By Elle Roberts <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted October 2004
Summary: In this rewrite of the episode "Swear to God, This Time We're Not Kidding," Lois and Clark encounter problems of a non-Wedding Destroyer sort in the two weeks leading up to their wedding.
Author's Note: Several months ago now, someone posted a challenge to rewrite the wedding episode — I wrote two pages, posted it and then the story wallowed on my hard drive for a few months. I brought it out again recently in an attempt to work through writer's block on the sequel to West Wind (all emails harassing me to complete it are appreciated). In the meantime, though, this story is finished — and it's about time I posted it to the archives.
As always, comments are appreciated at email@example.com.
Swear to God, This Time It's Realistic
"Let's not invite my mother."
Clark Kent glanced over at his fiance. Her face was bathed in darkness, lit only by the reflection of the passing streetlights. The only thing that surprised him about her comment was the fact it had taken her almost the entire trip back to his apartment before saying what he knew had been on her mind since they had left the restaurant.
"Lois, not inviting your mother —"
"Would make me very happy. And it's my wedding day, so I should get to be very happy," Lois Lane rationalized.
"But the thing is, if you don't invite your mother, you really won't be very happy."
Lois gave a short laugh. "Clark, the woman will turn the entire day into a sideshow."
"Lois, the date is only two weeks away."
"You don't know my mother. She's a magician when it comes to this kind of thing. If she wants doves and the London Symphony Orchestra for her daughter's wedding, she will find a way to get them, even if she only has two weeks. The woman always finds a way to get what she wants, even if no one else agrees with what she wants." Lois gave Clark, who was badly suppressing a large smile, a glare. "This isn't about me."
"Lois, I just think that you'll regret not inviting your mother."
"Well Clark, if you feel that way, why don't we invite kryptonite too?" Lois responded. Memories of his near death experience with the kryptonite gas flooded her memory as soon as the words left her mouth. "Well, fine, my mother isn't that bad, but I'm not forcing you to invite people you don't want to have at our wedding. And that's the thing, Clark. It's our wedding. It's all about us, not my parents or your parents or the Daily Planet or clones or New Kryptonians. After everything we've been through, don't you think we deserve to be a little selfish about how we want to get married? And if I don't want to invite my mother, then I don't think you should question my decision."
Clark felt the corners of his mouth finally twitch upwards into a grin. After the insanity of the past few months, hearing Lois babble was a wonderful return to normalcy. He was about to open his mouth to reply when he heard a passing car's radio.
"… twenty are confirmed dead. To repeat, an airplane has crashed into a Los Angeles freeway and a fire …"
Clark, needing to hear no more, turned to Lois. She spoke before he could open his mouth. "I'll pull off at that gas station on the next block. Is there anyplace you could duck behind to change?"
Clark lowered his glasses and glanced ahead. "Yes, there's an alleyway and a dumpster that should shield me from the street. How did you know I —"
"You're as horrible about getting that far away look when you hear something as you were, and still are, with excuses," Pulling into the gas station and stopping the car, Lois glanced at Clark. "Well, I was close to needing gas anyway."
Clark was hesitant to leave. After so many problems, they were finally returning to a normal schedule, or as average as could be expected given that one of them wore spandex and flew around as a second job. Since regaining his powers after Nor's death, the rescues he had performed had been short, sweet and within the city limits of Metropolis.
"Clark?" Lois queried.
Clark reached up and gently caressed Lois' cheek. "I'll be back soon, I promise."
"Not that long ago I was willing to wait for you, even knowing you may not come back. One rescue is nothing compared to that," Lois said. Lightening her tone, she added, "Besides, I can do invitations without you tonight and forget to include my mother."
"Dinner with your mother was not that bad," Clark retorted.
Before his partner could respond, Clark leaned across the front seat and gave her a long kiss. Breaking away, he ran his hand down her cheek before getting out of the jeep and heading towards the alley. As Lois pulled her credit card out of her wallet, she heard the familiar sonic boom.
Glancing up, she watched the sky for a moment before softly saying, "Be careful."
"Lois, it's me."
"Clark!" Lois glanced around, lowering her voice. "Where are you?"
"What are you doing in Los Angeles?" Lois asked.
"There was some of that kryptonite gas at the accident last night," Clark explained.
Lois made a startled noise. Noticing that Diane, who had been walking by, had glanced over, Lois forced herself to keep her tone quiet. "Are you ok?"
"I'm fine. There wasn't that much. You know that Star Labs had taken the gas that was left for disposal?" At Lois' affirmative, he continued, "It was on the plane. The impact caused some of it to leak. I don't have any powers."
Suddenly why he was calling made sense. He was stuck in Los Angeles. "How much longer before … well, you know."
"No idea," Clark replied. Lois heard something in the background and when Clark spoke again, it was all Superman. "Thank you for taking the time to talk with me, Miss Lane. I'll see you soon."
"See you soon."
Lois put the phone back into the cradle. Looking at Clark's empty desk, Lois picked up the phone, knowing exactly whom she needed to call.
"So, how are we feeling, Superman?"
Clark glanced across the hotel room at Dr. Klein. "My powers should be back shortly."
"Good, good. I still feel horrible about this. We had been assured the container had no chance of breaking," Dr. Klein added.
"Well, Dr. Klein, I'm sure they never factored in a plane crash," Clark suggested.
