Disclaimer: I am not in any way affiliated with DC Comics, Smallville or anything else, I do not own the characters and am making no profit on this. The only thing I do own is THIS story which is mine.
Rating: Story moves between T mostly to M for the occasional strong language and sexual content.
Summary: Is the world big enough for two Clark Kent's?
Author Note: If you haven't already read Regression I suggest you do so, as this story opens assuming the reader is fully aware of what has previously occurred.
Definitions of Doppelganger from various sources below:
The word "doppelgänger" is a German loanword, it derives from Doppel (double) and Gänger (goer).
In the vernacular, "Doppelgänger" has come to refer (as in German) to any double or look-alike of a person. The word is also used to describe the sensation of having glimpsed oneself in peripheral vision where there is no chance that it could have been a reflection. They are generally regarded as harbingers of bad luck. In some traditions, a doppelgänger seen by a person's friends or relatives portends illness or danger, while seeing one's own doppelgänger is an omen of death. In Norse mythology, a vardøger is a ghostly double who precedes a living person and is seen performing their actions in advance.
Doppelgänger is a spiritual or ghostly double of a living person that haunts its human counterpart, an apparition that looks identical to a living person, but behaves differently.
Day: 15th December
"Babe we're supposed to be at the farm…" Clark paused, looked at his watch and grimaced "Ten minutes ago, are you almost done?"
"Uh huh." Lois nodded absently, her mind completely absorbed in getting her story right; if she could just find the right words to say what she wanted to…
Hearing a buzzing noise she lifted her head and frowned "Did you call me?"
"Yeah, we're supposed to be at the farm already." Clark reminded her, at her confused expression stopped himself from rolling his eyes "Lo, it's almost 10 am, we told mom we'd be there early to set the tree up remember?" He prodded gently.
"Oh um yeah, tell you what, why don't you go, set the tree up and pick me up later, I really have to finish this article." Her eyes began to wander back to the computer screen, but turned back towards Clark at his long suffering sigh.
"Lo, it's 10 days until Christmas, we've got the weekend off and Perry's not expecting your story until deadline Monday so your article doesn't have to get finished today." At the considering look on her face he quickly coaxed further "It's not an exclusive or breaking news, so why don't you put it away and look at it fresh tomorrow; whatever you're struggling with will probably come easier after you give it a rest for a little while." When her eyes moved back towards the screen, his rolled "Baby please!"
Her eyes flew to his face when she heard the impatient pleading in his voice, and seeing the peevish look on his face, her lips twitched "Usually when you say those words and in that tone; we're having sex."
He smiled in return "That's because you drive me crazy no matter what the situation, c'mon Lo, I'll help you with the article later."
"How about a compromise, you go and set the tree up, come back for me and I'll be ready, but don't use super speed because that's not fair."
"I want you with me." He shook his head and replied stubbornly.
"Lois it was only last month when I thought I'd lost you, and this time last Christmas we were together but you didn't love me, I want to you with me for both those reasons."
"Clark I came back, you can't let what happened make you afraid to let me out of your sight."
"I don't Lo I promise; but we've all talked about it to death, we've all looked and tried to find something, and we're all still as much in the dark as we were 8 years ago about who or what caused it and…" He shrugged and looked away.
Pushing out her chair she stood up from the kitchen table, walked over to him, slipped her arms around his waist and hugged him tight. Feeling his arms wrap around her she laid her cheek against his chest then lifted her face to his "Hon, no one's found anything, including the JLA. I think for now we just have to let it go and hope it was an isolated incident that doesn't happen again."
He shook his head, closed his eyes tight then opened them to look into hers; lifting one hand to her cheek he bent down and placed his lips against hers. His thumb caressed the side of her jaw silently requesting her mouth to open wider, his hands roamed down her back to her bottom lifting her up until her legs hooked around his waist. His mouth lifted only long enough for him to stride to the couch and tumble them down before he once again covered her mouth with his, sliding his tongue inside to twine with hers then moving over her teeth, caressing the roof of her mouth and back to slide over and around hers once again.
