MADE FOR EACH OTHER
Clark's eyes fluttered open and he saw a high white marble ceiling above him. He turned his head and saw gauze curtains fluttering in the breeze and could smell the ocean mixed with olive, cypress, and roses. He instantly knew he was on Themyscira. He sat up with a sigh and looked around. From the looks of the light outside, it appeared to be late afternoon. He looked down at himself.
He was actually in pajama bottoms. He smiled. Someone had been kind and gotten him clothes at least. He touched his shoulders, arms, and torso. The wounds had healed. How long had he been asleep he did not know, but he felt remarkably rested. Last thing he remembered was Diana's and Lara's faces above him, and then a trembling of the ground beneath them.
He sat up and ran his hands through his hair. His eyes were drawn to a chair and saw a clean, new Superman uniform draped over the back. He got up and swiftly changed into it. His eyes were then drawn towards the windows and he moved to it. He looked out to confirm that he was on the Isle of Healing and Reformation. He could see figures amongst the trees and hear voices and laughter. One was like a golden bell chimed on a summer wind. It was Diana's.
He walked out onto the balcony and felt the rays of the sun upon him and he inhaled deeply. He could already feel the energy seeping into his veins and strengthening him. He floated towards the voices.
They were sitting on the grass under a tree. Donna was lounging on a blanket and pillows, with a magazine on her lap while consuming grapes, and Diana was playing with Lara. His eyes softened at the sight of his little daughter as she waddled after a ball her mother had rolled onto the grass for her. Donna was reading aloud from her magazine.
"Hey, Diana, did you know that experts think we kiss to sniff out a mate?"
Diana looked up. "What?"
"Yeah, says here, when we are close together our pheromones "talk" exchanging information whether we can produce strong offspring. Says women prefer the genes of guys who offer different immune system proteins to our own. A good match would lead to healthier, stronger babies hence the survival of the species…"
Diana rolled her eyes. "Not Cosmospolitan again."
"Hey, don't turn up your nose. It probably accounts for you and Clark reproducing that little darling."
Diana smiled. "Ah, I see. It's suddenly all clear to me."
"Oh, you laugh. But you find some educational stuff here. Did you know a fear of kissing is called philetomatophobia?"
"No, Donna, I didn't know," she said wryly.
"Huh, good thing we don't suffer with that. Hmm, how about doing a quiz?"
Diana took the ball off Lara with a kiss on her head. "Good girl…"
Lara gurgled for her to roll it again. Diana obliged.
Donna began, "Visualize your dream bed. What does it look like? (A) Rumpled, just like you had sex in it. (B) Zen, with a soft simple comforter. (C) Princess-like, with pretty pillows. Well, Diana?"
"Well, what?" Diana replied, looking at her unimpressed.
"Come on. Don't be a spoiled sport. A, B, or C?"
Diana sighed. "B."
Donna rolled her eyes. "Sure. Okay, question number 2. What's sexiest on a man's body? (A) His package. Ha ha!" Donna waggled her brows and continued reading. "(B) His lips, cause they are so sensual. (C) His chest and shoulders, cause they make you feel safe and protected?"
Diana bent her head to pick up a grape and mumbled, "C."
Donna grinned. "Certainly didn't hesitate on that one did you, Sis?"
Diana hid her smile. Donna's grin suddenly became mischievous. "I'm surprised you didn't say A. Cause you know what the girls say?"
Diana looked up, half dreading what she was about to hear. "No, what do the girls say?"
"Only that the red shorts is not for contrast. But to support a sizeable…"
Lara's voice interrupted her. She dropped her ball and gave a squeal as something that sounded like, "Da!" came out of her baby lips. She waddled past the two women and tried to float up to him but kept stopping and dropping back down. It seemed she could levitate but not maintain any sort of flight as yet.
Donna froze and looked at Diana. The two women felt their faces go red. Donna winced. "Please tell me Clark isn't behind us."
Diana turned to see Clark float to the ground and lift his daughter up high. Lara squealed as he swung her about and covered her face with kisses.
Diana found herself giggling against her will at Donna's expression. "Yes."
Both stood up. Clark came towards them, Lara tucked in one arm. He had a warm smile but there was a quizzical look in his eyes as if to indicate he had heard everything.
"Hey," he greeted them, "Did I hear right or did she just say Da?"
Diana reached up to stroke Lara's cheek with maternal affection and pride. "Yes, I think my baby just did. First she is showing an aptitude for hovering and now saying her first word." Diana's eyes turned to meet his. "How are you feeling, Clark?"
