A/N: In this final chapter, Clark comes to visit the family, but as Lucy and Sam welcome him, they find it hard to rectify that this was the same man they met years ago, because something was different, but what was it? This last chapter also gave me a chance to have a little fun with 'the secret.' You'll see what I mean. Read and find out! Thanks! :D
The next morning at the Lane house:
Lois and Lucy were both downstairs getting breakfast ready, but their father hadn't come down yet, and after talking about their Mom to almost dawn, they had parted ways and decided to have a family breakfast to talk some more the next day.
"I think I hear him, Lo," Lucy said as she glanced up the stairs again.
"Lucy, now, we don't want it to be awkward when Daddy comes down, just be yourself," Lois said already feeling strange about their 'family' breakfast.
"Something smells good. Good morning, girls," Sam said smiling as he entered the kitchen.
Lois and Lucy glanced at each other, surprised by his demeanor.
"Morning, Daddy, how did you sleep?" Lois asked worried about him.
"I know that look, Lo. I'm fine; you don't have to worry about me."
Lois went to him and took his hand. "That's what families do, we worry about each other, and last night was tough … on all of us."
"Now, girls, I'm fine … but something did happen last night." At their questioning look, he continued. "I had a dream about your Mother, and I haven't dreamt about her in a long time, not since the months after she died."
"Are you sure you want to tell us about it?" Lucy asked, not sure they should hear it.
"Of course, I want to share it with you. Things are different now, aren't they? I was hoping they were."
Lois and Lucy smiled, liking the way things were going. "Alright, let me get breakfast on the table, and you can tell us all about your dream," Lois said as she squeezed his hand.
As they sat around the table for a few minutes, each eating and thinking about their talks, Sam told them about his dream.
"The dream started out as a bright light coming toward me, and for a moment, I thought I had died, but I fought it, because I wanted to stay here with my girls." He smiled at them. "We had found our way back to each other and I didn't want to lose that."
"Oh, Daddy, it was just a dream, go on," Lois said and smiled.
"Yes, it finally got through to me that it was a dream, but then I saw your Mother, and I was so happy to see her again. She said my name as if she wanted me to come to her, but I was torn, and I think she sensed that because she smiled and said 'I'll be waiting,' and then she disappeared. I woke up and smiled knowing she was there waiting for me when the time comes." When Sam finished the story, he shook his head. "It was just a silly dream."
Lois and Lucy stared at him, knowing it wasn't a silly dream at all.
"That was beautiful, Daddy," Lucy whispered happy for him.
Lois couldn't say anything for a moment. She finally found her voice, but then the doorbell rang. "I'll get it," she managed to say, knowing who was at the door.
Clark hoped everything had worked out for Lois's family, and after he had left her last night, he couldn't help but worry about her.
Lois opened the door, saw Clark's sympathetic face, and then burst into tears. "Oh, Clark."
Clark was so worried, as he took her into his arms, thinking her family must have had a blow-up of some kind. "Lois, what happened last night?"
"I'll tell you about it later, just hold me for a minute." She sniffed and held him tightly inhaling his clean woodsy smell, the 'Clark smell,' it comforted her like nothing else ever would.
Clark didn't say anything, but held her close, stroked her hair and kissed her dark head. "Lois, we should go in now. Are you ok?"
"I think so," she sniffed.
"Here," he said and handed her a hankie.
"Thanks." Lois took it gladly, wiped her eyes and blew her nose loudly, but held it up for him.
Clark wrinkled his nose. "Keep it."
Lois smiled. "Everyone can't wait to see you again. It has been a while, you know."
"I know and I'm worried how your family will react to me again. We didn't exactly hit it off back then."
"Ancient history, Kent, just be yourself, and you'll be fine," she whispered but she looked at him and remembered something important. "Wait a minute, where are your glasses?"
"Oops, I just left a forest fire and … here they are," he said and put them on, and then he blinked not used to them quite yet.
Lois shook her head at him. "Please be more careful, Clark, you don't know who could have seen you," she warned and peeked out the door before closing it.
"I'm always careful."
"Lo, who's at the door?" It was her father sounding impatient.
"Well, here goes," she said and pulled Clark into the kitchen. "Daddy, Lucy, you remember Clark, don't you?" Lois said smiling at her fiancé.