Reluctantly parting their lips, he looked into her flushed face and smiled lightly, tracing a finger over her brow "I hate remembering how close I came to losing you, I hate remembering that someone nearly took you from me. I can't baby, I can't let it go."
"Clark we haven't found anything…."
"I don't care." His voice cut across hers "One day we will find something but until that day I won't let it go." His hand trailed to her jaw, down the side of her neck and back up to cup her cheek "Your mine Lo and someone tried to take you from me, I don't care if it was an accident or not, I want to know who it was and then I intend to let them know that playing with your life is off limits." His eyes stayed locked with hers and seeing the resolution on his face, she smiled, shook her head then leant up to kiss his chin.
"I don't dwell on it Lo and I don't hover over you, but I do admit to being a bit more protective than I used to be." He kissed her forehead, wrapped his arms around her, sat them both up, then stood and walked into the bedroom to lie down with Lois held securely in his arms; his head bent and his lips captured hers once again.
She pulled her mouth free "Clark…" His head lifted "Your mom remember; we're already late."
"We're going to be even later, I'll call her." His hand snagged the phone from his back pocket, his fingers quickly pressed the buttons and after a quick conversation with his mom, he disconnected, dropped the phone on the night stand and re-claimed her lips.
Afterwards he felt contented "Well you finally managed to get me to stop working on the article." Hearing the amusement in her voice, he stretched and smiled, hooked his arm around her waist and hugged her to his side "Yeah I sure did."
Hearing the satisfaction in his voice, her head turned, their eyes met and smiled "You are such a guy."
"I sure as hell hope so." He pecked her lips with his, while his hand gave her thigh an absent pat "C'mon woman you've worn me out and we still have to get to moms."
"I have to have a shower and no you can't join me otherwise we'll never get out of here." She smiled, wryly amused at the pout on his face "Why don't you have a shower, take the presents over and come back for me."
"You won't start working again." He asked suspiciously.
"I'm not in the mood for work anymore but just in case, why don't you turn off the computer on your way out."
"I will." He got up, had a quick shower, dressed and sat down on the side of the bed "I'll be back soon."
"Clark, have a coffee with your mom, bring the tree in and then come back for me, I'm not going to be ready for at least another 40 minutes." Nodding he kissed her quickly, walked out then ducked back into the room to kiss her once again "I'll be back in 45 minutes, I'm generously giving you an extra 5 minutes, so be ready, promise."
"I promise and thanks for the extra 5 minutes Scrooge." Smiling he leant down, dropped a kiss on her shoulder and left.
He was in Smallville and opening the back door a few minutes later "Hi mom." He pressed a quick kiss to her cheek, walked to the couch to dump the presents then turned back to his mother still standing by the sink.
"Hi sweetie, where's Lois?"
"She's having a shower, she told me to bring the presents over, haul the tree in and have a coffee because she'll be at least another 40 minutes." He took a seat at the kitchen island, snagged a sugar cookie and began to munch, he was reaching for a second when his mom handed him a cup of coffee; nodding in thanks he sipped the hot brew and smiled.
Martha smiled and took a seat opposite, also reaching for a cookie "Are you ok Clark, you sounded kind of strange on the phone?" Seeing the blush creep up his face, she bit the inside of her lip to stifle her laughter, but when his face became stern she reached out and took his hand in hers "What's wrong honey?"
"We haven't found anything mom, Lois told me we should let it go and hope it doesn't happen again but…"
"Maybe she's right." At the intractable look on his face she hurried on "Sweetie it never happened again, Lois never had another episode like last time and…"
"I know mom." He cut in "But I can't, someone did this and I can't just let it go."
"Honey it could end up destroying you, be grateful Lois came back, keep an eye on her but please Clark, don't obsess over it." She kept her voice calm and reassuring hoping he'd listen.
"I'm not obsessing mom truly, I just don't want whoever did this to think they can play fast and loose with Lois' life and I won't do anything about it." He shook his head and picked up his coffee but ended up slamming the cup back down instead "They damn well killed her."
