By Klair El <email@example.com>
Submitted January 2000
Summary: Why did Lois Lane resist Clark Kent? The answer lies in the journey of souls, and only H.G. Wells can help Lois find it.
All italics are marked by _italics, _ all bold is marked *bold.*
Why did Lois Lane resist Clark Kent? The answer lies in the journey of souls, and only H.G. Wells can help Lois find it. Warning: There are deaths.
*Dances with Wells*
A "Soulmates" Sequel, with a Prequel.
"It's only death." — John Ralston Saul
Delivering the news to the patient was never easy, yet the doctor knew her announcement was no surprise to anyone. In the quiet hospital room with her still handsome husband holding her hand, the always lovely Lois Lane Kent, full of years and achievements, was dying. Her descendants and their families, in their generations, filled the room, and the physician had not felt it necessary to ask them to step outside while she spoke with the Kents. The family's presence was obviously a testament to their love for Ms. Lane. Her love for them was so apparent that anyone could understand their desire to give again what she had freely given them.
"Is there anything we can do for you?" The geriatrician paused, waiting for a reply.
Lois stirred, and Clark leaned over her, as though he could help her speak.
"Please, may I go home?" Lois whispered.
The physician assented, but she was startled by the immediate flurry of activity. Before she could suggest an ambulance, there were relatives surrounding her, cutting off her view of the patient.
When she could see the bed again, the patient and her husband were gone. Superman had come to take them home, the family said. That wasn't a surprise; he was known as a family friend; but, the doctor thought, the whole group seemed infected with the same love of speed. Already the room had started to empty of the other family members. They would be gone in a moment, she knew, and few would wait for the elevators. They certainly all looked very fit. Perhaps they spread out to all the stairways. Even then, they must go up and down quite quickly, because you hardly ever saw any of them there, either.
In their bedroom of the townhouse on Hyperion, Lois smiled at Clark as Superman set her on the bed. Feebly, she brushed the pillow next to her. In a moment, Superman had whirled away, and Clark lay by her. He lifted her hand from the pillow and gently kissed it.
"This has been a wonderful home, Clark. I've been remembering when we were alone here, and then, when the children came…" Lois seemed to run out of breath, but a wave of her hand indicated the lower floor. There they had found the first baby that was theirs to cherish, if only for a little while. The infant, a descendant, was there for protection, but was also an assurance of their ability to conceive their own children.
"We were able to buy the house next door and make the two into one," Clark finished for her. "It made a great place to raise a family."
Lois nodded. For a while, they reminisced about their life in the house. Lois spoke haltingly, while Clark lovingly filled in her indications with words. They recalled the day he had told her that this house was theirs, their discovery of a ghost in its walls, their first married Christmas almost becoming Myxmas, and Clark's loosing his control. Briefly, they remembered the wall paper, their flight together from her prison sentence, and their problems when someone switched bodies with him.
Going even further back, Clark talked happily of shuttle launches, of creating Superman with a suggestion from Lois and a costume from his mother, of Corn Festivals, and of their two honeymoons in Metropolis, especially the last. He chatted about their first date, their first real kiss, and that they once had made up in a musty room belonging to a killer.
Clark even mentioned defeating Tempus and Lex, and that they had been forced to face each of them over and over again. For once, it was Clark who could n ot stop talking.
Although he would not allow it to show, Clark was struggling with his fear of losing Lois. He'd said to her once, "Lois, if I lost you, I'd be losing myself." Somehow, losing her was always the most painful thing he could imagine, whether it was for a moment, as when Tempus whisked her off to the alternate dimension, or for the rest of his life, like now. His body had aged, probably the result of giving some years to save Jimmy's life, but he was under no illusions that Superman was in immanent danger of death.
When they had both been young and new at the togetherness of marriage, he had bravely said it wasn't the years but the moments that counted. He was painfully aware of just how precious these last moments were, but he was also dreading the effect of the years. Without Lois, how could he stand this house and its memories?
Out of the corner of his eye, Clark saw a flash of red, blue, and yellow. A quick x-ray revealed the newest, and youngest, wearer of the cape retreating quickly from the window to enter another way. Continuing his scan, Clark found that the entire family was now waiting around in the house, ready to be called. As much as he loved each one of them, he was grateful to them for this time alone with Lois.
