A/N I wrote this a few ago in anticipation of season 2 of Superman and Lois. It takes place immediately after the season one finale. Thanks for reading and know I am sending my love and appreciation your way during these hard times.
3:11am No words.
Words tend to come easy for me. I've been using them as my profession my whole life. Words save lives. Words speak truth. Words shine light in dark places. Yet in this moment, I am struggling to find words that describe what's going on inside me. To make sense of this moment. If it were a massive world event, I could find the words for it, but when it involves the weight of my own heart, I have no words.
I stared at the clock 20 minutes ago 3:11am, awoken from an already restless sleep with my husband flying off to some situation in need of Superman.
My kind, courageous boys are asleep or at least pretending to be asleep in their rooms.
Outside, in the barn, John Henry Irons is in his engineered van. He chose not to leave Smallville just yet. Today, left many more words to be shared between us. We had to talk this through. However, I am still at a loss for...words.
Let me take this from a different angle. Maybe the words will come more freely then.
In our guest room, sleeps a teenage girl who I met today for the first time, but feel as though I've known and loved her for my whole life. That she is part of my existence. This is no ordinary teenage girl. She is around the same age as my boys and like them she's a fighter. Unlike them, she's also a musician, engineer, and traveler. She crossed worlds, space, and time to be here with her father John Henry. Her name is Natalie and my heart aches when I see her. My heart aches when I type her name and words escape me.
Is my heart confusing this extraordinary girl with my Natalie? Or am I simply being empathetic to the ordeal this young woman went through today?
It's not just my heart, I feel as though she is my daughter-her spunk, her smile. Yet she can't be my daughter? Right?! I did not give birth to her. Her existence doesn't make me unfaithful to Clark...but her dad is John Henry. I must remind myself; I am not her mother.
I am trying to sort through my emotions, but also wondering about hers and how she's feeling after the incredible joy of seeing her dad again and then the moment of crushing anguish to find out that I am not her real mother...I'm just a woman who shared the same name, DNA, and gifts.
I wonder if I know something of what's she is feeling, my heart at once aches for my Natalie but at the same time was filled with love for THIS Natalie. How do we figure out these next steps? Can I be like a mother to this version of Natalie? How will this impact John Henry, the boys, and Clark?
This is one night, I'm grateful my husband is Superman. I love being with him. Typically, his arms envelop me and make me feel safe. But tonight, I'm glad he's off saving the world. It is good to be alone with my thoughts and the few, inarticulate words that make their way through me.
It feels somewhat freeing to be alone, typing away in the dark, attempting to capture what is going on so I don't lose my grip on reality. I am barely keeping this dam of emotions intact...I let it break earlier today and that did not go well. I am trying not to drown again in those dark places of my soul. Breathing without tears is difficult. Typing without tears is difficult, but I must continue to write these words, to get this out.
A few hours ago, after we laid Clark's Kryptonian father to rest, and wished John Henry the best of luck, we were shocked when a spaceship landed on the farm. The next moment, we were all standing in shock and joyful solidarity as John Henry embraced his daughter Natalie.
His Natalie who somehow crossed space, time, and different worlds to be here...
Then, I honestly don't know how it happened. This beautiful girl's arms were around me, tears in her eyes, calling me "mom." I didn't dissuade her of her notion when in that single moment. I could have, but I didn't. Instead, tears were in my eyes, my arms around this girl, my body trembling and my voice crying her name "Natalie?!"
At some point, my head told me what my heart dared not admit. This incredible young person who's radiant smile stole my heart, is not my Natalie. She's another Lois' Natalie. Her mother and MY Natalie don't exist on this world. Wait let me correct that. Their memories do exist and are carried by those who love them, but they physically aren't present with us.
After crying Natalie's name, I started to do the right thing. I backed away from her, my hand briefly brushing her face, and I choaked out the words, "Natalie, dear girl. We have something to tell you."
Clark and the boys had gathered behind me and John Henry and Natalie in front of me. I was ready and willing to say the words. But just like that I couldn't speak...no words! My lips were frozen open. The words I wanted to say were somehow caught in my throat along with 15 years of pent up emotion.
I turned to Clark and the boys who had looks of deep concern on their faces. I then saw John Henry tell Natalie something, and her beautiful hopeful face, crumple up into anguish and horror. He held her with a father's love and care. I couldn't hear what anyone was saying yet I still wanted to reach out.
My heart was beating so loudly, and I couldn't breathe. Was this a panic attack? I had only had this feeling once before, but not like this. When I needed to keep it together, I literally couldn't breathe. I saw Clark mouth the words "Lois?"
All rushed toward me. Why couldn't I keep it together and be strong? This shouldn't have been a moment about me, but a moment about Natalie and her dad.
My head and heart throbbed, and I felt my feet give way. I was angry my body wouldn't let me be there in that moment. To be strong.
Any just like that, I passed out. I have only ever blacked out one other time in my life, when Clark and I lost our Natalie. How could this happen? Aren't I Lois Lane, the poster woman for stability, competence, and truth? I didn't even blackout as a girl when I learned my mother had passed...yet here I was, on the farm, a place that has always felt safe, with people whom I love and want to love, and I lost it.