Pushing her stool out, she ran around the island and hugged him tight from behind "I know honey, I know how scared you were but please …"
"Sorry mom, I just…every now and again I wake up in the middle of the night just to look at her, make sure she's beside me, alive and well. It just…. god it tears me up inside that I was helpless while she was dying right in front of me." He turned on the stool, wrapped his arms around his mom's waist and held her tight "I don't think I'll ever forget that moment, forget how useless I felt."
"I know sweetie but Lois is ok, she is back with you now." Rocking him gently Martha closed her eyes hurting for her son, she knew how scary it was to lose the person you loved most in the world and understood his fear, but she didn't want him to let the fear control him. Framing his face in her hands, she kept her eyes steady on his "You have to move past it Clark, I don't mean forget, but move past it, ok?"
"Yeah, Lois tells me the same thing, I didn't want to leave her behind when I came here today, but I know that if I try to keep her with me 24/7 I'll just end up smothering her and eventually that will just drive her away." When his mom nodded he smiled without humour "I won't do that, but I will do what you and Lo suggested. I'll let it go but keep my eyes and ears open; I know that the JLA are still listening out for anything as well so that does help."
Kissing his forehead she smiled and re-took her seat "Good, now how about you finish your coffee, get the tree and bring it in, so that you can go back to collect Lois and the two of you can decorate it after lunch." At his nod she smiled again. "What time are you and Lois coming on Christmas Eve?"
"We'll actually be here on the 23rd, it's been fairly quiet in Metropolis for the last few days so unless the usual Christmas mayhem starts; which we are all expecting by the way, Perry said we can finish on the 22nd and don't have to be back at work until the 27th."
"Why's he being so generous?" Martha asked in amusement.
"He's paying us back because we haven't had any time off since going back to work last month. You know how we haven't had time to come out here?" At her nod "Well we've been so busy running around covering one story or another that we've only had a total of two days off for the whole month." He grinned then added "I think our last story also got us in his good books; that's why he gave Lo and I fairly easy pieces a few days ago, but Lois of course has to make every story Pulitzer winning just in case."
"What's stories did he give you?" Martha asked curiously.
"He told us to write a piece on the homeless at Christmas which Lois shoved onto me." He nodded and smiled at his mom's light chuckle. "She took the warehouse fire and it's not as interesting as it sounds. The owner started the fire for the insurance money. The job was so badly botched the arson investigators figured out it was him pretty quickly. Lois tried to look for an angle but couldn't find one, so now she's trying to make it sound exciting." Shaking his head he finished amused. "You should have heard her when she found out it was an open and shut case of insurance fraud, she wasn't happy but said it was still better than writing some touchy feely piece like I had to."
They both laughed and finished their coffees "I'll just go bring the tree in, is it still inside the barn?" At her nod he strode outside picked up the tree and brought it back in, moved the television and placed the tree near the corner ready for decorating.
"Ok mom I'll just go pick up Lois, did you need us to stop and bring anything back from the store?"
"No thanks honey, and lunch will be ready when you both come back ok?" He nodded, and was soon on his way back to Metropolis.
Lana stood at the alcove to the lounge room and looked around her house, she'd decorated it carefully; everything was precise and perfect. The decorations were beautiful, the tree glittering and sparkly, the scent of cinnamon and baking bread wafting through the house smelt tantalising; but she felt empty inside.
She'd hoped that by trying to bring some Christmas spirit into her house she'd feel better, more alive but didn't. She hadn't seen Clark for almost four weeks, when she enquired from Martha why he and Lois hadn't been to Smallville, she was told they'd been kept busy at work and couldn't get away.
She missed him, missed seeing him, talking to him. The last time she saw him was the day after the engagement party and he'd had Lois with him. They had come into the Talon for coffee and a snack, looking so much like a couple that she couldn't even try and fool herself that he was there to see her.
They had simply held hands, but the look in Clark's eyes when he gazed at Lois had been both possessive and blissful, his face so happy it hurt to see. When Lois left her seat to inspect the cakes in the display his eyes had followed, he'd made small talk but his mind was clearly not on the conversation. When Lois returned with a slice of chocolate cake, his eyes had flared and she'd had to look away from the hunger in his expression; a hunger that clearly had nothing to do with cake.
