By Irene Dutch <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted September 1999
Summary: What if Lois discovered Clark's secret during the Nightfall Asteroid emergency? A charming relationship-centered story which explores the revelation under entirely different circumstances. This time Lois has an astonishing revelation for Clark.
Lois surreptitiously watched her partner as the elevator ascended. Poor Clark. He looked so lost and forlorn. It was hard not dealing with him as she normally would. She had to admit that she normally enjoyed their customary banter back and forth. He didn't take any lip from her, and it was a welcome change from her other colleagues — with the exception of Perry, of course. Clark had been downright good for her. She had to be honest and admit that she had gotten her own way around the newsroom for far too long. It was true; she had talent, drive and professionalism, but it wasn't enough for her. Not anymore. She enjoyed the friendly competition between her and Clark, and she enjoyed the easy camaraderie. He challenged her, and caused her to grow. He was her friend — her best friend. She liked that.
A couple of times, she thought she had sensed something more than friendship from him, but so far, it hadn't panned out. That was okay. The idea of being close to someone was terrifying to her. But at the same time, she trusted Clark, and she trusted him not to hurt her. It was very confusing.
Sometimes it sure seemed hard keeping things on an even keel with him. She hated to admit it to herself, but he was very, very attractive. Every once in a while, when they were working together, she would find herself dwelling on him, on how he looked in this outfit or that. It wasn't that Lois was shallow, that she only appreciated the physical, but when you added his good looks into the "total package" that was Clark Kent, the combination was pretty overwhelming. And there was a faint, intriguing air of mystery about him that was at odds with his Kansas "what you see, is what you get" style. It was at those times that she wistfully wondered if maybe something more than friendship might not turn out to be a good thing after all.
But right now, none of that was important to her. Her friend was hurt and he needed her help. Even as her worry and fear twisted her stomach into acid knots, her heart ached as she saw the lost little boy look on her partner's face. Much as she wanted to take him by the shoulders and shake some sense into him, she knew that wouldn't give her the results she needed. She needed her partner back, and she was just going to have to be patient until that happened. She smiled wryly to herself. In spite of her protestations otherwise to Inspector Henderson, she did know "patient" was something she didn't do well, but if that's what Clark needed, that's what Clark would get!
As she mused about Clark and about her relationship with him, worry about Superman and his whereabouts ran through the back of her mind. Was he hurt? Where was he? Was he in rough shape like Clark was, and had no one to help him? Why hadn't he contacted anyone? Was he already heading back into space to try again to destroy the asteroid? She almost felt as if she had lost both of her friends. One was nowhere to be found, and the other one, well, he was here, in body at least, even if his memories had gone AWOL.
The elevator doors slid open, and Lois led Clark to his desk. The whole situation felt completely unreal to her. It was like being in a really, really bad soap opera.
"This is your desk. Look familiar?" Lois asked, hopefully.
"I'm sorry. No," Clark replied, in a dejected tone of voice.
"You always come in and grab a donut from the coffee area. You usually like the cake things with the frosting. They're a little stale now. Are you hungry?" Lois could hear herself talking too fast, worried about her friend, but she wasn't able to make herself slow down.
"I can't remember anything. I'm not starving. I'm fine," Clark replied as he dubiously eyed the donut in Lois's hand.
Lois found Clark his spare pair of glasses. She didn't know how he had ended up with the pair he had on, but they didn't suit him as well as his regular pair.
"You keep a second pair," she said as she handed him his own glasses.
He reached up, removed the dirty glasses he was wearing, and then looked at her, puzzled and confused.
"Lois, I don't understand why I wear glasses. I can see perfectly fine without them."
"I don't know, Clark. Maybe you have astigmatism or someth…" Lois stopped in shock and stared at his face.
"What?" Clark was alarmed by the expression on her face. "What's wrong?"
Lois couldn't believe it. But the evidence was right in front of her. She thought fast and furiously. "Nothing's wrong, Clark," she managed to say calmly. "But I think you should put your glasses on."