"I'm afraid." Lois had changed the subject so suddenly and quietly, that Clark was startled into a moment of silence. During all the long battle with the end, she had never said these words.
"Of what, honey?" He had trouble forming the words.
"Lois, don't worry. You remember our wedding night! H.G. Wells took us to visit our souls' past lives. We'd met so many times in history, that we have to believe we will meet again!"
"But maybe I won't recognize you. I'll be stubborn, and slow to see how much I love you, like I was this time. We'll lose precious time together, or maybe, not even meet at all. I can't stand the thought that I might not want to love you as soon as possible."
Clark distracted Lois by tenderly kissing her palm. "Now, honey, you weren't the only problem; I had some things to learn, too. We grew together, and we'll do it again."
"Ahem, um," a small Englishman with dancing brown eyes and curly dark hair, waved nervously from the end of the bed. "He's right, you know, my dear!"
"Mr. Wells!" Clark sat upright, placing a shielding arm across Lois. Every appearance of the writer had signaled an adventure. This particular moment seemed an odd time to start something. Responding to Clark's action, the family began to file quietly into the room.
"Oh, hello." The little man cried cheerfully, greeting each entrant by name. They knew of him. Some had even met him. There was no need for introductions.
As they arranged themselves about the bed, Clark looked around on the generations with a wobbling smile of love. They returned it with varying degrees of success.
Lois tenderly exchanged her own silent messages with each. Then, she turned expectantly to Wells.
"Please excuse my intrusion!" Wells indicated a device that Lois and Clark recognized as his Soul Tracker. "I felt you really needed to understand what happened to you—why you weren't willing to be in love with Clark, in this life."
"Why?" Lois would never be too ill to ask a question.
"I'm not sure we're up to anything very—energetic." Clark was watching Lois.
"Of course," the little writer nodded, nervously clearing his throat, "yes, quite." He began to speak in a voice that suggested he was repeating a line he had learned. "I only want you to listen to a story, and as you listen, you will find yourself remembering."
Lois patted Clark's arm reassuringly. Then, she smiled, both at her family and at her visitor. "I'm listening, Mr. Wells."
"Thank you, Miss Lane. May I add, my dear, that it would mean a great deal to me if you would call me H.G.? All my best friends do, you know."
"Thank you, H.G.; and, please, Lois and Clark." Her hand made a small gesture.
"I'd be honored, Miss, er, Lois! Thank you." He drew himself upright. "My Soul Tracker carries the information. Let me set it. We'll begin at the Turning Point, I think. That was when things started to go wrong."
Mr. Wells fiddled with the instrument and suddenly a sort of holographic image of bright hues arose above it. Amorphous colors began to sort themselves. Red, blue and yellow emerged, then steadied. Upward towards them raced a cloud of teal, pink and azalea. A gentle voice spoke joyously.
Her Soul rose singing Up into the eternal, ethereal flow From down in the sweet, sensitive body.
His Soul, waiting, flew For his lovely Soulmate. There was no Without her, Only going before, to welcome Her singing, Laughing, Coming.
He was her song, her laughter. She was his focus, his core. They were passion For each other Because each for others Had compassion.
Companion souls, the Soulmate's satellites, Moved with them in the dance of caring To help, and be helped, To love, and be loved— Not so two twisted beings. One coveted her; The other the might from their love. The two found a master of dark powers And purchased his dastardly assistance. From corruption unspeakable, The first wove a spell to deceive her; The second cursed them with death for her.
All unaware of the evil The rhythms of life rippled. The souls in the dance of caring Began Falling Through stately measures Again assuming bodies.
Executing his figures in the dance, One companion, an inquiring soul, Discovered the pernicious malignancies And cried out "Danger!"
With an evil laugh, he who had cursed Held the master of dark powers to him, And smashed through The graceful beauty of the falling, Grabbing rank and honor from others.
As they all fell The Soulmates performed their parts, Chasing him and comforting others, Bobbing their way through the dance, With bow and curtsey restoring A semblance of the beautiful order.
Left behind as the others fell, Willing to sacrifice a life in body To prevent the spell's cast, The kindly soul remained Standing guard over the spell caster.