"I'm feeling rested. How long was I out for?"
"About a day and a half." She studied his face. There was not a scratch or bruise to be seen. "It looks as if your wounds have healed up as well."
"They have." His eyes turned to Donna and he grinned at the self-conscious look on her face. "Hi, Donna. Nice to see you here."
Donna flushed. "Hi, Clark. Glad to, um, see you better. You looked awful when you both came back from Asgard."
He said lightly, "Well, I felt awful. I must have really been exhausted to sleep for so long. So, I hope I didn't interrupt anything?"
Donna said hurriedly, rolling up her magazine, "Oh, nothing important. Just a lot of girlie, Amazon stuff. Um, Diana filled me in on what happened. You two must have stuff to talk about. So, I'll just leave you to it." She nodded at them and hurried away.
Clark's lips twitched and he looked at Diana who was looking for Lara's sandals. He cleared his throat. "Want to take a walk with us?"
Diana looked up. "A walk?"
"Yeah. It's a lovely afternoon and it'll give me a chance to spend sometime with Lara. And Donna is right, we have some "stuff" to talk about."
Together, with him holding Lara, they strolled along a winding path leading towards a clear view of the ocean. There were guardswomen at certain stations and they bowed respectfully as they saw their Princess, Superman, and Lara.
He queried, "Has the League been notified about what happened?"
"Yes, I told J'onn. Your mother is worried sick, even though J'onn assured her you aren't dying."
He began, "I should really go home and check her and Pa out. The only thing to convince Martha Kent is seeing me in the flesh and stuffing me with food. I'm starving as well. I could eat a horse, for lack of a better expression."
Diana smiled. "My mother and sisters are glad you are alright, and she feels badly about Lara being taken off the island. I think they blame themselves for what happened, even though I assured them that was not the case."
He said thoughtfully, "It's going to be a challenge to keep Lara safe, isn't it?"
Diana concurred. "I guess that's partly why you never had children, isn't it? You didn't want to put them into situations like what we just went through."
"Yes, it nearly killed me to think she was going to die…" He touched Lara's soft hair as she rested her head on his shoulder as if to reassure himself she was safe and really with them. "But she's here now and I wouldn't trade her for anything. We're just going to have to perhaps discuss other means of keeping her safe and protected."
Diana frowned. "It's not a very nice thing for a child to grow up in an environment surrounded by a battalion of guards and alarms, and unable to even go wandering and playing by herself."
"No. No, it's not. We've both made a lot of enemies and this may not be the end of us having to deal with threats of that nature."
Diana sighed. "Gods, I think I aged a hundred years during those few hours. I hope and pray we can keep her safe until she can protect herself."
"Well, she hasn't done too badly, has she? She saved herself," he said with a look of paternal pride.
"Yes, though my mother reminded me how much of a handful I was when I began flying from such a young age. We're going to have eyes at the back of our heads."
He looked at his daughter now drowsing on his shoulder. "Well, super vision and hearing will definitely come in handy there. Ma used to say it was when I went very quiet she knew I was up to mischief."
"Really? So did my Mother."
They both laughed. It felt good to do that again with each other. They paused near a hilltop that overlooked the sea. The wind ruffled their hair, whipped his cape and the skirt of her tunic. Both were deep in thought, staring at the horizon. Clark was aware of a pair of guards standing several meters away from them.
He looked at the blueness of the sea and said softly, "He's dead by now isn't he, Diana?"
Her voice had a slight catch in it. "Yes, I think he is."
"Can Gods die? I mean, really die?"
She wrapped her arms about herself. "I don't know, Clark. But his name and legend will live on. I pray one day in the afterlife we may see him. He was a good man."
"You know, I resented him for so long but he gave me something precious. To appreciate life and understand death. I don't think he only called us back to help find Mjolnir, Diana."
She lifted her eyes to his. Clark said, "He gave us another chance to find each other."
Diana swallowed. "What you said in Asgard…I know you meant it…but have you forgiven me?"
Diana felt as if a burden had lifted from her. She looked at her feet, conscious of the tears that wanted to spring from her eyes. "Thank you."
His voice was softer yet when he asked, "But more to the point have you forgiven yourself?"
"I'm getting there," she replied, also conscious of the guards close by and trying to appear as if she was really interested in the waves breaking on the rocks below them.
"That's a start. Maybe we can take things slow? One step at a time, Diana?"
