Fresh from 12 Days of Clois, we offer you:

Title: Little Secrets: Great Expectations (A Father's Day Tale)

Authors: KalaLaneKent and Maryse Bardolph

Theme: Father's Day
Category: Movieverse/Little Secrets-verse
Rating: R
Word Count: 5,235

Summary: It's the day before Father's Day, and Lois Lane is keeping a little secret – again. Hmm, could this have something to do with what they discussed in Paris? (If It's Meant to Be, our Around the World in 12 Days contribution. Must read before this one!)

Warning: contains smut. (Like that'll stop you from reading it!)

Spoilers: For Superman: The Movie, SII: The Donner Cut, SII: Lester, Superman Returns, and Little Secrets.

Authors' Notes: Many thanks to Caroline (bistyboo1974) for creating and maintaining this community – hon, if gratitude was coffee, you'd be swimming in raspberry decaf latte for the rest of your life. And Barb (htbthomas), our fabulous Beta. By way of thanks, you'll find herein our contribution to the GBP fund. ;) Abby (sean montgomery), our Creative Consultant – you know what was written in for you. Our love and gratitude are in every word. Kat (elliania), Visual Assistant par extraordinaire – no words for how amazing your banners are. Let the awesomeness of the artwork speak for itself.

Last but not least, huge thanks to the fans, who haven't killed us for making LS so freakin' long, or for teasing you with little hints in the 12 Days challenges.

The alarm clock was set on the lowest volume, but it still woke Clark on the first ring. He reached out and turned it off before Lois even heard it, then lay in bed a moment longer, listening to the house.

If anyone had told me eight years that I'd be here right now, I wouldn't believe them… Lying beside Lois Lane, my wife and the love of my life, and listening to our twins asleep down the hall. Thinking about our one-year anniversary two months ago, and about everything we talked about in Paris. Wondering if we'll be able to have another child…

Lois murmured softly in her sleep, and he slid his arm around her waist again. She leaned back against him with a tiny satisfied sigh, and Clark chuckled as he kissed the top of her head. Heck, eight years ago if you'd told me I'd be lying in bed with Lois Lane, neither of us wearing a stitch of clothing, I'd have fainted. And I would've never believed that she'd be wearing my ring so willingly … so proudly, even.

Although she had to keep her name … I don't mind her office door reading 'Lois Lane-Kent'. It sounds pretty good, actually.

A morning like this took the sting out of the nightmare he'd had back when he and Lois hadn't gotten together again yet. No dream had ever been crueler than imagining that all of his problems were just a nightmare… he could still remember how real it had felt, seeing Lois lying beside him much as she was now, only very obviously pregnant with the twins. The thought that he might not have missed everything … that he might be able to be a father to Kala and Jason from the moment of their birth…

I missed some things that I can never get back, he reflected soberly. Just then, Clark heard a soft whine from near the foot of the bed, and he smiled. But I also have some things I never dreamed of, including kids sweet enough to give me a beagle for my anniversary.

Bagel pawed the door of her crate lightly, whimpering, and Clark got up, pulling on his bathrobe. "Hush, Baby Bagel," he murmured to her as he opened the crate and carried her out to the balcony.

It wasn't really fair to a young puppy to make her wait through the long elevator ride downstairs every time she needed to go out, so he and the twins had spent a Saturday building a large, low planter outside, which they covered with sod. Bagel had her own private lawn, twenty stories above street level. Clark looked away while she picked the perfect spot to water, and went back inside with her when she was done.

It was too early for her breakfast – dawn was just lightening the sky – so he patted the little dog on the head and went to get dressed for his morning rounds. As usual, Bagel made it interesting. She nipped at his cape, growled at the tights, and tried to run off with a boot.

Kal-El chuckled as he hopped on one foot to get his other boot back, then rumpled the pup's long ears one more time. "Be good," he whispered, and headed out the sliding glass door.

