Thanks to my beta, Dandette, again. :)
A/N: Well, I have finally finished. Sorry it took me so long, I just had some very bad writer's block. Well, I hope you enjoy the end of my story. Thanks so much to those who have reviewed and read :D.
Part 37 – The New Era
Soon after May confirmed that Leah was truly cured, which was six days after that experiment in STAR Labs, they ran the test samples by several doctors, one of the tests being a bone marrow test.
When told that the source of the sample had once had Acute Myeloid Leukemia, they would not believe the patient ever had cancer, let alone that type, and wanted to know what treatment had been used.
May and Dr. Price went to the hospital administration and got permission to have it tried on a few of the other children, each doing just what Leah had done, their numbers soon becoming that of an individual who never had cancer.
As the word spread of this miracle cure, Clark and Lois had already finished the article.
In it, they included May and Dr. Price's instrumental contributions to the discovery of the protein, where the protein came from and how it cured patients, and how the use of it would go beyond just curing cancer: now, Dr. Johnson was certain, reconstructive surgery could use it, including burn victims.
A few quotes from the hospital administrator, May, Dr. Price, Superman, and some of the children, including Leah, were of course within it as well.
The Key had a whole section to itself, Clark making sure it was properly covered, for without Kryptonite, they would not have discovered the protein and, even now, would not be able to get to it.
Perry was of course happy and Jimmy had taken plenty pictures of the doctors and the now cured children—Leah's happy face was on every newspaper, her purple cap on her head, under the title:
CANCER CURE FOUND!
The public reacted accordingly, and whenever Superman happened to land and help out with a fire or other accident, a person, if not several, would thank him. The public also donated millions to provide transport for those who needed the cure to Metropolis, or to have the cure brought to them.
Clark looked back at the month and could hardly believe how much had happened.
Since his first donation, he had given seven more pints, Dr. Price not wanting him to be exposed for too long, even though Clark tried to insist on giving more.
"Kal, no, you're already becoming feverish, you need to rest for a few days again," he had said, putting the Kryptonite away.
Clark wanted to suggest giving a pint every two or three days because he recovered fairly quickly, thanks to the lead vest that shielded him for the most part and the sunlight exposure soon after, but Lois stopped him.
"Clark, each pint is already saving over two hundred because of the small amount that is needed," she said during dinner a couple days after making the cure public.
"I know, but adults take a little more than kids, and they're starting to treat them. I just don't want them to be short on the supply," he said.
Lois shook her head, staring at him and putting her fork into her salad.
"What?" he asked, catching her staring, which wasn't hard when he was staring at her too.
"Every hospital in Metropolis has a half a pint now, Clark, but knowing you, you're not going to rest until there's two pints in every hospital you've heard and haven't heard of."
"Three," he corrected.
She flung a crouton from her salad at him.
He caught it without a problem.
"Show off," she teased.
- - -
Day of Hospital Wing Reopening
Cameras and press were everywhere, and doctors and children from the ward had gathered in front of the new wing entrance.
The crowd was kept a small distance away, not gathering too closely to the entrance.
Lois stood in the crowd, her eyes falling on the happy, purple capped girl beside May and Dr. Price.
May had just started the process of adopting her; Leah Hall would soon become Leah Hall Johnson. Lois smiled, knowing how important and good this would be for them both as the familiar sonic boom shot over them all.
Superman landed between the crowd and the entrance, the crowd clapping and shouting ecstatically.
He took a step towards the ribboned entrance as Leah Hall decided to run out to him.
Superman smiled, kneeling down to one knee, his hands ready for her.
When she got to him, he put his hands on her waist as he stood up and playfully threw her into the air, the blue sky above her.
The toss was probably higher than what most would have felt comfortable seeing, but since Leah was laughing and he caught her gracefully, there wasn't a problem, and many broke into a wide smile.
He lowered her, letting her legs hug his right side as his right arm wrapped around her.
She kissed his cheek, short brown hair just beginning to grow atop her head, her purple cap slightly askew.
He stepped up beside May as the hospital administrator, Dr. Tolman, went up to the microphone.
"We thank the people of Metropolis, the hard workers of the hospital, and everyone who made this possible. And to you Superman—your gifts to us are immeasurable," Dr. Tolman said, turning to him. "If you would do the honors," he said, motioning to the ribbon.
