Aftermath: Superman Returns, The Revelation
It had been months since he had been back, and Lois had changed her life once again after he had left over five years ago.
Her life with Richard had definitely changed, even if she wanted to or not. The fact was that Richard had seen her with him, with Superman. He had heard her tone of voice change when she talked to him; how she talked to him. Everything had happened so fast, and the added crisis brought by Lex Luthor hadn't given her the chance to think things through.
Yes, she had told Richard she didn't care for Superman, and that had been a mistake, but not as big as not telling her Jason wasn't really his son.
Now, that had been a mistake.
But, it was all in the past. Those mistakes couldn't be undone and now she had to try to live with the consequences they brought.
She was Lois Lane, Pulitzer Prize winner, ace reporter… why did she had a life that was so complicated? Why had her connection with Superman become so special? Well, for starters, she couldn't have known he would leave. What ever had possessed her to think he would stay with her forever?
Again, it was all in the past. Superman was back and she had confessed: Jason was his son, not Richard's.
Even with everything that had happened, day after day she had kept the secret from everybody else, even Richard, her fiancée. Now that she thought about it, it just seemed like another mistake. It was again too complicated and she didn't have the answers for everything. She wasn't supposed to have answers for everything, but it felt like Richard and everybody else seemed to expect answers.
The only one that was truly off her back was Superman. She felt at ease talking to him, keeping no secrets from him. They had talked about Jason and what he had been able to do in Luthor's yacht, but nothing had been resolved.
Superman was, after all, a very busy man, and even when he dropped by every other day, his visits were brief and not very deep. In a way, Lois felt the Man of Steel was keeping something from her, but she didn't know what. There wasn't anything that she asked that he didn't answer, and yet… there was something; something that kept them apart. Maybe she was asking the wrong questions.
Slowly, her relationship with Richard changed. He became more distant and so did she. The process took months; almost a year, but watching Jason grow up took both their minds from their failing relationship. They still respected each other, but they were becoming more friends than lovers and all they needed was for one of them to say it out loud.
Life at the Planet had also been different. Along with Superman, the other man that had left her years ago had come back. Clark Kent was now at home at the Daily Planet and it was almost as if he had never left. In a way, it was comforting to know Clark was back to act as the scapegoat every time she needed someone to yell at or be mean to; even just someone to talk to. It wasn't a very noble thought, the way she constantly abused him, but Clark had proven to be a good friend to her that way. For some reason he never seem to get really upset and that was something Lois appreciated. Something else Clark had brought with him was a new friendship for Jason, The now six year old enjoyed hanging around him because Clark actually paid attention to him when everybody else in the newsroom was too busy to even care the little boy existed.
Yes, Lois had had a lot of changes, and the following week would bring the greatest change of all.
It all started when the routine was changed one night, when Superman had flown to her home. He never actually came in the house, because he knew Richard was there, thinking Lois was out taking some air or sneaking out to take a smoke. Lois rarely smoked nowadays, but still, every now and then she would take out a cigarette when Superman came to visit her.
The Man of Steel didn't say anything anymore. He used to bug her a lot back in the day about her smoking habits, but seeing his circumstances and how he had abandoned her with his child in her womb, had changed even Superman.
Lois usually waited for him for half an hour. It had been a silent arrangement; they both knew the other would just be there. Sometimes Superman just wouldn't show, but Lois didn't worry about that anymore. She would just go back to the house and join a sleeping Richard in bed.
"Good evening, Lois." She heard Superman's voice from up in the sky. He swiftly floated to the ground, his boots touching the grass gently, and then walking to join Lois on the bench that looked at the river.
"Everything ok?" He asked, not sounding very worried.
Lois considered her options; her new life was now stable enough to risk changing it again.
"I wanted to talk to you about something today." She didn't look at him; she was staring at the water. "If you have time, of course."
"I think I can listen." Superman said.
"Good." She readied herself for it. Even when she thought she trusted Superman with everything, what she planned to tell him was a little to private. "It's about Richard."
Lois felt as Superman tensed and tried not to react to the name as she said it. "What about Richard?" He asked.
"I really don't know who else to talk to. There's Clark at the office, but he's also a guy and I think this is something I need to share… on a different level."
"See, the thing is," she continued, "I don't think we're going to make it."
"What do you mean?" Superman sounded genuinely confused.
Lois sighed, "I mean, it has all changed and he knows that we have… well, he knows there's something between us."
"Did you tell him about Jason?"
She shook her head rapidly. "No. No. I don't think I'm ready for that yet. He still thinks Jason's his son." Waiting for Superman to say something, Lois remained silent. Unfortunately, he was truly a man of few words. "But, I will tell him."
Feeling Superman nod, she drew a faint smile. "It will be hard." He pointed out, something that had been unnecessary.
