Barbara (htbthomas) wrote,

Then And Now, 2/3

Title: Then And Now
Author: htbthomas
Summary: Clark Kent returns to the Daily Planet, after a five-year absence, and discovers that his true love, Lois Lane, has a son. The question – is the boy his? My own take on Clark’s feelings, pre–Superman Returns.

Then and Now

Chapter 2: Vision


It started with gentle touches. Lois seemed to know that she would need to take the lead here. Sup – no, Clark, only Clark, now – had never really done much more than kiss a woman.

And so he did. Tentatively at first, but as Lois responded, he grew more bold. He encircled her with his arms, and pulled her into him hungrily. After a few minutes of this, she pulled away.

“Ah… as much as I like kissing you… aren’t you interested in a bit more?” she asked, a hint of teasing in her voice. She looked half-amused, half-chagrined.

He chuckled. It was hard to know how to behave around Lois. He was a man of contrasts, after all, mild-mannered yet confident, ineffectual yet strong. In his new life as a human, he was going to have to decide which sides of his personality were truly him.

In this case, he decided to be completely honest. “Yes,” he said, blue eyes capturing hers. “I am. But, you see…” he trailed off, unsure how to continue. He had done so many amazing things in his life, but never this.

“I know,” she assured him, reading his mind. Her eyes twinkled impishly. “But I’m sure you’ll be a fast learner.” She gently took his hand, and placed it on her satin-covered thigh.

The heat he felt there caused him to close his eyelids. He drank in her soft curves with his hands, slowly, languorously. He pushed up the nightgown – how had she brought a change of clothing here, anyway? – suddenly wanting skin-on-skin contact…


Clark’s eyes fluttered closed a moment, as the memory of their union flashed through his mind. He repeated her name softly. “Lois.”

He took a moment to take in her appearance. She had let her hair grow; it now cascaded past her shoulders in chestnut waves. She seemed younger somehow, healthier. Had she given up smoking?

But the annoyed expression on her face, and the brusque voice were pure Lois Lane. “I said I’ve got it, Richard. You must think I’m some sort of fragile china doll.” She stepped purposefully down the steps to the main floor of the newsroom, carrying a large file box in her arms, purse threaded through one arm, cup of coffee held in the other hand.

Clark grinned, reminded again of her fierce independence. The man who trailed behind her was wearing a similar expression. Is this the Richard that Perry mentioned? He seemed confident, with brown hair and eyes, and was dressed in a well-cut suit. Clark decided he must be, as the man replied, “No, Lois, I know you’re not that breakable. Can’t you just accept my help every once in a while?” he kidded her. This was said with the air of a subject they’d been over ad nauseam.

She walked across the room, toward an office on the far side. “When I want your help, I’ll holler for it,” she shot behind her, never stopping to look back.

Richard followed her good-naturedly. This must be her new partner. I can remember being treated exactly the same way, Clark thought ruefully. As she pulled open the door with the coffee-less hand and placed a knee in the opening to push it open the rest of way, he enjoyed watching her struggle. Richard was there a moment later, holding the door so that she could slide all the way into the office.

Clark held back from making his presence known. He enjoyed watching her. It was a sight he had missed for such a long time. And now he knew where her desk was located.

He began to walk toward her office, to greet her in his own clumsy way, when something he saw stopped him in his tracks. Lois put down the box, set her coffee and purse to the side, and placed a hand on Richard’s upper arm. She kissed him tenderly on the cheek.

In shock, Clark found himself focusing his super-hearing on them. He knew this wasn’t the most ethical use of his powers, but…

“How late do you think you’re going to be working on the story?” Richard asked her.

“Pretty late. I still have several sources to call, and one of them keeps pretty strange hours.” She shifted some papers around on her eternally messy desk. “And then I have to write the ‘award-winning’ expose after that…”

“All right, then. Do you think you could fit dinner in there somewhere? Jason and I could bring some Chinese food…”

“That sounds good…” She was obviously distracted.

“Lois…” Richard said in a long-suffering way.

She straightened up, and crossed back to him. Giving him another kiss, she murmured, “It sounds wonderful.”

Still stunned, Clark added the telescopic vision and zoomed in on them closely. Richard kissed her back, clearly enjoying her closeness.

She raised a hand to stroke his cheek, her hazel eyes looking into his brown ones. “You’re too good for me, Richard. I’ll see you later.”

