By bobbart -- Bob Bartholomew <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted: November 2008
Summary: Lois Lane has had several memorable "firsts" relating to flying. Set in the universe of the author's fanfic "Luck and Consequence."
Thanks to Dandello for taking a break from the challenge that is NaNoWriMo to do a quick beta on this. Also thanks to my wife Beverly for lots of help including such practical guidance as "Bob, it's 2:30 am. Turn off the computer and get some sleep." And finally thanks to Janet Owens for not running away when she saw all of the tense mismatches that were in the version that was submitted to the archive.
Disclaimer: This is a fanfic based on the television show, Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. I have no claim on the pre-existing characters whatsoever, nor am I profiting by their use. The new characters and story elements are mine. No infringement is intended by this work.
Note: This is a companion to "Luck and Consequences." However, this is a 4-part story and only the final part has any dependency on LaC. It should be possible to understand (and hopefully enjoy) all of this without having read LaC.
1970 -- Promise
"Are we there yet?"
"Almost there, Princess. Just a few more minutes and we'll be at the airport."
This is going to be the biggest day of my life. As long as I can remember, I've been asking Daddy to take me on one of his trips. He used to always say no, but this time was different. I couldn't believe it when he said I could come with him on the trip today. After he said yes, he talked some more about what he would be doing. I don't remember much about what he said because I don't care about why he is going on this trip. I only care about how. This is an airplane trip. We get to fly! Once I knew that I'd get to fly, I just stopped listening.
As the cab we're riding in comes to a stop, I look around and see lots of big people and a few other kids. They all seem to be in so much of a hurry. I wonder if all these different people are going flying today.
Daddy helps me out of the cab. We're only going to be gone for the day so I don't have much stuff. I just have some toys and books to stay busy while Daddy is working. I watch as Daddy pays the cab driver.
"Princess, hold my hand while we are in the airport. I don't want you to get lost."
"I won't get lost, Daddy."
As we enter the building I can't believe how big everything is! I've been all over Metropolis and a lot of the buildings are really big, but this is just so big inside. I bet they could bring the planes in here!
Daddy and I walk up to a line of people waiting in front of a counter. I guess everyone has to wait their turn to get permission to fly on the plane.
When we finally get to the front of the line, Daddy walks up to a lady and they talk for a minute. I'm too busy looking around to pay much attention. Then I hear my name: "...daughter Lois will be traveling with me today."
I look up and see that they're both smiling down at me. I'm in a good mood today, so I smile back.
The lady asks, "Is this your first time on an airplane?"
"Yes," I reply.
"Are you excited?"
She sure asks dumb questions. But she seems nice enough, and I don't want to get Daddy in trouble, so I smile and answer, "Yes, I'm really excited."
The lady hands Daddy some papers. Then we leave the counter and start walking.
"Daddy, are we going to the plane now?"
"Yes, Lois, we're going to another part of the building. We'll wait there until it's time to get on the plane."
There's so much to see that for just a second I lose track of Daddy. Before I even notice anything's wrong, I feel him take my hand.
"Princess, this is a big place with lots of people. Why don't we hold hands while we walk until we get to where we'll get on the plane?"
Daddy's such a worrier. "Okay, Daddy." From then on we walk holding hands. That's okay with me because it lets me look around even more.
There are so many lines to wait in before you get ride an airplane.
We come up to a place where we have to put our stuff on a belt, like at the food store, and then walk through a little door. They have guards and the people all look really serious. If the door beeps at you, then you have to back up and try again. I'm really glad that the door doesn't beep at me. I wonder if there's something special about the people that get beeped at. They sure seem unhappy when the door beeps at them. I wonder if the beeping means that if they get on the airplane it can't fly.
We finally get past the guards and the beeping doors and we're walking again. You sure do have to walk a lot to get to fly. There are still so many people.
"Daddy, are we almost there?"
"Yes, Princess. This is where people get on the airplanes. See those doors with the numbers by them?" Daddy points at a door with a '7' over it. "Those are called gates and that's how you get on the airplane."
"Daddy, those are doors, not gates."
"I know, honey. But the doors that lead to airplanes are called gates."
