By Tracey Lemont <email@example.com>
Submitted: October 2001
Summary: In this Elseworld story, Lara Kent is grieving the loss of her husband. Is it possible for her to find true love again?
All disclaimers apply. Not that I borrowed a lot:)
*Asterisk represents thought*
Thanks to AnnieM for coming up with a title. I would also like to thank everyone who gave me feedback and suggestions on Zoom's boards.
Tracey Lemont <firstname.lastname@example.org> (Alyssa098 on IRC and the Message Boards)
The cold rain fell on the lonely woman. It's amazing how alone one can feel while surrounded by people. And there were a lot of people there, for Bill was a very respected person. *A whole lot of good respect does you, whether 5 people or 500 attend your funeral you're just as dead* the woman thought bitterly.
Had her family heard this thought they would have been relieved; it was the first bit of emotion that Lara Kent had shown since her husband's death. Those of the guests who were acquaintances would have wondered what she expected. Friends who knew her were sure she loved her husband, but never really understood why such a beautiful young girl would marry a man so much older. If only they knew!
In actuality Lara Kent was a decade older then her husband. Had you seen them walking down the street six months ago you would have thought that Bill was in his 80's and Lara just barely 30. The reality of it though was that two weeks ago Bill had celebrated his 115th birthday, and Lara was about to become 125.
Not only had she aged slowly but she had always been beautiful. Long raven coloured hair fell over a creamy complexion. Bright blue eyes that changed violet when filled with emotion had been receiving comments since she was three years old. She also got lucky with Kryptonian metabolism. Throughout her marriage Lara was constantly pestered by men hitting on her. It got even worse as Bill got older.
*115 years* Lara thought to herself. *It's not enough, forever would never be enough! * She scanned the crowd looking for one of her siblings, catching Jon's eye.
"How do you all do it? How do you go on, living a normal life? I can't even breathe," she sobbed as she collapsed in his arms. 'You all' meant Jon, Katie, Martha and Joel; Lois and Clark's four eldest children. They had all spent a lifetime loving someone only to have them taken away. "It couldn't have hurt this bad! You all moved on. Make it go away!" she pleaded.
"It won't ever go away, but when you start to remember the good times it will ease the pain," Jon said softly, understanding. He had loved his wife more than he ever thought possible. They had enjoyed grandchildren and were waiting for the arrival of their first great- granddaughter when his wife Beth had died at 98. It hurt but he did move on. He just never forgot.
Lara had no idea how long she stood there because the next time she looked around only her family were left at the cemetery. Slowly they all started leaving. Lara didn't care she just wanted to be alone with Bill.
When the last one was finally gone Lara sat down on the freshly dug Earth and talked to her husband. She told him how much she would always love him and how much she missed him. She asked him what she should do with her life. Finally in the rays of the sun the next morning, she told him how much she hated him for leaving her. When her youngest granddaughter Stephanie came the next morning, she said her final goodbye and flew away.
*** The next weeks were the hardest of her life, but she survived. She thanked God everyday for her family and spent as much time as she could ensuring Bill's last project was completed. Even before the Vulcans landed on Earth over 80 years ago Lara and Bill had worked in various aerospace fields. It was a dream come true to be one of the first residents on Mars. She could still clearly remember the day 47 years ago when they first moved there. Her eldest daughter and husband lived there now; in the same house Lara and Bill had shared for almost 20 years. "Maybe after this is finished I'll go visit Rebecka," Lara muttered to herself before she began once again concentrating solely on her task.
In only 2 months it would be completed. The NX-01 Enterprise would be ready to go, although it wouldn't begin its mission until months later. Lara wished she could take more credit, but she had never even seen the ship personally. Bill and Lara would have gone together when it was completed if only…
Shaking her head Lara went back to work, only looking up when co- workers offered their condolences. Looking across the station at a pair of Vulcans she wondered if it was better to be unemotional like them.
Lara's days had become a routine of work and family. She was almost never alone, only ate at work to keep up appearances and never slept. She was finally numb and was doing everything in her power to keep it that way. Stephanie had other plans.
Stephanie and Lara were very close. They were both much younger then the rest of their siblings and were born later in their parents' lives. Lara was born when Lois was 59, obviously quite the surprise. When confronted with the pregnancy Lois and Clark made the difficult decision not to abort. A Kryptonian pregnancy is hard enough on a human without the age factor, so when Lois started having serious difficulties Clark tracked down a chunk of red Kryptonite and transferred his powers to her for the duration. It wasn't that big of a deal, by then both Jon and Marty were ready to take over for Superman. Stephanie was born when her father was in his 40's and Courtney, her mother, was in her eighties. Being 15 or more years younger than your siblings had it benefits, but Lara had always felt like she was intruding. It was really weird knowing while you were still in diapers your parents had four children already in or finished college.
Everything worked out okay for everyone concerned. Lara graduated high school at only 15 and moved in with her brother Jon and his family so she could go to University. She spent every weekend with her parents until she graduated at 22 with a variety of degrees and certificates. She travelled the world and worked in different fields winning awards for journalism, art and science. Like Lara, Stephanie moved out at a young age but not because she felt like she was an intruder. Stephanie was just so different from her parents and had the same interests as Lara. Before anyone noticed she went from spending summers with Lara to living there during the school year. Another thing they had in common was their intelligence, but Steph opted to stay in high school for social reasons taking extra courses in her spare time.
Lara's diligence paid off and it wasn't long before she had completed her work. The testing phase didn't take long and before Lara knew it she had run out of ways to keep herself busy.
As soon as Lara was able to leave Earth, Steph talked her into going to Mars for a few weeks. Since Lara was considering it she gave in easily. The minute they arrived it became obvious it was a bad idea.
On Earth it had been easy to avoid places and things that reminded Lara of Bill. On Mars it was another story. Almost everything had a memory. Trees they walked by Lara and Bill had planted, schools they had designed, homes they had approved, and the house they had lived in together longer than anywhere else. It hurt, but deep inside Lara, the thing that hurt the most was that this is where she realized she would outlive her husband.
She knew when she married him but it didn't sink in till they were here. When they moved into this house Bill was almost fifty, Lara's aura had shaved a few years off his face but there was no denying it. In this house Bill started to get old and she stayed the same. When they first married it was evident she was older. Then they appeared the same. At the end she could have been his great- granddaughter, they had one who appeared to be the same age.
A week after they arrived on Mars they returned to Earth, it was just too hard. The only thing that was keeping Lara going was Steph. In Lara's mind Steph was the only one who still needed her. Not wanting to put such a big responsibility on Steph, Lara just kept it to herself.
