The Birthday Present
Sometimes nightmares come true. Sometimes good dreams come true. It's no different for Superheroes. I know what you're thinking, but no, Clark's nightmare is not speaking to a loud crowd naked. And no, having twenty cheesecakes for his birthday is not his most recurring dream, although it is a nice one. Or at least it would be if I had a super metabolism.
It did not take long for the barely averted disaster to turn into a full-blown celebration, especially with nearly every hero present. Everyone seemed to be talking at once. There was much excitement. The danger was over. The enemy was defeated. Everyone was physically in one piece. There was a lot of backslapping, hand shaking, hugging and laughing going on.
Superman enjoyed seeing his friends and fellow heroes so excited. It was not often that they could all come together and simply enjoy themselves. Birthdays were one of those few occasions. But today he did not share in their joy. Today he had to face the consequences of his actions while under the control of Circe. Now someone would be hurt no matter what he decided, but there really was nothing for him to debate. It didn't ease the pain or anger, though.
"I saw you speak to Ollie. You never cease to impress me, Clark. You really do embody your name."
Clark's focus came back to the present to find Batman and Zatanna standing behind him. He smiled warmly and embraced them both. "He came after us. You all came after us. You two, I expected it from. Ollie, not so much."
Clark straightened up, still smiling. Bruce was half smiling. Zatanna was beaming. "Might wanna tone it down there, Bruce. People might start getting creeped out, if they see you smiling like that."
Zee went into a fit of giggles.
Bruce, to his credit, continued to half grin. He couldn't help himself. Sure, he felt pathetically weak, but his friends were safe and no one had died. Victory had been theirs as it always was in the end. Except for Barry. That memory took the smile away for a moment. It seemed like so long ago…
"I'm sorry for what happened to you two. I wish I had just prevented this whole thing from the beginning," Clark confessed.
Zee was still smiling, but stopped as the memories of Circe coming to visit her in Maxima's body came flooding back. "It was terrible, but we were able to play a small role in saving you and capturing the witch. We've had our satisfaction."
"Everyone's in one piece and you and Diana are safe. We'll both be back to normal soon. It's a price I would be willing to pay a thousand times if it meant life for my friends," Bruce added. His eyes had a look of steel to them.
"I know you would, Bruce. Gotta run home. Need to see Lois." Superman smiled at his friends.
"Say no more. Go." Zatanna answered for the two of them.
Superman quietly removed himself from the throng of happy heroes, moved slowly towards the tele-porting pads then changed his mind. He would arrive almost as quickly just flying and he wanted to burn some energy. Switching direction, he headed for the docking bay.
Diana couldn't help but share a little of the excitement of her friends and fellow heroes. There was much to celebrate, but Circe had done her work well. The damage she had done could not be seen so much physically yet, but it would show soon enough, she was sure.
She noticed when Kal started moving quietly away from the group. She wanted to go after him, but knew he needed the space and he needed to deal with his emotions and mend the rift that had been created, against their will, with Lois. She hoped that all would be well with them, but she knew that it could not possibly be easy to overcome such a thing.
"Go talk to him before he leaves. Make sure everything is right between you two and that you're still friends. From the looks of it he might not be back for a while."
Diana turned to face her sister. "I suppose..." she responded with just a little uncertainty.
Donna smiled back, "Now don't let him leave without talking to him. Go." Donna pushed Diana in Superman's direction hoping for the best.
Diana moved quickly towards Superman's retreating form. She saw him change direction and head towards the docking bay. She followed him and caught up with him just as he was about to enter the elevator to head down to the surface of the moon.
"Kal?" Diana spoke his name quietly as the elevator opened. He turned to look at her with a smile, but she could read the turmoil in his eyes.
Moving towards her, he took her hand in his and looking her earnestly in the eyes, asked, "What is it, Diana?"
Diana wished she had not pursued him. The emotions she felt in his presence were very nearly overwhelming. She found it difficult to hold his gaze. "I wanted to say farewell and wish you the best in mending things with Lois."
Superman pulled her into a hug. It didn't last long, but it was fierce. It was a hug that said, "I love you" and "I'm sorry" both at the same time.
They separated with only their fingertips touching.
Diana spoke first. "You and I were under a very powerful spell. It pushed us to do things we would not have done in our right minds, under our current circumstances. Circe specializes in this sort of pain. We cannot let her win." Diana found it hard to look Kal in the eyes. She knew what she needed to do but the memories were so strong that a small part of her that very much wanted to let the witch win.
"Yes, we were under a very powerful spell, and I refuse to let her win. I just hate that she used me to hurt you and my wife. I'm sorry I wasn't able to prevent it, that I so easily became her weapon. That the people I care about the most were and are suffering the consequences of my actions," Superman replied. His eyes held hers fast.
"Our actions, Kal. We were both under her control. Neither one of us was screaming for mercy. We both participated," Diana reminded him sternly.
"You're right." Superman smiled. Both were staring at each other with resolve now.
"We make things right," Diana said with conviction.
"We do. I will," Superman agreed.