Lois interrupted the show: "Now, that inquiring soul had to be you, Mr. … H.G."
"Yes, I was that soul, Lois. Of course, it was Tempus who instigated the curse, and laughed about it! The fellow with the spells was Hex."
"Lex?" Clark asked.
"If you say so! After I had limited his spell's evil effects, it became apparent to my soul that you two would defeat him, so he wasn't of concern to me. My distress was…well, perhaps it would be helpful to explain by showing you what happened. We'd best start with the one directly after the last."
The colors that rose from the machine were paler, tinged with gray.
"This was the First Shadow." The voice was sad.
Her Soul rose searching. She was one But only half of the whole. In the bliss of the whole Came death for the one.
His Soul flew a long way to find her, And he thought she was wiping tears As she looked for him.
When she felt his coming, she reached for him. Her kisses asked where he had been. Years had passed, his kisses answered. "I got here as soon as I could." She smiled. He needed no other sun. Through the dance, they fell separately, But not apart.
His going was disturbed by an evil chortle, But bravely, he danced down chasing it.
The inquiring soul watched dumbfounded, Learning the curse had become effective, And helpless to stop the evil's laughter.
His distraction allowed his prisoner To spider away, skimming centuries To evade recapture! In reckless pursuit, Sacrificing countless of his lives, The inquisitive soul followed.
Her Soul rose cringing. Agony of body evicted one spirit; Anguish of heart inflicted two.
His Soul, flying frantically, Had to hunt to find her. Many years had passed for him. He touched her softly, and then, She sighed into him, Melted, Mixed, Fused in hunger for the whole. When the falling began, He could not believe separation was possible.
The evil chuckle he hardly heard at all.
Lois stirred restlessly on the bed.
"Time to stop, Mr. Wells," Clark warned, turning back to his wife.
"No, no," she whispered, caressing his cheek. She felt his fear as strongly as she felt her own, but she found these memories strangely comforting.
Clark acknowledged her touch with a kiss on her fingers, but still looked worried. He found no solace in remembering how hard it was when she had gone so long before him.
Turning back to Wells, Lois added: "Please! Go on."
"I'll skip ahead, my dear." He worked the device.
"No, H. G., what was happening to you?" Lois might be dying, but her curiosity was as alive as ever.
Helplessly, Wells looked down at the device in his hands.
"Isn't there a rewind, Sir?" asked Jon, the youngest wearer of the cape, courteously.
"No, no, I'm afraid not," Wells sighed. Then, he straightened up and smiled. "Let me try to describe what I've discovered about the events. Apparently, this Tex fellow—"
"Lex." Jon supplied.
"Yes. The thing I was chasing escaped me. It slid down into the structure of lives not yet occupied. Being ahead of the dance, he was able to take possession of several lives."
"That's why he kept coming back from the dead!" Jon was obviously very interested.
Wells nodded, looking very much like a teacher who is pleased to find a student following a difficult point. "As you probably know, each new start of his was more evil than his last. After several times of defeating him and his spell, Lois and Clark were able to marry."
"Calling what he managed to do to us a spell is probably as good a name as anything," Clark growled.
"Didn't you say you had limited his spell?" The youngest wearer asked eagerly.
"Only partially. I was able to stop him from meeting Lois before she had the protection of knowing Clark."
"So, let me see if I have this story straight," the young one asked. No one stopped him. There were many questioning faces. "In some place where souls go, you saw Tempus and Lex buy something from a wizard?" He paused for a nod from Wells. " When you discovered them, Tempus took the wizard with him into a life?"
"The life where the curse was cast on you by the wizard," Wells added, nodding at Lois and Clark.
"But you stayed behind in this soul place to keep Lex from messing them up as well?"
Another quick nod, accompanied by a sad little shrug.
"You wanted to stop him because he was going to cast a spell to prevent Great-grandma Lois and Great-grandpa Clark from being married at all?"
The youngest's mother thanked her stars that the child had remembered one great was enough.
Wells nodded. "Exactly."
"Wow. What about the master of dark powers that made the spell and the curse for these guys?" the newest wearer seemed impressed. "If everyone keeps recycling, who's he now?"
