Author's Note: We get this epilogue, gentle readers, because I saw Justice League in the theaters 7 times. (The last 2 times were mostly because my daughter begged me and I wanted to make sure I remembered correctly all the dialogue for this story.) Somewhere around showing #5 I noticed the same thing about timing that Lois does in this chapter because, as mentioned earlier, I'm a nut for this sort of thing. The cues I saw in showing #6 and #7 pretty well confirmed it. My dear husband is the inspiration behind the explanation.
Clark lounged in his new bathrobe across the foot of the bed, working on a bag of jerky (Sriracha-seasoned because his mother loved him), and answering Lois' interview questions.
She was sitting up against the headboard, her hair in a messy bun and absolutely enthralling to him when she was engrossed in a story like this. Up until now, her questions had been mostly fact-finding: who, what, when and where. Her thoughtful frown told him she was ready to move on to "why," and when the mind inside that pretty head of hers turned to analysis, even the mighty trembled.
How could he not love that woman?
She glanced up, caught him looking at her, and adjusted her bathrobe so it covered her legs a little more thoroughly. Shaking her head at him in amusement, she said, "I think I've got a pretty clear picture now, but there's this five-hour or so gap." She tapped her pencil against the notebook his mom had loaned her. "You left the farm fairly early in the day, but you say you didn't actually meet up with the others until what would have been about six o'clock in the evening our time."
Clark could feel his face warming in embarrassment.
She looked at him expectantly, and when he didn't take the hint, she asked point-blank, "What happened?"
"Well, it's not like Bruce invited me over to the Bat Cave before I died," he muttered and took a bite of jerky to save himself from needing to elaborate.
Lois blinked in surprise. She opened her mouth to say something, her brow furrowed, and then she shut it. She inhaled to ask a question, tilted her head, and paused again. Finally she said, "The fate of the world was hanging in the balance."
"You remembered it was just across the harbor from Metropolis, right?"
"Yes, I went straight to Gotham City."
"And that took you five hours?"
He ducked his head. "No, that only took me a few minutes."
"It's not like I had a cell phone, Lo. I couldn't call 411 or plug 'Wayne Manor' into a GPS app."
Her face was frozen into a mask of disbelief, and she stared at nothing. "I sent you away. I thought you were in mortal danger..." Finally she refocused on him. "And all the while you were wandering Gotham City because you couldn't stop to ask for directions?!"
"I was barefoot and in tattered pants," he pointed out with all the dignity he could muster. "If I'd gone up to a police officer and asked for directions to Wayne Manor he probably would have tried to arrest me."
She did her best to hide her mirth, even covering her mouth, and Clark couldn't help but smile in answer because, now that he wasn't frantically searching for Bruce and the others, it was kind of funny.
"So how'd you find them?"
"I searched the entire surface of Gotham City and its suburbs two times without luck. Eventually I realized that, since the Suit was in the 'Bat Cave,' I should probably be looking beneath the surface. That's when I finally found Alfred, but by then the others had already given up and gone on ahead without me."
Lois shook her head in disbelief. "And you barely made it to them in time. What whims of fate our world survives on."
It was true – mortifyingly so. The reporter in her could make even him tremble with fear. "Promise me that won't make it into the article?"
Lois threw her head back and laughed harder than Clark could ever remember. When she finally settled down enough to speak through her chortles, she said, "You might need to bribe me, Kent."
"I've been out of work for six months," he pointed out, smirking since he had a pretty good idea where she was headed with this.
"Are you good with your hands?" she asked, her eyes still dancing with laughter.
"Don't know." Waggling his eyebrows, he asked, "Want to help me remember?"
"Would I ever!" Still chortling, she leaned over to turn off the nightstand light.