"Now go see Lois." Diana smiled and gave Kal a push towards the elevator.
"I'm going. Stop acting like it was your idea, Princess. Oh yeah, and if you see any witches while I'm gone… shoot, if you see any witches, period, run the other way, really, really fast. Like use your Hermes speed powers, fast." Superman grinned as he backed away from Diana towards the elevator.
Diana gasped, "Get out of here! Before I throw something at you!"
The last thing Diana saw was Kal's mischievous grin as he dropped out of sight down the elevator.
With that simple exchange, they were back to best friends. They now knew the passion each felt for the other. The memory of their lovemaking was burned forever in their minds and hearts, but it would be quite a while before either of them brought up their time together under Circe's control.
Superman floated high above his home for several minutes. His parents and Lois were all there. His mother was in the garden. His father was at the south edge of the property checking on the fence. And Lois was sitting quietly in the loft. It was the perfect place and moment. He dropped down and entered the barn.
"Lois. It's me." He called out gently.
Clark caught the quiet gasp, the acceleration of her heart just before the sofa squeaked as Lois sprang up then appeared at the top of the steps staring down at him.
The look was one of panic. There was fear in her eyes and something else, something sad. Clark did not like seeing her like that.
He floated up to her and took her hand as she backed away slightly. "Lois? You're mind is back to normal, isn't it?"
"It is," she replied looking him back at him with resolve. "I know why you're here. Let me just say that I don't blame you and that I understand your decision perfectly. I always knew you two belonged together. I think everybody did…"
Clark interrupted her speech with a finger to her lips. "Hush, Lois. I didn't come to break up with you or leave you. I came to make things right. We have a lot to talk about, but neither one of us has been in our right minds for quite some time, I think."
Lois just stared at him for a moment, as the weight of his words settled in her mind. Then she crumbled into his arms, crying quietly. "I thought I'd pushed you away, that you had finally surrendered to your feelings for Wonder Woman; that you were disgusted with me for what happened. I'm pregnant!" She blurted out all at the same time.
Clark just listened as he held his sobbing wife softly to him. He again relived the pain and rage of seeing his wife in bed with another man, but her mind had not been her own. He knew that. She could not be held accountable for it. He had forgiven Ollie. He had forgiven his wife. He felt the stab of guilt of his time with Diana. They had also been manipulated. He would share all with Lois…what?!
"You're pregnant?!" he echoed back. He scanned her for a second and was even more shocked by what he saw.
"I am." She groaned. "I was not made to be a mother. Ever since I found out that we couldn't have children, I've wanted to, but just because I knew that I couldn't. But raising kids is not what I'm cut out for. I don't want to change diapers or nurse or buy baby clothes or any of that stuff!" Lois still had her face buried in Clark's chest as she bemoaned her fate.
Clark was still in shock. It explained the sadness in her. She wasn't mentally ready to be a mom and she had thought she would be alone. Slowly the shock gave way to excitement. He had wanted to be a father for some time. He had just recently begun to accept the fact that he never would be, that he and Kara were truly the last of their kind. And now his wife was pregnant!
He held Lois at arms length. He stared beaming into her tear stained eyes. The smile was contagious. Soon Lois was giggling uncontrollably as her body shook with relief at her husband's response.
Clark pulled her back in to a hug. "You'll make a wonderful mother. You'll see. And I'll be a pretty good dad too. I can cook. If one of the kids falls off the balcony I'll be able to catch them before they hit the ground. I'm great at juggling so they'll always be entertained. They'll have a farm to visit with lots of animals. I don't need to sleep much so it's not like I'll lose any sleep. It's going to be great!"
Lois kept giggling then suddenly stopped. "You didn't say what I'd be good at and why do you keep saying kids?"
Clark grinned. "Oh that. You'd be great to. Let's see. What could you do? Well, you could teach them how to catch a taxi, how to misspell words, how to match your clothes, how to order takeout, how to ignore advice, instructions, and requests…what else?"
Lois slapped his arm playfully. "Oh, shut up! Now why do you keep saying them?"
Clark scanned her again taking a closer look. Now he was really shocked. It didn't seem possible. "There's two there, definitely two. You're going to do just fine." He was just a little bit bewildered by what he saw.
"Twins?!" Lois didn't know what to say. She had never thought of herself as mother material, but since knowing she couldn't have children had become more curious and interested. But two! At the same time! It seemed too much too soon.
Lois was looking at him again, this time inquisitively. "Clark? Did you and Wonder Woman have…did you two…?" She trailed off not finishing the question in words but continuing to ask it with her eyes.
Clark held her gaze. He had planned on confessing it outright, but had been too shocked by what he'd just discovered to say anything. "We did." He answered honestly.
Lois' face turned ashen. "Because I told you to do it?" she asked in a whisper.
Clark pulled her to the couch and sat with her. "No; because of Circe. Not you. You are not to blame. It was part of her plan to humiliate and kill Diana. We were not ourselves, much like you were not yourself while under the control of that Max character."
