By Dom Melaragni, Lori McElhaney, Adrienne Vukovic and Nancy Merkle
Original Air Date: February 15, 1998
Summary: Join Lois and Clark on an anniversary to remember. Episode 12 of S5.
(GGGOH extra scene by Bryce Zabel — we presume)
By Dom Melaragni <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Lori McElhaney <LoriMcE@aol.com>, Adrienne Vukovic <email@example.com> and Nancy Merkle <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The late Saturday afternoon sun shone through the French windows at the end of the long, streamer festooned hall. The lines of people danced across the clear area of floor to the music of a country band. Children giggled at friends as they lost their place in the shuffle while the more expert dancers added variations to the basic steps. The music stopped as Lois twirled out of a turn and came to rest on Clark's chest.
"Are you sure you should be exerting yourself so much?" he asked, rubbing his hands across her thickening waistline.
Lois smiled. "Might as well do it while I can. In a month or so, I'll look like a whale and be lucky to climb the stairs without feeling like I've gone ten rounds!"
Clark laughed. "You could never look like a whale," he said gallantly, "perhaps a small dolphin." He rubbed his arm when she smacked him lightly. "Besides, you're as beautiful now as you were when we first danced together here."
Lois smiled suddenly. "It was Rachel's fault then, too." At Clark's bemused look, she continued, "Today it's her 'fault' for having a traditional Kansas wedding. But the first time was because of her too, remember?"
Clark cast his mind back four years.
[Green Green Glow of Home]
*He was standing with Lois on the edge of a crowd of people, lining up to dance. He was lost in thoughts of how good Lois looked in her new burgundy dress and how much he was enjoying relaxing in her company. He was amazed at how much fun she could find in doing the simplest things out of work and knew that he was falling even harder for her. And he was stunned at how happy he could be given that he was powerless and vulnerable for the first time in his adult life. As the band struck up, Lois had suddenly turned to him.*
"Give it a whirl?" she asked.
"You're kidding?" Clark couldn't believe that she wanted to dance here with him. It wasn't that long since she'd stormed out of his arms.
"No, I'm not kidding. I'd like to dance. If you promise never to breathe one word about this to anybody at the Planet."
Clark promised, leading her into a line. He turned to check she knew the steps and grinned as she tush-pushed past him.
*Present — Saturday afternoon*
Looking down at his smiling wife, he shook his head. "I remember the dancing. I don't remember Rachel being around."
Lois explained, "You probably didn't see her. When we were standing watching people line up, I saw her coming towards you with a determined glint in her eye. So I asked you to dance before she could."
Clark cupped his hand around her cheek. "You were jealous back then?"
Lois winked at him. "A bit, I guess. I justified it to myself that if you danced with her, I'd be stuck alone with a group of men in overalls talking hog futures."
"After I got over being stunned that you asked me to dance, I couldn't believe that you actually knew how to," Clark chuckled.
"I guess I should thank that friend for convincing me that it was a great way to meet guys."
Clark raised a finger to stop her. "I remember the next line," he grinned. "Define 'guys'"
Lois slid her hands up his chest and embraced him. "Just one guy. Do you have time for me to define him? He's kind, loving, unselfish, passionate and he's got the most gorgeous a … "
It was getting dark when the car rolled up at the Kent farmhouse.
"Rachel said she'd had the day of her life." Martha commented as they got out of the car.
"Yes, fortunately no one mentioned the museum," chuckled Jonathan.
Lois looked up at Clark, raising an eyebrow, as he helped her out of the car. Clark shrugged. "Museum?"
Martha turned. "They're building a small museum to commemorate the invasion of Smallville. They decided to do something official after someone tried to turn your improvised fountain into a wishing well!"
"And why is it a taboo subject with Rachel?" asked Clark.
Jonathan answered. "Simply that she's never been allowed to forget that she took a vacation for the first time in five years and missed out on calling the National Guard. Come on son, let's go check everything's locked up. Grant and Nicole took baby Christine home last week so he's having a few days off."
Martha called after them, as they headed towards the barn. "Don't be long. We'll start a snack for when you get in." Turning to Lois, she herded her into the house. Lois hung her jacket on the hook by the door and followed Martha into the kitchen. "Now, while I get the soup on, why don't you set the table and slice the bread?"
Lois headed to the drawer to get the spoons and napkins. She stopped when she saw a bizarre object which looked rather like several coat hangers welded together sitting on the table. "Uh, Martha … ," she began.
Martha turned from the stove. Her hands flew to her face. "I forgot I'd left that there to cool. You weren't supposed to see it yet. Never mind, what do you think?" she asked proudly.
Lois looked at the object carefully. "I like it. What is it?"
Martha looked at her "It's a mobile for the baby's nursery. Shapes like those stimulate the child's mind and entertain it."
Lois nodded. "Well, he or she will definitely appreciate their grandmother's talents. We haven't planned the nursery yet but this will have pride of place."
Martha smiled, pleased by Lois' compliment. "You might as well put it over by that box. They're both to go back to Metropolis with you later."
Lois laid the mobile on top of the large, wooden box. "What's this? More things for the nursery?"
"Not necessarily," Martha answered. "I was clearing out a week or so. I'd told myself that I'd do it when we sold up but seeing as we're keeping the house, I've not got that excuse any more. That box is a few of the things that Clark's collected over the years but refused to throw away. Now they can be part of your clutter and I'll be able to get into the attic again."
"Hmm, any potentially embarrassing articles in there?" At Martha's subtle nod, she continued, a gleam in her eye, "Well, I'll have to insist that we open it together."
Lois laid out the cutlery and walked back to begin slicing the bread. "Soup smells lovely. If you hadn't been here this afternoon, you'd almost doubt that I had a hand in it."
Martha smiled. "Jonathan was going to make his Spicy Chicken but soup was quicker and gentler on your stomach. Did we ever tell you about the first time Clark tried Jonathan's chicken?"
Jonathan pushed the bolt through on the barn door. "We'd better hurry up, son or we'll miss supper. I was going to cook chicken but your mother thought it might not be a good idea, given Lois was here."
Clark frowned. "I know that she wanted to help in the kitchen but she's improved a lot you know."
Jonathan laughed. "No, your mother wasn't sure that she'd get a good night's sleep after all those spices."
"I see. Actually, since she hit the four month mark, she's been feeling much better. Although perhaps all those chillies you put in that spicy chicken might have made her revert to feeling ill in the morning."
"Remember how worried Mom was when you first tried it! You were about three years old, climbed up on the kitchen chair to reach the table and helped yourself. Your mom was terrified that your stomach would never recover!"
Clark groaned. "I just remember being forced to drink gallons of Alka Seltzer. And all for nothing, given that with my stomach I could have eaten a box of chillies and been quite alright."
Jonathan snorted. "True but we didn't know that then. Just wait till you're a parent and your mother's panic will become clear."
Clark nodded. "I guess. I'm so excited about being a father though. I can't believe that everything I ever wanted out of life is actually happening. How did I get so lucky?"
Jonathan patted Clark's shoulder. "I've asked myself the same question for years. Don't question good fortune. Now, why don't you go check the gate on the field and I'll check the vegetable garden. Meet you back at the house."
Lois laughed. "How many tins of Alka Seltzer did you make him drink?"
Martha chuckled. "Two, I think. Then Jonathan convinced me that if we weren't up with his upset stomach, we'd be up because he'd wet the bed."
"That would explain why Clark grimaces every time he sees the Alka Seltzer in the cabinet," she reasoned before sobering suddenly. "I guess you worry a lot when they're little." Lois stroked her hand across her slight bump.
Martha came over and put her hand over the younger woman's. "Lois, you always worry even when they've grown up and flown the nest. But it's worth it because the joy that your children bring you is indescribable. I worried and Clark was virtually indestructible. I was terrified when Clark first encountered Kryptonite. I heard Jonathan's shouts from the barn and went out. Nothing could have prepared me for him lying there. He was so still and pale that I honestly thought that poisonous rock had killed him."
Lois squeezed Martha's hand. "For what it's worth, you hid it well. Even I noticed how ill Clark was looking. I wish I could have been more help."
Martha smiled. "You did all you could. And spending the day at the fair with Clark certainly helped him feel better. It was just unnerving to see him so vulnerable and not know how to help him."
Lois chuckled. "I remember when he got a paper cut while we were at lunch. I'd never seen anyone look so astonished at the sight of blood."
The back door opened and Clark came into the kitchen. He slid his arms around his wife's waist, resting his hands on her stomach. "So, what mischief are you two cooking up?"
"Mischief! I'll have you know that that your mother and I have slaved over this soup all morning. Call it any more names and you'll be lucky to get a dry hunk of bread for supper!" Lois announced with mock indignation.
"I apologise from the bottom of my heart," offered Clark dramatically. "So what were you two ladies discussing?"
"You," answered Martha. "The first time I met Lois after she knew the truth, I told her that I'd been looking forward to being able to talk about you with another woman. And I've enjoyed it immensely ever since."