"Daddy, that's silly."
"Yes. But that's what they're called. We're going to gate 15."
I can see that the numbers on the doors are counting up. Pretty soon we are next to the door with a '15' over it.
"Daddy, can we get on now?"
"No, Lois, the people that run the airport will announce when it's time for us to get on the plane."
"So what do we do until then?"
"We just wait a little while. You have some books and toys in your bag. It'll just be a few minutes."
There are so many lines and so much waiting. Flying must be even more wonderful than I imagined since people have to go through so much trouble to do it.
There are a few announcements over the loud speaker but Daddy just sits reading his magazine. Finally, after another announcement, Daddy stands up and says, "Okay, Lois, we can get on the plane now. Hold on to my hand while we get on the plane."
We move over to near the door with the 15. Now there's a line there. We go to a man standing by the door and Daddy shows him a paper. Then we go through the door.
It turns out that the airplane isn't on the other side of the door. Now we're going down a long hallway. Pretty soon we come to a place where the people are waiting. I can tell that we are now right next to the side of the airplane. We are about to go through an oval metal door. As I step through the door, I can't help getting excited again. This is it, I'm on an airplane!
The inside of the airplane looks like a long round tunnel with a lot of big seats with high backs. The seats look nice but they sure are close together.
Daddy walks up to a seat and stops. He turns to me and says, "Lois, this is your seat."
"Do I have to sit down?"
"Everyone sits down for takeoff and landing. Once we are up in the air you can get out of your seat for a little bit if you want."
I climb into my seat and Daddy sits in the one next to me. He turns to me and says, "Honey, you need to fasten your seat belt."
I can see Daddy fumbling with his seat belt. It only takes me a few seconds to find the ends and only another few seconds to connect the ends together. It's really loose but Daddy's been watching and he shows me how to pull on one end to make it tight.
"Okay, Princess, now we just have to wait a few more minutes while all the rest of the people get on the plane and we'll be ready to take off."
When all the other people finally sit down there's this lady in some kind of uniform that stands in the middle of the plane while some other lady reads stuff over the loud speaker. The lady standing in front of us sure looks bored. The lady on the loud speaker is giving all kinds of dumb instructions. They even explain how to buckle the seat belt. No wonder she looks bored! I guess all of the other people already know how to buckle their seat belts because no one pays any attention to the instructions.
"Daddy, when do we take off?"
"Any minute now, Princess. You'll feel the plane go faster and faster. Don't be afraid."
"Daddy, I want to fly more than anything. I'm not scared."
The plane is moving now. The airplane isn't going very fast yet. They seem to be just driving around the airport. After a few minutes the plane stops and they seem to be waiting for something. Suddenly the noise, which is already loud, gets even louder. Daddy leans in close and says, "Are you ready? Here we go."
I can feel that the plane is going really fast now. It feels like someone is pushing me back into my seat. All of the sudden, the seats in front of me on the plane look like they are uphill from where I'm sitting. I look out the window and I can tell that the airplane is tilted up and leaving the ground.
That looks really neat! I can see that we're getting higher and higher off of the ground. Now I can see parts of the city around the airport. It's a nice view, but I've seen pictures of the city from above before. There are pictures of parts of the city from above on television just about every night.
But I didn't come on this trip to see the view. I came to feel flying. I want to get up and feel flying. Why is everyone on the plane just staying in their seats?
I reach over and tug on Daddy's sleeve. "Daddy, I want to feel flying. Can I undo my seat belt?"
"No, Princess, not while that light is on." He points to a light that looks like a seat belt. "When that light goes out, then you can get up if you want to."
Something isn't right. I thought this would feel really different. Except for the noise and that pressure at takeoff, this might as well be a taxi ride. The view from the plane is better than a taxi, but it's not that great.
Finally I see the light go out. As quick as I can I undo my seat belt. I need to be careful when I fly around the inside of the airplane so that I don't bump into the other people.
My seat belt is now off but I don't seem to be able to fly. Maybe I just need some help getting started. I use my hands and try to push up, but it doesn't help. No matter what I do, I just stay in the seat. That's not right. I climb out of the seat and step out into the walkway between the seats. I jump up but come right back down just like I would on the ground. That's not fair!