"Oh," Lois slumped as she exhaled slowly and fixed her gaze on the floor. She felt a stab of pain in her chest. It paralyzed her for a moment then it was gone. There seemed to be some relief in her posture, but her greatest fear had been realized. "So then this is good-bye."
Clark lifted her chin until she looked him in the eyes. "You haven't been listening to me. I'm here to make things right, to honor my vows. I'm truly sorry for what happened. Neither Diana nor I would have ever chosen this in our right minds. I do love you, Lois. You're my wife. I promised to love you for better or worse. What just happened to us these last few weeks falls in the 'worse' category."
Lois was just staring at him now. She was crying and smiling all at the same time. Slowly, they melded into a hug. "You really are Superman," she sighed.
******Two Months Later******
Lois was looking quite large for only being two months along. She found herself walking into stores she had religiously ignored all of her life. At the moment she was looking at a baby carriage for twins. She was dying to buy the black one, but if they were girls she decided she would go with pink.
Still there was the possibility that there was one of each. She was aware that carrying twins caused one to increase in size more quickly, but she just felt wrong. It was still too early to see what she was having, but she was now much more excited about motherhood. She found herself wondering if and how early her twins would start flying. It would make mealtime, bath time and diaper changing even more challenging. She chuckled at the thought then winced and rubbed her chest. The pain disappeared not long after onset and she quickly forgot about it, left the store, and headed home.
Superman, Hal, Kator, and Diana teleported into the Watchtower from the planet Rann. Kator volunteered to give the report of their mission. He didn't mind staying on. His Shayera was already there and would be for the next shift. He planned to stay with her.
Hal was grateful. Writing reports had never been his strong suit. Diana and Clark also thanked Kator and moved off to their quarters.
Since the defeat of Circe, Clark and Diana had quickly fallen back into their roles of best friends, with one subtle difference. They made no physical contact. No hugs, no unconscious brushing against one another, no touching hands. The warmth was there. But they were both extremely careful to keep their relationship chaste in every way. At Diana's door they said good-bye. Clark headed back to the tele-porter and then on home to Metropolis.
******Four Months Later******
She was having one of each. That was exciting. But the boy was much larger than the girl, and now Lois was having a hard time getting around. Not that she was tremendously huge, although she was quite large for six months, but now she was in constant pain. The stabs of pain in her chest were much more frequent as was the discomfort in her ribs and bladder. She still hadn't decided on names and found that she couldn't concentrate to write stories much less travel to track down leads or do interviews.
She was currently sitting on her husbands lap while he fed her vanilla pudding, with strawberries all mixed in well in a large bowl with creamy peanut butter. She had to have it at least twice a day.
Clark was enjoying working at the planet more and babying his wife. He was a bit concerned though. Her heartbeat was just not the same, it could be due to the pregnancy but he still wanted to find out more. Her gynecologist hadn't thought there was a problem with Lois but had seemed a bit surprised with drastic difference in size of the babies.
An hour later, Lois was asleep in his arms. Clark listened with concern to her heart and labored breathing then focused in on the heartbeats of the babies. He was already calling the boy Jonathon and the girl Martha in his mind, but he would leave the final decision to Lois to accept or veto his choice.
Clark carried Lois into the bedroom and laid her sleeping form gently on the bed. He had started cleaning out his office to use as a nursery but Lois had said she wanted the babies in their room for a while at least. He smiled at the thought. It would be a bit crowded in there. It would do for a little while, but he would have to break down and build a home out in the country. He'd already purchased some land. Bruce had helped him with that.
Clark had amassed a considerable fortune in hand made diamonds. Bruce had invested a few for him and now they were doing quite well. Lois had not objected to moving to the country, but it was evident that she would prefer to stay in the crowded city. While he finished clearing out his office, he decided he would broach the subject once again with her when she woke up.
He was in the kitchen preparing to wash dishes when the transmission came through on his com-link. It was Dinah. She sounded concerned.
"Clark?" Oh, thank goodness! I'm so sorry to bother you! But Solomon Grundy is on a rampage. He's near Gotham, but Bruce is out of the country and this is out of his league anyway. J'onn is off planet, Captain Marvel is tied up. Hal is already there but he's having a hard time. Hal says he's not at all coherent and he seems to be exhibiting the same behavior as the Doomsday creature did. Could you give him a hand?"
"Tell Hal I'm almost there. He's going to be fine, Dinah," Clark assured her as he streaked through the sky to help his friend.
"Thank you, Clark," Dinah whispered in relief.
******Outskirts of Gotham******
Clark saw the glow of the battle first then zoomed in on the combatants. Hal was intact but he looked very worried.
"What's the situation?" He asked.
"My ring's not stopping him. It's working against him like it worked against Doomsday. He's just shrugging everything I throw at him like it was nothing," Hal informed him.
"Okay. So he came back tougher this time. Not good. No reasoning either?" Superman asked.
"Oh no. Just a lot of grunts and roars. His eyes just look really creepy this time. I didn't want to ask Shayera here. She seems to be able to get through to him normally, but I don't think this is a good time to test that," Hal responded.