Clark reddened and shuddered. "Sometimes I hate to think what you've talked about. I won't ask any more questions just in case this was something particularly embarrassing!"
Lois tilted her head back in his embrace and kissed him gently. "To put you out of your misery, the most recent thing we talked about was my first trip to Smallville and specifically, the look on your face when you got that paper cut."
Clark laughed. "I couldn't believe that I was actually bleeding and in pain. I've never forgotten the advice that you gave me though. I've applied it many times since." He winked at Lois.
Martha looked at Lois, who was blushing slightly and shook her head, turning away to serve the soup.
Some time later, Martha and Jonathan stood in the kitchen. Taking the last soup bowl from the soapy water, Martha gestured out of the window. Jonathan followed her glance to Lois and Clark, arms entwined, walking towards the moonlit pond.
"I was talking to Lois earlier about her first trip here when Clark first got Kryptonite poisoning. Look at her now. She seems perfectly at home here."
Jonathan chuckled as he thought back four years. "I have to say that I wondered if she'd ever set foot in Kansas before or would again. She was so determined to hate everything."
"I still have that instant mental image that came to me when Lois guessed you were a cross dresser. My emerald dress and your knees sticking out from under the hem with your farming boots on."
"Strange … " Jonathan mused, "I'd always thought red was more my colour." He pulled Martha to him and kissed her warmly, disregarding her soapy hands swatting at him.
Martha pulled away. "You know, even after she found out the truth, she still acted as if she was a guest here, not quite sure how to act until that time Clark brought her here to keep her out of danger."
Jonathan nodded. "She seemed to relax when we were all watching Clark helping at that earthquake in China. As if she suddenly realised that, she was welcome even when Clark wasn't here and that we'd meant it when we called her family."
Martha smiled smugly. "I knew from the first moment Clark mentioned 'Lois Lane' that she was the woman for him. And when I saw how relieved she was that Trask hadn't killed him, I knew that eventually she'd come to her senses and realise that Clark was what she wanted."
"Uh huh? Even though she'd turned down the offer of sharing a room with Clark earlier?"
There was a mischievous glint in Martha's eye. "Well, a girl has to try!"
Lois glanced back at the old farmhouse, smiling when she saw the silhouette of the older couple laughing at the window. Squeezing Clark's arm, she looked up at him. "Just think, in thirty years, that could be us. I hope we're as happy then as they are now."
Clark bent down and touched his lips to hers. "We will be. Standing there, thinking of innocent things our children did when they were young so we can embarrass them in front of their spouses."
"But I like hearing stories about you. They're cute, not embarrassing. And it's nice to have some idea of what mad things a child of yours might do."
Clark grinned. "I'm more worried about them inheriting their mother's sense of adventure." He sat Lois down on an old tree stump by the pond. Standing behind her, he began to massage her shoulders gently.
Lois groaned with pleasure. After glancing about, she tilted her head back to look at him. "You know, it was just about at this spot where I realised I actually quite liked you." Her thoughts went back to first time she'd seen this pond.
[Green Green Glow of Home] *Lois had got out of the car, relieved that Clark seemed to have won his struggle with the man in the water. She called his name and he turned his head towards her, putting his glasses on as he did so. She'd never seen him look so determined before. Perhaps he wasn't as mild mannered as he'd always appeared to be. Suddenly, as if in slow motion, she saw Trask pull a gun from his belt. "No!" she screamed. She was uddenly aware of how used to Clark's presence she'd become, how much fun she'd had with him in the last few days and how she didn't want to lose this new friendship.*
She saw Clark turn as if to face the bullet that would kill him but another shot rang out. She saw Rachel, gun aimed. For all her antagonistic feelings towards the woman earlier in the day, she would always be grateful to her. More glad that she could ever imagined herself to be, she ran to Clark and hugged him. He looked up and she was startled by the emotions she saw in his eyes. Their eyes locked and for a moment, she thought he might try to kiss her. Right now, she wasn't sure if she would stop him. Then the moment passed, he hid his feelings and she began to doubt what she had seen. They rested their heads together.
*Present — Saturday evening*
She nodded. "Trask was about to shoot you and I realised that you and I weren't just partners but friends. I didn't want to lose that."
Clark smiled. "It went past in a blur. I heard a shot and suddenly you were in my arms. All I really wanted to do was kiss you."
"You probably should have. We would have saved so much time. I can't believe that I was so blind back then," Lois said ruefully.
"Mom always said that she knew we would end up together." Clark came round and hunkered down beside her, his hand stroking her hair.
Breaking herself out of her melancholy, Lois giggled. "Is that why she offered to let us share a room?"
Clark shook his head. "I still can't believe she said that. I was mortified. Still, it wasn't quite as crazy as the first time I spent time with your parents!"
Lois waggled a finger at him. "I did offer to elope! Seriously though, it was seeing you and your parents together that made me persevere that Christmas and I'm glad I did. After you got so sick, if Daddy hadn't been there, I don't know what we would have done. He might not always have been around but when I really needed him, he was there."
Clark pulled himself onto the stump beside Lois, putting an arm around her shoulders. "Let's hope we can always say the same thing about our children … that we were there when they needed us."
Lois turned to him. "Remember how worried we were about whether we would make good parents? I had to convince you that it was the quality of time you spent that would make sure you were a wonderful father."
Clark drew her closer to him. "I'm still nervous but in a happy way now. Do you remember the first time you thought about being a mother?"
Lois thought back to the island where she'd come to terms with Clark and his powers. "Yes. I was terrified at the thought of being a family but you were right when you told me that everything would be alright. I did marry a really terrific guy." She leant over and kissed him deeply. "You know, we're so happy now that it seems like all those obstacles and problems we had happened to some other couple."
Clark smiled. "If only! Not long after I moved to Metropolis, I told my father that I wanted somewhere to settle down, I wanted to meet someone and have a family. You've made all my dreams come true."
Lois reached up and pulled his lips down to hers. "Like I told you before, you're the man I never thought I'd meet."
Clark suddenly grinned against her mouth and pulled away. "You know, if I'd known about this moment three years ago, I wouldn't have spent half the night, trying to pluck up the courage to ask you out."
Lois laughed. "Three years!" She stood up and tried to pull Clark to his feet. "Come on! We should get going … we've got anniversary plans for this weekend."
Clark deposited his bundle gently on the balcony. Lois, wrapped head to toe against the cold, struggled unsuccessfully to rid herself of the many layers of clothing. Clark, his mouth twitching as if to hold back laughter, helped unwrap Lois from her warm cocoon.
"I feel ridiculous," Lois muttered as she peeled off mitten, scarf and coat. "It's just as well you flew that box back while I was putting all this on."
Clark caught the garments she threw in his direction. As she pulled her outer sweatshirt over her head, Clark was suddenly struck by a memory …
Of Lois, and a special "almost — first — date" — He'd been so tempted to superpeek, just a glimpse. Just to see the unattainable that had become a hopeful promise — to touch her with his eyes, a vision to complement the imaginings of his heart.
*Present — Saturday Night*
"Clark?" The sweatshirt landed on his head.
He wrenched his mind back to the present, smiling. Reality, especially now, was even better than he'd imagined. "Well, it's always been much more interesting watching you take off your clothes." He grinned lasciviously.
Now clad in jeans and a light top, Lois pulled him to her and kissed him lightly. "Let's go inside, we've got some celebrating to do — remember?"
"I'll put these leftovers Mom gave us away. You want me to heat up something?"
"Not right now, Clark." She shivered, making her way over to close the door to the balcony. "I won't object to you heating me up though!"
"I won't object either." He gestured towards the sofa. "I lit the fire when I brought the box back so it should be warmer inside." Lois looked at the softly lit room as Clark went into the kitchen, carrying the bag of leftovers. Before Lois got to the balcony door, he was back, carrying a bottle of sparkling grape juice. He caught her eye and grinned before blowing on the bottle with his superbreath, chilling it to just the right temperature. As he walked towards her, a gust of wind blew over a chair on the balcony.
Clark handed the bottle to Lois. "Be right back."
As Lois looked at the bottle in her hand and Clark out on the balcony, her mind wandered back to another chilled bottle and another time she'd watched and wondered.
She'd felt so ill but she still appreciated the feel of Clark's hand as he'd tried to soothe her stomach, the strength of his arms as he gallantly carried her to the bedroom. The sensations she felt as she'd watched his silhouette undress had returned. She tried to deny them but couldn't and she couldn't give into them … then.
*Present — Saturday Night*
As Clark came through the door, she met him halfway, giving in to the urges she'd pushed away then.
"Hey, you." Clark smiled and returned the hug. "What's this for?"
"No reason, let's open this bottle and get this celebration under way. I can't believe you distracted me with that light bulb when you cooled the champagne off that first time. So many times I'll be remembering something that happened to us then that mystified me, and now it just seems so obvious … "
After turning on the CD player, Clark picked up the two glasses he'd placed on the table earlier. Popping the cork, he poured the sparkling liquid into the flutes and passed one to Lois. Holding his glass up to her, he proposed a toast, "To our almost-first-date — the beginning of everything I ever wanted — more than anything I could have wished for … "
Pulling her close, he kissed her softly. "To my wife." He kissed his hand and laid it on her stomach. "To our child."