Bagel watched him go for a moment, her white-tipped tail wagging slower… slower… and then stopping. She pawed the glass, but no one came to let her out, and she whined softly.

The small tri-colored puppy wandered up the hall, head held low. She sniffed along the bottom of the twins' door, sneezing at the odor of the iguana. Whining softly and pawing the door gently didn't get a response, so Bagel sat there in the hallway disconsolately for several minutes.

Luckily, Bagel had other ways of amusing herself when she couldn't get into the twins' room. She trotted down the hallway, through the living room, and back to the master bedroom. Sure enough, Daddy had left the door partly open, and all Bagel had to do was put her head down and barge in. Success! Now all she had to do was get in the bed…

Unfortunately, Bagel was a very small puppy, and the bed was higher than she could easily jump. She got up on her hind feet and pawed at the covers, whimpering softly to attract Mommy's attention.

Lois groaned, curled on her side, and opened one eye slowly. The face that stared back at her was incredibly cute – Bagel had a tan head, with black on her ears and rimming her eyes like eyeliner, and a little white on her muzzle. Right now she was smiling – smiling, the damn dog knew she was cute! Oh, for cryin' out loud, Bagel, it's not even daylight yet… "Go back t' sleep, Yap," Lois muttered, and burrowed down in the covers.

Bagel chose to live up to her nickname, and yapped. She wasn't so easily dissuaded. Her little paws pulled on the sheet as she strove to drag herself up onto the bed, whining softly with effort.

"Oh, don't cry," Lois sighed with resignation, her hand stealing out to pet the puppy. It was like waking up for the twins' feedings all over again, this little puppy. Thank God she was adorable. Bagel's head was about the size and shape of an apple, and she did tend to yip. "Hush, Yappin' Applehead."

Of course, the petting and the pet name only excited her more. Bagel started to whimper with effort, pushing her head back against Lois' hand and scrabbling for a foothold. The more she struggled, and the more pathetic her cries became, the less Lois could resist her. At last she sighed and pulled the puppy up onto the bed, where Bagel repaid her kindness by frantically wagging her tail and licking Lois' face.

"Ugh, that'd be cuter if you had better breath," Lois muttered, hiding her head under the pillow. Bagel pawed at her shoulder and walked all over her a couple times before giving up.

Then the Beagle found a nice warm place to cuddle – right against Lois' belly. She had to curl herself into a tighter ball than usual, glaring reproachfully at Mommy's stomach, which took up more space these days.

Her goal accomplished, Bagel laid her head down with a sigh. Her chocolate-colored eyes slowly drifted closed, and moments later, the puppy was asleep again.

Home again, after a productive morning – several car wrecks, a construction accident, and a wildfire upstate, all easily dealt with. Kal-El flew back down to the balcony and headed inside. The apartment was quiet; Jason and Kala were still asleep, and by the sound of Lois' heartbeat, she'd woken a few minutes ago and was now drifting off again. Hmm, let's see if I can't give you a reason to stay awake, beautiful, he thought, smiling.

But the sight that met his eyes as he stepped into their bedroom made him chuckle ruefully. No fooling around this morning – the youngest 'child' had managed to climb in bed with Mommy. Again. How do you manage that, Bagel, when she claims you're just a nuisance?

The pup had opened her eyes when he opened the door, and now her white-tipped tail beat gently against the comforter. Kal-El moved to pat her head, whispering, "I know she loves you – but we'll keep her secret, okay?" He paused, though, and scrutinized the scene. Lois lying on her side with Bagel curled against her stomach – it wasn't exactly a new image, but something seemed new.

When Kal-El saw what the difference was, he felt a chill race up his spine. Bagel's curled up tighter than she usually is – she's got less room between Lois and the edge of the bed. And she isn't any bigger; the vet said she won't grow much more. Lois, though…

He looked very closely. Her stomach is definitely bigger – just a tiny bit. But still … we've been trying… Could she be…? He was tempted to use x-ray vision, but that just seemed like too much of an invasion of privacy. Lois hadn't mentioned the possibility to him, after all.

