By ML Thompson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted January 2000
Summary: HG Wells interferes with Lois and Clark's anniversary plans with news that leads to a little time travel for Lois and a little confusion for the Clark of three different time dimensions, as both Lois and HG try to undo a few "disruptions in time."
This story takes place on the date of Lois and Clark's one year wedding anniversary. At least part of it does. The other part takes place during the story, Neverending Battle, between the scene where Clark hangs up his Superman outfit after Lex Luthor had informed him that if he stayed in Metropolis innocent people would be hurt, and Lois Lane laments the fact that Superman had not been seen in Metropolis for three days.
Heart felt apologies to WB and DC Comics. This is not meant to be a copyright violation. I don't mean to steal your characters, I'm just borrowing them to have a little fun. I promise to put them back the way I found them when I'm finished.
Lois looked up from her desk as Clark approached. He smiled when he caught her eye. It was their first wedding anniversary and Perry had told them that they could leave at noon today. It had been an exhausting few weeks. The baby that had been mysteriously left in their parlor while their folks had been visiting had just recently been returned to its natural mother. Clark knew that it had been emotionally devastating for Lois, in particular, although handing the baby over had taken its toll on him, too.
However, in the past few days, Lois had seemed to recover. In fact, as he looked at her now, he didn't think that he had ever seen her looking more beautiful. He felt that familiar feeling of having his heart skip a beat just by looking in her direction. He smiled slightly as he thought about where they were going tonight. Lois didn't know, but it wasn't for lack of trying. She had tried every trick in the book, every single one, to get him to tell her but had been unsuccessful. Although there were a few times when he had almost given it up, it was now almost noon and he had managed to hold out. He knew that she had searched through his coat pockets, and through the desk in the house, and had even looked through his desk at work in her attempt to find out. He smiled. That was Lois. However, he had anticipated it and had been very careful to leave no evidence where she could find it.
"Are you ready to go?" Clark asked as he approached.
"Well, that depends. Where are we going?"
Clark smiled. "I guess you'll just have to wait and see."
"How do you know I'm going to like it?"
"Who said I even considered that?"
Lois gave him a look of disbelief and Clark laughed. "Come on," he said, grabbing her coat. She got to her feet and allowed him to help her on with it. They were heading out when Jimmy approached.
"Have fun you two."
"Thanks, Jimmy, but I'm not sure I will. Maybe Clark is taking me somewhere I won't like at all." Jimmy just shook his head and kept walking.
Just then Perry White came by. "So are you two kids heading out?"
"Yes, Perry. We'll see you tomorrow."
As they waited for the elevator, Lois saw a familiar look cross Clark's face. "Go," she said softly. "I'll meet you back at our place." He was about to leave when Lois stopped him, turned him around, wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him. It was a deep passionate kiss and when she pulled back, Clark was disoriented.
"What was that for?" he asked breathlessly.
Lois smiled. "I love you, Clark."
"I love you too, Lois. More than I can even express." And with that Clark smiled and hurried to the stairs with his hand tugging at his tie.
Lois watched him, smiling. 'I can't imagine what my life would be like without him in it,' she thought to herself. He may have decided the place that they would spend their anniversary but she had a surprise for him, too. Just thinking about it sent a smile to her lips and a hand to her stomach.
The elevator doors opened and, before she could get on, out stepped an older gentleman in a black suit looking at a pocket watch and wearing a bowler hat. He looked up as the elevator doors opened and his eyes met Lois Lane's.
"Oh good," said H.G.Wells.
"Oh no," groaned Lois and then, realizing how that might sound, continued. "I mean… It's just that you never show up unless there's a problem and it's our first anniversary and… well, I just don't want to deal with anything but that at the moment."
"Well, if you want to have a second anniversary, I need your help." That got Lois' attention. H.G. Wells looked around briefly before saying, "Where's your husband?"
"He had some sort of emergency. He is supposed to meet me at home. You can see him there."
H.G. Wells looked briefly at his watch and then slowly shook his head. "We don't have time, Ms. Lane. We need to leave right now."
"Really, Ms. Lane. It is imperative that we leave now. Time is of the essence."
"What's going on?"
"Tempus escaped from a future time and went into the past. From what I have been able to tell, he must have gone back to a time shortly after Clark began working at the Daily Planet because when I was searching for changes in history, I discovered that shortly after that time, you were offered a job anchoring at LNN."
"I was never offered a job anchoring at LNN."
Lois thought for a moment. "Well, nothing seems to have changed as a result."
"Ms. Lane, I've been back there. The reason nothing has changed is because you are still thinking about it. But you are to get back to them first thing in the morning. I tried talking to you and to Clark Kent, stressing the importance of having you turn down this job. However, you don't believe me and Clark doesn't think he has any right to interfere."
"What do you mean he doesn't think he has any right?"
"Well, if you recall, Ms. Lane, you didn't exactly fall into his arms on the day you met. He told me that he didn't think he had the right to tell you to turn down such a great opportunity. He also didn't think it would do any good. But, I'm not sure I have seen him any more distressed."
"So what do you need me for?"
"I'm hoping you can convince the younger you to stay at the Daily Planet. Also, I need your help in tracking down Tempus before he can do any further damage."
"We need to get Clark."
"There isn't time. If we don't go now, there won't be a you and Clark, and that baby you're carrying…" he looked at Lois' stomach, "won't exist either."
Lois placed a protective hand on her stomach. "How did you know?"
"I read your biography, Ms. Lane. You tell Clark on your first wedding anniversary and since that is today, you must already know."
It only took Lois a moment to decide. "Let's go."
He nodded and pulled out a new time travel device. "Touch here," he instructed. She did and instantly, they were gone.
Lois Lane entered her apartment in a daze. She could hardly believe this turn of events. She had been offered a job as anchorwoman at LNN. It was a huge step up. She didn't understand why she hadn't accepted right then and there. She had told them that she needed to think about it. But the money and the world wide exposure made this an offer too good to resist. She loved reporting the news but this… Wow! So why hadn't she accepted? She asked herself the question again. Well, it would mean leaving the Daily Planet and she loved her job there. Well… most of the time at least.
She thought for a moment about the funny little man who had approached her as she was leaving the restaurant. His clothes were so old fashioned as to make him look comical but somehow he seemed to look natural in them. He had told her that this offer shouldn't have been made, that someone was interfering with the past. Please. But how had he even known about the offer?
Her mind drifted for a moment. Well, there was still the question of getting the inside story on Superman but at this point she was out of leads. Superman hadn't been seen in Metropolis all day. It was like he had suddenly vanished just as everyone was trying to find him. It didn't make a lot of sense but then would *she* stick around if someone were trying to kill her just for helping? She had felt sick about the explosion yesterday. Someone had set explosives in a building downtown. They then lured Superman there and detonated the devise as soon as Superman had entered the building. She had caught a piece of the flying shrapnel. Maybe he decided that it just wasn't worth it. But from what she knew about Superman, which she had to admit wasn't much, he wouldn't run off just because his welcome here wasn't as congenial as it might have been.
She shook her head. It was the second time her life had been endangered by being too close to Superman. The first time was when Jason Trask had thrown her out of an airplane to try to get her to call for Superman. She had and he had shown up. Maybe she should try that now.
Just then a knock at the door interrupted her thoughts. She went over and looked through the peep hole. It was that man again. He was obviously crazy but he was harmless looking enough. Besides, if he did try anything, she was sure she could take him. She knew that he couldn't have followed her home so with that and his comments earlier she was curious. She cautiously opened the door.
"Excuse me, Ms. Lane, but there is someone I thought you should meet." And with that Mr. Wells stepped aside and the Lois Lane from the present appeared in the doorway. Neither of them were quick enough to catch the fainting Lois of the past. They pulled her into the apartment, closing and locking the door behind them.
After the younger Lois came to, she simply sat with the wet cloth that Mr. Wells had fetched held to her forehead, carefully watching her counterpart. "So who exactly are you?" she asked at last.
The older Lois smiled. "I'm you from the future."
"Give me a break. That's not possible. You had plastic surgery or are a long lost identical twin or something but you aren't me. Time travel is not possible."
"She is you, Ms. Lane. When you wouldn't believe me, I went into the future and brought you back to talk to you." Both Loises looked confused. In fact Mr. Wells almost looked confused by his last explanation.
"You aren't me," the younger Lois insisted. "I'll prove it. See this scar on my hand."
The older Lois turned over her hand and passed it over to her counterpart. The younger Lois took it and looked at the familiar scar. "So how did you get it?"
"What do you want? The truth or what we told mom."
The older Lois nodded and said, "Well, I was tormenting the cat when I was 10 and got scratched but I knew that mom would kill me. She had caught me tormenting the cat before and I knew that I would be in serious trouble this time. So I told her that the cat had attacked me for no reason. The next thing I know, she had the cat taken to the vet's and had it put to sleep. I never told anyone about it afterwards because I felt so guilty." The younger Lois looked at her in stunned silence. "Do you want to hear more?" The younger Lois only nodded. "Okay, when exactly are we?" The older Lois looked at Wells.
"Well, the Daily Planet has everyone out trying to get the Superman story and Superman seems to have disappeared."
"Oh right. The tests. I remember that."
"What tests?" asked the younger Lois. Did this other woman know what had happened to Superman?
"Forget it. You will learn all about it eventually and you will be the first one Superman will ever tell about it, well other than…" She suddenly realized that she was about to say too much and so stopped. "Anyway, just relax. So that means that you have broken the story about the space station. Okay, then. Remember when Jimmy told you that Dr. Platt's theory about sabotage of the Space station had been confirmed by Star Labs, just before Perry sent you back to get more proof, you and Clark Kent hugged?"
"Well, we were in a conference room with windows, so knowing that is no big deal."
"No. But what you never told anyone was how it made you feel inside." The younger Lois looked away. "When he hugged you, it scared the hell out of you because it was like nothing you had ever experienced before. It felt… well, almost like you had come home but to no home you had ever known."
"How did you know that? Did Kent put you up to this?"
"I told you, I know because I am you. Look, ask me anything."
"Okay. How old were you when you lost your virginity?"
The older Lois looked at H.G. Wells who immediately excused himself and made his way to the kitchen. Lois was fairly certain, at least she hoped, that this particular piece of information wouldn't be in any biography he might have read. When he was well out of earshot, she answered, "Seventeen."
"What is your favorite old movie?"
"Gone With The Wind"
"Because I always admired the spirit that Scarlet O'Hara had, especially when she swore that she would never be hungry again."
"What happened when Dad left?"
The older Lois swallowed hard. It was still a painful memory to her even though she and her father had worked out a lot of things over the past year or so. "He had packed his bags and was heading out the door. Lucy, as usual, was shut up in her bedroom and Mom was upstairs in hers, plastered out of her mind. I begged Daddy not to leave us…"
The older Lois looked deeply into the eyes of her younger self and said softly, "And he didn't even acknowledge my existence. He just pushed past me and walked out the door. I don't think I have ever heard a more dreadful sound than the door closing behind him."