"I know." They sat there in silence for a few minutes. Finally, she turned to him, looking at his profile for the first time that night. "After I do… tell Richard, I mean… I would like to take this relationship to the next level."
How she wished she could read his mind. Superman slowly turned to her with an unreadable expression. She wasn't sure if he was scared, surprised or excited. His blue eyes looked at her and he raised both eyebrows.
"I'm sorry?" He finally said.
"I mean… you. Me. The next level."
He shook his head a little. "What do you mean?"
But she only smiled at him. "I get the feeling you don't want that…"
"No. No. I do. I think I do… but, there are some things about me that…"
"… that I don't know?" She finished his sentence. "I know that, but I will ask and… I was hoping you would answer."
Superman stood up, walked a few feet away from her, his arms crossed just under the yellow and red symbol on his chest. "Let me think about it." He said, very serious.
"All right." Lois said, feeling a little disappointed.
"Don't get me wrong. I want to, but I think that… there are some things about me you will… not like that much."
"I can't imagine what those things could be. You are Superman, aren't you?"
Lois got the feeling he was going to say something about that, but he just stared at her.
"Well, I better go now…" He said finally, which in fact felt almost like running away.
"I understand." Lois told him, "But, please think about it. I really think this could work. Us."
Superman nodded, forced a smile. "Good night, Lois."
Then he was gone.
"Where's Clark?" Lois asked Jimmy when she got to the Planet and he wasn't anywhere in sight.
"Oh, he took a couple of days off. He called Perry early in the morning." Jimmy said.
"Why? Is he sick?"
"No. I think he was going out of town."
"That's weird." For as long as she'd known him, Clark never went out of town. She thought that that five year absence when he had gone around the globe had been enough vacation to last him a life time.
She was lost in thought when Richard came in the office, not really noticing Lois standing right there. Following him to his office, she closed the door behind him.
"Oh, hi, Lois. I didn't see you this morning." He said casually.
"I know." Lois said, "I took Jason to Summer School, they are having that field trip today, remember? To the aquarium?"
"Ah, yes. I remember." He was putting his briefcase on his desk and taking out a bunch of papers.
"We need to talk, Richard." Lois said, making Richard stop what he was doing and turn to look at her.
"What about?" He asked, not really realizing something was wrong.
"About us… this… our relationship." Lois was very straight forward; Richard sat down, closed his briefcase and prepared to listen.
"Not here." Lois looked around their shared workplace. "Not now."
"Then when and where would you suggest?" He asked, but Lois just lifted her shoulders. "What about lunch. Today. Noon."
That had been sooner than Lois had anticipated. The middle of the day, just a few hours away. But, it was truly for the best, she thought. "All right. I'll be ready."
They walked to a place a few block from their building. It was a little place where they served Italian food. There weren't many tables and only a couple were being used when they came in. They ordered, like nothing was wrong, and after their bowls were in front of them, they began.
"I'm all ears." Richard said. "Though I think I know what you will say."
"You do?" He nodded, but took a bite of his lasagna first. "Well, then I guess you've thought about it, too."
"What's on your mind, Lois." Richard pressed.
Lois didn't touch her food, she couldn't. What she was about to say was painful. It was necessary, but still painful. "I don't think this is working Richard."
He nodded, still chewing what was in her mouth. "I've seen you with him." He blurted out. "It has something to do with him, doesn't it?"
She had no other option but to nod. "It's complicated."
"When I asked you if you loved him, I knew you did. Even when you said you didn't." He put his fork on the bowl and pushed it away.
"Why didn't you say anything?" Lois said surprised at his revelation.
"I don't know. I guess I wanted you to be with me. And you have, longer than I expected."
"You don't sound too worried."
"I've had months to think about today. I've been waiting for it."
That didn't sound very healthy, but Lois just frowned. "That doesn't make any sense, Richard."
"I have no one else. I am still in love with you. But I am aware that there's this space between us growing every day." He explained. "You have no idea how it hurt that first day when I saw you, out there… with him. But what really bothered me was that you didn't tell me about it. I think I would have understood. I think I would have."
Lois didn't know what to say. "He's complicated. My relationship with him is complicated."
"I think Jason is his son." Richard said suddenly and Lois' silence only confirmed it. "I'm right, aren't I?"
"It's dangerous…" Lois looked around; making sure no one at the little restaurant was eavesdropping on them. "It's dangerous for him and for me if anybody knows… that's why I didn't tell you. Please understand."
"I know. I know." Richard said raising his hand, "I can understand how it can be dangerous."
"But, I don't want to marry the guy. At least I don't think. There's still so much I don't know about him. I'm not really sure if I'm in love or… just infatuated. Everything's so different now. I think I just need to get to know him, see if it works out… Somehow I don't think it will." She said, remembering Superman's reaction when she asked him for something more.