Lois sat up suddenly. Her face was contorted in pain. One hand went to her belly while the other clutched spasmodically at her chest. The pain subsided for a second and she slid to the floor gasping for air.
******Outskirts of Gotham******
"You're right. Let's see if maybe Kator or Shayera will let us use one of their maces. Those seem to put him down just fine. No need to have a drawn out fight if we can take him out quick and minimize the disaster zone," Superman decided.
"Dinah, baby. Did you get that? See if you can tele-port us one of the Hawk maces. Tell them it's for a good cause. They like those." Hal winked at Clark.
"Already on it. Heard Clark. Shayera is sending her mace. I'm tele-porting it to your location now," Dinah answered instantly.
Lois was trying to reach her special phone, the one with the panic button for Clark, but found she could barely move. Another bout of unbelievable pain hit, causing her to writhe on the floor. When it was over she just lay there heaving praying it was all over.
******Outskirts of Gotham******
Superman and Hal sped out of the way in opposite directions as a giant boulder came speeding through the air.
"We'll hit him from both sides," Superman took command.
"You got it boss," Hal answered. He was visibly more confident now that his friend was there. "Be careful. He's a lot faster than normal this time around for some reason."
Both were streaking down on the behemoth.
Hal anchored Grundy's feet to the earth with his ring, then hit him behind the knees with a powerful blast of energy.
Superman came in high and slammed into him hard in the chest.
Lois was moving again. She army crawled to the dresser and pulled herself up sobbing. She had never felt anything like what she was experiencing. She hoped the babies would be fine. There it was. Clark had left the phone right next to her. All she had to do was hit any button. He would come running. She grabbed at it then collapsed once again to the floor as the phone skidded away from her grasp.
******Outskirts of Gotham******
The energy construct shattered.
Grundy roared and went flying backwards tumbling for several meters before crashing into the side of a hill. Superman landed and stood over the fallen monster checking for signs of life or movement.
"Mace is there." Dinah voice came over the com-links.
"Thanks…umphf!" Superman started to answer and was interrupted by a giant fist. He was taken completely by surprise by the creatures' quickness. Hal had not exaggerated about the increase in power. The creature was advancing with tremendous speed, obviously intent on destruction.
Lois lay very still, but she was fighting with everything she had on the inside. She could hear her own heartbeat thudding loudly but erratically in her ears. She was scared to move, but she had to reach the phone.
******Outskirts of Gotham******
Superman blurred to meet him, avoiding his swings as he attacked. He hit him in the ribs head and throat and the creature only stumbled then came back for more. He was confident he could beat it, but he really wanted to avoid as much destruction as possible.
"Hal. Have you located the mace? We could use it right now. This time he's not going down that easy." There was some urgency in his voice.
Grundy was rushing to crush Superman in a bear hug. Superman sped into his embrace and struck him with an explosive uppercut. The force of the blow sent the monster several meters into the air.
Lois rolled to a sitting position then started to pull herself up along the dresser. The pain that hit her in the chest pulled an involuntary groan from her. She collapsed to the floor, leaving nail marks in the dresser and in her own chest.
******Outskirts of Gotham******
"Here's the mace, Big Blue." Hal dropped the weapon from the sky into Clark's hands. Then created a giant circus net to catch Grundy as he fell back to earth.
"Grundy isn't really alive. And he's constantly coming back." Clark thought out loud.
"Yeah. That's Grundy." Hal responded with a grunt.
"Throw him in the air for me," Clark instructed.
"Oh, this oughta be fun." Hal guessed with a grin.
Hal encased the enraged monster in green ball of energy then willed a giant spring underneath him. Releasing the spring the monster was streaking into the sky before he had a chance to break free of the energy ball.
It didn't take the creature long to burst free of the energy barrier, roaring his dissatisfaction, but as soon as he was free of the green ball of energy he came face to face with the man in blue and red.
Superman struck him down from the sky with Shayera's energy mace. When the mace made contact with the beast there was an explosion of blue-white energy and the monster fell like a rock to the ground and lay still. Within seconds he crumbled to dust and was absorbed by the ground.
Her breathing was in long raspy gasps now. She was staring blankly at the ceiling. There was one more, long gasp and she exhaled for the last time as she left her earthly body.
******Outskirts of Gotham******
"Whoa! That was crazy! I hope he doesn't come back for a long time, but whenever he does, I hope he's in cute and cuddly mode next time." Hal joked.
Superman was floating down slowly, mace in hand. He smiled at the thought then chuckled. "Yeah, me too."
"It's over?!" Dinah's voice sounded hopeful.
"It is. Grundy has been neutralized. We're done here," Clark responded.
"Thanks, Big Blue. Pretty sure you just saved my bacon." Hal slapped Clark on the back.
"Glad I could help, Hal." Clark smiled. "I think I'll head on home. Why don't you deliver this back to Shayera and tell her I said thanks."
"Will do. Gotta let a certain pretty lady, baby me after this strenuous ordeal. You probably want to do the same." Hal grinned. "Dinah. You can bring me home now. I'll be needing lots of kisses."