She might not know … or she might not be sure. Either way, I won't ruin the surprise. Kal-El bent over Lois, softly kissing her forehead and smiling at her wordless murmur. "Sleep in, beloved. I'll play ringmaster to the circus this morning."

Quickly changing back into normal clothes, he went to wake the twins. Clark knocked on their door before opening it, a courtesy he and Lois had always shown them, but the sound didn't wake the slumbering pair.

Sometime during the night, Kala had left her bed and crawled in with Jason. Clark frowned slightly; she only did that when she had a particularly nasty nightmare. There are times when I really wish Lois had shot Luthor. All morals aside, the twins shouldn't have gone through all that.

They had all survived, and they were even thriving, but every once in a while the past came back to haunt them. The twins especially, and it broke Clark's heart that they sought comfort from each other most of the time these days, instead of from him or Lois. They were on their own for most of that, he told himself. They saw me hurt and Lois trapped. It only makes sense they'd lean on each other. Besides, anything else that scares them, they run right to us. It's only those old nightmares that drive them into each other's beds.

Damn Luthor. Damn him to Hell, and I won't even apologize for thinking it.

"Hey, kids," Clark called softly, forcing his mind away from the troubled past. "Jason, Kala, time to get up."

"Fi' mo' min'ts…" Jason muttered, his usual request. He sounded just like Lois asking for five more minutes after he tried to wake her, except that Lois would try to swat him if he shook her shoulder gently. Jason just groaned loudly and burrowed deeper into the pillows.

Clark rumpled Kala's hair – all of her that was visible. She was often the livelier one first thing in the morning. "C'mon, sweetie, wake up."

"Wha' time izzit?" she asked, turning toward him just enough for him to see her hazel eyes peeking out from under the sheet.

"Fifteen minutes until your cartoons come on," he replied.


"It's Saturday, baby."

Kala blinked at him for a long moment while that computed, and then suddenly her eyes became bright and aware. The covers shot back and she bolted across the bed – Jason yelling as she stepped on him – racing down the hallway in her pajamas. "C'mon, slowpoke!" she called to her brother.

"Brush your teeth first!" Clark called after her. Bagel heard the noise and came scampering up the hall to the bathroom, where Kala had skidded to a halt and turned in. She was now washing up as if she were trying for a sixteen-second NASCAR pit stop. So much for letting Lois sleep in, Clark thought ruefully as the puppy started barking at the electric toothbrush.

Jason crawled out of bed, his hair sticking straight up, and peered up at Clark. "Can Gazeera have breakfast with me?"

Clark smoothed his hair and kissed his forehead. "No, son," he answered, for at least the hundredth time.


"No, Jason. He can watch cartoons with you after you eat. C'mon, I'll fix your oatmeal."

"'Kay." The little boy yawned as he headed for the bathroom, and yelped as Kala knocked into him running out again. "Ow! Kala! Daddy, Kala hit me!"

"Did not!"

"Did too!"

"Did not!"

"Kids, your mother's asleep!" Clark said sharply.

"Too late," came the weary groan from the hall. "Kala, no running in the house."

"Yes, Mommy," her daughter said contritely, stretching her arms up for a hug. As Lois knelt and gathered both twins to her, she glanced at Clark, raising one eyebrow.

He nodded; he'd seen how fast Kala ran. As well as her uncanny hearing, she seemed to be developing his speed. Have to take her somewhere like Kansas where she can learn to control it, Clark thought, remembering his own youth. Kala needed the wide-open spaces; people would notice if she crashed through a wall or a roof here in the city.

Kala hurried to the kitchen – not quite running, but very close – to make breakfast. Jason toddled into the bathroom, still sleepy. That left Lois standing in the hall, in her robe, with her hair mussed and her eyes still half-shut. Clark chuckled as he kissed her cheek. "Good morning, gorgeous."