Every day for the past month Clark was the last thing she thought of when she went to sleep and the first thing she thought of when she woke up, his face constantly in her mind's eye. She wanted him to look at her the way he looked at Lois; he'd never looked at her like that. He used to look at her with longing, regret, sadness, love and sometimes a little awe, but he'd never looked at her with hunger and possession all tied together with contentment.
She'd spent the past month investigating spells trying to find anything that would allow her to change their past and had found one that could help, but the risks were high and she didn't think they were worth taking. She was tempted but after her last failure she wanted something that was guaranteed to succeed, something that couldn't backfire, she didn't want to trust to chance a spell that could potentially be a gamble from the get go.
Truth be told, tempted didn't come close to describing how she felt, she wanted to do the spell so badly her back teeth ached. She'd looked into how it could be perfected, tried to figure out the weak spots and fix them, but so far hadn't been successful. But god how badly she wanted to do it, she wanted the look in Clark's eyes that he now carried for Lois; to be reserved only for her.
She hated knowing that he let Lois touch him, kiss him, that he had sex with Lois. Feeling the tears well up and spill down her cheeks she brushed them away impatiently. She'd had enough of crying, she wanted action, god she just wanted Clark. She wanted his hands on her, his mouth on hers; she wanted to feel him against her, to feel his body moving in hers, to look into his eyes as his body pierced hers.
Shaking her head, she walked to the kitchen table and sat down, her hand once again opening the spell book. She had to find something because she couldn't take this any longer, she couldn't be without him any longer. Her shaking hand picked up her wine glass, began to raise it to her lips and heaved it against the wall instead.
Seeing the shattered glass reminded her of her own broken dreams, she wanted Clark back; she was taking him back and if she had to sell her soul to the devil to do it she would. He'd said that he didn't love her, maybe he didn't, maybe he was lying to himself, but he had loved her, he HAD and he still would if not for Lois, if not for her own stupidity in marrying Lex. If she had to spend the rest of her life looking, if she ended up being an old woman before she found a way to fix their lives she would, but she would never, ever give up.
After lunch Lois and Clark decorated the tree, then she dragged him outside and proceeded to boss him around, telling him where to put the lights and other decorations, and once done to her satisfaction, she retreated back inside the kitchen, while he stayed outside to feed the animals and take care of other farm chores.
Once he'd taken care of the animals he climbed to the loft, and seeing the mattress was still laid out from the previous month decided to pack it and put it away. When he saw a piece of paper sticking out from the edge, he lifted the mattress, bent down to retrieve the paper, opened it and saw Lois' handwriting. Thinking his beloved had left him a note, he smiled and began to read; the smiled slipped from his face, the bed slid from his hand to thump back onto the floor, his legs automatically folded under him.
Fuck! Jo thought he was having an affair with Lana, she'd clearly written this note to Lois telling her so. He didn't know what in hell had ever made her think that he and Lana…god. He knew she hadn't been happy about their engagement, he knew that she'd tried to get him back with Lana, but to write this!
He wanted to show it to Lois so they could laugh about it, the way he'd teased her about all the other stuff Jo had done, but this wasn't remotely funny. Lois trusted him, but would she still trust him if she read a note from her younger self accusing him of cheating with Lana behind her back.
Lying down he tucked the note under the pillow and threw his arm over his eyes, why would she do it? They'd gotten along after the first two rocky days, they'd talked and enjoyed each other's company, why the hell would she try and ruin his life by getting Lois to believe he was cheating. She'd said that she wouldn't interfere with their relationship, and Jo was still Lois, younger or not she was still her. She wouldn't have said that only to turn around and write a bunch of bull about something that could be so damning and hurtful to her older self.
Ok as Lois said, if Jo had remembered anything when she went back, she might have tried to change her life but …his thoughts skidded to a halt. Maybe she wrote the note before deciding not to interfere with his and Lois' relationship? After all, the note was here in the loft where he'd been relegated. If she'd wanted to leave the note for Lois she wouldn't have left it where he could find it, so she must have given it to him but why would she write it in the first place and how in hell had he forgotten about it?