"I don't know, Lois." Richard said, taking his fork in his hand again. He ate in silence and Lois just sat there, looking at him, wondering how he could be so calm with it all. "Listen," he finally raised his head from the bowl, "We'll sell the house, and I'll help you get an apartment for you and Jason. I will… see what I can do. All right?"
"Are you sure?"
Richard stared at her, for the first time she thought he was about to cry. "I need to be by myself for a while. I have been preparing for this for months, Lois, but it's not easy. Especially when the other guy is… you know."
She nodded. "I understand."
Everybody seemed to understand, she thought, then why did it still seemed so complicated?
"I will spend the weekend with Jason, if you don't mind. I promise you'll have him back." Then he smiled, "If I don't, I could get in real trouble with the big guy, uh?" Lois didn't even smile, Richard composed himself. "I will tell him I will go away, I will tell him I will always be there for him. Is that all right with you? Unless you want to…"
"Yes. You can take him this weekend." Lois nodded, "It'll give me time to… think." She wanted to say it would give her time to talk to Superman, but she just couldn't say it.
Richard went straight to Perry when they got back from lunch; Lois could imagine what they were talking about, particularly when Perry turned to look at her frantically. She evaded her boss' eyes and turned back to Clark's desk, with the computer shut down and his papers just as he'd left them the day before. Where in the world was he when she needed him most? She considered him her friend after all, and she really felt the need to tell him how she had broken up with Richard.
Oh, well. He would be back Monday and she was sure she would tell him then.
Jason had wondered why she would not be joining them for the weekend, but Lois had told him she was busy and she would be at home when they both came back Sunday. Against his wishes, Jason could only nod; he hugged his mother and let himself be carried by Richard to their car.
It was starting to get late and the moment of truth was approaching. She looked at the clock and started walking to the usual bench looking at the river. There, she waited. Watching the sun go down was a blessing in disguise, for it allowed her to take her mind off her complicated life for just one minute.
"Good evening, Lois." Came the familiar voice. Just like every other night, Superman touched the ground and took his appointed place by the bench.
"Glad you could make it." She told him, "This time, we are truly alone."
Superman looked back at the house, narrowed his eyes just a little bit and nodded." Where are they?"
Lois knew what he'd been doing, searching the house, looking through walls. She couldn't help but smile. "They went away for the weekend. I finally told Richard and he asked to take Jason away for a couple of days. To say goodbye and explain a few things to him about… us. Richard and I." She clarified.
"I see." Superman said, looking down at his fingers lying on his lap. When he raised his head, he looked straight at the sea plane parked on the water, not at Lois. "How are you feeling?"
"Relieved." Lois said, "I'm just so tired of keeping secrets." Superman smiled without wanting, like he knew what that felt like. "He asked me if you were Jason's father."
Quickly he looked at her. "What did you say?"
"I told him the truth. He understands."
"He can't tell anybody." Superman hurried to say.
"I know. He won't."
"Are you sure?" The sound of his voice truly worried.
Then he only nodded, not forcing the issue any more. Like he knew he really couldn't control everything.
"I thought about what you said the other day." Superman said, still sounding funny.
"You did? And what is the verdict?" Lois asked him.
"I agree. I will try to answer your questions." Superman gulped after he said this. "But, we'll need to go slowly. And you can't tell anyone what I will tell you. It's for your ears only."
Lois felt a little offended by that, of course she would not tell a living soul! What did he think she was? "You can trust me."
"This is difficult for me. I am, after all, very different."
She nodded. "I know."
Just like the previous night, they sat together in silence. But he was the one to break it first, "Would you like to start tomorrow or…"
"No. I'd like to start today." She said rapidly, "If it's okay with you."
She laughed, "Relax, it's not the end of the world.
"That's what you think." He muttered.
Lois didn't really understand what the big deal was, so she just ignored what he'd just said and started. "How old are you?" She asked.
"Thirty-two." Superman answered, relieved the first question was an easy one.
"All right. And how old were you when you came to Earth?"
"Uhm, almost three, I think."
Lois didn't know this. "Three years old? Wow, so you were a baby?"
"And," she wondered, "I guess that you looked like a baby…?"
Superman laughed as she looked at her for an instant. "Yes. I looked like a regular human baby."
"Mmh, interesting." Lois said. "So, how did you survive?"
Superman closed his eyes and sighed. "Someone took care of me."
"Who?" He was starting to get a little nervous. "You don't want to tell me?"
"No, it's okay." But he was clearly stressed, "Uhm, a couple. You know, a married couple found me and took me in."