Time passed, things happened, but the most important one to Lara was Stephanie falling in love. Not only that but she was getting married. Lara was slipping deeper and deeper into a depression. Jon, Marty, Katie and Joel tried their best to help. At least when this happened to them, it happened close together which had helped a lot. At an annual family picnic, the only time once a year they all got together, it was decided. Something had to be done! While the Kents were trying to figure out what to do Lara overheard them. Realizing that she had just given up on life and how much she was hurting those who cared about her she agreed. Something had to be done. But what?
It didn't take very long to find the answer.
*** "Lara! I wasn't sure if I'd see you here. It's great you could come. Are you doing okay?"
"I'm getting by. It's nice to see you again Jonathan, are you ready for takeoff tomorrow?" Lara asked with a smile.
"Not yet, but we will be. I just need to find a few more officers," Capt. Jonathan Archer replied.
"Need anyone with my qualifications?" asked Lara. It was well known that he did because of the incident with the Klingon; the Enterprise crew were forced to leave ahead of schedule with very little time to prepare.
"Why? Are you applying?"
"I am actually. I need to get away," Lara stated, surprising both him and herself. When she decided that she had to do something this wasn't what she had in mind.
"I'll look into it and give you a call tonight."
"Thanks. I'll be waiting." With that Lara walked away.
So that's why she was sitting at her desk calling every member of her family and her closest friends. Reactions were mixed. Half the Kents thought that it was a good idea while the other half were leery. Most of them thought it a better idea to buy her own ship or become a captain for her great-nephew, who owned a large cargo business. It didn't matter, now that Lara had made up her mind; she was starting to look forward to it. Besides the mission to Kronos would only take a short time and then they would return to Earth. If everything went okay who knows how long she'd be gone.
It was exciting to be a part of history. She had been there the day the Vulcans had landed on Earth. Wrote a Pulitzer winning article about it. Lana and Bill were two of the first people on Mars and a very important part of its development. Now she would become an original crewmember for the first Starfleet star ship.
When the mission to Kronos didn't go as smoothly as planned, Lara felt incredibly guilty. There were so many times she could have used her abilities to make things easier for her crew. If she went to Rigel with the landing party the Captain wouldn't have been shot. Had she been with Captain Archer when they retrieved Klang they wouldn't have had to use the transporter.
Lara was rather relieved when she heard that Enterprise would not be immediately returning to Earth. And she wasn't the only one; the mission had been delayed so any times that everyone on board was thrilled.
Lara fit in quite well, already knowing a majority of those on board. During the first two weeks it had been a bit difficult hiding her powers in such a confined space. Not that it would have been that bad if people found out. There were many aliens who lived on Earth and differences in general were becoming more accepted. Many times Lara wanted to go public with who she was, but it wasn't just her decision. So many people on Earth still held her family in such high regard. It would upset a lot of people to find out Superman's descendants were people with lives and families.
Although other species had no fear of being dissected, Lara's family were afraid how big a difference it would make to their lives. More accepted didn't mean normal, and there was still a lot of prejudice in the world. Lara would make it a point to talk to her family about it when they next returned to Earth.
Realizing she had no choice but to remain silent helped relieve Lara's guilt. Only if it was a choice between life and death would Lara expose her family. The decision made, Lara began to develop friendships with the crew. She even caught herself smiling when some members of the crew began flirting with her.
One evening while eating dinner Lara couldn't help but overhear Archer commenting that Trip was the first human impregnated by another species. Being the result of an interspecies pregnancy herself, Lara knew it wasn't true. Biting down her desire to argue the point, Lara finished her dinner.
As much as Lara was enjoying herself she was eager to take on her first solo mission. A small nebula had been discovered and instead of using the Enterprise they would drop Lara off in a shuttle and return to pick her up. It was only for three days, but for that whole time it would just be her and the stars.
The first two passed without a single mishap, maybe that's why it caught her so off guard when something did happen.
With no warning all electronics just failed, including emergency backups. When Lara began to feel pressure build up in the back of her skull she knew that if she was human she'd be dead. Minutes? Hours? dragged on until Lara collapsed unconscious. Lara woke to find the shuttle spinning out of control, but had been unable to reach the controls. Lara lay prone as the shuttle careened out of control.
*** "Argggghhh!" *What a horrible sound,* Lara thought until she realized it was coming from her own mouth. She slowly rose and looked at her surroundings chuckling ruefully. The shuttle she had crashed in was gone, nothing more then a few twisted sheets of metal were left and she didn't even have a scratch on her. "This planet obviously has a yellow sun," she stated. Amazed that in just a few short minutes after regaining consciousness she felt 100% again.
"Where am I?" Lara wondered aloud, taking in the rest of her surroundings. It was beautiful; tall dark green trees, beautiful flowers in bright solid colours. She bent down to smell her favourite, a deep blue with baby blue streaks flowing through the petals. *At least it isn't some kind of barren wasteland.*
The rustle of bushes notified her that people were on the way there. *Probably to check out the crash. I should get out of here,* Lara thought as she flew away.
Taking a quick spin around the planet, Lara noticed that this world was a lot more like Earth when she was a child, then the jungle her first impression had led her to believe. Not knowing when or even if she'd be found she started looking for some kind of shelter. After searching for several hours Lara decided on a quiet looking cave not too far from one of the largest cities.
Once again Lara's life had become a routine, and a lonely way to live. Days were spent exploring and listening to people in the city. After a week the language started to make sense, and Lara decided if someone didn't come for her soon she was going to move to the city.
Lara learned that the planet she had landed on was called Cetyl. It consisted of three main continents — Knect, Trikala and Naldoo. The latter one was where she had settled.
Her tenth night in her temporary home Lana was awakened by the screams of terrified people. Knowing she had no choice Lana flew off to the rescue. The sight that greeted her when she arrived was one of the worse she had ever seen. Lara had been to many natural disasters but by the time she was ready to join 'the family business' her father and her siblings had reduced crime significantly. This was her first bombing, and it was all up to her. No family to help this time.
Hours later everyone was cleared out. It had been hard deciding who came first, or during her last rescue who lived and died. In a very unstable part of the building there were two men trapped and it would have been impossible to save both. So Lara did the only thing she could, she shut her mind to the one left behind and moved the one whose injuries were less. Before she even had a chance to speak to the officials reporters surrounded her. Remembering well the first articles on Superman it was easy. Deciding to give the interview to a handsome young man in the front row Lara approached him. Then trying to hide a smile as the overwhelmed man barely managed to talk in complete sentences the interview went like this:
"Who are you?"