"Daddy, I thought we would be flying."
"Lois, honey, you can see out the window that we are way up in the air. We are flying."
"But it feels the same as riding in a car."
"Honey, this is what flying feels like. Now get back into your seat. The stewardess will be along in a minute with a snack and something for you to drink."
I climb back into the seat and redo the seat belt.
I can't help but mumble, "It isn't fair! Flying should be wonderful. Flying should be soaring through the air, not sitting in a smelly old chair."
"I hate flying!"
1993 -- Realization
I love flying!
At least, now that I know what flying really is, I do.
I can't believe the view. I've been in big airplanes and small. I've been in helicopters and gliders. Heck, I've even been skydiving. But nothing is like this.
I guess the skydiving comes closest. This has that same feeling of freedom. But when I'm skydiving, there's always an edge of danger. I know I'm falling and I can never be completely sure that I'm really safe until my feet are on the ground.
This is very different! I must be a few thousand feet in the air and I've never felt so safe in my life. I think that may have something to do with my... um... pilot.
Almost my whole life I've hated flying. I still remember that first flight when I found out that flying in an airplane was only slightly less fun that riding in a car. As has happened a few times in my life, I had my dreams shattered that day. Flying was going to be this great and wonderful thing. Instead it turned out to be boring. Maybe that was the shock that set the pattern. Don't get my hopes up too high and never get hurt twice by the same person or thing.
But there's never been anyone or anything like *him* before!
I casually turn my head so I can see his face again. I don't want to be caught drooling... I mean staring. As his face comes into view I realize that his attention at this moment is forward. Since he's looking the other way I can take a moment to take in his features. In a word, he's gorgeous. I guess I should say handsome but that's not the word that comes to mind. Handsome is what I think of when I see a picture of a good-looking man. When I think "handsome," I think "stiff and two-dimensional." Handsome doesn't make me feel like all my bones have turned to jelly. Handsome just won't do for what I'm looking at right now.
My eyes linger an instant too long and he turns to look at me. Once we make eye contact, I find that I can't just turn away. Right now, I don't think gorgeous is going to do it either. His eyes are way past that. Normally, I would never be caught staring at a man like this. But, normally, that man isn't carrying me in his arms while flying in the air.
I should say something. I really should. I've made my way in life by always having something to say and being more than willing to say it. Right now, the only thing on my mind, other than wondering about what's better than gorgeous, is a confusing mix of feelings like warm, safe, wonderful, and of course, Wow! Somehow I don't think that adds up to much of a conversation.
How does one get to be in the arms of a "better than gorgeous" flying man?
The past hour has been a series of shocks so bizarre that I'm still convinced that at any minute, I'm going to wake up and find that it's all been a dream. One minute, I'm about to be blown up by a bomb on the space transport. Then a very handsome stranger in an outlandish costume shows up and eats the bomb.
That alone would be enough to make the day the most amazing one of my life, but then, since the rocket system is damaged and can't carry the transport into orbit, the same stranger picks up the transport module and carries it into orbit himself.
And finally, after all that, this stranger returns to the space center. He pretty much ignores all of the scientists and other reporters, walks right up to me and says, "I'm sorry that I had to leave you here. Are you okay? Why were you on the transport?"
I regain my composure for long enough to remember who I am. "I'm fine. My name is Lois Lane and I'm a reporter for the Daily Planet. I was on the transport to get the story of the trip of the colonists to the space station."
He replies, "Well, your discovery of the bomb saved many lives today." He pauses for a moment as if he's thinking about saying something else. He seems to come to some sort of decision and resumes speaking. "Ms. Lane, I believe you have a story to write up. May I fly you back to your office?"
Fly me back to my office? He's asking me to fly with him? I feel myself slipping back into star-struck mode. I'm feeling completely overwhelmed in a way that I never have before. I've been around rich, powerful, and famous men in my time. But no man has ever done this to me before. As I gaze into his wonderful brown eyes, for an instant I think I see something that seems familiar. However, that feeling only lasts a second. I guess that when you see perfection, it has all of the best traits of all those men you've known before.