They both sat in silence for a few moments.
"Okay. For the sake of argument, let's assume I believe you. Why are you here?"
The older Lois took a deep breath. "You've been offered a job at LNN. You have to refuse it."
"Because it will change everything. It will change the future."
"So what's so special about the future. Maybe the future I could have if I take the job at LNN would be even better."
"Without Clark, that wouldn't be possible."
"Clark! Clark Kent!!"
'Damn,' thought the older Lois. 'I wouldn't be ready for that information yet.' But it was out now so the only thing to do was see it through.
"Yes, Clark Kent. We've been married now for a year. He loves me. He loves me with a love that I never thought was possible."
"You have seriously got to be joking."
"I'm not," the older Lois said but knew that she was losing this argument and losing big time. "Tell, me," she asked in desperation, "didn't part of you wonder why you reacted to Clark's hug the way you did?" The younger Lois remained silent so the older Lois continued. "How about I let you see what life is like in the future?" The younger Lois was intrigued in spite of herself. A chance to see what the future was like.
"Okay," she said softly.
Mr. Wells had reentered the conversation. "I'm not sure that this is a good idea, Ms. Lane."
"It's the only shot we have. If she has a chance to see what the future is like, maybe we can prevent this catastrophe. I think it's our only option. It may change the future but it's the only way I can think of to keep Clark and me together and I won't loose him, Mr. Wells."
"But what about Tempus? I'm sure this is not the only change he plans to make."
The older Lois answered, "I'll stay here and find a way to deal with that problem." HG Wells looked at the older Lois for a moment and then nodded his reluctant approval.
"How are we going to get away with this? It's not like you and I look exactly alike. I mean, don't you think everyone will notice that our hair is different and you do look…"
"Yeah, older then me."
"Oh, Ms. Lane, I can solve that problem. This new time travel device I have can switch you into each other's body. It only works if you are the same person but it can be done. Well… at least that is what I've been told." The two Loises looked at each other for a moment and then agreed. Mr. Wells pushed some buttons on the machine and then had them each touch it and after a moment of light, both Loises were shaking their heads. "Did it work?" HG Wells asked a little hesitantly. The two women standing in front of him looked at each other for a moment and then nodded. "Good. Then I'll see you to the future and then come back to help you with Tempus," he said, trying to look at the right Lois as he spoke.
"I do have one condition," the younger Lois said. "The decision about LNN is mine. You are not to contact them and turn down the job in my absence. Agreed?"
The older Lois looked at her for a moment and then said, "Agreed." She certainly hoped she was doing the right thing. But she knew herself well enough to know that if she didn't agree, her younger self would simply refuse to go. And she was right. It was her decision.
"I also have a condition," the older Lois said. The younger Lois looked at her curiously. "It's our first anniversary and Clark is taking us or me or you, whatever, someplace. He won't tell me where. But, if they serve alcohol, don't drink." The younger Lois continued to look at her so the older Lois continued. "It's just, Clark doesn't know this yet, but we're pregnant. Since the first anniversary is paper, I thought I'd give him the results of the test tonight. I guess that will be up to you now. They are in the top drawer of my dresser." The younger Lois thought her counterpart looked a little sad at the prospect but she merely nodded. The older Lois looked at HG Wells. "I guess she will have to be the one to tell him if we are going to keep as much as possible of the future the same." HG Wells just nodded.
Lois was frustrated at the prospect that she wouldn't have the chance to tell Clark about the pregnancy; but, as well as keeping the future the same, she had another motive for wanting her younger self to do this. She remembered what things were like before Clark. Her career had been the sole focus of her life. Not only had she not wanted to get married, she hadn't wanted kids. She knew how Clark would react to the news that they were going to have a baby. She wanted her younger self to experience it. She knew it would completely overwhelm her to see the excitement in Clark's eyes at the news. Maybe it would help her realize just how much she stood to lose if she gave up this future.
'Clark's going to kill me for this,' the older Lois thought as HG Wells made the preparations for taking her younger self back to the future. 'If only I had a chance to tell him.'
After H.G. Wells and the younger Lois left, Lois looked around her old apartment. She explored for a few minutes and then decided that if she was going to get rid of Tempus, she was going to need a little super help. Clark. She picked up one of her old coats (although it wasn't old now), slipped it on and headed out the door.
Clark was in his apartment sitting staring at the T.V. This might not seem unusual except that the T.V. was not turned on. He had put away the Superman outfit his mom had made for him just weeks ago. If he continued to be Superman, Lex Luthor had done everything short of telling him that he would kill innocent bystanders to get to Superman. It had felt so right being Superman. Okay, so being Superman was a little overwhelming but at least he finally felt like he was helping. Now he was back to square one.
He had gone to his folks place the previous evening and talked everything over with them but there was nothing that they could do either. Using a costume and being Superman had seemed like such a good idea. It had allowed him to feel like he wasn't such an outsider, but Luthor was right. He couldn't be everywhere.
Then there was Lois. That woman caused more confusion in him then anyone ever had before and, he figured, ever would again. She was totally obsessed with Superman and could hardly stand to be around Clark Kent. He had to admit though that he loved the way she looked at him when he was Superman. He would certainly miss that too. But lately, she had stolen a story from him and had stolen ideas from everyone else in her quest to track down Superman. He was annoyed, seriously annoyed, by this. He would have given her the Superman story. At least as much of it as he wanted to have printed just to have the pleasure of her company for a few hours; but, after her behavior recently, he was no longer prepared to do that. In fact, when he had stopped by the Planet to see her only a week ago, it had been to do exactly that. However, he had been called away by an emergency.
On the other hand, there were times… It was almost like she held captive his soul. He would look into her eyes and see something there. Something that made his heart do somersaults. He had never felt this way about a woman. Even with every insult or injury, he found that he couldn't seem to get enough of her. Then there were times that she let her heart show through in spite of all the barriers she had constructed around it and Clark would find himself completely lost. He loved his folks and his friends but this… It was like nothing he had ever known before.
He thought back to earlier in the day and the visit from the strange little man in the black suit and bowler hat. He had said that Lois had been offered a job as anchor at LNN. What if she took it? What if he couldn't work with her? See her every day. Yet, how could he object to her taking advantage of such a great opportunity? He sighed. It didn't really matter anyway. There was nothing that he could do to stop it. He had to just hope and pray that she didn't take it.
He looked over at the table at his new purchase. It was a child's toy. A toy Godzilla. He had painted Superman's 'S' on it. But he was not sure how he would use it yet or even if he would use it. Jimmy had indicated to him that only Godzilla could teach Lois a lesson and, at first, teaching her a lesson had seemed like a really good idea but if she was thinking about leaving… He wasn't sure that he could do it. What if he did and that prompted her to take the job? How could he stand losing her?
He had no answers so he just continued to stare blankly at the T.V. when he heard a soft knock at the door. He slowly got up, put on his glasses and made his way to the door. When he opened it, he could hardly believe his eyes. There was Lois at the door of his apartment. He felt his heart skip a beat. He got that under control and said casually, "Lois, this is a surprise. Would you like to come in?"
She nodded and walked in the room and turned to face him. It was then that they first made direct eye contact and Clark felt his heart stand still. He could see an incredible amount of love in this woman's eyes. He just stood there staring, not daring to breath. She looked down.
As she arrived at Clark's apartment, she had reminded herself that she was the Lois Lane from this time. She was not Clark's wife and she was not in love with the man inside that apartment. She knew that it would be best if she could get his help without letting him know exactly what was going on. However, when their eyes met and she saw the look on his face, she knew that she had already blown it. She no longer knew how to look at this man without conveying her love to him. 'Well,' she thought, 'I guess the only thing to do now is to tell him the truth. At least some part of it.' Otherwise, she had certainly already changed the past by letting him think that the Lois Lane of this time was already hopelessly in love with him. But she would have to tread very lightly or…
She moved inside and sat on his sofa while he regained his composure and closed the door. "I suppose you're wondering why I'm here," she said softly, not looking at him. He remained silent not trusting his voice at this moment. Finally, she looked up at him and felt her heart break at the sight. He had told her that he had loved her from the moment he met her but somehow she had always wondered if he had been exaggerating. After all, how could he have loved her when she was constantly almost cruel to him? However, she now knew that he had been telling the truth. The look of hope in his eyes was unmistakable. He was hoping that he had not been mistaken about what she knew he had seen in hers. "I think you'd better sit down," she said. He moved tentatively toward the couch and seated himself beside her. His eyes did not leave her face while she kept hers diverted from him. She hated what she was about to do to him. He was obviously hoping that Lois was in love with him too and Lois knew that it would be a long time before that would come to pass, if at all. At least, if the past was saved it would be a long time before he would know how she felt. She felt like she had given him hope and now was about to take it away.
"This isn't going to make much sense," she began slowly. "I understand that you had a visit earlier today from H.G. Wells." He nodded. "And that he told you that you had to stop Lois Lane from taking the job at LNN." Again he nodded. "He was right, Clark." She glanced up at him then and saw the hope in his eyes had been replaced by confusion.
He just stared at her for a moment and then said, "But you're Lois Lane. If you don't want to take the job, why not just turn it down? You don't need me to tell you to do it."
"But I'm not the Lois from this time. I actually come from the future. From a future in which…" Clark felt his heart stand still and he forced himself to breathe. If he was reading her right, she was in love with Clark Kent. If she was from the future… He needed to know. He was feeling like it was all so pointless and yet this woman standing in front of him was hinting that in the future she was in love with him. He had to know for sure.
"In which?" he asked softly. When she didn't continue, he moved over closer to her and said softly, "Lois, please." She looked up at the sound of desperation in his voice and without thinking reached over and gently traced his jaw with her fingers and he once again soaked up the love he saw in her like a man dying of thirst devours water. A small sob escaped from the back of her throat watching him like this. She could hardly bear it. She wanted so badly to take him in her arms but she was afraid of what that might do to the future. So instead, she stood up to put some distance between herself and the man who held her heart.
"Clark, don't make me do this," she said with her back to him. "If I tell you what is in the future, it may change it and I don't… I won't… I can't let that happen." She knew he had risen and was now standing behind her.
It hadn't even occurred to Clark to doubt what Lois was telling him. The look that she had given him when she entered the room was the look he saw in Lois when she looked at Superman except the love in this woman's eyes was deeper, richer, fuller. Her being from the future was the only thing that made any sense at all to him. Then there was the way she had looked at him as they sat on the couch and the way that she had touched him. But what exactly was he seeing? What did it all mean? What was in the future? Did she… Could she really be in love with him there? All he really knew at this moment was that he had to find out. He stepped up behind her and, summoning all his courage, slowly bent his head down and kissed her neck.