The strains of ' I Only Have Eyes For You' drifted from the speakers as they held each other close and swayed to the music. Lois suddenly smiled against his shoulder. Looking down at her, he raised an eyebrow in query.
"I was just thinking about that night. We'd finally got everything set up, we had the champagne, the music was playing and everything seemed perfect. I thought about dancing with you like this. You finished wiping up the champagne I'd spilt and I had just plucked up my nerve to ask you, when the delivery from that dreadful Chinese place arrived."
Clark smiled back. "Really? I wanted to dance with you too … but remember, this isn't dancing." Clark took her glass from her and put them both down on the table. Taking her in his arms again, he held her close and slowly raised them into the air. Lois sighed, remembering the first time he'd come to her as Superman and they'd danced like this. Her hands slid up around his neck and her head nestled on his shoulder as her mind wandered even further back. More soft music was playing when she looked up again and found him watching her, his eyes tender.
He bent to kiss her softly. "You look so peaceful and content. Penny for your thoughts?"
Lois returned the kiss. "I was remembering other times in your arms, in the air. I needed someone that night to hold me. I couldn't believe how jealous I was that my dance with Clark had been interrupted. I felt kind of rejected and Superman appeared to help. Superman was always there when I needed him."
"He was always glad to help," Clark said with a smile.
"Then there was the first time you caught me in midair, when Trask threw me out of that plane. It occurred to me as I plummeted to my death that maybe this time I'd gone too far. But I shouted, just in case by some miracle you would hear it, and you came." Her eyes widened in sudden realisation and she pulled back to see his face. "Clark! You were on that plane but you jumped out to rescue me. What if they'd guessed your secret? You risked your life being destroyed!"
Clark cuddled her closer. "I didn't think about it for a minute. If I hadn't jumped, you would have died. Staying in the plane wasn't an option." He tried to lighten the mood again, "Besides, my head was still swimming after the kiss you gave me, so, even though you'd warned me not to fall for you, I fell right out of that open door!"
Lois grinned up at him. "I'm glad that you persevered." Their kiss was interrupted by the sound of Lois' stomach rumbling. "Perhaps I should take you up on that offer to heat up some of those leftovers."
Clark rubbed her tummy gently as he lowered them to the floor. Settling her on the sofa, he was halfway to the kitchen when something occurred to him. "Lois," he called. "at least this time, you're not blaming your stomach problems on Ralph's Pagoda!" The cushion hit the swinging kitchen door.
Lois woke up as the wind blew a spatter of raindrops against the bedroom windows. Judging by the light outside, it was still early enough to justify not getting up yet so she snuggled back into Clark's side. As his arms tightened around her reflexively, she smiled against the warm skin of his shoulder. The rhythm of Clark's heartbeat drowned out the rain and she relaxed into his embrace. She loved when she had the opportunity to lie next to him, listening to the sound of his breathing. More often than not, he woke her with a cup of coffee and a kiss. Perhaps she would get up and make breakfast this morning. But she was enjoying the feel of Clark's arms round her and another few moments passed before she made a move to slip out of the bed.
She got as far as swinging her legs over the side of the bed before two strong arms grabbed her by the waist and pulled her back in. "Where are you sneaking off to?" Clark asked before looking suddenly penitent. "You weren't on a bathroom dash, were you?"
Lois grinned, tousling his sleep-mussed hair. "No, thankfully that stage of the pregnancy seems to have passed. I was on my way to *surprise* you with breakfast in bed. Your powers don't let me surprise you often. The super-hearing gave me away this time?"
Clark shook his head. "I wasn't asleep. I was listening to Baby's heartbeat again and just enjoying the feel of you next to me. I remember the first time you fell asleep in my arms when Kyle Griffin was after you. I felt I had made real progress that you felt secure enough with me to fall asleep."
Lois nodded. "I felt so safe in your arms, even before I knew you were Superman. I just had the feeling that nothing would happen to me, that you'd be watching out for me."
Clark smiled. "I sat up most of the night watching you sleep. I learned the way your eyelashes rest on your cheek, I learned the little noises you make in your sleep and I hoped that one day I'd be able to watch you every night."
Lois kissed him, moved by the emotion in his voice, and pulled away to make a second attempt at getting out of bed. Clark let her go this time, watching as she wrapped her robe about her. "I had been going to suggest a walk down to the dock seeing as how that's where we were this time three years ago but given the weather, we might have to give it a raincheck. What do you want to do instead? It's probably not raining outside the City. Paris? LA? Chicago?"
Lois shook her head. "No, I'd like to have you to myself for the day, unless there are any Super chores that come up. Now that I feel so much more alive again, I think it's time to tackle tidying out the new nursery. We both put so many boxes in there when we moved in and I think we should sort them out."
"You want to decorate?" Clark asked, astonished.
"I think if we get as far as clearing it all out this weekend, we'll be doing well. It was supposed to be a newly married bonding exercise but we got distracted. There's so much in there, I can barely remember the shape of the room to plan how to decorate it!"
Clark opened the door to the small spare bedroom and whistled. "Boy, I'd forgotten there was so much in here." He glanced around the room — the cradle that Martha had had sent from Smallville sat in the corner, surrounded by boxes and other bits of furniture.
"Let's get started then then. At the moment, you'd have to hover if the baby cried in the night although I suppose it would mean that you'd have to do your fair share of getting up!" Lois joked. "Why don't you get that box that Martha gave you last night and we can start on that?"
Lois was settling herself on a floor cushion that had been propped against the wall when Clark got back with the box. Laying it down on the floor, he noticed that one box further back in the room was already open. Glancing more closely at it, he saw a wooden statue that he'd brought home from Borneo many years before. "Lois? This one's already open."
Looking towards where he pointed, she nodded. "Yes, one night, just before we went to Scotland, I think, I was going to make a start on this while you were out. I got as far as opening that box. I took out that statue and then found some of your old travel diaries and got side-tracked."
Turning the statue in his hands, Clark laughed. "I guess that old shaman was right. It does work."
"I got this from an old shaman in Borneo when I was about twenty. I'd been staying with the Ybathu tribe in the jungle when there was a fire in the longhouse that the village slept in. I put the fire out and most of the people thought that one of their protective gods had sent a wind to save them. The old shaman of the tribe knew that I had something to do with it. I always had the feeling that he knew there was something different about me. Anyhow, I decided to leave a few days later after the new longhouse was built and as I was preparing to go, he gave me this statue. At the time, he told me that it was a sacred totem which would ensure I had a happy family. A friend later told me that it was a fertility statue. I guess if you found it just before you got pregnant, there must be something to it. Maybe I should put it back on the bookshelf … I'd just put it on display there in the old place and you agreed to marry me."
Lois looked at the carved wood again. "Maybe it is lucky then. Let's keep it out and find a home for it. I did the rest of that box so it could go up to the attic. Let's see what your mother sent back with you."
Clark slit the tape on the box before going to get another cushion for the floor. When he turned back, Lois had a blue baseball cap on with wings on it. "What's this?" she asked.
Clark blushed slightly and mumbled, "I hope Mom didn't keep all of those."
Lois looked puzzled and put her hand back into the box, pulling out several brightly coloured spandex outfits. She frowned at them and then burst into peals of laughter.
"No wonder Martha said there were some embarrassing things in here! These must be the costumes she told me that you'd tried before deciding on the Suit." She took the cap off again and inspected it more closely. "I have to say that I think going with the cape was the best option. We'll have to keep these for posterity … besides, if our kids ever go to a costume party, they'll have ideal outfits!"
Clark grinned self-consciously. "I guess I can't accidentally lose them then. How about we keep them in the darkest corner of the attic?"
"You mean, you won't let me see you in them?" Lois pouted, her bottom lip quivering.
Clark relented immediately. " I don't know how you do that. OK, we'll keep them around for an appropriate moment."
A huge smile came across Lois' face. "I'll look forward to it. Now what else is in here?"
Clark pulled out two wooden picture frames. "I'd forgotten Mom had these. The first article I ever had published. A Smallville Post interview with the winners of the corn husking."
"I recognise this one. This is the first article that we had published together — the Messenger sabotage. I can't believe you had it framed."
"I was still living out of my suitcase then so I got an extra copy to frame and took it home. Wow! I didn't realise Mom had kept these!"
Lois peered over at the small box he held almost reverently. "What is it?"
Clark opened the box carefully. "It's my old baseball trading cards. I had full sets of TOPPS cards from 74-77. I'll have to take these down and look at them later." Carefully, he put the box on a nearby shelf.
Lois was giggling again at a comic in her hands. "Spiderman, Clark?"
Clark looked sheepish again. "I liked comics. All my friends wanted to be like him."
Lois looked blank. "You, who can fly, wanted to 'do everything a spider can'? I never ever saw the attraction of Spiderman."
"I guess I liked it because Spiderman was different, like I was. But he still seemed able to have a normal life."
