By Alicia U. <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted: December 2003
Summary: In this sequel to the author's "Let It Snow," Lois and Clark celebrate their new-found love over the holidays. But will she still feel the same about him once he confesses his biggest secret in a New Year's resolution vow?
Clark Jerome Kent was one horrible, stinking, dirty, disgusting rat. In fact, he could add just about any negative adjective, and it would accurately describe him, too.
He was worse than an Atomic Space Rat.
That's right. He was a horrible person. Hadn't his parents taught him better than this? They had always taught him the evils of lying, but they had supported the biggest lie in the history of man…okay, maybe not the history of man, but definitely the biggest lie of any secret identity of a Kryptonian man on Earth.
He was such a hypocrite. The man who had always spoken out against lying was probably the most horrible liar in the world.
Yes, he knew he was being exceptionally hard on himself. However, he felt like he deserved it. Once Lois found out how long he had been keeping his secret from her, she would be even harder on him than he was being on himself. Once he and Lois had became more than just work partners and their relationship had evolved into one of close friends, he should have told her the truth about himself.
What a jerk! Now his life was so deeply immersed in this lie, he wasn't sure how to emerge from its shadow. His initial lie had turned into a monster; he had to keep telling more absurd lies to cover up his initial lie. Lying was a horrible personality trait. Yes, he was a horrible person.
He had lied, and lied again, and lied some more, until all of the lies compounded into a horrible conglomeration of untruth. It cast a pall over his entire existence. He was a stupid, disgusting, dirty, no good liar.
Throughout their year and a half of knowing each other, Clark had softly prodded Lois to see him as the man he really was. She had shown a strange attraction for Superman almost since the moment she had met him, but she had ignored him as his true identity, Clark. He had wanted her to see the real man, to love him as himself, the man within without any knowledge of what he could do.
But that was crazy. He *was* Superman. It was a part of his personality and his life. He couldn't be the man he was without the Superman element. His Clark Kent persona was heavily dependent on his Superman persona and vice versa. He needed to let Lois see the real man beneath both exteriors. Both parts of him provided the essential basis to his true personality. He couldn't be Clark without Superman and couldn't be Superman without Clark.
If Lois didn't know the true person he held within, under layers and layers of spandex, designer suits, and self-erected emotional fences, she could never truly love him.
As their relationship had progressed from two colleagues to two friends to two best friends to two people in love, he had aimed to slowly but surely poke through the many layers of armor covering her true soul. And he had wanted to do it as Clark. Not as Superman.
He had expected to strip all of Lois's layers of protection to look into her soul to see the woman within. But he wouldn't let her do the same thing to him. He probably had deeper protective layers than she had ever had, but she had no idea they existed and couldn't even try to break through to his real soul.
What a hypocrite. If that wasn't the worst double standard ever, he wasn't sure what was. Throughout her life, Lois had been hurt by so many people; it was what made her lock her soul so tightly within herself. Now she had let Clark into her deepest recesses of emotion, but he was going to hurt her again. It really hadn't been on purpose. He hadn't seen himself this way before, and now he knew that if there was any chance to salvage any part of their relationship, he would have to tell her the truth about himself and face the consequences.
He couldn't live the lie any more. Clark Kent. Superman. Two public images. One man. Lois needed to see the truth and decide for herself.
Maybe she would hate him, but he had to take the chance that she would see a kindred spirit and somehow understand the reason for his lies. He had built armor around his true soul that was equally strong and just as hard to penetrate as hers had been.
All he knew was that he had to let her try to find her way through his armor just as he had broken through hers.
He had finally broken through all of her emotional defenses on Christmas Eve, and it still took him by surprise. While he wasn't sure how it had happened, he certainly wasn't complaining. The year and a half he had spent diligently chipping away at her many layers of defenses had finally given the desired result.