"Really? And you were what… like Superbaby?" Her tone of voice wasn't totally serious and this made Superman even more nervous. Finally he laughed out loud and shook his head. "No. I didn't have… all my powers."
"Like what's happening to Jason?" Lois asked.
"I guess. I don't know how his human side will react with his… alien side." Superman confessed and Lois nodded in agreement.
"Well, then. You were a baby and you were… adopted."
"That's right." Superman confirmed.
"Where as in… in what country? In what state?"
Superman looked at her, his blue eyes staring intently at her. "Can we go to the next question?"
Lois once again smiled; she patted his hand with hers and told him to relax. "This is not an interview."
"Do you want to stop?"
But he shook his head. "I think I can handle a couple more." He said, "I'm not ready to tell you everything tonight. I'm sorry."
"Oh no," She reassured him, "I think we've never been this close. I like it."
She enjoyed the sweet smile he gave her. It was just so human.
"Well, ask away, before I change my mind." He played with her.
"All right." She composed herself. "You came here as a baby and a couple took you in… and then what happened?"
"Right." Superman said, the look on his face told her he was remembering the past. "Well, I went to school and… I had friends. Until…"
"Until?" She wanted to hear more.
"Well, it all got too complicated when I started to become really strong."
"You weren't before?" Lois asked.
"A little. Not much. But, strong enough to lift a car at least." He said as if that was nothing. "When I was twelve I could do pretty amazing things."
"I bet." Lois said, "And what did your mom and dad say? Wasn't that a little unusual?"
"Oh, yes it was. I didn't know why and neither did them. Or so I thought, it turns out they knew exactly what was wrong with me. But, they just raised me to keep it all a secret. They were afraid someone would come and take me away."
"It was." Superman said.
"So, you became more powerful as you grew up?"
"Right." The more Superman said, the more she knew she was meant to be with him. This was a regular man that just happened to have super powers, wasn't he? "Some things I could do were nice… but others, they weren't very nice at all. Like the heat vision, that was very scary because I couldn't control it at first and it was dangerous, I needed to learn how to control myself in a lot of ways."
"I always assumed you just knew what to do. I mean how to use your powers?"
"Oh no, it took years. For example, I didn't fly until I was in my teens. And it wasn't easy at first."
Lois smiled, realizing that Superman now felt at ease talking about his childhood. In a way she felt proud to be the one he could confide in. She didn't think there were a lot of people that knew about all this.
Superman was suddenly lost in thought. He was smiling as the memories came back to him. But then he snapped out of it and stood up without a warning. "What's wrong?"
"I just got carried away." Superman said, "I just… I need to do this slowly."
"You want to stop?" Lois asked.
"I would like to. I just need to think about what I'm doing." But they both knew that the doors were open now and the water would just keep pouring out.
"I understand. I'll be here tomorrow."
He smiled and took off. "I'll be here, too. Good night, Lois."
Lois looked at him until he disappeared in the clouds, then she started to walk back to the house. As she walked, she thought about Superman, dressed as a normal boy going to school. The thought had been appalling at first, but now that she thought about it over and over, it just seemed more natural as she considered it possible.
The house was silent and she was alone, but in a way she felt safe, knowing that the Man of Steel was looking after her from the distance.
The next day she went out all day to try to get her mind from the events from the day before. She used her time to go look for apartments in the city. Early in the morning she made a few calls and had four appointments for that day. But, after she had visited them all, there wasn't anything that really convinced her. The truth was that she loved her house with Richard very much and it would be hard to find another place she could call home. Jason had only lived in that house, after all, and Lois thought it would be difficult for him to get used to living someplace else without the man he called daddy.
She wondered where Superman lived. What he ate and where he slept. She thought those would be good questions to ask. Really, there were so many things that were a mystery to her. She was truly glad he had agreed to open up.
Once again she was ready to receive her guest. Sitting on the bench she waited. She watched the sun set once again and it wasn't long before he showed up.
"Good evening, Lois." The same words were spoken as her visitor came down to join her.
"Hi, there. It's nice to see you." Lois said a little more casual and relaxed.
Superman smiled, she thought he had enjoyed the way she had greeted him.
"Did you get a chance to think about last night?" He asked her, "Is it helping?"
"Oh, yes! It's definitely helping!"
He smiled, clearly pleased. "And I guess you have more questions tonight, right?"
"Well, a few…" She said, almost ashamed, thinking it all looked like a criminal investigation.
"That's all right." Superman said, "I talked to my mom yesterday and she thinks this is a good idea."
He smiled once more. "Well, yes. She knows she has a grand-son. She's known for a long time. She'd like to meet him."
"Oh, my God!" Lois said, not realizing that Superman's Earth parents could actually still be alive. "Well, I don't know… I…"
"Don't worry Lois, I think it's still a while before you…" He hesitated, "I mean, she will see Jason when we're ready. If we ever are ready."
