Chapter 9: Waves
Lois reeled, her hand fluttering down from her mouth. No, it can’t be… Not after all this time…
Clark and Lois stared at each other, unmoving, wide blue eyes locked with confused hazel ones. Then her hand flew back up to her forehead as another round of lightheadedness hit her. She drew a deep, shuddering breath.
Clark closed his eyes, clearly bracing himself.
She didn’t believe what she was seeing – that hair, those eyes – she didn’t want to believe what she was seeing. If it was true, why the weak act? Did he want her, however subconsciously, to figure it out? Was he too cowardly to just come out and tell her?
She tried to say something, anything… but her gift of gab had totally failed her. Inexplicably, she found herself drawn downward toward him, like a woman possessed, drawn toward those lips. Those lips which must have, at one time, been very familiar to her… She tried to stop herself, but it was as if some part of her mind was driving her forward, and she no longer had any control.
When her lips reached his, his eyes flew open again, shocked that this was her reaction. An instant passed, and then he reciprocated. Their lips slid slowly across each other’s, their contact gradually growing more and more intense. She gasped again at the familiarity of his tender mouth on hers, and drove her lips deeper into the kiss as he responded in kind. Some other sequestered part of her brain was warning her that Richard was just outside, could come through the door at any time…
She finally listened to that voice, and pulled away with a firm shake of her head. “Lois…” Clark began in a deeper voice. But the dizziness had not gone away – it had only worsened… She closed her eyes, and the world began to spin. She would have toppled backward off the couch, if he hadn’t taken her arm in a warm, strong grasp.
Like a dam bursting, memory upon memory tumbled in a swirling mass. One after another, they assaulted her senses, finally free after years of being locked away in some unused portion of her mind. Although the turmoil inside her would have been almost invisible to Clark’s concerned gaze, she was suddenly drowning in recollections. They sifted themselves into some semblance of order, as each wave crashed over her…
Niagara Falls… Lois was annoyed that Perry had sent her up here to cover some puff piece with wet-behind-the-ears Clark… the indignity of having to pretend to be newlyweds!
So far from Metropolis, Lois was shocked to see Superman appear, rescuing a child who had fallen backward over the railing into the falls… And Clark, once again, was suspiciously absent. A glimpse of him without his glasses made her suspect that the Man of Steel had been right under her nose the whole time…
The river… she threw herself into the rapids, expecting to be saved, and got nothing for her trouble but sopping wet.
The blazing fire… She brushed her wet hair out in front of the ‘romantic’ fire pit in the center of the honeymoon suite. Clark, clumsy as always, tripped and fell, immersing his hands in the flames. He should have been badly burned, but somehow his hands were miraculously unmarked.
His glasses… Clark turned toward her, resignation in the set of his shoulders, and removed the black frames. She declared her love for him, and he seemed a changed person. No longer human or alien, but something that spoke of both heritages.
The crystals, the snow… He brought her to his Fortress of Solitude, and they talked as they ate dinner. In the midst of her wonder, she couldn’t help feeling that this was the strangest date she had ever been on, not that she’d really had many boyfriends what with her non-stop drive to be the best reporter in Metropolis…
The red glow… She watched as he spoke to a surreal triple vision of his Kryptonian mother. The woman granted Superman a chance to be with his true love, but he would have to give up his superhuman abilities. As the red rays of his homeworld’s sun enveloped him, her only thought was that he had done this thing for her. It was almost more than she could comprehend.
They had made love tenderly, passionately, in a large silver bed. He had been tentative, but eager, and it thrilled her to the core. For the first time, she could see that Clark was not as much of a disguise as she had first thought.
The diner… Clark had tried to defend her honor to some low-life trucker. He had been shocked at the sight of his own blood, and soon after, they saw the images of a world gone mad with terror because of three Kryptonian invaders. She began to realize that maybe they had been selfish to take Superman away from a world that needed him.
He had left her to try to stop them, and she lived in a state of fear that she would never see him alive again. He was as vulnerable as anyone now. But his reappearance in uniform, back to his superpowered self, allayed her fears only a little. He had defeated them finally by turning the same process on them that he had used on himself earlier. Powerless, they had been taken care of easily.
Later, seeing him in his Clark Kent attire, and knowing that the man she loved could truly never be hers because he rightly belonged to the world, she had begun to sob. Why couldn’t he be both? She hated herself as she cried, cried for what they could never have…
The kiss… he had kissed her deeply, with a sort of finality. And all the pain, all the questions, had been utterly washed away…
“Oh, my God,” she breathed, speaking at last. “You…”
The screen door slid open. Richard walked in carrying something large and dripping in his arms. “I finally pried it from the mud… I think it must have come from the island Luthor created…”
She vaguely noted that Clark had snatched his glasses from the table and curled up into a fetal position. Like a slap to the face, Lois saw that Richard was carrying a mass of dark green crystals in his hands, some of the detritus that had fallen from the continent which was now orbiting the sun. The implications hit her hard… Clark… Jason!
