By Blaise Pascal <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted May 2000
Summary: The day after Clark's funeral, Lois records some memories of their life together for their great-grandchildren.
Note: This is deathfic. If you are uncomfortable with reading deathfic then I suggest you close this window, click the 'Back' button on your browser, or delete this file. I won't be insulted. :) I want to thank my good friend Ed for letting me use ideas from an old college essay of his in this story. This vignette is set in the same universe as "The Wedding," "The Rehearsal," and "The (Mis)conception." Comments welcome.
Disclaimer: The story is mine, but the characters are not. I'm merely borrowing the characters from WB, DC Comics, etc., etc. No borrowing, copying, or distributing without my permission, etc., etc.
[Metropolis, 348 Hyperion Avenue]
[Sunday, December 12, 2066]
A picture of an elderly woman seated on a couch appeared on the very large HLCD (High-definition Liquid Crystal Display), slightly out of focus. It wasn't perfect, but after laboring over it for an hour Lois Lane Kent finally got everything to work. She smiled for the first time in days. "Who said you can't teach an old dog new tricks?" she asked herself. Grabbing the remote, she slowly raised it up to point it to the screen and pressed a button. The VMD (Video Mini Disc) camera started recording.
Right now, Lois was a bit peeved at Charles Lane Kent, her eldest grandchild. He had hosted a gathering at his home after the burial of her beloved Clark yesterday, and earlier this evening, Lois had asked him to take her to the nearest electronics store to buy a digital VMD camera. Not only had he done that, but also he had picked out which VMD camera she should buy, without first asking for her input, and he had insisted on setting it up for her. By then she was livid. Lois remembered the conversation:
"Charles Lane Kent, what are you doing?" she had asked, eyes flashing and hands on her hips.
She remembered how her grandson had cringed visibly at the way she had said his full name, just like Clark when Martha had addressed him that way. "I'm setting up the camera for you, Grandma," he had answered.
"Did I *ask* you to set it up for me?" Lois had asked, glaring at Charles.
"No," he had replied, "but…"
"But nothing!" she had interrupted. "I may be ninety-nine years old, but I'm not an invalid! I can certainly set up the camera myself." Lois then grabbed the VMD camera out of his hands and ordered Charles out of her house. He had first tried to give her that puppy-dog look — a trademark in the Kent family. When she hadn't bought it, her grandson had left, clearly with his tail between his legs.
Lois smiled as she remembered the sight of the forty-one-year-old Charles after she had chewed him out. His actions and mannerisms had been so much like Clark's it was uncanny. But then, those same reminders of Clark brought tears to her eyes.
She had not expected Clark to die first. She vaguely recalled the beginning of her marriage to Clark seventy years ago, when she had been afraid that his molecularly dense structure would slow his aging process. Lois couldn't remember what had prompted her to have that fear. She had later found out, though, that yes, Clark had continued to age, but just a little slower than normal. What had surprised her, however, was the fact that *her* aging process slowed a bit as well, and that she was still in excellent health today. 'It was probably Clark's aura that protected me,' she reasoned.
But Clark's aura would protect her no more. December 8, 2066 would be the worst day in her life, when she had woken up to find that her beloved husband had died peacefully in his sleep. For the first time in over thirty years, Lois had to cry out, "Help, Superman!" Within seconds, Charles had arrived (he was the current bearer of the Superman name), and then shortly afterwards, Lois and Clark's three other grandchildren. Then her and Clark's two children, C.J. and Laura, had flown in, accompanied by Jo and Jerry, their respective spouses. It had been a very sad day in the Kent family.
Lois could hardly remember what had happened the past three days, because she had been sort of in shock. She had also not cried at all since the morning that she had first found Clark gone. Quietly Charles took care of the funeral arrangements, and yesterday, Clark had been buried in a simple and dignified ceremony in a cemetery on the outskirts of Metropolis. The family gathering after the burial took place later in the day, at Charles' house, because it was much bigger than her and Clark's brownstone — now her brownstone alone, she reminded herself sadly. She would have never believed that she and Clark would stay in this brownstone for seventy years.
