Chapter 38: Written
Lois stood before Clark in shock, a million emotions and thoughts tumbling through her mind. Clark, his blue eyes bright and hopeful, waited with an air of quiet expectation. His palm was still held out toward her, gold band glittering in the light from the console. To the side, Jason was standing quietly, wide-eyed. Jor-El and Lara’s images were still as well – paused, possibly… but it felt as if the entire chamber waited with held breath. Through the turmoil of feelings, a tiny voice whispered to her, almost too quiet to hear, Say Yes! She tried to open her mouth… she needed to say something… anything…
A small smile turned up the corner of Clark’s mouth, and he repeated, “Will you marry me, Lois?”
Lois blushed with embarrassment. “Oh, yes, I know… I didn’t exp—I’m just… It’s so…” A little louder, the inner voice called to her again, Say Yes! She swallowed and looked around at everyone. “I’m just surprised, that’s all.”
A slight flush stained Clark’s cheeks as well. “I surprised myself, actually. My mother – I mean, my adoptive mother – knew I was thinking about it… I hope she doesn’t throttle me for asking you before she’s gotten the chance to meet you… but with the Fortress restored, I knew I had to ask now.”
She was amazed again at how easily he could surprise her. Say Yes! insisted the inner voice. “It’s… wow. I mean, Richard and I just…” Lois’ eyes drifted toward Jason again. If I feel shell-shocked right now, I can only imagine how he’s feeling… Jason met her questioning gaze with a quizzical look of his own. Worriedly, she continued, “It’s only been a few days. People at work – what will they think? I mean, Perry knows, but just imagine the watercooler conversation! And we just told Jason about it… and…” She realized she was babbling and stopped suddenly. With a serious look, Lois added, very slowly, “With all the talk about me and Superman… it would be awfully odd-seeming, don’t you think?”
Clark’s face fell. His fingers gently closed around the shining ring, and he began to retract his hand. Lois reached out to catch his wrist. Say Yes! “I didn’t say no…”
He brightened quickly, and looked back at her with an eager, hopeful expression once more.
“I’m sure we can figure something out… after all, when has this relationship ever played by the rules?”
But once again, Lois’ eyes were drawn to Jason. This isn’t a decision I can make alone… She crouched down beside him, taking his hands in hers. He looked back at her in that lost little boy way he had, the one that made her want to gather him into her arms and shield him from every kind of pain. But she pushed through her anxiety, her heart fluttering madly, and asked softly, “Kiddo, you’ve found out so much in such a short time, haven’t you?” Jason nodded, biting his lip. “Clark and I love each other very much. If we didn’t, you wouldn’t be here now. But, I don’t want us to do anything that would make you upset. What do you think about all this?”
Jason stared at her intently a moment, then turned his eyes up to Clark, who was looking like he was trying not to shift nervously from foot to foot. Then Jason gazed at the still forms of Jor-El and Lara, before finally coming back to Clark and Lois again. Lois desperately tried not to interrupt his solemn contemplative gaze – so like his father – but it was difficult, as anxiously as she awaited his answer.
He took a breath. “Mommies and Daddies should be married,” he stated firmly, lifting his chin.
Lois pulled him into a tight hug, tears springing to her eyes. “Yes, they should.” She pulled back to cover his cheeks in kisses, as he faintly smiled and wrinkled his nose. Say yes! The insistent mental voice grew louder. Still kneeling at Jason’s side, she turned her face up to Clark. “We’ll have to hide it for months…”
Clark’s face remained serious but the intense feeling lurking in those deep blue eyes reflected his heartfelt happiness. Then he smiled with amusement, fending off her weak arguments easily. “How is that any different than what we’ve always done?”
“We’ll have to find an apartment…”
He shrugged. “I know a guy...”
That silenced him for a moment, and she smoothed Jason’s hair idly before standing again. Then Clark spoke, voice low. “I know – it’ll be hard on him. We can hide it from him as well…”
“And that went so well the last time,” she added self-deprecatingly. “He’s probably expecting it, just not so soon…” And with that, she had countered her last argument.
Clark seemed to sense she was out of ammunition as well. “So, Lois…?”
