Submitted January 1999
Summary: Set directly after the episode "Contact," Clark sees what life would be like if he'd never been born.
This takes place directly after the third season episode 'Contact.' Again, thanks to Karen Ward who convinced me this story wasn't 'garbage.'
Superman was flying home slowly, unable to keep his mind on anything but the mess his life had become. He wished he'd never been born. He wished Jor-El and Lara had never sent him away from Krypton so he could have been destroyed with the doomed planet. He wished he'd never met Lois so he wouldn't have ruined her life and hurt her so many times. He was exhausted. Bone weary and mentally spent. He flew in the window of his apartment and went directly to his bed. He flung himself down not bothering to take the suit off, just staring at the ceiling. I wish I didn't exist, he thought. If no one had ever met me, they'd be better off.
Two angels hovered over the apartment on Clinton.
"Mike," the more important looking of the two said, "if you show him what life would have been like without him, you'll get your wings back, but if not, you'll be without them forever. Do you understand your mission?"
"Yes, sir. Show him what things would be like if he'd never existed."
Clark fell asleep not long after his head hit the pillow. His dreams were filled with images of Lois crying, her heart breaking when he'd broken up with her. He heard someone calling his name and slowly opened his eyes. A man was standing beside his bed in long, white, flowing robes.
"Who are you?"
"I'm Mike. Your tour guide, so to speak."
"Tour guide? What are you talking about?"
"Hang on just a second and I'll show you."
Suddenly, Clark found himself standing in a white room.
"Where are we?" Clark asked.
"I believe it's called Krypton."
"That's impossible! Krypton was destroyed."
"Just watch," the man said and pointed at the two people in the middle of the room.
The woman was crying, her shoulders heaving with the effort. Their faces were turned away but somehow the whole scene seemed vaguely familiar to Clark.
"Lara," the man said, "please, don't cry, you're breaking my heart."
"I'm sorry Jor-El, time has run out for our planet and we've never had a baby."
Clark looked at Mike. "Those are my birth parents. Why are they speaking English? What do they mean they've never had a baby?" "They are actually speaking Kryptonian, I've made it so that you can understand what they're saying, you need to hear this. Keep watching."
Clark looked back at his parents.
"All I ever really wanted was your baby, Jor-El. I wanted a living-breathing symbol of our love."
"As did I, Lara, as did I."
Mike clapped his hands once and they were in a lush green pasture. In the distance they could see someone standing in front of a tombstone and they started walking toward him. Clark tried to focus his vision on the man to see him more clearly but seemed to be having some sort of problem with his powers.
"Where are we?" Clark asked the man.
"Martha," he heard the man say and realized it was his father, "I never blamed you. I know you thought I did and I know you blamed yourself, but it was no one's fault, we just weren't meant to have a baby."
Clark glanced at the tombstone and saw his mother's name engraved on it. Then, he looked at Mike. "What happened? What does he mean they never had a baby? When did my Mom die? Why can't I use my powers?"
"Well, Clark, I've been sent here to show you what life would have been like if you'd never existed. Lara & Jor-El never had a baby and Krypton eventually exploded. They never got their fondest wish and all of Krypton laughed at them. See, your real parents loved each other very much and the Kryptonian people looked down on them. Lara and Jor-El tried everything to have a baby because they wanted one so badly. The spent all they had trying to conceive a child. The Kryptonian council stripped Jor-El of his title and by the time Krypton was destroyed, they had nothing.
Martha and Jonathan Kent were also unable to have a baby and they never found a precious bundle in a spaceship. They tried very hard to have a baby of their own and even looked into adopting one, but nothing worked out for them. Martha took every kind of treatment imaginable. It took a major toll on her health. She became increasingly depressed and consumed with self- hatered. All the pain and suffering eventually caught up with her and she just lost the will to live. Jonathan won't make it much longer either, another six months and he'll die too. He's unable to make it without Martha. And, as to the question about your powers, you don't have any. You were never born, thus you were never exposed to any sun, much less the yellow one that makes you strong."
"I've seen enough," Clark said, fighting back tears, "I want to go home."
"Oh, no, Clark, you've still got a lot to see."
Mike clapped his hands again and they were standing in the middle of a busy street, cars whizzing all around them.
"Where are we now?" Clark yelled over the noise.
"We're in Metropolis."