"Bull," she retorted. "I look like a reject from Night of the Living Dead. How dare you be awake and groomed this early?" Lois tried to sound fierce, but she knew the answer to her peevish query, and loved him for his devotion to duty.

"I can function without caffeine," he replied, kissing her again before heading into the kitchen to start the coffee.

"Life without caffeine?" Lois muttered, following him. "You must be from another planet."

What would a Saturday be without a trip to the park? Clark tossed the baseball up into the air and caught it, grinning at Jason. The little boy held out his catcher's mitt – his favorite birthday present, after Gazeera – and smiled determinedly. "C'mon, Daddy!"

As always, Clark's heart seized for a moment. He called me Daddy … I wonder if he'll ever know how much that means to me. "All right, son – here it comes." He tossed the ball at Jason, who caught it easily and fired it back. With every throw, they stepped back slightly, increasing the distance between them.

Lois watched the scene with an indulgent eye from the nearby playground, where she relaxed on a bench, Bagel snoozing beside her. The pup had been running around like a maniac as she always did for the first fifteen minutes of any park trip, and was now utterly exhausted and sleeping deeply – for the next ten minutes or so. Then the cycle would repeat itself.

Petting the sleeping dog's side, Lois turned to look at her daughter. Kala didn't want to play catch today; she was making another attempt at scaling the jungle gym. "Need some help?" Lois asked, seeing her hesitate at the point where the bars began to curve inward.

"Nope," Kala said firmly, and resumed climbing. Lois smiled fondly at her; she understood the desire to never back down, never give up.

Clark winked at Jason, then threw the ball up in the air to simulate a pop fly. Jason scrambled to get under it, holding both hands above his head as he'd been taught. The baseball thwacked into the glove, and Clark cheered, "Way to go!"

Even while he spent an idyllic Saturday afternoon playing with his son, Clark's mind was distracted. Lois had already purchased his Father's Day gift, and she had been making a big deal out of it – without giving him a single clue as to what it was. I wonder what my favorite sneaky, snarky reporter has planned this time. Knowing Lois, it has to be something sarcastic – like the Superdad bathrobe she helped the twins pick out. Or the nice, normal-looking tie – micro-printed with the word 'dork' over every square inch. Of course, only I can see it without a magnifying glass.

Father's Day being tomorrow, Lois has probably planned some kind of joke around fatherhood. Or… He glanced over at her thoughtfully. Lois is usually a little more active than this – she's been taking it easy for a while. I wonder if she really could be… Clark's contemplation led him to forget about the ball, and Jason laughed hysterically when it bounced off his father's head. Clark had to chuckle, too, as he retrieved it for another toss, not seeing the speculative look Lois gave him.

It was hard to even think it, as if pondering the topic too closely would jinx their chances. He and Lois both wanted another child so much…

That might be what the big surprise Father's Day present is, Clark suddenly thought. Oh, my God. If it is … if she is … what better gift could she possibly give me?

When he glanced back at Lois, she was looking away, but he recognized the secretive little smile curving her lips.

Most Saturday evenings belonged to the grandmothers, and this week was Ella's turn. Clark took them across town, while Lois savored a few moments alone. Once upon a time, she had spent most of her waking hours alone – chasing stories by herself, taking wild risks. Then Perry had saddled her with a partner, but she still managed to ditch Clark every now and then – usually right before I ran into Superman. Damn, I was blind. Then there were the twins, whom she wouldn't have traded for the world, but her fiery independent spirit began to be banked. And Richard completed the domestic picture.

She'd been all set to become a tame, pretty wife and mother, the headstrong journalist fading away, when all of a sudden her world turned upside down all over again. Now she had that sense of wonder and adventure back in her life, along with the joy of motherhood. The comforts of hearth and home, and the excitement of her career. Kal-El was even wise enough to know that Lois sometimes simply needed time for herself, and to give it to her before she asked.