Say yes! Say yes! Say… “Yes,” she exhaled, “I’ll marry you, Clark.”
Lois was in his arms so fast that her head started to spin. He tilted her backward slightly as he seized her lips between his own, kissing her thoroughly. The feel of his firm chest and strong arms embracing her so powerfully as he kissed her made the room spin even faster.
A giggle sounded beside them, and they broke apart. Jason stood there, a small hand covering his mouth, his eyes practically dancing with merriment, and she felt a mixture of relief and embarrassment. Of all the reactions he could have had…
Lois stepped back expectantly, and held out her hand toward Clark. It hovered in the air a moment, and she frowned when he didn’t grasp it in response. “Isn’t this where you slip that pretty thing on my…” Her words trailed off as she suddenly noticed that the ring was plain gold… no diamond… She gave Clark a puzzled look, dropping her hand to her side.
Clark smiled sheepishly, and then turned serious as he began to explain. “There’s more. I love you, Lois, more than anything. If we hadn’t been so rash the first time, if I hadn’t left in a fit of brooding…”
She touched his arm, consolingly, “Now, Clark…”
He shook his head decisively. “Let me finish. If things had been different, if I had committed to you the way I should have in the first place, then we might have already been married for a few years. No broken hearts, no lives in a shambles.” The regret was naked in his eyes.
Lois felt a wave of compassion for her tortured hero. “We were young, in love, not really thinking things through, Clark. No one could blame us if they really knew the whole story.”
“I could, Lois. And so, I have to ask you again.” He took up her hand where it rested at her waist, and asked again, “Will you marry me?” His eyes turned positively soulful. “Right now?”
Her mouth dropped open in shock. “Right… now…?”
Clark pulled her close against him, running a tender hand down the line of her jaw. “I want for us to be together, completely – mind and body, heart and soul,” he said in low, husky voice. “I wouldn’t be able to do that unless I make the ultimate commitment to you.” She shivered, enthralled by his nearness, his words. Somehow it didn’t matter that everyone, including their son, was watching them. “A marriage of the heart, witnessed here in front of my family. It would be just as legally binding on Krypton as the sealed scrap of paper we would get in Metropolis.”
He backed away then, to give her space, and her arms ached to continue their closeness. Clark went on, his tone growing more even, more reassuring. “But if you want to wait, we’ll wait. We’ll date, and we’ll ‘get engaged’ and we’ll plan a wedding, and marry in front of all of our friends and family. I’ll help you find a good place for you and Jason to live, and I’ll look forward to the day when I can move in with you, to be your husband…” He paused, eyes pregnant with meaning, “…in every way possible.”
Is there some sort of subtext that he can’t easily voice with Jason standing right there? Lois murmured under her breath, “So help me understand. Are you saying that we can’t be… together… unless we’re married?”
He nodded, apologetic resolve in his eyes.
“Of all the noble… crazy… old-fashioned…” she grumbled. It was times like this that she marveled that she had somehow overlooked the farm boy inside the hero. As she shook her head with bemusement, the little voice came back again. Say yes!
Aloud, Clark stated consolingly, “I’ll wait as long as you need… you need to be sure this is the right step for you. No matter what you decide, my pledge to you will be the same now as it will be one hundred years from now.” And then he stepped close to her again, taking her in his warm arms. Bending down, he breathed in her ear, “But it will take every ounce of my superhuman strength to stay away from you.”
“Oh, yes…” she shuddered, almost overwhelmed by her own ecstatic response to this hint of his desire. She blushed again with embarrassment. “I mean…”
He waited patiently, and she knew, as she titled her head to look up into those azure eyes, full of love unending, that there was no other way she could answer.
“Yes, Clark. Let’s get married. Right now.”
“You’re sure?” he rumbled softly.
She started to make some sort of snarky remark… But for once, nothing came to mind. Only this man was capable of breaking down her defensive walls so completely. “Yes, I’m sure. You’re right. We’ve wasted enough time already,” she told him matter-of-factly, but the fluttering of her heart betrayed her nervousness.