"Why are you here?"
"I'm here to help."
"How can we find you?"
"I'll be around."
Noticing immediately the similarities between this and the first conversation her father had as Superman, Lara flew off before she burst out laughing.
Watching her fly away Dilav Asalm could only stare, he'd regret his lack of professionalism later.
*** "I can't believe that you only asked her three question," yelled Matio Urey. "You were at that bombing by a stroke of luck. By some divine intervention she signals you out, and you only ask her three questions! You are supposed to be my best reporter, I swear I'll hire anyone who walks through that door with the first in depth interview." Every other person in the room would have been terrified to have Matio yelling at them like this. None of them had ever seen him this angry before. Though he was a very large man usually he was jovial in attitude. He rarely felt the need to yell, but three questions!
"You promise?" Lara asked walking up to the bear of a man screaming at the top of his lungs. Had she been anyone else Lara may have been intimidated. Looking around Lara wondered if this is what the Planet looked like when her parents first started out. There were desks ever where with little computers (really, really little computers), and papers (real paper!) were scattered everywhere.
"Promise what?" Matio muttered amazed that this tiny little slip of a girl didn't even blink when a lot of people would be running for cover.
"That you will hire the person with the first Ultrawoman interview." Lara reminded him, trying not to blush. The larger than life names had always embarrassed her, so when she donned the cape she just answered calls for the rest of her family. In Massant, the most common language in the city, Ultrawoman was said Vee-oleta and she liked the way it sounded. "Though I admit there is a catch. I grew up in Pengally, a small town in Knect, and only know how to write in Propyle. I also have no references other then my word that I know how to do the job." *I never knew I was such a good liar!* "I speak Massant fluently and will be able to write it within a month."
"Let me see if I understand this." *The nerve of this girl!* "You walk in here with no experience, expect me to hire you no questions asked and then proceed to tell me that you don't even write Massant?" Matio said with a raised eyebrow, still amazed at her bravado. "You think you're good enough to justify paying someone to scribe for you."
"I do have the exclusive of the decade. If you want I can take it to a paper that caters for Propyle speaking people, but you're the best, that's why I'm here," Lana stated getting more confident. *At least he hasn't thrown me out on my butt.* "How about we make a deal? You give me one month, if at the end I still can't write in Massant and haven't proven I can carry my own weight, you fire me. What do you say?"
"One month: not a minute more, and you won't be working alone. Dilav here will help you with your writing and maybe you can teach him how to speak." When no one moved he blustered, "well are you going stand around here forever? The clock is ticking!" Matio informed them heading to his office.
Lara immediately recognized Dilav as the man she had talked to at the bombing. He seemed more handsome then before. Dirty blonde hair and a sun kissed complexion reminded Lara of a typical Californian. His eyes were the most beautiful shade of silver she had ever seen. They looked like they were liquid pools of silver heat. Lara cut herself off from those thoughts.
"Hi, you must be Dilav. I'm Lara Kent. Teach you how to speak?" Lara asked with a raised eyebrow, knowing full well what Matio meant.
"Yeah, I'm Dilav Asalm. Pleased to meet you." *Maybe I should see a doctor, tongue tied twice in one day,* Dilav thought disparagingly. Seconds passed. *Say something!* "Umm…" more seconds passed. "Let's get you a desk and a computer ID."
Lara smiled thinking Dilav's inability to converse while she was around quite charming. When she had first met Bill he acted a lot like that. Frowning she muttered, "let's get to work."
After the formalities were taken care of Lara and Dilav sat at her new desk as she dictated her 'interview'. Halfway through he commented on her accent, or more accurately complemented her on it.
"You have a really beautiful voice, it matches your eyes," Dilav said as if hypnotized.
"Yeah… Ugh. I'm not sure if I'm reading you right but I can't get involved with you or anyone else." Lara declared blushing.
*Becoming a bit flustered is one thing, but if I don't start making sense soon she will think I'm a complete idiot.*
"I'm sorry if that made you uncomfortable but I seem to lose my tongue when in the presence of a beautiful woman. I'll keep it strictly business from now on." Dilav vowed and without skipping a beat said; "Do you know what planet she's from, or how she got here, or how long she's staying?"
"No she just confirmed that she was an alien and said that she was here to help," Lana decided to just let his previous comments slide.
"So how did you get the interview anyway?"
"I was hiking in the forest and got lost. She flew me back to the city."
"Lucky you, I'd love to be held in her arms," Dilav said with a touch of forged envy.
Lana couldn't help but smile; he was charming in a little boy sort of way.
The next few days were spent getting Lara used to working at Tici Lahti. She still wasn't sure what it translated to but it didn't seem a good idea to ask. She was supposed to be fluent in Massant after all.
Their first story assignment was a mugging. A woman was walking down the street when a man jumped out of nowhere and stole her purse. While exploring the alley the assailant had ran into, Dilav and Lara found the purse. The only thing missing was the money. The police caught the man mugging someone else a day later, less then a block away.
Their second story they just happened upon. As they were returning to file their story on the arrest a loud crash was heard. Dilav ran to check it out while Lara said she would call the police. Vee-oleta arrived and pulled everyone from the wreckage.
Lara flew off when she heard another cry for help, this time from a little girl around the corner who couldn't find her mother in all the confusion. That situation easily rectified Lara returned and asked Dilav if it was even worth a story.
They returned to Tici Lahti and submitted all three stories. Both knew it was going to be a long day when they realized it was only eleven o'clock.
"Would you like to join me for lunch?" Dilav asked as they were about to leave. "That is, if you don't have any other plans."
"I would love to."
Lara was surprised at how easy it was to talk to Dilav, and how much she missed having friends to talk to. The cuisine and company were so excellent Lara was disappointed that she had to return to work.
Their afternoon was just as eventful and just as unmentionable as well. For a newcomer to the profession the day would have been a good start, but Lara had written her first article 110 years ago, and Dilav was the best reporter at Tici Lahti.
Dilav was becoming just as frustrated as Lara. He wanted to impress her but that was easier said than done, especially when the stories they were covering were something Dilav would assign to Etzle.
The next few days were a carbon copy of the first, full of little stories. Highlighting each day was the companionable lunch Lara and Dilav shared.
Knowing Lara was new in town Dilav took her to his favourite restaurants and pointed out what was good and what to avoid on each menu.