"I would like that, Clark."
They fell into a gentle silence. Absorbing what had just been said and letting it wash over them, feeling any lingering doubts subside.
He suddenly said, "I think you should rejoin the League, Diana."
"Yes. They are our friends and they were prepared to help us find our child. There's not much reason to avoid them now, is there?"
"No, I suppose not. I did miss them and my work. I'll talk to J'onn."
He gave her an approving nod, and then looked at Lara who had fallen asleep on his broad shoulder. "She sure doesn't take long to drop off, does she?"
"She's been up for hours and hasn't had her nap. Let's hope she doesn't sleep too long else she will be up at some unholy hour at night and wanting to play."
He smiled. "Yes, Ma and Pa and I learned that lesson the hard way. Here, take her. I really should be going. Thank your mother and sisters for their help, and please assure them that no one holds them responsible for anything. And perhaps I'll see you at the Satellite sometime soon?"
Diana took Lara and promised, "I will try."
He bent his head and kissed Lara's brow. He was close now and she could feel the warmth coming off him and his elemental scent teasing her nostrils. Diana felt him turn his head a fraction and his lips brushed her temple. He whispered, "Take care, Diana."
She closed her eyes and replied, "You too, Kal." The spot where his lips touched seemed to burn. He turned and launched himself into the air, a blur of red and blue, and then he was gone.
Diana took a week to get organized with her new duties at the Embassy and contacted J'onn. He was pleased and relieved to hear she wanted to come back and invited her to the very next meeting the League was scheduled to have.
To say Diana was nervous was an understatement. She had not seen many of her allies for about two years and she was aware that they must all know about Lara now. But what was making her heart flutter like a teenager was seeing Clark. He had seen her once since flying away that day. They had not the time to really sit and talk about their feelings and what a future together might look like. She also knew in the eyes of the world Clark Kent had only gotten divorced six months ago and people could be unkind and malicious. They did not know the truth and would be quick to judge him if he were to even make it known he had a child and there was a new woman in his life.
He wanted to take it slow and she believed that was exactly what they needed after the pain and heartache of the last two years. Yet it did not help thinking about him every moment of the day; wondering what he was doing, wondering if he was thinking of her too; thinking of him at night, acutely feeling the emptiness in the vast beds she slept upon in Themyscira and the Embassy.
She stepped off the teleporter and saw the main control was quiet and running on automatic surveillance. Everyone was no doubt in the conference room. The automated sentinels greeted her as did the main frame computer. She acknowledged them all and took in a deep breath and headed for the conference room.
Gathered in the room were Superman, Batman, Flash, Green Lantern, Steel, The Atom, Black Canary, Plastic Man, and Martian Manhunter. They were one minute from starting and people had just taken their seats and were glancing over the minutes of the last meeting when the door slid open.
Wally exclaimed, "Diana! What are you doing here?"
Green Lantern began to rise. "Nothing wrong is there?"
She gestured to John to sit. "Hello, everyone. No, John, nothing is wrong. I am here for the meeting."
J'onn smiled and rose to take her by the hand. He announced, "Diana is coming back on active duty."
"She is? Wow, welcome back, Di! We missed you. Right, Supes?" exclaimed Plastic Man.
Clark rose to pull Diana's chair for her. His eyes met hers and held it for a moment. "Yes, we did."
Batman nodded at her. "Good to have you back."
Dinah sighed. "Finally, another gal in the place. How is your little one by the way?"
Diana took her seat, tearing her eyes away from Clark. "She is fine, Dinah."
Ray asked, "Not too traumatized by being kidnapped?"
Diana smiled. "No. She's doing very well. Thank you for the warm welcome. I missed you all."
Steel smiled. "The place was not the same without you, Wonder Woman."
Wally added, "Yeah, sure right it wasn't. Say, Diana, what are you doing for the New Year?"
The meeting wrapped up an hour later. Everyone had been designated their tasks for the day and began to file out. Diana looked across at Clark. He was due to go to help emergency relief teams after a horrendous earthquake in Turkey. J'onn had put her to work with Flash on a case in Keystone City.
They stood, the last, to leave. He began, "I'm glad you came back, Diana."
"So am I, Clark."
"Lara is okay?"
She laughed. "Yes. Still trying to fly. Thank goodness she can only hover for now."
"Maybe we can catch up when I get back? Have a cup of coffee?"
She smiled. "If you get back before the shift ends, that is. I know you. You won't leave until you find every living survivor out there."