Superman turned and looked, his eyes flashing red before a quick precise laser cut the ribbon.
Cameras flashed and the crowd cheered.
- - -
The following weeks went by in a blur, the world spreading the cure out, the major cities of the world receiving a slow but steady supply. Clark went in to donate once every four days, which seemed to be the best system.
A week into everything, he finally convinced Price to try letting him give once every two days…. That only lasted a week… He was dragging towards the end, and Lois of course noticed and told Price, despite the betrayed look Kal gave her.
The protein was being studied by two more major labs in America, and the cloning concern was no longer valid because when exposed to Kryptonite, the DNA that was in the samples of protein they were given was destroyed, which could be another reason why, so far, no one's body was refusing it.
Things were now settling down, and Clark had been doing a great deal of thinking.
His mind had been made up for a long time, but when to carry out those thoughts was the issue. It would have to be perfect; nothing else would suffice.
He had flown over and paid his parents a visit, both of whom were pleased to hear his plans and offered him some friendly advice.
"JUST DO IT ALREADY, CLARK!" Martha finally shouted, after having watched her son pace in their kitchen, fretting when to do it.
"I agree with your Mom, son. There is no time like the present," Jonathon said after a moment.
- - -
Perry comfortably reclined in his office chair, waiting for Lois to come in.
He was thrilled Clark had finally gotten up the courage to do this, and he felt honored he had been asked to play a part.
Finally, Lois came in, slyly looking for Clark. It didn't go unnoticed by Perry.
"LANE!!!" Perry boomed.
Lois hid her jump well, but Perry could see the near nonexistent jolt. He smirked.
"Yeah, Chief?" she asked, entering his office.
"Need you to go to Allegro Romano. Got word there may be a story there," he said.
"Sure, about what?" she asked.
"I was told there was someone on the inside who would meet you there," he replied.
"You gonna stand here all day?" Perry asked.
"I'm going Chief, I'm going," Lois said, hiding her slight confusion.
Perry's eyes followed Lois to the elevator and, with a content sigh, he gave a soft knowing smile.
- - -
Clark flattened his napkin for the sixth time, checked his watch for the twelfth time, and took a deep breath for the. . . he didn't know.
You can do this, Clark. It's not like you haven't been wanting to do this for a while now… he thought. More like the whole time you've ever known her, he corrected himself.
- - -
Lois stepped out and went up to the sleek and impressive restaurant.
Stepping in, she was greeted by professional and clean cut waiters.
"Madam?" the one behind the little stand asked.
"Uh, I was told someone would be meeting me," she said, wishing she had demanded more information from White. What if she was supposed to have met this person behind the restaurant or something?
"Lane," she answered, deciding if no one had requested a table with that name, she could say she had made a mistake.
"Ah, Miss Lane, this way please," he said, motioning for her to follow.
Honestly surprised, she followed, glad she had decided to sort of dress up today. If she hadn't, she'd really feel out of place right now. The place was gorgeous. Lit candles, dark table clothes, and carved wood work and antique tiled walls…
"Madam, your table," the waiter said, pulling her attention to the corner booth.
"Clark?" she asked.
She could have sworn she saw him fidget slightly before he managed to calm himself.
"Hey, Lois," he said with a…hopeful smile?
Lois sat down, a little bewildered.
"Shall I bring out your drinks you requested earlier, sir?" the waiter asked, placing the menus down before them.
Clark nodded, opening his menu. The waiter left with a departing nod.
"This is nice, Clark, but . . . what are we doing here?" Lois asked.
"What, I can't hold a surprise date?" Clark asked.
"Oh . . . well, Perry said . . ." she began before she got it. "You asked him to do that."
"Something like that," Clark admitted. "With everything that's been going on . . . I figured a nice dinner was due."
Lois smiled, the waiter having returned and placing their glasses on the table.
"May I take your order, sir?" the waiter asked, his collar and tie perfectly straight.
"A number four, please, for me and the lady," Clark said, deciding to take the initiative and knowing Lois would like that dish.
"An excellent choice, sir," the waiter said. "Any appetizers while you both wait?"
Clark looked to Lois."Um, Tortellini Kabobs, please," she said.