Dr. Klein gave a nod. "I never thought of that. Anyway, I just stopped by to tell you I'm going over to Caltech to oversee the disposal of the gas."
"I'm glad to hear that. I'll see you when you get back, then," Clark said.
As soon as Dr. Klein had left, Clark let out a frustrated sigh. Just when it seemed like everything had hit an even keel, he had to get stuck in Los Angeles as Superman two weeks before the wedding.
Clark had arrived at the accident last night and immediately begun to help the paramedics get to trapped individuals and x- ray the injured to diagnose breaks. Initially, Clark had not even noticed his weakening abilities, but slowly his x-ray vision had become fuzzy. After a half hour on the scene and increased confusion on Clark's part, Dr. Klein had arrived with two of his colleagues from Caltech. He had immediately waved Clark over to them.
"Dr. Klein, what are you doing here?"
"Superman, how are you feeling?" Klein seemed unusually fidgety, Clark noted.
"Well, actually, my powers seem weak," Clark admitted.
"Superman," Klein lowered his voice and leaned in. "The remainder of the kryptonite gas was on that plane."
"As soon as I heard about the accident, I rushed over here. Though this is Los Angeles, so I suppose rushing isn't the right word," Klein commented.
"Dr. Klein. The gas," Clark said, anxious to hear what Klein was going to say.
"I arrived here yesterday to make sure everything was ready. The gas was scheduled for disposal tomorrow. It's in a silver tube marked Property of Star Labs," Klein explained.
Clark used his faltering vision to scan the wreckage. Finally, he spotted a canister that seemed to have a faint green trail around it. Pointing it out to Klein, Clark watched as the three scientists quickly moved over to the tube and began to contain it.
A half hour later, Clark had done what he could do, and his powers were entirely gone. Despite Klein and his companions cleaning up the cracked canister, enough of the gas had seeped into the air to make Clark feel nauseous and powerless. At Klein's suggestion, Clark had ridden with the scientists back to the hotel Klein was staying in and accepted the scientist's offer to spend the night on the extra bed.
So here he was, 3,000 miles from Lois as Superman and stuck with a guilt-ridden scientist. At least the wedding was 13 days away — he would be back in plenty of time, before anyone could even miss him.
Lois Lane was absorbed in a Mary Tyler Moore Show marathon when the knock sounded at her door. Standing, she quickly straightened the remains of her take-out dinner. Glancing through the peephole a moment later, she let out a groan as she saw who was on the other side of the door. It would be so easy to just go back to watching TV.
"Lois? Lois, open the door. Don't make me wait."
Lois opened the door and smiled. "Hello, Mother."
Ellen Lane glanced around her daughter's apartment and then at her daughter, who was wearing ratty sweats with an equally messy hairstyle.
"I hope Clark hasn't seen you like that," Ellen commented as she began to drag in a large box.
"Of course he's seen me like this, Mother," Lois responded.
"And he hasn't left you yet. Amazing. Well, let's get started," Ellen said as she began taking things from the box and putting them on the table.
"What are we getting started on?" Lois asked in the sweetest tone she could muster through clenched teeth.
"Wedding plans. Now, you haven't left me much time, but I am sure that we can still pull something together so it's halfway respectable."
Lois fought the urge to scream. "Mother, we went over this last night at dinner. We want it to be simple, and we want to plan it."
"You think I'm going to leave planning such an important event to a woman who knows more about breaking and entering than cooking?" Ellen exclaimed.
"Clark's helping too," Lois said, not even wanting to find out how her mother knew about some of her on-the-job skills.
"You and a man planning a wedding. That's absurd. Just go back to talking to criminals and let your mother handle this," Ellen explained. "Speaking of Clark, where is he?"
"He, um, had to deal with a family emergency," Lois lied. After all, Superman was almost a member of the family, and he was incapacitated at the moment.
"And another family member couldn't deal with it?"
Lois glanced around. "Well, see this family member, while well-loved by many, only really interacts with Clark for situations like this. No one else can really do anything."
"I don't know why I'm surprised he'd leave you to deal with someone else two weeks before your wedding. After all, what can you really expect from a man anyway?" Ellen said as she finished getting out the oodles of wedding magazines and other planners she had apparently deemed necessary for the process. "Now, tell me what you want and if it's acceptable, then I'll get everything in order."
"Mother, we have all of this organized. I told you. This is our wedding, not yours. It is about what Clark and I want, not what you want. We want a simple wedding. That's it. No puffy dresses, no stand-in bridesmaids, none of that. Just a wedding so that we can finally get married," Lois said, the pent-up frustration from last night finally overflowing.
Ellen stared at her daughter for a moment. "Fine, then. I'll leave all of this here for you to use and once you realize how difficult it is to plan a wedding, you know my number. I'll be hearing from you."
Lois watched her mother leave, happy to see her gone but also knowing her own words had been harsh. If only Clark was here to deal with this. Glancing over at the mess her mother had left on the table, Lois was about to get a large trash bag and begin shoving the lace-trimmed periodicals into it when the phone rang.
"Lois, it's Martha."
"Did I catch you at a bad time, honey?" Martha's voice, so soothing after her mother's, was a welcome sound to Lois' ears.