Clark looked all around and couldn't believe his eyes. Every building that he saw had a different name. To his left was LexTel Communications, Luthor News Network, Luthor Printing, LexBank and Cafe Lex. To his right was The Luthor Public Library, Groceries a la Lex and The Luthor Gift Emporium. He walked further down the street, Mike tagging along. He was searching for the Planet, but when he found it he could hardly believe his eyes. Where the famous globe once stood so proud, now there was a fifty foot bronze statue of a couple in a hot embrace. At the bottom in large letters were the words, "SCANDAL : A division of LexCom."
"Would you like to go inside?"
Clark could only nod, struck speechless by the unimaginable image before him.
They stood in the lobby and Mike started explaining what had happened in Metropolis.
"A few years back, Lex Luthor purchased the last piece of property he needed. He now owns everything in Metropolis, there's not one inch that's not his. He's also governor and treats Metropolis like a separate country, one in which he is absolute ruler. He's turned the state into a communist country."
Clark saw movement out of the corner of his eye and turned toward it. He saw Jimmy washing the windows. He walked over to him and looked at the name tag attached to his shirt, "Jim Olsen — Janitor."
"What happened to Jimmy?"
"After Lex acquired the Planet, he changed the whole scope of the paper. It's devoted to the sexual activities of … well … just about anyone he can get explicit pictures of. About two weeks after he bought the paper, Jimmy and he had a terrible argument. Lex assigned Jimmy to take pictures of child exploitation. Jimmy was revolted and refused to do it. Lex busted him back to janitor and he's been cleaning windows, toilets and the such since then."
Another clap of Mike's hands found them on a loading dock. They saw an elderly gentleman throwing stacks of papers into the back of a delivery van.
"That's Perry!?" Clark exclaimed.
"Yes, it is."
"When Lex turned the paper into the fiasco it is now, Perry was crushed. The first time he saw the word SCANDAL screaming across the front of the Planet, *his* Planet, it was too much for him to take. He had a heart attack. The next day, Lex replaced him. When Perry recovered, he realized he couldn't stay away from the Planet building. He applied for a job again and this is all that Lex would give him."
"That's terrible. But, you expect me to believe that all of this would have happened if I hadn't been born? I'm sure you must have something wrong. And, even if all of this is true, which I don't believe for a second, why are you showing me? And more to the point, who are you?"
"My name is Mike and about 30 years ago I got my wings, I'm an angel, you see."
"An … angel?" Clark asked, disbelief dripping from his words.
"Why's that so hard to believe, Clark? You're an alien."
"You've got a point there."
"Anyway, I got my wings by making sure a young Kansas couple found the baby of their dreams."
"You mean … you … my parents?"
"I had a hand in it, yes. Anyway, about a year ago there was a big mix up and my wings were revoked. So, this is my attempt to regain them and to help you see that your life is not a mistake. You've touched many lives and made them all better."
"So, why haven't you shown me Lois? She is alive, isn't she?"
"Yes, she's alive."
"You don't sound so sure about that."
"Let's take a walk," Mike said, and Clark again found himself on the busy Metropolis streets.
The farther away from the center of town they got, the increasingly changed the atmosphere became. Everywhere they looked were saloons, bars, bordellos and houses of ill repute.
"What's went wrong with this place?" Clark asked, disgust evident in every word.
"Without Superman, crime has run rampant, thanks to Lex Luthor and his conniving ways, Metropolis has become the crime headquarters of the United States. Oh, here we are, this is where we are going."
They were standing in front of possibly the largest building Clark had ever seen. It said simply, "The Luthor Building," no address was listed and Clark figured none was needed. Luthor had outdone himself. The building was sophisticated but bordered on ostentatious.
Clark glanced at his guide, searching for answers. "Why are we here? I thought we were going to find Lois."
"Well, Clark, Lois lives here."
"What do you mean Lois lives here? This looks like Luthor's personal building."
"It is Lex's personal building. His and his wife's personal building."
"His wife … Lois is *married* to Luthor?"
"Yes, for almost a year and a half now."
"Do you remember in 1994 when Lois and Lex were getting married?"
"Yes, of course I remember. It was one of the worst times in my life. But, even though we found all that incriminating evidence on Luthor, Lois had already decided on her own not to marry him."
"Did she ever tell you the reason she decided not to marry Lex?"