"When a soul exceeds the powers of the realm in which it walks," Wells explained, "that soul is moved to another place. The sorcerer would have left that group of souls before the life in which the curse occurred, had not Tempus forced him into a body before he could flee. After that life, I saw him wend his way to the dark dance that exists below even the body."
"Was he upset?"
"That was not my impression. Each level has its supporters."
"How did you learn all this, H. G.?" Lois asked.
"Apparently, once I'd done my best to limit Ex," Wells paused, with a questioning look.
"Lex!" Jon assisted happily.
"Hum! I turned with some idea of coming to warn you. To my dismay, a millennium had passed. I saw distinctly the rising and falling of many lives whose sorrows—and joys!—I had completely missed.
"Not being the sort to repine, I looked about for a way to render you some assistance with the curse, and, hopefully, to recoup my losses. Fortunately, being, as you might say, outside of time, I found there was a way to enter one life, yet to travel through time and even to trace souls."
"Hold on, again," the new teenager protested. "You discovered how to time travel when you weren't even alive?"
"Well, I had to discover it all over again when I was alive, or thought I did. Actually, I was rediscovering it, and eventually Soul Tracking, too. Though I, personally," again came the shy smile and nervous cough, "had some help from a future self of mine who gave me this device." Wells cocked his head with an endearing smile. "And while we're on the subject of multiples, did you ever wonder why my older self had blue eyes?"
"So he did!" Clark remarked with surprise, temporarily distracted. "Why is that? Was he your future self?"
"No, no. After I made my discovery, I went to meet my counter parts in other dimensions. All the others look more like him, but he was the only one truly able to share my secrets. He is the Wells from the alternate dimension, the one where Lois helped the Clark become Superman because his Lois was missing. Most of the rest of the men with the name of H. G. Wells remained under the impression that I was some sort of muse—their literary inspiration, if you will; and just as well, considering…things."
"Why brown eyes?" Lois asked with an economy of effort, happy to see Clark even briefly interested in something other than the inevitable.
"Oh! My brown eyes, do you mean?" Pausing, his gaze fixed on Lois, he caught some tiny indication of assent. "My wanderings had taken me away from the dance where we all belonged. By the time you were ready to enter this lifetime, my soul was drifting in a space between the streams of life for our planet and that of others. Isolated like that, there was no chance for me to fall into the life in a body. Fortunately, I was rescued—by Clark actually, but that comes later! When I finally did reach a corporeal life, the time line was greatly disturbed, and gave me a different body, one that had brown eyes."
"Then," the youngest burst out, "why did you bring Tempus from the future?"
"To be quite honest with you," Wells answered with a shy, self-deprecating smile, "I didn't consciously know why at the time, though my soul did. Of course, you see, Tempus had to be there in every lifetime, a hurdle, if you will, for Lois & Clark to overcome. Did you never wonder why Tempus seemed so attached to Wells?"
A number of heads nodded.
"My soul had been missing from his lives since the time of the curse. Remember, my dears," he added, nodding at Lois and Clark, "that my soul was not around when we lifted the curse on your, um," Visibly blushing, Wells glanced at the company, mixed in age and sex. Turning his word, "consummation," into a cough, he added, "We lifted the curse he cast on you."
"Didn't Tempus notice," Jon seemed bewildered, "that you were two different men?"
"Most definitely," the little man smiled happily. "Tempus is far from the ignoramus he pretended to be. Fortunately for me, he seems to prefer my counterpart, no doubt due to their common interest in the future." Wells waved a hand. "We divided up the work, the other Wells and I. He's done a jolly good job of encouraging all of you to improve that future." He smiled round on the startled group, but gave them no time to question him. "My friend and alter-ego also developed the more technical side of the talents we share. He and Tempus also shared a fascination with gadgets, as you may have remarked."
While heads all around him nodded, Wells looked pensively down at his Soul Tracker. "My part has been to tend to souls, and Tempus—doesn't. Well, well, enough of me!' The little man dismissed the digression. "Let's see what was happening to you."
He toggled the control and a dusky twilight appeared. So subdued were the colors that Her Soul's cloud seemed to be just plain brown. Wells nodded at the murk. "We're going right into the Darkness."
Her Soul rose weeping From a thousand years of painful dying. To make love, with him, was to make death.