Lois sobered before leaning over to hug him. "I can see the attraction of that. But let's be thankful that you fly rather than spinning webs." As she sat back again, she pulled out the last item in the box. She unfolded a thick, soft, dark blue blanket. Looking at Clark, she saw he had tears in his eyes. "What's wrong?"
Clark swallowed. "It's the baby blanket that my parents found me in. The one that I was sent from Krypton in — it's the last thing that my real parents touched."
Lois leaned against his shoulder. "I remember when you first showed me the messages your globe gave you when we first went to Smallville after I knew. Your parents were so brave. It was amazing what they went through to save you. I know that I'd do anything to protect this child I'm carrying but even if Earth was to be destroyed by another giant meteor, I don't know if I'd be able to say goodbye, just with the hope that they would be able to have a life somewhere else." She stroked the soft fabric thoughtfully before carefully folding it up again and putting it to one side. "It will have to stay out. We'll bring our child home in it."
"I'd like that," Clark said wistfully. He shook himself from his melancholy. "I think we've had enough of my embarrassing possessions. Let's find one of your boxes."
Lois wrinkled her nose. "I guess it is my turn. How about that one over there?"
Clark picked up the box she had pointed to and set it down in front of her. Lois opened it and immediately blushed. "I know what this box is. It's my memory box. All the things that there weren't really any reasons to keep but I couldn't throw away. Here's the last draft of my novel. The pages look a little dogeared now. I stopped writing it once you and I started dating. I pulled it up on the computer one day but it just didn't seem like me any more. I guess once I found I was in love, I realised that what I had been writing about couldn't match it."
She put it to one side to discard and heard Clark chuckle. "I remember this though." He held a large Godzilla doll with a cape and somewhat faded golden 'S' painted on it. "I'm amazed you kept it. Actually, I did try to stop you going to find this."
"Why? I deserved it. I'd stolen your story, Jimmy's idea and I was being downright obnoxious."
"True but you'd also just saved Superman."
Clark sighed. "I told you once before that you were just as much a part of creating Superman as I was. I needed a way to 'help' in Metropolis without people knowing it was me, because I didn't want to leave the city … or you. Lex was testing Superman and I'd decided that the idea of Superman wouldn't work because I'd put too many people in danger and I couldn't be everywhere at once. I'd even packed the Suit away. I went back to the newsroom after a violent story. There seemed to be lots of problems that week and I made some sarcastic remark to you about Superman not being able to stop all of it. You said something that I never forgot. That it was the idea of Superman that was important and it gave people something to believe in. It was while you were leaving the office that I remembered the Godzilla trick was set up and called after you but you had already gone. I realised you were right. I went home and took the suit out of the closet. You always believed in Superman, even when I didn't. You have saved me from myself so often … " He wiped away a tear from Lois' face and kissed her.
"Now I've got a good memory to go along with Godzilla," she sniffled. "Before he was there to remind me that friends were more important than a story … no matter how good it was." Wiping her eyes, she delved back into the box and smiled at the small card she pulled out.
Noticing Clark's curious look, she explained, "It's the card from those yellow roses you sent me after Kyle Griffin's tricks. I did rescue some of the buds from the trash and tried to press them. They turned into a mouldy heap though so I just kept the card."
Clark looked smug. "Wait here!" He scanned a selection of boxes and grinned as he brought one over. "This is my memory box." He pulled out an old Chinese book which fell open at a perfect dried white rose. "This is the rose you gave me, as Superman, after the Kerth awards. Luckily mine didn't go mouldy."
Lois touched the delicate petals carefully. "Is there any end to your talents? OK, next time you give me a bouquet, you'll have to teach me. I tried drying other flowers you gave me but never had any luck. Talk about your black thumb! I can even kill plants that are already dead!"
Clark placed the rose back in the book and laid it to the side of the box. "Now we've both got a box. Take it in turns to open them?"
Lois nodded. "I've got the first ever issue of the Planet that I was published in. It was an obituary. Perry used to say never to underestimate the need for a good obituary. And I've got the first front page story that I wrote about the city administration reselling the drugs that the police seized on raids."
Clark pulled out a generic looking champagne cork and looked at it fondly. "It's the cork from the champagne that we had on our almost first date. I caught it after it had bounced right around the room. I pushed it a little too hard because I was mesmerised by you undressing in front of that door. I was so tempted to peek."
"You never peeked?"
Clark shook his head, "Not until after we were married. I didn't think my patience would hold out if I did. I was tempted on numerous occasions though."
Lois grinned. "I know. I watched you that night too and if I'd had Xray vision, I'd have used it. When I was Ultrawoman, I did peek once. Didn't have your well developed sense of restraint. My turn … ah … did you peek when we got this?"
Clark looked at the card she pulled out. "It's a keycard from the Lexor hotel. I almost peeked then. There was a noise from the bedroom and I began to look through the door before I remembered what I was doing. It is from the honeymoon suite?"
She nodded. "The room had been destroyed and I forgot to hand the card back in. They gave me a new one when I went back anyhow. And they gave me something else." Leaning back into the box, she pulled out a video. "It's the video that the bellboy took of you and I going into the room. I watched it one night after I knew about Superman. I especially liked when you staggered under my weight. Hah! Very funny."
"I won't have to pretend soon." Lois hit Clark across the chest as Clark plucked it from her hand and put it on a pile near the door. "We'll have to take it downstairs to watch later. At least we've got a honeymoon video, seeing as how we never made it to the honeymoon hotel after our actual wedding." A small white packet was the next thing out of Clark's box. "It's the matchbook from the restaurant we went to on our real first date. I wanted to take back a momento and this was all I could find."
Lois giggled and reached in to her box to pull out a matching packet. The couple looked at each other and shook their heads, laughing at themselves. Putting her hand in again, Lois pulled out a paper bag. Reaching into it, she pulled out a bundle of dark fabric which appeared to covered with cement and icing.
As Lois unfolded the material, it turned into a jacket. "I told you just to throw that jacket out because it was ruined," he smiled.
"I know but I couldn't throw it away. I used to look at it when I was angry with you for rushing off. I'd remember how empty I felt when I thought you were dead. And how happy I was when I realised that you were alive. I'd known for a while that I might be feeling something more than just friendship for you. It wasn't until that day that I realised how much more I might feel for you."
"I was just glad that I could come back. If Professor Hamilton's work hadn't provided a way to rationalise my return from the dead, I don't know what I would have done. I'd have had to come back and tell you the truth that I wasn't dead because I was Superman but I couldn't have picked up my life again. I'dve had to leave to Metropolis."
"Thank god for Professor Hamilton."
Clark pulled a newspaper page out of the box and looked at it bemusedly. "Here's a copy of the paper that was to have been printed. Perry gave me a proof copy of the 'death issue'." Clark tipped the box up to show it was empty. A small bag fell out. Lois picked it up and opened it.
"It's a fortune cookie with the fortune tucked inside it … and it's in Chinese."
"I wondered where that was. It's from the first meal we shared at the Planet. I kept it because mine was actually a rather hopeful fortune." Clark held it up and cleared his throat. "Patience is a virtue — all things come to those who wait."
Lois smiled, looking into her box. "And it's come true. OK, last thing in my box has to stay out." She pulled out a slightly worn black and white teddy bear. "He's called Clark because it's the one you won for me in Smallville. Actually, it was one of the last things to be packed. Before that, it slept with me every night. After we got married, I swapped one Clark for another!"
Standing up, she stretched over to where the crib was and put it gently at the bottom. "Now he can stay there and watch over someone else at night." Turning round, she surveyed the rest of the boxes. "Which one shall we attack next?"
Just then the doorbell rang through the house. "You decide. I'll go and see who it is," offered Clark.
Lois put her hands on her hips and looked carefully at the boxes. Seeing one marked 'clothes', she tried to lift it over but it was too heavy. She settled back down on the cushion until Clark got back to move the box. Picking up Clark's box of baseball cards, she began to glance through them, trying to get an idea of why Clark was so excited that he'd found them.
"Hi Lois!" came Jimmy's voice through the open door. Clark followed him into the room and leant against a set of shelves. "Jimmy says that he's gotten a lead on a story for us."
Lois looked at Jimmy. "Really? What?"
"Oh, I was thinking about what Perry said about acting like a real reporter and I remembered that drugstore investigation that Lois was working on. Seeing as I helped her buy all those tests, I kept digging for information and I think I've found something that might be useful. I thought I'd come over and see if you had finished that story. But you're obviously busy. What're you doing?"
"We're just clearing out all our old stuff so we can decorate the nur … uh … new study."
Jimmy was gazing avidly at the baseball cards. "Wow! Are these cards yours?" Lois breathed a sigh of relief.
"Uh, no. They're mine," said Clark. "I've got some complete sets from the 70s. I never knew you were into baseball cards, Jimmy."
"Yeah. I used to collect them when I was younger. I still look out for some of them. There are some good online auctions to pick up cards at. Did you know that if your 77 collection has Dawson and Murphy's rookie cards, it could be worth $500!"
