By Sheila <email@example.com>
Submitted: April 2006
Summary: What if there were still two weeks to go before her wedding to Lex Luthor and Lois and Clark were sent to cover a story in Japan? Might they learn to communicate better before it's too late? A fine variation on the "facts" of Season 1.
This story line takes place around "Barbarians at the Planet"/"The House of Luthor", however, some things are different. The Planet was never destroyed, just financially devastated. Luthor still owns it and Lois, so to speak. She has accepted Lex's proposal and turned down Clark's declaration of love in the park. Perry is still Editor in Chief and Lois and Clark are still partners, though very strained. Lex has stripped Superman/Clark of his powers in the Kryptonite cage and there are still 2 weeks before the Luthor wedding.
Perry is sending Clark to Japan on a story and Lois doesn't want to be outdone, so she demands to tag along. She classifies this expedition as the last Lane and Kent story before she marries Lex and go to work at LNN against all better judgment. Lex is not at all happy about Lois leaving with Clark, but he's going to let this one last time slide, maybe.
This is my first attempt at a story so constructive criticism is welcomed.
Normal disclaimers. None of these characters belong to me. And now…
"Kent! In my office," Perry yelled in his most southern dialect.
"Want me too, Chief?" Lois asked, pleadingly.
"Well, no, honey. I'm going to have to send Kent on a story in Japan and I'm afraid that Luthor's instructions were for Kent to go solo. I have to follow orders as much as I'd like to do things differently," Perry replied, rather solemnly. He really hated breaking up the greatest newspaper team in the world. More than that, he hated Luthor. He hated working for him. This story could have brought Lane and Kent a Kerth, but now, since Luthor owned the Planet and Lois was his fiancée, it may bring just Kent a Kerth.
"I'm going Chief. I'll deal with Lex! I'm a newspaper reporter, at least for another three weeks. This could be my last big story before I go to work for LNN." That realization almost brought tears to Lois' eyes, but it was expected of her to go to work for Luthor.
"Your last big story, Lois? I think Perry called me into his office for this one. You just invited yourself along," Clark grated out.
"Just because I told you that I'm not in love with you doesn't give you the right to cut me out of a story…"
"Lane! Kent! Please! Do this on your own time! Right now, more than ever, I've got a newspaper to run! Now, hopefully this will be the break that will get the Daily Planet back on its feet. Do I have your full attention now?"
"Yeah chief," Lois and Clark replied in unison.
"Now, Kids, an old buddy of mine…" Perry related. "You two should be able to wrap this up in a week, maybe less, since the both of you are going. Here are vouchers for your plane tickets and unfortunately, the Planet could only afford to reserve one hotel room, since we only thought we were sending one reporter."
"What! I can't spend the night in the same room as Clark. I…"
"I'm not sharing a room with her…" Lois and Clark yelled together.
"This is it folks! Take it or leave it. After all, we were only sending Kent."
Lois and Clark looked at each other and called a silent truce. Perry smiled within himself. Just what he needed…for Lane and Kent to be away from Luthor, together. Perry had footed the second ticket himself, because truthfully, the planet would only finance one reporter. Maybe Kent could talk some sense into that girl. He hated that bastard, Luthor, for the evil mark he had left on Metropolis. And Lois saw Luthor through such rosy glasses. How could such a brilliant investigative reporter be so naïve and blind to such a heinous criminal?
"Now, the flight leaves tomorrow at 0900. Go home and pack!"
Lois turned and almost marched out of Perry's office. Perry could see the hostility in her walk. Clark just turned, shoved his hands in his pants pockets, lowered his shoulders and took on a look of pure defeat. Just as Clark went to exit Perry's office, Perry called out to him,
"Good luck with Attila, there," followed by a deep bellowed laugh.
"Thanks Chief. I'm gonna need it."
Lois met Lex for dinner as they had been doing for the past week or so since they had gotten engaged. Lois seemed even more preoccupied tonight than she ever had been when in Lex's company. Luthor, of course, knew that Lois was preoccupied and he knew exactly why, but he wanted Lois to volunteer the information to him, so that he could tell her that she couldn't go. After all, he had planted the story to get that nuisance, Kent, out of the way for good. It was time he started to train her to be Lex Luthor's wife and take away that damned annoying independent streak, and get rid of that nothing, Kent, at the same time.
Lois and Lex sat at one of Lex's many dinner tables over the rack of lamb and asparagus that Chef Andre had prepared Lois was just picking at her food. Lex thought this the opportunity to open the door for her to express her intentions, which would be immediately shot down.
"Lois, my darling? What's troubling you? Talk to me," Lex so elegantly spoke with that deceitful cat-like smile he often displayed.
"Oh, Lex. Perry is sending Clark away on an assignment to Japan, a big story. I am going with him. It's my last big chance at a Kerth before we are married and I retire to LNN. We leave in the morning at 0900. I just wanted to discuss it with you, since we're going to be married and all and…"
"Lois, my darling, I can take you to Japan daily if you'd like. You don't have to tag along with Kent and you don't need a big story. You don't have to work at LNN. Hell, you don't have to work at all. It would actually be wonderful if you didn't work and could spend time with volunteer work and Luthor Industries' causes…"
"Lex, this isn't about working or money. It's what I like to do. I want a Kerth, a Pulitzer even. Please, just let me do this alone. I'm asking for your support, not your permission."
Luthor's first reaction was to snatch that little hussy into step, but decided to just go along with this one. After all, she had it right. It would be her last time. Maybe the plan would even work better with her there to watch Kent shamelessly grovel to the Immigration people when they wouldn't let him back into the United States. After all, he looked sort of Japanese and it would certainly be believable that he was really a Japanese citizen.
"Very well, my dear. You have my blessing. But be careful. Now you have an early start in the morning so I'll have Nigel drive you home."
"Thank you, Lex. I knew you'd understand my love for my work."
"Just be careful of Kent. I don't trust him."
"Clark is harmless, Lex. He wouldn't…" Lois started in defence of Clark.
"But he has eyes for my lady," Lex sneered poetically.
"Well, I wouldn't worry about that. Clark knows where we stand and he would never betray my trust," Lois recited, kissing Lex on the cheek.
"Okay, but I won't rest until you are back in my arms. Goodnight, Lois."
"Goodnight, Lex," Lois responded as Nigel placed her coat over her shoulders. Then she followed Nigel to the car, like a schoolgirl who had just been given permission by her dad to attend a slumber party.
"Nigel! Please see me when you return. I have some business for you to attend to," Lex related in an almost sinister voice.
"Certainly, Sir," Nigel replied with a slight bow.
Clark had left work and run a few errands. It was now close to eight thirty and he was pretty much close to finished packing. It had been almost two weeks since he had escaped Luthor's Kryptonite cage. Clark wondered to himself if he would ever get his powers back. He spent as much time as safely possible in the sun, but so far…nothing. This human speed thing was just miserable. But it allowed him time to think, about things, about Lois. He really didn't want to but he couldn't help himself. How could she marry the most dangerous criminal in the world and not see him for what he really is and at the same time reject her best friend's expression of love without even thinking about it? How could she not see Clark Kent for who he really is? Oh, how he loved her and would now have to spend a week alone with her in torture. He would be an emotional wasteland when he got back from Japan.
Lois got home and packed for her trip. She had a big part of the night to pack. She decided that she could sleep on the plane. Her mind wondered as she packed. For some reason, she thought of Clark and his distraught look when she had turned down his declaration of love in the park, only to be turned down the same way almost by Superman. Speaking of Superman, he hadn't been seen in about two weeks, and crime in Metropolis was on the rise. What a coward. Did he really hate her that much? Again, she drifted off to thinking about Clark. She could tell that he really did love her, but why wait until Lex proposed to tell her? He had such horrible timing. And Lex…she didn't appreciate one bit how he tried to dictate her life. Little did he know that Lois Lane was not about to start submitting to him just because they were married. Married…married? Was this the right thing to do? Slowly, sleep overtook Lois. She had to remember to ask Clark to borrow one of his carry on bags for her makeup.
"Sir, what can I do for you," Nigel asked in his most English accent.
"Nigel, I need you to make sure that immigration doesn't allow Kent back into the US, at least not for a very long time. Then Lois and I can be married without her being distracted by him," Lex announced.
"Oh, and Nigel, be sure that Lois is present so that she can witness him grovel, and see just how weak that country bumpkin really is."
"Already done, Sir," and Nigel exited the room.
It was a beautiful sunny morning in Metropolis, 7 o'clock. Lois was outside of Clark's door as she promised to drive them to the airport. She stood there for a few minutes, almost nervous, but then finally started to knock. Almost immediately, Clark opened the door.
"Hi. You ready?" Lois asked almost shyly.
She was having regretful flashbacks of the argument that they started in Perry's office the day before.
"Hi, come in," Clark beckoned as he stepped aside for Lois to enter. "I'll be ready in just a sec."
"Clark, would you happen to have a small carry on bag that I could borrow, just for my makeup and my passport. I seemed to have misplaced mine."
"Sure, I have another one just like this one," Clark responded in a solemn tone. "I'll be right back."
Once Clark had given Lois the carry on bag and she placed all of her intended belongings in it, they left for the Metropolis International Airport. The ride to the airport was almost in silence. Lois drove and Clark looked out the window mostly. He thought this was the way to keep from breaking down. Even without his superpowers, he was still so tuned in to Lois' heartbeat and her scent. It was an overwhelming torture, but he would handle it.
Lois drove along to the airport. What was Clark's problem? Why was he being so distant, after all, they were best friends, right? He had hardly said a word, just looked out the window the whole way to the airport. This was going to be a long trip.
"Clark, we're here," Lois stated as she shook Clark's shoulder.
"Oh, yeah," Clark responded as he jumped almost like a startled rabbit.
"You okay?" Lois asked in a sincerely concerned voice.
"Yea, I'm okay," Clark responded in a not-so-convincing voice. He actually looked like he had tears in his eyes that he batted away.
"Ready," Clark said in a voice so soft that Lois could barely hear him. Clark grabbed most of the larger bags, Lois grabbed the rest, and they walked in silence into the airport.
Their Air Japan flight had taken off on time and they were about twenty minutes airbourne. The were seated in first class due to some sort of mix up at the ticket counter and this was the airline's way of apologizing. Clark hated to fly. This just wasn't natural, to fly in an enclosed container. Good thing his super powers weren't working or he probably would have crushed the armrest to smithereens.
"Clark…want to talk about it?" Lois asked as she reluctantly rested her hand on top of Clark's. "I'm still your friend."
"No, Lois," Clark almost yelled, yanking his hand away at what seemed like super speed. Then he softened and finished, "I don't want to talk about it…I can't talk about it right now."
"Talk about what? Why? I want to help you…"
"No, Lois," Clark said as he started to tear again. He shut his eyes tight for a minute, and then opened them again. He then almost whispered, "I can't," then he shut his eyes tight again. "Maybe later, okay?"
Lois just nodded in silent agreement. Inside she sort of knew what was bothering Clark and she felt bad about it. She had seen how emotional he had become. What had she done to him? Demanded to tag along with him and remind him of what he couldn't have. How could she do this to the man she called her best friend…the only true friend she had ever had? This was going to be a really long flight.
Four hours into the flight, Clark realized that he had drifted off because he awakened to a heavy weight on his right shoulder. He was disoriented for a moment, but soon remembered that he was on a flight to Japan. The weight on his shoulder he realized was Lois' head. She must have drifted off to and laid her head on his shoulder. He thought of pushing her head away, but then decided to just cradle her instead, revel in the last time that he would probably be able to hold Lois like this. He lifted the armrest, reached around her shoulders and cradled her head to his chest. He planted multiple butterfly kisses in her hair as he whispered, "God, Lois, I love you so much. What I wouldn't do to have you as my own wife, cherish you the way you deserve and not display you like some prize that I won at a carnival. You deserve so much more than that, than Luthor. He doesn't love you. He wants to own you."
Lois shifted in her sleep and snuggled more comfortably into Clark's warm embrace. Clark just smiled, for the first time in weeks, and dozed back off to sleep.
Much later into the flight, dinner was served. It was the first waking moments of the duo together since leaving Metropolis, other than the occasional visit to the bathroom. Lois would always somehow manage to get back into Clark's embrace before dozing back off to sleep. Clark had chicken and Lois had steak.
"Oh, Clark, this looks so good. I'm starving."
"Ummm, and it is delicious. I never thought I'd think that airplane food was good. I must really be starving," Lois stated as she ate.
She did notice that Clark was just picking over his. "Clark, eat up. The flight attendant will be back shortly to collect your plate…"
"I'm just not that hungry Lois."
"Clark, stop sulking and eat. You haven't eaten at least since we left Metropolis."
"Lois, please, I'm not a kid. I'm just not hungry." Clark realized that the tone in which he responded to Lois was a bit abrasive and he cringed inside. He had to learn to control his feelings and he had at least a week more alone with her.
"Look, Lois, I'm sorry. I just…"
"No, Clark," Lois said empathetically. "I'm sorry. I should have just let you have your space instead of…"
"Lois, you're not going to make me feel guilty about this. I didn't do anything wrong," Clark stated, getting on the defensive again.
"I'm sorry that I don't love you Clark. Is our whole trip going to be about that?"
Lois realized just as she said those words, Clarks eyes started to glaze with unshed tears. He looked away from her out the window. Then he suddenly stood.
"Excuse me Lois. I ha…"
"Clark wait, I…"
"Please, Lois…" Clark stated just above a whisper as he squeezed past Lois into the aisle and to the bathroom.
Once in the bathroom, Clark just sat on the counter and squeezed the bridge of his nose as his eyes burned with tears. He finally gave in and just let them flow. Clark realized within himself that he had to get this all out and move on if he was going to be able to produce a story good enough for the Daily Planet. He had to accept the fact that Lois was going to marry Luthor and there was nothing he was going to be able to do about it.
Clark hadn't realized how log he had been in the bathroom when he heard a knock on the door.
"Clark, you okay in there? You were just gone a long time and…" in a concerned voice.
"Lois I'm fine. Go sit down. I'll be out in a sec."
Clark finally made it back to his seat. Lois was just sitting there looking at him as he sat. Clark looked away, out the window.
"The flight attendant came and took our plates. I asked her to leave your drink. I thought you might be thirsty."
"Thank you," Clark responded in a lifeless voice.
"Are you going to talk to me, Clark? I cannot understand why you just clammed up."
Clark just shook his head no. He continued to look out of the window, which seemed to be the only way that he could control his emotions. Eventually, sleep overtook him.
Lois sat and watched Clark fight with his emotions to keep them in check. Why did she have to keep hurting her best friend? She could tell that his heart was heavy and that he had been crying in the bathroom, but she didn't broach that subject. She just wished that Clark would open up and maybe they could talk about this wedding thing and Clark would understand that he would always be special to her and be a part of her life. After all, he was her best friend. After what seemed like hours of deep thought, Lois went off to sleep.
The next morning, the Boeing 777 landed in Tokyo. Lois and Clark had awakened just minutes before landing as the Captain started to speak. After claiming their luggage, going through customs, immigration and agriculture, they headed for the rental car desk.
Clark assumed responsibility and went up to the rental car desk. He spoke to the gentleman in fluent Japanese. After a verbal exchange that lasted about 15 minutes and Clark producing a driver's license, passport and a credit card, the gentleman handed Clark the keys to what Lois would later find out was a Toyota Windam, known in the United States as a Lexus ES330.
As Lois and Clark settled in the rental car, Lois took the rental papers from Clark to place in the glove compartment. Just as she was about to close the door to the glove compartment, she noticed the names on the rental car receipt.
"Clark! Mr. and Mrs. Kent! Have you lost your mind? You just wont give up! I tell you I don't love you and you decide to just pretend that we're married. You are…"
"Lois, it was just easier that way, so that I didn't have to…oh, just never mind. You wouldn't believe me if I told you," Clark said, defeated. "If I don't love you why would I be married to you? Think about this Clark," Lois yelled, getting angrier and angrier.
Clark wouldn't respond. He just kept driving. Finally, after about half an hour he pulled up in front of their hotel, The Marriott. It was beautiful. Clark got out of the car and proceeded to unpack his and Lois' bags from the trunk. The bellhop came with a rolling cart and got their belongings from the curb. Clark asked Lois to go into the lobby with the bellhop while he parked the car, the first thing he had said to her since the argument in the car. To his surprise, Lois didn't refuse she just did it. A few minutes later, Clark came up into the lobby of the hotel and proceeded to register. He tried to get separate beds and even put forth a last-ditch effort to get separate rooms, but they just weren't available.
Once inside of their hotel room, the reporting team began to unpack their things and get comfortable. Lois, with her competitive nature, started up again.
"Clark, since there is only one bed and I am…"
"Lois, you can have the bed. I've already planned to sleep on the couch," Clark stated, never really looking up from unpacking.
"Oh…"was all Lois could muster.
"Would you like some lunch? We could order room service," Lois stated, trying to get some conversation. But, Clark just wouldn't bite.
"I'm okay, Lois. You go ahead. I'm gonna look over some of the notes that I took from Perry before we left. You're welcome to join me."
Clark thought if he just kept the conversation to this level, he could do this for a few days and not loose control of his emotions.