Lucy and Sam were a bit stunned by Clark's appearance. This was definitely not the same young man they remembered, because not only had he grown up, but there was something about him they couldn't quite put their finger on.
Clark sensed their confusion which didn't surprise him. "Good morning, General Lane, Lucy, it's good to see you both again," he tentatively said, as he held out his hand to the General, still worried how they would react to him.
Sam stood up and shook Clark's hand. "Lo, I thought this was going to be a family breakfast," he said but then regretted it as he could see she didn't like it. "Lo, I …"
"Clark is family, or he will be in a few months, but we can leave, is that what you want, Daddy?"
"Lois, don't," Clark started.
"Lo, I didn't mean it, of course, Clark, please stay and have some breakfast with us," Sam tried to make Clark feel welcome.
Lois tried not to glare at her father and went to get Clark some coffee. "Have a seat Clark, I'll be back in a minute."
Lucy watched the scene but she hadn't taken her eyes off Clark. This can't be the same tall, shy young man I met all those years ago. Could he? Lucy had made it her life's work to find out all she could about 'the Blur' and about 'Superman.' She knew Lois had a thing for the Blur, it was pretty obvious from her articles, but where did Clark fit into all of this? Was my sister in love with two different men? No, that doesn't sound like my sister, but could it be? Lucy suddenly gasped with her thoughts.
"Lucy, it's good to see you again," Clark said and held out his hand even more confused by her stares, but then Lucy was always very intuitive.
Lucy shook his hand, but then her mouth ran away with her thoughts. "Clark, how are you? Is that smoke I smell?" She sniffed leaning towards him.
"Lucy, for goodness sake, here Clark, now let it sit for a minute, it's hot," Lois said trying to get Lucy off the scent.
"Thanks, Lois, coffee smells great," Clark replied but then he had a thought, after hearing Lucy's remark. Lois's family will be my family too, and if Lois agrees, maybe we should …" But Sam interrupted his thoughts.
"So, Clark, how have you been? I was sorry to hear about your father," Sam asked trying to pleasant.
"Thank you, General."
"Please, call me Sam, we are family after all," Sam said and smiled at Lois.
Clark took a deep breath and forged ahead. "About that sir, I mean Sam. I know Lois and I got a little carried away getting engaged and all, but I wanted to ask your permission and your blessing to marry your daughter. I mean, I love Lois with all my heart, I have a good job, money in the bank, a nice place to live, but Lois and I, we had planned to live in the city, but I wanted …" Clark rambled on as thoughts of confessing his secret began to weigh on him.
Lois interrupted him. "Clark, that's not necessary," Lois said surprised he would do this.
Sam was also surprised but inwardly very pleased Clark would ask his permission. He decided to lighten the mood a little. "It's a little late for that, don't you think?"
"Daddy, be nice," Lois admonished him.
"I'm just joking, Lo," he smiled at them. "If you're anything like your father or your mother, for that matter, I have no problem with you marrying my daughter. Just remember, she is a handful," Sam said and smiled.
Clark had made up his mind. "Sir, if you wouldn't mind, I'd like to speak to Lois in private. We'll only be a minute. Lois?"
Sam and Lucy watched them leave, but only Lucy had a feeling something was up.
"What is it Clark?" Lois asked once they had gone to the backyard to talk.
"Honey, I know we haven't had a chance to talk about what happened last night, but how are things with your family, did you work it out about the tape?"
"Yes, everything is wonderful actually, but we don't have time to talk about that right now, Daddy and Lucy are waiting."
"I know and I'm glad to hear that, Lois, but I was wondering if we shouldn't tell your family the truth about me."
"Are you serious? How long have you been thinking about this?"
"To be honest, ever since I proposed, because I knew they would have to know. It seems only right that they know, Lois. We're talking years and years, here. Do you really want to keep this from them, pretending you don't know the man in the sky, the one who saves lives every day, the one who's living a double life, a life with their daughter and sister?"
Lois thought about it for a minute. "Well, when you put it like that."
"I knew you would agree."
"I know Lucy will be thrilled, but I don't know about Daddy. Let me feel him out first with a few questions about Superman, and then we'll go from there, ok?
"Sure, whatever you want. I'll follow your lead," Clark said and smiled.
"Is everything alright?" Lucy asked once they came back.
"Everything is great, but I just got a text from my editor. It seems Superman is at it again, I may have to leave shortly," Lois replied as she glanced at her Blackberry.