Lois rolled her eyes. "Jimmy … the story?"
Jimmy dragged his eyes away from the cards. "Yeah … um, are you still working on it? Do you want to know what I found?"
Clark jumped in. "I think we were planning on having a look at it on Monday. Why don't you pull what you've got together and show us then? We've got so much to do today with this..uh..study that we won't really have time."
Jimmy looked around, noticing the disarrayed boxes. "Uh yeah, sure. I'll get it all together for tomorrow. See you then. I'll let myself out."
Lois groaned as they heard the front door crashing closed. "Do you think he noticed my slip of the tongue? I doubt it. I did recover quickly."
Clark nodded to reassure her although he wasn't convinced. He'd heard Lois' inadvertent comments before and although he had pretended he hadn't noticed, they had given him hope that perhaps she was noticing him.
"Besides, then he caught sight of those baseball cards so he might not have heard at all."
Clark slipped his arms around her and caressed her stomach. "Lois, we're going to have to tell him soon … and Perry. I'm amazed that they haven't just confronted us about it yet. You are starting to show a little. Although they might just think it's too many Double Fudge Crunch Bars now, that won't last for long."
Lois sighed. "I know. And part of me is really looking forward to everyone at work knowing and not having to think of strange excuses not to have anything alcoholic to drink or why I'm using the rest room a lot more."
"But … " Clark encouraged.
"But I know that once Perry knows, he'll put me on dog shows and graduations, just to keep me out of trouble. I want to tell Perry. He's been almost like a father to me and I feel guilty that I haven't told him because he'll be so happy."
"He'll probably be more upset if he works it out himself and realises that you didn't tell him. And Lois, if anyone could find a Pulitzer winning story at a dog show, it would be you!"
Lois smiled. "I guess so. Perhaps I could promise to do more of the desk work on tough stories and less of the chasing criminals. OK, we'll tell him on Monday morning when we get into work."
Clark grinned "Good. And I'll try to convince him that you mean to do more of the desk work. I have to say that I'm looking forward to telling everyone."
"I know. Thanks for waiting until I felt more comfortable with everyone knowing. I guess I just like doing this in stages. I felt exactly the same before we told my parents."
"Well, we've got practice at breaking the new now. Although I don't think the Planet will send as many flowers as your mother and father did." Lois hugged him close. "It does feel like the right time now. What with emptying out this room and not being able to fasten all the buttons on my clothes, this pregnancy is feeling more real." Pulling back from the embrace, she put her hands on her hips and prepared to start another box. "What's this one?" she asked. "I don't remember packing it." Lois pointed to the box marked <Lois' Clothes>
"Looks like Mom's handwriting," Clark remarked as he shifted his glasses to look inside the box. He grimaced as he realised what was inside — the clothes he'd been unable to return that Lois' clone had bought. With a burst of superspeed he snatched the box away from Lois hands. "It's those old clothes we set aside to take to the shelter when we packed to move, remember? I guess we missed a box. I'll take it there now. Why don't you see what's over there?"
Clark flew off with the box, squashing any guilt he felt over lying to Lois. He didn't want those memories spoiling their preparations for their new arrival.
'What was that all about,' Lois wondered. She hadn't heard that voice from Clark since he'd stopped making lame excuses for his exits for Superman. "Well, Mr. Cheese of the Month Club — Have to Return a Video — we have ways of making you talk now -"
As Lois thought of all those wonderful ways of persuading her husband, she opened the next box. An mischievous grin spread across her face when she saw the item neatly folded on top, pulling it out and putting it to one side for later. She smiled as she fingered the contents — the silky veils of her Dance of the Seven Veils costume reminded her of feelings uncovered - feelings that she could now express fully. Even then, in the beginning of their partnership she had felt the tug of their attraction to one another. It had gone beneath the pretty exterior, from admiring (at least to herself) his talent as a writer, to a more basic need, trying to fill the emptiness in her non work hours. It had taken Miranda's drug for her to express it openly back then. Her protective shell had been too thick and Superman her obsession. She remembered her kiss with Superman at the airport — suddenly struck by that 'ah- ha' sensation she told Clark about last night.
Looking over the costume again, she decided to try it on — at least her slightly protruding stomach wouldn't get in the way in this outfit.
Clark returned from the shelter and went inside looking for Lois.
"Lois?" he called.
Lois called out from the bedroom, "In here, Clark!" She took a last look at herself in the mirror. Not too bad, she thought. The slight roundness of her new figure only added an extra voluptuousness to the effect. And the added fullness of her breasts definitely enhanced the costume.
Clark came into the room and stopped, stunned. This had always been a secret fantasy of his ever since that night that Lois had come to his apartment, but he'd never thought she'd kept the costume.
Lois smiled to herself at his reaction. 'This is going to be easier than I thought,' she said to herself.
"Clark," Lois said, crooking her finger. "Come to mama!"
Clark advanced toward Lois. "Lois, you don't know how many times I've thought about this. Dreamt about this. Well, something like this."
Lois took a few steps back as she swayed. She unhooked a veil and tossed it in Clark's direction. He caught it in mid-air and brought it to his face, feeling the warmth of her body still caught in the silk, inhaling the fragrance that was uniquely Lois.
"C .. l .. a .. r.. k," Lois crooned. "What was in that box?"
'Ah- Ha,' Clark thought to himself, 'so that's the game she's playing. Well, two can play that game.'
As another of Lois' veils fell, Clark whipped around the room at superspeed, reappearing in the black silk outfit he'd worn on their wedding night.
Lois gasped in reaction — it didn't matter how many times she'd seen Clark like this — her reaction was the same — more.
Clark lounged on the bed, never taking his eyes off Lois. "Lois, I can't take it anymore. If you want me, I'm yours," he quoted his words from that night so long ago.
Lois' question went unanswered as more important desires were fulfilled.
Some time later Lois, dressed again in her usual slacks and top, looked over the virtually cleared room and smiled smugly. "Quite an achievement. We now have space."
Clark returned from putting the last of the boxes in the attic. "So what now? Wallpaper samples?"
Lois screwed her face up. "To be honest, if we spend any more of today in here, I might scream. Seeing as how it's stopped raining and brightened up, why don't we go out for that walk? We could stop for a late lunch on the way."
"We'd talked about walking down to the docks but there's not much down there to eat. How about we just head into town and see what we feel like when we get there?"
"Don't you just love the smell of the air after the rain? You can smell the earth and everything feels so bright and clean," Clark commented. "I used to love walking across the woods and to the farm pond after a good storm."
Lois nodded. "And then all the stone seems to sparkle in the sunlight. I hadn't realised how late it was though. No wonder I'm starving. Would you mind if we had lunch before we walk much further? I really want a pastrami sandwich on rye, with the works on the side."
Clark shook his head. "Sometimes I can't believe how much food you can eat. I know I only eat because I like to but even I couldn't put away what you do sometimes. How about we stop over there?"
Lois looked at the green painted deli he pointed to. "Sure. The only time we've eaten here, we weren't here."
Clark looked at her, his brow crinkling in confusion. "Huh?"
"You remember, Clark. This is where we ate in the virtual world … "
After they'd given their order, Clark noticed Lois looking carefully at the passers-by as they sat outside the cafe. "What are you looking at?" he asked.
"Just checking," she answered.
At his puzzled look, she continued, "I'm just checking there are lots of different people on the street. Can you imagine if we were really still trapped in the virtual world and none of this was real? It would be dreadful. We wouldn't be married yet and I wouldn't be pregnant and … "
Clark leaned across the table and stopped her lips with a kiss. Pulling away, he cupped her head in his hand. "I think you should forget about it. This is definitely reality. Why would Jaxon disappear if this was his creation?"
"Because he thought that if we thought this was real life, it would be the ultimate revenge?" Lois suggested.
"I don't think any computer program, no matter how advanced, could create the obstacles that we've been through. I wonder if Jaxon's still trapped in his world … in the computer?"
Lois sniffed. "Might explain why my PC in the office crashes so much. He's in there doing strange things to the software."
Clark laughed. "I suspect it's got more to do with how often you insist on clicking on buttons twenty times. You're so impatient."
"Just because you're Mr Mild-Mannered! Although you're not as patient as you were last time we were here!" she said, smiling.
"And you're not as skittish."
"That's because I have no reason to be skittish now that I know how wonderful it can be with the right person," she looked up at him through long eyelashes.
"And, that's why I've got no reason to be patient!" he countered, one arm snaking round her shoulders to pull her to him. Just as their lips were about to meet, the waitress arrived with their order and the moment passed. They glanced at each other regretfully. "Later," mouthed Clark.
They walked along the main shopping street, glancing in shop windows. When they saw a display of nursery furniture or layette necessities, they made a mental note to return later when they had decided what to do with the room. It was turning towards dusk when Clark suggested taking a short cut through the park on the way home. Lois leaned her head against Clark's shoulder as they made their way under the brightening street lamps. Suddenly she felt his fingers tighten on her arm to stop her and looked up. They were standing outside a dimly lit restaurant with small hedges lining the railings.