Over the course of the next few days, Clark and Lois went out in search of information for their story. But strangely enough, they weren't getting anywhere. Clark checked in with Perry frequently, but Perry encouraged him to just keep at it. Perry did ask how life was, being bottled up with Lois, and Clark told him that he decided to just keep the conversation limited to the story and food and everything went fine. Clark told Perry that that woman could make an argument out of the weather report. Perry just howled in laughter, told Clark "good luck" and hung up.
Lois had tried to call Luthor but for some reason was never able to get in touch with him. Clark was secretly loving it. Maybe she'd find out what Luthor was really about after all.
The fifth day into the trip, Lois and Clark got in late. Upon going into the bedroom, Lois discovered that someone had been in there and ransacked their stuff.
"Clark, please come in here," Lois summoned. Clark could hear the fear in her voice when she called out.
"What is it, Lois?" Clark came running. And at about that time he saw what Lois saw.
"Who did this? We need to make sure nothing is missing and then file a report with the front desk and the police", Clark stated. "Why would someone pick our room to go through?" Clark continued. "We don't have anything of any value here. At least I don't."
"I don't either…" Lois blushed, "…except this," holding out her left hand to show the 3-karat tacky diamond design that Luthor had given her.
"I'm gonna file the reports," Clark stated as he evaded comment on that structure on Lois' finger.
After the reports were filed and the police left, Lois and Clark got ready for bed. They had not discovered anything stolen, not even their laptops with the little information that they had gathered.
Of course, nobody at the hotel had seen anything.
Clark had just dozed off on the couch when he felt a hand on his arm. His eyes immediately flew open and he sat straight up. He was comfortable not wearing his glasses at bedtime around Lois. He just didn't think she paid enough attention to him anymore to even notice his resemblance to Superman. And Superman had been missing in action for a few weeks, anyway. Lois probably would not care to remember what Superman looked like after he told her that they could not have a relationship. But, even in the dark and without his super powers he could tell that it was Lois and there was something bothering her.
"Lois, what's wrong?" Clark asked in a concerned tone when he noted the horrified expression on Lois' face visible even in the dark.
"I'm kind of uncomfortable, I mean…I…what if they come back. Maybe if I just sit here and get really sleepy…then I can just go back to bed…and…" Lois fumbled.
"No, Lois, that's not necessary. Here…sit," Clark welcomed as he threw his covers back.
Lois sat and folded her feet up at her side. Clark then placed a questioning arm around Lois' shoulders. She didn't pull away so Clark hugged her to him. He held her securely but with enough proverbial space that she could get up if she wanted. Reflexively, he smelled her hair and took in the scent of her shampoo.
"I won't let anything happen to you…I…" Clark bumbled, about to open up that can of worms again, and his heart.
"Thanks, Clark. What would I do without yo…" Lois started, but catching herself before completely finishing her thought.
Clark just held Lois in his arms until she got drowsy. Then he leaned back in the corner of the couch, which made Lois lay somewhat on top of him, and pulled the covers over them. He stroked her hair and unbeknown to her, laid butterfly kisses in her hair. Soon Clark started to doze off.
The next morning, Lois opened her eyes. That had been the best night's sleep she had had in a while and she still felt so…good. Then she realized that she was sleeping on the couch sort of on top of Clark, in Clark's arms and he was holding her like a precious piece of porcelain. She felt so protected, so right with Clark. That chest, those pects, that beautiful…<whoa girl…you're about to marry Lex>. She didn't want to move. She just wanted to savour that moment. But then she felt Clark stir. Lois thought, <maybe if I don't stir he'll go back to sleep and I can enjoy this moment a little longer.> Nevertheless, to Lois' dismay, Clark continued to wake up.
Awareness set upon Clark. He was lying on the couch with Lois in his arms from the night before. She looked like an angel lying there. Clark wanted that moment to last forever, but he was all too aware that Lois was starting to wake up by the changes in her respiratory rate and slight movement. She would probably wake up and bolt when she realized that she had slept there all night. She probably only wanted some temporary comfort from whatever it was that spooked her.
Yes, their stuff had been rumpled through, but Lois didn't scare easily. There was more to that than she was saying, especially since Clark had been right in the next room.
This is what Clark lived for…to hold Lois in his arms…every night. The intimacy was so much more than he could have imagined. God, how he loved this woman. Finally he just gave in before Lois jumped up, bolted and blurted out some accusation again to hurt him.
"Morning Clark," Lois responded lifting up her head and looking into Clark's eyes.
"You sleep okay?"
"Yeah. You? Considering the fact that I fell asleep on you. I'm sorry if you didn't rest well."
"On the contrary Lois…I rested very well," still holding on to Lois.
"Oh. We'd better get started…"
"The phone this early. People should have more tact than…" Lois started as she watched Clark pick up the phone receiver over his head, but still holding on to Lois and gently massaging little circles in her back.
Hello…Hi Perry. Yea, Lois is here…okay…sure…are you sure? Sure…see you tomorrow."
"Perry?" Lois asked as Clark hung up the phone.
"Clark sighed, "Yea. Apparently we didn't find anything because this whole thing was a bogus lead and Perry wants us on the next flight back to Metropolis. He's even afraid that someone purposely planted bad information to lure us away and may possibly try something. And after last night's events, I'm with him."
For the first time since they woke up, Clark let go of Lois and she very reluctantly stood to start getting stuff together for the next flight out.
Clark had called the airline and found out that there was a flight leaving in the next two hours so he and Lois booked it out of the hotel and to the airport. She never mentioned last night and Clark just chalked it up as the last great memory and would not mention it again either. They returned the rental car and proceeded to the ticket line. They passed through agriculture and customs but the trouble came when they got to immigration.
Lois produced her passport as requested but Clark seemed to have trouble producing his.
When Lois realized that Clark was having trouble producing his passport she stepped out of line to help him search for it.
"Lois, I can't seem to find my passport. I had it in this carry on bag. They're not going to let me back into the US without it. Just tell Perry…" Clark nervously breathed out.
"Lets just keep looking, Clark," Lois responded.
They went through their luggage, all of it, to make sure that it wasn't accidentally misplaced. They called back to the hotel and asked if the cleaning people had found the passport but the hotel came up with nothing.
This was one time Clark wished he had his powers, and then getting back home would be no problem.
Hours later and two missed flights back to the US later, there was still no sign of Clark's passport. Then it dawned on Clark, "Lois, last night, when someone went through our things…"
"But why? I mean that's a whole lot of trouble for someone to go through for a US passport when it would just be easier to have a fake one made," Lois spit out angrily.
"Yeah, but who says that they wanted a US passport? Maybe I was specifically targeted. Maybe someone doesn't want me back there," Clark offered as a solution. "I've got to get another one, so lets just get to the US embassy. I'll go and see if we can get that car back. You call Perry and let him know what's going on. I'll call my parents."
"Yeah, and I'll call Lex, too. He has enough power that maybe he can pull some strings."
Clark just looked at Lois, but didn't say anything. His look spoke volumes.
"You're not going to blame Lex for this Clark…"Lois started defensively.
"Well, Lois, why not. It had to be someone who knew where we were…"
"I haven't even been able to contact him since we've been here so why would it have been him…"
"Oh, come on Lois! Don't you find that the least bit strange? You're smarter than that. He's…he's…oh never mind. Let's just get started," Clark barked angrily.
Fortunately the rental car gentleman remembered Clark from before and Clark got the rental car back without much effort. Lois called Perry to explain what was going on. She was so nervous. She and Lex were supposed to get married next week. He must be worried sick. Perry offered whatever they needed and got working on another passport, back in the US.
Lois tried to call Lex, but the recording said that the number was no longer in service. She called many numbers that she had to reach Lex, but none of them worked. Now Lois was really worried.
"Mr. Luthor," Nigel stated in his sinister English voice, "it is done. Here is Mr. Kent's passport. He cannot come back without first proving that Clark Kent did exist, which will take at least a few weeks. I called in a favour and had all evidence of his birth erased, social security number, etcetera. I took the liberty of handling that delay as well. I think it was a smart move to keep Mr. Kent abroad. By the time he finds himself and his way back to the United States, you and Ms. Lane will be long married without his interference and he wouldn't have been a distraction. And sir, after your not returning Ms. Lane's calls, I also took the liberty of changing your personal numbers so she cannot beg for favours. I hate it when people beg."
"Very good, Nigel. Excellent as always. I do love her, but she is going to be such a challenge to domesticate. After her last little stunt of going off to Japan with that hick, I realized that it is going to take the big guns, so to speak. I hope I don't have to do away with her."
Lois and Clark got to the embassy. They went in and explained what happened. The embassy said that they would get to work on it. They asked for a contact number and said that they would be in touch after checking everything out. Lois and Clark then left the embassy and headed back to the hotel that they had just left, but to a different room. This time Lois didn't put up too much of a fuss about having to share a room with Clark.
Just as they unpacked, again the phone rang.
"Lois, it must be the embassy. I'll get it…Hello, Clark Kent…yes…yes…what do you mean I don't exist. You have my social security number…Yes it is valid. I'm a journalist at the Daily Planet, Metropolis. …I have a drivers license with me…my partner Lois Lane is right here. She can vouch for me. My parents live in Smallville, Kansas…I have no siblings. Perry White is my editor at the Daily Planet. Please. Thank you…in the morning? Thanks, I'll see you then," and Clark hung up.
"Lois, someone erased my whole identity. I don't exist. This was on purpose. My bank account, my credit cards, all erased. Who…why would someone do this? This was strategically planned," Clark sneered out between clinched teeth.
"Where is Superman when you need him? Oh, I'm sure he's still pissed at me, too," Lois responded.
Clark just ignored the Superman comment.
"Had to be someone with a lot of power…" Clark stated with expectations for a verbal attack. But instead he got a puzzled look from Lois.
Perry called back shortly after that and talked to Clark. He basically said the same thing that the embassy said and he also told Clark that he thought it was the work of Lex Luthor. Clark agreed but couldn't figure out why, since Luthor and Lois were to be married. Clark thought that maybe Luthor wanted to make sure that he didn't interfere with the wedding.
Clark tossed and turned all night. Lois seemed to be sleeping peacefully. He begged for sleep just to overtake him, and eventually, much later into the early morning, it finally happened. Unfortunately, Clark was up early looking like he had not had a wink of sleep, but quickly showered and dressed and was ready to go to the embassy.
Lois listened to Clark toss and turn most of the night. He seemed so restless. A couple of times she was tempted to go to the couch and lay down beside him just to see if she could calm him, but decided against it almost as quickly. She didn't want to send Clark the wrong signals. What happened the night before was just Clark being a good friend. Though it felt good to be held by him, they were just friends.
Lois also battled about how to tell Clark that she was going to have to leave him there because she had to get ready for her wedding. He would be upset with her but he would get over it. She could work on helping him better from Metropolis, she justified to herself. She could use her powers as Mrs. Luthor and put some fire behind the US government's speed to get Clark back home.
"We're sorry Mr. Kent. We believe you, but we cannot simply issue you another passport. There are formalities and I'm afraid that it's not just a missing passport. You don't exist according to the department of vital records," stated Ms. Sanders of the US Embassy, a 50ish year old very elegant and well-spoken Black lady.
"How long will it take to prove that I exist? At this time Lois very lightly placed her hand on Clark's arm, a silent gesture between them telling him to calm down and that he had her support.
"I'm sorry Mr. Kent…"
"Give…" Lois interrupted.
"Six to eight weeks, at least," Ms. Sanders very professionally stated.
"What! Have you lost your mind! Obviously you…"
"Lois…Lois…please calm down", Clark said in a calming voice. "Ms. Sanders is there anything else that we can do to speed up this process. We have to get back. I have a job, a life…"
"Mr. Kent are you married?" Ms. Sanders inquired.
"No we're just partners at work…what does that have to do with anything?"
"No, Mr. Kent…to anybody? I need to know for my next suggestion." Ms. Sanders stated with a slight smile.
"No, I'm not…you're not suggesting that we…"
"Look Ms. Sanders, I am not marrying Clark. We've been through that. Anything but that. I'm going to marry Lex Luthor when I get back home. That's why we need to speed up this process because I'm getting married next week. I need to be back in the US soon," Lois started.
"The Lex Luthor," Ms. Sanders inquired with a raised eyebrow. "The alleged philanthropist?"
"Yes, and…what does that mean, the 'alleged philanthropist'. You don't know Lex like I do…"
"Ms. Lane, listen. I'm not going to get into my opinion of Mr. Luthor right now, but in order to speed things up you and Mr. Kent could get married and evade some of the red tape. This handsome guy can't be that bad."
Ms. Sanders also noted that Clark was no longer involved in the conversation, but looking down at his feet. He looked hurt ever since Lois' outburst about not marrying him but Lex instead.
"Listen, the marriage thing is not going to happen but I'll call Perry and just see if he can call in any favours," Lois bit back.
"Well, Ms. Lane, suit yourself. You'd be lucky if Mr. Kent would want to marry you after that outburst," Ms. Sanders replied with some humour in her voice. She was trying to lift Clark's dampened spirit.
Clark didn't bring up the discussion on the way back to the hotel from the embassy. Actually, Clark hadn't said anything. He seemed to be in deep thought, distant and separated. So Lois did, reluctantly bring up the embassy discussion.
"Clark, about what I said…"
"It's okay Lois I understand. Lets just get back to the hotel."
"Clark, I am sorry…I didn't want to bring this up just now with everything going on, but I cannot stay here with you indefinitely. I'm getting married and I have to go back home. I'll make sure that Perry and your parents stay on top of things. I mean you are my best friend and I love you and I'm going to do all I can to get you back home. Maybe I could even contact Superman, somehow, to help. Maybe he won't take out his anger on you because of our differences. I know that Lex can pull some strings if I could only get in touch with him."
Clark just gazed at Lois.
"The Planet is going to cover my expenses. Please, don't put yourself out, Lois. I'll be okay. Just…let me help you get your things so that you can catch the next plane to Metropolis. Wouldn't want you to miss your wedding to the biggest criminal in Metropolis," Clark grated out.
"Clark I don't want to argue with you. Just don't go there. I'm truly sorry that I am not in love with you. I really am. But that doesn't give you the right to slander Lex just because I'm going to marry him," Lois bit out. "And what…are you jealous? Because if you…"
"What, jealous? Right! Can we just finish this inside? I know that you don't love me and don't want to be with me but I don't want to lose the last of my preserved pride by allowing the rest of the world to know," Clark said in a hoarse whisper.
"I'm sorry, Clark…I…"
"Let's just get inside Lois".
Inside of their hotel room, Lois sat on the couch and Clark sat beside her on the couch. He was careful to keep a proper distance so that Lois wouldn't become 'claustrophobic' Clark carefully placed the car keys on the table. He then took a couple of really deep breaths. <I have to do this. I have to know this now.> Clark thought. He wanted to just grab Lois and shake her. He was prepared to tell her off, to tell her to get the hell on back to Metropolis, but then he thought of another approach.
"Lois, are you in love with Luthor? I mean really in love with him," finally looking up and into Lois' eyes. "Do you just sit and watch him when he sleeps and unconsciously take on the same breathing rhythm? Do you pray that he loves you just a fraction of the amount you love him because that is so much that it's more than you thought could be possible? Do you pray for his safety because it's more important to you than your own safety? Do you want him to be the first person you see in the morning when you wake up and the last just before you close your eyes for sleep at night? Do you want him to be the father of your children? Can you…can you make love with him, open yourself to him and share your most intimate emotions without feeling violated or used or ashamed to let yourself go while you're with him? That's what I mean when I ask are you in love with him," Clark recited.
"Yes or no, Lois. Simple as that."
"No…I'm not in-love with him but I guess I care about him," Lois struggled to get out. "Anyway, nobody loves like that…what you said. You've been reading a very unrealistic trashy romance novel."
"You say that you care about me, Lois," Clark replied sadly.
"Well, I do, Clark. You're my best friend and…"
"Do you think he is in love with you?"
"Yes, of course. Why else would he ask me to marry him? That was a really dumb question, Clark," Lois announced in her most pompous tone.
"Was it, Lois? Why hasn't he tried to call you, to find you? If I were Luthor, I'd be nuts now trying to find you and get you back to me. I think for whatever sick reason, he is behind this…"
"Clark, don't you…"
"No, Lois let me finish."
Clark gently grabbed Lois' hands and said in his most endearing tone, "Lois, I know that you're not in love with me but I am in love with you. For the life of me, I cannot understand why you chose Luthor over me. What besides money does he have that I don't? You said that nobody loves like that…like the way I just said, but you're wrong. I love you that way. You are the most beautiful thing in the world to me. I've prayed since I've met you for you to fall in love with me as I am with you and we could be together. I know that you don't trust easily, but I feel like I have one up on the next guy…we have trust and friendship…you're my best friend. The other night when I held you all night, it was the most wonderful night of my life. I would never hurt you, never make you cry, never make you worry, intentionally. I don't have much material stuff or money, but what I have is yours, too. I'd take care of you the best that I know how. I can promise you that you'd never need anything. But I cannot promise you worldly riches. The one thing that I do have, in excess, is love for you and that I can give you more of than any other man can, more than you ever thought could be possible. I wouldn't try to change you or take away your independence because that's what makes you you. Lois, please be my wife. Marry me. I'm not just asking so I can get home. I'm asking for forever, Lois."