"Locked on you, you big dork," Dinah giggled.
Superman waited until Hal had disappeared then he sped home. At first he didn't pay attention to the unusual quiet of the apartment. Then he realized he wasn't hearing the familiar heartbeat or breathing sounds. Lois had probably gone out to look at baby stuff again.
He peeked in the room with a knowing smile.
And his world shattered.
******Metropolis General Hospital******
******Twenty Minutes Later******
The medical staff could not remember the last time they had seen so many attractive people sitting in their emergency waiting room, or in any waiting room for that matter, at the same time. It was somewhat distracting for many of the staff, but the trauma team had ignored the comments and focused all their energies on bringing back the young mother and her twin babies.
They had quickly found that the mother was beyond their help. It looked as if her heart had burst. None of them had ever seen anything like it. The babies were likewise gone. They had gone too long without oxygen.
The Docs were amazed at the difference in size of the children, but more saddened that they had not been able to save any of the three. No one wanted to be the one to break the news to the husband and father.
Clark and Kara heard the pronouncement. Kara nearly fell apart as she held her weeping cousin. The others knew instantly that the two of them had heard bad news. By the time the head surgeon came out to give them the bad news all of the pretty people had formed a circle around the tall dark haired man and the pretty, young blond girl.
They all parted for the Doctor as he approached the grieving Mr. Kent. The Doctor was amazed at the composure of the man as he received the devastating news. He was definitely stricken, but so often in such situations the ones grieving would lash out, sometimes verbally, sometimes physically, sometimes both.
Mr. Kent did neither. Instead, through eyes that continued to shed tears he had thanked him for doing all that he could and asked to see his wife once more. Dr. Sally did not think it a good idea but consented to allow him and the young blond that had not left his side to go in.
All the others in the room were whispering words of shared grief to the Mr. Kent, and most made some kind of physical contact with him. To Dr. Sally it seemed as if they were passing on some little bit of strength to their friend, and the concern and pain for their friend was quite moving.
Dr. Sally led them into the trauma room and stepped back into a corner to give them some privacy while keeping an eye on them. Too often the survivors of such traumatic events would themselves need medical help as their bodies tried to deal with the overwhelming emotional trauma of their loss.
The two had their backs to him so he could not see their faces. He thought they were whispering to each other but he could not be sure. If they were it was too low for him to make out.
"Clark…." Kara whispered as she clutched her beloved cousin tightly. She knew firsthand what it was like to see all that she loved ripped away from her. Clark had been a baby, but she had seen it, could remember the look on her mother and father's faces as they tricked her into her escape rocket and made her promise to take care of her little cousin just moments before injecting her with the hibernation formula. She had felt the caresses on her face and heard the tearful "I love you's" but she had already been too groggy to respond. Then she had been sealed in and shot off into space after her little cousin. With glazed eyes she had seen her planet start to break apart and then her ship had made the jump to hyper-space.
Kara was watching Clark closely. She was a bit confused by his first words.
"One was mine," he whispered.
"Hmmm? What do you mean one was yours? They were twins weren't they?" Kara whispered back concerned and curious.
"One was Ollie's," Clark whispered matter-of-factly.
Kara just stared at him in shock for a moment as his words sank in. "How is that possible?" she hissed back at him. She'd never heard of anything like that. "If she was pregnant from you then how did Ollie get her pregnant?"
"It was the other way around." Clark answered as if that would clear up all the questions.
"You're not making sense, Clark." Kara whispered as she hugged him closer.
"Look at the babies. Look close," Clark insisted.
Kara did. She looked close. It was hard to look at the still forms that had been full of life just minutes before. There was the obvious disparity in size. The little baby boy was quite a bit larger than the little girl, but that wasn't all. Both had a good head of hair. The little boy's was very much black. The little girl's hair was much lighter. Still that didn't mean too much to Kara. She was a blond and Kal-El had dark black hair. Looking deeper Kara focused on the cells, the nuclei, the DNA. Now she was really confused. The little girl was definitely human all around. She didn't know Ollie's DNA, she had no reason to, but she knew her cousins, and the little girl was definitely not his.
But what was completely confusing was the little boy's DNA. It was completely Kryptonian. Not half human half Kryptonian. How was that possible? He definitely belonged to Clark, but how did he belong to Lois? She looked up at Clark bewildered.
"I think I've finally figured it out." He whispered in response to her unspoken question. His hand moved gently over his wife's still form. "I'm going to miss you, Lois. I'm so sorry. Sorry for putting you through this. Sorry for taking away your chances at a longer life. Sorry I couldn't save you or the babies." He was crying silently again.
They stood there for a few more minutes then were escorted back to the waiting room.
They denied the medical staff permission to perform autopsies on the babies. J'onn was instrumental in convincing them to turn the bodies over for burial.
******Two Days Later******
******Hills of Peace Cemetary******
The minister had just finished a short and emotionally gripping message. The triple funeral had brought out many people. There were few family members, many friends and many fans of Lois' work.