Deep in her heart Lois had this desperate need to be ready. She really wanted this to work, but the man in front of her had so many secrets; right now that day seemed very far away.
"And you talk with your mom often?" She asked.
"Not as often as she'd like." Superman said, "But, I'm busy and she knows it. I guess every mom is the same, don't you think?"
"Well, my mom doesn't really seem to care about me. I only see her about once a year and when I do… Believe me; you wouldn't want to be there."
He smiled; it was nice to see him smile. "I think you're over-reacting."
"No, I'm not. Really."
"All right." Superman sighed, determined not to argue with her.
"By the way, I hope you're not getting desperate cries for help while we talk." Lois started, "I wouldn't want to keep those people waiting."
"Don't worry about it." He said, "There's always people in trouble and there always will be, I can't help all of them. And I can't help all the time. I also have a day job, you know."
Once again, he smiled; it was becoming a frequent thing. "Yes, I do."
"What kind of job do you do?"
He pursed his lips and frowned, "I rather not say… yet."
"Fair enough." Lois said, trying to hide her curiosity. Still, she made a mental note about that. "Nevertheless, if you do need to go save someone… you will tell me, right?"
"I will." Superman replied.
"Good." Lois straightened up and Superman prepared for what was coming. "Okay then, last night you told me a little bit about your childhood. And now you're telling me your parents are still alive…"
"Well, only my mom. My dad died when I was younger. He had a heart attack." The look on his face drastically changed when he said the last sentence. It clearly still hurt a little.
"It's all right. It happened years ago. There's nothing we could do to stop it. His heart had been failing for a while and… it was just his time."
"How old were you?"
He went back to his head again to search for an answer. "Uhm, seventeen."
"Wow, it's almost like talking to a different person." Lois said, realizing she hadn't meant to say it out loud.
It was time for Superman to ask a question now. "I was wondering… before today, did you think I could have… another life? I mean, besides being Superman?"
She shook her head. "No. Not really…"
Superman seemed satisfied with her answer. "That's good."
"I didn't want people to think I was someone else. So, I guess it worked." Superman said.
"Yeah…" Lois said, a little confused. "I guess it did." It was then when Lois just couldn't help herself anymore. "So, who are you? I mean, really?"
But it had been the wrong move. Superman stood up and shook his head. "You're a good reported Lois, and I want you to know everything there is to know about me. But, it's complicated." Again that word: complicated.
"Just tell me who you are. Please." She insisted.
"I can't. Not yet."
"Because once I tell you, you may never want to see me again."
"Trust me." Superman took off once again and started to say good night.
"Wait. Why wouldn't I want to see you again?"
"Good night, Lois." Superman said, and he was gone.
It had been hard to sleep that night. Lois kept thinking about the last thing he had said. Why would it be hard to tell her who he was? What was the big deal? She doubted she wouldn't want to see him again if he told her.
Unless… unless he was someone she knew. Maybe she knew him without recognizing him as Superman. Could that be it? But, who?
After hours of going insane thinking about these questions, she finally fell asleep. She didn't wake up until very late, and it was Richard and Jason who woke her up when they arrived.
She quickly went down the stairs to meet them, eager to see how Jason had taken the news.
"Hi, guys!" Lois greeted them. "How was your weekend?"
Jason didn't look very well, he looked sad and confused. He walked to her and hugged her. "Daddy is going away, mommy." Jason said.
"I know, honey." Lois said, forgetting her time with Superman and going back to her real life. "But, you will still see him, right?" She turned to Richard, who nodded.
"But, I want us to be together." The boy insisted, holding her closer.
"I know." Lois whispered, forcing herself not to cry. "I know things are different, but we'll be all right."
"I won't be all right." Jason said, "I won't have a daddy."
"Oh, Jason. I'm sorry." Lois said, Richard simply stared at them.
"Did you talk to him?" Richard asked her while unpacking in their bedroom. "Superman?"
"I did." Lois said, sitting on the bed. She quickly changed the subject. "Do you think Jason will be all right?"
"I don't know." Richard said. "He'll have to know who his real father is. But I don't know if that will help him or make it worse."
Lois nodded, she knew what he meant. "Right."
"Maybe you can ask him. He is his father after all. He should help you with this decision." Richard told her, and she knew he was right. "I don't know if he'll be able to help you economically, but at least he should help you emotionally, don't you think?"
Lois now believed Superman could help her economically as well, remembering that he did have a job. Only she failed to mention this to Richard.
"I went to see some apartments yesterday."
"Really?" Richard asked her, a little impressed by how quickly she had acted. "Did you see anything you like?"
"Not really." She said softly. "I'll keep looking."