Time for herself included a long shower, at the moment. Ah, bliss – twenty minutes without a child yelling for her attention, or a Beagle sitting outside the bathroom door barking indignantly at being ignored. Strange how Kal-El could take care of the entire planet, and couldn't shut the damn dog up for five minutes. Lois smiled affectionately at the thought of him helpless before the onslaught of yapping.

Lois turned her face up to the hot spray, letting the water sluice away her shampoo. She didn't even hear the door open, or the shower curtain slide back. Her first indication she wasn't alone was Kal-El's strong, warm arms sliding around her waist, and Lois gasped in surprise. "I told you to stop sneaking up on me!" she grumbled, turning with a fierce glare.

But as usual, her fury was weakened by the sight him gloriously nude and dripping water. "I wasn't sneaking up on you, Lois," he chuckled. "You just weren't paying attention." Kal-El pulled her closer again, and Lois couldn't stop herself from sighing. The warmth of his body against hers was just too delightful. And his hands sliding over her wet skin…

"Mmmm, you're home early," Lois purred, letting her head drop back against his shoulder. He stroked her belly lightly, both of them thinking the same thing at that moment and neither one knowing it. What if…? But then Kal-El's hands came back up, cupping her breasts, and he kissed her neck… "What're you doing?" Lois asked lazily, reaching over her shoulder to slide her hand into his now-soaked hair.

"You need me to spell it out?" he asked huskily, hands gently kneading her breasts, the tips of his fingers brushing her nipples.

Lois gasped, arching her back, then chuckled. "I know, but somehow I… oh, God, that's… somehow I think you have… Mmmm… an ulterior motive."

"Why would you think that?" Kal-El whispered, his breath tickling her ear. Gradually, his right hand began to slip lower, down her soap-slick belly. And yes, the curve of her stomach did seem a little more pronounced.

He couldn't see the knowing little smile that graced Lois' features as his hand hesitated there, didn't know how much she was savoring the idea of telling him she might actually be… Lois purred, "Because I know you, Kal-El. And you… ohh…" She sighed as his hand slid still lower, down the curve of her hip. The skin there was so very sensitive, and he knew it so very well. "You never tease like this… unless you want something…"

"Oh, I want something," Kal-El whispered, nuzzling her neck.

"I'll just bet you do," Lois murmured, rocking her hips against him. She had the satisfaction of hearing him gasp, just before he slid his hand lower still and startled a gasp out of her as well.

"But not just that," he amended, making Lois whimper softly. "There's something I want to know."

"Mmmm?" Lois wasn't exactly capable of articulate speech.

"Something you've been teasing me about for a while now." His voice grew deeper as Lois leaned against him, her breath quickening, her body starting to move in time with his caresses.

"What?" she whispered, her eyes closing.

His voice was still lower, that rich timbre that always sent shivers down her spine, when he said, "Tell me what you got me for Father's Day."

Lois's eyes snapped open again. "What? No fair­–" But then he mouthed the back of her neck, and she moaned, arching against his touch.

Kal-El laughed softly at her, the wicked laugh only she knew, and Lois had a moment to think she'd taught him too well. "All's fair in love, war, and the front page. You told me that, Lois. So, will you tell me? Or will I have to stop what I'm doing?"

"Oh, you evil…" Lois hissed. Very cute, Kal-El. Very cute. But two can play at this game, and I intend to win. Lois took a step forward out of his embrace, half-turning toward him with a wounded look. But that was merely a cover for what she meant to do. At her height, she could get completely out of the spray by staying close to the wall. "I'm not telling … so you'll have to stop. Let me help you…" And she reached behind her, twisting the hot water knob abruptly off.

