew off. Minutes later, she landed on the back terrace of a nearby brownstone.
"Good job," a voice said proudly.
"You were watching me?" she asked somewhat indignantly.
"It was your first rescue and you *are* only fifteen. And," he reminded her, "I *am* your father."
"Yea, yea, yea…" she said, walking into the house to finish her homework.