His lips tugged. "Well, I'll come find you. If you're still here, that is."
Flash poked his head in the room. "Come on, Diana, don't keep the fastest man alive waiting."
Diana looked up. "Oh sorry, Wally. I'm coming." Her blue eyes met Superman's and he could hear the slight increase in her heart rate. "I'll be waiting for you then, Kal…" She turned and followed the Flash out.
He watched her walk out and let out a breath. Kal. When she called him Kal…He shook himself. It was going to be a long day.
Diana sat in the galley and looked at the empty cup and cold pot of coffee on the table before her. It was way past the end of her shift and she really ought to be back at the Embassy tying up some loose ends and preparing for the series of meetings she had to attend tomorrow at the U.N. But something kept her sitting there.
She looked at the time. It was nearing 2200 hrs and she had finished her shift two hours ago. The entire satellite was a ghost town now as the ones aboard were Steel, who was doing Monitor Duty, the Atom, who was working on some experiments with Batman, and the automated sentinels. Everyone else was on call or out on a job. From Steel, she had heard there had been some aftershocks in Turkey hence the reason why Superman was delayed. She really ought to get up and go and read those reports on climate change. She was about to stand up when she heard someone enter the galley. Her heart began to beat furiously, but when she saw the cowl, she tried to smile and not relay the disappointment she was feeling inside.
"Shouldn't you be off duty by now?"
"I am. What are you doing here still?"
He said, "Research is going well." He went to the refrigerator to pick up two supplement drinks. "Waiting for Clark?"
She asked wryly, "Is it that obvious?"
"Obvious, yes. Surprising, no." He paused for a moment. "So have you two sorted things out between you?"
She sighed. "It's complicated."
He asked blankly, "What's so complicated about it? The truth is out and you'd have to be a fool not to see the longing looks you two were shooting each other all during the meeting when you thought the others weren't looking."
Diana looked sheepish. "Clark said we should take things slow."
Batman said ironically, "Ah, slow. I supposed that's why he's been burning himself out all week with training simulations, and volunteering to do anything that involves a hell of a lot of manual work."
"Come on, you two have a kid together. And they say I'm the uptight one." He shook his head and walked out the galley, leaving her slightly flustered.
When Superman stepped off the teleporter past midnight, he was greeted by Steel.
"All under control, Superman?"
He ran a hand through his hair. "Yes, for now. Let's hope there are no more aftershocks. I think we managed to get all the survivors. I suppose I have a report to do?"
"The report can wait until tomorrow. Go freshen up and get some rest."
"Thanks, John. Oh, and John…um, did Diana leave any messages for me?"
"No, Clark. Last I saw her, she was doing her report three hours ago and I overheard her telling Ray she had some U.N. meetings tomorrow."
He nodded. "Right. Okay. Later."
He left him and took the elevator down the many levels to the habitat area. It was past midnight. Would she be up? No, he couldn't just go to the Embassy for no reason. He was due to go back to work tomorrow. He wouldn't see her until the weekend when he went to get Lara. The shifts J'onn had put her on had been opposite to him. He had actually told J'onn it would be better that way for now, but when he had actually seen it on paper…It was going to be a long week.
Clark punched the codes and the doors to his room slid open. He halted in astonishment to see sitting on a chair near the window that looked over the earth, was Wonder Woman. She had a sheaf of papers in her hand, and appeared to have been reading
She jumped. "Clark!"
"Is everything okay? Anything with Lara?" He looked worried now.
She stood up flushing self-consciously. "I…yes…Everything is fine…Lara is fine."
He undid his cape and threw it onto the back of a chair near his desk. He ran his hands through his hair. Just seeing her had taken him by surprise. "What are you doing here?"
She lifted the papers and began rather lamely, "I was…I saw your manuscript on the desk and began reading…I hope you don't find it too forward of me."
He replied, coming closer to her. "No, of course not. You know I always value your opinion, but you are telling me you came here to read my manuscript?"
Diana began, "No. I came to wait for you…and saw it and then began to read it. It's very good by the way…I…" She held it out to him.
Clark took the manuscript off her and said somewhat drolly, "Maybe later you can give me an assessment of it. So, why are you waiting for me? I thought you had meetings tomorrow."
Diana replied softly, "I do…But I…" She stepped closer to him. He could hear her heart fluttering as she placed her hands on his chest. His thudded at her touch; she could feel it beating beneath the smoothness of his uniform. It propelled her forward to do what she wanted.