"As she was walking down the aisle, she had flashes of times she'd spent with you. Prior to that, she'd been standing in front of a mirror testing out her soon to be last name and somehow the words, 'Lois Lane Kent' came out and she realized that she'd begun to have feelings for you, feelings that were much stronger than friendship. So, you see, if you'd never been born, Lois would have had no reason not to marry Lex."
"Is she happy with him?"
"I think you ought to see that for yourself."
Mike clapped his hands in the by now familiar way and they were on the top floor.
"Through these doors are the Luthors' private rooms. Are you really sure you want to see this, son?"
"Yes, I'm sure."
They walked through the doors, literally, and into a room that radiated Lex. There wasn't a sign that Lois had ever even been in the room, much less lived there.
They saw Lex sitting at a big mahogany desk, poring over some paperwork, probably engulfed in his next big criminal scheme. He looked more evil to Clark than he'd ever seen him before, as if the evil had consumed his entire being. Clark glanced around, looking for some pictures of Lois, some sign that she was really Luthor's wife. Lex didn't even have on a wedding ring.
"Where's Lois?" Clark said, concern in his voice.
"You see that metal door over there?"
Clark nodded, looking in that direction.
"I want you to go into that room, by yourself. I'm going to stay out here. I think you need to see this alone. When you've seen enough, come back out here and I'll explain things to you."
Clark walked over slowly, not exactly sure of what he might find on the other side. What he saw when he entered the room nearly broke his heart.
He saw Lois, or more to the point, a shell of what used to be Lois. He glanced back at the door and saw there was no handle on this side, no apparent way for anyone to get out of the room. The walls were bare, save for a calender dating back to late 1994 with dates marked off in red, giving the indication that she'd been in this room since then. The room was dull gray and the two windows were boarded over so there was no outside light filtering in. The only pieces of furniture in the room were a twin-sized bed and a dim lamp. Lois was sitting on the bed, staring blankly at the wall, silent tears streaming down her face. Both her eyes were black and there were choke marks around her throat. She was thin, her skin translucent, and she was malnourished. But to Clark, she was still the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen. He just stood there, unable to move, tears falling from his eyes.
There was a knock on the door.
"Lois, would you like something to eat?" Lex said as he entered the room.
"No." Her voice was hoarse and Clark could tell she didn't use it very often.
The door opened farther and the brighter light from the other room made Lois shield her eyes.
"Lois, when are you going to cease this useless stubbornness and eat something?"
"When you let me out of this room and let me go back to work."
"Well, my dear, I'm never going to do that." He said, walking over to stand in front of her.
"Then maybe I'll starve to death. I wish I'd never married you!" She spat the words out. Lex's face turned bright red with rage and he raised his fist and hit her square in the nose. The force of the blow knocked her off the bed and into the middle of the floor.
Clark ran forward, kneeling down beside her, wanting so much to ease her suffering. Lex had left the room after his vicious display. Lois was sobbing uncontrollably and Clark was crying just as hard. It killed him to see her like this.
"Mike!" Clark yelled.
Mike appeared before him.
"I couldn't leave her, Mike."
"I understand, son. Would you like to know a little about Lois' life?"
"The day that Lois married Lex, he fired her from the Planet. She balked, of course and he threw her down a flight of stairs, breaking both of her arms. She realized the big mistake she'd made but there was nothing she could do about it. He didn't even let her go to the hospital, he brought a doctor to her. He's had her locked in this room ever since. He paid a few conjugal visits to her and about four months after they were married, they found out that Lois was pregnant. Lois hated Lex by this time, but she wanted the baby. Lex, on the other hand, did not. He beat her severely. That was the worst beating she's ever gotten from him. She lost the baby and it damaged her so much that she'll never be able to conceive again. That's pretty much what her life consists of. See, Clark, this is what Lois' life would have been like without you. She'd have never had anyone to care about her. Eventually, she'll stop caring whether she lives or dies and she'll take her own life to get away from Lex."
Clark buried his head in his hands.
"I never realized that I actually changed things by being alive. Can I have my life back, Mike?"
"Yes, Clark. I think you now appreciate what you have. I also feel certain that you'll try to change things between you and Lois."
Mike clapped his hands one final time and Clark was back in his bed, asleep.
Clark woke up with a start, and wondered at the dream he'd had. The images were still very vivid in his mind and he resolved to make things right with Lois.
Now was as good a time as any. He reached for the phone.