Kissing Lois' knuckles, Clark noticed tears start to fall down Lois' cheeks. Again, Clark had laid his feelings on the line, out in the open, and again, Lois trampled all over them.
"Clark, I'm sorry…I have to go home," Lois let out in a hoarse whisper. "I'm getting married. Just love me enough to be happy for me. I do pray that one day you'll find happiness, a wife, children, because you deserve that. I pray that you find the wife who will love you, dote on you, have a little white house with a picket fence, a wife who will make passionate love to you until you're both just exhausted, one who will want to have lots of babies with you. I know that you will be a good father and a good husband."
"Yeah," Clark whispered, looking away and finally letting go of Lois' hands.
"Please, Clark, there is a flight leaving this evening in a couple of hours. I have to go," Lois said with pleading eyes.
"Okay, let's go," Clark replied without ever looking up in Lois' face. Clark grabbed Lois' bags and out the door they went to the airport.
Clark got Lois to the airport and again through immigration, customs and agriculture. They checked in her luggage and then went to sit at the gate from which her plane was leaving. They sat most of the time in silence. When Lois heard the first boarding call for her flight, she turned to look at Clark.
"Clark, I'll call as soon as I get back to my place. I promise that we'll get you back as soon as possible. I only regret that you won't be at my wedding."
Clark didn't say anything. He just stood up, slouched his shoulders, looked down and stuck his hands in his pockets. Finally after the second boarding call, Clark spoke.
"See you Lois," as he reached up, cradled her face and kissed her on the forehead. Then he turned to walk away. Lois first stared behind Clark as he walked away, but the final boarding call made her turn and board her plane.
Clark got into the rental car and headed back to the hotel. He was trying to rationalize within himself why Lois wanted Luthor instead of him. What, besides lots of money, did Luthor have that he didn't? At least he felt that he and Lois knew each other, and Lois and Luthor didn't. Before Clark knew it, he was back at his hotel.
Lois was a couple of hours into the flight back to Metropolis as she continued to think about Clark. She felt really sorry for him today. She would make sure that he got back home. A few times, Lois started to wonder if she dismissed Clark's feelings too soon. Clark had never been anything but accommodating to Lois. And he loved her in spite of her shortcomings. Clark pouring his heart out to Lois, yet again, right before they headed to the airport made Lois start to wonder if three could be an "us" with Clark. Then that proposal. Should she have accepted it? It was the most emotional thing that anyone had ever said to her. She did love Clark, but like a brother. Was that enough? Could she love him in that different way that he wanted her to love him? Was he right? Was she really not in love with Lex?
Lois found herself pondering these questions almost all the way back to Metropolis.
Clark had made it back to his hotel. He really just didn't feel like doing anything. It was as if all of the life had been sucked out of him. He went to the bedroom and sat on the side of the bed. He could smell Lois' scent where she had been on the bed. He picked up the pillow that she had slept on the night before and inhaled the scent of her shampoo. Before he knew it tears had started to roll down his cheeks. After ineffectively trying to stop the tears, Clark gave in to them and started to sob. He wasn't sobbing because he was stuck in Japan. He was sobbing because the woman that he loved more than life itself was gone forever, to another man's bed, and he would never again have the chance to have her.
Sleep must have overtaken Clark at some point because hours later, he awakened still holding that pillow. He looked outside and it was dark. He looked at the clock and it read 9 o'clock pm.
Clark figured it to be about 6 o'clock am in Smallville and his parents would be up early to tend the farm, so he called.
"Jonathan, pick up the other phone. It's Clark! How are you, honey?"
"Lois went back to Metropolis, today. She going to do it Mom…she's going to marry Luthor. I tried to…I asked her if she loved him. She couldn't really give me a straight answer. She was anxious to get back to him, to marry him."
"Oh, honey I'm sorry. Maybe she doesn't know how you really…"
"Yes, Mom. I told her how much I love her…again…asked her to marry me, but she just doesn't feel the same way. She didn't really even answer. She just said she had to get back to Metropolis. I thought at least she knows me, unlike Luthor, and we were best friends…but…"
"How do you know that she doesn't know Lex? I mean she did date him, right?"
"How could she know him and still marry him, Mom? She can't really know him. And obviously our friendship wasn't that important to her either, because she ran back to marry him. I don't even know when I'll be able to come back to the US. Maybe I should just stay here. Maybe that's my sign."
Clark proceeded to tell his parents about the events at the embassy. He even told them about Ms. Sanders' suggestion for marriage and how Lois wigged out about it. But they were sure that he would be home soon. Just a matter of red tape.
"No powers yet, honey?"
"Clark, honey, something that we've never told you, because it was never an issue, but we don't actually have a birth certificate for you. There was…uh…some documentation but your actual birth, well we just didn't know. We had Judge Lakin draw up the adoption papers and officially sign and file them, if you know what I mean, but the specifics…we told him that we found you on our doorstep, which is essentially true."
"That means that they would have to know…"
"No, honey, not just yet. We're working on that. Just give us s few days. You okay? Need anything?"
"No, Mom, Dad. Perry assured me that the Planet would take care of my expenses. He just has to be careful because Luthor still owns the Planet. And my savings account is probably still just sitting there. I don't exist but you do, Mom. I added you to my bank account, you know, just in case of an emergency, like now, so, if I need anything, I'll tell you how to make a withdrawal."
"Okay, honey. Take care and call us. I love you…"
"Yeah, love you son…"
"Bye, I love you guys, too." Clark hung up.
The next day, Lois called to say that she arrived back to Metropolis safely.
"Clark? It's Lois."
"I made it back safely. You okay?"
"I talked to Lex about getting you back home. He says that he knows the director if INS and that he has agreed to do a rush passport to get you home within a couple of weeks. He has extended his bank accounts if you need…"
"No, Lois! I don't need anything. Perry and my parents are helping…"
"Clark! Lex is trying to help. Why are you being this way? He would never try to hurt you. He was just insecure because he thought our friendship was a threat to him."
"Insecure, huh? Is that why you couldn't reach him? Is that why…"
"I couldn't reach him because he was changing some things around, numbers, important papers…for my safety, for when we're married. He doesn't want me to be the target of some of his disgruntled associates. Can't you see, Clark? He's trying to protect me. The business world is so much more dog-eat-dog than we know, Clark. He said that he would have called but he didn't know where we were staying…"
"Lois, Luthor owns the Planet. He's a smart businessman. He knows where every penny from the Planet goes, especially since it's in financial trouble."
"Clark, Lex is trying…"
"Whatever, Lois. Look I have to go. Take care of yourself."
It was now Wednesday. Days passed and Clark still had no idea when he'd get home. He had not heard anything from the embassy. He talked to Perry and his parents daily. He hadn't talked to Lois anymore, since she'd called to say that she got home and that Lex was helping. Yeah, right! Lois would be getting married in three days, on Saturday. Maybe then Lex would be happy that he, Clark would be out of Lois' life forever.
Early Thursday morning, the phone rang in Clark's hotel room. Clark wasn't awake until the phone rang. He bolted upright in the bed. His parents never called this early, and neither did Perry unless it was important.
"Hey, son. Uh, listen. I got some news. Luthor just sold the Planet to Franklin Stern. Said it would be a loss to him. Now I'm figuring that this marriage to Lois, you being stuck in Japan and this exchange of money is all tied together. Luthor doesn't need the Planet anymore because he's got Lois. He can control her now that she doesn't work here anymore. She works for LNN, officially, now. Mr. Stern didn't want to see a good newspaper's demise, so he bought it. The closing takes place in the morning."
"That's great, Perry. So…?"
"Well, now I can manoeuvre because Luthor won't be looking over my shoulder anymore. I'll just explain the situation to Mr. Stern and we will probably get you home sooner."
"Think so, Perry?"
"Yeah, son, I do."
"Thanks for calling, Perry."
"See you soon, son."
Clark turned over and went back off to sleep. Maybe things would be okay.
Thursday morning, Lois woke up early and got dressed for her new job at LNN. She wanted to make a quick stop by Lex's penthouse to have a cup of coffee with him and go over some last minute details before work.
When she arrived at the entrance of the penthouse, the guard was preoccupied on the phone. Lois stood there for a few minutes waiting for the guard to get off of the phone, but he continued to talk. It seemed that the conversation involved someone complaining. Lois decided to just take the opportunity and catch the next elevator up. She had never been able to surprise Lex because he was always buzzed and told that she was coming up. Now was her chance.
When Lois arrived on the 120th floor where the entrance to the penthouse was, she got off of the elevator and proceeded to the door. There was a vestibule right inside of the main door and then the door to Lex's office. A security person always stood at the entrance to his main living quarters. Once inside of the vestibule Lois was about to turn to head down the hall to Lex's living quarters when she heard Lex's and Nigel St. John's voices coming from his office. It was mostly Lex and it seemed that he was talking on the phone. She stopped at the door and tried to listen and what she could hear was very frightening.
"Kent won't be able to get back until after the wedding, at least a month…Ms. Cox at the department of vital records deleted him from the US government system. She should have destroyed all hard copies as well. I'll just keep her stringing along…eventually she'll forget about him…I've destroyed Superman, what makes you think Kent would be any kind of challenge? I'll control Lois, like I said, and after we're married, she'll do as I say or pay the consequences…"
"Mr. Luthor, will you be needing my services?" the English accent inquired.
"I'm sure that some…exterminating…will be in order. Oh, are the surveillance devices in Ms. Lane's apartment?"
"Yes, Sir, and the Daily Planet, Sir."
Lois had heard all she needed. Clark was right…again. He saw through Lex all the time. <Oh my God, I've got to help my best friend. He would have never left me.>
Lois had to make this visit to Lex look authentic because she didn't want him suspicious. So, she turned left and proceeded in her initial direction, towards the main living quarters to make it look like she was there looking for him.
When Lois approached the door, the guard asked, "May I help you?"
"Yes, Lois Lane for Lex Luthor," Lois responded, trying to keep her calm.
"Just a moment, Ms. Lane. He's in his office. I'll get him…"
"Oh, no, that won't be necessary. It's really not that important. I can just catch him later," Lois stuttered.
"Are you sure, Ms. Lane?"
"Absolutely. But if you would, please tell him to give me a call later."
"Sure thing, Ms. Lane."
Lois turned and headed back for the elevator. When the elevator car arrived, Lois noticed that there was another elevator at the end of the hall without floor markings like the others and wondered where it went. Her curiosity got the better of her so she decided to get on to see where it went.
When the door closed to the "secret" elevator, it started to move without any instruction, downward. After a short time on a ride that seemed only fit for the freight elevator, the car stopped and the door opened. Lois got off and looked around. It seemed that she was in an old closet or cellar. There was a lead door to her left. The door was cracked just enough for a shimmer of light to escape. Lois went over to it and pushed it open. There were stairs and what seemed to be wooden barrels at the foot of the stairs. A wine cellar…Lex aged his own wine she thought.
Lois proceeded down the stairs, periodically looking over her shoulders to be sure that she wasn't being followed.
When Lois got to the bottom of the stairs, what she saw made her gasp out loud. She saw a cage the had slightly green bars, like a jail cell, and Superman's cape inside of it, in the middle of the cage floor. The door stood open. And no one had to tell her what the green bars were made of.
Lois reflexively covered her mouth in horror and ran back up the stairs the same way she came. She got onto the elevator and headed back up to the 120th floor as it proceeded back to without instruction. Apparently it was a private elevator that only went between the basement and 120th floors.
Once on the 120th floor the door opened and Lois stepped out, right into the security guard.
"Oh…I…um…..I seemed to have gotten on the wrong elevator. As…as soon as I got on I realized it and got right off."
"Yes, Ms. Lane," the guard said suspiciously. "Now you have a good day now, hear?"
Lois got onto the proper elevator, went down to the first floor and exited Lex Towers. When Lois finally exited Lex Towers she couldn't get to her Jeep fast enough. She got inside of her Jeep, started the engine and proceeded out of the area headed towards the Daily Planet. Upon arriving inside of the parking garage of the Daily Planet, Lois sat quietly in her Jeep and began to replay all that had just happened. She had dared not think until she had made it to a safe place.
Lois thought <Oh my God! Lex killed Superman. Clark was right. How could I have been so blind? I've got to help Clark to get back home…I've got to call him…I shouldn't have turned him down…what have I done? Clark will never forgive me…I'll never forgive myself if something happens to my best friend.>
Then Lois placed her face in her hands and started to sob.
A tap on the Jeep's window startled Lois out of her depression. When she looked up, it was one of the Daily Planet security guards.
"Miss, are you okay. I saw you drive in almost an hour ago, but no one got out so I just wanted to make sure that you were alright."
"Yes, I'm fine thank you," Lois replied as she opened her car door. "Thanks for checking."
"Sure thing Ma'am," the security guard replied as he tilted his hat and walked away.
"Mr. Luthor, it seems that you had a visitor in your cellar. Look at this," the security guard stated to Lex Luthor as he handed him a video surveillance tape.
"Apparently, Ms. Lane doesn't know that her every move is being recorded," Lex growled in one of his most sinister voices. "So, she now knows that Superman was here. I just wish I knew what really became of that freak. But we'll be married on Saturday, in two days. Then I'll be sure that she understands who's boss. And I will curb that curiosity of hers."
Lois entered the Daily Planet newsroom, looking around. My how she missed it already. She walked over to what used to be her desk. It was unoccupied and cleaned out. She lightly touched it as she walked by. But that wasn't enough. Lois pulled out the chair and sat in her old seat. Why did she ever give up her job at the Planet? In the back of her mind, she knew that going to work for LNN was a mistake and maybe she should come back to work at the Planet.
<Stupid…the whole marrying Lex thing was stupid. You should have listened to Clark…He's your best friend and he loves you…what did he have to gain by lying to you? He had your best interest in mind all the time. >
She then looked over at Clark's desk, the aetiology of a lot of good news work, neat and tidy like Clark himself. She got up and walked over to it. She sat in Clark's chair. Yeah, she had to get him back home. She was missing looking over at him already, and the way their desks were arranged was just right.
Lois was caught up in her thoughts when Jimmy came up behind her and tapped her on the shoulder. The touch startled Lois back to reality.
"Oh, God, Jimmy you scared me…"
"Sorry Lois…talked to CK? We really miss the team around here. Sure wish things would go back to the way they were…"
"Jimmy! That's sort of why I'm here…"
"To come back to work at the Pla…"
"I need to see Perry. Is he in?"
"Yes, darling, I'm right here," Perry responded behind Lois.
"Perry, I need to talk to you, but not here. Here, let's…" Lois started as she grabbed Perry's hand and headed to the roof of the Daily Planet.
Once on the roof of the Planet, Lois began to pace. Perry knew this as a sign of nervousness. But he waited patiently for Lois to start talking. Just from knowing Lois, he knew that it was better if he just let her get to it in her own time and not rush her. He knew she'd eventually spit it out.
"Perry, Clark was right and I didn't listen to him. Lex is responsible for whatever happened to Superman. He bugged my apartment and probably the Planet as well…he is the reason that Clark is stuck in Japan. He wants to kill Clark and probably me, too if I get in the way…"
"Hold just a damn minute…you're rambling…what did you just say?" Perry asked in disbelief.
Lois proceeded to tell Perry what she had overheard in Lex's penthouse. She told him how she snooped in the cellar and that she was virtually sure that no one suspects that she was even there.
"I have friends over at the department of vital records who owe me favours. I'll get right on that lead."
"I need to go back to Tokyo…to Clark. I think Clark and I can get more accomplished together. You should contact me by my cell phone. I'm going to get another one right before I leave for Tokyo with prepaid minutes so that no one can trace my calls. I'll give you the number before I leave." Lois then hesitated and said, "Oh, and Perry, one more thing…"
"Done…I'll have a ticket waiting for you within the hour. But, Lois what about your wedding? I guess it's safe to assume that there will be no wedding, that you're not marrying Luthor."
"Like you said Perry, you didn't become Editor in Chief because you could yodel," Lois smiled.
"When are you planning to tell Luthor?" Perry inquired.
"I'll call him," Lois responded, nervously. She then stood on her tiptoes and gave Perry a kiss on the cheek.
"Uh, Lois, just for the record, Kent…Kent loves you unlike anything I've ever seen before. That boy'd walk on water for you, or die trying," Perry conveyed.
"I know, Perry…now," Lois responded sincerely.
"I love you, Perry…thanks."
"You get outta here," Perry demanded. Mr. Stern couldn't close this Planet deal fast enough for Perry's sanity.
When Perry got back to his office, there was a voice mail from Mr. Stern. He now owned the Planet. Perry was ecstatic…a prayer had been answered.
Lois left for Tokyo Thursday evening. She'd get there late Friday.
It was Friday, and Lois would be married tomorrow. Clark was more depressed than he had ever been. He didn't want to see the sun rise. He just stayed in bed. He hadn't eaten a decent meal in two days. He just wasn't hungry. He hadn't shaved. He just didn't have the energy. His powers showed no signs of returning, which only depressed him more. He just slept a lot. He kept the blinds closed and the TV off. He didn't want to hear accidentally about Lex Luthor's grand wedding. He did occasionally listen to the radio. All he did during his waking hours was think about Lois, so he tried not to be awake too much. But on the other hand, when he slept he dreamed about her. He was damned if he did and damned if he didn't.