He shrugged and complied with her wishes.
She couldn't believe it. What was she going to do? A wave of anger rose in her, hot, and fiery, but she forced it back down. Now was not the time to throw a tantrum. The world needed Superman, and by God, she was going to deliver Superman to the world if it was the last thing she did! And it might be the last thing she attempted, she reflected wryly. The asteroid was still coming, and if the nuclear missiles missed, well, … game over!
However, after the world was saved, that was a different story! Mr. Clark "Superman" Kent wasn't going to get off so lightly then!
In the meantime, she needed a plan. She needed a quiet place to think, and figure this out, and to figure out what to do with Clark. She couldn't do it here. Where could they go? What was she going to say to him? Hmm, well, there was really only one place they could go, wasn't there?
"Clark, I think we should head over to your apartment, and get you in some clean clothes. Then we have a lot of work to do."
His compliance irritated her. Look at him, the big dumb lunkhead. He just stood there looking back at her as if she was going to make everything all better! That was supposed to be his job!
Out of the corner of her eye, Lois could see Perry and Jimmy approaching. They had to get out of there now!
She hustled him back out of the building and into her jeep as fast as she could. She was silent as she drove. Her mind was too full of her new knowledge, and she was too uncomfortable with his loss of memory for her to have any idea what to say. She was aware of him studying her as she drove. She wondered what he was thinking. She wondered what she was thinking. She couldn't seem to get a handle on her own thoughts and feelings at the moment.
All sorts of random thoughts floated through her head. <I guess he didn't get amnesia from falling into a bunch of garbage cans in the dark! > <How the heck could he forget that he's Superman? > <Where does he keep the 'suits'? > <I guess the 'suit' really does come off! > <Martha and Jonathan are so normal. Are they from Krypton too? > < I guess if anything were going to give Superman amnesia, getting an asteroid dropped on his head would do it! > <Why didn't he tell me? > Lois clung to her last thought. Why hadn't he told her? They were friends. Clark knew how she felt about Superman. He had to know that she would never hurt him, the Greek God who had saved her so many times. For heaven's sake, it was no secret that she loved Superman; she had told Clark on any number of occasions. Wait! She had told Clark. She had told Clark about Superman. She had never told him about 'Clark'. She had gushed ad nauseam about how good looking Superman was, about how wonderful Superman was, about how much she loved Superman. When had she ever said those kinds of things about Clark? It was obvious thinking about this whole weird situation that Clark was not the disguise; Superman was. So, she had been expending a heck of a lot of energy chasing after, flirting with, and complimenting a guy who didn't really exist. How would that have made him feel? She blanched as she considered the implications of her last question. Maybe that was the reason she could knock him off-balance so effortlessly. She had noticed her effect on him before. He could be so smooth, and self-confident in difficult situations, and then get completely tongue-tied with her. She glanced at him surreptitiously. He was studying the city landscape, as if he had never seen anything like it before. Poor guy!
A wave of guilt swept through her at what she had done to him and she let go of her anger. She must have made him feel awful! And what had he done to her that was so bad? He had saved her life on any number of occasions in his one role, and been her friend, her best friend in the other. If she wasn't happy now, knowing that she had made a fool of herself over Superman, how must he feel? Or at least, how would he feel if he could remember the whole complicated, weird, and bizarre triangular relationship they shared?
She couldn't think of any time that he had intentionally set out to hurt her. Well, okay, there was that time when he sent her to the dump in search of a lead on Superman, but even at the time, she had known that her behaviour had been completely over the top and unprofessional. And he had hurt her when he horned in on her lead at the Metros Club and she had ended up being literally thrown out of the Club. But he had had his reasons. She hadn't agreed with him, and, after she had pointed out the error of his ways — on numerous occasions — over the course of a few weeks — or was it months, she couldn't remember — he had seen the light and had promised not to make the same mistake twice. That had been a situation that had struck to the heart of their working relationship, but at the same time, for some reason, it had never affected their friendship. That had never been an issue. Lois had always known that he cared for her, and respected her as a friend, and that he needed her in his life. But needed her as what? As a friend? As more than a friend? Now there was a scary concept.