Lois felt him come up behind her. She held her breath, calling into reserve all of her self control. She wanted so badly to reassure him. To let him know that what he was asking himself and her was true. That there was a future for them. Then she felt the tentative brush of his lips against her neck and her resolve broke. She turned toward him and wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him deeply, passionately. His arms wrapped around her and she heard a small sound escape from his throat. She could feel the tears on his cheeks as they continued to kiss.
Suddenly there was a knock on the door. Lois snapped back into the present. She backed up slightly from Clark. "I think you better get the door," she said softly reaching out a hand and placing it lightly on his chest. He took her hand in his and stared deeply into her eyes for a moment. Then he nodded and headed for the door.
Just before he opened the door to admit the intruder, he turned back toward her briefly and said softly, "Thank you, Lois". His question had definitely been answered. She smiled and looked down as he opened the door to admit HG Wells.
Lois Lane was looking around the unfamiliar brownstone. Clark had not been there when she had arrived. There was much in the brownstone that was not familiar to her but there was also much that was. She saw some of her pictures and mementos scattered around what was obviously a very comfortable home. She stood and looked at a wedding picture of her and Clark that was sitting on the mantel of the fireplace. She looked at it for a long time. It was obvious from the expression she saw on her own face that she was happy about the turn of events. But she still couldn't comprehend it. She knew that she had felt something when he had hugged her and she couldn't deny that she was physically attracted to Clark. But this… She had vowed to herself that she would never get trapped like her mother had. Why would she have married Clark Kent? Well, she could always rectify that by taking the job at LNN.
She was seriously wondering what she was doing here by the time Clark arrived. This was their anniversary. Surely he would be expecting more than she was willing to give. She had never been known as being overly introspective. She tended to jump into any situation without exactly thinking it through. That was certainly what she had done this time. But this was all so unbelievable that the only thing that made any sense was that she was dreaming. That must be it. She was dreaming.
Clark arrived in the brownstone while Lois was upstairs in the bedroom. He spun into Clark and made his way upstairs. He walked in and stopped. His wife's back was to him and she was fishing something out of the dresser. He watched in silence as she turned toward the closet. At that point he came silently up behind her and wrapped his arms around her.
She felt the arms come around her and reacted without thinking flipping the man behind her over her and onto the floor in front of her. She looked into Clark's surprised eyes and gasped. "Oh, Clark, I'm so sorry. I was just surprised. I didn't hear you come in. I don't know what got into me. I really should think before I react like…"
Clark burst out laughing. "Lois. It's okay."
She smiled a sheepish smile and looked at him still lying on the floor. He smiled back at her and she was caught by the incredible amount of love in his eyes. She had looked into the eyes of the Clark from her time on different occasions and had seen something there but it was always immediately hidden as he brought back the barriers that he had erected. But there were no barriers in this Clark's eyes. She felt like she could see into his very soul. It was captivating. It was intoxicating. She looked away.
"Lois, what's wrong?"
She composed herself and looked back at him, smiling. "Nothing." At the look of concern in his eyes she added, "I was just wondering where we are going tonight."
A broad grin spread across Clark's face and he chuckled softly.
"It's just… well, how am I supposed to dress?"
"Right. You're not at all curious, are you? You just want to be sure you're dressed appropriately." He laughed. "Well, I know that you have searched everywhere you can think of to get a clue and since you are still asking, I assume you haven't found anything."
"How did you…"
"I know you, Lois," he said softly as he got up and faced her. "Do you really think I wouldn't know that you would search everywhere to find out where I was taking you?" He had moved up close to her now. He looked deep into her eyes and she found that she was incapable of pulling her eyes away. She felt an unfamiliar tug on her heart.
Finally, she composed herself and said in as steady a voice as she could manage, "So what should I wear?"
He laughed. "Well, I'd think you'd looked great wearing a potato sack so I better leave that decision up to you. I will tell you this. We are going to a fancy restaurant. But when you pack, be sure to bring some casual warm clothes. Oh, and be sure to pack a swimsuit."
"Yes. We won't be coming back tonight."
Clark laughed and said, "It is getting late so we probably should get ready to head out. Well, unless you want to spend an hour or two here first." He raised his eyebrows slightly as he said this and Lois knew that she was blushing. She swallowed hard.
"Get out of here or we'll never be ready," she said with as much of a laugh in her voice as she could manage and sent him from the room with a swat. He planted a pout on his face as he left the room but Lois realized that had just been an act when she heard him head down the stairs whistling. She leaned back against the dresser for a moment steadying herself. She could hardly believe the way she was responding to him. She almost felt like she was drunk. The amount of love she could feel radiating from this man was tearing down the barriers she had so carefully constructed over the years.
A short time later, Lois reemerged from the bedroom with a small suitcase and a suit bag. Clark took these from her and informed her that he had already taken his, she assumed out to the car, and would take hers before coming back for her. She handed the bags to him and then as she was picking up her coat felt a swoosh of wind behind her. 'That October air has a bite to it,' she thought. She turned around and found that Clark had already returned from taking her bags to the car. She was looking forward to finding out what kind of car they had when Clark did the last thing she was suspecting. He walked over and picked her up in his arms. Before she could object or comment or do anything else, his lips found hers. She felt her breath catch in her throat at the feel of his lips on hers, his tongue gently exploring her mouth. She responded immediately. Her arms went around his neck and pulled him in closer, unwilling to end the encounter. She felt like they were floating. She had never experienced a kiss that was as soul shattering as this one. She was completely oblivious to the world around her. She had no idea that as they kissed, the brownstone was far below them. Had no idea, that they had flown over Metropolis and were now on their way to an exclusive resort —Hotel Roberge.
When the kiss finally ended, they had landed in front of the luxury resort. Clark set Lois down gently. It was then that Lois first noticed that they were no longer in the brownstone. She gasped. How? What? "Where are we?" she finally asked.
Clark laughed. "I take it you weren't paying attention."
"Well, not exactly. I was… well, I guess I was kind of distracted." She blushed. 'That proves it,' she thought. 'This really is a dream.' But before she could continue on this train of thought, she realized where there were. The Hotel Roberge. She had never been here but she had heard enough about it. It was an exclusive retreat of the rich and famous. "Is this where we are having supper?" she asked incredulously.
Clark smiled. "Actually…" he said pulling an envelope from his suit pocket, "since the first anniversary is paper…" He handed the envelope to Lois who looked at him briefly remembering the envelope that was in her purse. She opened it and saw that it was a letter confirming their reservations here for the night.
"How did you manage this? We certainly aren't famous enough to qualify to get reservations here. Are we?"
"Well, Superman paid the owner a little visit and explained that it was our first wedding anniversary and, in exchange for taking his kids flying, was told that we could come for the night."
"Be sure to remind me to thank Superman later."
"Oh, you can thank Superman any time you want," responded Clark.
'Huh,' she thought just before her mind went blank as Clark's lips found hers for one more passionate kiss.
Tempus sat back in the comfortable executive chair in his office on the top floor of the LNN building. Well, it was not exactly as he had planned it but it wasn't bad. He had managed to come here using a one-time time travel device. It gave you one trip to another time and then back again at the end. But if he played the trip right, he would find that, when he returned, enough would have changed to make him a free man. He had actually planned to get to Lois Lane before Clark Kent even showed up in Metropolis but things had taken longer than he anticipated. But the good news was that he didn't think anyone knew where or, more accurately, when he was.
Tempus had arrived in Metropolis with the intention of blackmailing Lex Luthor into giving him the job of executive producer of LNN. He had read enough books about Lex Luthor to know where all the bodies were buried. He was also smart enough to know that no one blackmailed Luthor and lived long afterwards but then he just needed enough time to put his plan into action. It was a simple plan really. Get Lois Lane away from the Daily Planet before Clark Kent showed up. He figured this would result in a number of changes in history. First, he figured that without being in love with a woman who was constantly throwing herself in harm's way, Clark Kent might well never invent Superman. However, even if he did, the fact that he did not meet, fall in love with, and marry Lois would certainly change history since it was their descendants who created Utopia. So, when he had been taken from the asylum in Lois and Clark's time back to the future to stand trial for what he had done, he had begun to plot his escape. He had tried to get his hands on a more elaborate time travel mechanism but had been limited in what he could get. So when he had found the return trip only device, he had taken the chance. After all, if he could change the future enough, he wouldn't have to worry about where he was going on his return trip.
He also figured that the thing about this plan that made it foolproof was that Lois Lane and Clark Kent were not yet acting as a team. So how could they stop him? He smiled to himself.
'If only it hadn't taken me so long to get in to see Luthor,' he thought. That was the one thing he hadn't counted on. He'd had difficulties getting in to see Luthor and since he had the single trip device, he had been unable to go back farther to correct it. It would have been far better to get to Lois before she met Clark. The history books all claimed that Clark had loved Lois from the moment they met. But Tempus was definitely skeptical about that. He didn't believe in love in the first place and certainly did not believe in love at first sight. But even if Clark did love Lois from the moment they met, the history books also made it clear that Lois didn't have the same immediate reaction to Clark. So, he figured that she could still be lured away and, without being around her, Clark would never be able to get her to fall in love with him.
After his supper meeting with Lois Lane today, he was confident that she would take him up on his offer. He would have been happier if he had been able to get an answer right then but figured that pressuring her would not be an effective tactic. Had she accepted immediately, he could have left for the future right then. That would certainly have given him a better chance of avoiding Luthor; but Luthor was known for being careful, so he figured he still had some time before he lowered the boom. By then, Tempus planned to be long gone. And the best part was that Lois Lane and Clark Kent would never even know the difference.
Clark had prepared coffee for his two unexpected guests. He was still trying to recover from the feel of Lois Lane kissing him. Of course, Mr. Wells didn't know about that although he certainly did notice the looks that Clark was giving Lois. So did she. She knew the look well but also knew that she shouldn't be seeing it in the eyes of Clark Kent back this soon. She chastised herself severely for kissing him. But even now, that was her most natural response to the way he was looking at her.
"So you think that this Tempus character is influencing decisions over at LNN?"
"That's exactly what I think, Clark. I was never offered a position as anchor at LNN. The only possible explanation is that Tempus has come back here and is changing the past."
"But since that has already happened, wouldn't you have a memory of it?"
Both Lois and Clark looked at HG Wells who was shaking his head slowly. "It takes time for changes in the past to affect the future. Not a lot of time, but time. As soon as this development occurred, I brought Lois with me into the past. Since this is not her time, because she is outside time really, her memories will not be affected by changes in the past until she returns to her own time. Just as the Lois Lane who went to the future will notice changes to what she sees in the future. But the Clark of the future will not see those changes. He will simply remember things differently. However, now that the younger Lois is exploring the future, Tempus will not get his answer until she returns. That means that we have some time to track him down.