Friday evening came too quickly for Clark. With the time difference, Lois would be Mrs. Luthor in just a few hours. And there was nothing he could do about it. He glanced at the clock. 6:52 pm. He got comfortable in the bed and surrendered to sleep yet again. As Clark slept, he had nothing but more dreams of Lois.
She was so beautiful. He was dreaming of her wedding except in his dream, he was the groom. In his dreams Lois would come walking up the aisle, smiling at him. She would stand next to him and whisper in his ear, as he took possession of her hands, how much she loved him and couldn't wait to become his wife. She would say her vows with such love in her eyes, and he would do the same. They would kiss and there would be magic.
In Clark's dreams, they would get home and head straight for the bedroom, to begin an expedition into a world that Clark had never visited and one that Lois had never experienced the full effects of. He would lie on the bed and wait for her to make her debut from the bathroom as his new wife. She would approach the side of the bed and sit on the edge. She would first whisper words of endearment and reveal her deepest darkest fears and reservations. There would be no more secrets. Clark would assure Lois that there was nothing to worry about, that he was there for the long haul and that he would always love her and never leave her. Lois would touch Clark's shoulder lightly and whisper his name…"Clark…"
Lois landed in Tokyo after 9 o'clock pm Friday night. By now, Lex would know that she was gone. She had to hurry. She hailed a taxi to Clark's hotel.
By ten-thirty Lois arrived at Clark's hotel room. She knocked on the door. There was no answer. She listened at the door but there was no noise. Surely Clark had to be there. Perry had been talking to him.
"Clark…" Lois called.
Lois had no other way of getting into Clark's hotel room so she resorted to going to the front desk of the hotel.
"Yes may we help you?"
"I'm Lois Lane and I cannot seem to get into my room. I think I misplaced my key. It's room 501," Lois responded fidgeting.
"Let's see…we don't have a Ms. Lane registered…"
"I know. My partner registered for us, Clark Kent…"
"Ahh, Mr. Kent. I remember you now. Here is the spare key. Have a good night, Ms. Lane. Sorry for the mix up."
"No problem," Lois responded. "And thank you," Lois added as an after thought as she walked away from the desk towards the elevators.
Lois arrived back at Clark's hotel room door and slid the key into the lock. The green light flashed and the door clicked unlocked. She was pretty positive that Clark was there. She was pretty sure that she had seen the pine coloured Lexus outside in the designated parking space for Clark's room.
Clark's hotel was dark and quiet…too quiet. Lois didn't see any signs of living in the hotel living room so she quietly slipped into the bedroom.
Clark was in bed, very still, shallow respiration, apparently asleep. Lois went over to the bed and sat on the side of it. There was a little moonlight breaking way through the drapes. She looked down at Clark, where the moonlight was shining and gasped, almost out loud. Even in the dark Clark looked so…terrible…so unkempt…so pale. He had lost weight and had dark circles around his eyes. He hadn't shaved and he wore a troubled expression, even in his sleep. Lois tried to fight back tears but lost the battle. Tears rolled down her face as she gently touched Clark's hair in a feather-like way.
"Oh, Clark…what have I done to you…my best friend. I know that I've hurt you so much," Lois choked out in almost a whisper.
Lois started to bare her innermost thoughts and feelings to Clark in his sleeping form.
She whispered to him, "I have been such a fool to believe that Lex meant well. He is a lying scheming criminal and I had to let my stubbornness take control of me…I know that I turned you down without even considering you…your feelings. I think I may have dismissed your feelings too soon, Clark…and I am so sorry. I never meant to hurt you. I just wish I had the chance to make it up to you." Tears were now coming down Lois' cheeks full force.
She continued to stroke Clark's hair and whisper to him. Suddenly Lois needed for Clark to be awake, so that he could see the love and admiration that she had for him and maybe he would understand how she felt. Clark could always seem to understand her better than she understood herself. She wanted Clark to know that she had come back for him…to him…to hear him say that he forgave her for being such a hussy and to hear him say again that he loved her, that he would always take care of her and that he always wanted her in his life. She couldn't say that she loved him in the way that he loved her, but she did care about him. She knew that he was her best friend, if he'd still let her be in his life. And Clark would have never say "I told you so."
"Clark…Clark…" Lois started as she touched his shoulder.
Clark opened his eyes at the sound of his name. Was he dreaming? He was so disoriented. It was so dark with just the moonlight. Then he heard it again.
Slowly Clark turned over to face the direction that the voice was coming from. He knew that voice and he could feel her presence. No he wasn't dreaming.
"Lois? "What are you doing here? I thought you left. Aren't you supposed to be getting…going to marry…him?" Then anger set in. "Why are you here? You should leave."
"Clark, just let me say this and then I will leave if you want." Tears continued to fall freely from Lois' eyes.
Clark, feeling defeated, reached over and brought Lois' face to his chest and cradled her there. Yes, she was home now. His heart went out to her.
"Say what, Lois? You know I can't stand it when you cry. It's okay…it's going to be alright," Clark said softly into Lois' hair as he hugged her. "What did he do?" Clark wasn't sure that he wanted to hear the answer if it meant that Luthor had hurt Lois in some way.
"Clark…Lex wants to kill you…and me if I get in the way. He is the reason that you cannot get back to the US…he had your identity erased. He didn't want you to interfere with our wedding. And whatever happened to Superman…Lex…he is responsible. I saw the Kryptonite cage when I sneaked into Lex's wine cellar. Superman's cape was still in the cage in the middle of the floor…" Lois rambled.
At the mention of Superman, Clark cringed. "Lois, how do you know all of this?"
Lois explained to Clark how she went to Lex towers and how she stumbled across the information. She also relayed to Clark that she was almost certain that no one saw her but the quicker they got to work on things, the better off they'd be.
There was still something that Clark had to know. He was taking a chance here, but he felt like he couldn't be hurt any more than he already had been.
"Lois…are you…are you still going to marry Luthor tomorrow?"
"No…Clark. How could I marry someone who tried to kill Superman…who tried to hurt the most important person to me in the world…my best friend…you? You were right all along…Lex is evil. How could I marry someone like that?" Lois responded earnestly.
"I've asked that, myself," Clark responded. "Lois, you don't know what this means to me. I've done nothing but fret over this whole thing. Your safety is important to me and I knew that Luthor would have done something horrible to you. And I wouldn't have been there to help you," Clark said as he continued to hold Lois.
"Clark, I know I dismissed you rather abruptly, without thinking before. Please forgive me, Clark. Let me be your best friend again." Lois looked down, embarrassed.
Clark just continued to hold her. "You've never stopped being my best friend and I lo…you mean a lot to me, Clark responded, almost slipping up.
"I know that you would have never left me here and I hate myself for leaving you, Clark."
"Lois, when do you think Luthor will find out that you're gone? We have to get ready for what he may try. He won't take too kindly to rejection."
"Well, Perry is working on your identity thing and…"
"Lois, Luthor is dangerous and you mean too much to me for me to allow anything to happen to you," Clark said in a serious tone. He then went out on a limb…again, knowing that he shouldn't. "Listen, I love you Lois." There he'd laid the foundation…again.
"I know. That is the one thing that I have no doubts about."
"Then why Lois…why? If you're not in love with him and you were going to marry him, why couldn't you marry me? I'm your partner, your best friend. You know me. You trust me. My life is an open book to you. I'm not hiding any deep dark secrets." Clark stopped breathing for several seconds as soon as he'd said that. He'd briefly forgotten that he was harbouring a secret that Lois would be furious about when she found out what. But he'd deal with that later…he hoped.
"Clark, I don't know. I guess I'm just afraid," Lois said sadly.
"Afraid of what? You know I'd never hurt you or betray you. I'm in love with you Lois."
"Afraid of things going badly and losing our friendship, I guess. Clark, you're the only true friend I've ever had. I need you in my life. I always seem to destroy relationships…romances. After a few dates with me, men seem to run away. Claude came back and told the whole newsroom that he'd slept with me and what a horrible lay I was. Paul wouldn't even speak to me after that night with him, but the whole male population on the campus of Metropolis University knew about what happened. I swore to myself that I'd never let anyone hurt me again. So, I don't get emotionally involved. Lex was safe, as far as emotions were concerned. I didn't love him so he couldn't hurt me…at least not emotionally."
Clark's heart went out to Lois. But he had to make her understand. He would never hut her or betray her, no matter what. And she would never have to be without him because he couldn't stand to be without her.
"Lois, you don't have to worry about that. I would never betray you like that. For me this is forever. For God's sake, I'm 29 years old. I know what I want…who I want. If you're indifferent to emotions then humour me. Let me show you how wonderful it can feel to be loved, the way that I love you. I don't want to possess you, I just want to love you".
"But Clark…what about…you know…sex…I mean…surely…" Lois stuttered, now sitting up and looking into Clark's eyes. Surely you'd get tired of this friendship thing and start looking elsewhere for…your needs."
"Lois, I would want to make love to you, but I would want you to want to as well. But, I would never ask you to do something that you're not ready for. You know that. I will wait for you as long as it takes," Clark assured Lois, with his palm placed on her cheek and inadvertently wiping away stray tears with the pad of his thumb. "I would never go out and cheat on you under any circumstances, and I would expect the same from you. Everything I want is right here sitting next to me, in my arms."
Clark had an afterthought and decided to just plunge in. "Lois, what about Luthor? What would you have done when he wanted you…I mean…sexually? You could only be too tired or have a headache for so long before he took it upon himself to just…help himself to you." Clark could feel Lois tense at that thought. It nauseated Clark to even say it.
"I don't know. I guess I never thought that far. But after what Paul said and what Claude said, I'm sure that he'd have only wanted me once," Lois responded with a disgusted laugh.
"Lois, don't do this to yourself. The problem lies with them, not you. I think you're the most beautiful thing in the world. When you love someone it's not just about sex…it's the emotions that go with it," Clark assured Lois.
"So, what do you say…about getting married? To me?" Clark asked hopefully.
"Clark…I don't know what to say. I'm just so confused…I…"
"That's okay Lois…I shouldn't have…I'm sorry, just forget I asked…" Clark responded defeated. "I had no right to just zoom in on you like a buzzard on a carcass…"
"No, Clark, listen to me. I'm confused because I can't believe that you still want to be with me after all I put you through. I don't know that I'll ever truly be in love with anyone. Superman was just an infatuation because he was unobtainable. But, if there was ever a doubt about you being in love with me it's gone now. Either you really are in love with me or you have a psychiatric diagnosis somewhere," Lois ended half jokingly. "I do love you Clark, but I'm not in love with you…"
"Lois, just forget it…I shouldn't have set myself up for this. I just don't think I can handle another rejection, so just…"
"No, Clark…please let me finish! You are my best friend. I've shared more with you than I have anyone else including my sister. I cannot imagine living my life without you…"
"Nor me without you," Clark interjected.
"…so, yes Clark," Lois said smiling from ear to ear. "But, please, Clark, you have to promise that you won't leave me when something else comes along. I couldn't handle it," Lois said sadly.
"You don't have to worry about that, Lois." With uncertainty, Clark pierced Lois' eyes with that loving look that he only had for her. "Are you saying yes, you'll marry me?"
"If that's what you're asking," Lois replied smiling.
"I am asking," Clark responded in a more serious tone. He then got down off of the bed, on one knee and very gently grasped both of Lois' petite hands with his much larger ones and asked with all the love imaginable in his voice, "Lois, will you marry me, be my wife, spend the rest of our lives together?"
"Yes, Clark. I will marry you," Lois replied with a yearning that she didn't know she possessed.
For the lack of knowing what better to do, Clark slowly stood, then gently pulled Lois to a standing position and hugged her like he'd never get the chance to hug her again. Clark then slowly tilted Lois' chin up, so that she could resist if she wanted to, and lowered his lips to meet hers and experienced the most earth-shattering kiss of his life. There was no pretence or ruse. This one was real. Most of all, Clark felt Lois responding…with emotion? If Lois were really feeling something, it would be a dream come true. If she had any feelings for him at all beyond friendship, it would be a good start.
"Oh God, Clark," Lois whispered. "Where did you learn to kiss like that?"
"I love you Lois. That's the only inspiration I can claim," Clark responded sincerely.
Throughout a good part of the rest of the night, Clark and Lois talked about getting married and getting Clark back to the US. They decided to get married on Sunday, so as not to have the same intended wedding date as Lois would have had with Lex. Their plan was to meet with Ms. Sanders on Saturday if they could reach her and to tell her their decision. A little after three am, Lois was starting to doze off. Clark grabbed a pillow and went towards the closet for a blanket to make a bed on the couch.
"Clark, where are you going?"
"To, the couch. You can have the bed. I've done nothing but sleep for the past few days. You need to be comfortable," Clark responded.
"Clark, you can…there's enough room," Lois said waving her hand towards the empty side of the bed and pulling back the covers.
"I…I…we don't have to sleep together…I mean in the same bed if you don't want to. Like I said, I'm not going to force you into something that you're not ready for," Clark said reassuringly.
"I know, Clark. I…I just wanted…I just miss curling up in your arms," Lois shyly related.
"Clark just smiled and simply said, "Okay." He then climbed in next to Lois. Clark got comfortable, then stretched out his arm towards Lois. She responded by adjusting to lie in Clark's outstretched arm. He snuggled Lois close and they both went off to a very peaceful sleep.
Martha and Jonathan went over to see the ailing Judge Andy Lakin. At this point, they had not been able to get around producing a birth certificate for Clark. Judge Lakin would remember drawing up and finalizing the adoption papers for Martha and Jonathan back in 1966. The then elderly judge recalled how over the years as Clark grew up that he couldn't understand why no one came back to claim such a handsome boy, that someone would just leave a baby on some stranger's doorstep. He had sort of done a rushed and abbreviated job for the Kents. Martha had later cared for Judge Lakin's wife as she had lain ailing and soon after died from cancer. The judge would never forget them for that.
Jonathan pulled the old pickup truck to the driveway of Judge Lakin's home. Hesitantly, he and Martha got out and went to the door and knocked. After what seemed like an eternity, the elderly judge cracked the door of his home.
"The Kents. We'd like to talk to you," Jonathan stated.
With that the judge opened the door and stood aside to allow the Kents in. He looked so feeble with oxygen going in his nose. He hugged Martha and shook Jonathan's hand. He gestured for them to take a seat on the couch and then took the seat across from them They chatted for what seemed like hours about different things. The Kents were informed that the judge, too had been diagnosed with end stage heart disease, cardiomyopathy, and that he had no energy or reserve. Then the Kents decided to shorten their visit and cut right to the chase.
"Judge, remember when you drew up those adoption papers for Clark? Well, we never had a birth certificate and you said that it wouldn't be a problem, then. But now…" Jonathan proceeded to tell the judge of the events of Clark's retention in Tokyo and why he now needed a birth certificate.
"Remind me, Jonathan, why didn't we draw up a birth certificate?"
"Well, within that 90 days, no one showed up within 200 miles who had had a baby and abandoned it. We weren't sure of Clark's birthday so we estimated his age and came up with February 28, 1966," Jonathan replied.
"Yes, and I remember the neighbours making speculations and that's when you asked that I'd just rush the paperwork so that you could leave Smallville. Except you didn't. I'll never forget how you and Martha took care of my ailing Jean," the judge said reminiscing.
"Please, is it possible that you could draw one up now, a birth certificate, so that we can get our boy home?" Martha pleaded.
"Already done. I did it anyway, back in 1966. I knew that with things changing, eventually they would be required, so I just kept it. You never asked for it, but I wanted to be sure that in the event that I…I…well, you would be able to obtain it. But, before I will give it to you, there is something I must ask of you."
"Sure…anything…" the Kents replied.
"I witnessed some strange phenomenon around your farm as Clark grew up, like tractors being lifted, things being done faster than the laws of gravity would allow, and so forth. Where did Clark really come from? Is he now Superman?"
"The Kents looked at each other. They had no idea that anyone was aware of any of Clark's special abilities. Thinking along the same lines, and communicating through their eyes, the Kents decided to be honest with the judge, especially since he was dying and hopefully he would take it to the grave sooner than he could tell anyone.
"He is," Jonathan simply said.
The judge's eyes got big.
"But he no longer has those abilities. That's why he can't get back home," Martha finished.
"I see." The judge thought for a few minutes, and then breathlessly said, "The birth certificate is on my dresser under the edge of the scarf. I guess I figured you or Clark would be coming for it soon. Martha, if you would…"
"Sure…and thank you so much."
"Glad I could help. Now, it's been wonderful to see you once more, but I'm tired now. I'm gonna go and lay down," Judge Lakin replied.
"Sure, sir," Jonathan said as he stood. Martha was returning from the judge's room with the sealed piece of paper. "If we can do anything…to make you comfortable…"
"Thank you Jonathan and my dearest Martha."
Then the Kents left.