No time to think about it. They were here.
"Does the building look familiar at all?"
He shrugged, and didn't say a word.
He remained silent as they entered the building. As they entered Clark's apartment, Lois was aware of the anticipation on his face. The expression flickered and died quickly as he looked around.
"Do you recognize anything? Anything at all?"
Lois watched him move around the room, examining mementos, and other personal objects dispassionately. He paused and picked up a small, framed picture. "These are my parents?" he asked diffidently, as he turned back to her for confirmation.
"Yes, they're really nice people. Perry tried to call them, but he couldn't get through on the phone lines. I guess with this thing coming, the Asteroid, the lines are overloaded with people calling each other."
He looked even more depressed at her words. "People calling their friends and family," he stated bluntly.
"Do you have anyone that you have to call?"
Lois smiled wryly. "I talked to my mom, my dad, and my sister earlier."
"Do I have anyone that I have to call?"
"What do you mean, Clark?"
He sat down on the couch and ran his fingers through his hair in agitation. "I mean, besides my parents, Lois. Do I have anyone special in my life?"
Lois sat down beside him. "No, Clark. You don't." <At least I don't think so … but I guess I really don't know for sure. >
He shook his head. "I find that really sad. Why wouldn't I be seeing anyone? Is there something … wrong with me? Am I not a nice guy, normally?"
Lois couldn't help it. She laughed out loud. "Clark, you are the nicest guy I've ever met. There is nothing wrong with you."
"And we are friends, right?" Clark asked her quizzically.
"Sure we're friends," Lois replied, forcing a warm tone into her voice.
"Are we …more than friends?"
<Ooh, I really don't want to go there, > Lois thought to herself. "More than…? I told you. We're partners. We work closely together."
"Close. Not close, close, but close."
Lois gazed deeply into his eyes, trying to show him how much she cared without having to say the words out loud.
Clark lost himself for a moment in her gaze, and then forced himself to break the connection between them.
"I bet you're a great reporter."
"See? Your memory's already starting to come back…" Lois kept her tone light, trying to lift his spirits.
He smiled wanly. Obviously her feeble joke hadn't helped that much.
Lois paused, lost in thought for a moment. Should she tell him that he was Superman? She didn't know. But he needed to remember. The world needed Superman, now, more than ever.
Prevaricating, unable to make a decision, Lois opted for the easy way out. "How about we make some coffee and then we can talk some more?" She jumped to her feet and extended her hand to him.
He smiled, took it, and stood up beside her. "Thanks, Lois. That's a good idea."
Lois led him to the kitchen, chattering nervously all the way. "It's a good thing we're friends, Clark, because I know where you keep everything. I'll get the kettle going and find the mugs, and you look for the cream and sugar. I'm going to want a healthy dollop of each in my coffee."
"Hey, I'm remembering something. You don't drink real coffee with real milk with real sugar."
Lois smiled grimly at him. "I do today."
Lois's beeper went off as the two of them were just about to sit back down on the couch with their coffee.
"Just a second, Clark. I just want to use your phone for a second."
She quickly dialed the Planet and spoke briefly. She came back to the couch looking puzzled.
"Listen, Clark, Lex Luthor wants to see me." Clark looked blank so she continued. "He's the most connected man in Metropolis. Could be something, but … its going to have to wait. You're more important to me right now."
Clark looked up quickly, shocked but pleased. "I am?"
"Of course you are, Clark. You're my best friend." Lois came to a decision. She didn't know if it was the right decision, but it was the only one she felt she could make. "And there's something else I have to tell you. Something really, really, really important."
Clark sat up a little straighter on the couch. "What is it?" He looked a little alarmed.
Lois smiled at him in reassurance and patted him lightly on the arm. "This is going to come as a big shock to you, Clark, because it's obvious to me that you've forgotten, but … you're Superman."