He has to actually speak again to break the spell. "Ms. Lane, would you like to fly with me?"
This time I manage to nod my head and reply with a weak, "Yes."
As he lifts me off the ground, I discover that there is something more to this guy than the ability to eat bombs, carry space transports, and fly. When his arms close around me, I can feel an electric connection. I've been in the arms of a man before. I've been carried by a man that I thought I was in love with. I've never felt anything like this. I don't understand it. I don't know who or even what this man is but I can't argue about how I react to him. As he holds me in his arms, I feel a wave of "something" wash over me. In that instant, I feel more "right" than at any other time in my life. I feel safe and protected. Normally, I would never admit to myself, and certainly not to anyone else, that I even want to feel protected. But this is different. This is a feeling that I'm happy to know, and would love to never have end.
The stranger straightens up and then tilts his head until his eyes lock with mine. "Are you ready? Here we go."
To me, it feels like gravity just disappears. I can see the ground falling away but there's no pressure from acceleration and just enough feeling of air movement to know that we're flying forward.
After only a minute or so I suddenly know. This is what I had been looking for all those years ago when I first went flying in a plane. Somehow, I'd always known how flying was supposed to feel.
We're approaching Metropolis now. I start to tell him where the Daily Planet is located but before I can say anything he alters his course slightly and we're heading directly for my office. In seemingly just an instant, we're at the Planet building. I'm expecting him to fly down to the ground and set me next to the front door. Instead, he's maintaining his altitude and heading straight for the side of the building. As we get close to the building, I can see that one of the large windows in the bullpen area is slightly open. The Planet is an old building without air conditioning. For much of the year, the airflow from these open windows is the only cooling available.
We fly right up to and through the window. As we enter the bullpen, everyone freezes as they watch the spectacle of our entry. We elevate slightly to clear a handrail and then start descending for a landing. Suddenly I catch sight of Cat. She's harassed me so many times about my nonexistent social life and the lack of relationships with men. The look on her face tells me that right now she desperately wishes that she was the one being flown into the office through the window. I can also see that my pilot meets with her approval. It all seems to come so easy for Cat. I've been jealous of her so many times for her easy success with men. Of course, I'll never let her see that. All that she, or anyone else for that matter, will ever see is an air of contempt about our respective jobs. But this time it's different. I'm the one in the arms of a man, and for the first time that I can remember, the look on Cat's face tells me that she's the one who is jealous of me about a man.
We land in the middle of the office and he sets me down. When we break contact, that wonderful feeling of connection drops away. I get one more look at the perfection that is this flying man. As my feet touch the ground, our eyes meet again, and it reminds me that I never did come up with a description that fits him. No, gorgeous isn't enough. Before he can turn to leave, I run my eyes over the rest of his body. I need something better than gorgeous. In that instant my eyes sweep over his form from his face to his feet and start back up again. His costume has an 'S' right in the middle of his chest. Then it hits me--he's not gorgeous, he's "Super!"
1995 -- Education
Clark is trying to help but there is only so much he can say about what to do to fly. We've been on the Kent farm for hours and getting here was something of an adventure.
Back in Metropolis, Clark gave me just enough coaching to figure out how to get off the ground. Then I carried him in much the same way that he's carried me so many times. It was amazing to pick him up so easily. What I found was that when I was holding Clark, I seemed to have a much easier time controlling my powers. For the actual flying, Clark wore the suit and I held him in a way that made it look like he was carrying me.
Right now we're in a remote section of the Kent farm. I've been practicing hovering. Apparently this was the first flying skill Clark mastered and he thought this would be a good first step. He's right, and I master floating on air very quickly. When it's time to try some simple point-to-point moves, he warns me not to go too fast. I know that I'm invulnerable and that leads me to be a little less cautious than I should be.
Clark has marked a spot about 100 feet away from the barn for me to use as a starting point. He's told me to try to rise about a foot off the ground and then will myself to move slowly to where he's standing by the barn. Elevating to a foot is easy. At first, when I try to move toward Clark, nothing happens. But I just kept willing myself to go forward and slowly I start to accelerate. Before long I'm proudly moving along at a nice clip.