He knew without doubt that he'd never given her any reason to believe that he wanted Lana back, much less that they were having an affair. Maybe he hadn't destroyed it because he'd been intending to laugh about it with his fiancé when she returned. But the note didn't have a teasing vein to it, neither did it sound like Jo had been trying to stir up trouble just for the hell of it, the note was short and to the point and dead serious.
He wanted to know why she'd written it, when and why she'd given it to him and more importantly what he was going to do with it now. His first instinct was the burn the note, but if he did that, would it be tantamount to admitting he didn't trust Lois to trust him, even knowing the note had come from Jo?
"Clark what are you doing up here?" Hearing Lois' amused voice his arm lifted and his eyes flew to her face. For the moment he wasn't going to show her the note. Jo must have given it to him, why in hell he hadn't destroyed it he didn't know; but either way for now, he'd keep it to himself until he decided what he was going to do.
"I was going to pack up the bedding but ended up lying down instead." He held out his hand silently asking her to join him which she did, curling up beside him and throwing an arm over his waist. Pressing his lips against her head he hugged her tight and hoped he was doing the right thing by not showing her the note.
"You know, we haven't made love in the loft." He enticed, slipping his hand under her shirt to run over her back.
"Yes we have."
"Ok yeah, but that was on the couch."
"Which is still in the loft." She returned dryly.
"Well yeah but…"
"Hon I think we've done it everywhere at the farm except in your mom's bed, hell one time we even did it on the stairs and nearly broke our necks in the process."
"That was fabulous wasn't it?" He grinned at the memory of the two of them, laughing and sliding by increments down the steps while making love, neither of them able to wait the few moments it would have taken them to reach the bedroom.
"Yeah it was." She grinned in return, remembering trying to grasp onto the railings with one hand, the wall with her other, while her feet tried to dig deep into the steps to stop their descent all while he continued to move within her. That had been raunchy and fun and damned if she didn't want to do it again; until she remembered how sore her ass had been for days afterwards; then again Clark had certainly enjoyed rubbing soothing ointment into it, ok, she'd enjoyed that too.
"But it has been a while." He pouted, lifting her to lie on top of himself.
"Forget it and get that look out of your eye, it's too damn cold out here…"
"You won't be cold for long." He kissed her neck and trailed his lips to her ear hoping to get her in the mood. However, she soon let him know that it wasn't going to happen.
"Nuh uh, sorry Clark but until we go home; no sex."
"But…" He shut up when her eyebrow cocked "Fine, but just remember, I promised to screw your brains out every chance I get for the rest of our lives, and Superman always keeps his promises." He finished proudly.
"Don't worry I have every intention of making sure you keep that promise, but not in the middle of winter, in a drafty barn and on a cold mattress." She nodded back just as firmly then leant forward to kiss the sullen pout from his lips. When her head lifted, his rose as well keeping their lips pressed together, rolling her under him, his mouth coaxed hers until the kiss deepened, his hand slid under the front of her shirt rubbing her tummy then slid under her back to hold her closer against him.
Her hands slid under his shirt, their legs tangled and their mouths moved against each others, taking and giving, sharing and playing. Lifting his lips from hers, he saw that her eyes were still closed, her lips swollen; smiling in satisfaction he reached down and patted her bottom "Ok baby, no sex until we get home."
Her eyes flew open "You purposely got me all stirred up then have the gall to say no sex?"
"You stirred me up first."
"All I did was lie down, which you invited me to do." She pointed out drolly.
"See right there, that was your first mistake." He nodded emphatically.
"What was, lying down?"
"Uh huh, no actually I'm wrong, your first mistake was breathing; your second was lying down with me. Didn't your daddy ever tell you that good girls should never lie down with randy men who have designs on their body?" His face was dead straight, but his eyes gleamed, and his tone of voice was virtuous bordering on smug.