"No, it's just my mother again. Martha, I'm trying, but I just don't understand why she won't just let this wedding be about Clark and myself? No bell ringers, nothing elaborate, just something that's about the two of us," Lois explained. "And then she asked about Clark, and I'm worried about him, too. What if he can't get back in time? I mean, how many weddings are we going to have to go through before we actually get to be married? Is that so much to ask, Martha? All I want to do is get married without the police breaking up the ceremony or getting kidnapped or having Clark stranded across the country."
There was silence for a moment before Martha began to comfort her future daughter-in-law. "Lois, Clark will be back. Knowing him, he's probably almost back to full strength now, and he'll be back in Metropolis before you know it. And as for your mother, she just wants to help because she loves you."
"You're right. Thanks Martha," Lois said. Straightening, she asked. "Why were you calling?"
"Well, since we hadn't heard from you since this morning when you called to tell us that Clark was in Los Angeles, we just wanted to know if you hard heard anything else? But, I'm guessing that you haven't."
"No," Lois said. "I've just been assuming he hasn't been able to get away from anyone long enough to drop the Superman facade and call me."
"Well, when you hear from him —"
"I'll let you know," Lois promised.
She and Martha exchanged a few more pleasantries before hanging up for the evening. The previous episode she had been watching had ended, and Lois was now treated to the show's theme song. Lois smiled as she heard the words.
Clark would be back soon enough, and within two weeks, they would be married and all this silly wedding nonsense would be behind them.
She was going to make it after all.
"No, I will not hold!"
Clark knew to tread lightly when the first thing he heard when entering the newsroom was a frustrated Lois Lane. Glancing over at her, he grabbed two cups of coffee and two doughnuts before making his way over to the star reporter's desk. Gift bearing was a suitable way to combat an angry Lois.
Lois, seeing her partner, gave a sigh of relief. Leaning in, she gave him a quick kiss before straightening, the phone still to her ear. "I told Perry that I didn't think you'd be in today … though I have to say, I'm glad to see you alive and in one piece."
"My powers came back about an hour ago."
"How are you feeling?"
"I'm fine now," Clark said. Grabbing her by the waist, he continued. "And I'll be even —"
"Hello? Yes, thank you," Lois spoke into the phone. Glancing at Clark, she mouthed 'later' before turning her full attention to the party at the other end of the line. Clark walked over to his desk, still listening to his fiance.
"Now, listen to me very carefully. I did not order 50 wedding shower invitations. Just 50 … no, I don't care that it's a set. I specifically ordered 50 wedding invitations. That's it … no, I'm not having a shower … why not? Well, where should I start … " Seeing a look from Clark, Lois took a breath before continuing in a much calmer tone. "Regardless of why I am not having a shower, your catalog specifically says I can order 50 wedding invitations. And that is all I want. No, I just want to return the shower invitations. Why? Because I need to use the wedding invitations … I don't have time for that. I'm getting married in two weeks, and the invitations are already in the mail!" Lois' expression darkened a moment later, and Clark began to wonder if the person on the other end of the line realized the longer they tried to reason with a Lois Lane hell bent on being right, the closer they stepped to needing a new job. "Excuse me? Haven't you ever heard of the customer always being right? I want to speak with your manager!"
"Man, CK, am I glad to see you back," Jimmy said as he walked over to the newly arrived reporter. "Where've you been?"
"Well …" Clark began, before catching sight of Lois, who was now close to jumping through the phone in order to prove her point in person. "I was getting some wedding stuff done. Lois has been, you know, a little stressed out and all."
As if to reinforce Clark's excuse, Lois' voice rang out at that moment. "Does your company service manual require you to be as difficult as possible?!"
Jimmy glanced over to the angry woman. "Lois said you were dealing with a sick relative."
Clark looked at Jimmy. He had forgotten to ask Lois what his cover story was. "Well, I was but it ended up not really being as serious as he thought it would be, so I had time this morning to deal with some wedding stuff."
Jimmy nodded. "Oh. Well, maybe you can get Lois to calm down a little. This wedding stuff has her crazy." Jimmy leaned in closer. "And if you think this wedding is going to fall through, would you let me know so I can leave the country until Lois recovers?" Patting Clark on the shoulder, Jimmy dashed off on another one of his endless errands.
Clark shook his head as Lois got off the phone and walked over to him. "I see Mad Dog Lane has taken over our wedding preparations."
Lois grinned. "Better than my mother."
"Lois, your mother —"
"Hijacked me last night in the comfort of my own apartment. She doesn't understand the meaning of no."
Clark nodded, deciding to direct the conversation to a different, though no less volatile, topic. "And the wedding invitations?"
"Are sent." Seeing Clark's suspicious look, she added. "And I sent one to my mother. Though after last night, I don't know why I bothered."
"And the church is reserved, we have a minister, the flowers are ordered, I've reserved tuxes, we're meeting with the caterer tomorrow …"
"But I still don't have a dress," Lois finally admitted. "Am I allowed to tell you that, or have I just broken some cardinal rule of getting married that's going to doom us?"
"Well, they do say third time's a charm," Clark said, giving Lois a quick kiss.
"For elopement, maybe," Lois groused.
"Lois, Clark, the honeymoon starts in two weeks. Until then, I still expect stories," Perry said from his office. "Oh, and Clark, nice to have you back, son."
One week to go, Lois thought as she and Clark continued the process of combining two apartment's worth of objects into one. Since Clark's return from Los Angeles, things had been quiet. Even Lois' mother, surprisingly enough, had backed off and let the couple plan their wedding. Well, almost — there was still the incident at the caterer's, but Lois had no desire to even live through the memory of that day again.