Clark jumped to his feet, agitated and started to pace back and forth. "That's crazy! I may not remember much but everything I've heard about this guy so far, he's unreal. They say he's not even from this planet."
Lois asked him calmly, "Would you like me to prove it to you?"
"Yeah! I sure would, because right now, I'm thinking you're nuts. And that is not a comfortable thought to have about the only friend I have at the moment."
"Clark, calm down. I have a picture of Superman here that I want to show you." Lois dug deep into her purse, found her wallet and extracted a photo.
"You carry a picture of Superman around with you?"
Lois blushed. "It came with the wallet."
Lois got up, and led Clark to the mirror in the bathroom. "Okay, Clark, take your glasses off and let me slick your hair back."
He grudgingly complied.
"Now, look at this picture, and then look at yourself — I mean, really look at yourself."
As if to humour his partner, Clark glanced quickly at the photo, and then up to his image in the mirror. His eyes widened. "I … I don't know what to say," he stammered. "But … no way. I must just look like this guy. I can't be him. I don't know how to be him."
"Okay, let me prove it a different way." Lois started rummaging through his medicine cabinet. Not finding what she needed there, she looked quickly in the drawer of the bathroom cabinet.
"Aha!" She brandished a pair of scissors in triumph.
Clark eyed her nervously. "What are you planning on doing with those?"
"I'm going to give you a hair cut, or at least, I'm going to try. If I succeed, we'll know that I'm wrong, but if I can't do it, we'll know the truth, once and for all. Okay?"
Clark nodded once in agreement and visibly braced himself as Lois reached for a lock of his hair.
Both their jaws dropped as they watched the scissors fall apart leaving Clark's hair unscathed.
Clark's eyes met Lois's in the bathroom mirror. She looked just as shocked as he did. It was one thing for her to know something theoretically, but it was sure another thing to know it irrevocably.
They stumbled back to the couch, and sat down yet again. Clark ran his fingers through his hair in agitation, and looked blankly at the wall, obviously trying to assimilate this shock to his system. Lois waited patiently, watching him all the while, as she continued to try to integrate this new knowledge about him into her image of Clark Kent.
"Wait a second here! Lois, in the bathroom, you said 'we'll know'. 'We'll know if I'm wrong' and 'we'll know the truth'. You didn't know, did you? I mean, not for sure. You suspected, but you didn't know."
"You're right, Clark. You never told me. I figured it out earlier. Back at the newsroom, when you took your glasses off. I've never seen you without your glasses before, and as soon as I did, well, I just knew."
"I guess that's why you looked so strange."
"Yeah, you could say, it was a bit of a surprise." She grinned at him.
He didn't notice. He looked at his hands, obviously searching for the right words, and the right questions. "Why didn't I tell you? You said that we're best friends?"
"Yeah, we are, and I don't know why you didn't tell me, Clark. That's a question that I'll be asking you when you have all your memories back."
Clark shook his head. "I just don't understand. I trust you. I mean, from my point of view, I've only known you for a few hours, but I feel like I've known you forever. Why wouldn't I tell you? I know that you would never do anything to hurt me."
Lois winced. "Not on purpose anyway."
Clark was quick to pick up on her facial expression. "What? Have you ever hurt me?"
Lois hesitated for a moment. "I think I have, Clark, but I didn't mean to. Superman, your alter ego, he hasn't existed for very long. I don't know exactly why you created this disguise, but I would guess it was to help people without having all the attention and hoopla take over your life.
Anyway, I've been making a fuss over Superman, not knowing that he was you, and, well, this is hard to say, but… I've been ignoring you in favour of your creation. I think… I think I've made you jealous," Lois continued in a rush of words.
"Why would you do that — I mean, make such a fuss?"
"I don't know, Clark. I think it was safer somehow. Superman always seemed so desirable, but at the same time, unattainable. It was safe to have feelings for him — or you as him, I mean. I've been hurt before, and I guess I'm just scared of getting involved with anyone again."