"Lois, that's too fast. You need to slow down."
Clark can be a party pooper some times, but he is the teacher here so I start trying to slow down. Nothing happens. So, I try harder to slow down. Still nothing happens. After another second or so I get to thinking that it would be a really good idea if I could start to slow down. As I shoot past Clark, he reaches for me and grabs my legs. I drag him along the ground like a living anchor. I really am trying to stop, but he looks so funny that it doesn't exactly help my concentration. I finally achieve a full stop by running into the back of the barn.
Clark gets to his feet and dusts himself off. He looks up at me and says, "Lois, you need to go slow at first."
"But getting going was so easy," I reply.
"Yes, it's easy to move. Stopping is the tricky part. All the hard parts of flying are learning how to land and stop."
"Clark! Why didn't you tell me that before?"
He turns just a shade red. "Well, Lois, I haven't done this before. I never had to teach anyone to fly. I know all the tricks and difficulties but mostly it's like this. When I see you make a mistake I remember something that I learned."
We work at it some more, and in less that half an hour I can glide around the field and stopping is no longer a problem. Clark seems both pleased and surprised at the speed with which I've mastered the techniques needed for flying.
"I can't believe how quickly you're picking all this up. It took me weeks to get as good as you are right now."
Clark has been so good about all of this. My having his powers has got to have him confused and worried, but all he's let me see is his compassion and support in my learning to deal with the powers. I think it's time to show him how much I appreciate his help. I walk over to him, put my arms around his neck, and pull his lips down to mine for a well-deserved kiss. A deliciously long time later I pull back just far enough to say, "Well, Mr. Kent, I guess I have a good teacher."
After that, we spend another half hour with me practicing vertical assents and descents. After all I've already learned, this is mostly just a question of compensating for gravity when coming in for a landing. Even though Clark has warned me that gravity will make stopping more difficult, I still manage to bury myself up to my knees the first time I try to land quickly. However, I seem to have a knack for this and very quickly my landings are spot-on.
"I think it's time for you to solo," says Clark.
"What do you mean? I've been flying solo all morning."
"You need to learn to go from place to place around the world very quickly. I want you to fly around the world."
For just an instant, I don't know how to respond. Finally I sputter out, "You want me to what?"
"Fly around the world. Lois, there's no other way for you to really know you're ready until you make a flight like that."
"But Clark, all the way around the world?"
"Lois, how long do you think it takes for me to fly around the world?"
"I don't know. About half an hour?" I offer.
"Not quite." Clark replies. "Lois, if I fly as fast as I can and don't stop for anything, I can make it all the way around in less than five minutes."
"You never told me you could go that fast. You've never flown that fast with me."
"Lois, if I flew that fast and tried to carry someone, they wouldn't survive. I can only fly that fast alone. From everything I've seen, you should be able to go just as fast once you get the hang of it. I think you should wear something tight-fitting. At really high speeds your clothes can get torn up if they are loose."
After a few minutes of preparation and a quick change into a ski suit that Martha is using as a model for a costume, I'm ready to go.
As I'm getting ready to leave, Clark says, "Lois, it's noon here now. Keep that in mind as you fly."
When I take off, I go straight up until the blue sky turns black. I hover at the edge of space for a moment to make sure I'll be able to recognize the same area when I get back. I make sure to get a good look at Kansas City so that I can recognize it from the air. Finally I'm convinced that once I get back to this general area, I can get down to Smallville and the Kent farm. I turn east and shoot off in that direction. This is great. I mean, I love flying with Clark, but it's really nice to just be able to not worry about anything but the flying. I will myself to go faster and faster until the ground, even far below, is moving by at a good pace.
The first time I flew with Clark, I thought that I'd experienced perfection in flight. Today I learn that I was mistaken. This is perfection. I know that my assignment is to just fly around the world in a straight line, but while I'm up here, it won't hurt to try a few simple maneuvers. First comes some gentle turns and slow arcs. Then I try weaving back and forth.
This is *so* much fun. I'm going to have a long talk with Clark about this. He never even hinted about how wonderful this is. But it would probably be a good idea to wait until he has his powers back. I don't think now would be a good time to remind him of what he's lost. All of the sudden my mind snaps back to what I'm supposed to be doing.