Lara was picking up the written form of the language rather quickly and was sure that she would be able to write for herself before her month was up. Proving that she was the best one for the job on the other hand was going to be a bit more difficult. Minor thefts and one car accident weren't going to keep her working here. Lara didn't want to signal herself out by getting too many Vee-oleta (she loved that name) interviews, so she was hoping something big would happen, the sooner the better.
Little did she know she should have been more careful about what she wished for.
*** The first morning of her second week there, Lara and Dilav were strolling through a park in the core of the city. Walking by a group of large trees with beautiful purple leaves; Lara heard a squeaky sound coming from a cluster in the centre. Thinking it was an animal Lara chose to ignore it. Seconds later she heard a baby's cry, very faint, even with her super hearing barely there.
"Did you hear that?" Lara whispered listening for the cry again.
"Hear what?" Dilav asked in a normal tone.
Lara's enhanced hearing amplified his question, and she hissed "SHHH!"
Dilav muttered something about why she asked if she didn't want him to answer, only to be silenced by a look.
Although to Lara it seemed like minutes had passed, only a few seconds went by before she heard it again. Now sure of what it was Lara ran over quickly, reached down and picked it up. A quick x-ray scan later and she was murmuring things like 'poor little guy' while ripping off her jacket to keep him warm. When Dilav returned from calling the police Lara was almost shaking in anger.
"Why would anyone do this?" Dilav questioned. Looking closer he got his answer, not that he agreed with it but it was common. The child was deformed. They sat down and waited for the authorities.
Lana was giving a statement to a detective when she overheard the woman from family services commenting that it was a shame that this child would spend his life in a facility. When she questioned Dilav about it she found out that it was actually legal to abandon a disabled infant and almost impossible to find homes for one.
Watching Lara stand there fuming Dilav found himself thinking, as hopelessly clich, as it was, that she was beautiful when she was angry.
Ten minutes later Lara (with help from Dilav) was writing a future award-winning article. When Matio had finished reading it, he decided another article like this and Lara would not only stay, but she'd also get a raise. He couldn't have someone with such a fresh perspective getting away.
At the end of the day a very subdued Lara was on her way out the door when offered a ride home by Dilav. When a simple 'no thank you' obviously wasn't going to deter him, Lara told him she was staying in a run down motel and embarrassed to invite anyone over. His becoming concerned only complicated matters and Lara told him she was going apartment hunting tomorrow after work.
Lara had decided to stay in the cave. It kept her Vee-oleta activities easier to hide. It also allowed Lara to save money and she liked the quiet. Living in the city would mean she'd have to constantly block others' voices. By the time she was born her parents had installed soundproofing in all the children's bedrooms, so Lara always had somewhere to go if she wanted silence.
"Fine then, if you won't let me drive you home at least let me take you somewhere. Do you like to swim?"
"Yes, but I don't have a swimsuit. At least not one with me."
"No problem," Dilav informed her. "We'll go buy you a nice skimpy one right now. My treat!"
"In that case how can I refuse?" Ever since that first day he had kept his promise, he was all business. That is until they stepped out the office doors, then he started flirting. At first it had bothered her but she soon realized he was like that with everyone. If she actually made a move to kiss him it would probably shock him speechless. Plus she was enjoying it; he never failed to make her smile.
It took an hour to find an acceptable suit. Dilav did his best to make sure that Lara's smile never left her face. His silliness almost got them kicked out of the store.
Dilav was glad to see her so relaxed. In the week he had known her, Lara never talked about herself. He sensed that she had a lot of pain built up inside her. From that first day Dilav decided he would make it a point to become Lara's friend. He thought he was doing a good job.
Everything was going fine until they refused to let Lara in the pool with her wedding ring on. Lara hadn't taken that ring off for almost 100 years and wasn't about to start tonight. She told Dilav that her husband gave it to her the day they were married. Dilav was a little taken back at the thought of her being married. He had no idea…
"Wait why don't you have a tattoo?" On Cetyl if you were married you had a tattoo either on your right wrist or the back of your neck. As far he knew there were no exceptions. Just as there were no exceptions to the age rule, you had to be twenty-five to be wed.
"I'm sorry." Dilav said sincerely, although it explained a lot. Often when Lara thought no one was looking she would have a sad far away look in her eyes. It was why he tried so hard to make her smile. *That fact that when she does my insides turn to mush has nothing to do with it.*
"Would you like to talk about it?" Dilav asked, not sure what else to say. "I can be a good listener."
"No thank you," talking about Bill to people who didn't know him always made Lara uncomfortable. "We should get home. I have a feeling tomorrow is going to be a long day."
As soon as Lara was sure no one was watching, she flew back to the cave. After having a light supper, Lara changed into her Vee-oleta costume, which happened to be her Starfleet uniform, and did a brief patrol.
Before she knew it was her intention Lara was hovering above the facility where the baby was being kept. Once again the hopelessness of his situation assaulted her. Wishing there was something she could do Lara flew home with thoughts of 'if only' running through her mind.
*** The next morning at work was rather unremarkable, until the note arrived — just one sentence in big block letters.
THE BALTMAN FERTILITY CLINIC MAY BE OF INTEREST TO YOU.
"Did I read this right?" Lara asked Dilav. At his affirmative nod she muttered, "a little more information would be nice."
"That's why we make the big bucks," Dilav quipped. "Let's get going."
"I just hope it turned up on the right desk,"
"I wouldn't worry about that too much, it has your name on it."
"Oh? I didn't see the envelope." Lara claimed both, knowing full well that she did.
*You are a weird one, why can you read that whole sentence but not your name?* Dilav thought to himself, but decided to let it go.
"Wait… why would someone give me the note? There are a lot of reporters better known than I am. Do you think it has anything to do with the baby we found? Why don't we look into that first?"
"Have Etzle look at their financial records and you go over their success rates. Look for any stillbirths, or home births. I'll go over to visit the baby, and see exactly what's wrong with him. We'll compare notes when I get back," Lara practically ordered.
It might have bothered others to be bossed around by their junior partner but it was the exact thing Dilav would have suggested.
After stopping a bank robbery and a suicide Lara arrived at the institution where the baby was being kept. A quick conversation with a nurse revealed that the only thing wrong with the baby was he had no arms and was completely deaf in both ears. Lara couldn't believe that a person could abandon their child for any reason let alone such a small one.
"Can I see him?" Lara asked the nurse. She was escorted past two dozen rooms filled with children who had very little likelihood of ever being adopted. Lara was left alone in a room with four cribs but no adult in sight. The nurse informed her that they were very understaffed and that they used cameras in the room to watch the children. They spent all the time they could with them but there weren't enough people to go around. "Do any of them get adopted?" As a mother it was very hard to hear that these kids had no hope. They get an average of 150 new arrivals each year but are lucky to see ten adopted. "How do you adopt from here?"