Lois in her head knew that nothing lasted forever, and now, after all those years of being married, working together, loving each other, and raising children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, Clark was gone. A tear rolled down her cheek, then another, and then finally, she was sobbing, finally grieving for her husband, her best friend, her partner, her soulmate. Tears flowed freely as she wailed Clark's name. In a way, she was happy that Clark had not died alone, as she had feared; he had died with the love of his life in his arms, and that was how she had found him that lonely, sad morning. But now, *she* was alone.
As she wiped her tears, Lois realized that the camera was still running, and that it had recorded her crying her eyes out. Grimacing, she grabbed the remote. Instead of pressing the 'Stop' button she pressed one of the editing buttons by mistake. To her fascination, she saw the image of herself on the screen slowly fade to nothingness. She almost smiled as she looked down at the remote. "That was a neat feature," she said to herself. "Maybe I'll use it." She pressed another button and the image on the screen returned.
She glanced up at the clock in the living room as it chimed 10 P.M. Time for bed. Time for another night of sleeping alone. Well, tomorrow was another day, and Lois had a lot work to do. Before turning the camera and the HLCD off she pressed the 'Fade' button again.
Fade to black.
[Monday, December 13, 2066]
Purchasing the VMD camera had been part of a plan for another Lois and Clark collaboration. The great reporting team of Lane and Kent at the Daily Planet had ended over forty years ago, when they had assumed some positions on the editorial staff. Nevertheless, they had continued to work together in other things, like writing books or teaching at Metropolis University, Lois' alma mater. Now that Clark had died and buried, Lois was determined to finish this project, the final gift to her and Clark's eight great-grandchildren.
Tried as they might, Lois and Clark could not find anyone to figure out how his globe, which had accompanied him from Krypton to earth a hundred years ago, had worked. Clark's doctor and their old friend, Dr. Bernard Klein, could never figure it out, and neither could Dr. Klein's successor at S.T.A.R. Labs, Dr. Emil Hamilton II. A couple of weeks ago, after Thanksgiving, Lois had the idea of making their own 'globe', a series of VMD's for their descendants, explaining the Kryptonian aspect of their heritage.
The reason for this was obvious. The eight great-grandchildren were all close together in age, from eleven to thirteen, and Lois and Clark knew that their deaths would affect them greatly. C.J. and Laura would still be there, as would Lois and Clark's grandchildren; but hopefully, the VMD's would provide their great-grandchildren advice and comfort as they grew up and developed their powers. The past couple of weeks were spent writing on what Lois and Clark had wanted to say in the VMD's. They were about ready to do some recording when Clark had died.
Now Lois sat at the kitchen counter, idly pushing some buttons on the food preparer, which would create her breakfast for the day: oatmeal and orange juice. She was lost in thought, as she was reading the PEM (Portable Electronics Manual) for the VMD camera. Unfortunately, because she wasn't paying attention, what she got for breakfast was a bowl of cold oatmeal and a mug of orange juice that was scalding hot. "Technology, what a wonderful thing," she muttered sarcastically. Shaking her head for her carelessness, she dumped the meal into the sink, set her electronic manual down, and started over in preparing her breakfast.
Lois was anxious to get started. It took her over an hour and a half to eat and set up the video equipment, but finally, she was ready. She pressed the 'Record' button and started talking. "Hello, Sweetie. If you are watching this, then I am no longer with you on this Earth. I didn't want to go, however, before speaking to you. There is so much I want to say as you continue to grow into adulthood…"
She started with Clark's early life, explaining how his birth parents sent him away from Krypton in a small spaceship to save him from the destruction of their home planet. Lois then talked about the place where the spaceship landed, and how his adopted parents found him, took him in, and raised him as their own son, without any hesitation. Her eyes misted as she talked about his lonely childhood.