Clark was silent, assimilating this information.
"But I still don't get it. How could I be jealous of, of me?" Clark asked, shaking his head.
"Well, maybe it's something else. Why do you think you didn't tell me?"
"Um, well, maybe it's because this is a dangerous secret. From everything I heard on the news about this guy, I mean, about me — no, he doesn't feel like me. How about I just say, about Superman? Anyway, he's got a lot of enemies who would really like to hurt him. A secret like that could put you in a lot of danger, Lois. And, well, I don't know exactly what I was thinking before but, I really would not want to see you in danger."
Lois laughed. "You better get used to it, Clark. I investigated dangerous stories long before you ever showed up, and I've probably got as many enemies as Superman! Me in danger? Welcome to my world."
Clark groaned and buried his head in his hands. "I'm never going to get used to this, Lois."
She laughed again, and slipped her arm around his shoulders. "Yes, you are, Clark, and I'm going to help you. Okay?"
He glanced up at her with a half-smile on his face. "Okay."
As Lois warmly gazed into his eyes, his expression abruptly changed again. He winced in pain, and clapped his hands to his ears.
"Clark, what is it?" Lois asked worriedly.
"It's so loud. I can't turn it off. It hurts." Clark rocked back and forth, still covering his ears. His eyes were screwed tightly shut. He showed every sign of being a man in intense agony.
Lois hurriedly looked around the apartment. She didn't hear anything out of the ordinary. Cutting through the normal city traffic sounds outside, she could hear the faint sound of a siren off in the distance but … Her eyes narrowed in thought.
<Clark's lost control of his super-hearing. He's being bombarded by sounds that he can't turn off.>
"Clark, look at me. Look at me!" Lois grabbed him by the shoulders and shook him. Hard. It was effective though. He opened his eyes and squinted at her. She gripped his hands, and pulled hard, trying to force them away >from his ears. "You have to listen to me. Listen carefully. Focus on my voice. Just my voice and nothing else…"
Lois continued speaking quietly and repetitively, saying the same things over and over again. As she talked, his body gradually relaxed its tense stance, and his expression cleared.
"Are you all right now?"
"I think so. What the heck happened?"
"I'm not sure, Clark, but I think you lost your ability to focus on one sound at a time. You have pretty great hearing normally, super hearing in fact, and it's obvious to me that you must be able to — oh, I don't know - switch it on or off when you want to." She smiled at him tenderly. "Don't forget. This is all pretty new to me too so I don't have all the answers."
Clark looked down at his hands. He spoke softly. "Lois, I don't know if I can do this. I don't know how to be Superman. I'm scared. Everyone is counting on me, and I'm afraid that I'm going to let everyone down. Even if I am … Superman, I'm only one man."
"Now listen to me, Clark. You're forgetting something. You're not alone. I'm here and I'm going to help you."
Clark cupped her cheek in his large, warm hand. "Thank you, Lois. You're right. That helps." He yawned suddenly, startling himself.
"Clark, I can tell that you're exhausted. I should go, and come back later."
"No," he interrupted. "Please don't. I don't… I don't think I could handle being alone right now. Is that okay?"
Lois smiled warmly at him. "Of course it's okay. But you need to sleep. I never thought about it before, but it must be pretty tiring flying into space and getting whacked on the head by an asteroid!"
He laughed. "I guess it's not something that you and your other friends have ever wondered about!"
She giggled. "No, can't say that it's ever come up in conversation before! Anyway, Clark, I'm not that tired. I could do some reading out here for a couple of hours while you have a nap in your bedroom."
"Are you sure you don't mind?"
"Clark, I'm going to tell you again. You're my friend and I'm worried about you. Of course I don't mind. But one other thing, Clark. I'm worried about Superman too. He's needed, and I think I better stay and try to do whatever I can to get Superman back to full strength."
His expression darkened at her words. Her words had reminded him of what was out there, heading for the earth.
"Clark, we have enough time for you to sleep before we have to worry about the asteroid. You'll feel better, and think better, and hopefully, remember better after you've had some sleep. So head in there and have a nap, okay?"