The water temperature suddenly dropped from steaming to ice cold, and Kal-El gasped in shock. Lois dove out, not even bothering to grab a towel – he'd be only too happy to drag her under the cold shower with him. Now all she had to do was make it out the door…

Lois laughed out loud as she grabbed the doorjamb, sliding a little on the tile. She'd almost made it when she heard the shower curtain slide back rapidly, and a whooshing sound…

"HOLY … CRAP" Lois screamed as his freezing breath struck her bare, wet skin. She followed that with less savory profanity. "Kal-El, I will kill you for that!"

She had actually started to turn around, intending to somehow make good on the threat, when he stepped out of the shower, glaring at her. "I'll get you for that, Lois," he muttered threateningly, and Lois realized he could use the super-breath again – and it would be even less pleasant against the front of her body.

Discretion is the better part of valor – an uncommon thought for Lois, but a wise one at the moment. She backed away nervously, suddenly reminded that he was nearly a foot taller than she was … almost a hundred pounds heavier, too, all of it muscle. And he was glowering at her as if he was actually angry, and intending to do something completely wicked in revenge.

And then she hit the wall behind her, no room to run. "Um… I was just kidding… good joke, huh?" Lois tried to grin up at him, but she was already wincing in anticipation of payback.

She'd crossed her arms over her chest to defend herself, and Kal-El took hold of her wrists, pinning her hands above her head. Lois closed her eyes, just knowing he was going to do something terrible. I should've remembered that damn Arctic-fresh breath before I turned the cold water on him. Oh, hell. This is gonna…

But it wasn't frigid air that struck her damp skin. Instead Lois felt sudden warmth clothing her, and her eyes shot open in time to catch the gleam of red in his. Talk about your heated stares, she thought, and then Kal-El was kissing her, skin against skin and nothing cold about either of them. His warm hands slid down her sides, catching her thighs and lifting her to his height.

Lois moaned against his lips, and Kal-El chuckled, completely forgetting about what he wanted to ask her…

…for the moment.

Later the same evening, Kal-El walked out onto the balcony wearing only a pair of jeans. Lois was blissfully asleep in bed, and he glanced through the wall at her with a complicated smile: part adoration, part satisfaction, and part curiosity.

The Adirondack recliner he'd had shipped from Smallville rested on the balcony now, with a decent view of the stars. Clark sat down in it and put his feet up, reflecting again on how oddly comfortable it was.

His thoughts didn't stay so mundane for long. The same question returned to haunt his mind. Is she or isn't she? Lois doesn't want to tell me yet, and I'm not going to sneak around with x-ray vision to find out. That just seems rude. But still…

Okay, the options. What if she isn't? I mean, we've only been trying for two months. I know people who've tried for years before finally succeeding. Just because we managed it in one night the first time is no reason to assume we'd be lucky again so soon. If Lois isn't pregnant, nothing really changes. We have the twins, and we keep trying – which, frankly, is no hardship.

Unless… What if we can't? What if we only got the twins because of something relating to me losing my powers? That would mean we could never have another child, since I can't risk giving up my powers again. Look what happened last time. If that's the case, I could never be there for the birth, the first few years – never hear the first word, never witness the first steps…

No way to know, yet, so no point in worrying about it yet, he told himself firmly. The sky was unusually clear tonight, so Kal-El watched the stars above, drowsing slightly as he contemplated the other option.

If she is … our lives will get a lot more complicated. The twins plus a new baby? We'll need every ounce of my speed to keep up with them. True, we have a pretty good support network, and at least money isn't a problem for the department heads of a newspaper the size of the Planet, but it's still a big adjustment.

The sliding glass door behind him opened, and Lois padded out onto the balcony. She was wearing the red bathrobe he adored, the one with black lace trimming the sleeves, and he smiled knowingly at her.

"Stupid double standard," Lois growled affectionately as she bent to kiss him. "You can sit out here flashing your chest to the whole world…"

"You'd start a stampede if you did that, Lois," he whispered. "And I'm a little too tired to fight off your hordes of admirers."