"As Clark grew up and developed his powers, he had to continually hide himself from everyone, with the exception of his parents, for the fear of being taken away. Because he really had no friends as a child and a teenager, only acquaintances, his parents were the only ones he could turn to when he had problems. I want you to know that your parents and grandparents are here for you, always, whenever you need them. Don't try to keep your feelings bottled up; that's what I did when I was much younger, and it won't help. A person can only take so much before he or she explodes."
She concluded the first VMD with some of Clark's adventures around the world before he moved to Metropolis. Lois had to rely on Clark's notes for those, as she did not remember all of them. Afterwards, she discreetly looked at the clock above the HLCD and found to her amazement that she had been recording for nearly three hours. She gave instructions to watch the next VMD. Then she grabbed the remote and pressed her favorite button.
Fade to black.
Not long after she had finished recording her first VMD, Deborah, her youngest grandchild, showed up, wanting to take Lois out to lunch. First, Lois had to keep Deborah's prying eyes away from the video equipment — Deborah had inherited her grandmother's insatiable curiosity — and then, Lois hid a smirk as Deborah spun into her costume and flew them to her house in Phoenix. (Deborah was a writer and usually worked at home.)
Fortunately, Deborah had inherited Clark's cooking abilities as she prepared the meal. Lois had learned to cook a bit from Clark, but more often than not she was still hopeless in the kitchen.
Lois knew very well why Deborah had shown up; she had come to check up on her, to make sure that her grandmother, living all alone, was all right. Lois didn't complain, for she never tired of flying, and she would never turn down an opportunity to see any of her great-grandchildren — Deborah and her husband George had two children of their own. Lois had the feeling that Deborah and other members of the family would be popping in unexpectedly, wanting her company, but she would draw the line if any of them tried to do things for her when she could do them herself, like what Charles had done last night.
Most of lunch at Deborah's was spent talking and fussing over Deborah's two twin angels. Officially, Deborah did not hang up her cape, but her superhero activities were severely curtailed as she had her son and daughter to look after. Deborah had taken her grandfather's death especially hard, and Lois had ended up consoling her youngest grandchild. It wasn't until after three o'clock (Metropolis time) when Deborah dropped Lois off at her house. After hearing the sonic boom, Lois went straight to the living room and set up the camera.
The second VMD would be more difficult for her to do. Lois was going to talk about her life before she had met Clark many years ago. Yes, it had been a bad time, and yes, it was still embarrassing to talk about it, but this was her family she was talking to. With the exception of Clark, no one in the family had known the entire story, and she wanted her great-grandchildren to know.
She smiled sadly as she recalled her childhood, her sister Lucy, and her parents. The typical dysfunctional family. Her father's affair, her mother's alcoholism, her parents' divorce, and the effect of all of that on two young girls. Lois also discussed the few relationships she had before meeting Clark, and explained why all of them had been federal disasters. She also remembered how she mistakenly thought that being unattached or unmarried was the best thing for her.
"I remember my life before I met your great-grandfather, when I thought that being alone was what I wanted. Before Clark I was an independent, career-minded woman. As a reporter for the Daily Planet I had won many awards. But awards don't necessarily comfort you when you are sad. Awards don't keep you warm at night. And awards definitely don't say to you, 'I love you.'
"'I love you'… I can't recall three little words that mean more than these three. After I fell in love with your great-grandfather, I realized that loving him was what I had really wanted. Sometimes you can't just follow your head. Sometimes you have to follow your heart as well. I want you to remember that when you grow up, honey."
When she finished recording she found to her surprise that she had been recording for only an hour and a half. Shaking her head, she reached for the remote.
Fade to black.
Lois knew why the recording didn't take as long. She had rushed through it, plain and simple. She had always been uncomfortable in recalling her past.