"I'll help you tomorrow. I also need to find a place. We'll look together if you want."
"I'd like that." Lois smiled at him and Richard smiled back. Yes, things seemed better now, but they both knew it was all over. Now they were just surviving together for Jason's sake.
They dropped Jason at school together Monday morning, and then they drove straight to the Planet. Richard said he had an appointment with some guy on the third floor and Lois didn't question him when he left her alone in the elevator to keep her journey to the Daily Planet's newsroom.
She exited the elevator by herself and when she looked at the working reporters, the first person she was relieved to see was… Clark.
"Hi, Clark. Had a good weekend?" She asked him.
"It was interesting." Clark said, a little nervous as usual.
"So did I." Lois said.
"Yes. It was very enlightening." Lois said, "I'd like to tell you about it. Can we go to lunch today?"
"Come on, Clark. My treat." Lois offered.
"I'm sorry, Lois, but I already have plans." Clark said.
"You do?" Clark simply nodded, pushing his glasses back up. "Oh, well. Tomorrow."
"Sure." Clark said dismissively and smiled.
That night, Lois put Jason to bed as usual and then walked outside in search of her favorite bench.
"He always comes at the same time?" It was Richard's voice behind her that startled her. "Every day?"
Richard joined her and sat beside her, looking at the calm water and the sea plane floating in front of them. "No. Sometimes he doesn't come."
"Oh, busy?" Richard asked.
"This is awkward for me… is it awkward for you?" Richard asked her.
"It is." Lois agreed.
"Well, I'll go…" Richard told her. "I wouldn't want to scare him off."
Lois forced a smile.
That day, Superman didn't show up.
"Clark! Ready for lunch?" Lois asked him, purse in hand.
"Sorry, Lois, but I can't." Clark said, making a weird face.
"Why on Earth not?" Lois asked, "You usually don't have plans."
"I'm a little behind." Clark explained, "Since I took Thursday and Friday off."
"Oh, right." Lois said, "I hope you're not avoiding me."
Lois stared at him for a moment; Clark just stared back at her a little nervous. "Tomorrow, then?" Lois asked.
"You better don't let me down, Kent." Lois said, walking away. "I really want to talk to you."
That night, Lois told Richard where she was going. After making sure Jason was in bed, she walked outside to wait for him. Richard didn't follow her this time. But, she waited and waited… and Superman just… didn't show.
"Lane! Kent!" Perry shouted when Lois was getting ready to go to lunch with Clark. "In my office, now!"
They both looked at each other and hurried to the Editor in Chief's office. They closed the door and sat down in front of Perry White.
"I've been thinking…" Perry began. "It's been a while since you two did an article together. It's been almost a year since Clark came back and I was wondering if you were ready to become a team again."
"Uhm, I'm not s…" Clark began.
"Sure, Chief." Interrupted Lois, "We're ready."
"Fine." Perry said, taking a manila folder from his desk and handing it to Clark. "You can start with this. It's easy, simple. No rush. I'll expect something by next week. Let's see if you are still in synch. If it works, I'll give you something bigger."
"Great." Lois said, taking the manila folder from Clark's hands. "Let's go, Clark."
"But…" Clark was cut off by Lois, who almost pulled him out of Perry's office. "I don't know, Lois… it's been a long time." Clark said once they were clear of Perry.
"Clark," Lois told him, "If I didn't know better, I'd say you're avoiding me."
"I'm not!" Clark said, using a rather high tone of voice.
"Good, then come have lunch with me." Clark opened his mouth to talk, but Lois didn't even let him begin. "Don't start. Let's go."
She took his arm and led him to the elevator.
"I have a feeling there's something going on, Lois." Clark said once they were eating.
"There is. Lots of things." Lois began by telling him about Richard, how it had all changed in the last months. Superman had returned and everything had changed. Then she told him about Superman, his frequent meetings the past months and how she was getting to know him every day.
"And what's he like?" Clark asked innocently.
"The weirdest thing. Can you believe he actually has a day job?" Lois said.
"No." Clark said, "You think it's fine that you are revealing his secrets to me?"
Lois almost chocked, she hadn't thought about it. Superman had said not to tell anyone. Hadn't he? But, Clark was… Clark. Right?"
"Oh. Well, yeah. Now that you mention it, I don't think that it was a good idea… to tell you."
"The man probably has a private life he doesn't want anybody to know about." Clark said, "I don't even know why he's telling you."
"Well…" She wanted to tell Clark that she loved the Man of Steel, but she suddenly couldn't get herself to say it in front of Clark. Not that it was a secret, anyway.
"I don't know." Clark continued. "For someone like him… it's a big step. I don't think you should take it lightly."
Lois nodded, not really understanding why Clark was talking like that about Superman, but he was actually very private too, maybe he identified with Superman like that. She wasn't sure.