"The younger Lois is exploring the future?" Clark asked. "If she…"
"Clark, I'm sorry but I couldn't think of any other way to get her or me to turn down the job. She has to understand what's at stake here." She gently placed a hand up to his cheek and said softly, "You already do."
"So what do you want from me?"
"Clark, I know about Superman," Lois said quietly, looking directly into Clark's eyes.
"Superman's gone Lois," Clark replied just as softly.
Lois nodded. Clark had told her what had happened with Lex Luthor when he first appeared as Superman and how he had brought him back because of her comments about the world needing what Superman stood for and that whatever he could do to help was enough. She realized that she couldn't interfere with that so she didn't tell him that he brought Superman back. Instead, she simply nodded.
Clark looked at her for a long moment before asking, "Should I continue being Superman?" She knew the future. She could tell him.
"I can't help you there, Clark. You will have to work that question out for yourself. If I give you the answer it could change the future and we can't risk that." He simply nodded.
"So then, what do you want from me?"
"I need your help, Clark, to send Tempus back to his own time where he is waiting to stand trial. Even if there is no Superman, I know what your powers are and I know that we can't do this without you. I need you, Clark. Your family needs you." She immediately placed a hand on her stomach and then looked quickly down realizing that she had probably said too much. When she looked back up, she could see the question in his eyes but thankfully, he refrained from asking it.
Clark caught the word 'family'. Were they married? Did they have children? He didn't even know if he could have children. He wanted so badly to ask but knew that he couldn't. He knew that she was afraid of changing the future and from the way that she looked at him, he shared that fear. If the future held a Lois Lane in it that looked at him the way this one did, then he didn't want to do anything that would jeopardize that.
"I'll help in any way I can," he said quietly.
Lois let out a short breath and smiled at him. "Thanks, Clark."
It was late so they decided that they would meet first thing in the morning to try to track down Tempus. They were about to leave when Lois stopped and turned to Wells. "Mr. Wells," she said softly, "I'm staying here."
"But my dear…"
Lois grabbed his sleeve and pulled him to the side. "Don't listen," she demanded looking seriously at Clark for a moment. He looked disappointed but nodded and walked back into his apartment making a concentrated effort not to listen. "Look, Mr. Wells, if we don't stop Tempus, I lose Clark. I can't leave him now. It may be all we have."
Mr. Wells looked like he was about to object but closed his mouth. How could he drag her away? Lois handed him the keys to her apartment and he said that he would return about seven. As he was leaving he looked at Lois and said simply, "Don't do anything that will change the future, my dear."
She nodded and smiled a sad smile. That was exactly what she wanted to do right now but he was right. They might get away with it, but there was a good chance that it would change the future. One of the reasons that they had managed to make it to their wedding night before making love had been that Clark hadn't known what he was missing. For that matter, neither had she. If they did make love, that would change. She knew that in the final months of their engagement, it had taken every ounce of self-control she had possessed to keep from sleeping with Clark. If either of them had had any less willpower, they never would have made it. This wasn't a big concern to her but now that she knew that she could get pregnant, if they had started sleeping together sooner and she got pregnant, then it would certainly change the future. No, the future was far too delicate to play around with. She only wished that she had fallen in love with and married Clark the day that they had met. It would make tonight so much easier.
She turned back around and walked slowly back into Clark's apartment. "I hope it's okay, Clark, but I sent Mr. Wells on alone. I want to stay here tonight if that's okay." She didn't look at Clark as she said this.
"That's okay, Lois. I understand."
She stopped and looked at him seriously for a moment. "Were you listening?" she finally asked.
Clark smiled and shook his head. "No, but I think I have things figured out. Well, sort of at least. You come from a time in the future when you love me." She looked down. "I know that look, Lois. It's the way you currently look at Superman. Actually, this look is even deeper then the way you look at Superman. Now you are here trying to stop the future from being changed and I think the reason you are so scared…"
She looked up at that. She hadn't said anything about being scared but she was. What amazed her was how well he already understood her, at least, the younger her.
"…is because you're afraid that whatever is going on between us will be destroyed. You want to stay here tonight, I would guess, because you want to spend as much time with me as possible before that happens. Am I right?"
She nodded slightly but didn't speak for a moment. "But, Clark, we can't do anything here that might change the future."
He nodded briefly and then broke out into a wide grin and said, "Well then let's go dancing. Surely there is nothing in that which will change the future."
"Clark, it's eleven o'clock at night."
"So," he said grabbing her coat and holding it out for her. She laughed and slipped it on.
"Dancing? Well, I guess dancing is harmless enough."
He opened the door and she stepped outside. He picked her up in his arms and flew her to a club to go dancing. "I've wanted to fly with you as Clark since the moment we first met," he said.
She simply smiled.
Lois and Clark had spent most of the afternoon lounging around the indoor pool in the Hotel Roberge. It was a long pool that snaked through the trees and shrubs that had been planted along the sides giving the bathers a large degree of privacy. Lois and Clark swam and wrestled in the water like a couple of kids. At first Lois had felt a little odd but in no time she was attacking Clark as often as he would attack her. Sharing touch for touch and kiss for kiss. They laughed and talked and then spent time just enjoying each other's company in silence.
They were lounging by the side of the pool when Lois said, "Clark, was that Brad Pitt?"
Clark smiled and growled, "Watch it, Lane."
She laughed at him and said, "I was just thinking if he is here, maybe we should try to get an interview."
"Okay, but it seems to me that I heard that Julia Roberts was also staying here. Maybe I'll look at getting an interview with her while you conduct one with Brad Pitt."
"Forget it," Lois said immediately. She was surprised at how much she didn't like the thought of Clark interviewing a beautiful woman. But then she had been annoyed when Dr. Baines had hit on him and she had hated it when Cat Grant hit on him. 'I'm jealous,' she thought in amazement.
Clark laughed softly and then moved over close to her and said, "The only beautiful woman for me is the one lying right here beside me." With that he leaned over and kissed her. She sighed beneath him and kissed him back, no longer worried about Dr. Baines, Cat Grant or even Julia Roberts.
Lois and Clark ate dinner and then went to their room and changed into something comfortable. Clark suggested a walk along the waterfront and Lois willingly agreed. Lois was really enjoying herself. She had never realized that Clark was such an interesting man. Her first assessment of him as a simple farm boy was obviously a mistake. This was as deep and rich a man as she had ever met.
They walked along the beach. Clark had taken her hand in his as they began to walk and they just walked in silence for a while. Lois was feeling more content then she could ever remember feeling. Finally, they came to a large rock on the edge of the water. Clark raised himself up on the rock and sat down, pulling Lois up after him and moving her between his legs with her back pressed against him. He wrapped his arms around her and just sat there with her in his arms.
She lightly ran her fingers along his arms pulling them tight around her and snuggling back comfortably into him. She sighed and closed her eyes reveling in the feeling of being so close to him. They sat that way without either of them saying anything for a time. Finally, Lois broke the silence. "Why do you love me, Clark?" she asked so quietly that she wasn't certain he would even hear her but he did.
"You know why, Lois."
"Tell me again." She felt him nod behind her and take a deep breath before speaking.
"What do I love about Lois Lane? Well, where do I start? I love her mind. She is absolutely brilliant. She can take any problem and after thinking about it for a time, and of course, consuming a great quantity of chocolate, find a solution. I love the way she dives into things without thinking about the consequences if she thinks she can get to the truth or find a way to help. I love the way she goes off on a tangent when she is nervous or scared or frustrated or excited. I love the way she is able, with just a look, to completely devastate my heart or lift it to the highest heavens. I love the way she never gives up when she wants something. I love her heart even though she tries to hide it behind that tough reporter image. I love her compassion and love of truth. I love the way she puts everything she is into everything she does. I love the way she protects and defends Superman. I love the way she can be so strong sometimes and so vulnerable at other times. I love the way she touches me and looks at me and kisses me. I love the way she makes me feel when I look at her. I love…"
She interrupted him then. "What don't you love about me?"
He laughed softly. "There is only one thing I don't love about you. I don't love the way you are always putting yourself in danger. But, since more than half of the danger you find yourself in is because of me, I guess I can live with that. Besides, if you feared putting yourself in jeopardy, you never would have agreed to marry me. And I am so glad that you did. Lois, I would be lost without you. You are my life. You are my soulmate." His arms tightened around her and she felt him sigh behind her. She felt tears running down her own face. He really did know her and love her for herself. It was the very things that had scared other men off that he loved about her.
"So what do you want, Clark?"
"I have everything I want right here in my arms," Clark said softly. She turned so that she could see him.
"What about children?"
He sighed. "Lois, I know how you feel about that." She hoped he would continue because she wasn't at all sure how she would feel about it. "I would love to have children with you but even if we can't, I wouldn't trade what we have right here, right now, for someone I could have a hundred children with. I know how badly you want to have a baby and if that happens… But, Lois, I have never doubted that some day we will have the opportunity to have children of our own regardless of what the doctors tell us." He leaned over and kissed her lightly.
She suddenly understood the sad look on the face of her older self. This was obviously something that they both desperately wanted and didn't think they could have. Now her older self was being denied the opportunity to tell Clark. Actually that wasn't quite true; she was determined to remember every moment of telling him. That way, in the future, she would still have all those memories. She leaned back in his arms and sighed.
"I love you, Clark," she said softly. The admission almost surprised her. It seemed so natural to say but even as she said it, she realized that it was true. Whatever happened, she had to see that this future continued. She now knew that she would never accept the job with LNN. Her place was with this man who loved her more than she ever thought anyone could ever love her.
Clark smiled and tightened his arms around her. "What do you love about me, Lois?" he asked quietly.
"I love the way you love me, Clark," she said softly.
When they got back to the hotel room, Lois started getting nervous. More and more she found herself thinking about what would happen when they returned to the room and was finding that the idea was not exactly unpleasant to her. As they walked into the room, she suddenly found that she couldn't find anything to say. She was searching her mind for something casual to say when Clark suddenly swept her up in his arms and kissed her as he walked them toward the bedroom. She felt like she was losing her mind to the feelings that were overtaking her body. She was quickly approaching the point of no return. Clark laid her down on the bed still kissing her. Finally, his lips left hers briefly. He was about to bend down to kiss her again when she placed a hand on his chest and said softly, "No, Clark." He stopped and after a moment she looked into his eyes in fear. Would he be angry? But what she saw there surprised her. There was no anger but only concern, curiosity, and love.
He moved back and sat down on the bed beside her. She also pulled herself up into a sitting position. "What's going on, Lois?" he asked softly. When she didn't answer, he reached over and gently placed a hand under her chin and lifted her face to look into her eyes. "Something has been bothering you since I arrived at the brownstone this afternoon. How about telling me what it is?"