Her hand seemed to drop from his face in slow motion. He zeroed in on a flashing bit of diamond on her left hand. An engagement ring.

“Amazing, isn’t it?” Without him realizing it, Jimmy had come to stand beside him. “Lois Lane, tough-as-nails ace reporter, in a serious relationship.”

He tried to recover. It wouldn’t do for Jimmy to see how shaken he was. “Uh, wow, you’re right! So, this Richard…” he asked nonchalantly, “have they been together long?”

“Oh, yeah, I keep forgetting how long you’ve been gone!” Jimmy exclaimed. “You’ve never met Richard!” He began walking toward the office Clark had just been spying on, motioning for Clark to follow.

He reluctantly put one foot in front of the other, feeling now less sure than ever that he was meant to come back here. Lois… was engaged? To another man? His staunchly self-sufficient, take-no-prisoners Lois was settling down?

He felt a little sick to his stomach. Why did I ever think this place was like coming home? They do say, ‘You can never go home.’ He felt like turning around right there.

But he pushed his fears aside. Even though I am as vulnerable to Lois as I am to Kryptonite, in I go… Clark followed as Jimmy pulled open the door, to stand uncertainly in the doorframe.

“Good morning, Mr. White, Miss Lane.” Jimmy gestured behind him. “Guess who’s back?”

The two of them turned to look at him standing there. Richard with mild interest, Lois almost without recognition. He raised his hand in a small wave. “Hi.”

He didn’t know what he was expecting from her reaction. Lois did a double take, and then exclaimed, “Clark!” She walked over and gave him an awkward hug. “How’ve you been?”

“Um, okay, okay. Finally back from seeing the world…” he managed. What did you expect, Kent? That she would throw herself into your arms again? You know it’s your fault that she remembers nothing…

“That’s great,” she said in a friendly tone, turning to Richard. “This is Clark Kent. He used to be my partner a few years back.”

Richard offered his hand, shaking it with a firm grip. “Nice to meet you, Clark. I’m Richard White.” He nodded his head toward Lois. “Lois’ fiancé.”

His stomach turned another flip at hearing that confirmed. He tried to act happy for them. “Congratulations. She’s a catch, this one.” He paused, reflecting on Richard’s last name. “White? As in Perry White?”

“The very same. He’s my uncle. The journalism bug runs in the family.” He looked fondly at Lois, and added, “If he hadn’t offered me a position here, I would never have met Lois.”

Lois smiled back at him, but a little less brightly. “Yes, we were very lucky,” she agreed, a smidgen uncomfortably. Turning back to Clark, she said, “Well, it’s great to have you back, Clark, but I need to get back to work on this story… That goes for you, too, Richard.”

Her fiancé held up his hands in surrender. “All right, all right. I’m going. Don’t forget dinner, okay?”

“Okay,” she mumbled, a pencil already between her teeth. She was immersed in the files again.

Richard brushed past him on the way out of the office. “Nice to meet you, Clark. We’ll have to trade Lois stories some time.”

“Yeah, uh, we will,” Clark said to his retreating back. He quietly left her to her work. I guess if I held out any hope that she would be glad to see me, it’s gone now. He slowly walked back toward his desk

Once there, try as he might, he couldn’t concentrate on anything. He had a list of assignments to begin researching, but anytime he looked up, he would catch a glimpse of Lois, busy at work.

So, once again, he found himself zooming in on her face. Her face, screwed up with concentration, biting on the end of her pencil. He chided himself, what are you, a lovesick puppy? Much more of this and you’ll become Super-Stalker. Faster than a high-speed camera, more powerful than a restraining order…

He slid his eyes back to the task at hand, but just before, he caught a glimpse of a photo on the wall beside her desk. A photo of Superman and Lois Lane, from the days when he first appeared. Did she still care for the superhero? Or was it a reminder of days gone by?

Beside it was a family photo. Lois, Richard, and… a little boy. The boy was curled up in her lap, smiling in an impish, Lois-like way. Lois had… a son? He was floored.

His thoughts suddenly drifted back to the conversation he had spied on. Richard had mentioned a Jason… He would bet that was their son’s name. As he studied the picture more closely he noticed that the boy definitely looked a lot like his mother. But staring into the camera, above that telltale grin, were a pair of piercingly blue eyes.

Next: Chapter 3: The Meeting
Tags: fanfiction, superman returns

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