I look around. Umm, where am I?
I come to a full stop and hover. The ground below is dark and the sky above is full of stars. Wherever I am, it's a long way from Kansas.
I can't help but mutter to myself, "Great job, Lois, you got lost on your first flight."
So, what to do now? I must be on the complete opposite side of the world. I'm trying to figure out which direction is which and they all look the same. I look up at the stars and am embarrassed to realize that I don't know how to find the North Star. I guess I should have put some more effort into learning the stars and constellations. I'm a city girl. Who knew I would ever be in a situation where I needed to know that stuff?
Hold it! I can go any direction I want. At the speed that I can fly, as long as I go straight, I can be back in sunlight in just a few minutes. So I may not know what stars are what, but I can pick one and use it to steer. After a few seconds of looking around I pick out the brightest star that is near the horizon and take off in that direction. Sure enough, very quickly I can see the horizon brighten. Then a moment later the sun comes into view. Now, to find Kansas...
Ok, so I can see the sun now. How do I find Kansas? I'm not sure that I can recognize landmarks of random places all over the western hemisphere from the air. I hope I don't end up having to fly all over the lighted hemisphere before I can get back to Smallville.
I'm about to just start wandering around and see if I can spot something familiar when I remember Clark's parting words. It's noon in Smallville. That means if I find the point where the sun is highest in the sky, I will at least be in about the right place east to west.
After taking a few seconds to consider the direction, I take off in a direction to try and get right under the sun. Being able to fly at these speeds sure does come in handy when you get lost! It's only a minute or two and the sun is right over my head.
This time when I look down, I get a much better feeling about my location. Panama has a very distinctive look from the edge of the atmosphere. It is way off to my right but still distinctive. Now that I know about where I am, I can follow the land below me and head due north. In a few seconds I come up to a large city that must be Mexico City. I continue north and am rewarded with the distinctive vision of Dallas. I pass over the city and continue north into the heartland.
In less than a minute I spot Kansas City and use that to zero in on Smallville. As I approach the Kent farm, I can see Clark just sitting on the ground and waiting. I know it's been way more than five minutes and he doesn't seem at all concerned that I'm late. As soon as I touch down he stands up and hurries over. Without saying a word he engulfs me in a hug, the likes of which I would expect if I'd been gone for days instead of minutes. I guess he was a little worried.
I love the feel of his arms around me, but... why the big hug? Unless...
I pull back from Clark. "You knew I would get lost."
He smiles sheepishly. "Yes. Well, at least I had a good idea that it might happen."
"Why didn't you warn me?"
"Lois, you're so good at all this, I just thought that you might not get lost along the way. I didn't want to risk patronizing you. Just because I got lost the first few times I tried to fly around the world doesn't mean that you would."
"The first few times...?"
"Yeah. Well, you saw what it's like up there. You get going and start just enjoying the flying... Well, you get distracted or let your mind wander for just a few seconds and you're lost."
I'm considering forgiving him for not warning me but I still have questions. "So, how did you know that I'd actually gotten lost?"
"Lois, you were gone for twenty minutes."
"When I try to fly around the world, and don't stop along the way, it only takes a few minutes, tops. Once you were gone more than ten minutes, I knew that you were going to have to find your way back."
Clark pauses for a second and then continues, "It's wonderful, isn't it?"
He's not kidding. "I never imagined." I take both his hands in mine. "Clark, I always thought that flying with you carrying me was great, but this is... Well, Wow!"
I see his expression fall and realize what I've said. This is exactly the kind of reaction that I didn't want to trigger. I quickly reach up, cradle his face with both hands and look deep into his eyes. "Clark, flying with you is great, too. You know how much I love that."
"I know. I'm just worried that I'll never get my abilities back."
"Clark, I just know this will all work out. I don't know how, but I'm sure it will. Can you trust me?"
He seems to brighten a bit. "Lois, I always trust you."
I love him so much. "So, what should I expect for next time?"
"Well, all I can tell you is what happened to me."