Perry had thought of running a series in the Daily Planet about Luthor being behind the demise of Superman and the retention of one of his star reporters, Clark Kent, in Tokyo, but decided against that idea. He didn't want Luthor to know that anyone was on to him.
"Mr. Luthor, Sir, my sources in Tokyo tells me that Ms. Lane landed there Friday night and has been with Kent since. The wedding is in four hours, sir. What's the next step?" Nigel expressed to Lex.
"No one…I mean no one…makes a fool of Lex Luthor! I'll just call a press conference, call off the wedding, publicly, and state that I discovered some inconsistencies concerning Ms. Lane and that it would not be fruitful to my professional life to be associated with her," Lex snarled. "Then have your contact…have him…kill that hussy and her lover Kent. Wait, on second thought, spare Kent. It would be much more fun to see him mourn since he loves her so much. Oh and be sure that Kent witnesses the whole thing. We can do away with your contact later."
"Done, sir," Nigel responded.
"Hello…yes…he's here…just a moment…Mr. Luthor, a Judge Lakin for you. Says he's calling from Smallville, Kansas."
"Yes…Lex Luthor here…"
"Mr. Luthor, the Kents came by and I did as you instructed. Clark Kent is NOT Superman. But I know who…uh…"
"Lakin…don't you do this…who?" Lex demanded. But the judge had had his last bout with his heart on the other end of the phone line.
Saturday morning arrived in Tokyo. Lois opened her eyes. That had been the best night's sleep since…since…well since the last time she slept with Clark. But wait…her warm pillow was missing and there was light shining through the curtains.
"Good morning, sunshine," Clark whispered as he emerged from the bathroom door behind Lois' side of the bed.
Lois quickly turned around and looked up at Clark. "Good…whoa, you clean up pretty well in the morning," Lois said as she noted Clark's clean-shaven face and the absence of worry lines from his face.
"You don't have to clean up. You are beautiful just the way you are," Clark whispered as he leaned down to kiss Lois on the cheek. "Hungry? I'm starved."
"Yeah. What's for breakfast?
"Pancakes, bacon, blueberry syrup, coffee and juice."
"IHOP? Here in Tokyo?"
"No…Clarkhop," Clark responded laughing. "Maybe after breakfast, we can go see if we can find Ms. Sanders," Clark said, but noticed a worried look on Lois' face. "Lois…what is it…you change your mind?" Clark asked with disappointment in his voice.
"Lois, please, just say it. I can…"
"No, Clark, I didn't change my mind. If there is anyone I want as a part of the rest of my life, it's you. I just keep wondering if you will last for…forever…40, 50 years…without intimacy. I mean you are so handsome and women will be offering…you know…left and right. I just don't want to get hurt."
"I only want you, Lois and for you I can wait. I wonder how you'll survive for 40, 50 years…without. There are just as many handsome guys as beautiful women. I just know that all I want is you," Clark responded as he looked into Lois' eyes. "I love you, Lois."
"I'm going to…um…get showered and dressed and we can go and find Ms. Sanders," Lois responded nervously.
"I'll get it Lois. You get dressed."
"Hello…Hi Perry…yeah…my parents did get the birth certificate…great…Ms. Cox works for Luthor…you got the hard copies before she destroyed them, too…there's enough to charge Luthor…for how long…you're kidding…that's the rest of his natural life…within a couple of weeks…thanks Perry…Oh, by the way, Lois and I are getting married…probably Sunday…it's a long story…tell you about it later…yeah, Perry, you know how much I love her. Thanks…I'll tell her…bye."
Clark didn't see Lois standing behind him. When he turned to call her name, what he saw took his breath away.
"Lois, honey, don't cry. Did I do something or say something wrong? I'm sorry…that was Perry…he…" Clark started nervously.
"Oh, Clark, I feel so stupid. Everyone knows that you've been in love with me except me," Lois said with tears shimmering. She just stood there with a white terry cloth robe tied around her. She was about to get in the shower when she started to listen to what Clark was saying on the phone.
"Lois, honey, it's okay. We're here, now. That's all that matters to me. It doesn't matter how we got here," Clark assured Lois as he pulled her into his embrace. "I'm going to always be here for you, no matter what," Clark said earnestly. Tilting Lois' chin up to look in her eyes, Clark continued, "Perry said to tell you congratulations…both of us, on the marriage."
Lois just threw her arms around Clark and hugged him tight. He held her there for a moment.
"Go and get dressed. We have a lot to do today."
"Okay," Lois whispered.
Meanwhile Clark called his parents to relay the change of events. They were ecstatic to hear that their boy was finally going to be happy, going to spend the rest of his life with the woman of his dreams. They congratulated him and filled him in on the events of their visit with the judge and his subsequent death. Clark told them that Perry had already filled him in on most of it and that he should be on the way back to the US within two weeks. They hung up as Lois exited the bathroom dressed.
After breakfast, Lois and Clark started by looking up all of the 'Sanders' in Tokyo. Shouldn't be too many.
They found seven. They started calling the numbers and on the fourth one, they got a hit. Even though it was Saturday morning, Ms. Sanders was glad to hear from the couple. She gave them the process to go through to get married. She even had a friend who would perform the ceremony for them. She sounded excited, as if they were her own kids. She even told Clark that she knew that he and Lois were meant to be together. Clark assured her that he would invite her to the wedding on Sunday.
Clark and Lois set out separately to run errands for the upcoming nuptials. Lois took a taxi and Clark took the car since she didn't feel good about driving around Tokyo. Lois first went to buy herself a dress, semi formal, white, fitted at the top and wide at the bottom. The back carried a large white bow. It was simple, yet elegant. She bought some pearls for her neck and ears and some white lace pumps. Lois also bought Clark's ring. Funny they hadn't discussed what the other one wanted, but somehow, she knew that Clark had wanted white gold, a plain white gold band.
Clark had had his mother wire him money that morning when he spoke with them. He rented a black suit and a white shirt to wear with it. He also bought Lois' ring. It was a single one-karat solitaire, white gold and a plain white gold band. It looked like Lois. Clark wanted to buy her more, a bigger diamond, but couldn't afford to do it right then. Maybe he would replace it in later years if he were lucky, if Lois didn't like it.
"Mr. Luthor, my source in Tokyo tells me that Ms. Lane went shopping for a wedding dress and a wedding ring and Kent rented a suit and also brought wedding rings. I think…congratulations…might be in order, Sir," Nigel related. "Do we do it now or wait until the wedding? After all, it would just make me…shall I say…excited…to upturn her marriage to Kent."
"Now, Nigel…I feel your…ambition. I say we wait until the wedding, too," snarled Luthor. "Now, hurry along, Nigel. We have a press conference to attend."
Perry White stood watching TV in the newsroom, when an important announcement broke the usually scheduled news. Then he saw Lex Luthor's face up close. He was apparently holding a…press conference?
"Ladies, gentlemen, friends and associates of Metropolis, I regret to inform you that the marriage of Miss Lois Lane and myself has been called off. I want to preserve Miss Lane's reputation so I will not go into details regarding the reasons why. I will say that Luthor Corps and associates could not chance the negative press that Miss Lane's indiscretions would attract. I thought it then in my best interest to terminate relations with her…" Lex lied.
"What in the Sam Hill…?" Perry yelled. "That liar!"
Lois had returned to the hotel room and Clark slipped in not 15 minutes after her. His face just lit up when he saw Lois standing there in the mirror fiddling with her hairstyle.
"Lois," Clark whispered behind her.
"Hi." Lois replied smiling. "What's up? Done with your errands?"
"Yeah. Lois, I have something for you," Clark said as he reached in his jacket pocket.
When he withdrew his hand, out came a maroon velvet box. All Lois could do was cover her mouth with her hand as her nose turned red and her eyes started to water.
"Oh, Clark, you didn't have to…oh my God…" Lois started, hoarsely.
"I wanted to, Lois. Every bride should have an engagement ring. If you don't like it…"
"Oh, Clark…I love it…but it must have cost you a small fortune…"
"And you're worth every penny. I've been saving for this day…and it's finally here…"
Clark reached out for her hands and gently led her over to the sofa. He nudged her to sit down and he kneeled in front of her.
"Lois, I have been in love with you for so long and I can't imagine my life without you. Will you marry me?" Clark asked almost in a whisper as he held Lois' solitaire out of the box.
Lois held out her left hand, and with tears and…love…showing in her eyes, she replied a simple, "Yes."
Clark placed the ring on her finger and gently kissed it after it was placed. Then he stood and gathered Lois in his arms and whispered, "I'll never hurt you or make you cry, intentionally and I'll never leave you." He just wanted her to understand the seriousness of his emotions.
"Clark…" Lois sniffled out, "…somehow, I know that…I know."
Just then the phone rang and jerked the couple from their intimate moment.
"I'll get it," Clark said.
"Hello…yeah Perry…he did what? That evil jerk…no, we just got back in…sure…what are they waiting for to arrest him…thanks, Perry."
"Lois, that was Perry. Apparently Luthor held a press conference to tell all of Metropolis that he called off the wedding because of your indiscretions…he knows something's up…"
"I know, let's just let it go because the police are on the way to pick him up for a 'truck load' of crimes; felonies, that they are able to pin to him, according to Perry. So Metropolis will see who really has the indiscretions," Clark assured Lois.
"Lets see if we can pick it up here…"
"Lois, no. Let's not let him ruin our…things for us," Clark responded redirecting Lois back to the issues at hand. "We have a wedding to get together."
"Yeah, Clark, you're right."
By nightfall in Metropolis, Lex Luthor was behind bars and so was Ms. Cox, mostly for accessory. But Nigel St. John was still on the loose and being hunted. Lois and Clark did eventually turn on the news and the story was being aired in Tokyo. Luthor was big news.
Lois and Clark had dinner in after the news and just sat and talked like they used to, before things started getting complicated. Before long it was nine- thirty and Lois was starting to doze off. She had expressed her exhaustion earlier, from running around today. When Lois finally just gave in and was fully asleep, Clark picked her up from the sofa, took her to the bed and laid her down. He started to pull up the covers but decided that Lois was still fully dressed with shoes on and wouldn't be comfortable.
Clark started having an internal struggle about undressing Lois versus just taking off her shoes. The one thing that he didn't want was for Lois to wake up and think that he had violated her trust and taken advantage of her. The latter finally won the tug of war and he just removed Lois' shoes. He then pulled the covers up around her shoulders and whispered, "Sleep well, honey," as he turned to exit the room.
Clark couldn't sleep just yet. He couldn't seem to get the idea of getting married tomorrow off of his mind.
Sunday Morning arrived. Lois had slept…well…rather peacefully. Then it dawned on her. Today would be her wedding day, the day she married her best friend. She stretched and sat up on the side of the bed. She had so much to be grateful for; marrying her best friend (because in spite of her shortcomings, he still loved her unconditionally), Luthor was behind bars and most of all she was grateful for finding out how evil Lex Luthor was before marrying him. Lois then looked at the clock. My, it was late…nine-forty-five…and she had slept in her clothes? Then she distinctly remembered falling asleep on the couch next to Clark. Leave it to Clark to carry her to bed and leave her dressed…such a boy scout. But she had to start getting ready. Their wedding would be at eleven thirty.
Lois stood and walked to the living area to see if Clark was up and about. When she got to the doorway, the blankets and pillow were gone and Clark was nowhere in view.
Panicked, Lois started calling," Clark…Clark…" but no answer came. She walked through the living area and kitchen continuing to call Clark, but no answer came. She turned to go back to the bedroom, thinking maybe he was in the bathroom. As Lois entered the bedroom door she noticed a piece of paper stuck in the corner of the dresser mirror. When she looked closer, it was a note from Clark…
I wanted everything to be perfect so I left before you awakened. I'm in a room right down the hall. Didn't want to see the bride before the wedding. Bad luck you know. But, a nuclear disaster couldn't keep me from you at 11:30.
I Love You,
Lois released a breath that she hadn't realized she was holding, held the note to her chest and just smiled. Yes, she was doing the right thing.
Clark wondered if Lois had gotten the note. He was already up and showered. He couldn't wait for Lois to become his wife. He loved her so much. Secretly he prayed that she had some feelings for him beyond friendship and that they would eventually share passion between them. But right now he'd settle for whatever he could get from Lois as long as he could keep her in his life. His parents had called earlier to wish him happiness…and Martha had wished them lots of babies. He could hear the laughter in her voice, and Jonathan seemed to be in on the joke, too. Clark had trouble figuring that one out, especially since the Kents knew the terms of his and Lois' marriage.
At eleven-ten a limousine arrived to pick up Lois and take her to the designated place that Clark had chosen. She had no idea where it was. He'd just told her that it was beautiful. Lois took one final look in the mirror and gave an internal okay. Her gown fit perfectly around her curves. She wore her hair up in a French roll with decorative pearls. Her short white veil covered down to her chin. She wore pearls around her neck and hanging from her ears. She carried one lilac lily in her hands and proceeded to the limo. Clark was driving the rental.
By eleven-twenty Clark was standing at the garden where the wedding was to take place. It was outdoors with lots of Japanese wildflowers surrounding. There was a waterfall and a red brick floored area where they would stand, gazeboed with flowering trees. It was absolutely beautiful. It was 80 degrees and the sun was shining high.
Clark looked around. The minister was there and Ms. Sanders and her husband were there. There were curious onlookers standing by. He was getting nervous because Lois hadn't arrived yet. Ms. Sanders noticed Clark's nervousness and sent her husband up to comfort him.
"Hi, Clark…Ian Sanders…so nice to finally meet you," Mr. Sanders said, reaching out to shake Clark's hand.
"Clark Kent. Pleasure to meet you, too," he said, shaking Mr. Sanders' hand.
"You know, Christine has been talking about you two since you initially came into the embassy reporting your passport incident. She said that that girl had love written all over her face for you, but was too stubborn to admit it. She said that you two would end up together, but was just surprised that it was this soon," continued Mr. Sanders. "Don't worry, son…she'll be here come hell or high water if she's anything like Christine says."
"Thank you, sir." I'm just praying that she didn't…"
"Look behind you, son. Christine was right about the other thing she said, too."
"What was that, sir?"
"She is beautiful…congratulations, Clark."
"Yes, she is…and thank you for getting me through these last few minutes, sir," Clark finished, shaking Mr. Sanders' hand again.
"Welcome," Mr. Sanders replied as he turned to go and sit back next to his wife.
Lois exited the limousine and proceeded through the garden in the direction that the limo driver pointed her. The garden was more beautiful than Clark had told her. Things were so simple yet endearing. How did Clark do it…make her feel like a queen with the simple things in life, yet she felt like a cheap puppy with the third richest man in the world? Then she stopped walking as she saw Clark come into view. He was so handsome standing there and he had that look in his eyes that he only had for her. <God what am I going to do. He's not going to be able to maintain a platonic marriage. I know he's going to expect…Lois stop it…it's your wedding day…moment. If Clark promised you that, he wouldn't push you, he won't. > Then almost as if Clark had read Lois' thoughts, THAT LOOK disappeared and was replaced with the look of an adoring friend. Then Lois relaxed.
The music started and Lois slowly walked down the stone pathway to stand next to Clark and before the minister. When she reached Clark, he reached out his hand to her and she took it. They turned to face each other. Clark bent slightly and whispered in Lois' ear, "You're so beautiful that you just take my breath away."
"Oh, Clark…" Lois responded as her eyes started to glaze over.
The minister looked at them and smiled. When he was sure that they were finished exchanging endearments, he proceeded with the ceremony.
Finally, Lois and Clark's vows were exchanged and they had placed their rings on each other's fingers.
"You may kiss your bride," the minister finished.
Clark saw the look of uncertainty pass Lois' face. They hadn't discussed this. He quickly decided that he would just place a kiss on her forehead.
Lois was panicking inside. What should she do? They hadn't discussed the kiss. But quickly she decided that this was their wedding day and she would not ruin that for Clark.
Their eyes met. He silently asked if a kiss was in order, trying to read Lois' eyes. What he saw in Lois' eyes, he hadn't expected to see; love. That was his answer. He placed his right hand on Lois' left cheek and softly brushed away a tear with his thumb. He then leaned down as she met him halfway but before he touched his lips to hers he whispered in her left ear, "I am so in love with you", and then he turned his lips back in line with hers and claimed them. When their lips touched, Clark felt a bolt of desire go through him. He kissed Lois with such gentle passion. The most wonderful part of the kiss was the fact that Lois was returning it with…passion? It was the most endearing kiss Lois had ever experienced.
The couple finally ended their kiss, and when Lois and Clark turned to face the few guests they faced a round of applause. They looked at each other and smiled as the minister introduced the new couple.
"I present to you Mr. and Mrs. Clark Kent."
Lois and Clark proceeded to greet the few guests especially Mr. and Ms. Sanders, who had helped them more than they would ever know. Ms. Sanders had whispered to her husband, "I know that Lois thinks she just married Clark to help him get back home faster, but she is in love with him. He's not going to let her go that easily."
"As always Christine, I agree. You're so right," Mr. Sanders responded.
"Clark, you stay here for a second? I want to go put my lily in the car. Be right back, okay," Lois said.
"Okay," Clark replied as he turned to finish his conversation with the Mr. and Ms. Sanders.