Thoughts of Lucy made Lois' eyes water again. Her baby sister. Lois took it very hard when Lucy had succumbed to cancer nearly forty years ago. The same disease that killed their mother in 2002 took Lucy on her 53rd birthday. Despite all the advances in medicine, finding the cure to cancer had eluded medical researchers everywhere. It wasn't until 2034 when a Dr. Lori Yulatovsky, another scientist from S.T.A.R. Labs and Emil's wife, had finally found the cure. Lois had taken comfort in knowing that cancer would no longer separate loved ones from one another.
Lucy's death had also changed her husband, Jimmy Olsen, greatly. Jimmy had been Editor-in-Chief of the Planet when Perry had died in 2015, and after Lucy's death, he had practically lived at the Planet, working long hours, even more than Perry had ever done. Lois and Clark had recognized the signs, and they had tried to help Jimmy through that difficult time, but with little success. Eventually something had to give, for Jimmy then had a heart attack and had died of a second one in 2040, in his own office.
In fact, besides her brood of children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, all the people Lois had cared about were gone. Of course, her parents and Clark's parents had been dead for many years. There was also Perry, Jimmy, Lucy, Inspector Henderson (later Commissioner Henderson of the MPD), Constance Hunter (their long time lawyer and friend), and Dr. Klein. Even both members of the Kreider and Lawrence reporting team, who had inherited from Lois and Clark the title of "Hottest Team in Metropolis" when the older reporters had become part of the editorial staff, had died recently. Leon Kreider and Katie Lawrence had been great friends of Lois and Clark too. All that was left had been Lois and Clark. Until now.
Lois' eyes rested on a picture on the wall. Slowly, she got up and walked up to it. It was a family portrait, taken on her and Clark's 70th wedding anniversary two months ago. There were a total of twenty people that surrounded Lois and Clark. She would have never believed it if someone had told her a long time ago that this would be her family portrait. Of course, she loved all of them dearly, but all of them were still alive, and Clark wasn't. Not anymore. Lois slowly sank down on the nearest couch and began to weep. 'Oh Clark…'
Because Lois was crying, she didn't hear a whoosh and someone entering her house. An arm slipped around her small, petite frame. Looking up, she saw Laura, her other granddaughter. Laura hugged her grandmother as Lois continued to sob.
It was eight o'clock in the evening when Lois returned to her VMD camera. After sobbing her heart out three hours ago, Laura had cooked dinner. Laura had flown in from Philadelphia to visit her grandmother, and for the next three hours they had a nice talk about Clark, among other things. Just like before, Lois had to keep Laura away from the video equipment. After Lois had assured Laura that she was fine, and after Laura had flown away, Lois began recording her third VMD.
This time her talk was completely based on Clark's notes. When Clark had prepared his notes he had relied on, among other things, his many conversations with Dr. Klein, and later Dr. Hamilton, on his powers. Lois revealed in this recording all she and Clark had known about Superman: his powers, Kryptonite (which unfortunately still existed today, but in very small quantities), and everything that could affect him. She even mentioned the possibility that their powers could be transferred to someone else. She concluded this VMD with some cautionary advice.
"I want you to think very carefully before allowing your powers to be transferred to another person. You may think that you are protecting the person you love, be it a husband, a wife, or a close friend. But you will alter that person's life completely, and besides, it wasn't the powers alone that made Clark Superman. It was his innate goodness, his compassion, and his desire to help others. I was faced with that choice of receiving superpowers many years ago, and I did not take that choice. I have never regretted that decision. I am only telling you that transferring powers is possible because it is possible that your powers may be taken from you against your will, and you need to know this."
Lois held back a yawn. She didn't have to look at the clock to figure that she had been in front of the camera for hours. She picked up the remote.
Fade to black.
[Tuesday, December 14, 2066]
By the time Lois took her usual place on the couch in front of the VMD camera the next morning, she still felt tired. She had been up late the previous night recording, so that didn't bother her. As always, Lois was pushing herself, working probably harder than she would like to finish the final gift. Picking up the remote, she got the equipment ready for recording once again.