Putting down another box of her belongings that had been deemed nonessential for the next week and therefore safe to bring to Clark's apartment, she looked down at Clark's scrapbook of horrors as she so fondly referred to it.
"I don't see how you find these funny," Lois commented as she flipped through page after page of articles about them, mostly from low-life tabloid rags. "Just reading them makes me feel like I've become a worse reporter."
"Lois, they have high comic value and they are, after all, about us. I don't know of any other couple lucky enough to get featured in the tabloids on a regular basis," Clark replied as he came up behind her and kissed her neck.
"It's just that, Clark, I feel like I know you better than anyone, and I can't even begin to understand your fascination with those things. And it makes me wonder if I really know you at all. I mean, maybe I just think I know you. I mean, we thought we knew each other, but Lex replaced me with a clone and you didn't even notice. I mean, maybe you're not really Clark but some evil identical twin the Kryptonians left and —"
"Lois, breathe," Clark said, a small smile on his lips. "One, I am Clark Kent. I promise you that. Two, I blame the fact I didn't know you were a clone on the hormone-induced bliss I was in that day because of thoughts of our wedding night." Clark got a small smile from Lois from that. "Which, I am happy to say, I am still just as excited about as I was the first time around." Clark gave Lois a brief kiss to which she responded. "And finally, if I didn't keep a sense of humor about this kind of thing," he said, pointing to a picture of a scantily-clad Lois Lane with the headline 'Clark Kent is livid' blazoned across it, "then I would never have the opportunity to show our kids, who are going to get an absolute kick out of seeing boring old Mom and Dad dressed like superheroes."
Clark could see the tension finally drain out of Lois' shoulders. She gave him a smile. "Boring old Mom and Dad, huh?"
"Absolutely. I'd say we're the most boring people I know," Clark replied, as he pulled Lois closer to him and began to lower his head to hers.
Lois' response to Clark's comment, which she had thought wonderfully witty, was cut off as Clark's lips met hers for a normal session of necking.
"Three days to go, Lois. Sure you're not nervous yet?"
"I'm fine, Jimmy. I have a dress, all the preparations are done, the church is booked and my mother has yet to call me today. All in all, I'm a very happy person at this moment in time."
"Good, then, ah, you might want to check out the TV." Jimmy said quickly before darting off.
"Jimmy?" Lois asked, concerned. "What — " She trailed off as she glanced at the screen. "Oh no."
"This is Bob Ranner reporting live from St.Luke's Church," the balding reporter told his viewing audience, as large flames danced in the background. "Firefighters are desperately trying to contain a blaze that began approximately twenty minutes ago. Superman has yet to be spotted at the scene and with each passing moment, the structural stability of the 75-year-old church is called into question."
Lois' eyes grew wide as she half-gestured to the screen. "That's … that's our church. The church I'm supposed to get married in is burning to the ground …"
Though no one in the newsroom doubted that Lois would have probably appreciated a comforting word or two, no one was willing to risk her wrath at fate. And so, as Lois registered that the spot of her supposed nuptials was becoming little more than elegant firewood, everyone took a couple of steps back and some even went as far as finding errands to run outside of the Daily Planet building. After all, if there was one constant in the world, it was the unpredictability of Lois Lane's temper. ~
"Where were you?"
Clark Kent had slipped into the newsroom five minutes before, not looking forward to encountering his fiance. As he had correctly assumed, she was a long ways from happy.
He glanced around before answering through partially clenched teeth. "There was a pile-up on Interstate 75. By the time I could leave to do something about the fire, it was too late. I'm sorry."
"It's not your fault, Clark. Even you can't be everywhere at once." Lois took his hand and squeezed it to emphasize her words. "But Clark, we're supposed to get married in three days in a church that burned to the ground a half hour ago. That's it. Clark, we're cursed. I mean, it's like the gods want us to get happy, comfortable, enjoy a little peace and quiet and then *wham*! Take down, grapple and pin, happiness loses!"
"Honey, it's going to be fine," Clark said he pulled Lois into a half hug. "We are getting married, because our being together is bigger than anything that has ever been." Clark reached up to push back a stray strand of hair from Lois' face. "It's destiny."
"But we still don't have a church. I mean, maybe our destiny is to love one another from afar. Maybe we're destined to set the world record for most amount of failed attempted weddings."
Clark's hand, still resting lightly against the side of Lois' face, gently caressed her cheek. "The church was just a building. Everything else is still in order. We are going to get married in three days." He smiled lightly. "Besides, it's not like the Wedding Destroyer broke out of the asylum or something."
Lois pulled back. "Clark, don't say that. You say that and she's going to come after us. You want to talk about fate or destiny, you say something like that and it's just tempting — Hi Perry."
Clark glanced behind him to see a rather sheepish editor-in- chief standing there. Perry glanced at both of them. "Listen, kids, I think you should take the rest of the day off and try and find a place to get married."
Lois' shoulders visibly relaxed. "Perry, you don't have to do that. I mean, we're taking leave for our honeymoon and everything —"
Clark, not quite sure from where Lois' suddenly relaxed nature had appeared, cut in before Lois could say anything else. "If you don't mind, Perry, we'll go ahead and take it."