"Kal…" Diana reached up and pressed her lips to his. It was a tentative, soft kiss, as if trying to seek an answer to a question.
Clark stood stunned for a moment. Just for a moment. The manuscript fluttered to the floor unheeded. His right arm wrapped about her waist and yanked her in close as his lips responded. Diana's body melted into his own. Her hands moved up his chest to entangle themselves into his hair. He had answered her question when his lips forced hers to part and he delved into the sweet recesses of her mouth. Love, passion, and need that had been stifled and held in check suddenly erupted. They kissed each other deeply, hungrily, desperately.
They broke for air. Breathing heavily, his eyes boring into hers, he rasped, "Are you sure about this?"
Diana responded by letting her hands tug up at his skin-tight, blue shirt. It went flying to the floor.
In one swift motion he had lifted her with one arm and placed her on the desk. His lips planted themselves into the hollow of her neck. She gasped and clung to his wide muscular shoulders as he wedged himself between her thighs. He was already aroused. She could feel him pressed against her groin. It made her quiver with anticipation.
He muttered, "This isn't taking things slow, Diana…"
She gasped, as his hands went to unclip her golden belt and tear at the back of her red corset, "I want you, Kal. Please…don't stop now."
The top of her uniform joined his on the floor. She moaned when his hands and lips touched her bare flesh. It seemed like an eternity since she felt this sort of fire in her veins. She had just been sustained with memories and dreams, and part of her was dreading if what they had shared in Asgard could ever be replicated. What if coming together now would be awful?
Watching him tease and capture a damask rose nipple between his lips and gorge himself on her flesh drove any doubts from her head. She could feel the warmth spreading through her as she could only whimper and arc into him. Diana felt his hands move beneath her and grasp at the undergarment beneath the short, star-spangled skirt she was wearing. It was torn off and she gasped as a large, warm hand cupped her femininity. His lips met hers again and he kissed her long and hard. His fingers began to slowly delve and explore.
She bit back something that sounded like a half sob. "Kal…wait…"
Her voice knifed his senses and he had to pull back with real effort. Just her taste, feel, and smell were driving his heightened senses crazy and inflaming his blood. It was as he remembered, she smelled of orchids and fire and tasted like …it was like a nectar he couldn't put his finger on…Honey?…Ambrosia?.
"What is it…?" he asked huskily.
She gasped, "If…if we? Will they know?"
He followed hesitant eyes that looked upwards. He smiled and whispered, "The Satellite is built to withstand onslaughts from alien enemies and can withstand forces up to 100 g's…the equivalent Steel told me of a sprint missile…No point in building something that can't take a few knocks, is there?"
Relief seemed to cross her eyes. She pressed herself closer to him, an invitation to continue. Clark lifted her off the desk with a mutter, "The desk isn't all that strong though."
He shoved it aside easily and braced her against the thick, cold wall that was a strong alloy of titanium and some other off-world high grade metal. Diana's fingers clutched at his hair, wrapping her long legs about his hips. Their eyes were locked as with a swift upward surge he was inside and one with her.
It was primal. It was lusty. It was what they needed. They felt as if they would die if they did not do this here and now. Diana's experience in Asgard had been two nights of warmth, love, and passion but now she realized what she had suspected. Out of that love and care for her, for her innocence and inexperience, he had held some of himself back. Now he couldn't even if he wanted to. He was losing himself in this woman. She may not be all that much more experienced but she knew what she wanted. She knew what it felt like and she knew what she was capable of doing to him. It was a rhythm as old as time itself.
She caught a glance of them in the mirror on the opposite wall and it was the most erotic thing she had ever seen.
The end was nearing. They both could feel it.
Her lips parted and eyes widened. "Gods…Kal !"
He reached up to bring her mouth to his, absorbing her cry. His hand behind her head dug rivets into the metal on the wall as he shuddered beneath her and she convulsed above him.
Ray Palmer and Batman were in the lab some levels up. Ray was at the microscope and Bruce was at the desktop computer entering data. Ray paused for a minute and frowned. The counter seemed to hum. He could see the imperceptible shiver of the pencil on the papers and hear the tiny rattle of the glass test tubes.
"Do you feel that?"
Batman looked up. "Feel what?"
"I don't know…It felt as you would a weak quake…" He looked at the computer systems. "No signs of any attack or pressure leaks. All seem fine."
Batman said calmly, "That's because all is fine. There are no pressure leaks or attacks."