"Well, you know all those exotic places that I've always told you about?"
"Well, I didn't exactly intend to go to many of them. Every time I got lost, I'd find a new out-of-the-way part of the world."
Clark pauses and this huge smile develops slowly. "I got lost a lot."
1999 -- Beginnings
Where is that husband of mine? The last time I caught sight of him was over Oregon, but that was nearly ten minutes ago. I had darted north to just shy of the Canadian border, and then turned to a mostly easterly zigzag path almost to Wisconsin before feinting toward Florida and heading instead for Texas. I hovered high above Dallas for almost five minutes before realizing that I must have done too good a job and had really lost him. Now I'm hovering high above Smallville just waiting for my love to find me.
This is the first real chance that I've had to consider what has happened to me. Just two days ago I was leading a normal life. Well, at least as normal as a life might be when you're married to an alien that is also the world's most powerful being.
Then the car bomb happened. The memory of the explosion is still very fresh. Thinking back, it was clear in the instant the explosion happened that something was very different. I saw the blast wave heading at me in slow motion. If I had known that I already possessed super speed, I could have just moved out of the way. But I didn't know that then. At that moment, I just stood in shock as the blast wave engulfed my body. I remember what it felt like as the metal and glass from the car tore at my clothes and impacted my body. When the blast was over, I was just frozen in a state of shock.
I don't really remember exactly how long I stood there. It was somewhere between a single second and eternity. Even now I really don't remember much about that moment. I guess it's some sort of shock-induced blackout. All I know is that the next thing I remember, I was standing next to Clark. He was on his knees and had obviously been shielding Lara from the blast. I could hear that he was crying. Suddenly it hit me; he thought I'd been killed in the explosion.
When I said his name and he looked up at me, I saw an expression that I'll never forget. I've never really had any doubts about Clark's feelings toward me, but if I did, I wouldn't now.
Once he recovered from the shock we took off for Smallville to give us time to figure out what was going on. Over the course of the next day, we found out that thanks to a strange combination of being married to Clark, having given birth to our daughter Lara, and some aftereffects of when I was Ultra Woman a few years ago, I was now permanently super powered.
Yesterday, I flew for the first time in three or four years. That was the first time I had the chance to fly with Clark. That was wonderful, but I couldn't enjoy it completely because yesterday I was convinced that the powers were only going to be temporary.
Last night was the first time that I've been able to play with Clark using any of the special powers. We had just finished being tested at Star Labs and we needed to fly back to Smallville. He started getting all "Clarkish" and was about to carry me back to Smallville "for my own good," and I just decided that I didn't feel like being carried. I just took for the sky like a bullet and challenged him to keep up. That was great fun, but for me there was still an edge to it. The reality was that I was afraid to enjoy myself too much. I was scared to have too much fun because for all I knew then, that might have been a one-time game. Also, Bernie had warned us that the powers might fail, so I didn't let myself get too far away from Clark.
Tonight was different. Tonight we learned that my powers are for real and permanent. Now I can really let go and just enjoy this unbelievable gift that I've been given. In my wildest dreams, I could never have imagined that I would end up with the same powers and super abilities of my partner and love.
My partner... That concept bears some thinking about. Clark is truly my partner in ways that no one has been before. Before Clark, I had never partnered with anyone. There had been a few attempts, but they always ended in extreme failure. I had always put it off to their deficiencies, and there was certainly some truth to that. In hindsight, and with a bit of maturity, it was easy to see that I had also been part of *that* problem.
I've always been extraordinarily capable. Growing up and going through school, I never needed help from anyone else. Those times that I was forced to team with others, like on school projects, it always felt like I was dragging dead weight. When I chose to play a sport in school, I picked tennis. There I could succeed or fail (like that was going to happen) based on my own abilities, and I didn't have to worry about anyone else causing me to lose.
In the reporting game, I learned hard lessons that it was a dog-eat-dog world and no one could be trusted. Even while in college I had my work stolen. At the Planet, even though I should have known better, it happened again. This time it was worse, because Claude took so much more than just my story. Yes, I had been certain that after Claude, I was going to be alone. I would be the best reporter in the world, but I was going to be alone.