"Yes? Hello, this is Lois Lane."
Clark watched Lois as she talked with the last church on their list. Two days until the big day and a day after their church had burned to the ground, and they were down to one more place. He had been responsible for calling other places that might have a room suitable for a wedding — hotels, restaurants, community centers — in short, any place in Metropolis that had not been condemned, which ruled out the several abandoned warehouses in the Hobbs Bay area that were otherwise available.
"So, you're booked?" Lois asked, the resignation clear in her voice. "But it's a funeral, right? Couldn't you rearrange it? I mean, the person is already dead —"
Clark interceded, taking the phone out of Lois' hand, apologizing to the person on the other end of the line, putting the phone back in the cradle and then giving Lois a long look. "It was completely tasteless, I know. But Clark, that was the last place on the list. Who knew this was a popular weekend for weddings and funerals?"
"Or that there was a huge expo in town?"
Lois gave a long sigh. "So that's it then. My apartment or yours?"
"I'm not not getting married on Saturday, Clark. I am not having three failed weddings. I say we cut down the guest list and have it in one of our apartments. I'd say yours, but we'd have to move out all the boxes. On the other hand, we could go ahead and move all of my furniture out of my apartment since we'll have to do that anyway," Lois explained.
Lois nodded. "Worst case scenario." She gave a nervous smile. "I have a list of them on my computer — everything from no church to international emergencies to no dress. After yesterday, I am not trusting anything to chance."
Clark smiled at Lois as a knock sounded at the door. Lois went to answer it and found two Smallvile residents on her doorstep. Clark, who had come up behind her, stepped forward in surprise.
"Mom? Dad? I thought you weren't flying in until tomorrow."
Martha walked into the room to embrace Lois and then her son. Jonathan followed a discreet distance behind, ever the observer. "We were going to, honey, but given everything you two have been through, we figured you could use a little extra help. We took the first flight we could. Can you believe yesterday afternoon's flight was booked solid? Who knew so many people went back and forth from Kansas to Metropolis."
"Martha, Jonathan, you didn't have to —"
"Of course we didn't have to, we wanted to. And I can only imagine what kind of state I would be in if I lost my church three days before my wedding," Martha said slyly, giving Lois a look.
Lois smiled. "It's not fun. We've been calling places for the past day."
"Where will you be having the wedding?" Jonathan asked.
Clark glanced at Lois. "We were about to decide when you guys showed up. What do you think? My place or hers?"
"What?" Martha and Jonathan asked in stereo.
"Well, every place in town is booked. So, we're resorting to Worst Case Scenario Number Two —"
"Wait, you have them numbered?" Clark interrupted.
"And cross-referenced in case anything would happen to me again. For that look under either clone or breaking story," Lois explained. "Our options at this point are no wedding or a wedding at one of our apartments. And given that we've already not had a wedding once, I'm not waiting again."
"There has to be another option," Martha reasoned.
"We've tried everything, Mom. We even considered having 'Superman' fly guests somewhere, but decided that could create potential problems we didn't want to deal with."
Lois glanced up at her phone when it rang. "Let me get that. I'll just be a minute." Lois dashed over to the phone and picked it up. "Hello?"
"There were two places that said they would call us back if something opened up," Clark said by way of explanation for her behavior.
Neither Martha nor Jonathan missed the pained expression that came across Clark's face. "She'll be fine, son. That's just how mothers and daughters are," Jonathan commented.
"He's right, Clark. When Betty Johnson got married two years ago, her mother refused to show up to the reception over an argument the two had had over beef or chicken for the entre."
"Yes, Mother, that was our church … no, we don't know where the ceremony will be held … Yes, we will figure something out … What? What do you mean you found a place? We've been calling every place in the city for the past 24 hours and everywhere is booked. Where is it? … What do you mean, you won't tell me? It's my wedding!" At this point, Clark walked over to Lois and whispered into her ear. After a moment, she nodded. "Mother, why don't you meet Clark, his parents and me for lunch?"
"I don't believe it! She won!" Lois said as she threw her purse onto Clark's couch.
Clark finished closing and locking the front door before maneuvering through the numerous boxes that now crowded his apartment. "Lois, it's not a contest. And, honestly, if she has a place, how can we fault her?"
Lois sank down onto the couch. "It's just that, after everything, Clark, the fact my mother is going to take over the ceremony all of the sudden just seems, well, wrong. This was supposed to be our show, remember?"
Clark sat down beside Lois and gingerly took her hand. "And it is going to be our show. It's our wedding, Lois, and you know —"
"Oh no," Lois said, pulling away from Clark.
"What? What's wrong?"
"I'm turning into my mother. This past week, it's like I've completely forgotten how to be Lois Lane, reporter, and I've turned into Lois Lane, Ellen Lane, Jr. This kind of stuff never used to bother me. And sure, I've been under a lot of pressure in the past few months, but —"
Clark took a deep breath. "Lois, you're not your mother —"
"Not yet, but give it five years, and I'll probably be popping an aspirin every time a breaking story comes in and consulting my therapist about my stress level once a week. And I'll stick my nose in where it doesn't belong and —"
"Lois, you do that already."
"I do?" Lois' eyes widened. "Do I pry too much into your life, Clark? I do, don't I?"
Clark fought back a grin. "Lois, you're a reporter. You have three Kerth awards because you're nosey."