The minister commended the spirits of the young mother, Lois, and her two babies into the hands of the angels. He spoke of the great pain of death that we all must suffer. He spoke of our only hope. And he pronounced ashes to ashes and dust to dust.
Clark was grateful that his minister had traveled all that way for them. He was grateful for the support of all his friends. He hugged Lois's parents and little sister close.
Diana, Bruce and Arthur had all contributed to reserving a Hall for a thank you dinner from the friends and family. Within a couple of hours of the service and burial, everyone was there.
Clark found himself surrounded by Kara, Diana, Wally, Donna, Bruce, Zatanna, Dick, Babs, Hal, Dinah, Arthur, Mera, Kator, Shayera, J'onn, Booster and John Henry. Most of the others spoke to him as well but would move on. The conversation eventually came around to the question of how and why Lois had died so suddenly.
They had all heard what the cause of death was but wanted to know why.
"I do know why, but I just need a little more time before I share it. It's too fresh," Clark had answered.
It had been enough for his friends. Slowly they had moved on, some going home, some to other duties. Four hours later, only a handful of people remained. Cleanup was quick and two hours later the Hall was again dark and quiet.
A small group walked with Clark and his parents a short distance to his apartment.
Diana gripped Clark to her. "You need anything, you let me know, Kal. It aches to see you in such pain. I am sorry for your horrendous loss."
Clark held onto Diana for a few minutes. He found just being with her was calming and his grief easier to bear. "I will, Diana, and thank you," he whispered softly.
Clark hosted his parents, Kara and Connor that night. The next night they all spent it on the farm. It was several months before the subject of how and why Lois died came back up as well as the mystery of the babies.
******Six Months Later******
"Mr. Queen. Everyone for your 11:00 am appointment is here, sir," Ollie's secretary informed him.
Ollie was nervous. This was not a surprise visit. It was planned. But he hadn't seen much of Clark since the defeat of Circe and even less since Lois had passed away. He had heard that she was pregnant when she died and that had really scared him. After Superman having made peace with him, he had feared the worst. But there had been no retaliation from Superman. The few times they had run into each other Superman had been kind to him. As his five friends and teammates filed into his office he couldn't help but feel like he was on trial, but none of the looks were accusatory. That was comforting.
He shook hands with each of the six. They shook his hand warmly and all but Bruce and J'onn gave him a hug, but then those two weren't big huggers anyways. Ollie remembered to be on his best behavior and controlled his natural desire to hang onto the pretty ladies a little longer than normal. He behaved wisely. Something he had been doing more and more of lately.
They all sat down.
"It's great to see you all," Ollie started rather nervously.
"And it's good to see you, Ollie," Clark stated kindly. "I requested this meeting with you, Kara, Diana, Bruce, Zee, and J'onn to share some information that is important and that I think you should all be aware of."
Ollie was even more nervous now, but he noted that the rest of the group seemed to be just as much in the dark as he was with the possible exception of Kara.
"I'll get right to the point. As you all know, Lois was pregnant when she died. She was carrying two babies, a boy and a girl. But they weren't twins. The girl was yours Ollie and the boy was mine," Clark said matter-of-factly.
Everyone in the room had a look of shock on their faces, except Kara and Ollie. Kara looked like things were making a little more sense but she was still confused as to how it could be. Ollie didn't look shocked or confused. He looked horrified.
"N…n…ow…now, Cl…ark. Listen. I swear, I didn't…" Ollie stammered out. He was already feeling woozy.
"I know, Ollie. I know. That's over with. I'm sharing this with you all because I think it's important that you all hear it. I think you need to know that you were almost a father, Ollie, and I think it will help me move on as well. I've given this a lot of thought and researched it quite a bit at the Fortress. I'm pretty sure I know what happened now," Clark answered reassuringly.
Everyone was on the edge of his or her seat at that point.
"Ollie, you got Lois pregnant while she was mind controlled by that Williams/Lord character."
Ollie sank back into his seat as if trying to hide from everyone's gaze.
Clark continued, "None of us knew at the time of course. A couple weeks later I came under the control of Circe, as did most of us here. We all know her goal was for me to humiliate and kill Diana. She almost succeeded, and might have if not for each one of you here and some of our other friends. However, before my birthday party, before I arrived and took off so obediently to do as the witch commanded, I went my parents home. Lois was there. She was still under the control of Maxwell Lord. I was under the influence of the witch. We had been sexually intimate several times since reconciling after the incident at the hotel. Lois was aggressive about it."
Clark looked around, everyone was paying rapt attention, he continued, "So it was very natural for us to be so on my farm. We were having another moment of intimacy when I came under the control of some red kryptonite that she had in her hand. You all know what kind of affect that has on me. So now I had even less inhibitions. Just as I was becoming a little more sexually aggressive than what I allow myself to be with her, we were hit by lightening. It hit me, the red k ring then Lois. It altered her. Made her not only powerful like me but actually temporarily altered the genetic makeup of her ova. Being intimate with me caused her to ovulate. I don't want to get to graphic here, but it seems that the physiological change to her body and my, um…sperm altered her ova so that the union of ova and sperm produced an egg that was fully Kryptonian! I don't think this would have been the case normally."
