A couple of weeks ago - shortly after Sana sent my her last drabble, I got over a cold, and I finally stopped traveling - someone posed the question, "Why shouldn't Superman move on after Lois dies? Lots of people do, when their loved one passes away. Why should Superman be any different?"
"He's different because it's different. Clois isn't just any other love story; it's THE love story," I thought to myself. And then I set out to write a drabble that explained why.
Which came to a bit of a dilemma as I had two ideas I loved equally as much. I wrote them both and sent them off to my fellow fic challenger. As this challenge is for her, I wrote the one she likes best. However, the story Fly Me to the Moon - The Alternate Version will be posted separately. I think it actually does a bit better at accomplishing what had inspired my inclination to write this story to begin with.
Anyway, here we go!
Challenge 4 | Fly Me to the Moon
"You can go on in," the nurse said in an undertone. "She's resting, but we told her you were coming today." Pressing a pile of file folders against her chest, she paused at the door and looked back over her shoulder at them. Dropping her voice, she warned, "I'm not sure how she'll be. I'm afraid she's been having more off days lately."
"We understand," the woman with long brown hair said sympathetically as the nurse threw open the door and gestured them inside, closing it behind them.
The old woman was seated in a rocking chair facing the window, her tired eyes gazing out at the hospital gardens. She didn't move or give any indication she was aware that she had company, even when her companions approached her chair.
"Mrs. Lane-Kent?" the young woman said as she rounded the chair to move into view. Hazel eyes flickered towards her but then returned to the window again. The young woman continued, "My name is Sonia Jackson. We talked the other day?" A flicker of confusion crossed the old woman's face. "This is my partner, Peter Wright. We're here to interview you." Lois grunted, an inarticulate and unenthusiastic greeting.
A long silence stretched as the young duo exchanged a glance and tried to decide how to continue. Lois didn't speak. Rather, she started to fiddle with the sweater swung over her shoulders, trying to pull it closed. It had snagged on the back of the chair, so Peter stepped forward and freed it. As he leaned to help her, he tried again, saying gently, "We're here because, as you know, Lois Lane and Clark Kent are legendary names in the world of journalism. We'd like to write a story about the two of you. I think people would really love to know more about the relationship that went on behind the bylines."
Lois lifted her eyes to his, and for the first time, there was a spark of amusement there. "Oh, I know. You think after all this time, I can't recognize a reporter on the trail of a story?" she joked, her voice tremulous with age but still firm. "I can also tell that neither of you are very excited about this assignment; probably think there are more important stories you could be breaking." When she saw them exchange a guilty look, she shook her head, and smiled as though she had a secret. "No, it's okay. I understand. I would have been the exact same way."
Peter smiled in response and straightened, and she leaned back in her chair. As they took seats nearby, Lois's gaze drifted back to the window, but this time, they knew she wasn't ignoring them. Her eyes sparkled with life and a small smile curved her lips, though her gaze was distant as she recalled fond memories.
"So you want to know about my relationship with Clark," she mused absently, almost as if she was speaking to herself. She dropped her hand to her lap, to run fingers gnarled with age along the string of pearls lying across her knee.
For a long moment, it seemed she wouldn't say anything further, so Sonia prompted, "How did the two of you meet?"
Lois threw back her head and cackled. Her eyes were dancing merrily as she grinned at the young woman. "I found him naked in a field, actually." Sonia's arched eyebrows betrayed her skepticism, and Lois hooted with laughter again. "Oh, I may be old, and my memory might not be as good as it once was, but I'm not senile. And trust me, it would take a lot to forget something like that! I'm sure you've seen pictures, so you should know my husband was very good looking!"
Sonia smiled uncertainly, as if she still wasn't sure whether or not to believe this story. "What happened?" she asked.
Lois shrugged, the method in which she'd found him clearly not interesting her nearly so much as the state she'd found him in. "Oh, he'd been in an accident. Struck by lightning; didn't remember a thing. At least that's what he said."
Pulling out a pad of paper and a pencil, Sonia kept her voice noncommittal as she asked, "But that's not what really happened?"
Curving her hands around the arms of her chair, Lois began to rock gently, and Sonia wondered if she had deliberately misunderstood the question when she replied flippantly, "Oh, I'm sure he didn't remember everything, but he never forgot that he was naked when we first met." With a wistful sigh, she added, "I certainly made sure he'd never live that down." Then, glancing at Sonia, she nodded towards a nearby bookcase. "Hand me photo album on the bottom shelf."
Sonia gasped. "You have a picture of it?" she asked incredulously.