Lois was looking forward to this recording. For her fourth VMD she would tell her great-grandchildren about how she and Clark had met and some of the things that had happened since then. She still remembered ruefully how she had ignored Clark for the first year they had been together, as partners for the Daily Planet. "Clark always said that for him it was love at first sight, and I believed him."
After they had been best friends for a while, Clark had got the courage to ask her out, and things went a little quickly for a while. "It didn't take long for me to fall in love with him," Lois admitted. "But there was one little issue that had to resolved before we could take the next step in our relationship."
That issue, of course, had been the secret Clark had kept for years: that he was Superman. "Clark would make these lousy excuses to go away when we were about to talk about something serious. It did hurt me when he did that, and I had no idea why he was doing it. He had wanted to tell me, but of course, I found out his secret instead and things were strained for a little while before we reconciled."
Lois then had a very serious look on her face. "Please, please, please, don't make the same mistake your great-grandfather did those many years ago. If you find someone that you love, and if you think he or she is the one, please make sure you tell him or her everything. If he or she loves you, he or she has to love everything about you: the parts that make you human, *and* your powers."
Lois continued to talk about other mistakes that she and Clark had made, before and after they had gotten married. And in the over seventy years that she had known Clark, there had been *many*. She then decided to conclude this disc with something important that she had learned.
"There was something the minister said to me and Clark at our wedding. It was something that I had learned through the long and windy process of us getting together, and I really hope that you someday would realize this to. The minister said, 'Love survives. It survives any joy, any sorrow, all the rights, all the wrongs, even life and death.'"
Her eyes misted, she willed herself not to break down in front of the camera again as Lois continued. "I have loved Clark through it all, through all the joys and sorrows, through all the good times and bad, and now, through life and death. Clark had loved me from the beginning, and I will continue to love him until the day I die, and even beyond."
After Lois stopped the camera, she realized that she was still tired. "Why do I still feel so *blah*?" she asked aloud. Now was the good time to take a break; she still had more VMDs to record. Among other things, she wanted to talk about H.G. Wells and parallel universes, and she wanted to warn her great-grandchildren about Tempus, one of the most diabolical foes she had ever encountered. But she had time; it was eleven days to Christmas. Deciding on a short nap, Lois closed her eyes and lay down on the couch. She would start the fifth VMD after her nap.
Lois would never open her eyes again.
Fade to Black.
In front of an intense white light stood a young man, handsome and muscular. He wasn't wearing glasses. There was something familiar about him, with the errant lock of hair that went down on his forehead. But because of the light, Lois could not see who the young man was. After getting closer, however, she recognized him. "Clark!!!!"
Lois ran up to Clark and jumped into his arms, not noticing how young she looked. He swung her around, hugging her close. "This time I'm never going to let you go again," he declared.
"I hope you don't," Lois responded. She tilted her head upward to study him. "Wait a minute, does this means that I… I'm…"
Clark nodded. "You died while you were napping."
Lois' eyes misted. "Oh, Clark, C.J.! Laura! Our grandchildren and great-grandchildren…"
Clark stroked Lois' cheek. "… will carry on. The VMDs you made will help them through the bad times."
"But I didn't finish recording…"
"That's okay," Clark reassured his love. "C.J. and Laura will fill the gaps, and so will our grandkids."
Lois nodded in agreement. She again sought the comfort of Clark's arms. "I love you, Clark."
"And I love you, Lois. It's time."
Hand in hand, the two lovers walked towards the light.
+——————————————————————-+ / \ / | \ / —+— \ | | | | | | | | | * * **** * * ***** | | * * * ** * * | | ** **** * * * * | | * * * * ** * | | * * **** * * * | | | | CLARK JEROME KENT | LOIS LANE KENT | | Born February 28, 1966 | Born September 23, 1967 | | Died December 8, 2066 | Died December 14, 2066 | | | | "I have loved you from the beginning…" | | "… and I'll love you till the end." | | | +——————————————————————————-+