Lois nodded. "But, Clark, I've never been this high strung before." At Clark's silence, she pressed further: "You think I'm high strung?"
"Lady, you're a Stradivarius," Clark commented, his lips lightly brushing hers.
At this, Lois laughed, and Clark stood to pull her into a hug. Looking at each other for a moment, their faces weaved in closer as Clark spoke in a low, breathy voice that ran up Lois' spine in all sorts of wonderful ways. "You are the most high-strung, completely neurotic woman I've ever met, but that's why I love you."
Lois' response was a long kiss as Clark wrapped her into his arms and pulled her closer.
Lois dashed out of her bathroom the next morning, tube of mascara in hand as she had only done one eye, as her phone rang. "Hello?"
Lois crept towards the oven, knowing there would be a surface she could use as a substitute mirror, cradling the phone against her shoulder.
"Lois, this is Perry."
"Is there a problem?" Lois stood on tiptoes and slid back and forth as she tried to find the best angle before beginning to somewhat haphazardly apply the make-up.
"I think you and Clark should take the day off."
Lois almost lost her hold on the mascara wand in shock. "What? Why?"
"With the wedding tomorrow and all, given all the stress you two kids have been under, I'm thinking maybe it would be best if you just took a breather before your big day."
"Perry, we're fine." Lois inched closer to the oven to get a better view of her top lashes.
"Listen, honey, I've already spoken with Clark, and he agrees with me."
"What?" Lois responded, almost smearing the mascara across her face. "Well, fine, he can take the day off. But he's not my keeper and if I want to work, then I'll work."
Perry sighed. "Lois, I've already handed out assignments for the day. Stay home, put your feet up and enjoy the calm before tomorrow."
Lois, already forming a main argument and two supporting reasons as to why her editor was wrong, glanced over as someone knocked at her door. Resigning herself to the fact her cordless was dead and the telephone cord would not stretch to the door, based upon previous experience, she said, "I need to go Perry. I'll see you later today."
She hung up before Perry could say anything else and walked over to the door. Martha stood on the other side, a wide smile on her face that instantly made alarm bells go off in Lois' head.
"Hi Lois. Clark told me Perry was going to make you two take the day off, and I thought you might need some company," the older woman explained.
Nodding, Lois opened the door wider and let her soon-to-be mother-in-law enter.
"Clark wanted to come over himself but right after he got off the phone, he heard sirens. Since he's planning on giving Superman some time off for the next few days, he thought he should use his extra time today to put a few more appearances than usual. And since he's busy and Jonathan's found out that one of the conferences in town is for farmers, it's just the two of us. So let's go out and make sure you enjoy your last day of being a single woman."
Fourteen hours later, Lois found herself sitting on her couch, taking in the increasingly empty room. Martha had left about thirty minutes ago, and now, for the first time since she had begun to pack up her things, she realized she really was going to be leaving this apartment tomorrow.
When she had moved into this apartment with Lucy five years ago, she had never really paid much attention to it: it was convenient, it suited her needs and was in an area of town that was quiet with relatively few families. It sat more or less empty for the first weeks, as Lois found her job at the Daily Planet much more important that playing Martha Stewart. It was only after Lucy borrowed a friend's inflatable furniture to put in the family room that Lois finally relented and gone shopping.
A knock at her window broke her from her reverie, and she looked over to see a familiar red and blue figure. Going over to unlatch the window, she smiled as Clark floated into the room.
"Hi. I missed you today," Clark told her as he closed the distance to slip his hand behind her head and give her a kiss.
"I missed you too. But I had fun with your mom. And I've even forgiven Perry for giving me the day off," Lois said, a small smile playing along her lips.
Clark grinned in return. "Only you, Lois, would consider getting a day off of work a punishable offense."
"Only when it's the day before my wedding, and I have a two- week vacation stretching in front of me. Do you know this will be the longest I've ever been away from the newsroom? I mean, other than when it was closed." Lois gave a half shrug. "It's just strange to think about. Everything changes tomorrow, Clark, and while most of it's a good change, it's all a little overwhelming."
Lois watched Clark's expression, hoping he hadn't taken any of what she had said as cold feet. She wasn't afraid of marrying him or living with him or any of the other alterations she was about to make to her life. It was more that she knew everything about her life was about to drastically shift, and she couldn't help but feel the need for a bit of reflection. It seemed even award-winning journalists who had dealt with everything from megalomaniac billionaires to imperialistic aliens were capable of being awed by the most normal of life's progressions.
To her surprise, though, Lois saw Clark's expression change to one of understanding. "I know what you mean. I was doing a patrol just now when I realized this is the last night I'll ever be able to fly through that window and surprise you. And I know that wherever we live, I can still fly through a window to see you." Lois laughed at this as Clark's hand came up to momentarily cup her cheek. "It's just hard to believe we really are leaving all of this behind. No matter how much I can't wait to be your husband, I'm a little sad this part of our life is over."
Lois pulled herself against Clark in a loose embrace. "I'll always remember the night you came in after you helped my uncle with his restaurant."
Clark smiled. "Dance with me?"
At Lois' affirmative reply, Clark took Lois fully in his arms and, like the night almost two years before, blew the window shut as they danced with not even a floor to restrict them.