She smiled. "Have we booked yet for this year's anniversary?"
Clark shook his head. "Why do you think we're walking back this way? I can't believe we actually got a table when we came here originally."
"That cancellation must have been fate." Clark opened the door for Lois to go through and she waited by the piano until Clark had finished booking their table. Lois went back outside, expecting Clark to be right behind her but he had turned back to speak to the maitre d'. She turned to see the door closing in his face.
Her hands flew to cover her mouth. "Sorry."
He came over to her. "I thought I told you not to let that happen again," he said softly.
Lois smiled as she remembered when he'd first told her that on the night after their first date. She looked up at him, hoping he'd remember his next actions. As his hand cupped around her face to draw her lips to his, she leaned into his kiss.
As they drew apart, she turned to pull his arm across his shoulder, only to find it already there. Leaning back into him, they crossed the road to the park. It was almost fully dark now and the path through the trees was dimly lit by a few street lamps. They saw the fountain in the distance and squeezed each other closer, remembering the part it had played in their lives. Whenever they walked through the park, they tended to pause there and enjoy the memories it evoked.
As they approached, they could see that there was another young couple at the fountain, the man kneeling at the feet of the woman. Lois and Clark smiled tenderly at each other as they passed. "I hope they end up as happy as we are," said Clark. He bent to kiss her, only to feel a rain drop against his cheek.
"Well, they're certainly starting off the same way." Lois laughed as the rain began to fall heavily. "Let's get home and warm up. Besides, I'm starving!"
Clark, seeing that the other couple were engrossed in each other, pulled Lois into the bushes. Quickly, he spun into Superman and bent to take Lois in his arms. "You know, I don't think I ever get tired of seeing you do that," she said. "I knew you were Superman before you first did it in front of me but I don't think I really took it in until then. I was speechless!"
Clark laughed and scooped her into his arms. "And there's something you don't see every day. Come on … let's get out of the rain."
Putting the empty pizza plate onto the table, Lois sank back into Clark's arms.
"Ice cream?" he offered. "We do have double chocolate fudge or are you still on your strange strawberry cheesecake flavour craving?"
Lois scrunched her nose up as she thought. "Both?" she suggested.
Clark grimaced. "Sure but would you mind if I just had one flavour at a time?"
"No, that means there's more of the other one for me," she replied, giggling. "D'ya want to watch a movie with it?"
Clark stood up and picked up the empty plates. "Sure, you pick one out and I'll clear up. I suppose you'll want popcorn for later?"
"You need to ask? Thanks for clearing up. You know how much I hate it." She heard the kitchen doors close and got up to look over their video collection. As she heard the water running in the basin, she thought back to when they first married and Clark had gallantly tried to teach her to cook and clear up afterwards. She had to confess that it wasn't all bad and they did seem to have several important conversations as a result of innocent remarks in the kitchen. Sitting back on her knees, Lois remembered one evening in particular back in Clark's old apartment.
[The Past — A Little After Soul Mates]
"Wash or dry?" Clark asked holding the wet dish rag in one hand and the drying towel in the other.
"I hate to dry dishes." Lois hoped he would take the hint. With his super speed, he could have the dishes washed, dried and put away before she could get the dishwater to just the right temperature.
"Come on Lois, this can be fun. Besides, I thought you hated washing dishes?"
"So, I lied. I hate drying dishes."
"Ok, in that case. I'll dry, you wash," Clark told her with a broad grin.
"Darn, caught again in a little white lie." Lois began drawing the water which was warming a lot slower than the water in her kitchen.
"There's a secret to getting the water nice and hot," Clark suggested as he leaned over the sink and used his heat vision to warm the pooling water.
"And just how long have you been using this secret technique?"
"Long enough to get the temperature almost perfect."
"Yeah right. Like I never heard that one before." Gingerly she dipped her hand into the soapy water. "It is perfect. For some reason I thought it would be too warm."
"I used to do that for Mom, so I got plenty of practice. Besides, I wouldn't lie to you about the water temperature," Clark admitted. "It's a perfect one hundred and ten degrees."
"You've never lied to me except about Superman," Lois commented as she placed the first of the dirty dishes into the soapy water. "I don't know why I didn't trust you about the temperature."
"I did once," Clark responded.
"I lied once, well actually more than once, but like you said, most of the lies were to protect my secret identity or an excuse to leave when Superman was needed."
"And some of those excuses were pretty poor. Cheese of the month club? Give me a break. That has to be tops on your dumb excuse list," Lois chided, with a grin. "Wait a minute, you said *most* of your lies were because of Superman. When did you tell a lie that wasn't because of Superman?"
"It was the day Mr. Stern announced that The Planet would be back in business and brought the Planet Globe back on a truck."
Lois' curiosity was piqued. She had never thought her husband had lied to her. Sure she told an occasional white lie and had even caught herself telling Perry that she lied to Clark all the time. But that was before they were married. Still, she suspected Clark could see right through them, as he had with the dish washing debate. But for him to lie to her …
"Some of what I told you was true. I would have done anything to keep you from marrying Lex. But the part about not having feelings for you … I had my fingers crossed." Clark paused, remembering the awkward situation. "I didn't want my feelings for you to interfere with our working relationship. So I told you a little white lie."
"You should have let me speak first that day like I wanted to," Lois told him remembering back to the same day at The Planet building. "We might not have had to wait so long for our almost first date. I had just discovered that despite what I had told you, I did have feelings for you."
"You would have married Lex if it hadn't been for Perry and Inspector Henderson breaking up the marriage by barging in on the ceremony," Clark stated confidently.
"You weren't with them," Lois realised out of the blue. Her face reflected her discovery. "I thought you were there. Maybe if you had been with Perry you would have realised exactly what happened."
"Lex had Superman in a kryptonite cage in the basement."
"Kryptonite! But I saw you … was with you … when he jumped." The illuminating memories flooded back. "And you tried … and you couldn't. No one understood why Superman didn't show up to save Lex. His death and Superman's inability to help him were solely of his own doing."
"Then right after that, we had a rough time with all the subliminal 'Hate Superman' stuff that Arianna Carlin … " he searched for the right word.
"Spewed, Clark," Lois supplied. "The woman definitely spewed."
Clark grinned. "But, I had you back as my partner and friend. And with the marriage stopped by the police and Lex dead, or so we thought then, I still had time to patiently work on 'us'."
"The police didn't stop the wedding, Clark, I did. That's what you might have realised if you had been with Perry and the police."
Clark gazed uncertainly at his wife. "What do you mean? Perry told me that they got there just in time to stop the wedding."
"It's a bit complicated, Clark. It all began with my having second thoughts in the dressing room. Mom was there, helping me put the finishing touches on my bridal gown and veil. I was crying and Mom was giving me moral support and an occasional Kleenex. Standing in front of the mirror, I tried out my new name. Brides do that, you know … Lois Luthor … Lois Lane-Luthor … Lois Luthor-Lane. When Lois Lane-Kent popped out, I cried even harder. Mom must have realised even before I did, that my confusion was more than just pre-wedding jitters. She told me that it wasn't too late to change my mind. If I didn't want to marry Lex, I didn't have to."
Lois placed a few more dirty dishes into the water. Clark had stopped drying, but resumed the task as Lois continued her story. "I think that was when some of that Lane 'stubborn gene' started working overtime. Lex was expecting me to marry him. I did tell him I would, and what kind of a person would go back on their word to one of the richest and most powerful men in the world. The only other man I thought I cared about had turned me down flat."
"Superman," Clark interjected.
"I didn't realise until much later — after I was in on the secret — how much I must have hurt you," Lois soothed. "First, I tell Clark I have no feelings for him, then I fawn over Superman and tell him I would love him even if he had no superpowers. That must have hurt you terribly."
"It did hurt, Lois. But that was a long time ago." He bent to kiss her.
"So having lost The Planet, being disconnected from all my friends there, and believing that Superman didn't share my feelings, I felt alone and was determined to go through with the wedding. As the chords of the bridal procession began, I started to walk down the aisle, trying so hard to look lovely for the man I was going to marry. Lex was handsome in his tuxedo, smiling at me from beside the altar. As I looked down the aisle in front of me, the flashbacks began."
"Yes, the first one was of me telling you 'Don't fall for me, Farm Boy. I don't have time for it'. It was an odd thing to have pop into my memory." Lois reached for more dishes and furiously scrubbed at them, trying to avoid any eye contact with Clark. "Then I remembered the look on your face when I first tried to seduce you while under the influence of that Pheromone perfume at the office."
"That must have been an interesting memory," Clark stated, remembering his shock at her actions. Putting his dried dishes away in the cupboard, he nodded to her, silently urging her to continue.
"But I think what really made me change my mind was the last flashback. It was our kiss on the night you planned to leave Metropolis during the heat wave that was blamed on Superman. As I saw that goodbye kiss in my mind, the tenderness and the sadness in your eyes, a feeling rushed over my whole body. I can't really explain the feeling, but at that moment I knew what I was about to do was wrong. It was also at that point, I realised, deep down inside, I had feelings for you. As I reached the Archbishop and Lex, I knew I couldn't marry a man I didn't know or truly love. What bothers me most about it though, is that I didn't realise how strong my feelings were until it was almost too late."