His expression lightened again. "All right, Lois. You win. I'll have a nap. You're sure you'll be okay out here?"
Lois laughed. He might not remember too much, but he hadn't changed at all — still the world's biggest Boy Scout. She gestured to his bedroom and said one word.
He held up his hands in surrender, and headed off to bed without any more arguments.
Lois puttered around the kitchen and living room. She poured herself another cup of coffee, and browsed happily through his very eclectic book collection. The faint sounds of him moving around in the bathroom and bedroom had faded away by the time she had selected a book and had curled back up on the couch. But instead of opening the book, she set it aside and started thinking over the events of the last few hours. And they had certainly been eventful hours. Things would never be the same between her and Clark ever again.
She leaned back and closed her eyes for a moment, only to open them again in a panic. She didn't want to fall asleep. There wasn't time. Lois got off the couch and restlessly moved to the kitchen, then back to the living room. Without planning it, she peeked around the corner into his bedroom - just to check that he was asleep, of course.
He was. Sound asleep. He had changed out of his ragged clothes into sweatpants, and a cut-off sweatshirt. He looked comfortable.
Almost without volition, Lois found herself moving all the way into his bedroom. She came to a stop near the head of the bed, and watched him sleep. The temptation to touch him was overwhelming, and Lois finally gave in to it, sitting lightly on the edge of the bed, and smoothing his hair back from his forehead. He rolled toward her, throwing an arm over her lap, pinning her in place. She didn't care. She was content being there with him, touching him lightly and lovingly. At that moment, she realized that she loved Clark — that she had always loved Clark. Her feelings for Superman were just a dim reflection of what she now felt for her friend. Her whole friend. More importantly, she loved him for who he was, and not because of what he could do. She would love him, even if he were an ordinary man. For this one, brief, shining moment, suffused with tenderness for him, she felt no fear. No fear that he would hurt her. No fear that he would betray her. And no fear that he couldn't be trusted.
Her hand shifted to his back, stroking him soothingly, and rhythmically. He shifted slightly, rolling onto his back. His eyes opened, and locked onto hers. He didn't say anything.
"I'm sorry," she murmured. "I didn't mean to wake you. I just wanted to check that you were sleeping okay."
He remained silent, still gazing deeply into her eyes, and then hooked an arm around her, and dragged her down beside him. Wrapping his arms around her, he pressed his lips firmly against hers.
It was a tender kiss as opposed to a passionate one. Caring, and warm, and loving, it held a wealth of meaning for both of them. Friendship, tenderness, trust. All those feelings and more were there, out in the open. Finally, out in the open. They were so focused on each other, on that kiss, that perhaps it was forgivable that neither one of them heard the apartment door open.
"Clark Jerome Kent! Your father and I had to fight our way across town, dodging maniacs, not able to find a taxi, and we get here to find you necking? Like a teenager? I thought I raised you better than that!"
Lois and Clark bolted upright, and regarded the fiery older woman with disbelief.
Clark turned to Lois. "She's my mom, right?"
Martha careened around the bedroom, practically bouncing off walls, carried by the strength of her righteous indignation. Her words tumbled out of her mouth, one on top of the other, until Clark's question to Lois registered. She faltered, and fell silent.
"Yes, she's your mother." At Martha and Jonathan's wide-eyed looks of consternation, Lois addressed them directly. "He has amnesia, Martha and Jonathan. He doesn't remember you. He doesn't remember anything."
Jonathan dropped their luggage with a thump. Martha sat down heavily on the bed beside them.
Clark looked quizzically at his mom and dad. "I'm sorry, but I don't remember anything at all."
"Not anything? But you have to remember… You need to remember…" Martha was at a loss.
"That I'm Superman?" Clark continued.
Jonathan turned even paler. Martha was aghast. Panic-stricken, they both turned as one, and regarded Lois solemnly.
"Lois, he's not Superman."
"It's the amnesia talking."