She bolted upright, and raced over to Richard. “We have to get…!” she said in a panicked voice, before clamping her mouth shut. Richard had no idea why the rocks were so dangerous. He looked at her curiously, and she tried to cover her tracks. “…have to get Clark into some dry clothes.” Richard’s eyebrows raised slightly. “What? Do you think I want to change his underwear?”
Richard laughed. “All right. But what do we do with this k—kry—”
“Kryptonite,” Clark said faintly from the couch.
“Yes, kryptonite. If I remember, the stuff’s pretty dangerous to Superman.”
“Here,” she said shortly, holding out her hands for it. “I’ll take it into the garage or something. We need to let Perry know what we found, maybe we can call one of the research labs in town.”
He shrugged, completely unaware of the drama she was trying to avoid, and lifted it into her arms. “It’s lighter than it looks, as large as it is.”
Richard was right. Although she had a little trouble getting a good hold on it around the jagged edges, it didn’t weigh all that much. Richard turned his back to her, and began to pick up the dry clothes he had laid on the chair.
Clark stared at her, and she at him. She knew he was grateful that she was helping him out, but confused at the same time. For one wicked moment, she warred between stalking close to him with it, to watch him writhe… and getting it as far away from her… their… little boy as humanly possible. But she pushed those thoughts away – there were more important things to worry about.
“Clark, can you stand?” Richard said in a gentle voice. He began to help Clark from the sofa as she opened the garage door and stepped inside.
Once inside, she leaned against the door and exhaled shakily. She had somehow kept her composure, and acted responsibly. But God… what was she going to do? Not just with the kryptonite, either. With Clark’s true identity, knowing that she was unwittingly working right beside the father of her child… knowing what he had done to her. Her blood began to boil and at the same time her stomach dropped, her face flushed with shame. She pushed roughly away from the wall, slapped the garage door opener, and grabbed the garden shovel from its hook. Then she stalked off into the night, carrying her burden.
The wooden handle banged her shins a few times as she walked, trying to find a suitable place to bury the crystals, but she didn’t care. There was lead in soil, right? They always warned mothers to protect their children from accidental lead poisoning… she laughed humorlessly. She was the only mother on Earth… well, maybe only one of two… who could use it to save her child.
When she had walked about a half-mile, she came to an empty lot. This would do for now, until she could figure out a more secure location. She set the kryptonite down gently, and then set herself to work, viciously plunging the metal head of the shovel into the earth.
Superman… Clark… it all made sense. She considered herself to be the best at what she did. The best! If anyone could suss out Superman’s secret identity, it would be Lois Lane! And she had! That was what killed her! She had figured out the biggest secret of the century, and it had been ripped from her mind with one Judas kiss.
That’s the way she felt. Used. Abandoned. Betrayed with a kiss. Yet it was a kiss that had started the process, wasn’t it? Their almost-kiss had sparked something in her brain, enough to remind her of her earlier questions about Jason’s possible paternity. The one-sided kiss in the hospital must have begun the déjà vu process. And the final kiss this evening, full of passion from both parties, had brought it all back, in much the same way it had been removed.
By the time she had worked through this realization, the hole was dug, the kryptonite buried and covered over with earth. She walked back to the house more slowly, a cold anger beginning to suffuse her limbs. She opened the door to the house, now cool and collected, and gazed icily at the man she… no, she couldn’t, wouldn’t think it now.
Richard and Clark were talking on the couch, Clark looking a hell of a lot better than he had earlier. She could see the worry leap into his eyes at her return, and so she announced, “I decided it might be better to bury it a ways off. That way, no one else will accidentally stumble on it before we can tell the authorities about it.”
“Okay… I guess you have more experience with it than I do…” Richard shrugged.
Clark regarded her with gratitude as he stood. “I—I guess I should get home now. I’m so sorry I troubled you both. Thank you for the wonderful dinner and the great company.” He was ever the gentleman, even when he was on edge.
“Sure, Clark, any time,” Richard said warmly. “Take care and see you tomorrow.” He held out his hand to shake.
Clark took it, and shook it limply, but his gaze was all on Lois. Now was not the time to discuss the huge secret simmering between them, not with Richard standing there and a sick little boy upstairs. “Good night. See you at the Planet…” she held his eyes a beat longer than comfortable, and added as significantly as she dared, “…Clark.”
End of Act I.
Next chapter: Chapter 10: Him