She looked at him in amazement. How had he known? "It's just… Oh, Clark. You don't have any idea how much I want to do this but… I don't want my first time with you to be based on a misconception." He was looking confused so she pushed ahead. "I am actually >from the past. The Lois of your time is back there now dealing with some changes in time." She could hardly believe how ridiculous this sounded. He was never going to buy this. He would think she was having some sort of nervous breakdown. She looked into his eyes seriously trying to figure out how to explain this to him when suddenly the confusion in Clark's eyes was replaced by humor. He began to laugh. "I'm serious, Clark."
"Oh, it's not that. I know you are and I believe you." She looked at him in disbelief. "I had almost come to think it was a dream. But back shortly after I arrived in Metropolis, I got a visit from two guests. One was a strange little… It was HG Wells. I never made the connection until now. The other one was you. You told me that you were from the future and needed my help against a man named Tempus. You also told me that the Lois Lane I knew was visiting the future. You never told me exactly when you were from so I never knew. Then with the passage of time, it felt more like a dream then reality." Clark's face suddenly broke into a wide grin. "So I guess this isn't an option for tonight," he gestured to the bed and Lois blushed. "Well, then if you'll excuse me, I think I need a cold shower, and then when I come back, I'd really appreciate an explanation."
Lois merely nodded. This was almost unbelievable. Not only did he believe her but he wasn't angry. She couldn't even imagine any of her previous boyfriends reacting like this and this wasn't a boyfriend. This was her husband and this was their first anniversary.
When Clark came back, Lois was sitting on the couch. She smiled as he entered. He sat down on the couch beside her, drying his hair with a towel. "So, how about you tell me why you're here?"
She nodded but then looked confused. "But if you had a visit from me, surely you already know that."
"Well, it was a long time ago and, like I said, I thought it was a dream, so I don't remember it too clearly."
She nodded and then filled him in on what she knew. She told him about the offer from LNN and how her older self had suggested that she see what the future was like before making a decision to take the job.
"So, have you decided yet?" he asked nervously.
She looked at him hearing the tremor in his voice and nodded. He looked terrified. She reached over and touched his cheek lightly and said quietly, "I'm going to turn down the job." He let out a shaky breath and closed his eyes. She leaned over at that and kissed him lightly. His arms automatically went around her and pulled her close to him.
"I love you, Lois," he said softly.
"I know," she replied.
They sat this way for a while and then Lois pulled back. He looked at her and she smiled shyly. "I almost forgot. I have an anniversary present for you." He looked at her in disbelief. "My older self asked that I give you something. She said it is important to try to keep things in the future the same. Apparently, before Tempus started changing the past, I gave you this on our first anniversary so she told me that giving this to you was now my job. As you said, the first anniversary is paper so…" She got up and went over to her purse. Clark sat up as she returned. He looked at her in curiosity. She handed him an envelope and slowly sat down next to him, watching him intently. He looked into her eyes briefly before he turned his attention to the envelope and opened it. He took out a single sheet of paper and looked at it. Lois smiled as she watched his eyes fill up with tears. He looked over at her as if to confirm what he was reading.
"Are we…" She nodded. "Really?" She smiled and nodded again. He sat in stunned silence for a moment and then he had her in his arms. His lips found hers in the tenderest kiss she had ever experienced. She responded to him. He pulled back, looked deeply into her eyes and said softly "We're going to have a baby?"
"Yes, Clark. We are." His face broke into the widest grin she thought she had ever seen.
"Wow!!" he said breathlessly. She laughed. "When? How long have you known? Have you seen a doctor? Well, of course you've seen a doctor. Otherwise you wouldn't have this. What did she say? Tell me everything. Are you feeling okay? I mean I haven't noticed you getting sick in the morning or anything like that. Is that normal? Do you think…"
"Clark, I thought I was the one who went off on tangents." She was enjoying seeing this. The Clark she knew was always in control but this had completely overwhelmed him. "Unfortunately, I only know as much as you do. You are going to have to wait till the older me gets back to get your questions answered."
He nodded seriously. "Right, sorry. I sort of forgot." Then he looked concerned. "I suppose I shouldn't have kissed you. I just…"
She placed a hand on his chest and said softly "I'd have had second thoughts about that job at LNN if you hadn't." He smiled at her in response.
Clark looked at her for a moment. "So how exactly does this work?" he asked. "I mean you look like my wife. Did you cut your hair to come here or…"
Lois laughed. "Well this is going to sound nuts but given how today has gone so far I guess I might as well tell you. The Lois from this time and I switched bodies."
"So then you are in the body of my wife?" She nodded so Clark continued, "That means that you are…"
"The one that's pregnant? Yes I guess so."
Clark glanced at her stomach. "Do you mind?" He asked softly pointing at her stomach. She laughed and nodded. He laid his head gently against her stomach. He closed his eyes and sighed. He could already hear what sounded almost like a butterfly inside her. It was the most incredible sound he had ever heard.
Lois gently stroked his hair as he held his head to her abdomen. She could hardly believe how incredible it was to know that there was a life growing inside her. It was fantastic to think that she could give this very sweet man such an incredible gift. She almost laughed when she realized that this life was from a man that she had never even slept with.
"Do you hear anything?" she finally asked.
"No," he lied. He knew no normal human would be able to hear anything yet. It was only his superhearing that allowed him to experience this wonder without the benefit of machines.
"Well don't be too disappointed. I would have been surprised if you could." He just smiled in response.
They talked for the next hour. It started out with baby talk but went on to other topics from there. She told him things that she hadn't ever told anyone. Although he had already heard most of it, he listened with interest. When it got to be time for bed he told her that he would sleep on the couch. She was silent for a moment and then said in a tentative voice "I'd really like it if instead you would let me sleep in your arms tonight." Clark smiled and nodded. That was definitely something he could do.
Lois and Clark reentered his apartment. They had spent half the night dancing. Lois thought that they really should have gotten some sleep but she couldn't seem to tear herself away from Clark's arms. He was absolutely soaking up having her there. Feeling her so close to him. She wanted to make this night memorable so that he would have it to keep him going during the rough times she knew lay in front of him. There had been so many times that she wished she could go back and save him from all the pain she had caused him. This was as close as she would ever get to doing that. When they entered his apartment, she took a deep breath.
He turned on the lights and then came over to her and tentatively took her in his arms again and without speaking, began to dance with her to a tune only they could hear. She sighed against him and pulled him even closer to her. He looked down at her and bent his head slightly. She met him half way and they kissed. When the kiss parted, she looked down and bit her lip. "Clark," she said softly, "nothing can happen here tonight." He released her reluctantly and stepped away. He looked down as she continued. "It's just… This isn't how things happened and if we do this, we will be changing the future." He nodded slightly but didn't look at her. She reached over and raised his head to look into his eyes, smiled shyly and said, "but I'd really like it if you would let me sleep in your arms tonight." Clark smiled and nodded. That was definitely something he could do.
Lois and Clark awoke to the sound of HG Wells knocking on the door. They got up sleepily and answered it. Both looked a little disheveled given the fact that they had slept in their clothes. But they had at least spent the night in each other's arms. HG Wells took in their appearance but refrained from commenting. They got down to business quickly. They decided that they should make an appearance at the Daily Planet. From there they could use the computers to find out if there was someone named Tempus working for LNN. First, Lois wanted to go back to her place to get changed and have a shower.
HG Wells sent them to the Daily Planet by themselves. He said that there was something that he wanted to check out.
Lois and Clark arrived at the Planet and were poring over the computers when Perry came in. "So are you two on to something?"
"Maybe, Perry," Lois said. "Can you give us a little slack today? I think if you do, we may be able to get you something."
"As long as it has to do with Superman."
Lois and Clark looked at each other for a moment. "Of course, Perry," Lois lied evenly. Clark looked at her with disapproval as Perry walked away. "Don't give me that look, Clark. It's not like you never lied about Superman." He looked down. She ran her hand lightly through his hair and then remembering that they were in public and that this would seem odd at this point in their relationship, she removed her hand. She looked around but fortunately no one seemed to notice. Just then Cat Grant approached.
"Hi there," she said to Clark in her throaty voice. Lois looked down and smiled slightly. She had forgotten about the fact that Cat was constantly hitting on Clark.
"Hi, Cat," Clark said absently as he continued to study the computer screen. Lois moved away slightly. She had wondered at the time if there was something going on between Clark and Cat. Now that she knew the truth, she was interested in seeing the interaction again.
"So," said Cat, "when are we going to finish that business we started a week ago at my apartment?"
"Nothing happened at your apartment a week ago, Cat," Clark said in exasperation. "And I'd really appreciate it if you would stop spreading rumors."
"They don't have to be rumors, Clark." She ran her hand over his shoulder but stopped when she saw the look on his face. Lois bit her lip and looked down. She then decided to put Clark out of his misery and walked back over.
"Do you mind taking this up later, Cat? We're trying to work here."
"Maybe Clark would like a little company. God knows he's not going to get it from you." Lois bristled. Oh yeah. She remembered this.
Lois and Clark had been investigating for hours. They decided that their best bet was that Tempus would be a recent employee of LNN in a position to offer her the position of anchorwoman at LNN. Either that or he was in a position to influence someone at LNN. "Or he could have gotten to Luthor himself," Clark said. He immediately noticed the look of horror that crossed Lois' face.
"What is it, Lois?" She just shook her head. "Is it Luthor?" She looked down. "Lois, I already know that Luthor isn't what he appears to be so…"
"It's not that, Clark. It's just…" She paused. He had to be told that Tempus knew about Superman's identity. With that decided, she looked at him again and said "Clark, Tempus knows the connection between you and Superman and if he tells Luthor…" She didn't finish. She didn't have to.
"We'll deal with it, Lois."
They decided to start with recent employees of LNN. They made a list and then got on the phone and made an appointment with each of the men on the list. What they didn't know, couldn't know, was that Tempus had never filed employment records. He wasn't interested in the money and figured that if he didn't file the records, it would make it harder if anyone tried to track him. He didn't think anyone would be able to place him but there was no point in taking chances, especially if that nosey little man in the bowler hat found out that he was missing.
Lois and Clark, therefore, spent an unproductive day meeting with executives at LNN. Each of the meetings were very short. Lois pretended to merely be getting more information about the job she had been offered. However, since there were no new executives going by the name 'Tempus', she had to see each one of them. Once she would be asked into an office she would instantly know this wasn't the man and so the meetings were short and to the point. The executives all indicated to her that they were anxious to work with her. She would thank them politely but was sincerely hoping that would not be the case.
Lois was kicking herself for never asking her younger self for the name of the man who had offered her the job. She had foolishly assumed that he would be going by the name Tempus. But then her younger self probably would not have been inclined to give her the man's name or phone number in case that might tempt her to call and turn down the job.
Tempus had been waiting anxiously for Lois to call all morning. She had made it clear that she would give him an answer first thing in the morning. When noon rolled around and he still hadn't heard from her, he knew that he had to up the anti. Fortunately, he already had a plan. He just had to set it in motion. He smiled. Lois would wish she had taken him up on his offer in the first place. Of course, she would never know.