"All you have to do is complete a psych evaluation and have someone come into your home," the nurse informed her with a raised eyebrow. "Are you thinking of adopting this little one?"
"Maybe… I don't know. I'll have to see. I don't even have an apartment in town yet." *Should I try and do it by myself? How can I? My second job would keep me away too much.*
Bill was an excellent father to all four of their children. Lara was often jealous of the relationships he had with them. It was hard imagining raising a child without him. *I wonder if I could even be a good single parent? What if I…*
"I'm sure he'll be here when you come to a decision." The nurse's remark interrupted Lara from her thoughts.
After an hour of sitting there rocking the tiny newborn Lara knew she was in love. Prying herself away she felt an overwhelming sense of sadness. It didn't seem like it was coming from her but it somehow felt very familiar to Lara.
Back at the paper, Dilav was filling her in on what he found, nothing stood out. The financial records seemed aboveboard, their success record was excellent, but there was nothing wrong with being good at what you do. Still…
"What was their success rate?"
"Conceptions or healthy deliveries?"
"Conceptions" Dilav stated. "I couldn't find anything on deliveries."
"Etzle," both shouted at the gopher. "Can you get medical records on deliveries?" Dilav started while Lara finished. "And try to follow them a few years into the future, age 10 would be best."
"Why? What are you looking for?" Dilav questioned after Etzle ran off to do their bidding.
"I'm not sure, when I was at the institution I spent some time with the baby and something's bothering me. Did you know they can't even name him until two months pass or they find his parents? Unless he's adopted, the state has nothing to do with him," Lana said in disgust.
"You sound like you're considering adopting him yourself," Dilav joked.
"I am, or I was. I know I can't do it by myself but I bonded with him," Lara explained. "I'd take him in a second if I thought I could care properly for him. Do you know they only hold him for 30 minutes a day?"
Lara was afraid for him. Failure to thrive was undiagnosed on this planet. Many of the children in institutions would never leave them. Lack of human contact worsened the condition of most. An alarming number even died. Once again Lara found herself considering adoption.
*If I can't adopt him maybe I can help him another way.* Lara decided her articles and some super help would bring more awareness to this tragedy. Thanking her father for making her volunteer at the Superman foundation, Lara now knew where to get started.
"I'm never going to find anything," Lara said to Dilav who had insisted on accompanying her apartment hunting.
"What's wrong with this one?" inquired Dilav getting exasperated. They had already seen a dozen that Lara had found some problem with.
"The same thing that was wrong with the rest. It's not private enough," Lana hissed also getting frustrated.
"Some of these places are really nice. Why do you need so much-"
Dilav's comments were cut off by the sharp rapport of a gun. Before Lara knew what was happening both her and Dilav watched a bullet bounce off her forehead. Neither moved for minutes and Dilav was the first to recover.
"Now I know why you want your privacy so badly," Dilav quipped. Even though he had only seen Vee-oleta twice it wasn't hard to figure out. They were either the same person or from the same planet.
"Why don't we go to my place and I'll answer any questions you have?"
After they arrived Dilav stared in amazement.
"You live in a cave!"
Ignoring his comment Lara began; "Is it okay if I just tell you about myself and after I'm finished you ask your questions?" At Dilav's nod Lara continued, "I guess this starts with my father, shortly after he was born his planet, Krypton, was destroyed. His parents built a spacecraft and sent him to Earth, where I grew up. Under a yellow sun we, his descendents, all have these powers: sunlamps work in space. He married my mom and I was the youngest of five kids. After Bill died I felt a need to get away from it all and signed on to Earth's first star ship. I was collecting data when my ship crashed. I'm staying here because it's private, and I had no money at first. You kind of know the rest."
"Wow! Tell me about Earth and the star ship and all your powers and…"
They talked almost all night and she answered all his questions and volunteered information of her own. The slow aging process never came up.
Dilav was extremely interested in space travel and alien life forms. He asked her many questions that she didn't know the answer to. Lara was relieved to find that Dilav had no prejudice against her.
"So you don't feel pain?" Dilav inquired.
"So if I hit you it wouldn't hurt?" Dilav continued to probe.
"Are you that angry with me?" Lara joked.
"I wouldn't advise it. One time when my brother Joel and his wife got into a really large fight she hit him. Broke a few bones in her hand. My family has a problem with taking responsibility for things that are not their fault. A nurse overheard him apologizing to my sister in law and became convinced he did it to her on purpose."
"It gets worse. As soon as the nurse caught Michelle alone she asked her what happened. Having been given loads of painkillers Michelle answered 'It was my fault, I hit him.' The nurse went on a tangent that even if she had hit him first he had no right to hurt her. Unable to think of anyway out of it Joel just checked her out of the hospital."
"Do you get into a lot of hard to explain situations like that?"
"Yes, but I'm not finished. The nurse called the police. Joel was furious, but couldn't even get mad at the nurse; she was just trying to protect Michelle. The police couldn't do anything because Michelle refused to press charges. For the next two months a woman who helps abused families visited Michelle weekly. Not only was it embarrassing but they both felt guilty taking resources away from someone who really needed it. Michelle volunteered at shelters for the next three decades."
"So would you feel pleasure if I kissed you?"
"What!?" Lara exclaimed. Wondering how the conversation got to this point.
"I'm just wondering. How can you feel pleasure and not pain? If I caressed you gently and it feels good, what prevents a harder one from hurting? Don't both have to do with nerve endings?"
"I-I'm not sure." Lara stated becoming flustered.
Sensing her embarrassment Dilav changed the subject.
"Do you ever get hot or cold?"
The rest of the night went smoothly.
Early the next morning Dilav made his offer.
"Why don't you move in with me?"
"You're joking right?"
"No, I'm being serious. I live in that huge house all by myself. You'd actually be doing me a favour if you paid rent. Besides it's very private from neighbours and it's a way you could adopt the baby."
"You want me and the baby to move in with you?"
"Why?" Lara asked, not quiet believing her ears.
"I just told you. Plus I love children," Dilav further explained. "You said you can't do it alone, let me help you."
"If my family finds me I will leave."
"Then take me with you," Dilav all but pleaded. "I've wanted to visit the stars ever since I was a child."
"Let me think about it. I'll tell you when I've come to a decision. It'll give you a chance to think it over too."
"I know it's sudden, but the more I think about it the more I look forward to it," Dilav sincerely informed her.