"It shall be out in a moment," he said before departing.
Clark tried not to fidget, he just couldn't help it.
They ate the appetizer and, soon after, the meal, talking about simple things to what they thought Dr. Price and May would do now, and how Leah was. They also talked about the future, including a little bit about themselves. Clark beamed when Lois said as long as he was with her, she knew the future would be fine. That was probably what kept him seated the whole time, instead of standing up and pacing, or talking himself out of it in his head.
Clark was so happy when the desserts finally came, he could barely sit still.
"You know Clark, have you been getting your prescription? You look, I don't know, peaky," Lois said after taking a bite of her chocolate cake, his prescription of course being sunlight exposure.
"Oh, I'm fine, got some this morning. Price made me, walked me to the source pretty much," Clark said with a hasty smile.
He briefly thought back to Price escorting him to the roof and making sure he got into the sun. He shook his head.
"So everything's alright, right?" she asked.
"Yeah, everything's fine," he said.
She didn't believe him.
"Better than fine," he continued, unable to take it any longer.
She was almost finished with her cake anyway.
Clark, deciding there was no time like the present (and the fact he was about to just shout the question at her), got out of the booth, taking something from his pocket, and kneeled down in front of her.
"Clark, what are y—?" she began, cutting herself short as she caught sight of the box in his hand.
The restaurant by this point had gone absolutely still, everyone watching, most of the ladies having tears in their eyes.
"Lois . . . there has been a question I've been wanting to ask you for a very long time now," Clark began.
Lois was frozen, feeling a million things at once.
"We've been through many things together, and I am eternally grateful for all the times I wasn't alone, but with you — I want the rest of my life to be the same in that aspect. Alone, I have limits, but with you, limits don't exist. We do.
"Lois, will you marry me?" he asked, opening the box.
Lois gasped, unable to stop her eyes from tearing up, unable to slow the rush of pure joy as she managed to, in a thready voice, answer, "Yes."
Clark beamed as he took her hand in his own and placed the diamond ring on her finger.
A moment after, in a span of time he didn't know had passed, they had both stood up and were now uninhibitedly kissing each other.
The restaurant went wild, everyone clapping, several whistling and shouting praise and encouragement.
Lois and Clark didn't pay them any mind as they deepened their kiss, a few statements coming from the crowd like:
"They're definitely perfect together."
"Took 'em long enough."
And a voice Clark was sure could be Charlie's say, "You owe me twenty."
Clark could have also sworn there was someone taking pictures because he caught some flashes from somewhere.
After another several seconds, they broke apart and found that the people in the restaurant, waiters and customers alike, were standing and had gathered around them.
"Way to go CK!" Jimmy shouted, Clark and Lois quickly seeing nearly everyone from the Planet, as well as Dr. Price, May, Leah, Henderson, Mathews, Charlie, Jim, Miguel, Marie, and Nurse Schmitt.
"Took the liberty to invite a few people," Perry stated simply.
"We see that," Clark said with a smile as he faced Lois again.
"We'll let you handle the majority of the invitations then," Lois said, raising her face back up to Clark's to start another kiss.
"Uh, guys, you do know we're still here, right?" Jimmy asked.
Clark waved him off, not even pausing as he continued kissing Lois.
David, and countless others with him, looked down on Earth in approval, for everything was as it should be — as it was meant to be.
A New Era had begun, and in more ways than one…
Cancer and hundreds of other diseases and conditions were being utterly crushed and eliminated, thanks to the protein Doctors May Johnson and Eric Price had discovered and extracted with Kryptonite, the element once thought to be evil and nothing but harmful. . .
This was the start of the Era of Hope.
The world's power industries were looking into the glowing crystal, examining it for possible developments of other crystals not harmful to their Protector. This undertaking would be made possible with the help of Charlie, who would lead an even greater Industrial Revolution than that of the 19th century. A new clean, cheap, and dependable power source, made available to all in the decade after its discovery. . .
This was the start of the Era of Power.
And, unknown to nearly all, the start of a Family Dynasty, one that the world, as well as the universe, had never seen the likes of before—a Dynasty that would not rule, but lead. Lead Humanity's nations through the next dozen centuries and beyond. . .
For this was the start of an Era of Peace. . .
The start of a New Era . . . the Era of El. . . .