"He just looks like Superman."
"It's a … a party trick, a thing he does at parties."
"He's just joking, just funning around."
"I don't know why he would say …"
"Stop! It's okay, guys, really." Lois held up her hand catching their attention. "I figured it out today, all on my own. Clark didn't tell me that he's Superman. He didn't know. No, I told him."
Lois reached out and touched Martha lightly on the arm. "I know. And Martha and Jonathan, you need to know that I would never do anything to hurt Clark. You can trust me."
Martha and Jonathan exchanged a meaningful glance and then turned back to Lois, all smiles.
Martha was the first to speak. "I'm glad you know, Lois. And we know we can trust you."
Jonathan was quick to chime in, agreeing with his wife.
Lois felt hot tears prick her eyes at their easy acceptance of her, and at their unconditional trust. "Thank you." She and Martha reached out simultaneously, and they fell into each other's arms.
Clark looked at the two women who were practically crying as they hugged tightly, and then looked blankly at his father who shrugged and smiled in response. Clark didn't want to interrupt them, but he finally suggested, "Why don't we all move back to the living room so we can figure everything out?"
Martha and Lois pulled away from each other. Martha snuffled a bit, while Lois wiped her cheeks with the back of her hand. She looked sheepishly at Clark. "Good idea."
The four of them moved back to the living room. Lois got everyone coffee. Martha and Jonathan noted that Clark made a point of sitting close to Lois on the couch.
It didn't take long for the two reporters to fill the Kent's in as to what had happened. Now the big question was, what were they going to do about everything?
Martha started things off by leading Clark and Lois into his bedroom. Lois watched with wide-eyed amazement as Martha retrieved three Superman uniforms from the hiding place in Clark's closet.
Clark laughed. "Cool! Did I make all this?"
Martha gestured at the suits. "I sewed them for you. But you made the secret compartment."
Just then, Jonathan called them back to the living room. He had turned on the TV, and the countdown had started for the Asgard rockets to intercept the asteroid.
They all sat down together, with Martha clutching Clark's one arm, and Lois holding his other hand tightly. They were all hopeful that the Asgards would deliver their nuclear missile payload properly so that Clark would be able to recover in his own time. No one wanted to force him to do anything that might hurt him all over again.
They listened intently to the voice of Ground Control. "Tracking telemetry zero, niner, alpha." The narrator paused. "The Asgard rocket has missed its target. Repeat, the Asgard rocket has missed its target."
Jonathan shut off the TV. They sat in silence for a long moment.
"The world needs you now. More than it ever has, I expect," Jonathan said portentously.
Martha couldn't help but protest. "Jonathan, he's already tried once…"
"What choice is there but to try again?" was her husband's response.
Lois was silent, still clutching Clark's hand in hers. She could feel his tension, his apprehension.
"Flying into space to stop an asteroid doesn't exactly come natural, does it?" Clark asked haltingly.
"You're the only one who can do it, son." Jonathan gripped Clark's shoulder firmly.
"Can I? Even if what you're telling me about being Superman is true, I still don't remember how to be him."
Lois released his hand, only to put her arm around his hunched shoulders. "Clark, maybe with our help, you could try and get control over some of your other super-powers. You're able to control your super-hearing okay now, right?"
"Yeah," he confirmed reluctantly.
Martha and Jonathan were quick to pounce on Lois's suggestion. "Great idea, Lois! Come on, Clark. Let's head to the roof. We can work on flying next!" The two of them grabbed Clark's hands, pulled him off the couch, and whisked him out of the room.
Lois was left sitting alone. "I was kind of thinking about x-ray vision," she muttered to herself. She got up, and slowly followed the trio to the roof.
She arrived in time to hear Martha trying to convince Clark that he could, in fact, fly. She decided to hang back a bit, and watch for now.
"It must be like riding a bicycle, Clark. You probably don't forget how to fly, once you've done it. Give it a try," Martha suggested.
Clark gave a little hop into the air. Nothing. "Do I flap my arms or something?"