Clark saw the light go on for Kara, and he could see that Diana was starting to make sense of it all. Her face was a mix or surprise and sadness. All the others were listening intently. He continued, "Her physiological change mixed with our sexual passion overrode her normal biological protective measures and our intimacy caused her to ovulate even though she shouldn't have. Apparently a Kryptonian male fully powered by a yellow sun will cause a woman to ovulate whether or not she's pregnant. So now she was pregnant from two different men. By the next day she knew she was pregnant from me, but then she had reverted back to her normal physiology after conceiving. Now she was carrying a Kryptonian baby. Her heart was weakened from having been powered up unnaturally and spending so much time doing, well, you know."
"She was constantly rubbing her chest, but I had passed it off as stress from being pregnant. She'd never been pregnant before and I'd never experienced that before either. I know she wanted to become super powered so that she could satisfy me intimately, and ultimately she was and she did, but unbeknownst to us it cost us her life and the lives of the babies."
Everyone was quiet for a moment as they drank it all in. Zee finally broke the silence. "So what you found out was that you have a fertility inducing power. If you're in heat then you cause any woman around you to go into heat and ovulate! That is a seriously sexy power, Clark. Lois must have been fertile all the time hanging with you!"
Kara went into a fit of giggles along with Zee.
Wonder Woman stared at Clark with a question in her eyes.
Ollie smiled weakly and J'onn and Bruce showed no change of expression. They seemed to still be processing the information they'd heard previously.
Clark looked serious again. "So it was me. I killed her. Not Circe. Not Mr. Lord. Me. I didn't know it, but I did it."
There was no more giggling.
"You cannot blame yourself, Kal. You could not know." Diana tried to console him from across the coffee table as she brushed his hand with hers in a rare display of physical affection since his birthday party.
Clark didn't move his hand away. He looked her in the eyes and smiled. "I know. I'm not killing myself over it any more, but the truth is that is why she is dead. It seems that there isn't much that I could have done even knowing what I know now, although there is a possibility that I could have saved the babies, but Lois' heart was bound to give out. The pregnancy just sped up the process."
They all sat quietly for a few minutes. All were lost in their thoughts. All hurt for their friend.
Once again, Clark broke the silence. "So I wanted to clear up that mystery for you all. Ollie I wanted you to know that you were going to be a father and that I hold no ill will towards you. I want you to feel free to visit the grave of your daughter. I forgave you months ago. We are friends."
Ollie sat up straight, his eyes were wet and he smiled thankfully at Clark. "Thanks, Clark. Thank you for telling me, for forgiving me and for giving me another chance. I'm so very sorry about everything…," he trailed off unable to continue speaking.
"Your welcome, Ollie." Clark and Ollie stood and clasped hands.
Minutes later the meeting was over.
Ollie's friends went home.
Ollie stayed in his office until a little after lunch then went home early. He sat in his living room until late into the night wondering what kind of dad he would have made and what kind of dad he would want to be.
Slowly, his thoughts went to the kind of man that Clark was. He had said they were friends. After all that had happened, Clark had forgiven him. He was a true friend. This line of thought took ultimately made him think of Hal.
Hal had tried to speak with him on several occasions, trying to make amends, hoping to save their friendship. But Ollie would not have any of it. He felt deeply ashamed now. Hal had always been a good and dependable friend. He had definitely changed since developing a relationship with Dinah. No more adventures. The man was keeping his word and Ollie had never seen Dinah happier.
Ollie swallowed the lump in his throat. If the most powerful member of the League, and quite possibly the universe, could swallow his pride and anger and forgive the man who had slept with his wife, then he did he think he was?
Mind made up, Ollie picked up the phone and called Hal. He didn't know how things would turn out, but he knew he was done treating his long lost friend like dirt.
******Six Months Later******
It had been a fairly quiet year for the heroes. There had been no alien invasions, no planet-wide plots of mass destruction. The attacks had been localized and dealt with very quickly and decisively. The League had finally taken a public stand against genocide and given an ultimatum to the perpetrators of the atrocities being committed. Some of the heroes were not soldiers and so had issues with using deadly force. Others did not.
The Thangarians and Atlantians took charge of protecting the villages in the states where the genocide was occurring. In short order the leaders had been killed and the survivors realized that they would not win.
Superman stood in the hanger bay staring down at earth. He was proud of his friends and teammates. Glad that they were finally doing something to bring peace to so many victims. Glad that their enemies from distant stars had seen fit to leave them in peace for so long. He knew it wouldn't last, but he knew that no matter what the challenge, that he and his friends would be ready.
He found that he could think about Lois without the suffocating pain anymore. In fact, he could think of her with a smile now. He would always remember her. He would always love her, but he had healed. He had moved on.
"Kal?" It was the voice he had always loved.
Superman turned with a soft smile to greet Diana. She was standing nervously behind him.
She smiled back. "You are alright?"
Clark walked up to her and took her hand. "I am. I'm fine."