"I remember that kiss too. It was the one bright moment of what could have been the darkest day of my life. I thought I'd never see you again."
"Well you're stuck with me for life now, buster," Lois teased. "I said 'I do' to you. I could only say 'I can't' to Lex right before Perry and the troops arrived to arrest him."
"Are you trying to tell me that you called off your wedding to Lex because of me?" Clark was nearly paralysed waiting for confirmation of his thoughts.
Lois stared at the dishwater, uncertain how much to divulge in her answer. "Well, yes," she finally stammered, "in part. I knew I was having second thoughts about Lex and that you had proclaimed your feelings for me. After the flashbacks, I knew it was wrong to marry anyone at that time without being sure it was right." Except for the sounds of Lois washing the last plates, silence filled the kitchen. Slowly Clark returned to the task of drying the remaining dishes.
"Just out of curiosity, would you have told me all this if I hadn't told you my little 'white lie' in front of The Planet that day?"
"Maybe, maybe not," Lois hedged. "I was going to tell you I couldn't marry Lex and let you know that I had been wrong to discount your feelings for me. Who knows where it would have led."
"Probably the same place we are now, only sooner," Clark told her putting away the last of the dishes.
*Present — Sunday evening*
Lois made her choice and returned to the couch, still thinking about that long ago conversation. Clark returned with the ice-cream. "Clark, I was thinking about when I told you about Lex." He nodded. "You said that we'd probably be in the same place we are but we'd have done it all sooner. I was just thinking that if we'd started dating then, we probably wouldn't be sitting here now."
"We wouldn't?" Clark looked bemused. "Where would we be?"
"Upstairs putting our first born to bed. Perhaps wondering about a second child. Although perhaps the way we did it was the best way. I learned to trust you totally and perhaps we wouldn't have survived other problems, if I hadn't learned that."
"You might be right. But at least, we got here eventually." Clark handed her a bowl of melting ice-cream "Well, trust me now when I tell you that you are bound to have indigestion if you eat both those flavours together."
Lois dug into the darker ball of ice cream eagerly. "I'll risk it. Will you hit 'play' on the video? Seeing as how I'm feeling quite awake, I thought we might have another attempt at Lethal Weapon."
Clark lay with his head in Lois' lap enjoying the movie. He was glad it had been a quiet weekend in Metropolis. They didn't often get the chance to do the things that normal couples do. Lois was so relaxed that she was almost asleep when she felt it. A kind of fluttering down low within her. She gasped, tensing a little. Clark turned and looked up at her.
"Did you feel that?" she whispered.
He shook his head. "No, what happened?"
"I felt the baby move." She grinned. "Wow … that's amazing!"
"Did it kick?" Clark asked, sliding his hand under her sweater to rest on her softly rounded belly. "Can you still feel it?"
"Yes but it's nothing as definite as a kick. Feels more like an elastic band twanging around inside. Perhaps like butterflies when you're nervous but not quite. I didn't think I'd be able to feel anything for a while yet. Perhaps it's a sugar kick from all the ice-cream."
Clark bent his head to her stomach and kissed her gently. "So we'll have another ice-cream addict in the family."
Lois put her hand over Clark's, holding it over her stomach. "Still nothing?" she asked. At his shake of the head, she sighed, "I wish you could feel it too. It feels even more real now."
Clark took his hand away and sat up. "I will feel it … in a few more weeks. I've often lain in bed and been lulled to sleep by your heartbeat. For the last week or so, I've been able to listen to the baby's too. I know we heard it together at your check up but I can hear it a lot easier than you can. I'm glad that you have something that you can share with the baby now too."
The movie went unwatched as they sat together savouring the moment. Lois reached for the remote and turned off the movie.
After a while, the baby seemed to settle and Lois stood, pulling Clark's hand with her as she headed for the staircase "Come on, Clark. Bed time. I have a small surprise for you."
Looking at his wife with an evil grin, he complied, following her up the stairs. Seeing his expression, she felt the need to correct him. "Not *that* kind of a surprise, lunkhead."
After a feeble attempt at a pout by Clark, the pair arrived in their bedroom giggling. Clark headed to the bathroom and Lois took the opportunity to dig out the surprise item she'd found earlier that day. Donning the item quickly, she entered the bathroom behind Clark and waited for him to see her in the mirror.
"So, what do you think?" She asked, now wearing her Superman pyjamas that Clark had once seen her in so long ago.
"Wow, I didn't know you still had those. They still suit you. Not sure if they reveal as much as that chicken outfit I saw you in about the same time though." Having successfully baited her, Clark waited for the impending slap on the chest. Catching her hand as she connected gently with him, they leaned into each other and smiled, content.
"Sorry. I like them on you. Just as long as you don't go out and get me a matching pair! On duty is more than enough time to wear that 'S'".
"That I can understand." Lois nodded as Clark held her in a gentle embrace.
Once released, both moved to finish their night routines. Naturally, Clark was done first. Aside from his head start, he loved to just watch Lois. Leaning against the wall, watching her wash her face, he was reminded of the first time he watched her do this.
"Remember the first time we shared a bathroom, and what a botched job of it we did?"
Lois waited until she had washed the soap out of her eyes before replying. "As I recall, I didn't appreciate Perry throwing me into the Honeymoon Suite of the Lexor Hotel with you."
Clark smirked. "But I did."
"Only so you could tease me the whole time."
"Not so, my dear." Clark grinned. "I enjoyed spending time with you then as much as I do now. I just hadn't made you see that at that stage. You were too busy chasing your Superman."
"Don't remind me. But I cornered that Superman in the end."
"Oh and what a nice corner it is too." Clark hammed a leering look at his wife.
Lois rolled her eyes and started with her hairbrush. Clark took it from her hands and began to comb through her silky hair. "Besides, this forced intimacy thing has turned out to be fun."
"It was scary at first." Clark recalled their exchange from the Honeymoon Suite of the Lexor.
"Compromises," Lois continued.
"You're never alone," they finished together.
"Just the way I like it to be," Clark concluded.
"It's just like we're doing now. We were right."
"Not artificial, temporary, or make believe."
"Well, I'm glad you persisted. Helped me to see the real you."
"As you said Lois, 'our job is to rip away the veil of secrecy and expose the naked truth'."
"Just as well we are good at our jobs. Imagine how long it would have taken me to see the real Clark if I wasn't an investigative reporter!"
Both were silent while Lois brushed her teeth. It gave Clark a couple of minutes to consider how he had felt about Lois when they were on assignment in the Lexor Hotel's Honeymoon Suite. He recalled how their conversation on intimacy had started then. It was one of the few times Lois had opened up a little to him about her personal life early in their partnership.
"Have you ever lived with a person? I mean, full time." He didn't really mean to say the line out loud, but Lois had a reply he was more than happy with.
"I have now, and I have decided I like it. I like it a lot! I was thinking about the first time we shared a bathroom after I knew you were Superman."
"Yes, your look of astonishment when I shaved was interesting."
"Well, I thought you might have had a diamond edged razor. I didn't expect you to pull out a mirror and start reflecting your heat vision around the room."
"Stops you from stealing my razor too! Although I'm perfectly willing to look at your legs any time you want me to."
Lois grinned, "Holding the mirror while you cut the back of your hair was an interesting one too. Come on, I'm done here. Bed time." Clark raised his eyebrows at her and followed.
"Still living in hope, huh?"
"Always," Clark pretended to be disappointed. He picked Lois up and placed her in gently in their bed. "At least I don't have to flip for the bed." Crawling in next to her, they snuggled against each other, getting comfortable.
"Nope, I finally took you up on the offer to share the bed."
"I like it much better this way. Much more comfortable than that couch."
"Mr Heavy Sleeper with the feathers all over the sitting area." Sharing a brief laugh at the incident, they settled back into silence, thinking about some of Clark's many bad excuses that he used before Lois found out his secret.
"Have I ever thanked you for making my dreams come true?"
"And mine, Clark. I never thought I'd find a true soul mate."
"It's not just that, Lois. Mostly, all I ever wanted was to be normal — to fit in, do the normal things. Get married. Maybe have children, and be just me. Not hide behind a facade. After Superman was created, I found a way I could use the powers that I had and still keep my life, but I thought I was effectively cutting off any chance I had to have the other things I'd dreamed of."
Clark sighed. "I not only had to find someone I could trust with my secret, but someone who would accept both sides of me: the Kansas farm boy realising one dream, working for the Daily Planet; the alien who can fly and wants to use his powers to help others. I'm amazed that you love not only the reporter and guy who was raised in Kansas, but the guy who continually runs out in the middle of a conversation. The guy who you have to make up excuses for whenever I have to leave my paying job to do a self appointed one."
Turning to look at him, Lois was stunned by the emotion in his eyes. "We don't really have much choice who we fall in love with Clark. I just love you. We belong together. I don't have any choice but to love you as you are. Besides, I like you the way you are and you don't know how special it makes me feel that I'm one of the few people who have seen the real you."