His mother answered, "Usually when you fly, you do this." And she struck a Superman type pose.
"It's just instinct, I think. You just will it to happen," Jonathan added, in an attempt to be helpful.
"But you said I didn't fly until I was eighteen. So I had to figure out how to do it. And right now, I can't remember," Clark protested.
"Just walk up to the edge, Clark and do it," Jonathan stated firmly, trying to quell his son's objections.
As Lois watched, Clark walked up to the edge of the roof, raised his arms awkwardly into the air, and looked straight down. He looked back at his parents. "I don't know about this."
Martha patted him on the arm. "Honey, it'll all come back to you once you get going."
"You want me to help you?" Martha asked.
"Why don't you just give me a count?"
"On three. One, two…"
Lois gasped as Martha, on the count of two, gave Clark a healthy shove off the roof. She rushed to the edge in time to see Clark land in the alley below.
"Is he okay?" she asked.
Martha patted her on the arm, then sighed. "I would expect so, Lois. He is Superman, after all."
Lois turned to Martha and Jonathan. "This isn't working. I'd like to try talking to Clark by myself for a while, if that's okay with you two."
After silently checking with his wife, Jonathan turned to Lois. "Couldn't hurt, I guess."
Lois made her way quickly down the stairs, and met Clark as he was emerging >from the alley.
"Hi." Clark ruefully looked back at the alley. "Guess you saw all that, huh?"
"Yeah. Are you okay?"
Hearing the dejected tone of his voice, Lois instinctively reached out to him, and took his hand. "Don't worry, Clark. It'll all work out."
They started strolling slowly back to the apartment.
"How do you know, Lois? I want to help, but I just can't"
"Clark, if you want to help, then you will."
"How can you be so sure?"
"I know you, and I know Superman."
"I don't feel like I know Superman. I wish I could believe you. Could you tell me about me, um, about him?"
Lois smiled warmly at him. "I always thought that Superman's the kind of man who makes things happen. Sure, he's great looking, and he's good…" She jostled him with her hip, teasing him. He laughed, and she continued, "but what you notice most about him, is how you can count on him. I remember the first time…"
As Lois continued talking, Clark was suddenly flooded with images of Lois, and of rescuing her. The memories were all coming back to him in a rush.
Lois noticed his abstract expression. "Do you remember anything, Clark?"
"Yeah, I think I do."
"Great! Let's go tell your mom and dad." Lois started tugging at his hand impatiently.
Clark stood fast. "I have something I want to say first."
Clark turned to look Lois in the eyes. "Thanks."
"For whatever it is you've done for me that makes me feel as good about you as I do."
The impatient expression melted from Lois's face. "Clark, whether or not this memory of yours comes back, I just want you to know, I think you're terrific."
"I mean, I love you."
"Like a brother?"
Clark looked at her quizzically. Was she actually saying what he thought she was saying? Or did she mean that she loved him like a friend?
He reached over and cupped her cheek in his hand, in a gentle caress. "I'd better go."
"I know." Lois turned her face slightly and tenderly kissed the palm of his hand. "But you have to promise me that you'll be careful, Clark. I don't want you to forget me all over again."
"I don't think I could forget you again, Lois. And my heart never did forget you." They gazed into each other's eyes for a long moment, then Clark turned to start moving back to the apartment. Lois followed, slipping her arm around his waist.
Back on the roof again, with her heart in her mouth, Lois watched Clark as he ripped open his shirt to reveal the Superman 'S'. She could only manage to say, "Wow!" after he spun in place completing the transformation from Clark Kent to Superman. He smiled at her warmly, flexed his knees, and was gone.
Lois watched him disappear in the sky. She didn't know how, but she knew he would do it, he would save the earth — that was a given — and then he would fly back to her. They had too much unfinished business for this to end any other way.
Martha and Jonathan headed back into the apartment to wait, but Lois settled down on the roof. When he was done, when he came back, he would find her waiting for him. She had to wait for him; they had a lot to talk about.