"Oh well. It's nice talking to you, Clark." Lois said, "Aren't you excited about being partners again?"
Clark cocked his head to the side. "I don't know, Lois." Clark said to Lois' disappointment. "It's been a while. I've changed… I don't know if…"
"You'll do fine. We'll do fine." Lois reassured him.
"I hope so." And Clark took another bite of his sandwich.
That evening Lois and Richard picked up Jason from school and drove to take a look at some apartments. The adults had to work very hard to convince Jason that one of those places was to be his new home, but all Jason had to say was that he was not leaving his house. He insisted that they couldn't make him leave.
After looking at each other, they simply moved to the next apartment.
When they got home and Jason was back in bed, Richard stopped Lois before she started her way to meet her usual date. "I need to talk to you."
"What's wrong?" Lois said.
"Jason." Richard said, "Maybe it would be a good idea for you to keep the house."
"But, I can't afford the house."
"I'll help you." Richard offered.
"No. Richard." Lois said, "I need to do this by myself. Jason will have to get used to living with me in a smaller place. That's life Richard. I can't possibly accept what you're offering."
"Think about it." Richard said, "Just… think about it."
Lois nodded, and then went out the door to meet the father of her child.
"Good evening, Lois." She had no idea how much she had missed his voice.
"Hey." She replied, a little dishearten. "I missed you."
"I'm sorry. I was a little busy." Superman explained. "But, I'm here now."
"Glad to know you're not avoiding me, too." She said, thinking of Clark.
Superman didn't ask anything, he just sat down beside her and looked at the moon. "I'm not avoiding you."
"I… want to talk to you about…"
"Is there something wrong, Lois?" Superman knew her tone, something was definitely wrong.
"We need to leave this house." Lois began. "Richard is getting an apartment and Jason and I can't afford to live in this big house." Superman nodded in understanding. "It's just… difficult."
"Do you have an apartment? Or a house? Or…?" Lois asked him, trying to keep the tears from falling.
"Here? In Metropolis?"
"Yes. Here." Superman said dryly.
"Then, you do sleep." She mused.
He smiled softly, "I do."
"And you eat."
Superman nodded, "I do."
"What else do you do? Like, in your spare time… if you even have spare time." Lois asked him, starting to feel better hearing his voice.
"Uhm, I don't know. I, uhm, like to read a lot. Watch TV sometimes." Superman said. "And, normal things, I suppose."
"What normal things?" Lois was curious.
"Normal things like, shave and shower and go shopping. You know."
All she wanted to do is ask who he really was. But she knew how that would turn out, so she didn't. "You go shopping?"
"I have to." Superman said, looking more human every day. "I don't like doing it, but… there's nothing I can do about it."
"And…" Lois wanted to ask him, not sure if it was the right time. They hadn't spoken about it for a while. "Do you… love me?"
"If I didn't, I don't think I'd be here right now… trying to make it work."
She smiled, trying to keep those tears in her eyes, but it was impossible. "Then, you do love me. After all that's happened?"
"Yes. I love you, Lois." Superman said, smiling sincerely.
She fell on his arms and held him, crying on his shoulder, smelling his skin and feeling him breathe. It was a nice feeling, and now that she knew more about him, it was all more intimate. Superman held her tight, careful not to hurt her. He kissed her head and pressed her cheek to her hair.
"Lois, you know I'm always here for you." Superman said. "And I'm very close to revealing everything to you. That's something very hard for me. But I'll do it because I think you're the best thing that's ever happened to me."
"You are." But Lois could only think on that day when there wouldn't be secrets anymore. When they could live as a normal family - well, normal as it could be – the three of them together.
"Thank you." Lois said, not letting go.
"Hi, Lois." It was Clark who had come to her first that morning. "Are you all right?"
Lois tried to act normal, but she didn't feel normal. "I'm fine, Clark."
"Are you sure? Because I could get you something if you need anything. Like, a coffee?"
"No, thanks Clark." Then she raised her eyes to look at him. "How are you?"
"I'm fine. You know. Things are happening in my life." Clark explained. "But, I hope everything turns out fine."
"Really? What's wrong?" Lois sounded concerned.
"Oh, nothing. I'll tell you tomorrow. I promise." Clark smiled, and then turned around to go to his desk. Lois just watched him.
That evening, Richard and Lois left early to go pick up Jason and go see apartments again. This time, Richard saw one that caught his eyes and filled an application. Lois was now between two places she liked, but she still wasn't sure. For some reason, she wanted Superman there with her choosing. After all, if everything worked out, they would be spending a lot of time there.
Jason was still a little sad and he still said he didn't want to move anywhere. His parents simply looked at each other and took turns explaining what needed to be done.