"My hordes of admirers? When every paper in this city was stashing a good-looking female reporter on the roof almost two years ago? Right, Kal-El. I'm not taking any chances." With that Lois, slid into his lap, leaning back against his chest. The chair was very sturdily constructed, and held both of them easily.

He chuckled at her, kissing her hair. "There's only one good-looking female reporter to whom I give the exclusives, Lois." Kal-El slipped his arm around her waist as Lois made herself comfortable, the top of her head nestled under his chin and the rest of her body draped across him.

"Yeah, I know," she muttered, her tone deadpan, "I've got two of your 'exclusives' staying at my mom's place tonight."

"Hmm," he mused, enjoying her closeness. "Speaking of exclusives… if we do have another news flash in the family tree, what do you think of Jonathan for a name?"

"I'm partial to Michael," Lois replied, "but they sound good together. Jonathan Michael Lane…"



"Kent," he insisted, eyes bright with mischief.

"I'm a hyphenate, so are the possible future kids," Lois replied.

"Jason took my name…"

"With Lane as his middle," Lois said firmly, "and Kala hyphenated. I'm not giving up my name."

"Thought you didn't like your dad." The statement was neutral, Kal-El stroking her arm thoughtfully.

"No, but I like my mom. Lucy bellied up to patriarchal tradition; someone has to maintain the Lane legacy of stubbornness."

"Oh, well, you and Kala have that taken care of for decades to come," Kal-El teased, kissing her ear.

"I'll tell your daughter you said that," Lois threatened lazily.

"She'll take it as a compliment," he replied. "Jonathan Michael Lane-Kent it is, then. He'd better inherit our love of writing with a name that long."

"How do you know it's going to be a boy?" Lois challenged him, catching his hand in hers and kissing the back of it. "Could be a girl. Michaela is a gorgeous name, but I'm not hanging Jeanne on any child of mine."

"Mmmm," Kal-El murmured, turning his hand over and stroking her chin lightly. "There's always Lara, but that leaves my mom out."

"Honey, I love your mother, but I'm not naming a girl Martha in this era. Besides, didn't you tell me you're named for her somehow?"

"Her maiden name was Clark," he confirmed.

"Explains the dorkiness, since it was a surname … ah! Stop it!" Lois tried to get up suddenly as he tickled her.

"As if Lois was the world's most avant-garde name for a girl," Kal-El teased. "You did just fine with a classic, even if it did have an effect on your personality."

Lois swatted his hands away. "Oh? How do you figure?"

"Lois is a German name that means 'famous warrior', which is terribly appropriate for you," he told her. "You're famous, and you've been fighting all your life – you clobbered that guy in the diner all those years ago. My very own Valkyrie."

"Oh, knock it off," Lois grumbled, but she couldn't hide the pleased smile from him. "And my mother already has a grandchild named after her, thanks to Lucy. I swear she's having a kid for each living member of both families…"

"Lucy's a good mom, though," Kal-El said. "Both of you are – obviously a tribute to your mother."

"Flatterer," Lois said idly.

"No, I'm quite sincere," he replied, running his fingers through her hair. Lois sighed with pleasure, relaxing against him even more.

They lay like that for quite some time, Kal-El watching the sky above and toying with Lois' hair. An atmosphere of perfect peace and contentment descended upon them, and it finally seemed the right time to ask her the question that had occupied his thoughts for days. "Hey, Lois," Kal-El whispered, nuzzling the top of her head as he wondered how to phrase it.

His only reply was a sleepy, inarticulate murmur. Kal-El could only chuckle at himself when he realized that Lois had been asleep for several minutes; he'd heard her heartbeat slow to its current rhythm, but hadn't thought about what it meant. I suppose it'll have to stay a mystery – which is how she wants it to be.

Kissing her forehead, he gently gathered her up and carried her back to bed.

Part Two to be posted after midnight!