What seemed like just a few seconds later, Clark was distracted from his conversation by screeching of tires. He looked around and did not see Lois coming back. Other people seemed to hear the screeching, too. Clark slowly jogged towards the parking lot calling, "Lois…Lois…" His calling was interrupted by the sound of a screeching halt and something flying onto maybe the hood of a car. Clark had gotten close enough to the parking lot that he could see a big white Suburban speeding away. Then he slowly looked away from the speeding truck to the ground and almost went limp. Lois had been hit by the speeding Suburban.
Clark sprinted to Lois and got down on the ground by her side.
"Lois…Lois, sweetheart…wake up! Somebody call an ambulance!" Clark yelled frantically.
Mr. and Ms. Sanders had come to Clark's side by then. Just as Mr. Sanders laid his hand on Clark's shoulder, there was another loud boom and in the distance Mr. Sanders reported that the Suburban still going much too fast, lost control and hit several parked cars and an electrical post.
Clark seemed to be oblivious to anything but Lois as he held her bloody hand while she laid there fighting for her life. The police and the paramedics were on the scene in just a few minutes.
Lois had blood everywhere. The pearls from her hair were rolling in the streets and her wedding gown was torn. She was missing one shoe and her stockings had runs in both legs. She was not responsive. She had a pulse and very irregular and shallow breathing. Clark couldn't tell where her injuries were. All he could do while the paramedics worked on her was to hold her hand and tell her how much he loved her as he fought to contain his emotions. He had finally won more than partnership with Lois and it was all but taken back by the evil doings of fate and probably Lex Luthor.
Right before the ambulance pulled off with Lois and Clark at her side, it was said by one of the other policemen that an Englishman, identified as Nigel St. John, drove the Suburban and that he was dead on impact. A sourness rose up into Clark's chest as he thought, <Luthor, you bastard! >.
Once the ambulance arrived at the hospital, the paramedics ran the gurney into the ER with Lois on it. Clark ran to keep up but the ER nurse stopped him at the door of the exam room.
In his most flawless Japanese tongue, "Please, I want to be with her", Clark insisted to the nurse. "She's my wife."
In Japanese, the nurse empathetically responded, "Sir, I need some information from you. Then you can be with her. But the doctors need time and space to do their jobs."
"Okay…" Clark resigned.
"What's the patient's name?"
"My name is Clark Kent. She's my wife, Lois Lane Kent. We just got married…today. This happened right after our wedding."
Clark put his face in his hands and proceeded to tell the nurse what she needed to know and what happened. When he was done with the nurse, he went to call his parents and Perry to tell them the unfolding of events. Perry assured him that he would try to contact Lois' parents and offered up resources if needed. Clark also told Perry who was driving the Suburban. Perry assured Clark that he would relay the series of events to the Metropolis PD, Henderson; and to try and link this to Lex Luthor to add this to his list of charges. There was no doubt that Luthor was behind this attempted assassination. Clark cut his conversation with Perry short when two doctors approached him.
"Mr. Kent, I'm Dr. Madayoshi and this is Dr. Hito. We have been working on your wife. She's got lots of injuries and her condition is critical; however, we think she's going to be okay. She's on a ventilator, to breathe for her. We were afraid that she would quit breathing. She has a small subdural hematoma and still has not awakened, but once we evacuate that by way of a craniotomy, she has an excellent chance of recovering. She has a broken right femur and an open left tib/fib fracture. She's got three broken ribs and what looks like a small bowel laceration. We'll need your consent to fix her, starting with the subdural hematoma. We have a neurosurgeon on call to take care of that, an orthopaedist for her leg. He'll take her to the OR and fix that with rods and pins. We can place and an external fixator on the femur but the tibia and fibula have to be fixed now because they are open fractures. Dr. Hito and I will fix her small bowel. She's got some cuts in her face around her hairline that we'll stitch up. But, over all, she's a lucky girl. It was reported that she attempted to jump out of the way but the SUV was just going too fast. Had it hit her dead centre…well…I don't know. That would have surely killed her."
"Can I see her", Clark finally breathed out, with some relief. His eyes had glazed over while listening to the dissertation of Lois' injuries. "I'll sign wherever you need."
"Sure, briefly. We have to get her to surgery. She looks a lot worse than she is, so don't be frightened," Dr. Hito said as he patted Clark on the shoulder. "Right this way Mr. Kent."
Clark saw Lois and his insides began to tighten up with anger, fright, rage and a few other emotions. He went and sat in a chair next to her stretcher and very delicately picked up her hand and kissed it. Then he started to talk to her as if she were awake and listening.
"Lois, honey, you're going to be okay. You just have to wake up. I talked to my parents and Perry. Perry is trying to reach your parents. One of Luthor's henchmen…remember Nigel St. John? Well he did this to you. The Tokyo police are working with the Metropolis police department, mainly Henderson, to stick this to Luthor and to add it to his list of charges. Nigel St. John is dead so they can't do anything to him".
Clark just stroked the back of her hand with his thumb. As he held Lois' hand and stroked it, he felt a need to tell her again what he was feeling.
"Lois, I love you more than anything else in this world. You have to wake up, come out of this. I don't know what I'd do without you. You were so beautiful today…your gown, your hair. And then we kissed and it was so… magical," Clark said in a hoarse whisper. "I knew in that moment that I would love you no matter what. I knew in that particular moment, when we shared that kiss that I wanted to have lots of babies with you, grow old and grey with you. I knew that I never wanted to let you go. And I knew that you felt something, too. Honey, I…"
"Mr. Kent, we're sorry. We have to get Mrs. Kent to surgery," the OR nurse said as she came with the anaesthesiologist to get Lois.
Clark stood up, still holding Lois' hand, but reluctantly let it go after a kiss on her knuckles. "I love you, Lois. Please, come back to me."
The nurse slid Lois' rings off of her finger and handed them to Clark. Clark then got a look of fear on his face.
"For safe keeping Mr. Kent," The OR nurse assured Clark as she and the anaesthesiologist started towards the OR with Lois.
Clark stood and watched the OR nurse and the anaesthesiologist roll away with Lois. It took all he had to not break down until they were out of sight. Once the doors closed behind them, Clark went to the waiting room, sat down in a chair and just sobbed. He couldn't understand why he was able to finally be happy with the woman of his dreams, and have it all be halted, just like that.
Clark had been sitting in that same chair for…a while. It was now 3:40 pm. Clark held Lois' tiny wedding rings in his big hands and just looked at them as if her were examining them. As soon as he saw her again, he would place them back on her finger. He just wanted everyone to know that Lois was his wife and he wanted so badly to be married in every way.
Lois had been in surgery since about 1:25. The nurse had informed Clark that they were looking at about six to eight hours of surgery. They would call out periodically to update Clark on Lois' surgical progress.
A while later Clark got up to walk and saw Mr. and Ms. Sanders coming down the hall. He walked toward them. They were the closest thing to family or friends that he and Lois had here in Tokyo. Clark was so grateful that they came by to check on Lois.
"Clark…how is she? Is she going to be okay?"
"I'm praying. She has lots of injuries, Mr. Sanders. They're talking about six to eight hours of surgery. She's been in about two hours so far," Clark forced out. "Thank you for coming, Mr. Sand…" Clark started as his voice started to crack again.
"Clark, is there anything Christine and I can do? Just say it," Mr. Sanders pleaded. Oh, and here…here are your car keys. You left them on the ground…next to where you…well…" fumbled Mr. Sanders. "Christine and I drove the car over so that you could go home if you needed to, for changing clothes or a shower or whatever. I know you won't be leaving soon, though."
"Thank you. I just want to be here when she gets out of surgery."
"I know, son, I know," Mr. Sanders replied.
"Just pray," Clark responded solemnly.
"Christine and I have been doing just that."
Mr. and Ms. Sanders sat for another hour or so with Clark, until the next update came. The subdural hematoma had been evacuated and now the general surgeons were going to fix Lois' perforated bowel. The orthopaedists would go last. Mr. and Mrs. Sanders left after that update and assured Clark that they would check back. Again Clark was alone.
Clark must have fallen asleep because he was awakened by someone shaking his shoulder as he was slumped down forward in the chair.
"Dr. Hito! Is Lois okay…what's wrong?"
"Mr. Kent, everything is fine. Mrs. Kent is stable but still guarded. She went through surgery well. She's in recovery right now. She still is not awake but you may see her. She still has the breathing tube. We didn't try to take that out because we want her to rest and regain her strength. She still has some sedation. We have her on a drug called Mannitol to keep the brain swelling minimized. She's also on a steroid called dexamethasone to keep down inflammation. We started her on antibiotic prophylaxis. And of course she has pain medication ordered to keep her comfortable. She doesn't seem to have suffered any permanent damage, physically. The small area of hair that we shaved off of her head will grow back in no time. We'll eventually send her up to the Neuro Intensive Care Unit after her recovery period. We just like to recover critical patients for at least an hour before we haul them up to the units. We are pretty hopeful that she will wake up soon," Dr. Hito concluded.
Clark thanked Dr. Hito and his colleagues, shook their hands and then proceeded to the recovery room to be with Lois.
Lois was the only patient in the recovery room when Clark got to the door. The nurse looked up, saw Clark and beckoned for him to come over. Clark came over and pulled up the chair next to Lois' bed. The nurse continued what she was doing with Lois' IV's.
Clark gently took Lois' hand and held it. His eyes started to glaze over with unshed tears as he began to talk to Lois as if she was awake.
"Lois, honey, you came through surgery fighting in that Lois Lane fashion." Clark had to smile to himself at that image. "The doctors say that you're going to be fine. We have a lot of living to do, so hurry and get better. I love you more than you'll ever know. In sickness and in health…I will be with you through this…you don't even need to wonder about that."
Emotions overtook Clark and he put his face down in Lois' covers, continuing to hold her hand. He silently prayed for a sign that Lois was going to be okay. Almost simultaneously Clark felt Lois squeeze his hand. He looked up in her face. Though her eyes were still closed, they were moving. Then he noted a tear fall from Lois' closed eyes. Clark then stood, leaned over and kissed Lois on the lips. Her hand tightened around his as if to ask him not to leave.
"Oh, God…thank you…for my prayer…for answering my prayer," Clark choked out. "Honey, don't worry…I'm not going anywhere…I'm not going to leave you."
Suddenly that little pesky detail of getting back to the US wasn't so important.
Lois stayed in the recovery room for about three hours and Clark stayed there with her. He continued to talk to her. He told her stories about his midwestern small town upbringing. Lois seemed to relax more as Clark talked to her and softly stroked her hand as he held it. Clark also told Lois that the nurse had given him her wedding rings and that he would cherish them until some of her swelling went down. Then he would place them back where they belong; on her finger.
Though Lois stayed asleep the whole time that she was in the recovery room, somehow, Clark knew that she heard him and was aware of his presence.
Finally Lois was transported up to the Neuro Intensive Care Unit. While the nurses transported Lois, Clark took the time to call his parents and Perry to update them on Lois' progress. Perry was still trying to reach Sam and Ellen Lane. Apparently in their attempt to reconcile, they went on an African Safari trip together. The Kents wanted to fly over, but Clark convinced them to stay in Smallville. He knew that it would be stretching their budget for the two of them to fly from Smallville, and besides he needed them to stay put for any unexpected unfolding regarding his passport situation.
After Clark got off of the phone, he left the hospital to go home and get changed. He would be right back to be at Lois' bedside.
When Clark returned, Lois was in her NICU bed. He went and took a seat beside her bed and at first just held her hand. Clark spent a lot of his time willing Lois to wake up and get on one of her babbling crusades. God how he missed that.
At about 10:30 the nurse came into Lois' cubicle to do an assessment. Dr. Hito came in with her. When Dr. Hito realized that Clark was still there he turned and shook his hand again.
"Mr. Kent, I didn't realize you were still here. It looks like Mrs. Kent is doing remarkably well. Her vitals are normal and so are her labs. Maybe in the morning we can plan on taking out this breathing tube. If she does well after taking out the tube, by Tuesday morning we can move her out of the unit and to the floor," Dr. Hito explained. "But Mr. Kent you need to go home and get some rest. We'll call you if needed but I don't think that'll be necessary. Mrs. Kent needs you well and rested. I understand that you haven't' left her side today except for a few minutes to go home and change clothes. Did you even eat?" Dr. Hito continued.
"Dr. Hito, I just want to be here for her. We just got married. I love her so much," Clark spoke just above a whisper.
"I understand, but what good will you be to her if you're not taking care of yourself? You're not Superman you know," Dr. Hito retaliated. "Mr. Kent…"
Clark cringed at that last comment from Dr. Hito…'You're not Superman you know.'
"Clark…please…please call me Clark."
"Okay, Clark, go home and we'll see you in the morning. We have your number right here," Dr. Hito ordered.
Reluctantly, Clark obeyed. Truthfully, he was exhausted and could use some sleep. He just dreaded sleeping alone. That was something that he and Lois hadn't discussed…sleeping arrangements. Would she have shared a bed with him since they were married? Just for sleep? Though it would have been torture to lay next to her every night and not be able to touch her like a husband touches his wife, it would be nice to be able to hold her and let her feel how much he loved her.
Monday morning, the phone awakened Clark. He was a little nervous about answering because his first thought was that the hospital was calling. Bracing himself, Clark finally answered the phone after the fourth ring.
"Mr. Kent…Clark…this is Christine Sanders. I'm just calling to check on Lois. Is she okay?"
"Yes, she's recovering. Thanks for asking. I'm going to get dressed now and go back over to the hospital. I didn't leave until late last night."
"Well, I won't hold you. One more thing…I got word that your paperwork is almost done and someone from Immigration and Naturalization has to sign it. Once that's done you get your passport and you can go back home. Probably 7 to 10 days. I know you want to be here with Lois, so whenever she is well enough to travel, you're home free."
"Thank you, so much. You don't realize how helpful you've been, mostly outside of the passport situation. I'll never forget you and Mr. Sanders. Goodbye."
"Bye, now, Clark."
Clark turned over and looked at the clock. It was 10:00! <I must have really been tired to sleep this long. I've got to get up and get to Lois. Nobody has called, so that's a good thing. Oh, God! Let me hurry! > Clark thought.
By 10:30 Clark was en route to the hospital to be with Lois. He arrived just fifteen minutes later.
Clark got to the NICU, passed an empty nurses' station, and headed for the cubicle where Lois had been the night before. When he got to where Lois had been, the housekeeping lady was making the bed and Lois was gone. Clark panicked. He saw a nurse coming from one of the other cubicles and immediately started to ask questions that he wasn't sure he wanted to hear the answers to.
"Ma'am, my wife Lois Kent…she was here last night…I left her here…where…"
"It's okay Mr. Kent. Mrs. Kent is on the floor now in her own room. We extubated her shortly after you left last night. She was fighting the vent and her gases were good, so we took out the tube. I don't know…it seems that after that she just got progressively better. She did so well during the night that we went ahead and moved her to the floor this morning, per Dr. Hito's orders. Mrs. Kent didn't want us to call you. She wanted to surprise you. She said that she thought you needed to rest anyway," The nurse continued.
A slow and grateful smile came over Clark. God, he loved her so much.
The nurse pointed Clark in Lois' direction and he proceeded to her room. When he got to Lois' door, he stopped and got his giddy self together. Then, slowly he opened the door. Lois was sitting up slightly on pillows, dozing peacefully. Clark slowly approached her bedside and, for a few minutes, just stood there and looked at Lois. Then he slowly leaned over and placed a gentle, loving kiss on her lips. At the touch of Clark's lips to hers, Lois opened her eyes.
"Hey," Lois said hoarsely. An unsure smile graced Lois' face. "I guess I ruined your day, huh?"
"Lois, honey, noooo. I'm so happy right now, happy and grateful that you're alive and looking as beautiful as ever and that you're my wife. I was just so lost…yesterday…when…" Clark started to choke, as he gently cupped Lois' face with his hand. Lois noticed his eyes starting to glaze over.
"Clark, I'm okay, just having a little pain, but I'm fine. What about you? You okay?"
"Yea, now I am. I am so proud of you."
"Oh, Clark, what happened. Was it Nigel or was I just dreaming?" Lois asked as tears started to run down her cheek.
"It was Nigel. He's dead now. Luthor had a hit out on you, we suspect…" Clark noticed that Lois was starting to cry, so he put his arm around her and just held her. "Honey, it's okay…shhh. Let's talk about that later, okay. Let's just concentrate on getting you well."
By the end of the day, Lois was tired and needing pain medicines. Dr. Hito had come by and said that they would cast her femur where the external fixator was on Tuesday morning and hopefully Lois could be discharged from the hospital by the weekend. It was the best news that Clark had heard all day.
Clark decided to go back to the hotel for a while, but assured Lois that he would be back later that night. She'd asked him to bring her back some good Japanese food. Clark promised her that he would.
Clark kissed Lois' cheek and left.
Tuesday, in Metropolis, Lex Luthor had been arrested and his bond hearing would be this morning. Perry was at the courthouse to represent the Daily Planet, since his two best reporters were…not available. And besides, this was personal now. He wanted to see for himself that Lex Luthor was put away for what he had done to Lois and Clark.