I woke a few hours later, Clark sitting by my bedside in the hospital with a worried look on his face...a familiar scene, yet again from when we lost our Natalie. The hospital reminded me of my pre-Clark life.
Clark had breathed a sigh of relief, "Oh Thank God, you're awake." He embraced me and I asked him what happened, thinking the above recollections were just a dream.
Clark, disabused me of my delusion, "we were all so scared, the doctor had to run some tests," He looked at me lovingly, "the doctor said your potassium and iron levels were really off and that he was no expert, but the lack of vitamins plus an intense panic attack put your body into a momentary shock." He was so gentle placing his hand on mine.
I trusted Clark, I knew he didn't tell the Doctor what had placed me into shock, we were used to making up white lies to protect our life. Yet in that moment I was mad.
"A shock," I blurted out angrily "A shock, you mean, meeting John's Natalie. "The harshness of my tone surprised even myself. I had pulled my hand away and placed it on my forehead. I was embarrassed that I couldn't keep it together. Even with my husband.
Clark seemed to look more concerned. "Lois, this wasn't your fault. We can't always control how our bodies respond to situations and plus, we need to look at your nutrition and vitamin intake. I know it's been a stressful few weeks." His face showed such empathy. It de-escalated my anger...even though my anger wasn't directed toward him.
I was mad. Mad at myself, for not being attentive to my health during the last few weeks with Morgan Edge and Smallville in disarray. I was also mad, that I couldn't describe my own feelings - was I angry, confused, despairing, grieving our child, but full of love for another I just met? These words merely touched the surface of my heart.
The doctors wanted me to stay overnight, but said it was safe enough if I chose not to. I chose not to. I forgot how much I hated the feel of hospitals. So many bad memories from when my mom passed, to a traumatic experience in college, to losing my Natalie, and then today.
Clark also was concerned, especially about the potassium. I assured him I'd be okay. I'd even eat a banana on the way home if he insisted. When things calmed down, I would make a doctor's appointment and develop a nutrition plan.
Clark finally agreed to drive me home. Home. What awaited me there? All I knew is that my boys needed to see me okay. And this girl, Natalie, although I wasn't her mother, I didn't want her to worry either.
Clark said that he had spoken to John Henry while I was at the hospital and that Natalie, and the boys were getting along well. Natalie was resilient. John Henry had also explained that the Superman of this world was good. John Henry had shared Natalie had been skeptical. He had not shared yet that Clark was Superman and felt that should come from us. I was grateful for John Henry's instincts.
Clark went on to share that Natalie seemed to cognitively understand that I wasn't her mom, and that this universe was different. John Henry and the boys had explained the whole "different" and "parallel" world thing to Natalie...so when I got back, she would know that I'm not HER mom.
I chuckled and responded to Clark that the fainting bit, might have also given that away. Natalie's Lois probably had things more together.
Clark responded in his caring serious way, "doubtful...and stop beating yourself up Lois. You're talking about the person who just saved our son by using a Kryptonian mind mapping machine. Not to mention, your instincts saved Smallville and the entire world. If it weren't for you, we would not have been remotely prepared and Zod or whoever would be occupying my body right now."
Clark put things into perspective. When we got back to the house, we had an odd family dinner of sorts take out from the Diner. I assured everyone I was okay. Jonathan and Natalie seemed to become fast friends talking technology. I had to catch myself, and I think Natalie felt the same way, trying not to look to curious about the other. Cognitively I know she's not mine, but is it wrong for me to want to be a part of her life?
I digress, over dessert - Clark made banana split sundaes. I was tempted to tell Natalie the truth then and there about Clark and our world's Superman, but I knew today had been so much of shock. Was this decision to not share for Natalie's sake or for my own?
After dessert, the boys played video games with Natalie as us adults talked in the kitchen. Clark and John Henry were concerned for me - I waved them away - we all needed to focus on our kids and today, on Natalie. How could we ensure she feels welcome and safe in this new world?
In that moment, I felt like myself again, briefly. I knew what we needed to prioritize. For now, we can offer a comfy and safe place for Natalie to sleep in our guest room. John Henry was obliged and appreciative when after we had offered the comfortable space, Natalie was excited to sleep in a real bed again. I don't think I've seen him smile so much. He must be an incredible father.
After we got Natalie settled and wished the boys good night, Clark and I retired early too. I was grateful for his warm embrace, as I started crying again. I literally have no control over my emotions.
What am I going to do? How do I move forward? Questions, that I wonder right now in this moment, during the small hours of the day.
Is it wrong for me to want to be this Natalie's mom too? Am I dishonoring my Natalie's memory and this Natalie's memory of her mom to want to do so? Am I even making sense?
Who knows what's next...my daughter or not my daughter, I know I will protect her and love her as my own. I cannot control my emotions, but I can control my actions moving forward.
Clark just came back, best shut down again for the night and try to get some sleep.
Tomorrow, we need to figure out a good cover story.