The next morning at the paper Etzle presented them with the finished research. The information was well hidden but she had found most of it. And it was certainly worth the trouble. Not only did they have a phenomenal success rate but all of the children conceived there grew up to be perfectly healthy and extremely smart. Another interesting piece of info was a high rate of abortions, almost twenty- five percent.
"Why would someone go to the trouble of visiting a fertility clinic and spending all that money to conceive a baby, then abort it?" Lara thought aloud.
"Also all babies were delivered at the same place, a private medical centre." Etzle continued with flourish, "only one still birth on record."
"What do you want to bet you just found his parents?" Dilav asked.
"I'm sure you're right but there is still a whole lot we are missing. Something…" Lara rechecked the info. "OH MY GOD!"
"Come on, follow me!" As soon as they were in the elevator Lara exclaimed, "genetic engineering. That's why there is such a high termination rate. They scan for deformities; our baby must have got through somehow. Instead of killing it they just abandoned it. The same type of thing happened on Earth not long ago, it was a huge scandal."
They drove to the institution where the baby was being kept. *I have got to name him,* Lara thought as if it was a forgone conclusion she would adopt him.
After the nurse gave the baby to Lara she just stared at him for a few minutes, all of a sudden exclaiming, "I knew it!"
"What?" Dilav asked completely in the dark.
"He's telepathic. I know that doesn't prove my theory, but now I'm positive a little blood work will." Lara was ecstatic, not only would she break the second biggest story of the year, but the people who abandoned him wouldn't get away with it.
"I noticed something different about him last time I visited him. It seemed familiar but I couldn't quite place it."
"You can read minds?" Dilav hoped he misunderstood. The idea of someone knowing his private thoughts bothered him.
"Only if the other person is a telepath but some things still remain private," Lara explained.
"Ask the nurse if we can get a doctor to examine the baby?"
The nurse agreed as long as they took care of the bill.
"While we wait for the results why don't we have a talk with Dr. Baltman?" Dilav suggested.
The interview progressed slowly; Dr. Baltman acted like any doctor should. When they brought up the baby being abandoned Baltman's pulse fluctuated but that could have been caused by anger.
"How did this baby get away from you?" Lara asked seeing the interview was going nowhere. "You knew better than to just let him go, didn't you? You had to have known he would be traced to you."
"As amusing as your accusations are I think you should be going," Dr. Baltman sneered showing them to the door. "Even if they were true you have no proof."
"Not yet," Dilav educated him. "As we speak the police are on the way to his parents and blood tests will confirm everything."
Watching the colour drain out of his face, Lara smirked, "You're right we should be going."
The media frenzy following the expose was much larger than Lara could have predicted. Further investigation showed in its earliest stages the experiments had produced many more babies like hers, sadly they hadn't been given the chance to survive. The once well-respected doctor was now facing over two hundred counts of murder among other charges. While her Vee-oleta article was only predestined to win her a few smaller awards, this one would win her and Dilav the largest journalism award this planet had to offer.
They named the baby Xalier.
*** In the months that passed Lara and Dilav became best friends, permanent partners and successful co-parents. Tici Lahti had an excellent day-care, so there was no conflict with their schedules. If Lara was needed Xalier was just left with Dilav. When they needed a sitter after hours, they had found an elderly woman, Dehiars who was excellent with Xalier.
Lara found herself enjoying the time they spent together, but most of all she loved being a parent again. After her children were in high school Lara considered becoming a foster parent but decided it was too big a risk.
Observing all of Xalier's firsts, Lara found herself often reminiscing. She really missed her children. Sometimes she wondered if she would ever see them again.
Seeing Lara sad Dilav assumed it was her late husband she was mourning. She rarely talked about Bill, only answering the most direct questions.
Dilav did his best to keep her smiling, always successful in his attempts. Weeks after it had begun Lara's depression began to lift.
As was customary they spent Friday nights relaxing after a long week at work. The last week had been particularly difficult; they had covered two murders and another bombing. This one was far worse than the first; the bomber had rigged it so that the whole building was covered in a flash fire. No one had survived.
While Lara stayed home with the baby, Dilav went to the video store and returned with a large bottle of potent alcohol to go with the videos.
Dilav raised the bottle in a silent toast and poured two glasses. Getting lost in the movie Lara was surprised to discover the whole bottle gone three hours later. Even if she had drunk 3/4 of the bottle herself Dilav would be quite tipsy right now. Glancing in his direction Lara discovered tipsy wasn't an adequate description.
Knowing he'd never make it in on his own, Lara carried him into his bedroom.
"Is shlood be thee who," Dilav slurred, crossing his eyes as if trying to watch the words come out. "I sh, scl, should, ha, be the one to three… no that's not right, the one to be caring you to bled, ug, bed." He attempted again. Lara, who had never gotten drunk, was used to how people acted. Smiling she just kept going.
As she pulled the blanket over him, Dilav leaned up and kissed her. *He tastes so good* Lara thought and let the kiss continue. She only pulled away when Xalier cries brought her back to reality.
Walking out his door Lara heard him mutter something that sounded like, "don't be mad I love you."
*It had felt good to kiss him* Lara realized while feeding the baby. *Of course it felt good. It was the first intimate contact you've had since Bill died. * Lara laid Xalier back in his crib and retired to her room.
"How far would I have let it go?" she gasped in dismay. *You know how far. It's only been a year since you last kissed and look how lost you got in that. It's been almost two decades since…* Letting her thoughts trail off, Lara struggled to fall asleep.
The next morning confirmed that Dilav remembered nothing past the movie's opening credits, much to Lara's relief. His world would remain the same where Lara's world would forever change. It was the kiss that changed things, not the 'I love you'. Lara knew she had loved him for months; he was her best friend after all. It was the fact that she could feel desire that convinced her she could fall in love again. It was just too soon to know if Dilav was the one.
*Liar, you knew he was meant for you the second he kissed you,* her inner voice taunted her. *Regardless, it's too soon to do anything, Bill's barely even been dead a year yet,* she argued with herself and then continued. *You know very well that Bill would be thrilled that you've found happiness again.* Lara smiled remembering, when their 'actions' had become limited.
"I'm sorry," Bill had said. They had been together too long for Bill to be embarrassed by things like this, but as time went on Lara could tell he was becoming self-conscious. It had happened before but never for this length of time.
"I would understand if you went elsewhere to…" Bill stated out of the blue around a year after it had started. "Let me try again. I wouldn't care if you went elsewhere to, ugh, 'take care of your needs'. You're still a young woman you-" Lara had stopped his words with a kiss. He did care, of course, so much so that he was willing to sacrifice his own happiness for her. It was just the kind of person he was.