One hour and counting, Clark repeated to himself as he finalized his bowtie. Pulling the cuffs of his tuxedo down, he looked in the mirror and decided he liked what he saw, if for no other reason than knowing that Lois would like what she would see. Shortly before he had left her apartment the night before, she admitted to him she loved having the opportunity to see him in a tuxedo again.
The only problem, as Clark saw it, was that he still had no idea where, exactly, the ceremony was taking place. Ellen assured them she had found a place but refused to give any more detail than that. Most surprising to Clark had been his reaction compared to Lois'. After her anger at her mother taking control at the eleventh hour, she merely shrugged when her mother told them she did not want to inform them where the ceremony was being conducted. Clark, on the other hand, had found himself arguing with Ellen Lane about how it seemed like it should be the bride and groom's right to know where they would be exchanging vows. Her response had been a pat on Clark's arm and a comment about Clark picking up some of Lois' more annoying traits.
"You ready, son?"
Clark turned to see his father standing at the door to Clark's bedroom in between the boxes of Lois' belongings. Clark nodded. "Yep. Now I just need to know where the ceremony is."
Jonathan nodded and walked over. He produced a small piece of paper. "This is the addendum that Ellen sent overnight to all the guests. She told me I could give it to you only when we were ready to leave."
Clark took the small invitation, which was rather impressive in the scope of its decorations given how quickly Ellen had produced them, and read the information. His jaw slowly dropped open, and he glanced at his father as he finished reading. "How did she pull this off?"
Lois Lane fiddled with the veil on top of her head for the sixteenth time in a ten-minute period. She was actually counting in a hopeless attempt to get her mind off formulating disastrous ends to this wedding. Martha sat across from her in the backseat of the car, Lois having been very specific about the fact neither she nor Clark was to be left alone for any length of time before the ceremony.
"Lois, it's going to be fine."
Lois brought her arms back down to her lap and glanced over at Martha. "I can't help it. Martha, the Daily Planet pays me to look at every possible angle of a story. And one thing I've learned as a reporter is that the best way to figure out how to write a story is to look at its history." Lois' hand began to reach up to the veil again. "When you factor in the history leading up to this wedding, Elvis sightings being reported at the Daily Planet have a better chance of occurring."
Martha smiled. "Given how much Clark has told us about Perry's love of Elvis, that doesn't sound like that far-fetched of an idea."
"It was a bad example." Lois glanced out the window as the car rolled to a stop. "What are we doing here?"
Martha smiled. "We're here."
The newsroom of the Daily Planet, in a 24-hour period, had been transformed into a suitable place for a wedding ceremony, according to the high standards of Ellen Lane. That Ellen could be pleased with a wedding in anything other than a church came as a surprise to many people, perhaps none more so than the mother of the bride herself.
Ellen, unwilling to admit defeat and end up in thrice-weekly counseling sessions after another failed wedding, suggested the idea to Perry two nights ago. After some hesitation on his part, she had gotten approval to spend the day before the wedding turning the newsroom into an acceptable place for her daughter. When she sat down and thought about it, she began to realize that, realistically, she could not imagine any other place for Lois to get married given the inordinate amount of time Lois spent on her job. More than that, though, Ellen was entranced by the idea of her daughter and Clark tying the knot and beginning their life together in the very place where it had all started three years previous.
And now, scant minutes before the ceremony was scheduled to begin, she couldn't help but look around in a stunned reverence at the change that had come over the venue. Multi- colored bouquets of flowers, strips of a white gauze fabric and a large sign that the rest of the newsroom staff had insisted upon hanging adorned the walls and ceiling. The guests had all arrived and were sitting in chairs brought in just for the ceremony, which was to take place between the normal location of Lois and Clark's desks. Now all that was left to do was actually make sure the wedding happened.
Ellen turned as the elevator doors opened, revealing Clark and his father. Jonathan, having seen the Daily Planet in all its wedding bliss late last night, was his normally stoic self. Clark, though, was amazed at the transformation. Ellen walked over and couldn't help but notice with pleasure the awe in Clark's eyes.
"Ellen, did you do all of this?"
Ellen found herself shaking her head. "Well, I helped out a little here and there."
Jonathan gave a short laugh. "Don't let her fool you, Clark. She's the mastermind behind all of this."
"It's the best wedding gift we could have received. Thank you."
Her smile, if possible, grew wider on her small face. Ellen Lane was in her element, and for once, the only things she heard about it were good. Her calm demeanor, however, lasted only seconds. "Now, follow me. Lois should be here any second, and you need to be ready."
"This has got to be a joke, right? My mother arranged this?" Lois asked as she walked through the revolving door into the Daily Planet's main lobby. "She constantly nags me about the long hours I keep and then she arranges for me to get married at work?"
Martha, trailing behind Lois, laughed. "She wanted to make sure that your and Clark's wish of having this be your wedding was kept."
Stepping into the elevator, Lois grinned. "And where else would the hottest team in town get married but in the bullpen?"
"We are here today to finally join Clark and Lois —"
"Lois and Clark."
"Excuse me, Ms. Lane. We are here today to finally join Lois and Clark," the minister added additional emphasis to the two names. "In holy matrimony. In my years of presiding over weddings, I would have to say that these two truly take the cake — no pun intended — in regards to patience and difficulties in simply arriving down the aisle. That said, I've been informed by the mother of the bride to try and get through the ceremony as quickly as possible lest another disaster keep these star-crossed lovers apart."