Lois and Clark walked into the newsroom in the morning holding hands. Lois looked a little shy when she walked into the familiar newsroom with Clark but no one seemed to take any notice of the fact that they were holding hands. They had obviously seen it more than enough previously.
Lois had awakened before Clark. At first, she didn't know where she was. She had slept more soundly then she ever remembered and was at first startled to see Clark sleeping beside her. However, it only took a moment for everything to come back to her. She lay beside him, looking at him and trying to digest everything when he finally stirred. He woke up and saw her watching him and smiled. She was again captivated by the amount of love she could see in his eyes. She immediately smiled back and then looked down shyly biting her lip slightly. This was all so overwhelming.
Clark had told her that Superman had offered to fly them back to work this morning. He was fairly certain that she had not yet figured out that he was Superman and now that he knew when she came from, decided that it was probably best that she didn't. If anything had the power to affect the future it was that.
During the ride back, Lois had asked Superman about her relationship with Clark. Superman had only smiled and said that he had been very happy for both of them when they had fallen in love and that he knew that she was meant to be with Clark. She smiled slightly but there was a little sadness in the smile as well. Clark found that he was seriously tempted to tell her the truth but knew that was not an option.
When they arrived at the Planet, Perry White approached them. "So did you two have a good anniversary celebration last night?" They smiled and Lois blushed slightly pushing her hair behind her ear.
"It was great, Chief" Clark said. Perry just grinned at them as they headed over to their respective desks.
They began working on the story that Lois and Clark had been working on before the older Lois had left for the past. Clark brought Lois up to speed on what they were doing and soon she was right into it. She was amazed that she was seriously enjoying having Clark as a partner. She had always hated having a partner. But working with Clark was actually fun. He had a great mind and never tried to compete with her. He listened and appreciated her ideas, even some of the more outrageous ones.
As the day was ending and they were completing the story, Lois suddenly put a hand to her head and grabbed the edge of the desk. The dizzy sensation only lasted a moment. She knew instantly that something had just happened to the past. She let out a breath when she saw Clark was still there. She looked at his hand and then her own. They still wore matching wedding rings. Okay. Then things were still intact. Still, she jumped when she heard an unfamiliar voice.
"Who's that?" Lois asked.
"That's David Sheldon. He became Editor-in-Chief after Perry died."
"Clark, Perry's not dead."
"Sure he is. He died years ago, Lois."
"No, Clark. He was here when we arrived this morning."
"That's impossible, Lois. He died shortly after I started working at the Daily Planet."
They looked at each other for a moment before Lois whispered, "Omigod!! Clark, I knew it. I knew Tempus had done something to the past."
"If that's true, why would you remember?"
"I don't know. Maybe it has something to do with my being out of my time. I am from a time before this change happened so I can remember it."
They were silent for a moment. Clark looked down trying to grasp this information. When he looked up there were tears running down Lois' cheeks. He immediately understood. To her, Perry had just died. He knew what the relationship was between Lois and Perry. He was more like a father to Lois then her own had ever been. He got up and took her in his arms and let her cry against him. She wrapped her arms around his waist and allowed herself to be comforted.
When she had calmed down, he led Lois into the conference room and they sat down silently. Lois finally broke the silence. "I think you should tell me what everyone we know is doing now so that I can keep track of any other changes that might happen. Clark, why would he kill Perry?"
"I don't know. Maybe we should try to figure it out."
"What good would that do?"
"Well, maybe there is something we can do to correct any changes he might make."
"That won't bring Perry back," Lois said dejectedly.
He reached over and gently took her hand and said softly, "No, but maybe we can make sure that Tempus doesn't get away with whatever he is trying to do. We have to keep the future as stable as possible. Not only for us but for that child you're carrying." She put a protective hand over her stomach.
"What does he want, Clark?"
"I don't know but if I had to venture a guess, I'd say that he is trying to keep you and I from ever falling in love. At least, I would assume that's the case since he offered you a job at LNN. But why Perry? That I don't understand at all."
"Why would he care if you and I get together?" Clark looked down. How could he explain this to her without telling her that he was Superman?
"Lois, there are certain things that I can't tell you. Trust me, I want to, but you can't know them yet. That could cause as much of an effect on the future as your taking a job at LNN. But trust me when I tell you that destroying us, what we have together, would affect what I know of the future. At least Tempus has always believed that it would." He stopped and looked down. He couldn't tell her about Superman's decedents founding Utopia because what would that have to do with Lois Lane and Clark Kent? "Let's just say that Tempus has always had two goals: to have power and to destroy us."
"There is more to it then that isn't there, Clark?"
Lois merely nodded in response. "Okay. Tell me what is currently happening with the people we know." He did.
He had just finished bringing her up to date when there was a knock at the conference room door. They looked up just as HG Wells pushed the door open and stepped into the room.
"Mr. Wells," Clark said, "I take it you are the one who took my Lois into the past and brought this Lois here."
"I see she's told you, my boy. Well, good. I need to get some information from Ms. Lane that may help."
"Mr. Wells, you should know that Perry is dead."
"Oh no," gasped HG Wells.
"Do you have any idea why he would kill Perry White?"
"No, I haven't the foggiest notion. Well, that makes stopping him quickly more important then ever. Ms. Lane, who did you meet with when you were offered the job at LNN? We have to try to locate him quickly. Once we find him, taking him back to the future shouldn't be too difficult since we now have the younger Clark working with us in the past to find Tempus." Clark looked down. He hoped that HG Wells would be careful. After all, he didn't want Lois putting the pieces together about his secret identity just yet. Lois, however, didn't seem to notice.
"His name was Kirk Paxton. He was, I don't know, a bit more boisterous then most executives seem to be. I think the reason that I didn't accept the job immediately was that he acted almost like he knew me, or something about me. It made me a little uncomfortable."
"Sounds like Tempus all right," said Clark.
"Well, good. Are you okay here a little bit longer, Ms. Lane? I really need to get this information back to the past."
Lois looked over at Clark and then said "I can stay here as long as you need, Mr. Wells." He glanced at the looks on both Lois and Clark's faces and then smiled. Lois looked over at Clark and then said, "I can stay here as long as you need, Mr. Wells." He glanced at the looks on both Lois and Clark's faces and smiled. As he was about to leave Clark suddenly got up and came over.
"Umm…" Clark began. He glanced over his shoulder at Lois. "Is the Lois from now… I mean… well my Lois, I guess… Is she all right?"
H.G. Wells looked at him in amusement. "Don't you remember my boy?"
Clark looked confused for a moment and then seemed to understand. "When exactly is she?" he finally asked.
H.G. Wells glanced over quickly at Lois to ensure that she couldn't hear before taking Clark's arm and whispering softly into his ear. "Do you remember the tests that Luthor put you through? The ones where you hung up you're Superman outfit for a few days."
Clark thought for a moment before nodding. "Is that when she is?"
H.G. Wells nodded.
Clark thought back for a moment before suddenly smiling. "We spent the night dancing," he said almost coyly. Then he thought for a moment more before adding, "We are currently trying to find Tempus. You're right. We need that information as quickly as possible. You better go."
Wells nodded but before leaving said, "If ever you want to know when she is, just think back." And with that he was gone.
Tempus sat back and smiled to himself. Killing Perry White was a stroke of sheer brilliance even if he did say so himself. He knew that he would never be able to get Perry White to fire Lois but his replacement had already agreed that in exchange for a large sum of money that Tempus was able to skim from LNN, he would certainly do it. Tempus knew that the Daily Planet would have to find a temporary editor in a hurry if anything happened to Perry White. He was the one most responsible for getting the newspaper out every day. Thus, he would have to be replaced, at least temporarily, immediately. Tempus had investigated to figure out who was most likely and found David Sheldon. Tempus had approached Sheldon with the proposition before he had even offered the job to Lois Lane. He wanted to be certain that there was no way she could turn down this job. He smiled. Well, now she would have no choice.
Lois and Clark were starting to get frustrated. They had talked to all the new executives at LNN and had found nothing. They had even managed to get in for a talk with Lex Luthor saying that they had heard that a new executive had been hired to run LNN. He had seemed surprised that they had heard this and asked what that had to do with what he knew was the Planet's number one priority, finding Superman. Lois had informed him that while that was still their top priority, they still had to get the other news in the city. Lex had been amazed that having a new executive at LNN could be news. He had then informed them that although he owned the station, he was not involved in the day to day running of it and therefore had no information for them.
When they left, Lois let out a breath. It had taken everything she had to adopt a congenial attitude toward Lex Luthor but it had to be done. As much as she might hate it, unless she almost married Luthor forcing Clark, Perry, and Jimmy to find a way to bring him down, the future would be changed. So she had managed to adopt a civil, almost friendly, manner toward him although the entire time, she felt like she was going to be sick.
When they walked out, Luthor looked at the closed door behind them. There had to be more to this story than they had told him and from Lois' description Luthor knew whom she was referring to. Finally, Lex put his finger on the intercom and demanded that his secretary get Nigel St. John immediately. He didn't know exactly what was going on but it was time to deal with the issue of Kirk Paxton.
As soon as Lois and Clark walked into the newsroom, they knew something was wrong. Everyone in the newsroom seemed upset.
"Jimmy," Lois said, spotting the young man heading across the floor carrying some pictures and looking distressed. "What's going on?"
Jimmy stopped and came over to them. "Haven't you heard? Perry White was killed. The police believe he was the victim of a mugging in the parking garage here at the Daily Planet."
"Omigod!!" gasped Lois. Clark caught her as she lost consciousness. When she came to, she was lying on the couch in Perry's office with both Clark and Jimmy looking at her in concern. "Could you get me a cold cloth, Jimmy?" Lois asked.
"Sure," Jimmy said glad to be doing something useful.
Lois waited until he left before saying to Clark. "This isn't supposed to happen, Clark."
"Are you sure?"
"Yes. Perry is still around in my time. He's still Editor-in-Chief at the Daily Planet and he's still a good friend."
"So why would Tempus want to kill Perry?" Lois just shook her head.
At that moment a messenger arrived at the door of Perry's office. "Are you Lois Lane?" he asked. She nodded. He handed her an envelope and asked her to sign the paper on his clipboard. She did. As he left she opened the envelope. Inside was a pink sip of paper. She slowly pulled it out. It was signed by the temporary editor of the Daily Planet. She looked at it briefly and then handed it to Clark.
"If I had to guess, I would say that Tempus killed Perry so that he could force me to take the job at LNN." Clark nodded.