His Soul flew very long in coming. Gently, he enfolded her, Rocking her angst, Solacing his grief.
She whispered, "I'm so tired of dying." His horror and anguish nodded around her. He held her closer, But nothing could stop the falling.
He did notice the evil snicker. He knew that some Thing was enjoying this!
Clark raised a hand defensively. "Mr. Wells!"
Lois seemed unable to move, but her eyes were on the Soul Tracker.
"Don't worry, Clark," Wells urged. "This next will be the last!" Above his hands there was a night with few stars. "I'm very much afraid, however, that it is always Darkest Before Dawn."
*Darkest Before Dawn*
Her Soul rose freezing. Not to love! Not to love him. Was that so dreadful?
His Soul flew feeling Centuries Away from her, instead of years.
She resisted his embrace. Reluctantly, he released her. This coldness was not like her. Suddenly, he was afraid for her. "We must find the way to stop this." Her voice was as empty as a vacuum. "I have an idea." Eagerly, he demanded: "What? Tell me what!" She turned, not to, but on him. Her touch, like hands upon his chest,
Why was she gone? There was no dance, no falling. She went somewhere else?
He! He was moving, flying far away from her! Desperately, he grabbed at the companion souls. "Help me." He tumbled past their outstretching, Slipping, Slipping far from his place. The evil laugh gloated near him. He thrust it away from her, Knocking himself further away as well. At least, the evil was not with her. Then there was blackness. He thought himself alone Instead he found a friend.
"You've propelled that fiend Through time, young man!" The inquiring soul touched His Soul. "Better send me after him. We'll need him; more's the pity."
"That will send me beyond hope of her."
"Nonsense, my boy, you couldn't avoid her If you were trying, Which you are not!"
"She pushed me away."
"In fact, she just enabled you To fulfill your potential Just as she always does for you. You've heard her say: "Bring a change of clothes—" "What he can do is enough."
"Not those words, but maybe, Something like that In every lifetime."
"Oh, sorry. Those words come next time. But you see _how_ she pushes you? She only forces you to fill your destiny. Give me that shove, will you? We'll end that curse, this time!"
"Curse? What curse?"
"The one that kills your lady, of course. The one that made you think She was pushing you away When really she's working with you. No time to explain. Quick! Push me!"
The desperate Soulmate obliged.
"Oh, my! Wrong direction! Or maybe, right! Not to worry! I'll find my way, but you must be patient."
"I can be very patient," His Soul promised Flying by stars, and falling Into a dance almost strange to him.
Odd place, This world that welcomed him. There was so much distress and shaking Outside his sheltered rest.
Her Soul descended weeping. A strange voice, full of rejoicing, Spoke over her. "You have a lovely daughter, Mrs. Lane!"
A voice, Her mother's voice, now clear, Asked a question from strangely far away. The other voice answered.
"No, Dr. Lane isn't here yet. I'm sure he will be soon. Oh, look Mrs. Lane! Your daughter is dropping tears. I've never seen a babe Cry so beautifully!"
"She's gone, Mr. Wells." Behind him, Clark felt a son reach forth a comforting hand.
"Oh, no, my boy!" Wells protested. "She's not gone yet! _You_ always go first."
Clark shook his head. His face was turned to Lois, his eyes closed tightly, holding in the tears. "Superman does not die so easily."
"Easy or hard has no bearing on Soulmates," Wells waved a dismissal. "The curse is ended. There were thousands of years before the curse interfered. Without the curse, you _always_ went, and always will go, first."
With a long sigh, Clark's head dropped slowly on to the pillow beside Lois. Her eyelids flickered.
The room was very quiet. All waited, straining to see. Silently, Wells lifted the device. The bright colors that had first appeared returned, drawing themselves together again, rising together into a light. As H.G. and the vision disappeared, the voice spoke.
Her Soul rose singing. His Soul, waiting, flew For his lovely Soulmate. Then, upward to the light Of another, higher dance They rose soaring Together.
Any feedback accepted.
klair El firstname.lastname@example.org
Available in html at my website: http://www.mindspring.com/~hess2/
Disclaimer: DC comics owns Superman, and Warner Bros. owns the rights to all characters in Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. ission is freely given to copy this document for personal use. © the author: August, 1999; revised: January, 2000.