Ray frowned. "Oh…But I swear. I'm sensitive to atomic particles and can feel them around me and their movement. You may not have felt it...but I did. Maybe I should shrink down and go into the system…I mean, better safe than sorry right?"
Batman interrupted. "Ray. Trust me. You don't need to go anywhere. I know where the um, "movement" came from."
Ray turned to look at him perplexed. "Where?"
"From Clark's room."
"I still don't get you, Bruce."
"Diana is with him."
"Diana is with…? Oh. OH! I see!"
They lay on the mattress of the broken bed, on the floor of Superman's room, simply holding each other. Her head was resting on his chest and he was stroking the length of her back. The sun was rising over North America and the bright rays were flooding into the port window of his room. They had not had a wink of sleep, either of them. The night had consisted of spells of lovemaking interspersed by simply talking to each other after the heat had temporarily subsided.
Diana saw the light and remembered. "Hera, I have meetings all day."
He crinkled his brow as he too recollected that real life had to be heeded. "I have to go to work. Darn."
She shifted and groaned. Her muscles seemed to protest. "I am going to be useless today, Kal."
His eyes gleamed with satisfaction at that and he said teasingly, "Well, I do aim to please…If it's any comfort, you have worn me down too. Though I could get some sunlight and powernap and I'll be as good as new by the time I have to clock in for work."
She looked up at him with a weak smile. "That's so unfair…I don't think I can think of anything much less walk…I am going to disgrace myself today at the U.N…I know it."
He grinned. "Well, I'm guessing you are going to distract me all day even though I will be in London and you in Washington."
She sighed. "I wish I didn't have to go."
"Me too…" He suddenly said abruptly, "Oh, to hell with it. Let's cancel."
Diana cocked her head at him, liking the sound of the idea. "I think maybe they can get on without me. After all, it's not as if I am presenting anything, right?"
"I'm sure they can and I will take unpaid leave since I used up all my sick days."
She stroked his chest, loving the feel of his body. He was warm and smooth and hard and so strong. The only man who could give her what she needed. Being with him made her feel womanly and safe and cherished and yet exultant and powerful. "Just one day?"
"I don't know. How many days can we sustain this?"
Diana said throatily, "I'm willing to see how many…"
He chuckled and rolled her onto her back. "I thought you were exhausted?"
She whispered, "Maybe a shower will revive me like the last time."
He paused to look up and said ruefully, "I really don't think that's such a good idea. The satellite is not as dead as it was last night. I can hear people coming onto duty. Maybe we can retire to the Fortress…?"
Diana smiled. "I would love that…but after we go see Lara."
"Oh, definitely after we see Lara…and reassure your mother and staff that you haven't been kidnapped but just taking some time with me."
Diana stroked his hair off his brow. "Better days are ahead, aren't they, Clark?"
He took her hand and kissed it. "As long as we promise to face everything together and not shoulder anything alone… I know they will be."
He bent to kiss her. She wound her arms about his neck and kissed him back.
"I love you, Diana," he whispered, when he raised his head.
"I love you, Kal." She sighed and held him tight.
After a minute he queried whimsically, "Now, how do I explain to the guys about the tracks in the walls and my shattered bed and the broken tiles in the shower? Although I'm betting J'onn will not have to be told. Still, Wally and Plas may never let me live this down."
Diana crinkled her nose. "Mmm, you're on your own there. I have to find an excuse for Pallas why my corset is torn."
He said, "Well, I need to make a few calls…We should get up. The cleaning bots are going to want to come in too. "
She smiled and placed biting kisses along his neck and chest as she moved slowly downwards. "Just one minute longer."
He caught his breath and rebuked, "Hey, none of that…"
She looked at him innocently. "I thought you liked my kisses, Kal-el?"
"I do but …God…Diana!"
Diana laughed triumphantly. She had him now and one minute was definitely not going to suffice.
FIVE YEARS LATER
A tall man in a slate gray suit and dark glasses walked along City Park, briefcase in one hand, a little girl about six years old tucked in one arm. He walked with a casual kind of elegance and there was a warm smile on his lips as he chatted with the child. She was a beautiful child. She was in a blue, gingham dress and her glossy, black hair was in pretty top knot with flowers. Both attracted a certain amount of attention. Older men and women smiled. Couples stopped to glance and nod. Single women sighed because he was wearing a wedding ring. There was nothing more attractive than to see a quietly attractive and confident man holding his child with pride and love.