This struck Lois as funny, because she laughed again. "Oh, I wish, believe me!" Sonia handed it over, and Lois laid it lovingly on her lap, stroking its edges with ancient hands. However, Sonia and Peter couldn't help but notice that the deep lines in her face smoothed out as she smiled down at the well-loved photo album and pulled it open. In the few minutes that they'd known her, they'd never seen her look more alive than she did as she gazed at those reminders of her past. "I guess I should start at the beginning, if you two want the full picture for your story," she began.
As the young couple scooted closer, Lois ran her hand down the glossy page and started to talk, telling them stories of her life with Clark. Sonia had her pad of paper on her lap, but it was fortunate that Peter had thought to bring a tape recorder, because as Lois talked, the two of them got too lost in the stories to take sufficient notes.
In page after page of the photo album, Lois had preserved the history of Clark Kent and Lois Lane. There were pictures of the two of them in high school, with Clark dressed in a football uniform, his helmet swinging casually by his side as he walked next with her across the field. Her hair was pulled up into a long pony-tail, and she was smirking over at him.
There were pictures of her with his family, Jonathan and Martha Kent. She talked about her time living with them and the way they'd welcomed her into their family long before she and Clark had fallen in love. Her face grew sad as she talked about Jonathan Kent's death and the toll the loss had taken on Clark. She also talked about her relationship with Martha – first as her Chief of Staff, then as her friend, and finally as her daughter-in-law. The pearls in her lap had originally been Martha's, Lois admitted, given to her as a gift at their wedding – the "something old" she'd worn down the aisle. She didn't recount her tales in a linear fashion but rather shared them as they came to mind. When she talked of Martha's death, they could sense the pain she'd felt when she'd wished the older woman goodbye.
With each story, she painted a picture for her companions; they almost felt they were right there with her and Clark in Smallville, Kansas as it had been once upon a time. But perhaps that was because she was so clearly there, herself. This was her reality – not her day-to-day living in a hospital as she watched her life slip away but in those moments of her youth, when she'd truly known what it felt like to be alive. Tomorrow, she might not remember this conversation; it might fade from her mind as if it had never been. But she would ever forget these precious memories of the life she'd spent with the man she'd loved.
They grinned when she talked about Clark's first day at the Planet, showing up in a plaid shirt with a backpack slung over his shoulder. How she'd decided to take him under her wing, stealing a co-workers clothes and shoving Clark bodily into a nearby phone booth as she demanded he change. Then they laughed when she regaled them with tales of their adventures together, as partners at the paper. It was quite clear that Lois had always been the reckless one, prone to jumping into the path of danger, and Clark had spent most of his time trying to reign in her impulsive nature enough to keep her from getting killed. She painted the picture of the Planet so well that, though they hadn't known him, their hearts twisted when Lois mourned the death of Perry White, the man who had seen something special in her work and had quickly come to mean a great deal to her.
They grew quiet when Lois told them about how she and Clark had fallen in love. Their first kiss, in the Daily Planet bullpen. Their first date, a quick cup of coffee grabbed when they snuck away from work. The first time he told her he loved her, after he'd walked her home late one night after a date (date thirty-two, she informed them with surprising certainty). The little ways that, over time, he'd stolen her heart and saved both her life and her sanity.
She told them about the night Clark proposed to her, his voice trembling with emotion as he knelt before her and asked her to be his wife. Their wedding, which had been small – only attended by friends and family. For a time, she lost herself as she stared at a picture of the newlyweds, their arms wrapped around each other as they forgot about the world around them and lost themselves in their first kiss as man and wife.
Now that Lois had begun to talk about the love she'd shared with Clark, it seemed she couldn't stop as story after story spilled out. The nurse brought them lunch and she barely touched it as she told her companions about the small details that made up their lives together. She talked about the endless hours they spent working together on stories – or just sitting up late on the balcony of their first apartment, staring out at the city lights as they talked about everything or about nothing at all. The mornings Clark surprised her with a maple donut and a cup of coffee in bed. The way he would sling his coat over her shoulders when she was cold, or how he would rest his hand gently upon the small of her back as he led her into a room. The way he would kiss her goodnight, even if they were in the middle of a fight and she was furious with him. The way he told her he loved her every single day, without fail.
Lois had talked for hours about loving Clark when it came time to talk about losing him. She could barely speak of his death, of the heart condition that had taken him from her. Her eyes glazed over with sorrow and pain, she bowed her head and closed the photo album, pressing it to her chest. Her voice thick with emotion, she could only talk about those last few minutes they'd had together, when she'd held him in her arms as he whispered he loved her. And then how she'd kissed him goodbye. As she talked, she began to fade; in the memory of losing him, she lost herself once more, and they watched as her mind slipped away again. Her eyes grew dim once more, the animation left her face. She remembered her loss, still felt the pain of it, but in her mind she was fifty years younger, still thrilling in the love she and her husband shared.