She licked her lips, sent him a sultry look from under her lashes and tugged his head back down. His eyes slid closed but instead of feeling her lips on his, her mouth moved to his ear "Nice try Mickey but you're still out of luck." She whispered softly then patted his cheek in consolation.
His eyes shot open, he pouted, huffed "Fine but I still think it's unfair the way you breathe and get me all excited then don't even put out; typical girl…." He fake sulked "…but when we get home….." He trailed off leaving the rest unfinished and sat up lifting her up beside him.
Lois laughed, rose and began to walk towards the stairs, turning around to address him before descending "You coming?"
"I still have to pack up the bedding, I'll be in soon." Nodding she walked down the stairs and out the barn. When he knew she was gone, he pulled out the note, put it in his wallet and decided to think about it later.
When he heard Lois sniffle at dinner Clark put it down to the cold weather; when she began to sneeze and sniffle during the night he thought she must have a cold, but when she woke up the next morning with a scratchy voice, blocked nose and began to cough he knew she had the flu.
"How do you feel baby?" Her eyes were over bright, her forehead warm.
"Like crap." She croaked out before sneezing and reaching for a tissue.
"I'm going to the drug store to get you something ok, do you feel like breakfast?" She nodded "What do you feel like?"
"I don't know Clark; stop asking me so many damned questions." She was also tetchy and cranky.
She climbed out of bed and tugged on her robe "Lo why don't you stay in bed."
"I'm not an invalid, I just have a cold."
"I think it's more than a cold babe."
"And you'd know this how?" She demanded between coughs "Go and make yourself useful and get me some freaking Aspirin." He sighed and nodded but didn't leave the farm until she'd had her shower, was dressed and was sitting at the kitchen table.
"Lois honey, I'm going to make you a warm honey and lemon drink ok?" Martha said solicitously.
Lois nodded and tried to send Clark a baleful look, but it lacked heat due to her watery eyes, sneezing and coughing "Have you already been to the store and come back?"
"Um no, I'm going now." She rolled her eyes and he was off.
As he didn't have the first clue what to give someone for the flu or what the best products were, he threw himself on the mercy of the staff and left 20 minutes later, considerably less in pocket but with a number of products that he hoped would do the trick.
"What on earth's all this stuff?" Lois asked pointing at the box and the huge bag he placed on the kitchen table before taking a seat beside her.
"I didn't know what to get you so I bought some of …. everything." He shrugged off-hand.
"Honestly Clark, when you entered the store, the staff must have rubbed their hands in glee." She coughed, upended the bag, spilt everything onto the table, stared, blinked, blinked again then turned to look at him with wide eyes.
His mom handed him a cup of coffee, took a seat opposite, looked at the products, bit her lip and turned her face away but not before he heard the light chuckle escape her lips. As he'd assiduously read the backs of each product in the store, he decided it was time to train the women in his life on the finer points on cold and flu medicine. But at Lois' non blinking stare; what started as a tutorial became a matter of explaining and defending himself instead.
"I didn't know what kind of cough you had, if it was viral or bacterial, if it was dry and tickly and needed to be suppressed; or if it was chesty and the phlegm needed to be broken down. And because I wasn't sure what your symptoms were, I bought something that would cover all contingencies." When Lois sighed and shook her head he explained further "They asked me all sorts of questions, really gross questions about phlegm and the colour of your mucus, and because I didn't know, suggested I should try this one." He picked up the cough mixture and handed it over "But I thought I'd better buy the other cough mixture as well just in case."
"And the different tablets?" Martha asked, valiantly suppressing her laughter; she kept her face straight but her lip quivered in betrayal.
"Well this one's good for a runny nose and to help Lois breathe easier." He pointed to the first box then pointed to the second "This one provides temporary relief from the symptoms of a runny nose, nasal congestion, headache, body aches and pains and fever." Reaching over he picked up the last box, quickly read the back to refresh his memory then held it up, gave it a gentle shake and proceeded to inform the ladies of the third box of tablets finer points "But this one's an all rounder. It's supposed to attack and reduce the duration and severity of the common cold symptoms, y'know cough, sore throat, stuffy nose, sneezing, runny nose, hoarseness and to give relief. It has a non drowsy day formula and night tablets to help you sleep, and best of all, it's completely natural."
