By Laura-Jayne (firstname.lastname@example.org )
Summary: A much older Lois Lane comes out of seclusion to write her most important story for the Daily Planet.
I wrote this one Friday afternoon, because the Internet was down and I had nothing better to do. I didn't really know what I was writing till it was done, so don't expect anything too good.
No one in the Daily Planet newsroom noticed as the elevator doors opened and a petite woman stepped out. Her arrival went unnoticed, which was fine with her. She strolled down the ramp and into the pit of the newsroom, as she had done countless times in the prime of her life. That seemed so long ago…
The woman reached the door to the editor's office, and she almost turned back. She took a deep breath and ran her hands through her short, graying hair. Opening the door, memories flooded into her mind. She pushed them aside and approached the editor's desk.
Editor-in-Chief James Olsen was on the phone, his back to the woman. She cleared her throat, and Jimmy- as his close friends still called him- spun around in his swivel chair.
Jimmy's jaw dropped in recognition. He sat, shocked, then hastily told whoever was on the phone that he would 'get back with him'.
Jimmy stood up, not believing his eyes. "Lo…" he stuttered, unable to say her name. "Lois! What… what are you doing here? It's been so long!" He swung his arms around her, enveloping her in a bear hug. Lois laughed despite of the purpose of her visit.
"Well, you know… I was in town…"
Jimmy detached himself and smoothed his suit. He stepped back and looked her over. "Lois Lane… wow. I never thought any of us would see you again. I mean, after what happened…" Jimmy said, a hint of depression in his voice. Lois forced a small smile and changed the subject.
"Well, after twenty five years, I figured 'what the heck'. So… you're the new editor?"
Jimmy nodded proudly. "Yep. When Perry retired, I was a shoe-in for the job. Well… if you and Clark were here, one of you would have… but I *was* head writer, so…"
"Jimmy, I guess I should come out and say it. I'm not here for pleasure." That was the understatement of the year.
Jimmy, looking concerned, offered her a seat. After she took off her coat, she continued, "I owe the world… an explanation. I'm the only one who can give it… so, I think it's my duty…"
"What explanation?" Jimmy asked, his voice soft. Lois looked up at him. She could still picture him as a young, boyish twenty year old, even though he now stood tall and affirmative at the age of forty-five.
"A lot of things happened, with no apparent reason. Where Superman went, why I left the Daily Planet, what happened to Clark…" Her voice broke, but there were no tears left to cry. She had cried more than her share in the last twenty five years. Now was the time for peace. "I want to write an article… for the Planet… It'll explain everything… the world deserves to know what happened to their hero."
Jimmy nodded, understanding that Lois could only let her heart free through writing. "Okay."
Lois' article appeared in the July 15, 2022, issue of the Daily Planet. As Jimmy sat in his home, listening to his wife and children laughing and baking cookies in the kitchen, he pulled out the clipping. He had read it countless times over, but still…
THE END OF SUPERMAN:
A Tribute By Lois Lane
Twenty-five years ago, I was a well-off, respected reporter for the Daily Planet and a happily married soon-to-be mother. So much has changed since then. The era of my happiness ended in 1997, when word came that I had miscarried the child Clark and I had been longing for. My depression was great, as could be expected. Clark was always there for me, even while he himself grieved greatly. We slowly licked our wounds and prepared to get on with our lives.
We continued to work for the Daily Planet, and Clark continued his secret second job. This second job often came between us, as it kept him busy much of the time. There wasn't a night through our entire marriage that didn't consist of Clark flying out the window to save the world.
I was married to Superman.
I am not speaking metaphorically; I speak in literal tongue. Under the boots and the cape and the S-shield was a normal guy. Clark Kent. My husband. It was the biggest secret, and one of the hardest to cover. But for his family and friends' protection, it was a secret that had to kept.
I understood every time he had to rush off; I knew he was doing more for the world than I could ever do. But a little part of me ached each time he whirled into the famous blue suit.
One night in particular I will never forget. As we prepared for bed, Clark got that look on his face that only meant one thing- "Sorry, honey, someone's in trouble. I'll be right back!" Words were not needed at times like this. There was a nonverbal communication, one that could never be severed. Love knew no boundaries, which was why I never gave up on my Super husband.