He squeezed her hand reassuringly, his face glowing with profound happiness. Then he looked down at little Jason. “Do you mind holding this, Jason?” Clark held the ring out to his son.
Jason shook his head, grinning slightly. He held both hands out, cupped to receive the ring. Clark placed it inside them gently.
“I don’t have a ring for you, Clark…” she murmured. “I wouldn’t even know what to get you… I don’t suppose you…?” She arched an eyebrow questioningly at him.
He smiled tenderly, and then reached into his cape again. The ring he produced was an exact replica of hers, just larger. He settled it into Jason’s waiting hands beside hers.
Then Clark turned to the images of his parents, who were still, expectant, and intoned as if following an ancient script, “Father, Mother, I come before you today to present the woman I wish to marry, Lois Lane. She is strong, pure in heart, and is of good character. She will be a fine addition to the House of El.”
Together Jor-El and Lara replied just as formally, “We have found her so, and judge her fit to enter into contract with you.” Jor-El went on alone, “This joining cannot be entered lightly. Have you determined to commit to her fully, creating bonds of law that should not be sundered?”
“I have, Father.”
Lara spoke next. “As strong as the bonds of law are, the bonds of love are even stronger. Are you willing to devote your heart to her completely, twining your lives together irrevocably?”
“I am, Mother.”
The two faces turned to her, then, and Lois shivered. There was something so ancient, so otherworldly, yet so universal about this ritual. “Lois Lane, our son, Kal-El, has selected you as his marriage partner,” Jor-El said. “Do you wish to enter into this contract as well?”
A slow smile parted Lois’ lips, and she looked up at Clark steadily. “Yes.”
Jor-El repeated the words he had asked of Clark, “Have you determined to commit to him fully, creating bonds of law that should not be sundered?”
Lara added her portion. “Are you willing to devote your heart to him completely, twining your lives together irrevocably?”
“I am.” Lois squeezed his hands firmly.
“Do you have anything to say to your bride, Kal-El?”
“I do, Father.” Clark brought her hands up to kiss them, and she felt dizzy for a moment, hit with déjà vu once again. He had done the same thing right before they had been intimate the first time, she remembered. “Lois, my love, my light. Even though I grew up on Earth, I never really felt I belonged to it, somehow. I was always different, and no one could explain why…” He let go with one of his hands to gesture around them. “…until I found the crystal, and learned of my history and destiny. I had determined that I would always be that ‘strange visitor from another planet’ – on Earth, but not of it.”
He rejoined their hands once again, as he continued. “But then I met you, Lois. From the first moment I saw you, you mesmerized me with your vivacity and courage. You were everything I strove to protect and came to love in humanity. And when I discovered that as alien as I was, you loved me, accepted me… well, I was overwhelmed. I wanted to cast everything aside and become human, mortal, so that I could be with you forever. If only I had realized that it didn’t matter to you what or who I was.”
Clark squeezed her hands. “And now I can do what I should have done all those years ago. I pledge my all to you. Everything in me that is Kryptonian, and everything in me that is human. I will love you, and our son, our miracle child, for the rest of my days.”
He let go once again, to take the ring from Jason, pausing momentarily to ruffle his hair gently before turning back to Lois. “This isn’t part of the Kryptonian ceremony, but the Kansas farm boy in me couldn’t do anything else. With this ring, I thee wed.” He slipped the ring on her finger, and an exhilarating charge coursed through her body. She couldn’t tell whether the feeling was real or imagined, only that she felt spiritually sealed to him now.
Lara asked, “Do you have anything to say to your groom, Lois Lane?”
Lois thanked the heavens that she was quick on her feet. “Yes, I do. Clark, when I first met you, there was none of that magic you just described. I am ashamed to say that I completely overlooked you. It wasn’t until you first appeared as Superman that I lost my heart to you. But the more I got to know both sides of you, the more I suspected you were the same person. And once I learned, everything made sense. I can truly say at this moment that everything I love and admire about you is present in both sides of you. I wish that the world could see you as I do, but in some ways, I love the special bond we share.”