Lois awoke in an unfamiliar room. She remembered falling asleep last night in Clark's arms. Now here she was in a different room with no sign of Clark Kent. 'Tempus!!' she thought angrily. 'He's changed the past.' She looked around the room trying to find a clue as to where she was. It was a beautiful room. Obviously a professional decorator had done this. But there was something almost sterile about it. There was no sign of a personal touch anywhere in the room. She recognized one or two things that were hers but that was all. 'Well,' she thought bitterly 'at least in this future, it appears that I have money. I must have taken that LNN job. So where or when am I now?' She got out of bed and grabbed a robe. It was silk. She shook her head as she robed and went to find out where she was and what had happened.
She walked down the hallway feeling the thick luxurious carpet beneath her feet. Finally, she saw movement coming from the dining room and entered. Lex Luthor was sitting at the table drinking coffee and reading the Wall Street Journal. He looked up briefly as she entered.
"Running a bit late are we, darling" Lex said casually although Lois could have sworn that she heard a touch of sarcasm in his voice.
"I guess," she said as casually as she could manage. He set down the paper and looked at her fully as she responded.
"What do you mean, 'I guess'? I think this is the most I have seen of you in the past couple of months. You get up before I do and are off to work before I am even out of bed even though you don't have to be there at all before noon. Then you get home after the evening news only to do it all the next day. I mean, it has never been much better but lately… When are you going to quit that damn job. It's not like we need the money."
"I like working, Lex," she said softly.
"You like working!!" His voice was dripping with sarcasm now. "Well, I'd like some children."
Lois looked down.
"What!! Nothing to say. Aren't you even going to remind me that we're both too busy to have children or that you want to wait for a few years because of your career? It's been over three years now, Lois. Maybe it's time that you reexamined your priorities." He looked at her in disgust as he got up and stormed from the room.
Lois sat in stunned silence. She had obviously married Lex Luthor. She thought back to her time with Clark; she had actually felt his excitement over her pregnancy. She had felt so content, been so happy. This was so different. From Lex' comments it was obvious that she didn't want children with him. In fact she actually seemed to be avoiding spending time with him. Now, well, obviously things had changed. She had to see Clark. She rushed to her room and got dressed before heading out for the Daily Planet. She wasn't exactly sure what she was going to do if he wasn't there but she knew that she had to find him.
Lois Lane Luthor entered the newsroom and looked around briefly. She saw Clark sitting at his desk writing something and she let out a sigh of relief. She had just made her way over to him when Jimmy approached. Clark looked up as he heard Jimmy say, "Hey, Lois. What has it been? Four years since we've seen you around here."
"Four years, three weeks, five days," Clark said so quietly that Jimmy didn't hear him. Lois did. She looked at him. He was staring blankly at the pad of paper in front of him and she felt her heart break. He knew, down to the day, the last time she had been at the Planet.
Jimmy, however, was talking on, oblivious. "So what? You decided to descend from the land of the rich and famous to see us poor slobs who are still scrounging for our supper?" This was said in jest but Lois could tell that her obviously abrupt departure and lack of contact thereafter had hurt him as well.
"I guess it has been a long time, Jimmy," she said softly. "I'm sorry."
"Oh hey, it's okay. Just don't make it so long the next time, okay."
She nodded. She felt like her heart was about to break so she excused herself saying that she would be back in a few minutes. Before she left, she asked Clark if she could talk to him when she returned. He looked at her briefly and she could see the pain that just seeing her was invoking in him. But he nodded and she left to try to regain her composure.
She went to the washroom and was splashing some cold water on her face when two women entered. "So how are you liking working at the Planet so far?" one of the women asked the other.
"I really like it. Mr. Sheldon is not the easiest man to work for though, is he?"
The first woman laughed and Lois was just about to leave when she heard something that caught her attention.
"Tell me, what's the deal with Clark Kent?"
Lois stopped and tried to look busy.
"That's what you and almost every other female staff member wants to know. He is absolutely gorgeous and almost everyone of us, including me, have tried to get his attention over the years but without success. It seems that he never even dates."
"Do you think he's gay?"
Lois tried to cover the gasp that escaped from her by coughing. The women looked over at her briefly and then continued.
"I suppose it's a possibility and that rumor has circulated from time to time but he doesn't seem interested in men either. I tend to go with the other theory."
"What other theory?"
"Well, apparently there was a reporter here when he first started at the Planet that is said to have broken his heart."
Lois closed her eyes briefly. She concentrated on keeping her breathing steady. She figured that she must have decided to take the offer with LNN back four years ago. But if that was true, it meant that Clark Kent had been in love with her even then. Even now, in her time. Well, unless it wasn't her they were talking about.
"So who was this woman?" Lois moved slightly closer. That is what she wanted to know, too.
"I heard that it was that woman who anchors the evening news on LNN. Oh what's her name?"
"Lois Lane Luthor"
"Yeah that's right."
"Well, maybe I'll still take my chances with Clark Kent. After all, a guy as sweet as that can't be left to live with a broken heart for the rest of his life. It would be a waste." The other woman nodded as the two left the washroom.
Lois leaned against the vanity and tried to digest what she had just learned. In her time, she didn't give Clark much more than the time of day but still… still… Wow!! Was it really possible that he was in love with her even now and that losing her was still causing him so much pain that he wasn't even dating. She let out a slow breath and when she had steadied herself sufficiently, walked back into the newsroom and over to Clark Kent.
When she walked over she noticed that Clark was still working on the same document he had been looking at when she first came in but Lois didn't think he had added two words to it. He was just sitting staring at the paper in front of him, pen in hand. When she arrived at his desk, he didn't look up although she noticed that his breathing had changed and the hand holding the pen was now clenched tightly around it. "Can we talk in the conference room, Clark?" she asked softly. He still didn't look at her. He just nodded and got up and silently headed for the conference room. When they arrived, he immediately took a seat, still not meeting her eyes. She closed the door, took a deep breath and sat down beside him.
"What do you want, Lois?" There was no anger in the words although Lois could hear an extraordinary amount of pain. She swallowed. This was going to be a lot tougher then she had imagined. He was going to think she had lost her mind. He was never going to believe her.
Finally, she said in a shaky voice "I've got a problem, Clark, and I need your help." He looked up at her then and she saw the pain in his eyes had immediately been replaced by concern.
"Is everything okay, Lois?"
She smiled sadly. "No, Clark, it isn't." She was silent for a moment and then said tentatively. "I need your help but I'm scared you will think I'm crazy so…" Her voice trailed off.
He reached over and laid his hand gently over hers. She looked up into his eyes and felt hers tear up as he said gently, "Talk to me, Lois."
She nodded and then began. "Clark, something is wrong. Someone has been changing the past. I'm not supposed to be married to Lex Luthor. I'm supposed to be married to…" she looked down again and then said very quietly, "you". She stopped at that expecting him to laugh or leave or do something but he just sat there quietly waiting for her to continue. "I am from the past. I don't exactly understand how I got here except that I was brought here to see the future, our future, by a man named HG Wells. Apparently, there was a man named Tempus who was changing the past by trying to get me to leave the Daily Planet. I don't know how, but somehow he must have succeeded because… Well, last night I fell asleep in your arms and then this morning I woke up in Luthor's…" she trailed off. This sounded crazy. He would never believe her. She wasn't even sure that she believed it herself.
Finally, she summoned all her courage and looked up to meet his gaze. What she saw there was incredible. He almost seemed relieved.
As Clark listened to Lois, everything suddenly seemed to make perfect sense. He had thought it must have been a dream but now… The Lois Lane who had come from the future and had danced with him, kissed him and spent the night in his arms had told him the same thing. Yet here was Lois again confirming it. He hadn't seen Lois again since that night. She had gone to work for LNN and that was the end of their association. He had called and left dozens of messages but she had never returned his calls. He had tried going to LNN but had been consistently denied access. He had done everything he could think of to try to see her but had failed. That was the same time that Superman had disappeared and never been resurrected so he didn't even have that with her anymore. Then she had married Luthor and his world had come crashing down. Now here she was again.
"How can I help?" he asked quietly. Lois gave him a relieved smile and tears began to flow freely down her cheeks. Clark handed her his handkerchief and she took it gratefully.
"I don't think there is anything that we can do here. At least, I can't think of anything. But Clark… I'm scared." His grip on her hand tightened.
HG Wells stood outside Clark's apartment. He had meant to come back yesterday as soon as he had the information and was certain that he had keyed the proper coordinates into the machine but he had arrived 24 hours late. He stared at the machine in his hands as he absentmindedly knocked on the door. The door swung open and standing inside was an exasperated looking Lois Lane.
"Where have you been?" she asked pulling him in to the apartment. "Since you left, Perry White has been killed and been replaced by a David Sheldon. I've been fired and we still have no idea where Tempus is."
"I'm so sorry, Ms. Lane, but I seem to be having some problems with this new machine." He looked down in frustration at the offending device before continuing. "I knew about Perry White but I had no idea that you had been fired."
"So where have you been?" Lois demanded.
"I went to the future to ask you who had offered you the job at LNN."
Lois and Clark looked at him hopefully.
"You told me that Kirk Paxton, the executive producer at LNN, had offered you the job and from your description, it sounds like Tempus."
"So, that tells us how to find Tempus," Clark said relieved. "But what do we do about Mr. White?"
"Well, first things first, Clark. I think we have to stop Tempus and send him back to the future and then we can use this contraption, assuming that I can get it working properly, to save Perry." Lois and Clark both nodded and grabbed their coats.
"Why don't we see what we can do about locating Tempus and you work on fixing that device? Stay here and we will contact you as soon as we have Tempus," said Lois as she and Clark headed for the door. HG Wells just nodded and watched them leave before settling down and opening the back of the device in his hand.
Tempus was down in the parking garage as Lois and Clark arrived at the front of the LNN building. He was heading out for lunch. He was feeling very pleased with himself. All he had to do now was wait for that phone call from Lois Lane accepting his offer and he could leave for what promised to be a very different future. He was sort of surprised that he hadn't heard from her already but it was just a matter of time. After all, what choice did she have now? He decided that if he hadn't heard from her by tonight, he would leave anyway. After all, she was no longer working at the Daily Planet so the future should already have changed. But he wanted the extra security of having her established in a different position before he left.
However, if he hadn't heard from her by tonight, he would leave anyway. The longer he stayed the greater the chances that Luthor would exact his revenge. It was prudent to leave tonight and although he didn't usually do what was prudent, he decided that he didn't have the guts to stand up to Luthor for long.
He pulled onto the mountain road and began making his way along the curves when he suddenly realized that he didn't have any brakes. He pumped furiously but to no avail. 'Luthor!!' he fumed.
The car plunged over the cliff and burst into flames upon impact.