Light laughter ran through the crowd, though it seemed more relaxed than nervous. Guests had been overheard joking to each other before the bride and groom arrived about feeling the need for life or accident insurance just to make it through the ceremony.
The minister, a lanky many in his fifties whom Clark had met last spring while writing a story on declining attendance in Metropolis's churches, had agreed to do the ceremony even after the destruction of the church which he had called home for over twenty years.
"If you'll excuse me, though, Mrs. Lane, there are a few things I'd like to say first." The minister cleared his throat. "I've been reading the Lane and Kent byline for over three years now. And they've proven to be, even in a world where journalism is often corrupt and truth obscured, lights in the darkness. These two people standing before you today have shown time and time again their love for humanity in the work that they do.
"The thing about love is that it's not easy. Whether fighting to uncover the truth about dishonesty to print within the pages of the Daily Planet or entering into a lifetime agreement to love and respect one other person for the rest of your life, it's not rocket science. It's something much more complicated than that. Sometimes the challenge is just getting to where you want to be in the journey and fighting when it would be easier to give up."
The minister took a moment and looked at the assembled before focusing on Lois and Clark.
"Real love survives. Survives any joy, any sorrow … all the rights, all the wrongs. But more than that, though, love is universal. That is why it is so appropriate these two people, these two reporters, stand in the very place where they daily show their love for all people to exchange their vows of love to each other."
The minister glanced to Clark and nodded.
Clark turned to face Lois, his expression a little nervous but mostly softened by his clear adoration of the woman standing next to him. "Lois, I have loved you from the moment that I saw you. I love your humor, your passion, and the way you just dive right in, even when you shouldn't." A ripple of laughter flowed through the room as Lois grinned and glanced down at their clasped hands. Ellen, meanwhile, shook her head in knowing resignation. "Because you refuse to just watch the world, you demand that it be a better place, and because of you… it is. And today I want to give you as much of the world as I can, so I give you my heart… my soul… our future."
An audible sigh wove through the room as Clark finished and slipped the ring onto Lois's outstretched finger. Lois looked down for another minute and when she finally gazed into Clark's eyes again, he could see the hint of tears kept closely in check.
"Clark, you're my best friend," Lois began, her voice losing the barest quiver after the first few words. "Until I met you, I never had a best friend, and falling in love with you has been so easy, I don't know why I fought it so long. You have such gentle grace, and such quiet strength, and mostly… such incredible kindness. I've never known anyone with as pure a heart, and so today I give you my love… and my honor… and our life, together."
Lois slipped the ring onto Clark's finger and when she finished, he lightly squeezed the tips of her fingers.
The minister glanced around and smiled. "If no one has any objections or natural disasters- " He paused, though his look clearly said he dared anyone to speak up. "- I now pronounce you husband and wife."
As Lois and Clark leaned in for a kiss, the crowd broke into loud clapping, including a whistle from Perry. Jimmy glanced over at him, surprised.
"Trust me, son, that's about the only time you'll ever see me happy to see those two lovebirds kissing in my newsroom."
Jimmy nodded, amused by the large smile on Perry's face that clearly indicated his thoughts were not mirrored in his words.
"You know, Lois, I hate to say you were wrong, but I'm glad we invited your mother."
Lois glanced up from where she sat at the kitchen table to see Superman put a collection of boxes onto the floor. "I know. Even I'm willing to admit that for once, I was wrong. That ceremony was just …"
"Exactly. Are those boxes the last of it?"
"Your apartment is empty."
"Good. Spin back into the tux," Lois said, making a quick circular motion with her finger.
"Yes ma'am." And moments later, Clark stood there in a tux with an askew bowtie. Lois shook her head and walked over to fix it. Clark gave a mock sigh. "You know, maybe you could just take it off … ?"
"How often do I get to see you in a tux?"
"It's strangling me."
"You're Superman. You'll be fine." Lois said before leaning in and giving Clark a long kiss.
Clark pulled back after a moment, a look of realization crossing his face. "This is the moment our life together really starts, isn't it?"
Lois glanced around for a moment. "Yeah … it is," she replied, a small smile playing across her features.
Clark was leaning in for another kiss when his eye caught what Lois had been looking at on the table. "Is that what I think it is?"
Lois grinned. "Let's just say I think I'm beginning to see the appeal."
Clark nodded. "I knew you'd come around."
"Don't expect it on a regular basis, farm boy."
"I wouldn't dream of it, honey." Clark tightened his grip around her waist. "I love you."
Lois barely got out the echoed reply before Clark's lips met hers, and they began to float among the boxes representing their newly joined lives. All the while the newest entry to Clark's newspaper scrapbook dried: the front page of the Daily Planet with a picture of Lois and Clark after their newsroom ceremony with the headline "Workaholic's wedding" closely followed by the subtitle "Daily Planet's top reporting team ties knot in newsroom service after destruction of church."
— You'll notice extensive amounts of borrowed dialogue from the actual show, esp. the episode "Swear To God, This Time We're Not Kidding."
— For those of you anticipating some sort of evilness, I apologize — this story was purely waffy.
— As per the original challenge, the end was left in such a way as to stay with the continuity of the series (in essence: Soul Mates would still follow this episode)
— Since the premiere of Desperate Housewives and Ms. Hatcher's character's destruction of a rival's house via lingerie and candles, the church catching on fire seems somewhat ironic (at least to me).