During the following week Lara was driving Dilav insane. Often when she thought he wasn't paying attention, Dilav would catch Lara looking at him oddly. At times it would seem like she was going out of her way to avoid touching him, other times she would make excuses to be physical. Perceptively he asked her if anything had happened the night he was drunk, but she replied in the negative.
On Friday, instead of driving home Lara parked the car in a downtown garage and without a word the two of them were flying to the cave.
"What are we doing here?" Dilav asked.
"I am here to talk and you are here to listen." When he opened his mouth Lara protested. "No, please just listen. You asked me if anything happened last Friday night, well I lied. You kissed me and told me that you loved me." Dilav began to apologize but Lara cut him off again. "When Bill died I thought I'd never feel anything like that again. I know you were drunk and may not have meant it but I need to know."
"Are you asking me if I'm in love with you?" questioned Dilav completely stunned.
"Because you love me?" he probed with a huge smile on his face.
Dilav rushed over to her and claimed her lips in a long lingering kiss.
"Does that answer your question?" Dilav whispered huskily. His lips were only millimetres from her ears as he continued. "I've loved you from the moment I saw you. It was a relief finding out you were Vee-oleta. You have no idea what it's like to think you've fallen in love with two people at the exact same time."
Neither knew how much time had passed when they next came up for air.
"Not that I'm complaining but I would really hate to start something we would have to cut short because Dehiars expects us home.
"I agree, but there's no need to rush." Lara smiled suggestively, "she's not expecting us back until Monday morning."
*** More time passed as it tends to do, but Lara and Dilav wanted none of that. Who cares? They loved life, loved Xalier and most importantly loved each other. Their marriage ceremony was small, just friends and family. Lara got along well with Dilav's parents. They reminded her a great deal of her own. Dilav wanted to tell them her, no their secret, and Lara agreed. They took it well and it brought them closer together. They became a real family. Life was good!
The only dark element in Lara's life was her own anxiety; she still hadn't told Dilav her age yet. The decision was brought out of her hands one night when she was awakened by her own screams.
"What's wrong?" Dilav asked very concerned. He had never seen her so upset.
"I had a dream my daughter was hurt. I-I had it last night too, but thought it was just a dream. I'm scared it's our telepathic link. My baby might be hu-hurt out there and I can do nothing to help her!" Lara sobbed into Dilav's chest. This was the first he had heard of a daughter but now was not the time to explore it. So, he just held her until her sobs eased, knowing she would tell him when she was ready.
When Lara had calmed down enough she told Dilav everything. It came as quite a shock to find out, his wife would keep the fact she had children from him. Not to mention great- grandchildren.
"Why didn't you tell me?"
"I don't know; a lot of reasons. I was afraid of how you would react. You live on a planet that considers more than ten years age difference taboo. I'm ninety-nine years older than you." Then Lara said to stress the point, "I have great-grandchildren older than you."
"You didn't tell me because you thought I would leave you?" Dilav shouted. "I don't know what bothers me more; that you think I would care about something like that, or that you believed that it would bother me so much that you still kept it a secret! Shouldn't that decision be mine? If you want to keep me against my will we both know there is no way I can stop you." Dilav jumped out of bed and threw his clothes on. "You're my wife you should have trusted me!"
"I'm sorry," Lara moaned, completely ashamed of herself.
"I need some time to think." Dilav paused at the door. "Good- bye."
"I'm sorry" Lara cried again, but he was already gone.
When Dilav hadn't returned home the next morning in time for work Lara called them in sick. When the next two nights passed without a word, Lara became concerned. Lara searched for him every night, but with no luck. Two weeks to the day after Dilav's disappearance Lara received a letter in the mail from the bank. Dilav had taken everything but a few thousand dollars. He had even cleaned out his retirement fund and maxed out his credit limit. Matio was shocked when he found out, as were Dilav's parents, they all believed he had left her. Deep in her heart she knew better. Matio offered her an extended paid vacation, and she divided her time between searching and Xalier.
One afternoon a month after Dilav had left her Lara was playing with Xalier in her backyard, when she heard Steph calling her. Felt was actually a better description. Shaking her head and blaming it on what she had just found out hours ago Lara blocked it from her mind. She brought the baby inside for his nap and prepared herself lunch.
A knock on the door interrupted her meal. The second Lara opened it Steph flew into her arms at super speed.
"Found her," Steph spoke into her communicator and seconds later they were surrounded by a houseful of Kents.
A long tearful reunion went on, everyone trying to be heard over another woke Xalier up. Lara smiled when his cry silenced the room better then she ever could have.
"Excuse me," Lara said as she arose to get the baby.
When she returned Jon was the first to recover. "I know you haven't been here long enough for that to be yours," he stated gesturing to the baby's size.
"You're right of course," Lara smiled. "Now that I've got your attention can one of you please tell me how you found me?"
Jon explained that when she had gone missing they had commandeered a cargo ship and began searching. They had almost given up hope of ever finding her, when they had received some sort of signal. It had only taken Katie hours to translate the words. It was directions on how to find her.
"Who sent it if not you?" Steph asked, perplexed.
"My husband." Lara stated her face going pale. For the second time in only ten minutes history repeated itself and the room once again fell silent.
"Your husband?" Steph inquired.
Lara then proceeded to give her family a recap of the past year. When she got to the part of his disappearance she concluded with; "I knew he would never leave me." She then filled them in on her search and asked for any ideas. They all said they'd think on it and spent the rest of the night talking. One by one they all started to retire to the ship.
Steph decided to stay behind and they talked for hours.
When Lara awoke in the middle of the afternoon she found Steph playing with Xalier.
"You look good with a baby in your arms," Lara commented. "It suits you."
Stephanie smiled and thought to Lara, *that's good to know, I'll have one of my own soon.*
*Another great-grandbaby! Do you know what you're having?* Lara thought back.
Steph shook her head. "It doesn't matter to me, but Mark wants a girl."
"How are things with you two?"
"Excellent! We are both really looking forward to the baby."
"He or she and Xalier should have fun playing together and when-" Lara was cut off by Jon rushing into the room.
"I found him!" he cried triumphantly.
Not needing to ask whom Jon was talking about Lara interrogated, "Where? Is he okay?" *Can you take me to him?*
The spoken and thought words overlapped and it took a minute for Jon to answer her.
"We found him in a hospital, he's in a coma. We moved him to the ship. Marty's looking him over and she thinks he'll be okay." Jon explained. "Medical technology is far more advanced on Earth than it is here. Not to mention the Vulcan database. He'll be fine."