She had surprised him by declaring her love for him, and he had spent the whole night holding her. It was something he'd always imagined doing but had never thought possible. They had spent the entire night wrapped in each other's arms watching the snowfall, cuddling and kissing with a newfound sense of love, companionship, and trust. It had been a night of emotional catharsis, one they would both remember for years to come. It had been the beautiful beginning of a new stage of their relationship, the first day they had been openly in love.
Clark knew he hadn't been entirely honest with her. The most amazing night of his life was now tainted with the knowledge that he had lied to her repeatedly. And now he had to face the consequences. He had let this go on long enough. It had been a week since their Christmas Eve kisses and declarations of love. How had he let this go on for so long?
One excuse was that he had spent two days in Smallville with his parents — and had received a quite hearty lecture from his mother. Yes, he had waited too long to tell Lois the truth about himself. Yes, he was acting immature. Yes, he needed to let Lois decide for herself.
But it was easier said than done. He had lived so long with the knowledge that he needed to hide his true identity from anyone that could possibly hurt him.
No, Lois wouldn't hurt him. She wouldn't publish an exclusive article about Superman's true identity like he had once feared. Maybe at first this had been a legitimate fear, but now he knew that it was unfounded. What was he waiting for? He needed to tell her.
It had still taken three more days. He had seen her at work. He had seen her after work. He had seen her at night. Yet he couldn't bring himself to tell her. For the strongest man in the world, he certainly was a wimp.
Lois had let him through the barriers of her heart. Why couldn't he do the same thing?
His own barriers were still up at full force. He still held the deepest secret ever. Yet all he wanted to do was revel in his newfound love even though it was all under false pretenses.
He wanted to kiss her, to hug her, to declare his undying love to her. And he wasn't sure if he would ever be able to do that again once he told her the truth. God, he really was a selfish, lying jerk. There were no two ways about it. He was taking advantage of Lois.
Lois had declared her love without knowing the whole truth. It had all been under false pretenses. What a horrible double standard! He wanted Lois to reveal her heart to him while he still hadn't done it for her, and he had let this horrible injustice perpetuate for an entire week.
It was New Year's Eve, a time for resolutions, and his would be to come clean to Lois about his true identity. He needed to tell her the truth. Tonight would be the beginning of both a new year and a new stage in his life. It was judgment day.
He was now on her floor on the way to her apartment. All of his reflection had overwhelmed him as he had unconsciously directed himself to her apartment. It was time to tell her the truth. His hand shook as he reached out to knock on that fateful door.
Lois flung the door open and immediately kissed him softly on the cheek.
As she led him into her apartment, he noticed the way she was dressed. Her long hair was curled and pulled up in a very flattering style and she was wearing a long, burgundy, slinky dress. His breath caught in his chest as he let his eyes travel up and down her figure. God, what would he do if he lost this wonderful woman?
"Just let me grab my coat and I'll be ready to go."
Go? Go where? Oh…the party. Should he take that invitation to wait another day to tell her the truth? That would be the easy way out. He was good at taking the easy way out.
He had to tell her the truth. It wasn't fair to either of them not to tell her the truth. The guilt was eating away at him. She would figure it out herself before long, and that would not be a good thing.
She turned around to face him, obviously not knowing that what he was going to say would change both of their lives.
He had to continue. No he didn't. Yes he did. "I need to tell you something first."
"Oh, okay. What is it?" She seemed a little unsure, nervous about what he would tell her.
She had no idea the magnitude of the situation for both of them. He was going to tell her something that would break her heart.
Clark grabbed her hand and squeezed it reassuringly. "Maybe we should sit down."
"Oh, okay." She seemed even more nervous. Of course she did. Telling someone to sit down always meant bad news. It was like the omen of heartbreak, probably because good news was easy to share, but bad news was painful for anyone to say.
When they were sitting facing each other on the couch, Clark took a deep breath, hesitant to start. He needed to tell her. There was no question about that, but it was hard. He had never told another soul about this.
Finally, Clark began, "Lois, you know I love you?"
"Of course." She bit her lip nervously. "You're not breaking up with me."