"God you sound like a pharmacist." Lois began to laugh then began to cough finding it difficult to stop "Don't make me laugh again." She finally sputtered out after coughing and hacking for a few minutes.
"I got you the nasal spray to unblock your stuffed up nose; it's really fast acting but you can only use it for three days so I bought the Vicks as well." He scratched his head, sipped coffee and continued "The cough drops are so you'll have something to suck on in between doses of cough mixture." Then he quickly added the cautionary measure "But Lo, they're not lollies so make sure you only have them when you're supposed to, you don't want to overdose, ok?"
Her hand quickly lifted to her mouth, she nodded and exchanged a look with Martha, he pointed his finger at the next item "I got you these Puffs Plus Lotion tissues because they're unscented and soft. The shop girl said they're supposed to soothe and relieve so you're nose shouldn't get too sore with constant blowing, but I grabbed the ones that have aloe vera in them too."
Lois coughed away the little tickle in her throat "Ah Clark, what's with that?" She pointed to the box at the side.
"That's an air purifier; it'll cleanse the air of contaminants to help you breathe easier while you sleep." He reached into his pocket and pulled out the last item "Here, the pharmacist said I could have one free of charge."
"A lollie pop?" Lois asked taken aback.
"Uh huh…." His head bobbed rapidly "…and I picked yellow because that's lemon which has vitamin C; I thought that would be the best one, y'know for your cold and all."
She bit the inside of her cheek, looked at Martha and saw that her hand was curled up in front of her mouth; twirling the lollie pop in one hand, she wrapped her other arm around his waist and squeezed "You just gotta love him."
When he saw his mom nodding and smiling, the almost conspirational look of understanding exchanged between the two women in his life, he just shook his head and sighed.
Unfortunately Lois's cold did turn out to be the flu and he knew just how unwell she was feeling when he woke up on Monday morning, suggested she stay at home and instead of arguing, she nodded and curled down deeper into the covers.
He got up, had a shower, dressed and ate breakfast then came back into the bedroom with tablets, water and cough mixture, placing them on the bedside table he sat on the side of the bed and stroked her hair out of her eyes "Baby, I'm going to work ok?" She nodded "I'll be back at lunch time to see how you're doing but I want you to take these tablets before I go." She frowned "C'mon Lo, you need to take these and the cough mixture." Her head shook "Lois." He injected Superman authority into his voice which had her eyes cracking open "Please babe." He helped her to sit up, and watched while she took the medicine before sliding back down under the covers "Your phone is on the bedside table and so are the tissues, I want you to call me if you need me ok?" She nodded and pressing a kiss against her forehead, he rose, grabbed his briefcase, ensured that the central heating wasn't up so high that she'd suffocate from heat and after a quick peek with his x-ray vision saw she was fast asleep and left for work.
He hated to see her so sick, to hear the coughs wracking her chest, and hoped that when he came back at lunch time he'd find her feeling at least a little better.
"Hey Clark where's Lois?" He turned and smiled at Chloe.
"Home, she's still in bed, she's got the flu."
"Wow, she must be feeling pretty rotten if she's staying at home."
"She is, she didn't even argue when I told her to stay at home today." He replied shrugging "I hate seeing her so sick Chlo."
"I know but it is flu season and she doesn't have your immunity." Patting his arm she walked with him to his desk and sat on the edge "Give her chicken soup and toast, it's supposed to work. She might not feel like eating but at least if she has some soup, she's getting something in her stomach."
He nodded and smiled "Thanks Chlo I will, but first I'd better go and explain to Perry that Lois won't be in today and probably not tomorrow either."
After leaving Perry's office he called his mom and asked her if she could make some chicken soup for Lois as he was at work and didn't want to give her tinned stuff, then got down to work on his assignment. The morning passed swiftly, following up leads, chasing down sources with a quick Superman rescue in between. Just before 12.30 he left work, stopped in Smallville to pick up the soup and headed home.