After dinner, Richard called some friends to help him pack over the weekend; he was determined to leave before the next week was over. Lois just listened to him as she washed the dishes in the kitchen.
Richard put Jason to bed and went back to the kitchen to help Lois clean up.
"Good night." He said, kissing her cheek.
"Good night. Richard." Lois said, watching him leave to the guest room, where he had been sleeping since they had talked about their failed relationship.
Lois was tired, but she still managed to walk outside and wait for Superman.
Fortunately, he was already there, waiting for her.
"You're here early." Lois said, approaching the bench, where Superman waited.
"I was nervous." Superman said, making Lois' heart skip a beat. Was he going to tell her what she wanted to know? Silently, Lois sat down beside him.
"Suddenly, I'm scared." Lois said.
"Me, too." Superman said. "Very."
"If I don't know how to react to what you'll tell me… can you give me some time?" Lois asked. "Just, don't leave ok?"
"I won't go anywhere unless you tell me to." Superman sat there uncomfortably. He took his time, not knowing where to begin. "I was raised in Kansas, Lois." He said.
Kansas. That rang a bell. Who did she know that was from Kansas? It wasn't really that hard to put together, but somehow Lois failed to make the connection.
"Kansas." She simply echoed, her expression showed confusion.
"Yes." Superman continued. "Do you want to know what I do for a living?"
Lois turned to face him, her heart beating fast, filled with excitement. "Tell me."
"I work at the Daily Planet, actually."
"What?" It was so unexpected that her brain couldn't function.
"I'm a reporter. And everyday," Superman said, "I sit in front of you, watching you work."
Finally, her eyes opened, Superman waited, biting his lower lip, not really knowing how she would react. "Clark?"
Superman nodded. "Yes."
"You're Clark?" She looked at him, stared at his blue eyes, making the connection slowly. The glasses. All he was missing was the glasses. The hair was different. There was more, Clark stood up different, was clumsily and unsure of himself. But the man in front of her, he seemed like a complete different person. "Oh, my God! Clark!"
She stood up, he did too. "Are you disappointed?" Superman asked her.
But she shook her head. "I can't believe it."
"I'm sorry. But it was really hard for me to tell you. I wanted to tell you, but it was so complicated and it was hard. And then you had Richard and you love Richard. I didn't want to come between you. I figured it would be hard to see me every single day knowing who I was and Richard a few feet from us. It just wouldn't be fair to you.
"Then you asked to know more about me, and it seemed like a good idea. I really never talk with anyone, so it was really refreshing. I knew I could lose you. Lose everything I love about you. Our son. Everything. But when you told me Richard wasn't a part of your life anymore. I didn't see why it should be a secret anymore. You needed to know. I think you needed to know. And maybe then you can decide if…"
She heard him ramble, sounding more like Clark Kent than Superman. It was obvious he was nervous, but there was no describing her own feelings. She looked at him again, looking at the suit and the cape and realizing it was still the same person.
It fit, everything fit.
"I need to sit down." Lois said, and quickly looked for the safety of the bench she had left seconds ago.
Clark just looked at her, not knowing what to say or do. He just waited patiently. "Do you need anything?" He asked, not sounding like Superman, but not sounding much like the Clark Kent she knew either, but something in between. The split personality finally whole.
Suddenly she was angry, wanting to tell him she felt betrayed, deceived! But, he had warned her and what he said made sense somehow.
"I can't believe it…" Lois said, finally. "All this time I've been in love with Clark Kent?"
"Well, yes… in a way." Clark said.
And then, Lois began laughing. Clark didn't understand where it was coming from, but he didn't ask. He just stood there, in his Superman suit, watching Lois laugh. "Well, it's better than I expected." She said at last.
"Well, you're my best friend, Clark." Lois said, not knowing how this made Clark feel.
"A friend." He said, not finding anything amusing.
"No. No. Don't get me wrong." Lois explained. "I didn't want to show interest in you because I already had a complex relationship with Superman. But, it's a relief that you are both the same person. It's… great."
"I don't get it."
"Everything is just so clear now. My feelings are clear, my thoughts are clear." Lois actually seemed excited. "I feel all this weight leaving my body right now."
"What do you want me to do, Lois?" Clark asked, still standing a few feet away from her.
She stood up, and ran to him, hugging him tight. "Oh, this feels good. It feels right. For the first time, it just feels right." Clark put her hands around her, feeling her warmth. It wasn't what he had expected, but it was better than have her angry at him forever. "But I can't see Superman anymore."
"What?" Clark said.
"No. It won't work that way." Lois looked at him. "I need to break up with Superman and hook up with Clark. Right?"
"I don't get it."
She smiled. "It doesn't matter. It will work out. I know it will."
And it would.