Lois and Clark had gone back to the Planet when they heard that Kirk Paxton had gone to lunch. They would go back again after lunch. While they were there, Lois heard a report come over the police scanner that caught her attention. She had a feeling about this. She grabbed Clark who, if truth be told, thought he was being taken on a wild goose chase. However, he was incapable of saying no to this woman so he allowed himself to be taken to the police station. The police confirmed that although the damage was too extensive and the fire was still not completely out, the car had been the property of LNN and was currently being used by the new executive producer, Kirk Paxton. They had also confirmed that it was the car that Kirk Paxton had used to go to lunch at a restaurant in that direction earlier today. They didn't know yet whether there had been foul play but were confident that Kirk Paxton was dead. No one could have survived that crash, they had informed Lane and Kent.
Lois and Clark just looked at each other in disbelief and headed back to Clark's apartment.
Lex Luthor smiled as he read the report handed to him by Nigel St. John on the untimely demise of Kirk Paxton. "Are you sure he's dead?" he asked looking intently at Nigel.
"Absolutely, sir. With the size of the cliff he went over and the explosives we had planted in the car, the fire was intense. I would be surprised if they even find a somewhat recognizable body."
Luthor smiled. "Well done, Nigel."
"Will that be all, sir?"
"Very good, sir."
Lois and Clark arrived back at Clark's apartment and filled Wells in on what had transpired. He slowly shook his head and then suggested that all that was left was to save Mr. White. He had fixed the short in the time travel device and so was reasonably certain that it would not be a problem. Lois suggested that Clark should use the Superman outfit to do this. However, since Superman had retired, it was probably best for him to swear the Chief to secrecy afterwards. They both hoped Clark could convince him to remain silent. Otherwise, the future could still have some ripples in it.
Clark and HG Wells disappeared to take care of Perry and Lois stayed behind. It really would not do for Perry White to see her with Superman. She began looking around the apartment when her eyes fell on something familiar. She picked up the Godzilla toy and looked at it intently, a smile slowly spreading across her face seeing the familiar 'S' painted on its chest.
While she was still holding the toy, Clark and Wells arrived back. It was taken care of. Given how close the Chief had come to losing his life, he had agreed to Superman's request to keep his presence there a secret. Then Clark noticed what Lois was holding in his hands and he looked down.
"This looks familiar," she said to him.
"Well… um… well, I'm not going to use it anymore. I just thought…"
"That I needed to be taught a lesson?"
"Well… yeah," Clark admitted sheepishly.
"Clark, you have to use it. I did need to be taught a lesson and if you don't use it now, you will be changing history and this lesson…" she said indicating the Godzilla toy, "…was one I needed to learn. It taught me that you weren't someone to be messed with."
"But, Lois, I don't feel annoyed at you anymore so how can I…"
She walked up to him and ran her hand gently over his chest. "Don't worry. I'm sure I will annoy you enough again in the very near future." He smiled at that and pulled her into his arms. Mr. Wells cleared his throat and objected that they shouldn't be doing this but they ignored him.
Lois wrapped her arms around Clark's neck and kissed him with an intensity that took Clark's breath away before pulling herself further into his arms and whispering into his ear, "Don't give up on me, Clark. I couldn't bear it." She felt his arms tighten around her in response and then he reluctantly let her go. She stepped back looking at him intently and then turned to HG Wells indicating that she was ready to leave.
Lois and HG Wells arrived back at the brownstone to see the younger Lois and Clark sitting playing cards and laughing and joking. Lois looked at her younger self and was pleased to see a shy look on her face when she looked at Clark. It was obvious to the older Lois that she had fallen hard. But then, given the amount of love the Clark of this age gave to her so naturally, how could she not.
The two people sitting in the living room rose when Wells and the older Lois entered.
"So I take it you got your answer," the older Lois said.
The younger Lois bit her lip slightly and looked down before saying, "Yes I did. I'm going to turn down the LNN job."
Clark spoke up at that. Something had been bothering him about this solution. "Mr. Wells, won't the fact that Lois realizes how she feels about me this early have a serious affect on the future? I mean, I know that if Lois had been in love with me back at the beginning, it wouldn't have taken us nearly as long to get together."
"Don't worry, Mr. Kent, I have that worked out. I am going to take Ms. Lane back to the time just after we arrived at her apartment."
"Why then?" asked the younger Lois.
"So that you won't know that this happened. It will just seem like a dream but it should be a vivid enough dream to prevent you from leaving the Daily Planet. I will, of course, keep an eye on things for a while just to make sure it does."
"But won't she be bumping into me if you do that?" the older Lois asked.
"Well, Ms. Lane, I think I can probably give her a couple of good Superman leads that should be guaranteed to keep her away from the Daily Planet for a couple of days. That shouldn't change the past since she spent those two days looking for Superman without success anyway."
"But…" the younger Lois objected before stopping. She didn't want to forget but they seemed convinced that it was the only way to preserve this future and she desperately wanted that. Besides, Clark was right. If she returned to the past now, knowing how she felt about Clark and how Clark felt about her, her first trip would be to see Clark Kent.
HG Wells and the two women once again touched the device and the two switched back to their proper bodies. Then HG Wells and the younger Lois disappeared.
Lois Lane awoke in the morning and looked at the clock. It was time to get ready for work. She got up and sat on the edge of her bed trying to orient herself. That was one weird dream. Married to Clark Kent! And pregnant! Wild. But, she decided, it did show that subconsciously she was not willing to quit working at the Daily Planet. No, she liked chasing stories too much to accept a job as anchorwoman at LNN. She immediately called LNN and left a message for Kirk Paxton refusing the offer. With that she got ready for work. After all, it was another day for snagging the exclusive story on Superman.
Tempus looked around him in frustration. He was back in his cell in the future. He had, fortunately, had his time travel device with him when the car had gone over the cliff. But, he had obviously miscalculated something because the future had obviously not changed enough to get him out of this predicament. He just didn't know what had gone wrong.
The door opened to his cell. Tempus looked up as a small man in a black suit and bowler hat walked in. "So it was you!!" Tempus said in frustration. Next time he would have to do something about HG Wells.
Back at the Kent's house, curled up on the couch together, Lois and Clark both brought each other up to date on their respective adventures. Clark knew most of Lois' story since he could remember it quite clearly now. Afterwards it had seemed more like a dream then reality but it really had helped him get through some pretty bleak times. Lois touched his cheek gently.
Lois also remembered her dream from that time. She had never mentioned it to anyone before because it had seemed so wild. But she certainly remembered telling Clark that she was pregnant and his reaction. She filled him in on everything she knew about the pregnancy. He had a million questions and she was happy to answer them all.
Clark laid his head gently against her stomach. He closed his eyes and listened to the soft sound. She stroked his hair clearly remembering the last time he had done this even though for her it was years ago.
"Do you hear anything?" she asked. But even as she said it she could remember his answer.
"What do you mean yes? You told me that you couldn't hear anything."
"I lied." He raised his head and looked into her accusatory eyes. "I just figured that you didn't need to realize how good my hearing was." She smiled and nodded. He placed his head back against her stomach.
"So what do you hear?" she asked.
"Our baby's heart beat. It sounds like a butterfly."
THE PAST (Epilogue)
Clark walked into the newsroom feeling miserable. The visit from the future Lois was seeming more and more like a dream and the Lois of his time was still ignoring him. He also had not yet decided what to do about Superman. He sat down at the conference table beside Lois who was absentmindedly sketching Superman's 'S'.
Cat Grant came up and leaning against Clark's shoulder looked down at what Lois was sketching. "A penny for your thoughts," she said to Lois with a laugh. She then walked around and sat down beside Clark.
Lois gave her a dirty look and then said, "Where is he? It's been three days."
"Maybe whoever was after him scared him off," Jimmy said.
Lois immediately jumped to Superman's defense. "I refuse to believe that. Superman is not a coward. He would not turn tail at the first sign of trouble."
Clark was looking intently at the table. Cat watched him for a moment before saying to him, "What's with you, Clark? You look like you just lost your best friend." She rubbed her hand over his back.
"I…" Clark just shook his head.
"What you need is a pick-me-up," said Cat cheerfully taking one of Clark's hands in both of hers and then, at the look on Clark's face added, "Or not." She released his hand and moved away.
Then Clark turned his attention back to Lois and Jimmy. Lois was asking Jimmy about his idea for finding Superman. He told her that it was a zero idea but she insisted that he tell her anyway. He suggested that if Superman really was from another planet, he must have come here in a spaceship and so track down the ship and find Superman. Lois made it clear to him that she didn't think too much of his idea and with that, and a summons from the Chief, Jimmy left. Clark sat there for a moment watching as Lois made her way over to her desk and, with a guilty look on her face, picked up the phone.
Clark got up and walked over to his desk while listening intently as Lois made a call in an attempt to follow up on Jimmy's idea. That was the last straw for Clark. The future Lois was right. She needed to be taught a lesson and he knew just how to do it. He certainly felt annoyed enough with her to follow through with it now. He made a map to what was supposed to be Superman's space ship and then called a courier to have the message delivered to Lois that evening.
Clark was sent out on a story about a drive-by shooting and found that he was even more depressed when he returned. He walked over to Lois' desk as she watched a disaster on T.V. She turned to him and asked if it was bad. When he told her about it she said the predicable, "Sounds like a job for Superman."
"Yeah, that would have made a truly great story, wouldn't it?" Clark said with sarcasm literally dripping from his voice.
"Forget about the story, Clark. Metropolis needs Superman." Lois looked back at the T.V. screen.
"Why? Do you think he could have stopped any of this? Or that?" he gestured to the T.V. screen.
"No! Not even Superman can be everywhere at once."
"Then what good is he?" Clark asked dejectedly.
"What he can't do, it doesn't matter. It's the idea of Superman. Someone to believe in. Someone to build a few hopes around. Whatever he can do, that's enough." Clark looked at her for a long moment before she continued. "I just wish I could tell him that. I hope it's not too late." Lois got up and grabbed her bag heading out the door.
Clark almost stopped her to tell her to ignore his message but she was half way out the door.
Her words echoing in his mind, he went to his closet and took the Superman outfit out. Superman was back. The next day at the Planet, Superman made a rescue and Clark Kent submitted the story on Superman. Lois was late getting in that day and when she did she was covered in mud, carrying a garbage bag in one hand and the broken heal of her shoe in the other. In the bag was a slightly abused Godzilla doll with an 'S' painted on its chest.
She realized that Clark had set her up and had gotten the story himself. She confronted him and when he admitted it, she congratulated him. He felt a bit sheepish about the whole thing but she was very graceful in defeat although she did tell him that he would never beat her again.
She began walking away from him when Clark called after her. "Hey, Lois, what do we got going on tomorrow?"
"Now there you're using that word again, Clark. There is you. There is I. There is no we."
"How long can you hold your breath?" Lois said walking away.
Clark smiled slightly watching her walk away and said softly, "A very long time."
The epilogue is taken from the story Neverending Battle. My thanks to the writers of that episode in particular. I would also like to thank l for all her good ideas. Without her this story would be more confusing then it has to be given the subject.