"He's a pretty big part of your life, isn't he Lo?" Lucy had her own way of feeling people out.
"Yes, he is, it's hard to put into words how wonderful he is," Lois said without thinking.
"Wonderful, you say? I don't know about that," Sam said.
Lois glanced at Clark out of the corner of her eye. "What do you mean, Daddy?"
"Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against the guy, he's done some pretty amazing things, and I don't know him personally, but I wouldn't mind meeting him, talking to him because he seems … I don't know, lonely to me. Didn't your article say he was the only survivor of a destroyed planet?"
Lois perked up at that. "You read my article?"
Clark discreetly poked Lois in the ribs to keep her on track.
"Umm, yes, he seems that way," Lois continued quickly.
"Yes he does and I can't help feeling a little sorry for him," Sam quietly said, as he shook his head and thought about how lucky he was to have his girls.
Lois and Clark looked at each other and smiled. "Sam, Lucy, Lois and I have something to tell you," Clark said and reached up to pull off his glasses, and two seconds later he stood before his 'new' family in all his red and blue glory.
"I knew it! I knew it!" Lucy exclaimed thrilled, as she applauded Clark's performance.
Sam slowly stood up, mouth hanging open. "Superman? Clark Kent is Superman? I would not have believed it if you weren't standing here in my kitchen."
"Sam, Lucy, Lois and I, we've been through a lot with my secret, but I wanted you, both of you, to know that we're family now and this secret shouldn't be between us," Clark tried to explain.
"Well, I'll be damn," Sam was still flabbergasted and didn't know what to say, but he glanced at Lois. "How are you dealing with all of this, Lo?"
"We've worked it out, Daddy," Lois began as she smiled at her fiancé. "Clark and I believe in each other, support each other, and there's nothing we can't do together. I believe that with all my heart."
Sam smiled and couldn't help feeling proud of both of them. "You've both grown up a lot, and I'm very proud of you both. I've very happy for both of you." He came to them then and shook Clark's hand again, but then Clark couldn't help a little teasing and squeezed his hand just a little.
"Wow, that's some handshake."
"Thank you, Sam, for understanding."
Sam turned to Lois then and held out his arms. Lois went into them without hesitation. Sam stroked her dark head. "It won't be easy, this life you've chosen for yourself, but I have every faith in you, Lo."
"Thank you, Daddy," Lois smiled and kissed his cheek.
"I knew I smelled smoke. Where were you earlier today, Clark?" Lucy wanted to know.
"You'll read about it in the Planet, Lucy," Lois responded.
"It was a forest fire, Lucy," Clark said and smiled at Lois.
Lois just shook head at him, and then Clark twirled back into his jeans and tee-shirt, smiled at his family's shocked faces, and they all sat down and finished breakfast.
A few hours later, Clark and Lois were about to leave to head back to Metropolis.
"Thank you, Daddy, for everything and we'll be in touch," Lois said, but she couldn't remember a time when she wanted to stay with her family.
Clark sensed her reluctance and squeezed her shoulder. "How does dinner Saturday night sound, a family get together?" He asked and couldn't help feeling excited for all of them.
"Sounds perfect, if you can find the time, Clark? You are a busy man these days," Sam said wondering how he did it.
"We'll make the time," Clark replied.
Lois held on to her fiancé, but she had a few questions before they left. "I have a question to ask Daddy and you too Lucy."
"Of course, I'll give you away. Is that what you wanted to ask?"
"Yes, Daddy, thank you."
"And you will be my bridesmaid, Lucy?"
"Of course, I will."
Goodbyes and hugs were uttered as everyone promised to call with plans for the family dinner. Sam and Clark shook hands again, but no squeezing this time. Sam smiled relieved.
After leaving the house, they both looked up at the sky as Clark turned Lois to face him. "I told you, everything would work out. Do you finally have faith in us, in everything?"
"Yes, Clark, I do, and I can't wait to say those words before God, our family and friends and you, of course."
"I can't wait either."
She stared into his eyes and pulled him close. "I love you, Clark."
"I love you, Lois."
And they sealed their declarations with a kiss, a kiss of passion and possession.
A/N: Awww, those two! Even though this story was gut-wrenching to write, I enjoyed writing it very much, when I could see past my tears! *hugs her readers* Thanks everyone for reading. Reviews are love!