VII
Lines

I think that whatever happens now doesn't matter that much.

I know the lines of his skin, and the smell of his hair. I have traced fingers lightly across the bare skin of his stomach, and pressed my lips there afterwards, breathing him in. I have felt his hands laid flat, and then fingers curled against the curve of my hips, lips pressed against the stitches over my ribs. I have kissed his collar bone, his shoulder, his rib cage, and, pushing him down into the bed, the soft curve of his mouth and the lid of his closed eye. I know him; know the very seascape of him, and named all the silvery fish in his depths.

He is movement, and meaning, and so am I.

- - -

He sets the coffee down by the bedside table, and I blink open my eyes.

"Clark Kent is naked in my bedroom," I say. I close my eyes again, "Hit my head again."

(I don't need to open my eyes again to know that he is smiling.) "Not this time, Lois. Although —"

"I threw the lipstick out," I say. (He laughs out loud that time).

I feel the mattress pushed down behind me, and then Clark's breath is on my neck, and his arm around my waist, hand on my stomach.

"Can I tell you a story?" he says, his breath tickling my ear. He gently brushes a stray hair out of my eyes. I nod, and feel him sit up next to me. "It's about my parents," he says, "my birth parents."

I lean back against the headboard and look over at him, and he smiles at me. In his face there is a sense of wistfulness, and regret; there is also, in his eyes, the echo of a lie — some sentiment about himself which once lingered about the corner of his mouth. "OK," I say, with a smile, "tell me about them."

"They sent me away," he says, "when I was a baby. To save my life." He breathes in, and closes his eyes, and I realise that he is trembling. "Lois," he says, "it wasn't here. It happened a long way away, on another planet, on the other side of the Milky Way. They put me in a rocket ship, packed me in a blanket, and sent me to Earth for my mom and dad to find and look after."

I swallow; unsure for a moment whether he is insane, or whether I am insane, or whether I hit my head after all, or whether I am dreaming. Then he says, "And I'm the Red-Blue Blur, Lois." And when I look at him, his eyes are filled up with trepidation, and earnesty, and I know that what he's saying is the truth.

"Then," I say, when I find my voice, "it was you, all along. You who saved my life, and you who —"

I can't breathe. I close my eyes, and Clark kisses me, suddenly. I put my hand on his cheek, and realise that there are tears there. "You saved me," he says, his eyes closed, "when I thought I was useless and worthless, you saved me. Without realising what you were doing. Because it is your first instinct to save people. I'm sorry I didn't tell you sooner." He is shaking his head. "I should have done a lot of things sooner."

"You didn't have to tell me at all," I say, putting my hand on his shoulder. Every moment I had ever shared with either Clark or the Red-Blue Blur was cast in a new light; they had depth, and movement, and colour, and meaning which I saw with fresh eyes. "It was all you," I say again.

"Because I love you," he says, and this time I kiss him.

- - -

"Is this weird?" I say, sitting at my table in the kitchen, while Clark makes breakfast.

"Is what weird?" he says, over his shoulder.

"You know," I say, tapping my fingers against the table. "Us. Together." He says nothing, but laughs, and I roll my eyes. "I'm just saying," I say, "that you were absolutely the last person I expected to fall in love with."

"I didn't know," he says, "that you were expecting to fall in love at all."

I say nothing for a moment, because I think maybe that he is right, and that it never occured to me. Then I say, serious now, "Well, what about you?"

Clark turns around then, and leans against the counter. "I was in love," he says, with that brutal honesty. "But no, I didn't expect to love anyone aside from Lana, much less to be loved back. And —" he looks away here, "and I never thought that I could be this happy in love without becoming human."

I get up then, and kiss him, and the breakfast is burnt.

- - -

I think, sometimes of Lana, and wonder what she is doing. I think maybe that she couldn't spare me the locket, but then maybe she didn't want it.

I hope that she is happy; I think that she is not.

- - -

Clark stumbles into my apartment one day with blood smeared all down the side of his face. He looks like he is about to break, and I fling my arms around him. He says nothing, but just kisses my neck, his fingers twisted into my hair. "I'm here," I whisper into his ear, "I'm here."

"I know," he says. "You're here."

I lie him down on the bed, and lay my head on his shoulder, and as he sleeps, he cries, and I hold him. And I wonder what he did on nights like this before we were together.

And when he wakes in the morning, he tells me everything.

- - -

We still stay nights at the Daily Planet, listening to the police scanner like a married couple. But when he leaves now, I know that he is safe. I know that nothing about the world is fixed only because I know the lines of his skin, but still I no longer dream of bloody fingers and corpses, but of opened cages, and flown birds, and the leaves of oak trees eddied in the wind; and I wake in the night alone, or with his arms around me, and either way I feel safe.

I think that things will work out, in the end.

Fin.