Clark hadn't returned by breakfast time the next morning. I figured he was having a "busy night" as he put it, and would show up at the Planet later that morning. The only thing we would have to explain was why we didn't show up together.
But Clark never showed up. By lunchtime, the excuse that he was getting a haircut wore thin, and my feelings were getting in the way of my logic. He could be anywhere- saving anyone. But no reports of any huge rescues or disasters were shown on the television. By early afternoon, I was far past worried.
At five o'clock, a news bulletin interrupted the normal broadcast. It reported that a bomb had been reported at the White House, and Superman had headed to the Capital to save the First Family. I sighed, relieved beyond all pretense. But this relief was short lived, as the news broadcaster continued. I will never, for as long as I live, forget what he said next.
The bomb was made of pure Kryptonite.
More Kryptonite than was thought to even exist in the world. It had exploded, not harming the human bystanders. But Superman, standing only a few feet from the bomb at the time, was nowhere to be found. The police were searching for what they assumed would be a deceased Superman.
Tears blinding me, I ran from the newsroom and managed to find my way to the Jeep. Miraculously, I drove all the way home without killing anyone (to the best of my knowledge) and ran up the steps to my home. I knew what I would find; Clark was the most predictable person ever to walk the face of the Earth.
Sure enough, my one true love was collapsed on the couch, unmoving. I vaguely remember collapsing at his side, sobbing and begging for mercy. But I was not on the good side of Fate.
I held my husband's hand as the life slowly drained from his strong body. With only seconds left, he pried his eyes open and bore his gaze into mine. No words were needed; our strong communication provided by love was powerful enough. His eyes told me he loved me, forever, through life and through death. My own eyes fell shut as Clark's hand went limp, entwined in my own.
I lay there for hours, unable to move, unable to do anything but cry. Sometime later, I fell into a deep, dreamless sleep. When I awoke, Clark was gone. All that was left was his cape and his wedding ring, and the couch was covered in a light blue and red powder. I knew Kryptonians decomposed almost instantly after death, but nothing had prepared me for this.
I didn't leave the house for days, even though numerous visitors stopped by, including Clark's parents. But I couldn't talk to anyone. I couldn't even bring myself to tell the police what had happened to Superman.
It was at least five weeks later when I returned to work. I didn't even feel like a whole person; half of me was gone. I ignored the pestering questions inquired by my co-workers. No one knew what had happened to Superman, or Clark, or me.
I packed up what was left of my life and moved in with the Kents in Kansas. Upon my request, no one (as far as I know) ever knew I was there except Martha and Jonathan. When they died in 2001, I took over the farm. Living in the home where Clark grew up made me feel closer to him. I spent many nights up in his childhood tree house, the Fortress of Solitude. He had once told me that he hid up there when he felt like an outcast. I knew that, even though he never said so, falling in love with me had banished those feelings of loneliness.
I grew old on the farm, usually without electricity because I couldn't pay the bills; I couldn't possibly go to work anywhere. I didn't feel like a normal human being anymore, and I couldn't work like one either. A huge part of who I was died. I may as well have died. I didn't speak to my parents or my family or my friends for over twenty years. I was forever trapped within my grief.
So now, I step forward. The world deserves to know what happened to Superman and to the world's best reporting team, Lane and Kent. As I exit the shadows, I still am hidden, lost, never again to be found.
I will never forget that day in 1997. The end of my life, the end of Lane and Kent, the end of Clark Kent. And, for the rest of the world, the end of Superman.
Jimmy was crying by the time he finished reading Lois' article. It was incredibly heart wrenching, and it *did* explain so much. So many unanswered questions that had been silently eating away at his mind for so many years. What happened to Superman? Where did Lois and Clark go? Why had Lois locked herself away?
Jimmy's wife, Summer, had quietly entered the living room during this. She hadn't read the article, nor had she ever met Lois Lane or Clark Kent. Of course, she knew of Superman, although she had never met him.
She sat gingerly beside Jimmy. "Jimmy… what's the matter?" She wiped his tears with one hand. He slowly folded the clipping.
"I just… I just found out some things… that I wish I had known about twenty-five years ago…" He stumbled on his words. Summer gently took the article from her husband's shaking hands and hugged him. They sat, rocking each other, for what seemed to be a long, long time…