"Case number 00666, The City of Metropolis versus Lex Luthor. The charges are extortion, murder, conspiracy to murder, accessory to murder, blackmail, multiple counts of each charge, plus more charges too numerous to mention. Mr. Robinette, what does the prosecution have to say?" The judge started.
"Your honour, Mr. Luthor is a very rich and powerful man with lots of resources…means of terrorizing people, means of escaping. The people request that bail is denied and any communication with the outside is limited to his attorney. The people believe that Mr. Luthor's empire is massive enough that he could, from behind bars inflict more terror than we could prepare for."
"Your honour, Mr. Robinette is obviously influenced by the media and is therefore being unreasonable. My client is an upstanding citizen, philanthropist, and would never evade the law. And furthermore, Mr. Luthor is innocent of these accusations…" Mr. Bender started.
"Mr. Bender this is not a trial, just a bond hearing, so get on with it," her honour urged.
"Yes, ma' am. I am requesting that my client be released on his own recognizance," continued Bender.
"Bail is set at one hundred million dollars and Mr. Luthor has to surrender all passports. Trial is set for two weeks from now," Her honour finished with the doink-doink of her gavel. "Next case…number 00667…"
"It's okay Lex. I know that seems like a lot but that means ten million will get you out until your trial…"
"Bender, I don't give a damn. The money is not the issue. I have billions. Your sorry
was supposed to get me out of this…" Lex grated out in anger.
"Lex…Lex…please…I will. I need to get your passports, before you can go. Please…or they'll lock you up and destroy all credibility," Bender pleaded, as if he'd been intimidated by Lex's retort.
"They're in my office. But understand…I want them back after this is all done…" Lex snarled at Bender with his nose almost touching his. Bender could feel the spit droplets as Lex laid down his demands.
"Loud and clear," Bender replied.
Perry White sat watching and listening to this circus. He could not believe that Bender had the cojones to make such a request. And he couldn't believe that the judge had set such a high bail. But then again this was pennies to Luthor. Luthor was going to be free until his trial and that was too much time.
Lex Luthor and Sheldon Bender walked towards the exit of the courtroom. As they passed where Perry was sitting, Luthor gave a malicious grin and whispered to Perry, "Lex Luthor will not live in a cage!"
Perry watched Luthor and Bender exit and he exited the courtroom shortly after. He would write this story and follow the trial until Lois and Clark returned. This one was too personal to pass off to anyone else.
Perry was headed to the Daily Planet. He would call Clark and fill him in on what just happened. Perry thought to himself, <It's 10:30 here so it's half past midnight in Tokyo. Maybe Kent is still up. >
Lex had the bail money wired to the courthouse and then separated from his lawyer to his waiting limousine. His passports had been delivered to his lawyer by a courier. Lex realized that he had a lot of work to do in a short time. Nigel was dead and Ms. Cox was in jail. His next best choice for plan C was to locate Nigel's contact in Tokyo. Lex pulled out his cell phone and dialed an international number.
"Tanaka…plan C," Lex instructed when he heard the hello on the answering end of the phone.
"Affirmative." Then there was a dial tone.
Lex instructed his driver to head to the Metropolis International Airport. He made another call to his pilot, to have his Gulfstream roaring when he arrived in a few minutes. The destination would be given once they were airbourne. The justice system was so…blind. Any smart businessman had more than one set of passports, and right now, the only country that he needed to get into and out of in a hurry was Japan, specifically Tokyo, Lex thought to himself.
Twenty minutes later Lex's Gulfstream was leaving the runway of Metropolis International Airport. Once airbourne, he instructed the pilot, simply…"Tokyo."
The pilot responded, "Yes sir, Mr. Luthor. We'll have to stop in Mexico City and then Majuro, Marshall Islands for fuel."
"Then do it!" Luthor was losing his cool.
Back at the Planet, Perry couldn't get to the phone fast enough.
"Hello…Kent? Perry White, listen sorry to wake you. I know it's late there, but Luthor is out on bail until his trial. He had a bail of one hundred million dollars, which the bond was posted, wired to the courthouse in a matter of minutes. They revoked his passports but something's not right. I'm still not comfortable with this. I don't know if he'll try anything else or not…He may try to get there, just watch your back…You're welcome son…how's Lois…good, good. She's a fighter. Listen, Kent, when you two get back to Metropolis, I want you to take a vacation…a honeymoon, because God knows you deserve it…now Kent I know what you said about your getting married, but trust me, she'll want a honeymoon…Kent, that gal loves you. She's just the only one who doesn't see it yet…okay, give her my love…goodnight."
Lois would have her femur permanently rodded and cast in the morning at 7:00. Between that and Perry's phone call, Clark couldn't get back to sleep. When Clark hung up from Perry it was 1:05 am Clark was pretty sure that Luthor was up to something. But, he knew he had to get some rest to be there for Lois in the morning. She was recovering so well. They had had such a good time earlier, after he had come back to her with Japanese takeout. Lois was so animated when she was hungry, and there was good food nearby. But then she could not have anything to eat or drink after midnight to prepare for her early AM surgery.
Clark arrived back at the hospital at 6:00 am. He related to Lois what Perry had told him the night before. He assured Lois that she was safe and that Perry would keep them informed. Lois still seemed a bit nervous, but Clark related that mostly to her going back to surgery. Clark sat in the chair next to Lois' bed holding her hand until the surgical team would come to get her.
"Lois, honey, you okay?" Clark asked, concerned.
"Yea, I'm okay," Lois replied calmly.
"You know that I love you right?" Clark inquired. "I'll be right here when you come out of surgery. Just come back to me." Clark brought her hand up to his lips and placed a gentle kiss on her palm.
"Clark, if there is one thing that I know, it's that you love me. If ever I had any doubts, they're gone now. You know, I got a look at myself in the mirror this morning and I am a mess. I'm missing a patch of hair," Lois started, pointing to her head where her craniotomy was done. "My face has scrapes all over it and I have little stitches like Frankenstein. I have broken bones, I cannot walk, and I haven't had a decent bath since…" Lois rambled as her voice started to quiver. "How could you love me like this, especially after I hurt you? You deserve so much…"
"Shhh, Lois. It's okay," Clark whispered as he gently held Lois hugged to his chest. He had to use caution when hugging her because she still had broken ribs. "I love you for you. I've been in love with you since I met you. I don't know what I'd do without you. Your hair will grow back, your scratches will heal, and your bones will go back together."
"I know, but…"
"But…just come back to me. We've got a lot of…stories…to write," Clark redirected his sentence from what his original thoughts were. He wanted to tell her that they had a life to start as husband and wife and children to have, among a few things. But he didn't want to spook her. He had a promise to keep.
"Mrs. Kent, it's time to go," a nurse's voice stated in the background. "It's six forty five."
Lois raised her head from Clark's chest. She looked up into Clark's eyes with tears in her eyes. "Thank you," Lois simply stated as she kissed Clark on the cheek.
Clark touched Lois' cheek lightly and simply stated, "I love you, honey." He continued to hold onto her hand, but slowly let it go as the OR nurse and the anaesthesiologist rolled off with her.
Clark followed directions to the OR waiting room so that he could be with Lois in recovery. There he was lost again.
At 8:00, Lex Luthor landed in Tokyo. He had a limousine driver take him to the Tokyo Trauma Centre where plan C was to be launched.
At 9:30, the orthopaedic surgeon came to the waiting room for Clark.
"Yes," Clark responded as he stood.
"Mrs. Kent did well. We pinned her leg back together with plates and screws and put a cast on. We won't have to do any more surgery at this point. The hardware is stainless steel and we just usually leave it in, unless it causes her discomfort. She's resting in recovery and you…"
"Dr. Nakamoto! Mrs. Kent…she arrested…" the nurse yelled frantically.
"I thought you said…I need to see my wife, please!" Clark pleaded.
Out the corner of his eye, Clark noticed a 'physician' run by headed towards the exit wearing scrubs and a whit lab coat, like the rest of the physicians. Dr. Nakamoto ran to recovery and Clark ran after the fleeing doctor. He just had a feeling that he needed to get a hold of the runner.
Almost at the exit, Clark grabbed the fleeing physician by the coat and tackled him to the floor. When bystanders noticed Clark running after the guy, they started to become aware that something was going on.
"Who the hell are you?" Clark yelled at the runner as he held him up by his neck. Clark's powers had not yet shown any sign of returning but love and adrenalin gave him the strength of a hundred horses. "What did you do to my wife?" A young resident standing by noticed the blood drain from the runner's face and started to intervene. "Sir, you have to release him. You're going to kill him…please."
Reality seemed to settle in Clark and he released his grip on the runner. The guy slid from Clark's grip to the floor. Clark got down on his knees in the guy's face, his rage still very evident.
"Who are you?" Clark demanded.
Just then Dr. Nakamoto came down the hall to Clark. Security had arrived at the scene as well as the Tokyo police.
"Mr. Kent, Mrs. Kent is…"
"Who is this guy? What did he do to Lois?"
"Mrs. Kent is okay now. We'll explain what happened in just a minute. Constable, arrest this man. He tried to kill one of my patients," Dr. Nakamoto instructed.
"No…it wasn't my idea. The man outside in the limousine…he…" the runner stated.
"What's your name?" the constable asked.
"Lin Tanaka. Mr. Luthor…"
Just then Clark noticed a black limousine start to pull off from the front entrance of the hospital.
"Luthor…he's leaving. He tried to kill my wife before…"
"Mr. Kent, we'll get him. We just got a call from an Inspector Henderson in Metropolis that he has a trial coming up and to be on the lookout for him. Apparently Henderson had been tailing him, but did not have the resources to stop him at the time. By the time he had warned us to be on the lookout for him, he had already landed and was probably here at the hospital," the Tokyo police assured Clark. "Mr. Kent, just go be with your wife. We've got this under control."
"Pop…pop…pop," sounded outside. Clark, Dr. Nakamoto, the police and hospital security went to the door. The tires of the limousine had been blown out and the police had surrounded the limo just at the hospital's entrance from the street. Then some policemen pulled the driver and then Lex Luthor from the car. The driver was placed in the back of the police car in handcuffs. The door stayed ajar. Luthor was still standing there, with that cheshire cat grin, trying to buy off the police with smooth talk. Clark couldn't resist. His anger and rage made him start toward the scene. He wanted to look Luthor in the eyes and tell him…well, he didn't know what he would say. If only he could get his hands on him. The good thing about Tokyo is that these people weren't on Luthor's payroll so they didn't owe him any favours. As he approached the scene, the police were warning him away.
Luthor took the opportunity when one of the policemen turned to warn Clark away, to go after his gun. The policeman reached to stop Luthor from obtaining control of his gun but was too slow. Lex stood with the policeman's gun aimed at his own head and smiled as he started to talk.
"It's a pity that it has to end this way, but Lex Luthor…WILL NOT…LIVE IN A CAGE!" Luthor yelled as he aimed the gun at the driver and shot him, once in the ear. The driver slumped over in the seat of the police car, immediately lifeless.
The police open fired on Lex Luthor, which was in a sinister way, what he wanted. As the police inside of the hospital made their way out with their prisoner, Lin Tanaka, Lex managed to get off one last shot, to Tanaka's chest. Tanaka fell to the ground, lifeless, like a rag doll. Lex, then, shot by the police multiple times fell chest down to the ground with his face turned to his right side, and smiled as life escaped his body leaving his eyes open. The medical staff ran out to try to save him and Tanaka but it was all done.
Clark stood there open-mouthed for what seemed like a lifetime. He was startled out of his daze by the recovery room nurse coming out and tapping him on the shoulder.
"Mr. Kent, Mrs. Kent is asking for you."
"Okay…" Clark responded softly as he followed the nurse back in to the recovery room.
On the way inside the recovery room nurse related to Clark that Lois had come out of surgery and was doing well until this 'unknown doctor,' now known as Tanaka, approached her bedside. "He stood there, by her bed, for a few minutes talking to her. Lois was awake but drowsy. As he talked to her, he injected her IV with what was later found to be succinylcholine, a paralyzing agent used with anaesthesia and Pentothal, which is a sleep-inducing agent for general anaesthesia. He ran out so quickly that he dropped the syringes on the floor instead of in the needle box. The needle box had just been emptied. If Mrs. Kent had not been with us, monitored…" the nurse dropped off without finishing that thought. Clark could read her inference. "We gave her those drugs for surgery, so they would have been otherwise hard to trace and figure out what happened if we had not been in this setting. The difference when those drugs are used during surgery is that we stick a breathing tube down to breathe for the patient," the nurse related.
"Oh, God, she was suffocating?"
"Well, sort of, except she was asleep and didn't know it. I'm sorry Mr. Kent, that it happened, but, she's okay now," the nurse said sincerely. "Right over there…"
"Thank you." Clark responded to the nurse. "Lois, honey, …" Clark whispered as he held Lois' hand and tears started to fall down his cheeks.
Clark sat at Lois' bedside in the recovery room and held her hand. She was awake but had her eyes closed. She seemed so fragile.
"Clark, I'm so tired. I'm just going to shut my eyes for a minute. Please, don't leave."
"Don't worry, honey. I'm not going anywhere," Clark replied.
"What happened? Why couldn't the nurse find you?"
Clark proceeded to tell Lois of the events of the day. Lois opened her eyes and looked at Clark with a wrinkled forehead as he told the story. She could not believe that Luthor hated her that much. How could a man go from loving someone to the point of wanting to marry them to having so much hatred that he doesn't give murder second thought? She started to think maybe Luthor never really loved her in the first place. Maybe he wanted to control her just like everything else in his life. Lois thought to herself that Clark was right all the time. He had tried to warn her about the evil streak that Lex Luthor had but Lois would not listen. She had written Clark's warnings off as jealousy.
"Clark, I'm so sorry that I didn't listen to you, that I treated you so ba…" Lois started, holding back tears.
"Shhh…don't worry about that now. We're past it," Clark assured Lois. "All that matters now is that we're together and I'm not going anywhere."
"Oh, Clark, what did I ever do to deserve you? You've been nothing but supportive and understanding," Lois continued as she squeezed Clark's hand that held hers.
Clark responded by placing his other hand on top of the both of theirs and resting his forehead on the ball of entwined hands. He then mumbled, "Lois, I love you so much."
Lois just closed her eyes to fight back tears. Why couldn't she say those scary words back to Clark?
It seemed that Clark somehow understood her struggle because he looked up into her face and waited for her to open her eyes. Then, he said in a soft voice, "Lois, you don't have to feel guilty about not being able to say it back. I will wait for you as long as it takes. I do pray that one day you will feel the same for me as I do for you but I knew that you didn't when I asked you to marry me. We can't dwell on that now. You need to save your energy to get better and get out of here."
Lois just shook her head in acknowledgement. She was afraid that if she tried to say something she would lose control of her emotions and have a tearful meltdown. God, how did she get so lucky to get such a wonderful man?
Lois was back in her room by early afternoon. Clark was still with her at her bedside. Something just would not allow Clark to leave Lois' bedside at that time. He just kept thinking about how he had almost lost Lois, not once, but twice, in the past week. Was his faith being tested?
By midnight, the nurse had to run Clark home. She insisted that he go home and get some sleep. She assured Clark that Lois was in a monitored bed and that she would be looked in on frequently, considering the day's series of events. Reluctantly Clark left Lois' bedside and headed for the hotel. He kissed Lois on the cheek as he stood to walk out of the room. He could tell that she was really tired by now.
When Clark got to his hotel room, he wasn't sleepy. He noticed the red light flashing to indicate that he had…eleven phone calls, nine from Perry and two from the Kents. He knew that he should call and update Perry and his parents. It would be about 10:30 in Metropolis and about 9:30 in Smallville. Clark called Perry first.
Clark told Perry about Lois and her recovery and about Luthor's fate. Perry had tried to call Clark earlier to tell him that Luthor's private jet had been tracked to Tokyo, when they found out that he had a second set of passports and had flown out of Metropolis. That's what all of the phone calls had been about. Henderson had been tracking Luthor, but by the time he had sufficient evidence and a court order to have Luthor put back in jail, his jet was long gone. Henderson had suspected that Luthor would go to Tokyo to find Lois and Clark, and that's why he had alerted the Tokyo Police Department. Clark finally wound up his conversation with Perry after about half an hour and then called his parents.
The Kents were just concerned because they had heard the update on Luthor on the national news…a special report. They did not however have the details of what had happened with Lois. Clark filled them in.
Finally at about 2:00 am, Clark got into bed. He was asleep almost immediately. He hadn't realized how tired he really was.
The next morning, Clark awakened to a ringing phone. He looked at the clock just before he answered the phone. It was 9:06.
"Hi, Mr. Kent. This is Christine Sanders from the US Embassy. How's Lois? I heard about her little situation yesterday on the news."
"She's great. She's recovering without any side affects. But, then you know Lois…stubborn even in her injured state," Clark said with humour in his voice.
"Well, the reason I called is to let you know that you're back. We will issue another passport as soon as you can come by and get it. And then you can go home. You've got loyal friends back in the United States. This happened in record time. I wasn't expecting anything until at least another week."
"Thank you, Ms. Sanders…for everything. You just don't realize how much you've helped me…us. You've been our support away from home and we'll never forget you for that."
"It's been my…our pleasure. Goodbye Clark."