Then Clark showed up and changed all that. He got close and I pushed away. I'll never forget that first time I got a real glimpse of how he felt. We were having Chinese takeout at the Planet--from China no less, but I didn't know that then--and I looked up at this new "hack from nowhere" and saw a look that can only be described as adoration. From where I'm at now, I can hardly believe my reaction. "Don't fall for me, farmboy. I don't have time for it." Fortunately for me, it was already too late. In all the years that we've been really together, Clark has insisted time and again that he knew the very first instant that we met that there would never be anyone else for him. If he had only been more assertive, maybe we would have both been spared a lot of grief.
But overly assertive is not Clark's way. Well, that's not exactly true. He tried being assertive once, during that horrid, insane "let's marry Lex" chapter of my life. Is there a word stronger than insane? Among the unbelievably stupid things I did that month, the one time Clark opened up and came clean on his feelings, I ripped out his heart. If that wasn't bad enough, with that patently ridiculous "I'd love you if you were an ordinary man" line, I took that poor heart that was still lying at my feet and stomped on it. No wonder he took back his declaration of love. But, in his own way, Clark was as irresistible as the tide. Eventually, he wore away my defenses and we became true life partners.
As much as I love Clark, our partnership is an unequal one. We're equals in our marriage and on the job, but those Kryptonian powers leave him always partly alone. I've never been jealous of his powers. I was forced to come to grips with that before I could say yes to his marriage proposal. I realized that if there was even the barest hint of envy going into the marriage, there would be too much chance for it to fester and grow between us over time. No, I wasn't jealous of the abilities, but it did mean that there were differences that could never be overcome.
Things are different now. Thanks to an unlikely series of events culminating with the birth of our daughter, I now possess all the abilities of my husband. Over the course of this past day I've learned something about myself that I hadn't realized. I actually was jealous of one of Clark's abilities. I buried it so deep that I would have sworn that it wasn't there at all. I've been jealous of his ability to fly. I'm not exactly proud of myself for that, but there it is. I'm only able to recognize it now because the basis of that envy has been removed.
Being able to fly like Clark, without having to worry about having "borrowed" it from him or if it is going to fail at any moment, is wonderful. Now I know that I can look forward to a future of truly sharing the joy of flying with Clark. And even better, ever since Lara was born, I've been a little worried about all those super abilities that our daughter will share with Clark for which I was only going to be an observer. Now we can truly experience all these things as a family.
I suddenly realize that I've been waiting here for some time. Clark should have found me by now. Apparently he's either completely lost or he's given up on finding me. Well, it's been this long and as much as I've enjoyed the time to muse on the past and future, I really want to see Clark now. I flash down to the Kent farm and go inside. Naturally, waiting in the living room with Martha and Jonathan is Clark.
"Clark, how long have you been here?"
"I don't know, about 10 or 15 minutes. I completely lost track of you somewhere in the northeast section of the country. I tried picking up your trail but had no luck, so I came back here."
"I've been at around 50,000 feet waiting for about the same amount of time."
Clark gets up and comes over to me. As his arms go around me and I feel myself being pulled into a hug, I can't help but be amazed at how wonderful a simple hug can feel.
"Lois, I'm really sorry. I knew you would come back here and I didn't think you might be waiting for me up in the air."
Then he pulls back just enough to look me in the eye. "Honey, I know how much you love to fly, but it's late and we have some things that we should talk about."
"I'm fine. Yes, I love flying. But do you know what's even better than that?"
Clark just treats me to one of his devastating smiles and waits.
"Clark, I love to fly. Flying like we can is truly my childhood dream come true. However, the thing that childhood dreams can't anticipate is the kind of love I feel for you. I love being with you and I'll take that over flying any time."
I don't think I'll ever get tired of kissing my husband. As our lips meet, I feel a wonderful wave of love and connection wash over me.
In another minute...or two...or five, when we finally break, we just hold each other for a few more minutes. Finally, it's Clark that breaks the silence.
"Lois, we still should talk."
"Your powers. Don't you think we should talk about how this is going to impact our lives?"
I respond with a heavy sigh. "I guess we have a lot to talk about."