When the nurse came in to tell them that visiting hours were over, Peter reached over and grabbed the tape recorder, shutting it off, as he and Sonia stood. "Thank you for speaking with us," he said softly.
"If you don't mind, we'd like to come back," Sonia said in a similar tone. "Just…to talk some more, if you want."
Lois didn't respond as she stared out the window, her eyes hazy and unfocused again. However, when they were almost to the door, she asked, "Could you stay for a minute, Sonia?"
Sonia and Peter exchanged glances, and then he left. She turned back to the chair. "Yes? Is there something you need, Mrs. Lane-Kent?"
"If you two are going to write a book about me, I think there's something you'll want to see. There's a notebook in my dresser drawer. Would you mind grabbing it for me?" Sonia did so, but when she tried to hand it over, Lois shook her head. "Oh, no. You keep it. Clark and I agreed that we'd give it to someone when the time was right." At her companion's questioning look, she explained, "If you want to know the truth about what it was like to love Clark, it's all in there. Now, I know you have to go, but before you do, could you help me get ready? Clark's coming soon to pick me up for a date, and I want to look my best for him."
Sonia slipped the journal in her bag and looked at the woman in the rocker with a mixture of sympathy and pity, uncertain whether to hurt her by reminding her of Clark's death. After a moment, she decided to leave her the comfort of the fantasy her confused mind had built in its old age. She forced a smile. "Of course." Nodding at the pearls still resting on Lois's knee, she asked, "Do you want me to get those for you?"
Lois nodded and looked up at Sonia with a grateful smile. "Oh, thank you. The clasp is so small, it's hard for me to fasten. I'm afraid there isn't much of me that works as well as it used to." Once Sonia had fastened the pearls around her neck and helped Lois primp her hair, the elderly woman sat back in her chair with a satisfied smile. "Well? Do I look ready for my date?"
Sonia smiled softly. "I'm sure he'll love it," she said sadly. Then, with one more sympathetic look at the woman who had never moved on from the loss of the man she loved, Sonia walked out the door, the journal in her bag temporarily forgotten.
With a smile on her face at the thought of the surprise in store for the young couple when they read the journal she and Clark had written years before in preparation for this moment, Lois rocked gently in her chair. Time passed, but she took no note of it as she waited. The sun had set and Lois started to drift off to sleep when she heard a sound and her eyes opened again.
He was standing in front of her, his hair peppered with gray, his face lined with age. But he was still undeniably handsome. "Good evening, Lois."
"I was waiting for you," she said softly. "I knew you would come."
He knelt before her. "I promised I would."
The floor creaked softly as she rocked back and forth gently in her chair. The image before her blurred as she blinked away the tears in her eyes and threw him a shaky smile. "I'm sorry you had to wait so long," she whispered.
Clark smiled. "I told you I would wait for you. I'd wait for you forever." He stood and held his hand out to her. "You ready?" he asked with a quirk of his eyebrows.
She didn't even have to stop and think. "Oh, yes," she breathed as she placed her hand in his. With an exultant grin, she rose to her feet with an ease that had eluded her for years.
As she rose, he bowed his head and pressed his lips against hers; her eyes fluttered closed as she tucked herself against his body. It had been too long since the two of them had been together like this, but the embrace was still achingly familiar.
Once the kiss broke off, Lois pressed her cheek against her chest, her eyes drifting towards the mirror. She saw herself as she had once been – her face unmarked by age, her hair long and thick, untouched with gray. Clark was similarly changed. He was as young and strong as he'd been on the night that they'd met.
Clark noticed her distraction; their eyes met in the reflection. "You were always beautiful to me, Lois," he murmured, responding to the thought she hadn't spoken aloud.
Tilting her head back, she stared into his eyes and lifted her fingers to his face, sweeping her thumbs across his cheekbones. The last time they'd been together, he'd been thin, his face pale and wan, the skin tight across his bones as he'd lain on a crystal slab and screamed in pain. Kryptonite poisoning hadn't just taken him from her; it had done so in the cruelest way possible.
But in her arms, he was once again strong and healthy. She laughed as he swept her into his arms. "How about it, Smallville? Fly me to the moon one more time?"
"For you, Lois? Any time," he said as he lifted them into the sky. The lights of the city were spread out below them, but neither had eyes for anything but each other. Wrapping her arms around Clark's neck, Lois kissed him as they flew high into the air.
At their wedding, Lois and Clark had vowed to love each other 'til death did they part, but even as he'd died in her arms, Clark had wept, saying her that one lifetime wasn't nearly long enough. So she'd pressed her lips against his and reminded him that theirs wasn't an ordinary love. A love like theirs, she'd said, survived death. She swore that she would love him forever.
And she would, as he would love her. Their bodies lasted a lifetime, their reputations would be legendary, and their love would last an eternity and beyond.