"No! No, of course not. I would never break up with you." Under his breath, he muttered, "I just hope you don't want to break up with me after I'm done."
Lois nodded slowly. "What is it, Clark."
"Okay, you're going to have to bear with me here. I've always had trouble sharing my emotions, but this is my one New Year's resolution. Before we let this go any further, I need to tell you everything about myself." It was so much easier said than done. Thinking about and planning for this moment had been infinitely easier than the mechanical process of actually vocalizing his emotions.
"What? Are you hiding something from me? Don't tell me you have a wife and three kids in Kansas." It was an obviously poor attempt at humor.
He laughed slightly, but chose to ignore her remark. "Lois, this is so hard for me to say. I've never told anyone before."
"Oh, no, you do have a secret life!"
Clark took a deep breath before he said, "Secret wife, no. Secret life, yes."
It was no longer a joke. "God, I knew it. Just when I finally find someone that seemed perfect, let myself fall in love…"
"I've been hiding this from you, from everyone, my whole life. My parents are the only people in the world that know."
"What? You're really a woman?" she asked sarcastically, eyes shooting daggers at him.
"No, Lois. I'm not really a woman. I'm definitely a man. Maybe it would be easier for me if I started from the beginning."
Lois shrugged, and Clark took that as an invitation to begin.
"I don't know if I ever told you this, but I am adopted."
"Martha and Jonathan Kent are not my biological parents, although it says they are on my birth certificate."
"What?" Clark could imagine the thoughts running through her mind. He knew this story seemed unbelievable. She had to be thinking of the ways that the Kents could have forged a birth certificate. Could it be a story of lies and intrigue? Yes, it really could.
"They found me in a field near their farm."
"They found you? You were abandoned?"
"Not exactly. I guess I was abandoned, but we never chose to look at it that way."
"How did they find you?"
She was in reporter mode now, curiously asking questions to probe deeper. In a few seconds, she would figure it out for herself. Clark wasn't sure if it was better this way or if he had just flat out told her. It was too late to turn back now, though.
"As they were driving home, they saw a bright flash shooting across the sky that seemed to land in Schuster's Field. They weren't sure what to expect."
"But they found you." Lois bit her lip considering the possibilities. "You were the one flying through the sky in a bright flash? How? What?"
"They found me in what looked like a tiny flight vehicle."
Clark decided to continue rather than directly answer her question. "They weren't sure where I came from — assumed I was some kind of government experiment until we discovered a globe that had been in my ship and…"
"Oh my god! Until you discovered the globe. That's why…You're, you're Superman."
Clark nodded resolutely. "Yes. But more accurately, Superman is a part of me. A caricature that allows me to use my powers to help anyone I can as well as live a normal life with a job, home…"
"Girlfriend," Lois finished. "Me."
Clark smiled slightly and squeezed her hand. "That is if you still want me." When Lois averted his eyes, Clark sighed and said, "Let me finish the whole story. I am not sure if you will respect me at the end, but I hope it will help you understand."
Lois nodded, urging him to continue.
"My childhood was pretty normal, really. I did well in school, had a few good friends, and played all kinds of sports, just like a normal kid. And then, almost out of the blue, one day I lifted my dad's truck right off the ground. Soon after, I realized that I could make fire with my eyes, see through things, and hear things that no one else could."
"That must have been horrible for you. How young were you?"
She seemed almost sympathetic and was asking him about his childhood, not about why he had deceived her. "It started happening when I was seven or eight — and my powers continued to develop all through my adolescence. I didn't get all of my powers in full force until college."
"Wow," Lois whispered.
"And my parents always thought that I was a government experiment gone awry, so they urged me not to tell anyone, anyone at all, about what I could do. They didn't want the government to take me away from them. My dad instilled the words 'dissect you like a frog' into my subconscious from a very young age. I always knew that I had to hide my powers from everyone in the world. That's why after college, I traveled around the world, but I kept messing up. Every time I would save someone, people would start asking questions, and I would have to move on."