"I was going to invite you come eat. Kyle has made some sandwiches for everyone," Diana invited as she pulled him gently after her.
Clark pulled back. Diana looked a little confused. The look of rejection cast its shadow over her face, but Clark pulled harder; her pulled her right into his arms. "I don't like Kyle's sandwiches. He uses nasty lettuce. He's very good at art but he should stay away from food." He had Diana so close that she was forced to look up at him. He captured her eyes with his and saw in them a hopeful glimmer.
"Kal…that is not very fair to Kyle. He is trying to learn…umph!"
Clark cut her off with a kiss. It was a quick kiss, but only a first kiss. He pulled away for a second and whispered, "I know, but I have a counter proposal." He was grinning wickedly.
"A…a count…counter pro…what do you have in mi…umph!"
Clark kissed her again. He was enjoying this. He was enjoying feeling Diana so close to him again. He was enjoying her smell, her feel, her presence.
He waited until she was kissing him back then he stopped again, and just stared down at her.
"Kal? What are you doing?!" Diana was completely off guard and confused. But he could hear the excitement in her heartbeat, in her pulse.
"I'm kissing you and offering you a counter proposal to eating nasty sandwiches in the cafeteria. I'll stop kissing you if you don't like it, but I do hope you'll take me up on my offer." Clark shot back with a grin.
"You are inviting me out to eat?" Diana asked perplexed. They had grown closer again over the last several months. The touching had slowly returned, but she had been careful to give Kal space. The last several weeks she had seen some of his humor returning as well his more relaxed less intense nature. She had missed it and she had found herself longing for more with him.
"I am. I'm inviting you out on a date. I love you. Always have. I would love to spend the rest of my life with you. Can I kiss you again, pretty please?" Clark teased.
Diana's heart stopped. She stood frozen for a moment. "You are? Yes you may kis…umph!"
Clark kissed her again. They kissed for a long time. When they stopped they were both panting and smiling. Diana's eyes were a bit wet.
"I do too," she whispered.
"You do to what?" Clark asked.
"Love you. I love you too. And I could not imagine spending my life with anyone else," Diana replied.
They kissed some more. They found it very natural. The memories of his birthday of a year ago came crashing back in full force.
"It was your birthday a week ago," Diana panted.
"Why thank you, Diana. I had almost forgotten about it," Clark answered with a sarcastic grin.
Diana giggled. "It was a nice party."
Clark smiled. "Yes, it was."
"But I didn't give you your birthday present," Diana whispered huskily.
Clark wasn't smiling anymore. He was just overwhelmed with physical desire. "No, you didn't," he whispered just as huskily.
"Would you like your birthday present?" Diana whispered, backing away.
"Yes, I would. I would very much, thank you, please." Clark pursued her and pulled her back into a scorching kiss.
"O…o…okay," Diana gasped. "Then let us head down to your Fortress. We can eat there."
Clark scooped her up in his arms, tearing a yelp from her lips. "Yes we should and we can. We'll eat very well in my Fortress." He pressed a button on his belt. It scanned him and Diana and a moment later they materialized inside his Fortress near the kitchen. They were just staring at each other, Diana still scooped up in his arms.
He sat her on his counter so that she was straddling him and began kissing her again.
After a few minutes he stopped to let her breathe, while they pressed their foreheads together.
"Remember what you said about you causing females to become fertile?" Diana asked.
"Why do you think you did not get me pregnant last year?" Diana finally asked the question that had been gnawing at her for so many months.
"I don't know, maybe because of the spell or because it takes a lot more lovemaking to get you pregnant." He grinned and raised his eyebrows several times suggestively.
Diana giggled, then was thoughtful.
"Would you like to try and have children one day?" Clark asked.
She looked him straight in the eyes, and answered without hestitation. "Yes. With you. One day."
"It's settled then. We need to go see your mother and my parents," Clark advised.
"Yes. I think we should as well. I think they should approve first before we get married," Diana agreed weakly.
"Diana, would you marry me?" Clark asked her between kisses.
"Yes, Kal. I would marry you." Diana couldn't stop smiling.
"Good. I like that answer. Now where were we? Oh yes! You were about to give me my late birthday present," Clark gloated.
Diana kicked off her boots and pulled him back to her with her feet and hands, "Happy birthday, my sweet Kal."
Her sweet Kal began divesting himself of his uniform and helping her with hers. In seconds they were pressing their naked, on fire bodies to each other in unbridled passion when a powerful blur of white bowled them both over and began licking their faces.
Diana was laughing.
"Krypto! Not now! Can't you see I'm getting my birthday present?!"
Never the End
A big thank you, to my friend and fellow SM/WW fan Hellacre betaing for me.
Thank you to all who waited patiently and impatiently. Everyone who has taken time to write a review, thank you much. Reviews are always cherished. Let me know what you think now that the story is done. The story wasn't abandoned just wasn't able to get back to it for quite a while. Hope you enjoyed it. It was a blast to write.
I'll be focusing all my writing time on Breathless now, another story that was never abandoned just set aside for a bit. Hope to see you all there!