Lois sat up, trying to stretch out her neck. "At first I had trouble because I was too dazzled by the flying version. Eventually, I chose Clark over the super powers and then found out I could have both, or actually something better than both."
Clark pushed himself up on the pillows and began to gently massage Lois' shoulders as she continued. "I'd never really thought about getting married or having children. I thought that I'd seen it all with my parents' marriage and I knew that I wouldn't miss it if I didn't have it but you showed me how wonderful it can be. I never even realised it, but my life was so lonely around that time. Thanks, Clark."
"My pleasure." Plumping up the cushion behind her, he drew Lois back into his side.
She mused, "Lucy knew what she was talking about when she said she wanted me to meet a super guy. I guess she had a much better idea of what I was missing out on than I did. I guess, after I got burned by Claude, I decided it wasn't worth picking up the pieces of failed relationships. I had to wait for you to come along and show me what I was cutting myself off from."
"Took me a while to get through your armour but what we have now was worth it. And worth working to keep. I have so much now that I didn't then. I don't want to go back to the emptiness."
"With a baby, it is only going to get busier and fuller."
"You are definitely right there."
"We really have come a long way since that game of Scrabble, my sweet chumpy." He smiled at her. "From unwilling to share a room, unable to share a bathroom, and scared of sharing our feelings, to sharing everything. Giving of ourselves to create this baby together. The ultimate act of sharing if ever there was one."
"We have come a long way. And just so you know, it's who you are sharing with that is the most important, not the sharing itself."
"Lois, I know we've talked about having kids and how things are going to change for both of us but they're going to change even more for you."
She lifted her head from his chest to reassure him. "Clark, in the past, I may not have thought I wanted to get married, have children, and basically be domesticated. Look at the role model I had growing up. I never wanted to be stuck in the place my parents seemed to be in for most of my childhood. But us together has changed all that. I want to do this. I know that things are going to have to change. I know, and I think you know too, that I am going to take some of them badly, like having to hang back on some stories. But some of them will happen without either of us thinking twice, like developing an sense of where our child is, what he or she is doing. But I do want to be here, doing this with you. I do want these changes as much as you do."
"I still want to thank you again Lois, for everything. You, being here, our home, our child, everything."
"Thank you too. I think most of those things you just mentioned take two."
"Oh, well all the things that take two were my pleasure," Clark grinned evilly, prompting Lois to give him a backhanded swat on the arm.
"While I would love to sit here in your arms and reminisce all night, *we*," indicating her slightly enlarged middle, "are getting tired." To prove her point, Lois yawned then settled deeper into the bed, placing her head on his chest. Clark placed his arm protectively over her as the conversation flagged.
"Good night, Lois." No response. He could see her grinning into the dark room. "Good night, Lois." Still nothing. He gave up and settled further under the blankets.
Still smiling in the dark, she replied, "Good night, Clark" only after he was lying next to her, and accompanied it with an extended kiss. Her last thoughts before falling asleep were that it was too bad she was so tired, cause that kiss had really shown promise.
Lois was awakened by two soft lips caressing her cheek. "Good morning," said a familiar deep voice.
Lois opened an eye and mumbled "Good morning" in reply before a waft of coffee drifted across from the bedside table and she became more awake. Pushing herself up from her pillows, she was greeted by the sight of Clark standing by the bed with a tray. He laid it on her lap and began to spread the warm croissants with butter.
Lois smiled, picking up a piece of the flaky pastry. "I am so glad that I married you."
"So you don't feel sorry for my wife any more?" Clark suggested. Lois frowned. Seeing her confusion, he continued. "You once said that you felt sorry for my wife because.."
Realisation swept across Lois' face. "Because you were Mr Right, Mr Always Right. No, although I suspect that if I wasn't her, I'd be jealous as hell. You were right again though. You said that your wife would know that you loved her as she was and wouldn't need to change herself. I do know that I'm loved and you even seem to love what others criticised as faults. I'd forgotten all about that. Do you remember everything I tell you?"
"Most things. When you said that all those years ago, giving me the scenario of changing hair colour, I was visualising you. Your last comment was a little ironic when I'd been imagining you as my wife."
"Well, I might have gone short and long again, but I have no intention of dying my hair red."
Clark popped the last of his croissant in his mouth and headed to the bathroom to finish getting ready for work.
The wind had blown away the last of the storm clouds and Lois and Clark had decided to walk into work. Turning the corner, they faced the Planet and Lois stopped. Catching Clark by the lapels, she pointed at the window above the globe.
"I'll never forget the first time I saw this place from a new perspective. When you flew me back from the EPRAD launch pad, I could hardly believe I was flying. I was totally speechless."
Clark chuckled as they crossed the road. "I remember that flight very well."
"Do you? I can't remember anything about the flight here except that when you flew towards the window, I realised that the top of the globe couldn't have been painted in years. Then I remember the stunned faces of everyone in the Planet. They were as astonished as I was. Every time I see that picture that Jimmy took, I remember the amazement that I felt flying with you. It's hardly surprising that I fell for you instantly."
"I was so conscious of you in my arms. I didn't know where to put my hands and I was terrified that you would suddenly look up and say, 'Kent, what do you think you're doing?'. I was so caught up in the feel of you in my arms that I landed you nearly by your desk. I thought that had given it away for sure."
As they went through the revolving doors, Lois reassured him. "I don't think you should have worried about that. I was totally swept off my feet. Cat asked me who you were. It's luck she didn't ask who I was because I don't think I could have answered."
When the elevator arrived, they were the only people waiting to go up. Lois pulled her top tight against her stomach on the way up. "Well, how noticeable is it?"
Clark shook his head. "Not particularly unless you intend going around pulling your top so tightly all day."
"I'm just nervous about what people will say. I'm not exactly known for my maternal nurturing instincts."
Clark pulled her to him and kissed her, just as the doors opened on the newsroom.
Perry was walking by. "Judas Priest! You two must think that elevator's a kissing booth. Jimmy's been bending my ear about this drug store article. Soon as you're ready, in my office with what you have on it." He disappeared into his office with a grin to them.
Lois put her briefcase on her desk and turned to find Clark standing beside her. "Ready?" he asked.
She nodded. Taking his hand, she led him towards Perry's office where she knocked on the open door.
"Lois, Clark. Thought I asked you to bring it what you were working on with that drugstore investigation? I don't see anything. When am I going to see some results?" Perry looked up from where he was sitting at his desk with Jimmy trying to point things out in a file.
Lois looked at Clark who nodded, urging her on. "Uh Chief, you won't see the … uh … results of that for another five months or so."
Perry looked suspiciously at her, realisation dawning on him as she continued, "We weren't investigating the drug store for professional reasons. I'm pregnant."
Perry jumped up and almost ran around his desk. "Lois, honey. I'm so happy for you." He hugged her tightly. Holding Lois at arms length, he looked at her carefully. "You OK with this? You look as beautiful as Priscilla did when she was having Lisa Marie. The kid'll be born with a notepad in hand!" Stepping over to Clark, he shook his hand, "Clark! Congratulations!"
Jimmy slapped Clark on the back "Smooth CK! You're going to be a dad! Congratulations, Lois! I guess you guys weren't clearing out a new study after all. And the clues were there. I'll have to work harder at this investigation stuff." He turned to leave the office. "Wow, Lois a mom?"
Lois smiled. "But I don't want to be treated any differently. I'm pregnant, not made of glass. I won't break. So don't even think about putting me on dog shows and I'll think twice before I go chasing after megalomaniacs on my own. Deal?"
Perry smiled. "Sure. The first time I see you trying your karate on a madman, I'll look up the details of the next flower show. Now aren't you two supposed to be working on that City Hall corruption story?"
Lois and Clark were leaving the office when Perry cleared his throat. "And Lois … take good care of little Elvis or Elvira now!" Lois turned back, mouth open to begin a diatribe, hand raised. Clark winced until Perry continued. "Just funnin' with ya, kids!"
Lois smiled at Perry. Heading back to their desks, she muttered to Clark, "He'd better be!"
This was planned as episode 13 of season 5 and therefore the 100th episode. In the tradition of these landmark shows, we tried to celebrate the best of Lois and Clark. We've tried to cover most the scenes most FoLCs would have liked to see in a flashback episode. Sorry if your favourite isn't in there but there were a lot to choose from.
Incidentally, the reason for the 'almost first date' being used as the anniversary in this episode is because 'The Phoenix' was episode 13 of season 2, originally airing on 12 February 1995. The title is also a nod to the fact that 'I Now Pronounce You' was originally titled "It Happened All Night."
The 'original' dialogue by Bryce Zabel is the scene where Lois describes her asking Clark to dance. It is in the Green, Green, Glow of Home script that I have and we couldn't resist putting it in.
Characters in this episode are copyrighted by DC Comics, December 3rd Production and Warner Brothers. No infringement is intended in any part by the author or the Season 5 group, however, the ideas expressed within this episode are copyrighted (c) 1998 to the authors.