Clark Kent had finished his job as Chief Editor to one of Metropolis' up and coming publishing companies. It had been a great day as he had taken Lara in with him for the "Bring the Kids into Work Day" and now both were walking through the park towards the train station having fed the swans and ducks as Lara had wanted to do all day.
He had left the Daily Planet two years ago and returned to his old city after nabbing a good position with the new company. He had also published his first book, not to mention he had gotten married again last year to a woman his colleagues knew as Diana Prince, part time lecturer of Greek History at Metropolis University. They had a house in the suburbs and he and Diana had taken time off from the League, remaining only on the reserve list so they could raise their child together.
Lara's life was not ordinary in the least. She spent spells on Themyscira and in Metropolis and Smallville, even the Fortress of Solitude. Her parents wanted her to know both heritages and experience life in the normal world. She was a smart child and knew that her father as Superman and Clark Kent had to be kept separate because of bad people who might want to hurt her. She had been home schooled and would continue to be until the time was right for her to join the rest of the normal school population. She was no stranger to children her own age as her playmates include JLA members' children. There was nothing she loved better than going to Gotham to see Uncle Bruce's protégé Tim, or to Keystone to play with Jay, Jesse, or Tom, Wildcat's son.
Lara had her little chin on his shoulder as she looked around her. She wished she could fly but she knew she was not allowed to here. That was only allowed in Smallville and Themyscira.
She asked thoughtfully, "Daddy, why can't we have a swan?"
"I'm afraid not, Pumpkin. Birds don't do well caged and need to be free. Plus, they need to be with their own kind. That daddy swan and that mommy swan would miss each other if you took one away."
"Oh. Like you miss, Mommy?"
"Just like that."
"Is she coming home today?"
"I don't know. She has a lot of work to do, I think."
It was summer holidays but for Mrs. Kent that did not mean a thing. Princess Diana was still expected to attend to her duties. Diana had left them for a fortnight to travel to London, Edinburgh, and Dublin for a conference. She would call every night and it was only when Clark had his parents to baby-sit Lara he would fly in as Superman and sneak a quick hour with her.
Lara sighed. She loved the days with her Mommy, reading and learning or going to Mommy's home to spend time with Hippolyta, whom she called "My Grandma, the Queen" and her many Aunties. She loved the beach and being able to fly openly, and the many animals there. But when she was there she did admit to missing her Daddy. There was no one like Daddy. He played with her and told her stories and let her tag after him and he took her to work …He was the best Daddy in the world.
Lara's happiest moments were being with both parents. Clark and Diana had tried their best to never let her be without one or the other, and did their utmost to not stay away from each other for long. This was their longest time apart since he and Diana decided to marry and move in together, and from what Diana told him it would probably be the last conference she would attend. She was seriously considering getting another sister to take over the Ambassador post. Whilst Lara needed her, she did not think she could spend so much time away from her.
Clark said comfortingly, "But we're going to cook a nice meal just in case she comes, right?"
Lara nodded brightly. Every night Clark made it a point to have Lara think up what they could cook special just in case Diana came home. Lara exclaimed, "Bunny burgers!"
"Okay…" He tried to contain his smile. Bunny burgers were actually Lara's favorite; mini beef burgers with potato wedges for ears. "Bunny burgers it is and for dessert?"
"Any kind of cake?"
Clark grinned. "Fairy cake it is."
They had reached the train station and he trotted down the steps and went to look up at the large display board with the departure times. A voice uttered his name.
Clark paused for a second. He knew that voice. He turned and his brows lifted in surprise. Standing before him was none other than Lois Lane. But she did not look like the Lois he remembered from six years ago. Her face had matured and looked heavier in the jaw and she was wearing a loose top over a pair of pants. Lois was pregnant.
"Lois? Wow…Good to see you…" He gestured to her abdomen. "I see congratulations are in order."
She smiled and touched her bump. "Yeah…I'm six months."
"Yes, Richard." Her eyes were drawn to Lara on his shoulder and he could see the reluctant admiration flicker across her face. She asked, "I suppose this is your daughter."
"Yes, this is my daughter, Lara. Lara, sweetheart, this is a… friend of mine. Her name is Lois. Say hello."
Lara said, with the air of one accustomed to meeting many people, "Hello, Lois. I am Lara Kent. How are you?"
Lois's brows rose and she said with typical Lois dryness, "Wow. She's a diplomat already. Hello, Lara. I'm fine." Her eyes fell on the ring on his finger. She mused, "Married, huh?"
He nodded. "Yeah. You?"