"What happened?" Lara probed thankful he'd be okay.
"He was hit by some sort of vehicle. When they found him he had no identification."
"He will be all right?"
Instead of waiting for a shuttle to bring them up Lara and Jon flew. Steph volunteered to wait for the shuttle with the baby.
When Lara arrived she was dismayed by what she saw. Dilav looked so sick. His eyes were sunken and he had to be at least forty pounds lighter than when she had last seen him. Marty tried to tell her it was just a result of a month of intravenous feeding, but Lara wouldn't listen. He looked the same way Bill did before his death.
"I thought it best to wait until you got here before I woke him up." Martha explained giving Dilav an injection.
Seconds later he was groaning. Dilav opened his eyes to see Lara's tearful face staring at him intently.
"Don't cry love, everything will be alright." Dilav whispered his voice sounding like it belonged to someone else. "I feel like I was hit by a bus," he stated, which only made Lara cry harder.
"You were," she sobbed. "Everyone thought you left me, but I knew you never would. I'm sorry I didn't tell you sooner. I'm sorry I didn't trust you more. I'm sor-"
"Shh," Dilav murmured. "I never should have reacted so badly. I bought a transmitter so you can contact your family. I hope that makes it up to you."
"They got your message. They're the ones who found you. I searched everywhere but I couldn't find you." Lara commenced crying again.
Dilav was traumatized to find out that he had been missing for a full month. When Steph arrived with Xalier, Dilav couldn't get over how big he had gotten. One by one Lara's family drifted though sickbay and Dilav became confused trying to remember their names. Marty informed them that it was another result of his injuries, with time and patience things should return to normal.
Less than a week later Dilav was able to return home. He still had a long way to go before he was back to normal, but he was progressing quickly. The first few days he was home it seemed like everyone Dilav had ever met wanted to see him. All he wanted was some time alone with Lara. They had a lot to talk about.
Unwilling to put off the subject any longer, Dilav informed Lara that as soon as they had the chance they needed to discuss some things.
"Before you say anything I have a confession to make." Unable to look Dilav in the eye Lara went on, "the reason I didn't tell wasn't because I didn't trust you. It's because I was ashamed."
"I was married to Bill for ninety-six years, and I forgot how to be just me. For almost a century I was Bill's wife, and when he died I was dismayed to learn Bill's wife and Lara Kent weren't the same person. Being independent has always been important to me, that's why I kept my maiden name. It was a huge shock to discover that I failed miserably."
"No, please don't say anything," Lara pleaded. "At least not yet. It took me almost two years to admit that to anyone, give me more time before we discuss it in detail."
"So you just want me to change the subject?" at her nod, Dilav did just that.
"Remember you told me that when your family got here you would leave?"
Although Lara sensed it was a rhetorical question, she felt a need to answer. "I completely forgot about that."
Caught off guard by that remark Dilav wasn't sure what to say next.
"I know you want to see the stars, and visit other planets but have you completely thought it through? Some things you can't undo and leaving Cetyl would be one of them. We can't just leave for a few years and come back to the lives we have now." Lara declared.
"I know that." Dilav insisted.
"Do you know what it will be like for your parents? They will have to act like we are missing or dead. Every friend you have ever had you'll never see again. They will have to suffer the pain of losing a friend."
"I never thought of that," Dilav said, his dreams of exploring space becoming crushed.
"I'm not saying that you should give up on your dreams. I can buy a shuttle and we can go somewhere every weekend. Matio will give us time off for you to recuperate. We can visit Earth and Mars and Vulcan during that time. Vacations will take us further than you can imagine." Lara hated to do this but Dilav needed to consider these things. What she was about to say would upset him but needed to be said.
Dilav just stared at her. He had nothing to say.
"Eventually it will become apparent that I'm not aging. I could still look like this for the next hundred years. We will have to move often. Why do it when it's unnecessary? It's up to you, I'll stand by whatever decision you make." With that Lara turned and walked out of the room.
Hours later Dilav sought Lara out.
"I'm sorry!" Dilav spoke softly.
"For what?" Lara questioned perplexed.
"I'm sorry," Dilav repeated, "that it took me so long to come to a decision. I don't care what planet we are on. I don't care if I ever leave Cetyl. I don't care if we have to relocate every decade."
"I love you," Lara whispered, trying to hold back her tears.
"I love you too. I love you so much! I can't believe it took me hours. Hell, I can't believe it took me minutes to make a decision. No matter where we go or don't go, the only place I want to be is with you."
Unable to hold back her tears any longer Lara rushed into Dilav's embrace.
A week later as Lara's family were getting ready to leave, Steph and Mark astounded everyone with their decision to remain on Cetyl.
"It was really Mark's idea," Stephanie educated the Kents, smiling at her husband. "When he saw how upset I was about those poor babies like Xalier, he knew we had to do something about it. We are going to change the way disabled children are treated on this planet. I can also help out here with super activities. I'll never understand in a million years how grandpa did it himself for so long."
"He didn't do it himself," Jon informed her. "He had mom, and she helped him in ways another with superpowers never could."
It didn't take Steph long to settle in. As soon as the fuss died down over a second superhero, Lara and Dilav's lives began to return to their version of 'normal'.
"Why did you bring me here?" Dilav asked apprehensively.
"Are you afraid?"
"Every time you bring me here it's to tell me something that will change my life." Dilav waved his arm gesturing to the cave. "I like my life the way it is, it's perfect"
"Don't you think you're just a little paranoid?" Lara quipped.
"No, I'm being perfectly reasonable," Dilav insisted. "Promise me nothing will change. Promise!" he pleaded.
"I'm sorry you feel that way," Lara smiled. "But all in all I think you'll like this change."
Dilav just groaned at that. "I knew it! I will never enter this cave again as long as I live!"
"I have some very nice memories of last time we were here." Lara teased still in a playful mood.
"So do I, but you are about to tell me something life changing, and my life couldn't get any better."
"Don't be so sure. Sometimes you don't even know you're missing something till you have it." Lara was really enjoying this.
"Well are you going to tell me?" Dilav was becoming more agitated every minute.
"I thought you didn't want to know," really, really enjoying this.
"Lara!" Dilav cried, becoming exasperated.
"Okay, okay." Silence.
Lara looked up into his eyes and smiled. "I'm pregnant."
Dilav picked her up and swung her around beaming. He then claimed her lips in a deep lingering kiss and wished it could last forever.
"It will," Lara promised. "This moment in time will always be ours."
"We really should come here more often," Dilav informed her.