"That's horrible, Clark. Moving around from place to place, never finding a home, scared of someone finding out. You've never told anyone else…ever."
"Never," Clark whispered. "You're the only person I've wanted to tell."
Lois smiled slightly. "But you stayed in Metropolis. Why?"
Clark grinned. "Because of you." He touched her hand before he continued. "Lois, when I was in Perry's office that first time, and I first saw you, I knew that I was in love."
He nodded emphatically. "Then when we started to work together, *you* gave me the idea to create a secret identity to help people without exposing myself. Superman is the secret identity. I am the real person."
"I know," she whispered. "I think subconsciously, I always knew. I had feelings for you that I tried to deny ever since we went to Smallville last year and Trask almost killed you. I tried to hide those emotions by trying to convince myself I loved Superman. I knew he wasn't real. I might have even known he was just a comic book one-dimensional character…"
"Lois, I am so sorry I didn't tell you before. I can't really explain why I didn't. I guess I was just as scared as you were." He looked up to meet her eyes.
"We're just a couple of train wrecks in the relationship department."
Clark chuckled. "I've never let myself get this close to anyone before."
"Am I really the reason you stayed in Metropolis?"
Lois squeezed his hand reassuringly. Clark was just glad that she hadn't immediately broken up with him on the spot. She seemed shocked and slightly upset, but not overly angry. It was almost like she understood.
"Are you mad?" he asked, not sure if he wanted to hear the answer. It was a stupid question. He knew how mad he was at himself, and he wanted to know how mad Lois was and if he should start heading for the hills until the storm was over.
"Mad?" Lois pondered the thought for a moment before continuing. "Sort of, I guess." Then she squeezed his hand. "But it's nothing I can't get over. I actually understand what you did, if you can believe it. And I'm glad you told me right away rather than, say, after you proposed to me, or when our children started to fly and set things on fire with their eyes."
Clark laughed nervously. "You know I would never do that, right?"
Lois patted him on the chest and said, "Of course not." After a few seconds of silence, she added, "How could I really be mad at you when you stayed in Metropolis because you were in love with me?"
She leaned into his embrace and pressed her lips against his. This was more than Clark ever imagined. He was sure they would be fighting rather than sharing an amazing kiss. He felt a guttural moan in his throat as Lois pushed her body against his and wrapped her arms around his neck. This was so unexpected. How had he gone from confessing his true origins to having the woman he loved kiss him into unconsciousness? He certainly was not complaining! This was better than any of his wildest dreams.
When the kiss broke, Clark caught a glimpse at the clock, arms still wrapped around Lois. "You know, we can still make it to the party." Lois reluctantly opened her eyes and looked out the window. "Look at how hard it's snowing. Maybe it wouldn't be…safe…if we left." She batted her eyelashes at him.
"Let it snow." Clark grinned widely knowing exactly what she meant. "I know we have more interesting ways to spend our first New Year's Eve together without even leaving the room."
Lois disentangled herself from Clark's embrace and said, "I know it's not midnight yet, but I think we should start the celebration early." She quickly came back into the room with two glasses of sparking white wine. "I know it's not champagne, but…"
Clark took his glass. "We don't need champagne. We just need each other."
Lois raised her glass and said, "To resolutions."
"To honesty and evaporating barriers." He took another step towards her.
"To love." Lois touched her glass to his and moved her other hand to touch his face.
"To us." Clark brought his free hand up to cover hers and bring it to his mouth so he could kiss it. "I love you."
"I love you, too. Happy New Year," Lois whispered seductively.
"Happy New Year."
They each sipped their wine, and then Clark pulled Lois's body tightly against his and took their wine glasses and put them down on the coffee table.
With the wine forgotten, their lips met in another wonderfully passionate kiss. It was soft, tender, and loving, inducing feelings he had never even imagined. This was what Clark had waited his whole life for. This was love.
He wanted this kiss, this night, to last forever. This was the beginning of their new lives melded together as one. They both entered a new phase in their lives, hearts and souls completely open to the promise of uninhibited true love.