She plucked the second ring from Jason’s palm, giving her perfect little boy a joyful, open smile, and moved it to the edge of Clark’s finger. “I pledge myself to you, Clark. May my love give you the strength to bear your burdens and to be everything you are destined to be, and more. With this ring, I thee wed.” She slid the golden circle onto his finger. At her touch, his body temperature seemed to rise even farther, warming the air around them.
Jor-El and Lara intoned together, “The two hearts are made one, bound for eternity. The House of El and the House of Lane will be forever linked.” Their voices rang throughout the enormous chamber, and the echoes slowly died away.
Lois smiled up at Clark, tears welling in her eyes, and found that his eyes sparkled wetly as well. “What now?”
“May I kiss the bride?” His smile was half shy, half pure, unalloyed happiness.
Lois didn’t answer with words; she reached up to thread her fingers into his shiny black locks, and pulled him down into a lengthy kiss. As his arms went around her back, they both heard giggly applause coming from the small hands beside them.
Turning her wedding band idly between her fingers, Lois sat on the edge of a crystalline chair. She had insisted that Clark and Jason continue their discussion of his history, to take advantage of the restored library. She had finally taken the opportunity to explore the Fortress, wandering around the different chambers and looking at everything. It was no longer cold inside, and several times she had placed a hand on the face of one of the large pillars, just to test it. The gleaming surfaces fairly pulsed with life and warmth now, as if the entire structure was as happy as Clark was to have it back.
She didn’t mind the extra time to be left alone with her jumbled, happy thoughts. As much as she wanted to spend time with Clark now – and oh, she did – Jason needed it much more.
It was hard to describe what she was feeling right now. Clark had completely turned her world around in just a few short days. And the wedding a few hours ago – she knew she would never forget it, no matter what type of public ceremony they repeated for everyone in Metropolis. This was the marriage that would be written on her heart, not to mention the stars.
She began to place the ring back on her finger, when the light caught the inside of the band. There was something written there, inscribed on the gold… but so tiny that she couldn’t read it. She squinted at it for a few moments, tilting it every which way to get a better view…
A soft footfall beside her startled her out of her examination. Her eyes traveled up a pair of red boots, across his form-fitting red and blue suit, and up to his radiant blue eyes. But Jason wasn’t beside him. “Where’s…?”
“Asleep. He started yawning a little while ago, and when we were sitting at the table, he started to rest his head on his arms. The next thing I knew, he was fast asleep.”
Lois smiled fondly at the image. “He’s always done that. He’ll be out like a light all night long. I don’t blame him – he’s had to take in an awful lot of information today.” Lois looked around, but didn’t see where Jason was lying down. “Where is he sleeping? Did you put him in the…?” She stopped. For whatever reason, she couldn’t finish the word ‘bedroom.’
“No. In fact, I was able to use the console to create a small, comfortable room of his own for him. I covered him with one of my spare capes – I think he’ll be warm enough.”
“I’m sure he’ll be fine…” She looked down at the ring between her fingers again. “Clark? Is there something written here, inside the band?”
He gave her a secretive smile. “Yes, there is.”
“What? It’s so small, I can’t make it out…?”
“Well, even if it were bigger, you couldn’t read it. It’s in Kryptonian.”
“Kryptonian? What does it say? ‘I’m always around?’” she teased.
“No,” he laughed. “It’s from the ceremony. It says, ‘The bonds of love…’” He touched his own band to indicate it was inscribed as well, “‘…are even stronger.’”
Lois regarded it for a moment, another wave of love and desire flooding her. She slid the ring back on, and took his hand in hers. “Even stronger than you?”
“A thousand times stronger.” With his other arm, he drew her close. He kissed her lightly on her parted lips, and then laid gentle kisses down her jaw line toward her ear. “I have been waiting to do this since the moment I laid eyes on you in that plane,” he murmured against her skin. The vibration of his lips sent feathery tingles shooting through her. Lois shuddered in pleasure, knowing that the fantasies that had been troubling her the last few days were finally going to become reality. “It has taken everything I had to stay away from you until the time was right.”
When he finally reached her earlobe, he whispered, his warm breath tickling her ear, “And my strength is almost gone.”
Next: Chapter 39: Forever - Unedited | PG-13