"Hoping to. Next year. After the baby."
"Congratulations, Lois. I'm happy for you. Really, I am." His eyes looked at her with real sincerity.
She coloured. "Clark…I know what I said and I want to tell you, that maybe …this was for the best. I think we are both happier beings with people who make us feel like we belong and who we don't have to change or forget who we are. I was so awful to Diana."
Clark said softly, "She does not hold anything against you, Lois."
"Well, she's more gracious than I ever could be. I …Tell her, I don't hate her. I mean, I could never be friends with her…but I know now you really can't stop time, and that change is inevitable. You two were meant to be. I guess I just got in the way until you found each other. I wish you both the best."
He said gently, "Thank you, Lois. That means a lot."
She looked at her watch. "Well, I have to go. Richard is coming to pick me up. He's probably outside by now. Take care."
"Take care, Lois."
Lois left and he watched her go up the steps and out the huge entrance to fall into the waiting embrace of Richard White.
Clark Kent smiled. Lara looked at him. "Can we go home soon, Daddy?"
"Yes, sweetheart, let's go home."
When they stepped out of their station, Clark went to the car park, took up his car, and he drove home. It was a fifteen minute drive and their house was in a quiet neighborhood in a cul-de-sac.
He parked the car. Lara got out and took up his briefcase as they both made their way to the door. Clark suddenly stopped. He seemed to pause. He smiled.
Lara's eyes glowed. "You see her, Daddy? Where?"
"In the back yard."
Lara gave a squeal, dropped the brief case, and lifted off the ground and flew around the side of the house. Clark groaned and looked around to make sure no neighbors were around to see that. He picked up the briefcase, unlatched the side-gate, walked around the house, brushing past some hedge groves and flowering shrubs to come around the back yard, which was fenced in and shaded by two huge oaks.
He put his briefcase down on the decking, undid his tie, and dropped it on the rail. Lara was hugging Diana's neck as they stood under a wooden gazebo. Diana was laughing and kissing her. She did not even seem to have taken time to change from her Grecian gown and sandals. She looked as if she had flown straight home and gone to check on her plants.
"I missed you too, baby. No, I'm not going away again for a while. You fed swans? Really?"
Diana looked over her daughter's shoulder to see her husband coming down the path. Her eyes sparkled and she sighed as he put his arms around both her and Lara. He kissed her on the temples.
"Nice to have you back, Mrs. Kent."
"Nice to be back, Mr. Kent."
"What do we owe this early surprise?"
"I got fed up and told them I had a family emergency."
"Yes, this is the truth. My family needs me and I need them."
"You'll get no argument from me there."
Lara announced, "Mommy, Daddy's going to make bunny burgers and fairy cakes for you."
She looked at him amused. "For me? Interesting."
He grinned. "It was our daughter's idea."
"Oh well, then that is sweet. Thank you, darling." Diana kissed her daughter and let her down. "I brought you some presents. They are in the hall."
Lara's eyes lit up. "Really?"
"Yes. Run along and get it."
Clark added, as she seemed to hover for a second, "And no flying."
Lara flushed and kept her feet to the ground and hurried inside via the back door.
Clark began mockingly, "What no gift for me? I'll have you know I've been working very hard."
Diana wound her arms about his neck. "You will get your gift when our daughter goes to bed tonight."
His eyes danced and he bent to kiss her on the mouth. "I'll hold you to that. And I want more than one gift."
They just stood holding each other. He said in her hair. "I saw Lois today."
Diana lifted her head from his shoulder. "Really?"
"Oh. With that Mr. White?"
"That's wonderful." Diana asked soberly, "Was she very angry still?"
"I think Lois has mellowed out somewhat. Thanks probably to Richard and finally feeling as if she has a life where she fits with her partner. She said to tell you she does not hate you and wishes us the best."
Diana looked surprised but gratified. She sighed. "I'm so glad. There are times I think of her and feel responsible."
"Lois was right in one thing."
"You and I…we were always meant to be. Nothing could stop it or change it. The Gods know it, and the Fates know it."
Diana smiled. "Made for each other then?"
"Definitely made for each other." he replied with certainty.
She said, "Let's go see what our little girl is doing."
She took his hand and they walked up the path, past rose bushes, lilies, camellias, daisies, and other flowers in the back garden. They all perfumed the air but none of their scent could ever overpower or erase the one fragrance that he would breathe in all his life until he was ready to take his last breath…orchids and fire. His love. Diana.