Clark got up and dressed for the hospital. Right now, seeing Lois was more important than getting a new passport. He would tell her later.
Sunday morning, Lois was discharged home. She still was not good enough to fly internationally, but could be out of the hospital. Clark got instructions from the doctors and nurses to take care of Lois. When they wheeled Lois to the front of the hospital, Clark pulled up the car and then lifted Lois into the passenger seat. Her cast had been removed but she still had some small bandages from the surgical incisions.
Lois and Clark got back to the hotel and Clark first carried Lois up to their room. Then he went back to retrieve her stuff from the car. While Clark was gone to the car, Lois sat and thought about how much her life had changed in the span of a week. She also started to wonder about some things that hadn't occurred to her until now, like her personal care. Right now nothing sounded better than a good bath and hair washing, but how could she do that on her own. <What's wrong with you Lane? You can't even stand up. We'll, Clark could help you to the shower. But he'd have to help you stand up. He's your husband stupid. He's bound to see you naked one of these days. >
Just as Lois and her subconscious started to argue, Clark came back into the hotel room. He sat down next to Lois, bowed his head and rested his elbows on his knees. Then he reached in his shirt pocket and pulled out her rings that were taken off what seemed like so long ago.
"Lois…when the nurse handed these to me, I thought I would die. Please, let me place them back where they belong," Clark said pleadingly.
"Oh, Clark…" Lois whispered as she held out her finger and received the rings with a tearful smile. "I wanted to ask you for them, but I didn't know if…if you…if you still wanted me…I mean look at me…"
"Lois, I'll always want you, more than anything. You had to have known that." Clark replied.
Lois just smiled as she admired the rings that Clark had given her, lovingly placed on that very finger just a week ago. And there he was recreating the moment. At that very moment, Lois knew that Clark would be forever.
"Lois, we haven't talked about sleeping arrangements. I mean I assumed that you should just have the bed and I'll take the couch…"
"No, Clark, I can…"
"No, Lois, you need to be able to stretch out that leg and not be uncomfortable. You are recovering…"
"Clark! Why can't we sleep in the same bed? We are married…I mean we don't have to do anything…" Lois interrupted, nervously.
"Oh, I…I thought you wanted…didn't want to sleep with me…not sleep with me…but…" Clark fumbled.
"Clark, we slept together the other night. Remember?" Lois said with humour in her voice.
"I know but, that was…different…I mean…"
"Oh, Clark, it's okay. We're gonna be okay. These are just minor issues," Lois assured Clark as she held out her hand towards his. Clark responded by taking her tiny hand into his larger one.
Lois and Clark had dinner and watched movies. They sat on the couch, Clark with his arm around Lois' shoulder and her head lying on his chest, talked and laughed like old times. Soon, it was after 10:00 and Clark was starting to get tired. Lois seemed to be awake, so Clark wanted to be awake to help Lois if she needed. What Clark didn't know is that Lois had her own inner struggle going on. She wanted a bath so badly, but needed his help. She hadn't had anything more than a bed bath since the accident. Finally Lois just decided to just go for it.
"Could you help me…to get…get a bath?" Lois asked nervously.
"Sure…I'll run your water and…"
"Clark, you're gonna have to help me…I mean…I can't stand up alone…and…"
The colour left Clark's face.
"Lois, I would have to see…be…touch…" Clark started as he went into a coughing bout.
"Clark, I don't care about that…I mean I do…but…please…"
Reluctantly, Clark bowed an acknowledgement with his head. He didn't trust his voice. It wasn't that he didn't want to help Lois, to see her…oh boy…it was just that he didn't trust himself not to respond to seeing her nak…like that.
Clark very carefully removed his arm from around Lois' shoulders, propped her on pillows and went to the bathroom to run her a bath. As he headed to the bathroom, an idea occurred to him. A bath wouldn't be good right now. It would be awkward trying to manoeuvre Lois into and out of the bathtub without hurting her. A shower would be better because then he could stand and hold Lois up.
"Lois, what about a shower? Then I can stand and hold you up…I could wash your hair for you."
"Okay," Lois said, shyly.
Clark started the shower and came back to the couch to get Lois. He carefully picked her up and carried her to the bathroom. He gently sat her on the side of the bathtub and started to undress her with the care that he'd give to a fine piece of crystal.
Undressing Lois was eventually going to be Clark's undoing.
Lois was busy wondering to herself if he was as good a lover as he was with every other aspect of their marriage. God, she wanted him to touch her. It had been so long…years. Then she got scared. Maybe Paul was right. Maybe she was a lousy lover. Maybe Clark would be disappointed. And, she didn't want that. She had to focus…Clark was saying something.
"Lift up a little and I'll finish undressing you," Clark whispered nervously.
Clark then stood and said, "Put your arms around my neck," as he lifted Lois into the shower and closed the door. First he held her there in his arms and just looked into her eyes. Then he leaned his face down very slowly, to allow Lois a chance to turn away, and kissed her, thoroughly. She returned the kiss with just as much longing as he did.
The warm water and intimate contact was clearly too much for both of them. Clark soon found himself turning off the water, getting a towel and wrapping it around Lois hair, then another around her petite body. He carried her from the shower to the bed and gently laid her down.
"Lois, I love you, so much," Clark whispered passionately.
"I love you, too, honey," Lois whispered back.
Clark looked down into her eyes, just slightly illuminated by the bedside lamp. He could feel the wetness prickle at the backs of his eyeballs.
"I've waited to hear you say those words to me…for so long…" Clark whispered as a tear escaped him.
In the aftermath of their lovemaking, Lois said, "You must have had lots of practice…"
"No, Sweetheart…you were my first…I've never…I was a…I wanted to wait until I found the right person, the person I would spend forever with, the person I was so in love with that…I waited for you…for 29 years," Clark fumbled. Lois' eyes stretched like saucers.
I wish I had waited…for you…"
"No, no, no…it's just perfect," Clark said as he stroked Lois' face in a way that only he could do. "I would like to make love to you again, sometime, if you'd have me…"
"Clark, I'm your wife, you're my husband, and I love you," Lois said as she stroked Clark's lip with her index finger. "You don't have to make reservations."
Clark gently took Lois' finger into his mouth and gently suckled it. "I love you, too, so much."
"I cannot believe that after all I put you through, you are taking such good care of me…all of my needs. You've been everything to me…a friend, a lover, a husband. I don't know what I'd do without you," Lois whispered.
"You won't ever have to find out, honey," Clark assured Lois.
There was one other thing weighing on Clarks mind. He needed to tell Lois about Superman. He'd swore to himself that he would tell her before they ever made love because he wasn't sure how a Kryptonian and a human…Oh God…they hadn't used protection. Clark looked at Lois and noticed that she was dozing off to sleep. He gently stroked her hair.
"Lois…honey, wake up. We didn't use any protection," Clark said frantically.
Lois' eyes opened. A panicked look went over her face. Then as quickly as it appeared, it disappeared.
"Clark, would it be so bad if I…if we made a baby? You said that you wanted to have lots of babies with me."
"You…you heard me?"
"Of course…" Lois replied as she smiled.
"You wouldn't mind…if we…I mean what are the chances that it would happen…I mean are you…"
"I think I'd love it…I could get on the pill if you aren't ready…"
"No, because if you are, wont the pill be dangerous in the first trimester…I mean if you want, I could take care of…"
"No. No…let's just wait and see what happens."
Clark just smiled and kissed Lois' nose. "Every time I think I've got you all figured out you surprise me."
"Clark, make love to me," Lois said softly.
"How can I turn down my wife's request," Clark said as he complied.
After they made love again, Clark stroked Lois' back, gently. She was starting to fall asleep again. Clark gently laid her beside him He then collected her in his arms as he lay on his side. He gently stroked her hair. Then he started to talk to her, about nothing really, as her breathing became more regular and even, indicating that she was almost asleep. It was sort of his way of expressing his feelings to her when she was in the hospital.
"Honey, I hope you don't wake up in the morning and regret what we just shared. You've given me the most precious gift…you've given your love to me and I love you so much for it. It would kill me to know that you didn't mean it. Of course, there are only two things that can kill me and that is you and…kryptonite." Clark paused, and then continued, "I've wanted to tell you, but I wanted you to love me for me…and not what I could do. I know you're going to be mad and I deserve whatever you dish out, for not telling you, but…about a month ago, Lex Luthor called me and said that it was urgent that he speaks with Superman regarding you. I…Superman went and…" Clark started. He told what he thought was a sleeping Lois about how he lost his powers and almost his life. He explained that that is why Superman has been missing in action.
When he heard a sniffle from Lois is when he realized that she wasn't asleep, but awake and crying.
"Clark, I'm so sorry. I had no idea. And I was going to marry that…that…Why didn't you tell me?"
"Because I was afraid… of losing you, forever. Honey please don't cry. You know I can't stand it when you cry," Clark crooned as he held Lois close to him.
"I've gotta stop saying stuff to you when I think you're asleep," Clark softly said and got a tearful smile back from Lois. "I think you hear better in your sleep…or listen better anyway," Clark said jokingly.
Lois and Clark talked until the wee hours of the morning. They both finally drifted off to sleep.
The sun was shining when Clark opened his eyes. He turned to see what time it was but couldn't seem to find the clock. Lois was still lying partially on top of him. Then suddenly…thunk…Clark fell about two feet down onto the mattress, with Lois landing softly beside him. He had broken her fall.
"Lois…honey…wake up…we were floating!"
"Clark…you've got your powers back!"
"Well, let me see," Clark said as he stood up beside the bed to test his gifts.
His x-ray vision worked, some, but fuzzed out after a few seconds. His enhanced hearing was in and out, he could float and his super strength was slowly returning.
"I guess it's going to take some time. Things are slowly returning," Clark sighed.
"Will you help me to the shower, honey?"
"Remember what happened the last time I helped you to the shower…" Clark said as he sat beside Lois and kissed her thoroughly. "Why don't we save ourselves some time and…have dessert first," Clark said as he climbed back into bed next to Lois.
"Lois, do you regret any of this?" Clark asked, unsure.
"Not a bit," Lois replied. "I only wish that I had not been so…uhhh…and done this sooner…all of it. I wished I had saved myself for you…my husband."
"That doesn't matter, Lois. I love you just as things are."
"I love you, too Clark. You know, I think I've loved you for a long time, but was just in denial. I didn't want to love you because I was afraid that you would hurt me, like the others. Lex was safe. I didn't love him, so he couldn't hurt me…" Lois sighed, "…at least not in the way I would have expected to get hurt. What about you…do you regret any of this?"
"I regret that you didn't marry me sooner. And Lois, I will never hurt you or make you cry, intentionally. I want to make you happy."
"Oh, Clark…why was I so blind?"
Eventually Clark helped Lois into the shower where they made love two more times. After the shower they had brunch and Clark took Lois out of the hotel room to enjoy the sunlight and hopefully help her to get better. They made a quick stop at the embassy to get Clark's reissued passport. Whenever Lois was released from the doctors, they would head back to Metropolis. Clark still didn't trust his powers fully yet. Metropolis was still a long way for even Superman to fly an injured Lois.
Over the next three weeks until Lois' next appointment, she and Clark spent a lot of time talking and planning for their future. They made love often. Lois was starting to walk better and her scars were healing. Her hair had covered the surgical site and she had a new hair cut to accommodate the short patch. Clark was about ninety percent as far as Superman was concerned. The Kents were ecstatic and ready for him to return home. Perry had given Clark the by-line for the article about the fall of Luthor. Clark shared the by-line with Lois because he said that they were partners in every way now.
Three weeks later, Lois went back to the doctors and they subsequently released her from their care. They set her up with doctors in Metropolis to follow up. Dr. Hito referred Lois to an additional doctor in Metropolis, and obstetrician. She was definitely pregnant, but very early. She had a low but growing beta HCG.
When Lois got the news she came out of the exam room and sat next to Clark.
"Clark, I have to tell you something and in spite of what you initially said, I want to make sure that you're okay with this," Lois said with unsure tones.
"What is it, honey. You know we can get through anything…oh…you've gotten your release to go back home…and you don't want to be with me any…" Clark started, sadly.
"Clark, no! I couldn't leave you now if I wanted to …if I tried. We need you…" Lois started with tears starting to gather in her eyes.
"Lois, I can…what? We? You're…you're pregnant?" Clark asked, hardly able to hide his excitement.
"Yeah…we're pregnant. We're early…but yes. When we get back to Metropolis I'll see a doctor and go from there. We can leave whenever…"
"Oh, honey…I love you so much…and our baby. You've given me everything I've ever wanted in life…dreamed of."
"So, I guess that means you're okay with this?"
"Did you even have to ask?"
When they got back to the hotel room, the expecting couple couldn't wait to call Perry and the Kents to tell them the news. Lois' parents had gone on another "second honeymoon" when they learned that Lois was okay. However, their calls were delayed by another session of passionate lovemaking instigated by Lois.
It was Thursday, two days after Lois had been given the okay to travel, and she and Clark were packing their stuff for their final departure from Tokyo back to Metropolis. Things were different now. Not only were they in love and happily married, but they had a baby on the way. Clark was so happy that sometimes Lois couldn't do anything but just laugh at him.
Lois lovingly looked over at Clark as he silently placed things into his luggage. The one thing Lois knew for sure is that the man of steel was more vulnerable than the average man; she could hurt him. The one thing that she had silently promised herself is that she would never hurt Clark intentionally, no matter what.
"What are you looking at?" Clark caught her staring.
"Just you, the man I love, my husband, the father of my baby, the hero of the world…"
Clark stopped Lois' rant by kissing her, passionately. Lois readily complied.
Lois shortly thereafter pulled away from the kiss due to a need for air. Clark gently touched her face with his palm in that way that only Clark could and looked Lois in the eyes.
"I love you, Lois. You know that don't you? And, I'm going to be here for you and our baby always." Clark had some doubt in his voice.
"Of course I know that. Why…what's wrong…"
Clark could hear the panic in Lois' question. He just hugged her close to his chest.
"Nothing's wrong…everything is right…perfect," Clark responded as he kissed Lois on the forehead. "We'd better finish packing if we want to make our flight back to Metropolis."
Lois and Clark finished packing their bags and loaded the car so that they could head to the airport.
Once at the airport, Clark was nervous. The last time he had tried to get through customs, immigration and agriculture, his life got turned around. Things turned out better than he imagined but still the whole process was chilling. Lois detected his uneasiness and just gently placed her hand on his arm.
"It's gonna be okay, honey…" she said softly. Clark just smiled back at her.
Finally, they had made it through all of the checkpoints so they went to sit at the gate where their plane would be leaving from in about an hour. Again, Clark seemed to gaze off into space. At first Lois thought it was the look that Clark got when Superman was needed, but then quickly dismissed that thought. Clark was in deep thought about something
"Penny for your thoughts."
When Clark sat down, he thought about the very last time he had been to the Tokyo airport. He had brought Lois there to catch her return flight to Metropolis, he had told her that he loved her and she had dismissed his feelings and proceeded to rush back to Metropolis to marry Luthor. Why was he dwelling on that? It still stung a little, like a reopened wound, but they were past that now. She was his wife now in spite of all of that.
"The last time you brought me here? Is that what you're…"
Clark kissed Lois. "That's behind us, honey," Clark answered as he gently grasped Lois' hand.
Clark held Lois' hand there, periodically kissing it until they heard the call for Air Japan flight 7717 non-stop to LAX. This was their ride. Clark stood, and then helped Lois to stand to board the plane. They were flying first class, to allow room for Lois to stretch out. Her leg still had some healing to do.
Once airbourne, Lois and Clark talked and talked about their future, about the baby, about where they would live and anything else that came up. They had decided to live in Clark's apartment back in Metropolis because he had more room until Lois was back on her feet and they could find a bigger place. After about six hours into the flight, Lois dozed off to sleep. Clark just placed his arm around her shoulders and held her head to his chest. God, how he loved this woman.
When Lois and Clark arrived from LAX to Metropolis, it was Thursday again. Lois was tired and Clark was feeling Super again. He got them home…to his apartment…and laid Lois on the bed. Once unpacked, with Lois asleep, Clark decided to test his powers. He spun into his superman outfit and went for a quick flight. He was still not 100 percent but the average person wouldn't be able to tell. With some good sunlight, he would be back one hundred percent in no time. He would announce Superman's return tomorrow, so that Clark Kent and Superman would not return at the exact same time.
On Monday, Lois and Clark returned to work at the Daily Planet. They wrote sidebars about the fall of Luthor and gave detailed encounters of his indiscretions. They did not however give a detailed account of how Luthor put Superman out of commission. They simply said that it was a chapter that Superman wished to close.
Perry White had, however, figured out who Superman really was. After all, he didn't become editor in chief just because he was a "Hunk of Burning Love." He never admitted knowing "the secret", however, to Lois and Clark.
Now, Clark was pretty sure that Perry had figured out his secret. When he told Lois, she had had the same thought. They would never say anything if Perry didn't. In a way, it would be good if he knew, then rescues wouldn't be so difficult to cover.
The local television media heard of Lois and Clark's return from Tokyo and wondered if the whole trip was a planned marriage and honeymoon made into a fictitious story to get ratings for the Daily Planet.