Returning to the apartment he found Lois still in bed fast asleep, and shook her awake "Sorry Lo you have to take your medicine again." She sat up and began to cough, deep hacking sounds that came from her chest and tearing out of her throat. He rubbed her back gently and when she quietened, held her cradled in one arm and insisted she take the tablets and cough mixture. Her face scrunched up but reaching out she swallowed the tablets and cough mixture and once done began to climb out of bed "Baby where are you going?" He held her still refusing to let her move.
"Bathroom and then shower" If he wasn't Superman he doubted her would have heard her at all, her voice was so soft it was barely audible. He picked her up, carried her to the bathroom and waited outside, but when he heard the flush and the sound of the shower running he pushed the door open and stepped inside "Do you have the energy to stand up to have a shower Lo?"
"I feel yucky." He nodded, spun out of his clothes and ushered her into the shower, holding her upright, he filled the shower puff, quickly soaped her down and rinsed her off, but when he began to turn the taps off her, her hand reached out and batted his arm "My hair."
"I don't think you should get your hair wet Lo."
"Please Clark, it feels icky."
"Ok, but afterwards I'm going to dry your hair and then you're going to eat the soup I brought you deal?" She nodded tiredly, he quickly washed her hair, turned off the taps, dried her with a towel then carried her back into the bedroom. Wrapping her in a warm robe, he sat her down in one of the armchairs and dried her hair, giving it a quick comb through when it was done. Pressing a kiss against her forehead he changed the bed linen, propped up the pillows and carried her back to bed. "I'll be back in a sec ok, I'm just going to get the soup mom made." He could see her eyes were starting to close but he wanted her to have something in her stomach. He quickly dressed, went to the kitchen and was back moments later "Lo, I want you to eat." Her head slowly began to shake back and forth but almost instantly stopped "C'mon baby eat please, just try a few mouthfuls." She managed to finish half the soup before falling back asleep.
Placing the tray on the floor, he laid her down, snuggled the blankets up to her chin, retreated to the kitchen, made himself a sandwich which was swiftly eaten and after a last quick check on Lois he was once again back at work.
This was one thing he really hated, he found it hard to understand what Lois was going through, he'd been sick years ago but didn't even remember what it felt like. Being weak and defenceless from Kryptonite was one thing, but as his strength began to return and the debilitation passed once he was away from the stuff, he couldn't use that to compare how Lois was feeling just from having a bug in her system.
He'd never seen Lois this sick from the flu; listening to her struggling to breathe, having to sleep sitting up with her cradled in his arms because lying down was too uncomfortable for her, coughing so hard he was afraid she was going to break a rib, and he hated the feeling of helpless impotence that was all too reminiscent of when she'd died and he couldn't do anything to help her.
By Wednesday she began to show signs of life, she clearly hated feeling weak and being restricted to the apartment but he knew she wasn't well enough to go back to work and insisted on her staying at home. However, she was still stubborn as hell and in the end only compromised on staying at home for one more day if she could work on her laptop. Expecting her to last all of an hour or two before she fell asleep, he went to work happier than he had been since the weekend, knowing that she was well on her way to recovery now that she was back to sniping at him for babying her.
Lois sat up against the headboard with the laptop perched on her knees and wondered how long she could keep her eyes open. She didn't feel like working but had to make a point to Clark that she didn't need to be babied, she was a grown woman capable of knowing if she was up to working or not, then scowled knowing his insistence on her staying at home was the right call.
She felt like crap; actually to feel like crap she'd have to feel a whole lot better first.
Deciding to keep busy she began to clean out her personal files, opening one document, giving it a quick scan then hitting delete before moving onto the next. When she found a document titled 'from me to me' she opened it and began to read. At first she enjoyed the missive, chuckling, snorting in laughter, feeling highly entertained, but soon her expression sobered then changed to a frown which became more pronounced the longer she kept reading.
When she finished she closed the document, turned the computer off and pushed it to the side. After lying back down her eyes closed while mind turned over everything Jo had written to her.
So Jo had seen that Lana was in love with Clark; that wasn't surprising considering Jo was her, but it was everything else she'd revealed which had her stewing.